“Our systems must no longer frustrate our people” – Govt to overhaul & modernise public service

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Jennifer Westford

Government is working to overhaul and modernise its public service in order to ensure the systems no longer “frustrate” the population.

This is according to Advisor to the Minister of Public Service Dr Jennifer Westford who was at the time delivering an address at a virtual capacity development workshop on the digitisation of the public sector.

“Our society is not as advanced and modernised as we would want it to be. It is, therefore, time to breathe life into the public sector and begin implementing policies and programmes that are modern…there is much to be done, starting with the creation of a comprehensive, strategic plan…The services that we offer must be modern and easily accessible. Our systems must no longer frustrate our people but alleviate their daily worries and challenges,” Westford noted.

“At this level of government, I can confirm that there is a strong commitment to propel Guyana into the digital age, especially since technological advancement seems to be coming at a fast pace,” she added.

Westford, a former Minister of Public Service, said the workshop is just the commencement of massive transformation that will be seen in the public service in coming years.

“It is the government’s hope that this forum will help us to craft a national road map for change and kickstart the process of awareness for our people, beginning with the administration of our staff and the public sector,” Dr Westford affirmed.

In her budget presentation during the Budget 2022 debates, Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag, explained that the Training Division of the Ministry will receive a new breath of life.

“We intend to breathe some life into that critical department and ensure that the programs offered are impactful and worthy of the time people spend taking them to ensure a result-oriented public service,” the Minister had stated.

Executive Director of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), Devon Rowe said improvement requires a change in mindset.

“The mindset of the public service must change and one important change is to move from a total focus on rules and procedures towards an equal focus on results. We’re all aware that there is still an implementation deficit in our region. Improvement requires a change in mindset. Our behaviours and organisational cultures need to change.”

Regional Coordinator and Lead Technical Advisor on ICT at Caricom, Jennifer Briton identified that from surveys conducted over the past two years, many respondents flagged Government’s leadership as an important catalyst in responding to the digital ecosystem that is dawning.

According to her, Guyana has already understood the benefits of integration and can share its successes with the region.

“We anticipate that Guyana will continue to show the leadership that it has always shown through this initiative and all other areas that are related to transformation and innovation. Guyana is on the cusp of a brand-new economic model and landscape. That requires additional attention from senior public servants.”