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Public sector transformation a national policy, says Holness

Published:Sunday | December 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott

Prime Minister Andrew Holness last week declared that the public-sector transformation reform on which the Government has embarked is a national policy.

Speaking at Jamaica House in Kingston, the prime minister said his administration was seeking to advance the efforts of successive administrations from as far back as 1980.

"Public-sector transformation has been ongoing for so long, across administrations, that you can refer to it as national policy," Holness said.

He contended that after 20 years, too little has been achieved with respect to the transformation of the public sector.

"It cannot continue. This time must be different," he declared.

Holness said there were too many studies and recommendations, urging that it was now time for implementation.

The prime minister also noted that the process of transformation of the public sector has been stifled by political expediency.

Holness, speaking in the presence of public-sector leaders, said that while he was aware of the challenges and opportunities, the sensitivities, the needs and concerns of public-sector workers, it was time for the transformation to take place.

"For too long, the public sector has believed that their jobs exist in and of themselves and their jobs have no bearing on the rest of the economy. The transformation requires a shift in mindset in how the public-sector employee sees him or herself," he said.


Tackling long-standing issues


The prime minister said the decision of his administration to tackle long-standing issues should come as no surprise to anyone or group.

"The requirement for public-sector transformation should therefore be of no surprise to anyone. Not to the civil service; not to the Opposition, who were themselves committed to public-sector transformation under the 2013 EFF (Extended Fund Facility) arrangement with the IMF (International Monetary Fund); not to the unions; not to the private sector; not to society at large."

In the meantime, Opposition Spokesman on the Public Service and Public Sector Modernisation Lambert Brown has called on the Government to meet with the Opposition over the planned reforms.


Anxious to hear details


Brown said the Opposition has always promoted the need for public-sector transformation and, therefore, is anxious to hear the details of the Government's plans.

He said the Opposition wanted to know about the implementation process and any new initiative on which the Government planned to embark.

At the function, Holness announced the establishment of the Public Sector Transformation Implementation team, led by Maria Thompson-Walters.

It follows his announcement last year of the Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee, led by trade unionist Danny Roberts.