By Gary Spaulding
President of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Kelly Tomblin, is emerging as an illuminating figure in this rather dark era in Jamaica marked by the spectres of cynicism and scepticism.
Tomblin's promise to humanise the JPS, made at a recent Rotary Club of Kingston function, has lit up a realm in which promises are made and broken all too often; and where acceptable customer service delivery is almost non-existent.
If the avowals of Tomblin to transform the JPS into something remotely human - a Herculean task if there ever was one - are greeted with scepticism from a disbelieving populace, Jamaicans cannot be blamed.
Given, however, her energy and guided by her seeming penchant for detail, Tomblin came across as eminently credible as she highlighted her undertaking to bring back civility to the light and power company.
In unveiling her plans, there were some flashing signals which suggest that, more than likely, she can be taken seriously, even as she admitted that the public glare is having a less-than-comforting effect on her company.
It was not the engaging personality of the JPS president that flickered the brightest when she spoke at length about her plans for a JPS with a human face, rather, it was the fact that she spent much time plodding painstakingly through the various dimensions of the multifaceted plan.
Perhaps justifiably, the clamour for an end to be brought to JPS's monopoly in Jamaica is in vogue.
What was particularly refreshing was Toblin's unsolicited promise to Rotarians last week that she was determined to change the fixtures of the JPS's internal structures and promised that the changing beams would be forthcoming within six months.
Like her most recent predecessors, Tomblin is not Jamaican. However, Jamaicans have primarily been the face of the organisation. While the policies of the principals of JPS may have been harsh beyond words, the unfitting and downright indecent conduct to the people of Jamaica by its Jamaican workers, particularly to those in the lower realms of society, has been troubling.
It is a moot point that the boorish behaviour of many Jamaicans who are paid to serve those who indirectly pay them is commonplace, but there are a few companies that ensure that the customer service they offer is sound.
Tomblin started well by acknowledging this unacceptable disconnect from the people of Jamaica and proceeded to shed light
She appeared emphatic that her plan and programmes to relight the JPS were grounded in reality as she asserted that she was firmly convinced that until there is an acknowledgement of the pain and the picture of the current state of affairs, there would not be real, sustainable change.
TASK OF TRANSFORMATION
She cited, in her words, poor public perception; a strong anti-JPS sentiment; lots of customers off the grid; a lack of trust overall, the JPS' messages not getting through, and blamed the situation on "some internal leadership and cultural issues
Tomblin has given her word that the transformational processes will be marked by a move to reconnect with employees and citizens.
"We are starting with what we call the vision and it's really sitting still for a moment and trying to articulate what we hope to become. Do we bring light to your life, do we energise Jamaica tomorrow or do we
Jamaicans are at one in the hope that Tomblin's pronouncement that in starting over, the JPS will be remodelling its structure akin to the acquisition of a new house and if it becomes necessary to tear down the entire structure in the remodelling process, she is determined to do just that.
Her five steps to organisational health sound alluring. These include aligning the organisation; getting the basics right as it connects to stakeholder relationships; redefining JPS business
I suspect that I am among thousands of Jamaican who trust that Tomblin's promise will yield desired results.
Gary Spaulding is a senior Gleaner writer. Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.