Former head of PSTU monitoring group expects IMF deal to push-start transformation
Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Despite the failure of the Government to act on most of the recommendations of the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU), the man who led the committee which monitored its work, Peter Moses, has labelled as exceptional the work done by the team.
However, Moses, who spent some two years leading the PSTU monitoring group, says if the work of the unit and committee is treated with the seriousness it deserves, it will ultimately be judged by the level of implementation and the impact of the recommendations provided.
While pointing out that the pace of implementation of the recommendations has not been lightning quick, Moses, country manager for Citibank, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal has provided some well-needed impetus.
"The work done by the PSTU, headed by Mrs Patricia Sinclair-McCalla, was exceptional both in terms of quality and the degree of detail achieved.
"The overall exercise fulfilled the objective of not being focused on a job-cutting task, but rather investing many hours of time to develop recommendations that would result in improved efficiencies across the public sector," said Moses in a written response to Sunday Gleaner queries.
"Generally, I think it would be fair to say that the pace of implementation has been slow, but this has been bolstered by the public-sector reform programme being included as one of the deliverables under the IMF programme.
"The full measure of seriousness, however, will at the end of the day be reflected in the level of implementation achieved and the impact of such implementation."
Moses explained that the exercise undertaken by the PSTU and the oversight committee was consultative, as it sought the input of a wide cross section of persons in the public sector, many of whom, he said, recognised the need for change.
powerful special team
In November 2009, Moses was selected by the then Bruce Golding-led government to chair a powerful special team designed to oversee the PSTU, which had been designed to whip Jamaica's overweight and bungling public sector into a lean, mean shape.
The six-member consultative monitoring group included communications specialist Jean Lowrie-Chin, Cabinet Secretary Douglas Saunders, then Financial Secretary Dr Wesley Hughes, lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Dr Alvin Wint, and Wayne Jones, former president of the Jamaica Civil Service Association.
Since the PSTU ended its work, critics have argued that it produced reams of paper and generated much talk but not much can be identified in terms of real achievement.
change of administration
That has been compounded by the seeming failure of the government, since the 2011 change of administration, to act decisively on the recommendations.
With the PSTU now seemingly dormant since Sinclair-McCalla retired, not much has been heard from the powerful oversight committee.
But Moses was quick to explain that, "the oversight committee is no longer functional. Our primary function was to provide guidance to the PSTU, which made recommendations for the reform of the public sector.
"This was completed and the project then moved to the current implementation phase in which the oversight committee is not involved," explained Moses, the first Jamaican to head Citibank's local operations.
The banker also pointed out that though not involved in the implementation phase it would be reasonable to assume that the oversight committee, and by extension the PSTU, have had more than a passing interest in the process.
Moses added that it was also important to note that the project commenced in a prior administration, so when there was a change of government it took some time to engage the new administration and to effect changes that were subsequently determined.
While admitting that the implementation phase did not have a bullet start, Moses argued that the project, by and large, has been treated with the gravity it demands.
"Generally, I do think the project was treated with the seriousness it deserved. It was initiated at the level of then Prime Minister (Bruce) Golding and reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Cabinet of both administrations, as well as by Parliament."
"There was strong and ongoing interest in the private sector, further demonstrated by the provision of funding to assist with the expenses of the PSTU, and of course there was interest displayed by the general public."