There is a low level of productivity and poor work ethic being displayed by public servants in Trinidad and Tobago.
This is the view of Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat who, while addressing the Cunupia Business Chamber Annual Dinner and Awards Function, on Saturday, said it was becoming customary that when the public interface with public servants, it seemed they were asking for favours.
“The fact is that when we interface with members of the public service it seems now like you asking a favour. You have to wait until they reach to work; you have to stand up outside and wait for them to open the offices. Then, you have to wait again if lunch-time comes around because they put up a sign saying ‘Closed for lunch’.”
He said this was because there were no proper systems in place to hold public servants accountable for their actions.
“We have a very bureaucratic system that requires the public service commission to deal with every aspect of hiring, firing and disciplining of people. And, this system does not work in the way it should work,” he said.
Not only do citizens have to spend hours waiting to access services, the minister added, but they also have to put up with the attitudes of some public-sector employees. “They show poor attitude to work and it is like you are doing them a favour by employing them.”
At a time when the country’s revenue was low, Rambharat said public servants need to watch how they spend taxpayers money.
“We have to continuously look at the expense side of what we do. The fact is this county is run by a public service that pays no attention to the expense side. We need to look carefully at the containment of expenses, managing cash-flow and matching cash-flow. A lot of times we run a country where we spend out of habit. It eventually catches up with us. Our revenue situation as a country really gives us an opportunity to contain our expenditure.”
Chamber president Rasheed Ali presented awards to business owners.