THE EDITOR: I am paying close attention as a firestorm of public servant outrage appears to pile on, following statements made by the Prime Minister.
Dr Rowley, in his usual “tell it like it is” style, stated many public servants “produce absolutely nothing when the day comes.” It is this comment on the productivity of the public service and its employees which I wish to focus my commentary on.
Despite the hard work ethic of many in the public service and poor productivity of others, the average citizen has a less than complementary opinion of the work that goes on there.
Scanning social media on a daily basis will produce numerous complaints about poor service, cashiers closed, progress halted because someone took a day off and stories of files on desks for months awaiting a signature.
With the public complaining daily about the pace of progress and productivity in the service, is it unfair to criticise Rowley him for comments we citizens echo and know to be true?
I believe the conversation should not be whether public servants are productive or not because it is well acknowledged that there are many low-productivity units within the service. The conversation should focus on how can we increase productivity.
Are we happy to bury our heads in the sand and simply complain on social media about how long the cashier took and how much attitude we got at the front desk? Yet when a leader acknowledges a problem we all know to be true and outlines a remedy, this is the worst thing he can do. How are we going the remedy the problem if we can’t even acknowledge it exists?
I applaud our Prime Minister for taking a stand to acknowledge a major issue we have been grappling with since independence. Despite the criticisms, proper management systems must be put in place and those who, especially, are entrusted with serving the public should be held accountable.
The public service is notoriously known for its staunch resistance to change. However, unless change happens we will continue to be plagued by low productivity, poor service and a lethargic economy.