THE Prime Minister says a new ministry, aimed at halving criminal conduct in various government departments, is to be created under a second-term People’s National Movement (PNM) administration.
He said the intention is to digitise all records, and the Ministry of Technology and Records will have responsibility to bring about that modernisation and make government records easily accessible and efficient.
From a political platform in San Fernando on Monday night, Rowley promised that out of this covid19 pandemic will come a modernised TT.
He said the intention is to get away from paper files stashed in drawers and which, over the years, have proven to be inaccessible or lost to the person seeking to do government business.
He belaboured the hardship people face when having to access their records, including retirees and pensioners whose gratuity and pensions are delayed for years.
“Our manifesto is talking about how we modernise the country, how we treat with record-keeping to bring about efficiency. They want to go away from paper files and files in a drawer, files dog-eared under a desk, some person did not come out to work and only one person knows where the file is, and once the file leaves this room and it goes to another room it’s lost.
“If you have to do business with the files, you have to go and line up. And when you get to the head of the line, they close it because they have to go for lunch. All those things we are putting behind us. Out of this covid will come a modern TT.”
He said half of the criminal conduct in this country will disappear, whether it’s in the hospital, the licensing office or in the Ministry of Health.
“It is election time now and let me remind you, you remember WASA (Water and Sewerage Authority) when we came into office and indicated we will go after white-collar criminal activity in this country?
“What was the result? Fire. Just so?”
Rowley recalled, the fire was not in WASA’s kitchen or in WASA’s wood pile.
“Fire was in the records office in WASA. And when the fire service went and put it out, the fire blaze up again in the same place. Two fires it had in WASA, burning records.”
He said once government services go digital, the problem will be eradicated because data can be stored away from where the activity is taking place.
“I tell you in the hospital, immediately, you will get better service as you get better records.”
As the country becomes modernised, he said, money will be saved and new jobs created for qualified university, on-the-job trainees and other graduates who are trained but cannot get a job.
He said it was not by accident the Attorney General’s office was the first to be digitised. Rowley said what they have been doing is taking the country from the dark age into the modern age so one can look forward to justice on time.
He said, in 2015 Cabinet ministers were receiving 30 to 40 pounds of paper in a big black box, but today every minister has an iPad and, from that device, Cabinet papers come electronically.”