Licks for Rowley after calling public servants ‘unproductive’

Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 16:45

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley has come un­der heavy crit­i­cism by the head of the Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion (PSA) and so­cial me­dia users for re­mark­ing that there were many un­pro­duc­tive pub­lic ser­vants.

PSA pres­i­dent Wat­son Duke took to Face­book to re­spond to the Prime Min­is­ter who made the state­ment at the Po­lice Acad­e­my in St James on Wednes­day.


Row­ley had said, “Many of them pro­duce ab­solute­ly noth­ing when the day comes. Col­lect a salary at the end of the month and make the most noise when pay is late.”

In a live feed on Face­book on Thurs­day, Duke said he was shocked, per­turbed and up­set over the Prime Min­is­ter’s state­ment. Charg­ing that Row­ley is not per­form­ing, Duke said, “He is turn­ing his fail­ure from man­ag­ing the pub­lic ser­vice out­wards, away from him­self, and plac­ing it up­on the pub­lic ser­vants. “It wor­ries me. It wor­ries all 80,000 pub­lic ser­vants of this coun­try and it hurts us to the core. It says to that moth­er, that good work­er who leaves south at 4 am to come to Port of Spain for an 8 o’clock job, that leaves work at 5- 6 pm to get home that your ef­forts are not rec­og­nized.”

Al­though pub­lic ser­vants were do­ing yeo­man ser­vice, he said, they were lack­ing the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties to car­ry out their jobs, in­clud­ing toi­let pa­per. For­mer min­is­ter of Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion Car­olyn Seep­er­sad-Bachan said it was un­for­tu­nate the Prime Min­is­ter used a broad-brush ap­proach. She said many pub­lic of­fi­cers are de­sirous of de­liv­er­ing ser­vices but are un­able to ef­fec­tive­ly do so be­cause of the cur­rent an­ti­quat­ed process­es and sys­tem and the lack of ef­fec­tive en­abling tools to do the job. She ques­tioned why the gov­ern­ment can­celled the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Gold to Di­a­mond project which was de­signed to mod­ern­ize these sys­tems and re-en­gi­neer process­es to make them more val­ue-added and would have re­duced costs, im­prove ef­fi­cien­cy and the ef­fec­tive­ness in the de­liv­ery of pub­lic ser­vices. Seep­er­sad-Bachan said while many pub­lic ser­vants have ob­tained their Mas­ters and PhD de­grees they still op­er­ate in old job spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

“It is my hum­ble view that the Prime Min­is­ter has to un­der­stand that there are many pub­lic of­fi­cers and many po­lice of­fi­cers who are will­ing and able and com­pe­tent to de­liv­er on the ser­vices re­quired for mod­ern po­lice ser­vice or a mod­ern pub­lic ser­vice but they are un­able to do so be­cause of the state of af­fairs.”

And the for­mer head of the pub­lic ser­vice, Reynold Coop­er, said there are a lot of “ded­i­cat­ed and hard-work­ing” work­ers but ad­mit­ted there are some work­ers who are un­pro­duc­tive and com­plain when things do not go their way. Coop­er added, the re­cruit­ment process of pub­lic ser­vants must be im­proved to se­lect the best. How­ev­er, he said a lot de­pends on the pas­sion and dri­ve of the rel­e­vant min­is­ter. “I think gen­er­al­ly pub­lic ser­vants will work if giv­en the op­por­tu­ni­ty and if they are mo­ti­vat­ed,” he said.

- Sascha Wilson