Finance minister urges public-sector workers to embrace transformation

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, is calling on all public-sector workers to embrace the transformation process in the bid to develop a public service that is strong, capable and operates at the highest level of efficiency.

“We need the participation of every member of the public service… It cannot be done by a few people alone. The transformed public service that we need is going to have to embrace all the energies of persons,” he said.

Dr Clarke was speaking at the official launch of the inaugural Public Sector Debate Competition yesterday at the Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew.

Twenty teams will be vying for the top spot in the contest, which will run from March 20 to April 25 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Themed ‘Facing Issues, Influencing Solutions’, the competition will see public-sector workers engaged in debate on the matter of transformation and other topical issues within the public service.

Dr Clarke welcomed the staging of the debate, noting that it is aimed at including the thoughts and ideas of civil servants in the public-sector transformation process.

“Your voice will be important as we chart the course going forward. You will have feedback, you will have criticisms, you will have ideas that others have not even thought about and it is by creating a public space for these ideas to percolate that you’ll be able to make the most progress,” he noted.

He added that the debate will serve as an example to the public “that we can have ideas contend and we can have a space where people can express, not only goals but ways and means of achieving those goals to the benefit of the broader Jamaican population”.

Executive Director of the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU) in the ministry, Maria Thompson Walters, said that the competition provides an avenue for public-sector employees to contribute to discussions on building a more effective and efficient public service.

“This debate competition is designed to… engage critically on the issues of transformation and do so on a national platform. As both employees and clients of the public sector you have perspectives that are invaluable to how we redesign and reshape the service that we provide to the public,” she noted.

There are over $600,000 in prizes and awards to be won in the contest, which will include elimination rounds, with the final round to be televised nationally and the victorious team crowned ‘Master Debaters of the Public Sector’.

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