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Workshop seeks to modernize Cabinet

Workshop seeks to modernize Cabinet

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A week-long workshop, aimed at strengthening and modernizing the Cabinet, got underway yesterday, Monday, March 21, at the conference room of the National Insurance Services (NIS) building.{{more}}

Ministers of Government, Permanent Secretaries and other Departmental Heads will be in attendance at the workshop, which is expected to end Friday, March 25.

The workshop is expected to give an overview of the functions of ministries and permanent secretaries and deal with issues including budgeting, governance and policy development, this according to Susan Dougan, Cabinet Secretary.

“The retreat will look at new ways to offer critical support to Cabinet,” she said, adding that this includes the dissemination of information, providing feedback and the proper preparation of Cabinet memoranda.

Dr. Joan Nwasike, Director of the Governance and Institutional Development Division (GIDD) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, in her presentation, said that the time had come for things to be done differently.

“We have to change our mindsets,” Nwasike explained.

The old methods were no longer effective, she contended, adding that the global environment had changed.

“Globalization has impacted on us; we cannot keep singing from the old hymn books anymore and we have to look at how we can turn those uncomfortable areas into opportunities,” Nwasike said.

She further explained that the strengthening of the cabinet was crucial and that the roles of government ministers and permanent secretaries and their contribution to growth and development examined.

But with the governments of countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean continuously experiencing reforms influenced by financial pressures, so too substantial reforms must be carried out by members of the public service.

Girlyn Miguel, Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister, while delivering the feature address at yesterday’s opening ceremony, said that training opportunities needed to be constant, so the processes within government can be modernized.

“Our watchwords have always been efficiency, transparency, accountability, job satisfaction and better service delivery,” Miguel explained.

She added that it was difficult for small sovereign states, such as St Vincent and the Grenadines to survive and that countries all over the world were facing tremendous hardships.

“This state of affairs leaves some economies with no option but to find creative solutions to their internal problems,” she said, adding that governments needed to reconsider current policies and be prepared to embrace new policies and programmes, in order to overcome challenges of service delivery.

The strengthening of the governance and accountability framework of government is a critical factor in the work of any government, the deputy prime minister said.

Miguel said that she hoped that, by the end of the workshop, participants would have developed a philosophy of continuous learning; that the public service will have initiatives which are flexible and responsive, and that there will be a renewed commitment in carrying out the policies of government. (DD)