PM Christie Says Much More Work to be Done by Public Service

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Winner of ‘Public Officer of the Year’ Award, John Darville, centre, with Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, right, and Minister of Labour and National Insurance, with responsibility for the Public Service the Hon. Shane Gibson at Atlantis, Paradise Island, February 12, 2017.  (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon Perry Christie told those attending the 17th Annual National Public Service Week Awards Luncheon, on February 12, 2017, at Atlantis that the event’s theme, “The Public Service: In Pursuit of Productivity and Accountability” acknowledged that while The Bahamas’ civil service had accomplished much, there was still much more work to do and the need to find novel and improved ways to do it.

“Today’s realities are different,” Prime Minister Christie said at the event, held at the Atlantis Resort Paradise Island.  “We live in a more culturally, religious and socially diverse community than ever before. There is a greater number of persons with first and second degrees and we are affected by the explosion of social media which has erupted into our lives with a force beyond our imagination shaping our expectations, desires, and goals for us and our children.”

That, notwithstanding, he noted, The Bahamas by the very nature of its size cannot be immunized from external forces and many of its people — even those with degrees — have found themselves unemployed and in dire circumstances; their plight being exacerbated by the arrival of two successive and devastating Hurricanes, Joaquin and Matthew.

“But it is what it is – we are faced with the circumstances that envelop us, and the most important thing for you as public servants is to adapt, to be innovative and strive to be that bridge that reaches out to all sectors of our community – the young, the not so young and the elderly,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “Our job is to link the service of government with the people who require the service.”

Public Service Officer of the Year Nominees, this is your time,” he added.  “You have distinguished yourselves by exemplifying the values of the Service: excellence, integrity, loyalty, and commitment to serve. It is your turn to take the baton and run your leg of the race.”

Prime Minister Christie said that The Bahamas’ Public Service had long been the result of our colonial past influenced by the country’s northern neighbours.

“While we may not need to re-invent the wheel, we certainly do need to create a Service that is uniquely suited to the environment and needs of The Bahamas and all of its people,” he said.

Prime Minister Christie told those present that the National Development Plan had identified four pillars upon which the nation must build its future for a stronger Bahamas – the Economy, Governance, Social Policy and the natural and built Environment.

“As the Government readies itself to embark upon an aggressive development agenda throughout the islands, it will be your responsibility to strengthen the pillars so that The Bahamas can march boldly into the future, he said.  “You will be required to demonstrate specified competencies, use multiple social media for messaging, think in new and creative ways, and marshall the forces to fulfil the Government’s mandates.”

Prime Minister Christie said that the assessment of their work will be based upon their integrity, accountability and productivity, and that of their teams.

“Your clients will judge you by your ability to meet their demands — and the bar will not be static,” he said.  “From henceforth, you are the role models for the public service, joining your colleagues who once sat where you now sit.”

Prime Minister Christie charged the public servants present to embrace the opportunities to make a difference.

“Set goals, draft strategic plans to attain them and demonstrate fiscal prudence,” he said.  “Be prepared to work in and out of Nassau, to interact with your international counterparts and to base your work, through research and sound data, upon the best practices suited to The Bahamas.”

Prime Minister Christie extended congratulations to the nominees and said that they represented the very best of the Civil Service for 2016/2017, assuring them that The Government has reposed great trust in their abilities.

“I am confident from what I have heard and read that you are up to the task,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“To the rest of us in the Service, I ask that we seek to work to our full potential for the betterment of The Bahamas,” he added.  “One day we might be so honoured, but certainly we would want to be able to say in retirement that we have left the Public Service better than we met it.

“Thank you all for your hard work and thank you to all of the families who have given and continue to give daily support.  May God bless you all and bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”