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Cabinet Ministers and Public Sector Managers Close Retreat Today

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 – Today, Cabinet Ministers and Public Sector Managers move into the final day of a two-day retreat at the Bay Gardens Hotel in Rodney Bay. The activity, which attempts to provide an opportunity for national reflection and the examination of critical issues impacting on the performance of government, will also seek to agree on a common vision for the public service, set priorities and develop strategies to improve performance.

Commonwealth Secretariat Representative and facilitator Dr. William Plowden sees the retreat as a major milestone in the early stages of implementing a public sector reform programme for St. Lucia. “The Commonwealth Secretariat sees the chance for various forms of technical cooperation at later stages which will follow and will be glad to be involved if once again that makes sense from your point of view, and this will reflect a philosophy which to my mind makes a great deal of sense. An approach in which the Commonwealth Secretariat would hope that its contributions would consist of a sequence of logically planned steps, not a random portfolio of one off, unrelated, hit or miss activities with no follow up for one or the other,” said Plowden.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony noted that the rationale behind the retreat was to improve governance, coupled with the need to develop a more customer-oriented service delivery approach, while maximizing the use of limited resources. He noted that the retreat was opportune given the tough economic times facing the Caribbean. According to Dr. Anthony, based on a Caribbean Development Bank report, the economies of five CARICOM states namely St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Monsterrat, Grenada, Dominica and Barbados are said to be in recession. Dr. Anthony says both government and the public service share a collective responsibility to manage this period carefully, while being resolute and efficient.

“We are fortunate that we have a resilient economy. We are also fortunate that we have the will and capacity to make the decisions that are so necessary at this time including those decisions that may not necessarily yield public favour. The point that I want to drive home is this - how we manage this period will depend not only on politicians but on what messages public officers issue to the public at large whether coded or otherwise,” said Dr. Anthony.

The two-day retreat is also examining issues of openness, transparency and accountability, relating not only to Cabinet Ministers and parliamentarians but to public officers as well.


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