Prime Minister commits to public service reform, digitization, and targeting corruption

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With digitization in both the public and private sector high on the government’s agenda, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley outlined his vision of what he called a “transformed Trinidad and Tobago”.

Giving his remarks at a workshop for Public Sector Leadership for Digital Transformation held in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank on Monday, Dr. Rowley said that a country in which citizens are pleased with the scope, quality, and delivery of public services and a Trinidad and Tobago where the benefits of digital technology are fully utilized in the public and private sector in such a way that there is greater ease of doing business, are just part of this country’s future. 

“As Prime Minister, I want to reaffirm my commitment to partner with you, the leaders in the Public Service, to achieve our reform of the public service, our evolution of the way we serve our people, through the digital transformation of the Service. It is only by achieving this objective that we can truly realize our national development goals,” he said.

Noting that there have been challenges as a result of the covid-19 pandemic on the economy, public health, education, business, citizen security and even on our cultural identity, Dr. Rowley said, “sound leadership is necessary to navigate in circumstances of limited resources, legacy systems and rigid structures developed for a colonial model of operations.”

According to him, though there has been some headway in harnessing technology in ministries and in the ability to serve the public, much remains to be done.

 Also recognizing the importance of a well-functioning public service, the Prime Minister said there is the need to promote a sense of being one public service and take a whole of government approach to problem analysis and problem-solving; versus operating as individual agencies and ineffective departments working in silos. 

He went on to list some characteristics of a transformed, digitalized public service which include an integrated system for management of data, a unique identifier for every citizen so that they can be assured of equitable access to public benefits and services, and government services minimizing waste and duplication and in an environmentally responsible manner.

Dr. Rowley further stated that he even wishes to “target assault on white color criminal conduct,” which he said, “will wither if access is digitally controlled and recorded.”

He called for public service administrators to adopt a “can do” attitude in order to positively impact the quality of life of many.