The creation of appropriate ethical
infrastructure in Jamaica is set to gather momentum in the coming
months, as the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), in
collaboration with the Cabinet Office, rolls out its refocused programme
targeting all ministries, departments, agencies and public enterprises.
Later this month, officers of the
Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) will be sensitized, through a
customized training programme and, going forward, it is anticipated that
an increasing number of public sector institutions will be so engaged.
Ethics in public administration in
Jamaica has witnessed a renewed burst of interest in recent years,
particularly since the launch of the Vision 2030 development plan and
more recently with the introduction of the government's Medium-term
Economic Programme (including the country's re-engagement with a
stand-by credit facility with the International Monetary Fund). Both
policy documents call for an increased role of the state in promoting
ethical standards and the need to integrate an ethical infrastructure
into the state's development policy.
The premise is that overall
national economic success is dependent on the essential elements of
financial infrastructure, physical infrastructure, knowledge
infrastructure and ethical infrastructure. Proper integration and
correct functioning of these elements, it is posited, is fundamental to
economic development and growth.
During a JIS Think Tank
session at the Jamaica Information on Wednesday November 17, Service
Senior Policy and Project Officer - Cabinet Office, Ryan Evans endorses
that concept, "You cannot divorce the issue of ethics from the process
of development...There is a correlation between a developed state and
the incidence of corruption. Every society needs to create an ethical
underpinning in order to advance its social and economic development".
In addition to its comprehensive
programme to provide professional enrichment and the upgrading of the
technical and managerial skills of public servants, MIND in Association
with the Cabinet Office has now developed a special course, "The Creation of an Ethical Infrastructure".
Director, Business Development
& Communication - MIND, Glynis Salmon, in providing the rationale
for introducing the programme, emphasized that, "There can be no
question that every single ministry, department and agency must involve
themselves in the whole business of establishing an ethical
"What is critical is that we must
understand it. Organizations are to position themselves, tailor their
principles and practices, fashion their thinking and bring it into full
alignment with this ethical infrastructure," he added.
The course is available to public
servants and is designed to enable participants to better understand the
philosophical foundations of ethical practices, the core principles of
ethical conduct and be able to distinguish between the types and scope
of activities in which public sector employees are allowed to engage.
The creation of an ethical
infrastructure in Jamaica was conceptualized some eight years ago and
Ministry Paper: 2002 on Public Sector Reform, entitled, 'Government at
your Service', spoke to the essential elements of the framework. It
stated that ethical standards for the public service should be clear and
should be reflected in the legal framework. Further, that ethical
guidance should be available to public servants, who should know their
rights and obligations when exposing wrongdoings within the public
service, and that and public servants would be provided the protection
necessary to them in cases of exposing wrongdoing.
The Ministry Paper on Public Sector
Reform also emphasized the need for a Public Service, "in which every
public servant thinks and acts in the best interest of Jamaica and its
citizens with honesty, and objectivity, taking decisions that are
transparent and for which the officer is accountable."
The introduction of the Ethical
Infrastructure in Government programme was designed as the appropriate
vehicle to facilitate this change of attitude. Mr. Evans observed that
since the establishment of the programme, 90 Ethics Officers have been
appointed within the Public Sector, 78 of whom have been sensitized
under the programme.
"The intention is to further
accelerate the training programme until all appointed Ethics Officers
have been trained within the Public Sector. The objective is to have
trained Ethics Officers in some 230 public institutions and to extend
the programme to involve a wider pool of stakeholders", Evans explained.
Later this month, the management
and staff of the Companies Office of Jamaica will be the beneficiary of a
customised Ethical Infrastructure course and MIND Director, Public
Sector Capability Development, Ann-Marie Smith, is confident that Mind
has prepared itself very well to deliver this intervention.
"It is not just an academic
exercise...we have facilitators drawn from a wide cross section of
sectors that add value to the presentations and we have seen the impact
that it brings to some of the institutions that have been a part of the
training", she noted.