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Anguilla: Workshops Aim at a Better Public Service
Source: anguillian.com
Source Date: Monday, November 15, 2010
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: United States
Created: Nov 15, 2010

The people of Anguilla will have reason to demand better service from senior Government employees following two one-week Public Administration Law Workshops at Masara Resort, Katouche Bay, from November 8-19.

The first of the workshops, for Senior Public Officers, commenced on Monday this week with the welcome and opening remarks by Director, Human Resource Management, Public Administration, Mrs. Lana Horsford-Harrigan. She said that in the current economic context the public service was expected to achieve better performance levels, using fewer resources, while providing higher quality service to the Anguillian community.

She stated that funding and technical support for the workshops were provided by the Commonwealth Secretariat through its technical cooperation fund. She credited the workshops to the efforts of Permanent Secretary, Ms. Aurjul Wilson, who attended the regional Workshop in Public Administration Law in Antigua towards the end of last year.

“The workshops are indeed timely and relevant, given the phenomenal growth and importance of Public Administrative Law and the ever-growing need to affect good administration, by paying close observance to the tenets of administrative justice,” she said. Mrs. Horsford-Harrigan noted that each of the two workshops would be attended by some 32 Senior Public Officers.

In his brief remarks, Governor Alistair Harrison said that the Commonwealth Secretariat had made an important contribution to Anguilla over the years. He wished all the participants and the facilitators two very successful workshops.

The first workshops were declared open by Deputy Governor Stanley Reid, who has responsibility for the public service. He said that as of October 31, 2010, there were 1,285 established positions in the Anguilla public service, with 1,222 positions now filled. He named the senior posts in the Governor’s Office, Attorney General’s Chambers, various ministries and departments, whose holders were required to interact with elected officials, corporate entities, NGOs and members of the general public.

“A lack of clarity or understanding of the rules of engagement, for those of us who make our living offering service to the public, can be very costly to the Government, to us as individuals and the people of Anguilla,” Mr. Reid continued. “The many demands placed on public servants come from inside and outside the government structure and are certainly not always reasonable. On one side, you have political leaders who may not be conscious of the responsibility that is placed on them, or officers, by the laws of the lands. On the other side, we have members of the public, who are sometimes controlled solely by the realisation of their personal desire. In order to allow us to respond to the varied demands placed on us, in an impartial … manner, our actions and responses are circumscribed by the rules, regulations and laws which include administrative laws. These laws are designed to ensure integrity in the administration of our duties and fairness to those we serve in the execution of our duties.”

Mr. Reid advised the senior public servants that it was prudent to remember that their actions and decisions might one day have to be explained where they might be subjected to scrutiny. “In such circumstances, where there has been adherence to the laws, rules and regulations which govern our conduct, we can be comfortable in the knowledge that we can withstand the most robust scrutiny.”

The Deputy Governor continued: “Many government ministries and departments regularly process applications for licences… Do we adhere to the principles enunciated by the administrative law when processing these applications? Or applications for permanent residence, business licences, naturalization, among others, processed within the time frame mandated by the governing law? Where time frames are not stipulated by the governing law, do we allow applications to languish on our desks…for months, or even years, without making a determination as to whether the application is approved or denied?”

Mr. Reid, who also made reference to customs matters, advised the senior public servants to make every effort to have these and other questions answered during the course of the two weeks. He highly commended the Commonwealth Secretariat for responding favourably to Anguilla’s request for instruction and, in some instances, a refresher course in administrative law.

The facilitators for the workshops are Dr. Roger Koranteng, Governance Adviser & Institutional Development Division, Commonwealth Secretariat; Dr. Hal Gollop, Lecturer in Public Law in the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill; Dr. Adeyemi Ogunmefun, Programme Officer Governance & Institutional Development, Commonwealth Secretariat, who will be joining the second workshop; and the local co-facilitator is Anguillian Dr. Wycliffe Fahie, Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Finance and holder of a law degree. Dr. Fahie specialises in economics and finance, with proficiency in international relations, organizational behaviour, public policy and business.

Dr. Korenteng said the Commonwealth Secretariat was re-affirming the special bond of trust, respect and understanding shared by all 54-member developing and developing nations, comprising two billion people, constituting 30% of the world’s population. He said that the shared values and principles included democracy, good governance, human rights, the rule of law, respect, peace and security.

“The Governance and Institutional Development Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with the Government of Anguilla, is pleased to organise these five-day workshops in two batches; and this is being done under the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation,” he said.

“The main objective of the workshops is to capacitate senior public officers to understand the major principles of administrative law and its relevance with respect to Anguilla’s national context. It is also to make senior public officers understand the roles and functions of public administrative systems and the procedures that govern their operation. The importance of accountability and transparency in public service, and the need for ethics and integrity in the daily activities of public servants, …have become more imperative and the general public would like to see an effective and efficient public sector.

“The public sector now, more than ever before, has become very critical, as a prime mover, to move the governmental agenda forward. This calls for prudent management of national resources, more human than financial. Public servants having been entrusted with power and resources, must manage the power and resources in the interest of people.” He added that public accountability, transparency, integrity and high ethical standards were very important in the public sector.

The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Mrs. Charmaine Rogers, Deputy Director, Human Resource Management, Public Administration.
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