Is it the system, the politicians, the civil servants, or us?
Many things just appear to be moving at a slow pace and or not even being addressed in the public sector Turks and Caicos. The commencement and completion of capital projects appear to take a long time. The processing of some licenses and permits, particularly work permits, takes a long time even when you pay for fast-track services. I understand though that the processing of police records has improved. Also, some of the promises made by the politicians of both political parties do not materialize during their term in office or even after they leave office.
No wonder the people get frustrated and have been changing the Government over the last couple of elections. The purpose of the article is for us to consider why things are moving the way they are moving. Is it the system? Is it the politicians? Is it the civil servants? Is it us as voters?
Many times, the system gets blamed for the delay in projects and issues. People reading this will want to know what system. Some say the consensus requirement in cabinet affects the politicians in delivering what they promised to the people. Some say there is too much bureaucracy in Government as the ease of doing work is not the same as in the private sector. Some say some of the systems are not interconnected with other departments or statutory bodies. Some also say too many manual transactions even though some departments claim they are offering “online” services.
If the system is an issue, then why don’t we change the system. I know changing the system may not happen overnight, but we need to make efforts to change the system. The processing of police records is a prime example. I understand that now the system has changed and as a result the processing of police records has improved.
We must hold the politicians accountable, however, sometimes we blame them for things that are not part of their role as each department has a head of department and each statutory body has a CEO. On the other hand, the politicians must be upfront with the voters. Don’t promise things you know you cannot deliver. Know what you can do and what you cannot do. Communicate with the people as often as possible. Understand the issues they are facing and do what you can to address them. If it is the civil servants who are not performing, then you need to ensure that the civil servants are being held accountable even if they don’t report to you. Otherwise, we will continue to blame you because nothing was done, or no one was held accountable. Consequently, we will vote you out of the office. You have a huge responsibility as a politician.
The civil servants
The role of the politicians is to pass legislation, regulations and provide funding for capital projects and recurrent expenditure and it is the civils servants that must ensure the legislation and regulations are enforced and carried out and that the capital projects and recurrent expenditure take place. Everybody has a role to play and must play their role. The civil servants have a huge responsibility and some of them are really trying and working hard to meet the objectives of the Government but there are some that are not working hard and are not performing. It is like you must know someone in some departments to get things done. It is so unfair especially to those that do not have any connection or know anyone in Government.
Are we appraising them effectively. Are we accepting the mediocre services being provided? Do we have the right people in the right positions? Have some of these people being in their positions too long? Are the departments understaffed? Is it the paycheck?
Are we as residents expecting too much? Are we the problem. I don’t think so. I know some of us complain a lot, but we must not accept mediocre services in the public or private sector. Some of us also voted for the politicians based on the promises they made and so we must hold them politicians. Even though we do not vote for civil servants, we must also hold them accountable and any issues that we experience, we must report them. Sometimes things do not improve because we remain quiet and have accepted the status quo.
A formal review of systems and civil servants needs to be reviewed and after the review takes place, a plan of action needs to be implemented. Of course, we as citizens have the power to remove the politicians but we do not have the power to change the civil servants and the systems and as a result, we get the same results. I know I don’t work in Government and do not appreciate or understand the workings of Government but there must be a better way of doing things in the public sector. I also want to encourage those persons who plan to run in the next election, know what you are getting into and hopefully you will not make promises you know you cannot deliver.