Categorized | National News

Public Sector Reform Critical, Moree Says

Former chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Brian Moree, Q.C. said public sector reform is critically needed in the country due to that sector being “seriously overstaffed.”

Currently, there are over 20,000 people employed with the public service.

Mr. Moree, who appeared on the Love97/JCN talk show, Jones and Company with host Wendall Jones yesterday, said downsizing is a must.

“I don’t think there’re any questions that we need fairly major public reform,” he said.

“I think a part of that reform would be to right size the public service. It is, in my view, overstaffed at the moment which is not to say that there aren’t certain needs, skill sets and departments that may be understaffed in terms of deployment. If you look at it as a single force given the size of our country and economy, I think the number of public servants is more than we need.”

Mr. Moree also explained why he thinks public sector reform has not happened.

“I think you have to start with the fact that there has to be the political will,” he said.

“In reforming the public service, you are going to be touching some sacred cows and you have a number of unions that you have to deal with and these various stakeholders have to be brought in as an active participant in the overall process. In my view, we will never achieve significant widespread reform if you try to do it top down on the basis of edicts. This is not going to work.”

He said what needs to happen is that the government needs to build relationships with all the major stakeholders in the service to develop trust and credibility and to try identify areas of common concern.

“Everyone wants the same thing – an efficient, well-paid, motivated public service,” the senior attorney added.

“You have to have political will to take it on and know that it will be time consuming. Doing it in a dictorial way may be efficient but it will never work so you have to do it by consensus. I think you have to start with areas that are common ground and then work into the difficult areas. There will be some fallout.”

Mr. Moree also explained that some people in the public service are not being paid as well as they should due to the inefficiencies that exist.

“In my view, this also has a negative effect on those who are working efficiently in the public service,” he said.
“We are not really able to pay public servants what they should be paid. Generally speaking, public servants aren’t paid well in The Bahamas and it’s difficult to know how some of them are able to live. If you become more productive and reform public service to become more efficient, there will be some fallout but then you will be able to better pay the ones that remain because there would be fewer people. Also there is a great deal of corruption and wastage in the public service and that needs to be eliminated.”

The former PSC chairman said the public service should not be taken for granted.

“It is my firm conviction, that the public service is an essential an integral part of the process of governance,” Mr. Moree said.

“The efficiency of the country is very much related to the competency of your public service because politicians cannot execute and implement policy.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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