Saturday, September 29, 2012

PM Kamla's tribute to Permanent Secretaries

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar at Thursday's reception for Permanent Secretaries 
Under your watch and over the last 50 years we have built a Public Service that is now the largest single employer in Trinidad and Tobago; one that even when our nation was reeling under the weight of adversity, continued functioning, and one which has allowed us today to assemble some of the best and brightest professionals in our country and certainly in our region.

For these accomplishments, I sincerely thank all former Permanent Secretaries to the Prime Minister and Heads of the Public Service. I have no doubt that the legacies left behind by many of you have been carried on and where the changing times demanded, modified and adapted.

As we now map the way forward so that we can continue building our still growing and developing democracy, I have no doubt that even as we strive for perfection, and each seeks to put his and her own stamp of professionalism on their work, that what we build will be an equally proud legacy for tomorrow’s Trinidad and Tobago.

To do so, we must acknowledge the following persons who we honour here tonight:

  • Sir Alan Louis Reece 
  • Mr. Kenneth Frederick Sealey
  • Dr. James O’ Neil Lewis 
  • Mr. Doddridge Alleyne
  • Mr. Eugenio Moore 
  • Mr. Reginald Dumas
  • Mr. John Andrews 
  • Mr. Ainsley Tim Pow
  • Mrs. Annette des Iles 
  • Mrs. Zaida Hosein-Rajnauth
  • Miss. Sandra Marchack 
  • Mr. Reynold Cooper 
While we have for the most part turned out some of the most achieving and towering professionals as Permanent Secretaries, particularly Ps’s to the Prime Minister and Heads of the Public Service there is always room for improvement.

In today’s world we need to maintain the conviction to adhere to traditional values and codes of conduct and accountability as we pass the baton to the future generation and serve as mentors to those who we have been charged with leading. We must have a vision for our stewardship.

Each Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister and Head of the Public Service, from my recollection, carried a particular set of characteristics; a completely unique personality make-up which when studied, bore lessons of the value of hard work and commitment to national service.

Now, as we continue to up hold the tenets of good governance and Public Service, consensus is that these characteristics will always remain as a continuously fulfilling promise to the nation.

Consensus must remain as a core component to maintaining a strong democratic society that is disciplined, tolerant and productive.

And I speak of consensus because in managing an evolving Public Service, it can become your most potent instrument of success.

I also mention consensus because I speak directly to all of you, who I am sure have a great deal still to contribute, and who it is my hope, will contribute when that time comes.

But while consensus has become a very important development tool, today’s formula for Public Service is somewhat different from the past where it was simply defined as ‘a service rendered in the public interest.’

Today, Public Service requires real time interface with the man in the street. It requires much more studied statements and positions as once said publicly, they will be discussed much faster than you have the opportunity to correct possible misunderstandings. It requires responding to the needs of an increasingly sophisticated populace that is much more aware of its choices and much more demanding of choice itself.

It is also very clear that Public Service has come to extend far beyond Government and Politics.

When one considers the artists; the Non-Governmental Organisations; the private sector organisations and their CSR programmes; the military; sporting and cultural icons; community activists and heroes of our last fifty years of self-determination we also see true public service.

Some shone as great inspirations to their communities; others became great icons on the international stage on behalf of each of us here in Trinidad and Tobago. All of them brought glory, true glory and those things too must represent Public Service.

The poet Robert Browning observed, “All service ranks the same with God” and President John F. Kennedy moved an entire generation with the phrase, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

The future we consider ideal can only be born of thoughts framed by such philosophies.

Governments, Public Institutions, Private Institutions, NGOs, Labour, Professionals, and every man, woman and child must all share an unbounded zeal and desire for true greatness if the ideal tomorrow is to be born.

Today’s generation may see farther into the future, with greater clarity and greater conviction. But it must not be such that we get so absorbed by our ability to anticipate the future better; it must be that we understand that we are standing on the shoulders of giants who came before us and our work must be equal, if not greater, for the next generation.

Indeed, it is perhaps in considering our challenges that we must point to your examples as the embodiment of performance with humility; of adept delivery, and of true loyalty to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Let me personally extend my profound gratitude to the heroes gathered here this evening who have contributed to a rich legacy of responsibility and patriotism.

May God always bless you all, bless our citizens and bless our nation. I thank you.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai