|PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar: ""The people of this country will judge us by our actions".|
She was delivering the feature address at a gala at the Hyatt regency hosted by Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan at which 50 public servants were honoured as part of the celebration of Trinidad & Tobago's 50th anniversary of independence.
The theme of the event was "From Gold to Diamond". Jyoti has published below an edited excerpt from the speech.
"Tonight we rekindle the flame of independence as we move from our Golden Anniversary towards our Diamond Jubilee...
"In this one ceremony, we have honoured our fifty golden jewels of the first fifty years of national Independence, and at the same time, the seven forerunners to the citizen-centric “Diamond” standard that will characterise the public service of Trinidad and Tobago in the years ahead.
"We have recognized fifty distinguished public servants who represent the thousands who were an integral part of the history of our country.
"You, who have been honoured here tonight, have gone the extra mile. You have ventured beyond the narrow confines of your job descriptions and added extra value to the concept of public service.
"From being a mere occupation or job, you have transformed the public service into a profession, dedicated to sustainable national development. You have contributed to what this country is and will become in the far, and not so far future.
"You are the solid gold on which we will build our pathway to the future, a future that is already on sound footing as demonstrated by our seven forerunners to diamond status...
"We can look back with considerable pride to those few who stamped their mark on those early days – Solomon Hochoy who was undoubtedly the hero of the day but there were other heroes who carried the flag forward into the future.
"William Demas, Doderidge Alleyne, Reginald Dumas, Frank Rampersad, Frank Barsotti – just a few of those who turned night into day so that this nation could stand proud and free. They were the standard-bearers of our nation.
"That banner of service before self, policy before personality, and principle before politics became the gold standard that we celebrate here tonight, as we pause in our journey towards the diamond standard of the future...
Our public officers served our country faithfully and loyally over the past fifty years. They served the Government of the day and eased the transition process from Government to Government. They carried out their duties faithfully and well...
"The public service was the rock of our independence. It was the stabilizing force that kept the ship of state on an even keel. This is the gold standard that we are so proud of, and which we celebrate here tonight.
"This is not to say that we are without challenges or that there is not room for improvement and upliftment of standards. But it is equally important to give credit where credit is due.
"We can modify or change the archaic laws that still govern the public service procedures, but that by itself will not transform the public service into the professional institution it has to become or to enable it to cope with the growing demands and expectations.
"As we become more citizen-centric, we can tell our citizens what is expected of them, but all the technologies are useless, just bits and pieces of cogs and wheels, until our citizens buy into the benefits and opportunities we are making available to them.
"We can be as user-friendly as we want to be, but we need to convince the users first that what we are doing for them will be the best possible service, in the shortest time, at the lowest cost and of the highest quality. That is what I see as the diamond standard.
"All of us here tonight and all of us everywhere in Trinidad AND TOBAGO have a stake in transforming the public service. In this context, the journey from Gold to Diamond is a journey that the entire nation must take – not just the public service.
"It is a pilgrimage to the future – a future that is sustainable, a future that sees us as self-sufficient both individually and collectively, and a future in which we fulfill the enormous potential that we have as a nation and as a people.
"Just over two years ago I gave as the mantra of my government the words – 'Serve the People! Serve the People! Serve the people!' These have been my watchwords. I have impressed it on everyone within my Government that serving the people is our task, our mission and our goal. It is our objective and the standard by which we will be judged.
"The people of this country will judge us by our actions and not on our communications, by what we do and not just by what we say.
"On this platform of solid Gold that these exemplars of public service have built, we will now launch our search for excellence in service delivery...
"We are a very resilient people. Our ancestors survived slavery and indentureship, storms and shipwrecks, separation and loss to arrive and eventually settle here in Trinidad and Tobago. We are the descendants of people of courage who made the best of what they had. This is our heritage.
"As we embark on the journey from Gold to Diamond, let us take pride in our past and in our people.
"Even as we continue this voyage that started fifty years ago, let us keep our eyes fixed firmly not only on the distant future that sparkles ahead of us, like a diamond in the sky; but to the present moment which offers the opportunities towards that shining future.
These words have served us well for the past fifty years and will serve us even better in the diamond future: “Together we aspire; together we achieve.” From this point of intersection, I now urge you to cast your eyes forward from Gold To Diamond. Ladies and gentlemen, LET THE JOURNEY FROM GOLD TO DIAMOND BEGIN!
|PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad Bachan with distinguished public service officer. Please click HERE for more pictures from the event|