Community Development Officers in the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs were reminded of their key role in development within indigenous villages and communities in the ten administrative regions.
The Ministry opened a two day workshop on Wednesday at Moray House on Camp and Quamina Streets as a means of building the capacity of these critical Officers who serve as that vital link between the Ministry and the village councils.
Their main objective is to coordinate the Ministry’s programmes within Indigenous communities and provide feed-back between the MoIPA and the Village councils.
Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock during his address to the CDO’s said this should begin with the CDO’s who are the Ministry’s foot soldiers and must therefore be cognizant of the need for accountability on every front.
According to the Minister this has been happening for far too long.
“You need to help us to plan better we have seen tractors and busses and ATV’s laid up fairly new but they are broken and cannot be fixed you have to help us because you are there on the ground to observe and make recommendations let us help remind our people to understand what this is all about”.
The CDO’s were also reminded that they are servants of the people and must therefore put aside their political differences and work towards ensuring unity and togetherness among the people. He pointed to areas that can foster such togetherness; among them activities that will allow residents to engage each other in a meaningful way.
Minister within the Ministry Valerie Garrido-Lowe in stressing the importance of cooperation said “we are working together as a team so if you lack the knowledge on some projects find out from the Head Office, find out form PRDO, find out form project officers, from P.S from me, the answer is there get yourself au fait with it”.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Alfred King said bridging the gap is critical and engaging the CDO’s more can serve as the tool needed to ensure better services are available to villages and communities.
P.S King said delivering the Ministry’s mandate is critical therefore public service guidelines must be upheld. He said while equipping officers with the right tools to undertake their tasks, it is also essential that they understand the structure in which they operate.
“I want to make sure that we give a good account of and in keeping with the expectations of this ministry we expect therefore the CDO’s to be very astute in terms of how they plan their work how they operate in the fields and how they account for the use of resources, time and everything else that is given to them”.
The CDO’s were reminded by the Ministry’s Chief Accounting Officer of the core values while operating in the precincts of the public service that “you must be operating in the context of integrity and you must be operating within the context of impartiality… we want a public service that is efficient in executing its mandate using whatever limited resources we have and maximizing its use for enhancing the lives of all of our people and delivering what we are here to deliver”.
Mr. King said while some challenges remain, there is nothing that cannot be fixed and based on the Ministry’s dynamic staff structure; an above par performance and success rate is being anticipated.
In the meantime, some sections of the media has reported that the Permanent Secretary has stated that accountability is at an all-time high at the Ministry as it relates to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, the mandatory stores regulations and Procurement Laws that are in place.
The P.S did point out some deficiencies in the system; and according to him while they were inherited, every effort is being made to have same corrected so that the mandate of the Ministry and by extension the Government can move forward.
The CDO’s meeting concluded yesterday. On departure they will be equipped with a TOR which has clear guidelines on carrying out their functions and responsibilities.