Since the start of the Senate inquiry into the Auditor General’s Report in the Immigration and Nationality Department, revelations coming out of their weekly hearings have alluded to corruption not only among senior officials but also among public officers. In speaking with the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Public Service, Dr Peter Allen, he says that they have adopted a Charter that seeks to hold public officers accountable.
DR PETER ALLEN
“What we have been working very hard on over the last twelve months and which the Minister was able to push through at the CARICAD, the Caribbean Regional Development Administration for Public Service just two weeks ago was a charter for public administrations. In the charter, and we’ll happily make it available to you it is also on the CARICAD website and it should be already on our website, if it’s not there we will make it so; the charter speaks to ethics, integrity and professionalism within the work force and seeks to establish basic standards throughout the region for how public administrations should address such issues because of course they are not unique to Belize so we seek to learn from each other as well. Now based on that charter then we are in the process of developing other standards such as standards for customer service in the context of a customer service policy so the customer service policy was approved by cabinet a little over three months ago and we are in the process of training especially in the first instance front line staff on what we expect and how we will measure customer service as it happens in our officers around the country.”
Dr Peter Allen says that they are not only carrying out training but they are also doing random testing within the public service.
DR PETER ALLEN
“One of the ways that we are doing that and those who have been to the training know and you might be interested to look at some of the results sometimes is mystery shoppers and mystery callers. So we normally try to help some students or others by paying a small stipend and asking them in our presence to call different offices and see what type of service they get or to call in physically at different offices and again see what type of service they get and on the basis of that feedback then we approach the parent ministries of those offices and discuss ways in which they can congratulate their staff for the excellent service that was provided or improve the service as it stands. Further from that we want to take the approach of rewarding excellence as opposed to simply punishing poor performance but we want to do it by a measurable set of standards. So the Minister has instructed us to prepare a cabinet paper on meritorious awards and how we can introduce scaled awards for excellence within public service. Now we believe that we will not write all of the wrongs but we believe that this direction of frameworks, of policy and regulations and reward for excellence will help transform the public service in the direction that we believe all Belizeans want and we believe all Belizeans deserve an excellent customer service centered approach to the delivery of public service.”
Love News have received numerous complaints of solicitations and bribery that are taking place within the Government ministries but many times there is lack of evidence to report such incidents.