Saint Lucia Pub­lic Ser­vice Un­der­goes Good Gov­er­nance Train­ing

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Chris Bart of the Saint Lucia-based Caribbean Gov­er­nance Train­ing In­sti­tute (CGTI), there are three essen­tial qual­i­fi­ca­tions all board di­rec­tors must meet if they are to prop­erly do the job: Com­pe­tence, Cu­rios­ity and Courage.

Equip­ping Caribbean board di­rec­tors with ‘com­pe­tence' has been CGTI's pri­mary mis­sion for the past three years. CGTI has de­liv­ered the in­for­ma­tion, re­search and skills re­quired by di­rec­tors serv­ing on any type of board, whether cor­po­rate, ed­u­ca­tional or non-profit, to del­e­gates from such di­verse or­gan­i­sa­tions as the Do­minica Wa­ter Com­pany (DOWASCO), Turks and Caicos Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mis­sion, San­dals In­ter­na­tional and the Eastern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank.

The com­pany's sig­na­ture 'Char­tered Di­rec­tor Pro­gramme' cov­ers all as­pects of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and, since 2015, the CGTI team has de­liv­ered its mes­sage to hun­dreds of can­di­dates in Ja­maica, Saint Lucia, Gre­nada, Bar­ba­dos, Turks & Caicos and Do­minica, among other Caribbean venues.

Se­nior man­agers and di­rec­tors from a range of in­dus­tries have ben­e­fit­ted from the ex­per­tise of CGTI's fac­ulty of gov­er­nance ex­perts through three days of high-en­ergy, in­ter­ac­tive ses­sions and a fi­nal C.Dir exam, and be­come some of the first pro­fes­sion­ally-cer­ti­fied Char­tered Di­rec­tors in the world.

Dur­ing the week of Jan­uary 23rd to 27th, the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lucia be­came the lat­est regional or­gan­i­sa­tion to un­dergo CGTI's Char­tered Di­rec­tor Pro­gramme. Eighty-five mem­bers of 'se­nior man­age­ment' from gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, who in­cluded four­teen Cab­i­net Min­is­ters, fif­teen Per­ma­nent Sec­re­taries and twelve Board Chair­per­sons, came to­gether in an un­prece­dented train­ing ex­er­cise. The sched­ule cov­ered ev­ery an­gle of "good gov­er­nance" from defin­ing roles and cre­at­ing ac­count­abil­ity, to fi­nan­cial over­sight and risk man­age­ment, ethics and cul­ture, strate­gic think­ing and plan­ning.

Three groups of del­e­gates from across the min­istries, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the for­mer Saint Lucia Tourist Board, ex­ec­u­tives from In­vest Saint Lucia and other "sub­sidiary" or­gan­i­sa­tions, ex­changed ideas and ex­pe­ri­ences, learn­ing valu­able lessons from pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor ex­am­ples, chal­leng­ing prac­ti­cal ex­er­cises and fa­mous case stud­ies from around the world.

As he pre­pared to sit the fi­nal exam him­self, Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet was asked about the ex­pected out­come of this con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment in gov­er­nance train­ing.

"If we want to change things, we can't con­tinue do­ing them the same way. You have to change how peo­ple view things to ef­fec­tively change the cul­ture within the civil ser­vice, so this is a very im­por­tant in­vest­ment in our key peo­ple. What bet­ter or­gan­i­sa­tion is there to re­ceive gov­er­nance train­ing than the pub­lic ser­vice, where the share­hold­ers are re­ally the vot­ers, the cit­i­zens of the coun­try?" ex­plained Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet.

"The pur­pose is for Cab­i­net Min­is­ters and 'se­nior man­age­ment' - the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­taries and se­nior di­rec­tors - to un­der­stand what their roles are. The same with gov­ern­ment's equiv­a­lent of 'sub­sidiary com­pa­nies,' which are the statu­tory bod­ies. Our goal is to im­prove the over­all ef­fi­ciency of the pub­lic sec­tor, and it starts with the peo­ple. Ev­ery­body must un­der­stand the roles [and struc­tures], and if ev­ery­body per­forms . . . we will have a trans­par­ent and ef­fi­cient gov­ern­ment."

In­deed, the train­ing ex­er­cise came at a time when Caribbean gov­ern­ments are be­ing urged by the World Bank to re­think their ap­proach to gov­er­nance in a new re­port ti­tled “Gov­er­nance and the Law,” which ex­plores how un­equal dis­tri­bu­tion of power in a so­ci­ety in­ter­feres with the ef­fec­tive­ness of gov­ern­ment poli­cies.

Ac­cord­ing to World Bank Group Pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim, "With­out bet­ter gov­er­nance, our goals of end­ing ex­treme poverty and boost­ing shared pros­per­ity will be out of reach.

At the con­clu­sion of the pro­gramme, CGTI's co-founder Dr. Chris Bart, was en­thu­si­as­tic about what he called the "bold ini­tia­tive".

"Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet and the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lucia are to be con­grat­u­lated for achiev­ing what no gov­ern­ment in the world has ever done, which is to be­come "of­fi­cially cer­ti­fied" in the prin­ci­ples and best prac­tices of gov­er­nance. Em­brac­ing our CGTI Char­tered Di­rec­tor Pro­gramme speaks vol­umes about the pro­gres­sive and in­no­va­tive na­ture of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, and is one im­por­tant step in [the Prime Min­is­ter's] per­sonal vi­sion to cre­ate real change in Saint Lucia."

The Caribbean Gov­er­nance Train­ing In­sti­tute will take the Char­tered Di­rec­tors Pro­gramme on the road again in 2017, to An­tigua in March, St. Kitts in May and Ja­maica in Septem­ber, while the third an­nual 'Hot Top­ics in Gov­er­nance' con­fer­ence will take place in Saint Lucia in July.

Cab­i­net Min­is­ters, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and CGTI rep­re­sen­ta­tives with Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet (front cen­tre) flanked by CGTI Co-Founder & CEO Lisa Charles (to his right) and Co-Founder Dr. Chris Bart.

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