Heads of Department in the Ministry of Planning and National Development held a day-long retreat at St. James Club Morgan Bay on Friday, October 16, 2015.
The activity was intended to help the Ministry hierarchy refine its vision and values, with outcomes including identification of success factors, establishment of strategic goals and approaches to improve performance management and accountability.
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, National Development and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony was a guest speaker at the retreat. Addressing his audience at length without a prepared text, he offered the senior civil servants his thoughts on the wealth of talent in Government employment, but went on to pose a very pertinent question.
Said Dr. Anthony,
“The public service has incredible talent, enormous talent; when you look across the region, Saint Lucia probably has one of the highest number of graduates in its system. But the real question for us, for you, for me, is whether we are getting the best out of this huge investment we have made in those who manage the public service, and whether we are maximising the talent that is available.”
The Prime Minister went on to speak to the need for leadership in the public service.
Reflecting on his own range of experiences and on the changes in the service over the years, he called on civil servants to be more responsive and decisive, to take up the responsibility for making hard decisions, and to find the conviction to stand by their decisions.
“I think you have to revisit leadership and what leadership means. And it means so many things. It means courage, it means the will to be alone and stand alone for what you believe is right; not a stubborn insistence on self-justification, but an innate philosophical belief that you are doing the right thing because that is what is necessary and good for what you are charged with administering. Always exploring, always looking into the future, identifying potential crisis, dealing with it, averting it. That is the quality of leadership.”
The Ministry of Planning and National Development operates in the Ministry for Finance.