BVI, Caribbeanand International News

I was shocked Premier tried to take over Public Service Transformation

I was shocked Premier tried to take over Public Service Transformation

Former governor Augustus Jaspert said he was “shocked” at efforts by Premier Andrew Fahie to have his (the Premier’s) office assume the lead role in the Public Sector Transformation Programme (PSTP).

The former governor told the Commission of Inquiry (COI) when he appeared recently that the transformation plans, despite initially having the support of the current and former elected government, saw a change in position by Premier Fahie where he essentially paused the work on the initiative.

“I was shocked and surprised at the position which is being held by the Premier; namely, ‘the Premier’s Office must assume role of the lead Ministry of the PSTP’.”

“The Premier is basically requesting to bring over two years of assiduous work to a halt because of his desire to see a public service responsibility led by his office.”

In a letter penned to the COI, Jaspert commented that it was an alarming and urgent matter that ‘must be addressed’.

Jaspert further told the COI: “The notion that a Public Service Transformation Programme should now be led by the Premier’s Office creates an opportunity for there to be a clear delineation between the roles of the Premier’s Office and the Deputy Governor’s Office in leading the public service.”

And according to the former governor, “the answers to the question of who leads the public service must be addressed with urgency.”

Efforts made to hinder transformation

Jaspert also alleged that the Fahie administration put measures in place that hindered the transformation of the public service.

“I recall — I believe it was March 2019, from memory I believe it was around then — that the current Premier put a recruitment freeze in place; using the budget approach to freeze recruitment of public officers which may also have hindered efforts to improve the public service.”

The COI also heard that Fahie rejected Deputy Governor David Archer Jr’s proposal of a ‘leadership partnership model’ with his office and the Premier’s Office.

The proposal called for the Deputy Governor to be chairman and the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office to be the deputy chairperson.

The COI heard that, in the Premier’s view, that was not a leadership partnership but an arrangement that puts the Governor’s Office in charge of responsibilities that are outside the governor’s constitutional scope.


Related Articles