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Public Servants urged to embrace e-Government ‘whole-heartedly’
By Matt Maura
Sep 28, 2011 - 10:56:32 AM

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Nassau, Bahamas - Public Servants were challenged to “embrace e-Government” wholeheartedly as the process will allow the Public Service to become more client-centred and productive.

Minister of National Security, the Hon. O.A. “Tommy” Turnquest said the Government of The Bahamas’ commitment to e-Government will transform the Public Service into an even more efficient entity by providing the general public with greater access to public information and government services.

He further said the provision of on-line services in areas such as the payment of real property taxes, renewal of driver’s licenses and submission of applications for passports, marriage licenses and death certificates, in addition to the payment of traffic fines, will assist public servants in meeting the needs of citizens, residents, businesses and non-residents, in a more efficient manner.

Mr. Turnquest was addressing a Service of Thanksgiving, which was one of the many activities organised to celebrate the 12th Annual Public Service & Recognition of Retirees Week (September 24-Oct. 1).

Others include a Retirees Appreciation Ceremony scheduled for September 27 at Government House, Mount FitzWilliam; a Gospel Concert (Thursday, September 29 at Holy Trinity Centre, Stapledon Gardens) and the National Public Service Officer of the Year Awards Ceremony (scheduled for Friday, September 30 at Government House, Mount FitzWilliam).

“The ultimate goal of this initiative is the improved delivery of a wide-range of government services to clients,” Mr. Turnquest said. “E-government will also facilitate public servants’ secure access to decision-making data and information, while saving time and increasing productivity within a robust and secure network environment.”

Mr. Turnquest said that, over the years, civil servants have been subjected to “negative and harsh commentary and public opinions” for the poor delivery of services to the Bahamian public.

He said while those criticisms may have “held merit” in some quarters of the Public Service, that is not the case on a large scale as “far many more of our civil servants serve with distinction and a high degree of professionalism.”

“Our goal (through e-Government) is to get the negative perception of the Public Service to nil,” Mr. Turnquest said. “Without the dedicated work and efforts of thousands of public servants over the decades, The Bahamas would never have attained the level of success and progress that defines our country today.

“(But) even as we celebrate the successes of the Public Service, we must all acknowledge that there is room for improvement in such a crucial sector,” Mr. Turnquest added.

Mr. Turnquest said the implementation of e-Government will address those areas where “there is room for improvement.”

“I urge all public servants to constantly strive towards higher levels of courtesy, empathy and urgency when dealing with the public and to deal with them equally,” Mr. Turnquest said.

“The Public Service must be more than a job. It must entail doing your work efficiently, honestly and with complete dedication to the people and the nation with full recognition that every single person who interacts with you is entitled to courtesy and consideration,” Mr. Turnquest added.

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