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May 25, 2016

Public Service Day Celebrated with Information Fair

An all-day information fair concluded in Belize City this evening.  The event was part of the annual celebration of Public Service Day and saw the participation of a number of government departments.  The ITVET compound was teeming with students and employees earlier today, checking out the various booths and learning about the role of the public service.  Our cameras were also there for the open day and News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Today is commemorated across the country as Public Service Day in honor of the men and women who are employed by the Government of Belize.  Public officers, as they are formally known, work in various municipal departments, including law enforcement, customs and excise and income tax.  They came together at the ITVET in Belize City earlier where an information fair was being held.

 

Leron Cayetano

Leron Cayetano, PR Officer, Ministry of Public Service

“The public information fair is basically to highlight what the public service is actually doing.  We represent fourteen ministries within the public service and this fair highlights what we actually do on a day-to-day basis.  You will hear that, probably complaints about the ministry and you hear all the negative publicity about the public service and we want to curb that.  So this day highlights that and brings forth what we actually do.”

 

Notwithstanding the comprehensive scope of the ministry’s responsibility, timeliness and efficiency are very much challenges that are being faced in the corresponding departments.

 

Frank ‘Papa’ Mena

Frank ‘Papa’ Mena, Minister of Public Service

“When I got into the public service I had good and bad experiences and I took those not so favorable experiences and I asked the question to the technocrats in the public service, how can we better improve what we are doing?  How can accessing the AOs and there were some simple issues like tenure and so on that needed to have been addressed and we are doing our best to address it.  But there needs to be a systematic way of doing it, why the Public Service Commission exists and that is systematic in doing.  Sometimes it’s getting it there and the bottleneck.  Maybe it’s necessary bureaucracy but in my humble opinion, I think that some of these things can be better.”

 

According to Freya August, who oversees quality assurance at the ministry, the task at hand, as far as customer satisfaction goes, includes response from the public.  That feedback, in terms of firsthand information, has been fairly hard to come by.

 

Freya August

Freya August, Supervisor of Quality Assurance

“One of the things that we are doing today and it’s the first time we’re doing it, the Ministry of Public Service, we’re actually administering a customer satisfaction feedback survey.  We know we’ve heard in the media, probably riding on the bus, the complaints that the public has about the public service, particularly about some key areas, however, we’ve never has empirical data, so to speak.  So whenever we make any interventions or we make any investments we want to ensure that we are doing it based on information.  So we are getting specific feedback this time around from the public or whoever visits the information fair.”

 

The objective, says Leron Cayetano, is to change the way in which people view the public service.  Over the years, government employees have endured harsh criticism for the seemingly lethargic manner in which they have dealt with the public.

 

Leron Cayetano

“For each year we are doing it we are getting positive feedback year after year and for this year we are harping on bigger and better and service, service, service is our theme and we want to harp on service to the public.  So that is one of our biggest aim and achievement for the public, so we are slowly, it’s not a hundred percent yet but we are slowly curbing the perception of what the public has of the public service.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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