Public service is bogged down by splitting hairs over meanings of aspects of public policy

Dear Editor,

The media today (March 13) carried two letters side by side; one was forthright in its description of the  public servants whose incompetence,  aptly described as “asleep at the wheel” resulted in Guyana losing “a significant part of the export basket of fishing products to the US”; the other was a long dilation on management theories using sophisticated language (typical of Churchill calling a spade an agricultural instrument) to describe the various stages of managerial action/inaction in the public service which lead to success or failure in spite of the massive inputs of training provided to the public servants by high-powered local and international training providers.

It is patently obvious from the latter that the public service is bogged down by its own indulgence in splitting hairs over the meanings and application of various aspects of public policy  with an overkill on ‘strategizing’ (whatever that omnibus term may mean!) rather than focusing on effective, timely implementation and service delivery.

What I think was even more surprising/disappointing was the notation that public policy analysis is designed “to teach government officials and public servants to read critically; think analytically and write concisely in all sectors”. I was always under the impression that these basic competencies were necessary prerequisites for entry into the service. If scarce resources must be devoted to providing public servants with these basic skills and competencies, then one has to question the initial selection criteria and decision-making on selection for entry into the service.

Yours faithfully,

Nowrang Persaud

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