A better breed of government minister – that’s the goal of a new deal in which the top public administration institute in CARICOM teams up with the University of the West Indies.
“Ministerial excellence” will be the focus of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two institutions.
“We will be working along with UWI to develop a programme on ministerial excellence, because for far too long we have focused on the civil service part of Government and we have not focused as much on ministerial excellence,” said CARICAD Executive Director Devon Lowe during the MOU’s signing this morning at the Sagicor UWI Cave Hill School of Business.
“Regardless of where you come from in the private sector, governments sometimes can be a totally different new animal that requires preparation and knowledge to be effective. I’m not saying that the private sector persons who come into Government aren’t effective, but there are rules and regulations and laws that one needs to be aware of,” Lowe said.
There was also recognition of an “obvious need for new thinking in the role of the private sector in national development”, said the public administration expert.
“There is a need to adapt learning approaches to be more competency based to close the major gaps in organizational competences…. I hope that one of the things that CARICAD and UWI will do under this MOU is to make leadership at all levels in the public service be much more driven by action,” Lowe added.
Given mandates of UWI and CARICAD, the MOU presented a perfect opportunity for the two institutions to work together, said Lowe.
“The UWI’s overall mandate is to advance Caribbean development through teaching and learning, research, innovation, outreach and public service.
“And CARICAD’s mandate is to lend assistance to the countries of the Caribbean for the purpose of improving their administration capabilities to accelerate their social and economic development.
“This collaboration will result in more efficient use of resources, sustained efforts in key human development areas and more impactful service delivery,” he contended.
Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences Sonia Mahon said it was fitting that the MOU came as the UWI celebrated its 70th anniversary.
“It is not uncommon that significant milestones force us into a moment of introspection and self-reflection and the UWI has been doing just that over the year as we celebrate and also critically examine our role, responsibility, mandate, impact and relevance to the public and stakeholders that we serve.
“As part of that reflection it is important for us as an institution to affirm and reaffirm relationships that will allow us as we have in the past, to be instrumental in forging the realities of the future that was as peoples of the post-colonial and post-independent Caribbean desire,” Mahon said.
UWI had proven itself as one of the top educational institutions in the world, she said, having been ranked 37th in the region, the first in the Caribbean, in the Times Higher Education rankings for Latin America.
The ranking places the UWI not only at the top in the Caribbean, but was also among the top five per cent of universities in the world, she added.