As I’ve watched the implementation of the Commission of Inquiry reforms unfold, my mind took me back to 2003 when I joined the public service at the Ministry of Finance. At the time, public service “reform” was in “full swing,” but it never bore adequate fruit. I conclude that past governors have not served the public well when it came to good governance.
If that “reform” had been completed — and if continuous improvement were made a part of the public service’s organisational culture — we would not be here in this position.
A second example is when the Register of Interests was first legislated: Why didn’t the then-governor flag the lack of accountability and transparency built into the law since he would have assented to it?
A third example is the financial “reform” that was started in 2004 and was seen as a priority by the United Kingdom’s then-Foreign and Commonwealth Office based on the criminal case in 2002 that involved top Ministry of Finance officials. Reform was not mandated then, but in 2012 we were required to sign the Protocols for Effective Financial Management — which, based on where we find ourselves ten years later, were not highly effective.
So where do we go from here with yet another “reform” campaign?
The reform that is needed is a permanent change in our mindsets (renewed minds) that will cause us to do the right things because they are the right things to do and to be willing to hold each other accountable for excellence. We have made too many excuses for the mediocrity we have tolerated over the years. If we don’t nip this in the bud, I don’t want to see where we will find ourselves in another decade.
Apart from the governor and the House of Assembly, we the people need to pay closer attention to all that is happening and set the priorities we want to see in the interest of our children’s children and not just for here and now. It is their inheritance we have mismanaged. We need to repent of the mismanagement (no excuses) and restore their inheritance and grow it so they have something to look forward to. If we are not about legacy building, then we need to pack up shop and go home.