News from the OPM

Boards Must Focus on the Mission – PM Holness

Boards Must Focus on the Mission – PM Holness
The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Boards of Public Bodies and Agencies must perform and carry out policy mandates.

Speaking recently at the Board Retreat of the HEART Trust NTA, Prime Minister Holness said, Boards and Executive Management teams must hold persons accountable through performance standards.

“The problem we are having is that sometimes we have too many politicians operating in the corporate space, and I’m not talking party politicians now; people who are peddling special interests and self-interests and making policy fail. The Board must not tolerate that and that is why I am a firm believer in performance-based systems; that every single policy measure can be distilled to its performance tasks and assigned, and you get reward based upon how you perform and if you don’t perform then you leave or be separated”, declared Prime Minister Holness.

During an in-depth presentation to the HEART Trust Board, the Prime Minister noted that it is critical for Boards to function at the highest level.

“The decisions and actions of Boards ultimately have an impact on a country’s growth and on a country’s public financial management so it’s important that the Boards take very careful effort in how they execute their duties”, expressed Prime Minister Holness.

The Prime Minister explained that good governance is critical to economic growth and to good fiscal management of public resources. He added that a criterion on which the country is judged is governance.

“Countries like Jamaica which are on several programmes of recovery monitored by international partners with benchmarks and targets increasingly are in effect government KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator). How well our public agencies are being run is a criterion to determine whether we are successful on our recovery programmes”, explained Prime Minister Holness.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness said employees in the public sector have a responsibility to execute Government policy. According to Prime Minister Holness failure to do, that will undermine the country’s growth potential.

“Once the policy is settled and you are being paid by the Government of Jamaica to execute policy then you have a professional responsibility to execute the policy of the Government to the best of your ability. If you have any dithering about policy, then you start to affect growth. So, if you are in the public service once the policy is established implement the policy effectively. And the public service in our system is designed in a particular way that the Minister is responsible for policy. In a sense too, and the way in which it is exercised is that if policy fails then the minister should go. And like it or not the minister is going to face the electorate”, declared the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also opined that implementation, not policy, rests at the root of the country’s issues relating to the ease of doing business index.

“There are policy issues that must be resolved but the issues are with implementation. There must be no policy drift, policy slippage or deliberate under – implementation of the policy mandate”, he concluded.