‘Step up to the plate’

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Against the backdrop of widespread debate over job descriptions for parliamentarians, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has reiterated the need for greater accountability among technocrats, especially those who run Government ministries and as such report to Cabinet ministers.

“In this new paradigm, although we have the job description of the parliamentarians and the ministers, implicit in that is a realisation that the technocrats and the senior public servants will have to step up to the plate and also explain and be accountable to the public in respect of why certain deliverables are not met,” Llewellyn argued in an address to the Rotaract Club of Mandeville president’s dinner and installation on Saturday.

“I get the feeling that for some people it is like they are discovering afresh; they didn’t realise that the ministers are really policymakers. But what I think is becoming apparent is that it is the senior technocrats, the civil servants, the permanent secretaries, they are the ones who really dictate the pace at which you are going to get procurement or a project is going to be delivered, and I think it is being laid bare with what has been happening” she added.

Addressing the Rotaract Club of Mandeville President’s Dinner and Installation on Saturday at Regie’s Bistro in Mandeville, Llewellyn said technocrats should prepare themselves to deal with the public.

“I have said to several of my colleagues, ‘Prepare to step up to the plate. You can no longer hide behind the minister, he is policy and he can’t interfere with you who run ministry, so prepare to come out and face the public to explain why it is that a project is not being delivered or why procurement has not taken place in a timely manner, because the minister cannot interfere with that’.

“I have seen it for myself when my agency, the DPP’s office, is seeking to get things out of procurement out of the ministry, it has nothing to do with the minister, it is the civil servants,” she added.

Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness tabled in Parliament his long-promised job descriptions for Cabinet ministers and other legislators, stating that they are part of his Administration’s push to ensure accountability and performance from the political directorate.

The documents — a Green Paper for parliamentarians and a White Paper for ministers — set out the strategic objective of the posts, their purpose, reporting and accountability, the key deliverables and responsibility areas, performance standards, competencies, contacts, and the working conditions.

He also said the Parliament, through its joint select committee, will be invited to note the approved job description for ministers and further develop and refine the proposed job description for Members of Parliament.