The Pitfalls of the Permanent Secretary (PS) and the “Top Heads” of Government

In 2012, while under the British imposed and controlled “Interim Administration” (i.e.  Government), the TCIG embarked on a venture to re-align the Public Service with new PS’s who would lead the country to a new frontier of prosperity though accountability, transparency, ethics and moral, competency and many other transformative accolades. This was a futuristic and revolutionary move needed at that time.  At least, this is what we thought.

In theory, the system was designed to restrict the powers of an Elected Government in so far as the delivery of Government Services and the operation of the Civil Service were concerned, and to place this power in the hands of persons who would be unbiased and impartial and would serve the greater good of the Turks and Caicos Islands.  This required an amendment to our most sacred document, our Constitution (if you believe it to be truly ours) and it has never been the same.  This actually seemed good on paper at the time and induced us to believe that we were well on our way toward good governance which would ultimately lead us to administrative maturity and self rule one day.

Nine years later the only thing that has been consistent is the failure of the PS’s that we entrusted to manage the country’s resources.  We have seen the death of 2 elected leaders by large victories on both sides of the political divide and the only things they have in common are the PS’s and the presence of non-elected, but British appointed Governmental Heads, they were forced to deal with.  PS’s who refuse to answer any questions.  Please don’t write them, or call them.  You will never get an answer.  And no one is held accountable for this.  In fact, they are rewarded with contract after contract while the country suffers. This is in addition to “Top Heads” of Government, whose work, upon review of their performance and management style, are in service to the British and not to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I need not name these “Top Heads”, one only need to review the Constitution and Public Commission Ordinance to determine who is appointed where, with powers synonymous with that of an elected government  and in some instances with powers that can defeat the agenda of the elected- government.

People say delay is not denial.  I beg to differ when it comes to them. Delay is denial because when matters are not answered in a timely manner, the delays cause things to fall apart. And WE the people continue to reward them for failure. YES US, because we do nothing.  We let the system play out as it is, and after a period of every four years, we blame the elected person whose hands were tied due to a system intended to usurp their political authority and agenda. Now, I make no excuse on their behalf. Some political officials of the past simply were the worst! But the reality is, there’s a system in place which does not discriminate against these factors and aims to work against, not with, even the most prudent and progressive elected person.

Please understand this is not personal and we most continue to stop rewarding failure at all levels.  I am also worried that the British has taken the best of us and put us in positions to continue to fail because when the PS’s fail the people and greater country fail. This makes us dislike and mistrust each other and once we are divided we will continue to be conquered.

Hon. Premier, please take heed and understand that these people don’t mean the country well and you must do all in your power to replace them with progressive people who will put our country first and on the pathway toward true prosperity.  Persons who have all the attributes as mentioned above and are not afraid to make decisions.  We need constitutional reform and we need it like yesterday.  We need an indigenous Constitution, not another British drafted management document. We need a Constitution which defines us, empowers us, and advances us! It is the only way.  This is all of our fight.  And I will be fighting in the coming months with you for this.

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