The following is commentary by Dr. Charles H. Wheatley.
For many years I have noticed, grown concerned and spoken about the following “policy” in employing civil servants. In appearing to empower civil servants the governing authority may be implicitly doing a disservice to B. V. Islanders. I am referring to issuing appointments to persons before they are professionally ready for the positions. Most, if not all of those persons are usually academically ready, but the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to be successful in these positions of appointment, are most times overlooked or subsumed under academic certification. I can remember a local case where a teacher administered corporal punishment to a student and the parent took the teacher to court and won the case. The lawyer for the parent was a brilliant B. V. Islander who was also a teacher earlier in life. He told the teacher, “You need to know the laws which govern your employment, and you need to know your boundaries.”
I have worked in the civil service and took many years to reach the top. Today, in this emerging polarity, employees move up much more quickly, therefore, they need adequate preparation to equip them with the appropriate tools to perform their duties successfully. On the other hand, the employee has some responsibility to ensure that actions taken the within the operating legal framework. It is also true that you can carry a horse to water but you cannot compel him to drink. This means the System may provide the appropriate training sometime but the employee ignores it. That would be the exception rather than the rule according to my experience from working with hundreds of civil/public servants over a period of sixty plus years.
The current developments-misfortunes which have befallen some civil servants-has their roots in the inadequacies of job preparation. There is data to support my position. Remember it is the little leaks that sink the ship and leaders must always be percipient in identifying those little leaks and addressing them. The constitution, the laws, regulations, rules and guidelines used should be collected and collated for each ministry/department to assist employees in performing successfully and efficiently. The System is not doing enough to enlighten its employees. I hope that after going through the present refining fires and any other that may be encountered, the result would be a more caring, nurturing, and efficient public service-a system that is eternally vigilant.