Greater Power for Permanent Secretaries




May 12, 2017


The Public Service Commission will allow Permanent Secretaries in five (5) specific ministries to fill a number of vacancies.
This is expected to remove one roadblock to recruitment in the public sector and put a dent in the number of vacant positions which exist. There have been complaints and public outcry about the thousands of vacancies that need to be filled in the public service.
In this vein, Minister of Public Administration and Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie announced “…that the Public Service Commission has agreed to several positions being filled, not by the Commissions, but by Ministries themselves who can now advertise and the Permanent Secretaries can fill positions in several Ministries.”

The decision arises out of an ongoing project for the ‘Institutional Strengthening of the Service Commissions Department’ aimed at reforming the Public Service to deliver services more efficiently and expeditiously. The Ministries, departments and agencies will assume responsibility for most recruitment, staffing and discipline under the arrangement.

Minister Cuffie said the positions to be delegated are “peculiar” to each Ministry and not generic positions in offices across the Public Service. The new arrangement, approved by the Public Service Commission, will only be in place at the following Ministries thus far:
 Ministry of Health
 Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries
 Ministry of Public Administration and Communications
 Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government
 Office of the Prime Minister and
 Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.

According to Minister Cuffie who was speaking on the motion to adopt the Second Report of the Standing Finance Committee in the Parliament on Thursday, May 11, 2017, the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications (MPAC) has made tremendous strides in assisting the Public Service Commission in removing some of the delays which have traditionally hampered the appointment of public officers.

In a presentation that outlined the linkages between ICT, national development and public sector reform, he shared a plan that will ensure data becomes the new oil in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Government understands why this country can do well in ICT,” he said.
To this end Minister Cuffie revealed, the Cabinet accepted an offer from the Indian Government to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the creation of an Indian Technology Centre in Trinidad and Tobago and consideration is being given to locating it at the Tamana InTech Park.
Furthermore, iQor, a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider has already set up shop at Tamana InTech Park to provide US telecom companies Sprint and Metro.

The Minister announced that Amazon, the largest provider of ICT cloud services, will now also be a client of IQor at another location.
“Amazon is the latest client, they will be setting up an office in Barataria and IQor will provide 1,000 jobs in business process outsourcing…they already have about three or four hundred (jobs) in Wallerfield.”

Additionally, the MPAC signed a number of new ICT agreements that will lead to improvements in the way the public sector conducts business. These new agreements, said Minister Cuffie, resulted in major savings to the Government.

“…we have agreement with Symantec … the agreement expired in February 2016, we negotiated for a six-month extension at no cost. After the six months ended, we negotiated for another two months at no cost and at the end of the day we were allowed a facility that would have cost 2.5 million and we were allowed to use it for free.”

He said the MPAC eventually signed an agreement which provides M$3.6 worth of software to the entire public sector.