The Caribbean Public Service Unions have a particularly difficult task relative to other public service entities around the world. This is the opinion of Minister of Labour, Hon. Camillo Gonsalves.
Minister Gonsalves was speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the 46th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Public Service Association (CPSA) held on July 17 at the Russell’s Auditorium.
The Minister gave the “outsized role” that Caribbean governments play in the development of a country as one of the reasons for his opinion.
“We are small countries, we have civil services that tend to be larger than normal, we have demands on the state and on the government that are different, greater than the demands on state and the government in other countries”.
Listing the expectations, he cited one as being due to the fact that we are developing countries that the government be aggressive in achieving the development aspirations of its citizenry so we have to play an outsized role in development, in the economy, in keeping the social fabric of our countries together,” he claimed.
“So we have a large presence of the state in Caribbean states, therefore, we have a large civil service and a large presence of public servants in our countries.”
However, he noted that on the flip side government was cash strapped. Making mention of the effects of globalisation, climate change and also the economic meltdown as attributes of this situation.
“Challenges are real and public servants and unions have to navigate this difference between their outsized presence and maybe undersized resources.”
“But is something that Caribbean Governments, Caribbean Public Service Unions have done with some degree of success over the years and that continued success is essential to the progress of all of our countries,” he said.
Stressing on the point of solidarity, he said it went deeper than showing up on a picket line to the sharing of experiences and unity of purpose, “not only a unity of purpose in pursuit of your individual goals, unity of purpose in the realisation that you are all servants of the public and faces of the national government and have a role as the implementing agency of the public’s will.”
Solidarity of public servants is linked inextricably to the success and advancement and development of our individual countries.
“A divided public service either against itself or its brother unions in other countries cannot achieve optimal development in any single one of our countries, it is in our interest as a government, as a state and as a people that the public servants who are the face of the government and who implement every aspect of our national growth and development “is united, is strong and is committed to the work that they have set for themselves.” he charged.