In congratulating the hard work of the plant quarantines in Trinidad and Tobago and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Minister Rambharat had the following to say:
“I have often referred to the public sector’s annual Information Technology spend of the past decade of at least quarter billion dollars out of the national Budget, in search of a paperless society.
We have not seen this investment fully materialize and despite pockets of conversions, large swaths of our public sector remain chained to inefficient, paper-based, manual transaction processes.
Even the Honourable Prime Minister sought the assistance of the President of Estonia to advance this work.
Today little St Vincent and the Grenadines broke the ice and completed its first electronic submission of phytosanitary certificates electronically as part of a fully automated, electronic approval process to facilitate the weekly entry of a Caricom goods vessel into the Port of Port of Spain.
Our Ministry’s acting Director responsible for Plant Quarantine Deanne Ramroop, her team at PQ, local port and Customs and SVG counterparts including Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar must be congratulated. This is part of a pre-COVID business improvement exercise that has faced stiff internal resistance.
The electronic submission allowed us to complete clearance documentation in advance of docking and have everything and everyone in place to receive the vessel. COVID-19 forced critical process changes on us. There would be post-COVID -19 resistance to making these changes permanent.
But as a society, for its unprecedented deaths and economic damage globally, COVID-19 may push us to change some longstanding public sector inefficiencies. This is one.”