Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Ministers still accountable despite no job letters

Published:Friday | September 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness's promised job letters to Cabinet ministers did not materialise despite a pre-election promise to do so, but, speaking at his quarterly media briefing at Jamaica House yesterday, Holness said that ways have been found to hold ministers accountable.

"We have not completed the job description in terms of actually presenting those letters to the ministers. We are still in the process of developing those, and for good reasons, we have had to shift resources to deal [with] issues that have arisen," he said in response to a question from The Gleaner.

In seeking to bring the nation up to date, the prime minister divulged to the briefing some of what happened at a three-day private retreat of the Cabinet, held three weeks ago.

 

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

 

"We went through a very rigorous process, where each minister had to do a review of their performance to date, give the Cabinet a projection of what they plan to do for the completion of this year; and what they would like to see in the Budget for next year. And each minister was required to give the Cabinet a self-assessment of their own performance," he explained.

Continuing, he said: "This is a performance-management tool for me and for the ministers themselves to figure out where they are and what they need to improve. I alerted them that we can't rest on our laurels, we can't feel satisfied with our performance. Certainly, we have performed better than the previous administration."

He said that it was to be borne in mind that the public never held the previous administration's performance as a benchmark.

"The Government has to keep increasing its performance, a higher benchmark. The ministers are aware of this, so we re-committed ourselves not to become complacent and not to become arrogant," he said.

Mentally prepared for restructuring

"The Government is introspecting, and, as I said yesterday (Wednesday), the ministers are mentally prepared that there will be a reshuffle coming," Prime Minister Anderw Holness said.

During his campaign for the job to lead the country's affairs, Holness vowed that if the Jamaica Labour Party was elected to form the Government, his ministers would be given clear performance targets with deadlines as to when they should be met.

The then opposition leader made the declaration at a Gleaner, Mona School of Business and Management Leadership round table.

"All ministers under the new Jamaica Labour Party will be given a job letter," Holness declared, stating that the letters would have a timeline of two years and six months from the date of their appointment, with key performance targets to be agreed upon by the Cabinet.

Holness warned of the consequences of non-performance.

The current administration is 18 months old.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com