By ERIC PIET
SINCE the end of foreign rule in PNG and immediately after the departure of colonial masters, the country has irrevocably succumbed to a ‘PNG –Time’ syndrome.
The practice, having become, especially common in the public sector, has badly impacted on the level of progress we have made as a country.
It is a common for government general orders (GOs), which guide the code of conduct of public servants especially in the area of time management, being continuously abused outright. It has got to such a point that many officers have normalised getting to work much later than 7.45am and take an early leave before the government approved close-of-business time of 4.06pm. Lunch breaks extend beyond an hour.
Many have indeed become complacent in the public service and Prime Minister James Marape in recent times has unreservedly denounced it saying that his government has no room for complacency.
Results? Well, the public keeps rating our client service as lower than satisfactory. The negative catch phrase of ‘come tomorrow’ is forever written in the faces of of some unscrupulous officers who procrastinate their duty intentionally with an intent of making some “side bucks” in return for a fast job. Our poverty level is one of the highes in a global context, crime rates extrapolate almost on a daily basis, service delivery remains a great challenge with little to no services reaching the rural populace.
Have we gone wrong somewhere? Yes, we have as many believe, including PM Marape himself. A check on ourselves and our systems with propositions of workable solutions is highly warranted in order to ‘take back PNG’ and ‘make it the richest black Christian nation in the world’. – a vision of our prime minister.
For PM Marape’s vision – which is collectively our vision as a nation– to become a reality, every individual in the public service needs to be transformed foremost. This is where change begins for the country.
DfCDR daily devotion
It does not require rocket science to achieve this. Although we may seek to create some sophisticated and technical strategies by highly paid consultants from within and abroad to do that, all that would be futile and in vain as our challenges would still remain.
But if that is needed, it tcan be done later. The first and foremost thing that our leaders need to do is to entirely surrender our government and the public service mechanism to God who is the Source and from whom all government systems, powers and principalities set their their foundations on.
Having seen and realised this chronic malpractice in the public service, the Department for Community Development and Religion (DfCDR) through the strategic leadership of Secretary Anna Bais and her two deputies Jerry Ubase and Jeanne Sliviak, has devised a mechanism approving a fixed time segment of 8-9am every day for God (Yahweh) through devotion.
All sectors in the department, from the Secretary’s office to all programme offices including the Community Development and Religion Minister’s office and the National Volunteer Services take part. Different designated groups take lead each morning in praise and worship and the presentation of sermons.
Can this strategy be the panacea to address the decline in the standard of the public service code of ethics? I believe it is.
The programme now in its third week has seen marked improvements in the DfCDR staff attendance to work. Unlike before, all officers from the secretary to programme managers, security officers and cleaners get to the office before 8am to praise and worship the Creator during the course of an hour.
Improvements in attendance
Not only has this programme brought an improvement staff attendance but there is also a transformation out of this.
Who would have imagined that there are officers with potential to dynamically preach the word of God? This undertaking by DfCDR as so far brought to light magnificent talents in singing, prayer and preaching by public servants who are only known to the public as professionals in the public service.
The powerful preaching orations of many officers have earned the accolades of Secretary Bais, who remarked that many times such discourses were only heard during Sabbaths and Sundays, but at DfCDR it was a daily routine.
Also worth noting is the fact that many officers have surrendered their personal lives to God as a result of this programme, as evidenced by the way they conduct their lives and jobs – with respect for self and others.
This platform is also used to commit our leaders in prayer.
For so long, we have been speaking negatively about them but they are placed there by God for the people, hence committing them in prayer from our little corners is the least we can do for the country.
Staff often get to hear from Secretary Bais and other top management personnel at the end of the devotion announcements, some of which would only be shared at the management level.
These announcements are made liberally to all which is show of trust and respect for all, something Bais is passionate about.
Results are turning out positive, at the top level. The secretary has asserted that all her dealings for the department at her own level with her counterparts and ministers have all been favourable.
Yes, nothing is impossible when God is made to lead one’s affairs.
And if there is only one thing Secretary Bais could wish for, with our backing at DfCDR, it is that the Government embrace this approach for the country as the outcomes are certain.
“I would want to see a time when every government department and agency is made to embrace 8-9am as time spent to glorify and worship our living God,” secretary Bais said.
To God be the glory.
- Eric Piet is a media and publications personnel at the DfCDR