The annual Public Service day was celebrated yesterday. But unlike previous years where there is usually a big parade along Beach Road with the Public Service Awards ceremony to follow, yesterday was a little different.
The celebration was a lot more subdued in the sense it was more in-house. Some Ministries hosted their own gatherings, others like the Police used the occasion to mark the Police Remembrance Day, which was fitting.
Now and then, it’s important to stop and celebrate successes. While at it, it’s equally important to reassess and see whether things can be done a little bit better.
Earlier this week, a letter from the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (P.S.C.), Aiono Mose Sua, arrived. It revealed that this year’s Public Service Day was not a public holiday so that all Government offices remained opened yesterday.
In the letter, Aiono relayed the message that Cabinet encouraged all public offices to use the day to think of creative ideas to add value and improve services to stakeholders and general public. Such ideas include the utilization of foyers of the building “where agencies have their offices for displays to promote and raise awareness on services and responsibilities of Government agencies and the work of public servants.”
According to Aiono, a major focus of the Public Service Day this year is promoting “increased awareness in particular of school children about the government and the public service.”
“In this connection, the P.S.C. has put together an Introductory Information Package (I.I.P.) kit in the form of attractive posters that could be put in classrooms or school children and students, in a visual and easy to understand presentation, of the structure of the Government and the services it provides.
“The I.I.P. kits will be provided to all government, missions and private schools.
“This will be distributed at start of the term by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture to Government schools with the P.S.C. disseminating the kit to missions and private schools.”
Well that’s creative. Which is good. The most important part from what we can see is that money is being saved from the big annual bash, which can often cost a lot. Money of course that comes from the taxpayers.
That said, we believe it is very important to pay tribute to the work of the public service in Samoa and so today, we join the rest of the country to congratulate all the public servants for their work.
We will say this again. From our standpoint, while our role in the media is as the watchdog of the government and the public service, which often means we play the unpopular part in this love/hate relationship, there is a time for everything.
There is a time and day where appropriate acknowledgement must be made to appreciate good honest hard work. Today we recognise and acknowledge the important role public servants play in the development of Samoa.
They are at the coalface of policy development, service delivery and when things don’t go well, they cop a lot of flak. Many of them are often the unsung heroes; their roles largely go unnoticed and unappreciated.
The fact of life is that as public servants, they will always be on the firing line when it comes to the negative backlash – and in some cases deservedly so.
But lost in the criticism is the fact that there are also a lot of great things done by certain individuals who deserve credit and recognition.
We’re talking about public servants who walk an extra mile to help and provide the services they are paid to offer. We’re talking about public servants who exceed and go beyond the call of duty to serve their people and country.
Today is an opportunity for all of us to say thank you. Today is an opportunity to give praise where it is due and acknowledge their work. From the most junior person in the office to the highest ranked official. They all have a role to play.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa’s absence during this year’s Public Service day is noticeable. But what he said last year during the celebration is worth reminding today.
“I strongly encourage you to serve our country with professionalism, in a truly coordinated manner, ensuring that you as individuals be held accountable for your actions. You must strive to become the solution and not the problem, to be facilitators rather than encumbrances,” Tuilaepa said.
“Perhaps at times you may feel that your services have been taken for granted, that they go unrecognized and often criticized.
“As public servants, we are just those – ‘servants of the public’, and while we may think that such a calling is demeaning, I believe that if you have the heart of God, you will find the grace to serve from a Godly perspective and with Godly humility.
“Today is without a doubt, a noble cause worthy of recognition and I thereby wish to express on behalf of the Government and the people of Samoa their congratulations and heartfelt gratitude.”
Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!