Public institutions and the public sector play a critical role in improving the lives of a country’s citizens. In Trinidad & Tobago, there is a need to enhance the efficient delivery of public services – one of several priorities of the Inter-American Development Bank’s 2021 – 2025 Country Strategy with the country.
But while challenges do exist, it’s important to give praise where it is due. After all, a little encouragement goes a long way.
Just ask this year’s recipients of the President’s Awards for Innovation and Service Excellence (Pr.A.I.S.E) for the Public Sector in Trinidad & Tobago who have joined a growing club of public sector entities recognized for innovating and providing excellent service to the public. The sense of pride was palpable at the annual awards ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad on December 7, 2022 – beaming faces and hearty rounds of applause filled the room as finalists’ success stories and insights were shared with attendees at the ceremony. The event was also televised for public viewing.
Launched in 2018 by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under the patronage of Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, O.R.T.T., President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Pr.A.I.S.E awards have brought well-deserved accolades and visibility to public sector agencies and organizations demonstrating innovation and service excellence. And each year the number of applicants and finalists increases.
The awards help us recognize successful public sector initiatives and is also a motivator for public officers to keep giving yeoman service to the people of Trinidad & Tobago.”– Carina Cockburn, IDB Country Representative
Ten initiatives were chosen as finalists for 2022, with the winners selected by a panel that includes professionals with significant expertise in their fields. A People’s Choice award is also selected through a system of online voting over two weeks. Over 25,000 votes were received this year, an indication of how much the public supports the awards.
In the spotlight at this year’s awards were a virtual crop farming website, a program encouraging girls to exercise, and a TVET training program.
President Weekes lauded the winners and finalists, noting, “Our entrants have all managed to turn the prevailing negative stereotype on its head by designing imaginative, practical and relevant programmes – many of which are aimed at reducing inconvenience to their customers.”
Here are the highlights from the awards ceremony celebrating these exemplary initiatives:
The winner of the Innovation Award, as chosen by the judging panel, was the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries’ first virtual crop farming website.
The launch of the website signalled the Ministry’s successfully transition into an online, efficient service provider, facilitating the sale of planting material to digital clients. Although the Ministry had been forced to close for a time during the pandemic, by revamping its business processes it was able to resume sales in response to unprecedented public demand amid fears of food shortages.
Meanwhile, the People’s Choice Award for innovation went to the Ministry of Sport and Community Development’s PESD-GirlsRunTT program.
GirlsRunTT (a tribute to the late Lynette ‘Granny’ Luces) began during the pandemic in 2021 to encourage women and girls to move using a virtual run/walk platform, with the aim of reducing health-related issues such as obesity.
The other finalists in the Innovation Category were: Ministry of Works and Transport – Licensing Division Mobile Office; National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Limited – Installation of a 100kW Solar PV rooftop system; and Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission – Investor Protect App.
Service Excellence Awards
For service excellence, the judging panel and the voting public both chose the TVET Rediscovery for Skills Development program at the MIC Institute of Technology Limited (MIC-IT).
The pandemic forced the institution to re-engineer its approach to technical and vocational education and training, including embracing online delivery. As a result, the program helps develop technically independent graduates who are better equipped to add value to the national workforce, as well as develop their own businesses in the fields of crafts and trade.
The other finalists in the Service Excellence category were: NIHERST – Teach Me; TTT Limited – See Yourself; EXPORT-IMPORT Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (EXIMBANK) – FOREX 3.0; and Trinidad and Tobago Police Service – Special Victims Department.
IDB will continue to work with the government and state agencies to ensure that the delivery of products and services meets the expectations of the public.
To learn more about the 2022 Pr.A.I.S.E finalists, watch the awards ceremony here.