For yet another year, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) working with the office of the Presidency of Trinidad and Tobago, hosted the Pr.A.I.S.E for the public sector 2021. This was the fourth iteration of this prestigious award as it continues to grow in Trinidad and Tobago.
The idea is to recognize innovation and service excellence in public sector organizations and agencies. As President Paula Mae-Weekes said: “That the public service bridges the gap between state and citizen and should therefore be responsive, flexible and accessible especially during times of crisis, was clearly grasped by all our entrants. They surveyed their environment, identified gaps and shortfalls, and responded by conceptualising and then concretising their action plans.”
Country Representative of the IDB, Ms. Carina Cockburn, explained that when we think about these awards, “…we talk about service excellence and innovation. We are talking about providing a delightful experience so that people can remember how you made them feel. So, these awards look for public sector agencies that speak to the citizens, find out what citizens are looking for from them and meet those expectations.”
There were numerous submissions, but nine (9) finalists emerged in this year’s competition.
The five organizations that excelled in the Service Excellence category were the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; Civilian Conservation Corps; Eastern Regional Health Authority; Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme; and Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service
The winner for the Service Excellence category was the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service. This timely award comes as the Prison Service is dealing with challenges within the criminal justice system.
The Prison Service was able to overhaul their daily operating procedures to incorporate COVID-19 protocols and sensitize both their internal and external stakeholders about their COVID-19 response.
Four organizations were selected as finalists for the Innovation category. These were the Office of the Prime Minister, Gender and Child Affairs Division; National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago; South West Regional Health Authority; and Community Early Warning Flood System Partnership, Water Resource Agency.
The Water Resource Agency partnership with five other government agencies emerged the winner since they were able to bring an innovative solution to recognize and mitigate the effects of flooding across the country.
This year the Pr.A.I.S.E for the public sector continued to directly engage the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in the judging process to select the public service project that they believe told a compelling story and was most impactful.
With thousands of votes, the People’s Choice winner in the Service Excellence category was YTEPP. During the pandemic, this agency launched its online training platform to better serve the students enrolled in its programmes and also strengthened its partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning to offer online courses.
In the Innovation category, the revolutionized on-line course to educate citizens about safety and protection of the nation’s children conducted by the Gender and Child Affairs Division copped the prize.
Although these awards are about bragging rights and recognition for the public service, IDB believes that they contribute every year to lifting morale and encouraging the public service in Trinidad and Tobago to continue shining and promoting a level of service delivery that the citizens deserve.
Ultimately, the aim of these awards is to improve the offerings of the public service in Trinidad and Tobago by promoting accountability, innovation and enhanced due diligence and care to the nation.
The IDB aims for continuous improvement of public service delivery in Trinidad and Tobago. We will continue to facilitate activities that recognize the great work being done in the public sector as we seek to improve the lives of every citizen.