At the official launch of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) on Tuesday at the Office of the Prime Minister, Viana Gardiner, Chief Operating Officer of the PMDU, remarked that performance management by the unit will be guided by empirical data. It is the objective of the Prime Minister and his government to spur growth for the Bahamian people in each area of their lives and for the country, she said. A means of achieving the goal is by “making objective and beneficial decisions off empirical data. Data will feed this growth. The Government accepted and agreed to the recommendations of the Economic Development and Planning Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister to pursue a target-specific, results-oriented, performance management methodology in the public sector.” On hand for the historic occasion were Cabinet Ministers, other government officials, representatives from Canada which utilizes a similar concept, and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, which created the loan facility.
At the heart of the model being established in The Bahamas are data collection and analysis. Provisions have been made under the loan facility to develop a state of the art Information and communications technology system to underpin the work of the PMDU. The approach has been successfully adopted by governments across continents — including in Latin America and Caribbean countries where the Inter-American Development Bank has had an active role. Such units also exist in Canada, Pakistan, Brunei, Peru, and in the Western Cape province of South Africa and have facilitated the ease of doing business, the delivery of quality water to residents, reduction in crime, better quality of health care and education, among other things. The Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in The Bahamas has a key role to play in advancing reforms in top priorities. It will also serve as a facilitator, providing ongoing support and challenge to ministries and agencies as they keep a constant focus on delivery. The unit will have a central role in coordinating across sectors to ensure challenges are identified and addressed in a timely and rigorous way.
The Prime Minister has identified six Key Priorities to be the initial focus of the work of the PMDU. These include: focus on the Over-the-Hill Rejuvenation Project; Land Reform; Energy Reform and Infrastructure; Ease of Doing Business; Education; and Safety and Security.
- Land Reform encompasses providing affordable housing land for citizens; executing a national land audit as the first step to a Land Registry in The Bahamas, land ownership in the Family Islands, and providing effective, timely processing of land applications by the Government.
- Energy Reform comprises creating a renewable energy economy, in particular, solar energy. Infrastructure efforts will involve executing a Road Maintenance Management System, and Traffic Management System, to provide citizens with high-quality road and traffic services.
- In the area of Ease of Doing Business teams will focus on improving The Bahamas’ global ranking, and thereby affecting each of the categories of services on the Index. The Government will also streamline the taxation processes.
- The Education Key Priority addresses student outcomes and fostering a digital revolution. Education targets endeavor to increase the percentage of children ages 3 and 4, accessing Preschool Education in The Bahamas from 30 percent to 75 percent by 2022, and to upgrade 100 percent of public schools with fiber optic internet connections, aimed to provide greater access to quality education.
- The Safety & Security Key Priority explores crime reduction and ensuring that the public feels safe. Its targets intend to provide effective rehabilitation, correctional and educational services, to reduce the recidivism rate of offenders, to strengthen the Justice System, and to establish Youth Community Centres staffed with qualified personnel.
The Prime Minister said: “I am personally committed to the success of each of the Key Priorities and I will be engaged in the implementation process. With deliverology as its guide, the PMDU will intricately monitor the progress made towards the stipulated targets of each Key Priority.”