“In 2009, Jamaica adopted a new National Development Plan, Vision 2030, which aims to transform the country into the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business by the year named in the title. The overarching goals of Vision 2030 are that Jamaicans be empowered to achieve their fullest potential; that the society be safe, cohesive and just; that the economy be prosperous; and that the nation enjoy a healthy natural environment. [i] Human resource capacity development (HRCD) will equip individuals and organizations to deliver services to the standard required for the vision to be realized.
If Jamaicans in general and public sector workers in particular are to achieve their full potential in keeping with the first goal, there must be enabling policies and legislation to promote equality of opportunity in learning, skill building, and other aspects of human resource development. The Ministry of Education must lead in regulating program offerings at all levels so as to guarantee continued relevance. To assure safety, cohesiveness and justice for the populace, HRCD programs must emphasise fairness in recruiting practices and in access to training and benefits. In addition, staffing needs in the justice sector and national security should be thoroughly assessed, persons trained and positions filled, perhaps with funding assistance from multilateral sources. Appropriate accommodations are also needed. Economic prosperity is built on the foundation of competent workers and therefore all properly organized and executed HRCD programs will facilitate this outcome. Still, it is also necessary to focus on training in areas that encourage innovation, such as science, technology and entrepreneurship. Finally, HRCD can aid in promoting a healthy natural environment if top leadership ensures that employees in institutions that regulate land management and environmental protection are exposed to international best practices and that institutional arrangements supporting HRCD take account of environmental imperatives and climate change.
In Jamaica, leadership in respect of HRCD resides in more than one public service entity. The Cabinet Office has responsibility for three sector-wide programs, namely, Public Sector Transformation; Performance Management and Evaluation; and Public Sector Modernisation.[ii] The Public Service Establishment Division in the Ministry of Finance and Planning has charge of, inter alia, employee relations, industrial relations, the size of the public sector, and scholarship and training assistance.[iii] These lead institutions, as well as senior political actors and administrative personnel, must fit HRCD initiatives to the goals of the national development vision. Furthermore, top leadership must promote a holistic approach to HRCD that incorporates appropriate infrastructure and institutional arrangements to enable the application of newly acquired skills.
High-level personnel should act as change managers who inspire workers to adopt new behaviors and attitudes and to adapt to their modified professional environment. To this end, they should ensure that in addition to being optimally aligned to the goals of Vision 2030, HRCD activities conform to the principles of good governance, including, participation, democracy, and accountability.” – Tracy Cohen, Kingston Jamaica