Prime Minister: BGIS Should Respond To The Needs Of Citizens

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Prime Minister David Thompson, addressing the launch of the BGIS website at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday.

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The Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) has been urged to do more to serve the needs of Barbadians.

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Prime Minister David Thompson made this call yesterday, while delivering the feature address at the official launch of the BGIS??? re-designed website, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

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According to him the BGIS needed to assist Barbadians to better understand and utilise the services provided by Government. He noted that one way this could be done was to use the internet?? as a means?? of explaining to citizens what were their rights and responsibilities, as well as what services were available to them and how to?? access them.

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The Prime Minister challenged the department to do more than just provide the standard form of information. ???You need to go a step further, in terms of being able to help people to solve basic problems and challenges that they may face??? Going through the maze of applications and tiers of bureaucracy, as well as the walls that separate them from being able to understand how to access government???s services, or to be able to understand why an institution functions the way that it does.??Again, the BGIS has to play a very important and critical role in that regard,??? he stressed.

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The Prime Minister further called on the BGIS to monitor existing Government websites to ensure that they were providing accurate and up-to-date information.

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He also stressed that it was important for all government websites to be user-friendly and provide a facility for interaction with the public.

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???We would certainly like to see in Barbados a process where citizens can go on websites and monitor where their applications to town planning permission may be; where their application to the immigration department may be; what stage it is at, what documents are missing; an application for a vendor???s licence, or a public service vehicle licence; an application for placement in a primary school or secondary school,??? the Prime Minister said.

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Mr. Thompson also observed that with government???s key information institution doing it, others would fall in line and follow this lead. ???So you have a very important responsibility because you are supposed to be the key institution for disseminating information about government and, therefore, you should be in the forefront ???.of helping people access that information so that others will follow your lead and with those kinds of ideas I???m certain that we can find the resources to more effectively resource the Government Information Service,??? he stated.

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The Prime Minister also spoke about ???the appalling conditions??? that existed at BGIS and contended that no one in any government department should have to work under such circumstances.??

??He advised the staff that his administration was making an effort, particularly in the construction of new offices at Warrens to see how they could ???ease the stress and the burden that many public officers have to function under???.

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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