Ahead of the strenuous work programme for 2022, staff of the Department of Economic Development engaged in a team-building and professional development session as they prepare for the continued rollout of their 2020-2023 strategic plan.
“Strong institutions are considered to be the essential foundation for the SDGs and the national development pillars. In fact, SDG 16 recognizes that weak institutions are a threat to Economic Development” said Permanent Secretary in the Department of Economic Development, Claudius Emmanuel.
The Department of Economic Development is the lead agency for the development and coordination of Saint Lucia’s national development agenda. The department oversees Saint Lucia’s capital budgeting process and presents priority projects for the country. This takes into consideration the fiscal realities and implications for overall economic stability.
During her welcome address, Chief Economist with the Department of Economic Development, Perle Alcindor, reminded staff of the important role they play in national development. “Given the gravity of our socio-economic situation, it means we have to show up every single day to give off our best selves. We must do so because what we do affects the quality of life of every citizen of this country.”
Alcindor stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Saint Lucia’s vulnerabilities as a developing country which has increased the relevance of the strategic planning and visioning of the department.
“We want to be recognized as a stakeholder-focused, team-oriented, and thought-leading agency driving socio-economic development. So, to ensure the effective implementation of this strategic plan we went through a process of examining our systems, our processes, and our practices to address any gaps that would hinder us realizing this vision.”
P.S. Emmanuel also acknowledged the timing and importance of the team-building activity given the debilitating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have witnessed a pronounced increase in unemployment, poverty, and social inequalities. So, the social and economic gains pre-covid that have placed our country on a growth trajectory have been set back. Now, more than ever we have to be proactive in the formulation of responsive policies and strategies to deal with the continued challenges we face as a developing nation. The Government of Saint Lucia has already declared a people-focused philosophy that guides the strategies to address its development challenges. This philosophy is in alignment with the agenda 2030 for sustainable development. As you may be aware agenda 2030 seeks to end poverty, protect planet and bring peace and prosperity to all. The realization of the ambitions of the SDGs requires policy coherence to harness synergies, to promote the best outcomes for small developing states like ourselves.”
The professional development session conducted under the theme “Better Together,” was facilitated by Quality Consultant, Betty Combie of Moz Inc. She focused participants on adopting quality standards, creating impact from outputs, and achieving quality outcomes.
Assistant Economist Letha Felicien participated and shared views on the overall activity. “So far it has been interesting and interactive. I did not really know what to expect coming in but I have been pleasantly surprised.”
A key takeaway for Economist, Macricia Auguste-Bushell was the focus placed on stakeholders. “I think it’s a good start, a good punctuation for moving forward to undertake more strenuous work. It is good that we come together to gel and meld before we approach our wider stakeholders. I think it’s a good exercising point for us in terms of getting us prepared for the interaction that is necessary to bring about buy-in from our stakeholders. So, we have to understand for ourselves what value we want to bring to the table before we go into the wider stakeholder arena to get them on board with our thinking.”
The team-building exercise and professional development session brought together three teams, the red, green, and turquoise in friendly but highly competitive exercises aimed at strengthening the entire team while focusing on the overall objective. – Glen Simon .