Remarks By Incoming Complaints Commissioner Mrs. Sheila Brathwaite At Press Conference To Bid Farewell To The Territory’s First Complaints Commissioner And To Introduce The New Complaints Commissioner
June 30th, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Office of the Complaints Commissioner
It is with humility, some delight and some caution, that I approach this new position of Complaints Commissioner for the Virgin Islands. Humility because I thank God, His Excellency the Governor, the Premier and the former Leader of the Opposition for reposing their trust in me to carry out this task. Delight because I will be able to use my years of experience in the public service to assist public servants in utilizing the tools of administrative procedure and the laws of the Virgin Islands to properly and adequately serve the public as well as improve their own performance. Caution, because it is a significant challenge which requires a very good balancing act of offering advice, getting resolutions and dispelling fears of attack on the public service.
In seeking to calm fears which public servants may have, I assure you that the office of the Complaints Commissioner has as its core values confidentiality, fairness, independence and persistence for the common good. The office is not the enemy, in fact, the office is your ally, and we are here to assist you. The public too needs to know that we are not biased and will address your complaints in a fair and confidential manner with the aim of finding a resolution.
Our main role is to accept complaints where warranted, carry out thorough investigations, and make recommendations that would bring the public service even closer to being a World Class Organization while simultaneously having satisfied customers. Woodrow Wilson once said, “The firm basis of government is justice, not pity”. The office of the Complaints Commissioner seeks justice for the complainant as well as the public service.
My request of public servants is that they try as much as is possible, to instill in their work ethic, the Nolan Principles which Governor Duncan reminded you of recently and which I reiterate are of high importance in carrying out your daily duties. These core values are – selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. In addition, sharing your knowledge with other officers helps to foster growth and development in the service, and publicizing your policies and procedures helps to guide the general public. I look forward to working with you, the members of the press to continue to get our message out.
I end with two quotations, first Sir Winston Churchill said, “If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.” I paraphrase that quotation to say, “If the Government of the Virgins Islands wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of administrative prosperity, public servants and complainants have only got to behave in a respectful and helpful way toward one another”.
Second, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
Our office hopes to help reduce conflicts between the public service and the public, thereby diminishing maladministration in the public service.