Marshall Islands President Calls For Government Accountability

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Loeak urges officials to operate transparently, professionally

By Giff Johnson

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Oct. 25, 2012) – The 10th Annual Pacific Public Service Commissioners’ Conference (PSC) kicked off Tuesday in Majuro with Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak making a strong pitch for accountability in government services.

Delivering the keynote speech to the conference of PSC chiefs from the region, Loeak said "there is no greater issue more central to good governance than accountability." Constitutions in most countries outline that PSC’s are to operate independently, professionally and in accord with the law.

Close to 100 officials from the region are attending the conference this week that wraps up on Thursday.

"It is incumbent on you, as public service commissioners and CEO’s, to provide the vision required for public service management," Loeak said.

He told conferees that when he took office in January, he announced the Marshall Islands needed to improve its public service. "When the national administrative organization does not work properly, development and investment slows down," Loeak said. "Our most vulnerable people are then penalized and denied opportunities and essential services."

PSC’s everywhere need to be focused on operating in a "transparent, accountable and professional manner," he said, adding the conference should produce an outcome "for reform that promotes restructuring of the public sector into an effective, affordable and efficient service."

He also directed advice to government workers, saying they must be willing to serve the public. He called for "creating a real culture of public service. The reality is that the people are not simply clients, but are citizens — they provide the capital that pays our wages and expenses."

Speaking after the president, Mishka Tu’ifua, the chairperson of Tonga’s public service agency, said: "We’ll work to make public service good for Pacific citizens."

Loeak’s government earlier this month appointed experienced government executive Marie Maddison as the new chairperson of the Marshall Islands Public Service Commission. She is known for her reform philosophy and focus on good governance.

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