My vision is to see a public service where employees feel appreciated by all stakeholders – Minister
Frederick Stephenson, Minister of Public Service, Consumer Affairs and Sports
May 26, 2023

My vision is to see a public service where employees feel appreciated by all stakeholders – Minister

Message by Hon. Frederick Stephenson on the 1st Anniversary of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

May 24 marks the first anniversary of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Unit since its introduction into the Public Service of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

This is a special occasion in the history of the Ministry of Public Service, Consumer Affairs and Sports. As Minister with responsibility, I take this opportunity to wish the programme every success in its continued quest towards making the lives of public servants better.

The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines greatly values its human resources, and since the proposal for the implementation of an Employee Assistance Programme, the Government and this Ministry have been on board. This program aligns with the national mandate and commitment of this government to foster and maintain the health and well being of public service employees. The Employee Assistance Programme is one that merits the attention of all Government employees, as it seeks to address psycho-social issues, normalize work-life balance, and enhance work performance as well as productivity levels.

Notwithstanding, like in any organization, whether it be regional or international, Employee Assistance Programmes, once implemented, come with stigmas. There are several reasons for this. These include the confidential nature of the programme, fear of judgment from co-workers and supervisors and ultimately, fear of reaching out for help. This could prevent some employees from accessing such a valuable program. However, the research has shown that the benefits far outweigh these negative factors.

The EAP Unit is not without its challenges and has much work to do to break down the trust barriers and demystify the stigmas surrounding the use of the programme.

Continuous sensitization of employees and promotion are integral to the process and success of building confidence in the public service. The Unit has made tremendous strides in its education and awareness campaign over the past year. As a result, uptake in the programme has been increasing. The Unit must therefore be commended for providing a combination of individual counselling and grief sessions to over 80 public servants and family members.

To further enhance the goals and objectives of the EAP Unit, it is also imperative that partnership is fostered with key stakeholders, not only within the public service but the private sector as well. The Ministry will be approaching identified organizations in a collaborative effort to assist in the work-life balance of public service employees.

My vision for this noble programme and what it stands for, as we move forward to a better and more productive public service, is to see, within the immediate future, a public service where employees feel appreciated by all stakeholders. I envision more employees fully embracing the programme. I hope for positive change in the perception of professional counselling and a demonstrable change in attitudes and behaviour among and within employees.

As I conclude, let me take this opportunity to extend gratitude to the hardworking members of staff at the EAP Unit for their outstanding service and commitment in addressing the needs of our public servants and their immediate family members. I encourage you to continue to take your role seriously. Please continue to operate with integrity and hold in high esteem the core values and principles on which this programme is built. As you aspire to realize the vision of the Unit, always keep in mind the mantra, “teamwork makes the dream work.”