The Public Service played a very important role in the journey of Samoa’s 60 years of independence.
“This year, as most of you know, Samoa is celebrating 60 years since becoming an independent democratic nation. It is a journey which has taken us as a people and taken Samoa from least developed to a developing nation,” said Deputy Prime Minister during the Public Service Day event that was held last week.
He said the public servants were the system stewards that worked with the Government of the Day leadership and with the people of Samoa to get to where the Country is today.
“Therefore, as we observe this significant event, we pause to remember and honour the memories of the
pioneering public servants who have passed on and are no longer with us, as well as those who have retired from the service but who paved the way for the public service of Samoa.
“The chosen theme of today’s celebration is “Spirit of Service” in 2021, I addressed a CEO cohort who just completed an Executive Development Program delivered by the University of New South Wales.
This was during a time of immense change, with a new government, which triggered a myriad of challenges for all facets of our society. In that address, I spoke about what it means to be a public servant with a true spirit of service; I quote – a spirit of service is one that puts the needs of the country and your agency clients, before
yours. It’s about selfless giving”
Tuala said it’s ensuring that you’re not in the public service for personal gain or benefit, but because you have the skills and knowledge, to contribute to the betterment of Samoa, and for the greater good of our people.
He said as they celebrate the public service of Samoa and all that it stands for.
“I am reminded that public service is not the most extravagant or profitable line of work but it is nonetheless one of the most important undertakings, and more often than not, it is the spirit and willingness to serve, that makes it so.
“Therefore, I say, congratulations!
“We celebrate you – you the teacher who teaches our children in public schools, you the officers keeping our country safe by enforcing our laws, you the workers who are fixing and maintaining our roads and power lines, you the agents leading the fight against climate change and protecting our environment, you the health worker treating and caring for our sick people, you the lawyers fighting for justice and advocating for the vulnerable, you the IT keeping us connected, the professionals protecting our borders, the cleaners, the support staff working behind the scenes and all of you undertaking various other tasks and duties for our country every single day.
“Yet all too often your chores are taken for granted by those who do not recognize the value of your services being rendered.
“Today, we thank and salute you,” said Tuala.
Adding that with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our country, and the public service, in particular, had never faced as stern a challenge as it did then and even now.
There was so much uncertainty and unpredictability which are probably two of the worst threats any public administration could encounter. But as public servants, you delivered.
“You delivered in the face of adversity, with very minimal resources, with unprecedented highs and lows.
“You came together as ONE public service, from across all sectors, in a coordinated manner, to serve our country even in the most challenging circumstances. “And for that, I thank you.
“We thank you – the CEO class, Assistant Chief Executives, Principal and Senior Officers right down to the administrative support staff, we acknowledge all of you today.”
According to Tuala the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the public service of tomorrow needs to be agile and adaptable.
“I believe we have already demonstrated that we have what it takes. Despite challenging times, I know that our public servants are finding, and continue to find, innovative ways to improve the services we offer and
the value we provide to the public.
“This is the underlying focus of the work of the Public Administration Sector, to achieve a trusted, citizen-focused, government.
“It is also the fundamental intention of the guiding document that Government is now implementing as the Pathway for the Development of Samoa.
“We must work towards earning the trust of our people. Trust in the public service as an institution is key – why? Because in your position of authority, you are making important decisions that affect many people’s lives.
“Our people need to trust us to act and decide capably and competently, always in the public interest.”
He said the Public Administration Sector Plan is the government’s commitment to delivering better quality services, having a skilled workforce, and developing better policies.
“And to achieve that high standard, we must commit to the principle of transparency and continuous improvement.
“Just as the private sector expect dividends, our country expects us to provide cost‐effective, quality services. But we cannot achieve all those aspirations without your service and commitment; As employees, you the public service is the very backbone of any government, and together you and I can make a difference in the improvement of services that we render appropriately and with confidence.”
Moving forward, Tuala challenge the public servants to continue the good they are doing, continue to up skill in their line of work or study, set goals and pursue them.
“You are a resource, a people resource that can make or break a nation. Our government relies on your values and your spirit of service for a prosperous Samoa.
“Your Government is committed with the assistance of its Development Partners to ensuring you continue to develop your capacity by providing scholarships and continuing professional education and training in
Samoa or abroad.”
In closing, Tuala reiterated the importance of being a public servant.
“I believe it is a noble calling—putting the needs of other people first, and specific to our own niche in this vast, big Blue Pacific Ocean that we lovingly call our home, you, the Public Servant can make Samoa a better place.
Congratulations to you all, and may your “Spirit of Service” continue to live in your hearts and minds today and the rest of your careers.”