Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 30, 2018 (SKNIS): The Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, gathered for a staff retreat on April 30 at the Railway Bar and Grill in Old Road with the objective of fostering staff development by encouraging and developing further among staff a culture of working together and building new attitudes.

“This mandate to my mind suggests that you should see yourselves not as separate units, departments or offices struggling on your own against all odds,” said the Honourable Lindsay Grant, Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, while addressing the staff. “It should say instead that you are all part of a united ministry interlinked and working together relying on each other and pulling together your individual strengths to deliver what deeply matters to each of you and to people that you serve.”

This first staff retreat is of particular importance as the ministry undertakes its restructuring efforts to ensure high levels of performance and of delivery, said Minister Grant. He added that the retreat provides an opportunity for the colleagues to get to know each other and look at the upcoming opportunities and challenges with the aim of addressing them on a unified front.

“In a world of growing challenges, vulnerability and shrinking budgets, you cannot afford to not stand together as a ministry,” said the minister. “To work in isolation or to stand in the way of harnessing the many strengths across our four departments would be doing a disservice to the people that you serve. The work planned for your retreat is critical to foster positive change and to build on the foundations in the Ministry of International Trade et al.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Jasmine Weekes, explained that during the retreat, directors and heads of departments shared their department’s journeys thus far and their plans and prospects for the remainder of the year.

She added that the staff learned and were reminded of how to be great leaders, how to relate to their peers, how important it is to be respectful to each other, how to communicate and how to cultivate a culture of discipline in the workplace.

“Indeed, this retreat is not solely focused on the ministry and its mandate,” she said. “It seeks to foster our own individual growth and self-development. “So, it is important that we use today’s presentations to do some self-introspection and seize the opportunity to take away from today’s discourse something that we can live by,” she said.

The permanent secretary noted that the retreat will prompt a plan of action that will increase the strengths of the departments.

“We are expected therefore to play our respective roles,” said Ms. Weekes. “Therefore, it is hoped that we would, in going forward, engage in a planning process that involves team members at all levels to build a more effective team in and across departments, to take stock progress in our various undertakings and be receptive to organizational change initiatives, to engender creativity and synergy around problems of future directions and to create a shared ownership in key planning issues. These are just but a few steps we hope to undertake coming out of this retreat.”