Dr Justin Robinson (GP)
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The call for reform of statutory corporations in Barbados has garnered some support.
Chairman of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) oversight committee, Dr Justin Robinson, suggested the need for reform during the Democratic Labour Party’s weekly Astor B. Watts Lunchtime Lecture Series at the George Street, St Michael headquarters last Friday.
Both president of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, Cedric Murrell, and former president of the Barbados Economic Society, Jeremy Stephen, acknowledged the need for reform but said it would not be easy.
Murrell said the issue for Barbados was the need for a review of the current expenditure; and if it was necessary to review governmental structures, including the state-owned enterprises, then “it must be done”.
He said both the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party had promised a review/reform, but it had not been undertaken.
Murrell said he hoped any reform would be to ensure efficiency and productivity, and in the same way individuals looked at our spending patterns, living and so on, government enterprises had to do the same.
“As a strategy it is imperative that we as the country Barbados undertake that sooner rather than later. . . . .”
Meanwhile, Stephen said even though he supported the reform of state enterprises, more had to be done if Barbados’ fiscal challenges were to be improved and this included a necessary and overdue reform of central government.
According to the lecturer in banking and finance at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, the same inefficiencies that compound the issues in the statutory corporations are a major challenge in the business operations of central government.
“There was a very high inefficiency in the statutory corporations, high wages/salaries, low productivity and a level of bureaucracy in senior management roles, and even there were cases where the lines of communication between the ministries and the statutory corporations became highly bureaucracy and resulted in frequent cases of bureaucracy, which was what the statutory corporations were conceived to avoid,” Stephen said.
“It is remarkable and all true, what Dr Robinson said. He is correct in what he has said, but we mustn’t turn an eye away from Government. As an institution it is still bureaucratic when we look at the needs of the Barbadian public.” (SDB Media)