NO CAN DO!
MINISTER OF HEALTH DONVILLE INNISS believes the Civil Service as presently structured will not take Barbados’ economy to the level at which it should be.
Speaking Saturday night at an Old Harrisonian Society dinner at the Waterside Restaurant in St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, Inniss said public sector reform was an area that needed to be taken much more seriously.
He stated that there were inordinate delays in decision making that often proved costly and did not aid in the country’s growth. He suggested that there should be a decentralisation of administrative decision making within the public service, coupled with changed recruitment and disciplinary policies.
Inniss noted lengthy decision making procedures did not lead to an improved quality of decision.
“The principal role of Government should be to create an enabling environment that allows private entities and individuals to flourish and achieve their full potential whilst at the same time safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable in our society.
“I am afraid that a large Government in such a small society can sometimes stifle development or at least pose a challenge to its rate of growth. We must watch Government’s wages bill, especially when productivity is not at the highest levels,” he said.
The St James South MP also expressed a fear of what he described as a “medicant attitude” prevailing in Barbadian society.
“We will not earn our way in the world if, for example, when your house needs repainting, we believe that Government must supply the paint and the labour; or when our son robs someone we blame the state.
“As a society we must all take a greater level of responsibility for our circumstance and not persistently blame others or be exclusively dependent on others,” he argued.
Inniss sent a message to the private sector, suggesting that people could not build a sustainable business based on handouts and largesse from Government.
“I have seen too many private companies in Barbados that really and truly need privatising. There are some who do well having been initially assisted by Government programmes and policies, and there are some who do well without ever being assisted directly by Government.
“But there are many . . . whose sole client seems to be Government, or who feel that they can and must only survive if they can supply goods and services to Government often at exorbitant prices,” he said.
Inniss also had some advice for service providers.
“. . . Too many fundamental behaviours that exemplify good service levels are missing from this society today. Good day, goodbye, hello, thank you, and wish you well seem all to have died with our grandparents. We can do much better as a society,” he said.