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Govt must inform, consult at all levels

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Govt  must inform, consult at all levels

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TRANSLATING WORDS into meaningful action is a challenge for most governments in the best of times, but for the Freundel Stuart administration it has been a consistent bugbear.

The examples of this abound with the pronouncements on the economy being the most spectacular. So consistently wrong have been the predictions on its recovery and growth – which subsequent statements by the International Monetary Fund and the rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have borne out – that we suspect most Barbadians have reached the point where they would only believe the economy is improving when they personally know of more people working and livelier business activity.

Of course some may argue that Government, in its haste to project a positive message, would have spoken too optimistically and should be forgiven as it was only seeking to inspire hope.

While this is understandable, the fact is that words are not usually enough to motivate people who have become accustomed to talk and little effective action – what some euphemistically refer to as Government’s implementation deficit.

Given this, the Freundel Stuart administration should ensure that when a situation is within its capacity to control, that it manages it effectively.

A good example is the manner in which the Ministry of Health is seeking to keep Barbadians updated on how it is working to effectively deal with any Ebola or contagious disease coming here. Though we would prefer a greater flow of information, the fact is the ministry has successfully engaged the public at all levels while working within to recruit and train its most competent staff to man the isolation facility being prepared.

The most recent bad examples include the handling of the promised bursaries to University of the West Indies students and tuition fees for those at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, and the appointment of an executive consultant to manage both the Wildey Gymnasium and the National Sports Council (NSC).

The fees matter has been handled poorly and the ministry can only blame itself for that.

The Ministry of Sports’ appointment of Jerry Blenman to oversee the two sports  entities without informing the National Union of Public Workers as a courtesy, only serves to create resentment in a union already anxious about the staff’s future, particularly at the NSC, where Government directed a $1 million budget cut.

Government needs to recognise that people need to be informed and consulted if they are to buy in on any initiative.

If they are not, even the best well-intentioned objectives would not be readily embraced. ​