JUST OVER A DECADE AGO, Barbados started a march towards the consistent push for excellence and the enhancement of productivity. The goals were to be both meaningful and more so, measureable. Whether the country has been meeting these targets and if not, then why, are matters worthy of review and debate.
With the national focus this entire week on the Week Of Excellence, it is reasonable to encourage and implore labour, capital and Government to strive to do better for themselves, their businesses and the country. Clearly, only the best will suffice.
The pursuit of excellence must be an all-embracing passion across Barbados. This means discarding bad habits. Unfortunately, we have inherited or copied the false belief that others must reach out to and support us regardless of the quality of the product or service offered. In a fiercely competitive world this will not happen.
Barbadians must realise that they must strive to be the very best for the island to become an internationally recognised domicile, or they will end up being second best, with the consequent struggle for survival. The message must be driven home that as a nation Barbados must consistently aim to be above average. Maintaining our standard of living is dependent on attaining those heights.
This country has become a world-class provider of services, as evidenced by its achievement in segments of the tourism and international business sectors. But there is still much to accomplish in these areas as well as in all other areas of production.
The private sector and Government both have key roles to play in promoting the very best among workers. They must provide the most conducive enabling environment, ranging from physical conditions to worker engagement. Unions must not only seek all they can for members but must ensure that workers are highly productive and efficient.
For this goal of excellence to be achieved, there must be a clear sense of appreciation of workers, from whom much is demanded. They cannot do their best unless they are constantly exposed to training. And they must also be treated with respect and made to feel important.
That is why the situation of hundreds of primary and secondary school teachers remaining unappointed after years of dedicated service is untenable and must be quickly resolved. They will be well aware of the treatment and plight of hundreds of laid-off Government workers who have been forced to endure a protracted wait for resolution of their claims.
That situation has sent a bad message to all workers. Such a cloud of uncertainty should not hang over workers’ heads. It can only hinder the push to promote both excellence and productivity.