Government Committed To Public Sector Reform

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, (at lectern) is pictured as he addressed??at the 185th Anniversary luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry(BCCCI), at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Also pictured are (left to right)??President Andy Armstrong and Senior Vice President Lalu Vaswani.??

There are ongoing plans to improve the public sector and the matter is receiving the attention of Government.

This was emphasised by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he fielded a number of questions following his feature address last Wednesday, at the 185th anniversary luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

It was held under the theme, "Government’s Priority List for 2011" and held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill.

Mr. Stuart told the audience of business persons that the Cabinet of Barbados was revisiting the whole issue of public sector reform to see how best the functioning of the civil service could be married to the concept of development and the pursuit of developmental objectives.

The Prime Minister stated that, unfortunately, the island still had a colonial type of public service with those existing mindsets. "The volume of paper passing that has to be done, the strict adherence to hierarchy and to rules, and that kind of thing… that can collide with the expectations of those who are anxious to see genuine developmental objectives pursued", the Prime Minister lamented.

He pointed out that in small, highly personalised societies like Barbados, with the public service being the largest and for all practical purposes the all-consuming bureaucracy," the whole project of public sector reform became a lot more challenging.

"…as a government we are looking at it. Because we hear the complaints, we ourselves as ministers experience the arterial blockages that necessarily slow down the whole decision-making process," Mr. Stuart said.

The Prime Minister further added: "Of course the public service is the largest bureaucracy in Barbados and when people are jettisoned from the public service, the capacity of the society, the capacity of other bureaucracies much smaller in the society to absorb them is miniscule, sometimes non-existent. This is not the case, for example, in larger counties like the United States or Japan or Germany or the United Kingdom, where there are other very large bureaucracies."

Reflecting on the colonial era, he observed that it focused on the maintenance of law and order, "hence all of the rule-based paper passing". However, Mr. Stuart stressed that newly independent states were focused on pursuing developmental goals. "What you need, therefore, is a public service that can respond creatively to that remit", he pointed out.

The Prime Minister also stressed that public sector reform was an ongoing agenda item for the English-speaking Caribbean.??

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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