Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is the National Productivity Champion for the Year of Productivity, and he has underscored the importance of productivity, describing it as “the pivot on which the entire society spins”, and the biggest challenge the country is currently facing.
“We have to diagnose this ailment of insufficient productivity so that when we are prescribing, it will be the right medicine,” Mr. Stuart stated.
He made the comments recently during a meeting at Ilaro Court to discuss the National Year of Productivity, which is being observed from January 2017.
Those present included Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Margaret Jones; Chairman of The Productivity Council, Dr. Akhentoolove Corbin; Programme Manager, Anthony Sobers; and Productivity Officer and Coordinator of the Year, Jannell Arthur.
The Prime Minister said he did not think Barbadians were relating to the issue of productivity with as much seriousness as was required. “It is not simply a goal, but it has to become a way of life. The society must set high standards and pursue the achievements of those standards.
“Instead of setting standards and encouraging persons to rise to them, we in the Caribbean have been meeting people at their level, and so the desire to rise is being killed very softly,” he contended.
He expressed the view that people should exceed themselves and that wanting the best should be their very nature.
During the year, officials of The Productivity Council will also be visiting schools in an effort to highlight the importance of productivity to students.
Mr. Stuart is heartened by this decision, saying: “If we are to create a new Barbados with a new mindset, then we must inculcate that fresh way of thinking in our children…. I am glad The Productivity Council is focusing on productivity and getting it in the heads of young people early, so the appetite for innovation, excellence and entrepreneurship becomes routine for us….
“People must be committed to the pursuit of excellence and they will not be if they are not productive.”
Dr. Corbin said productivity should be a way of life and emphasised the importance of helping members of the public to understand why they needed to improve their productivity.
He added that The Productivity Council was mindful of its role and was therefore seeking to create a new culture so the average person felt compelled to “own productivity”.
Coordinator of the National Year of Productivity, Jannell Arthur, noted that the Council was passionate about “de-mystifying” productivity so that it became a topic people could understand.
A number of programmes and activities have been planned for the Year of Productivity, including the launch of two Productivity Workbooks for primary schools, an “I Commit” Productivity Ledger and Productivity Pledge; the reveal of the Productivity Council’s mascot and jingle; and a National Productivity Badge for the Girl Guides Association of Barbados and the Barbados Boy Scouts Association.
In addition, a different parish will be featured each month and employees of the Council will meet with community leaders, schools and business people to discuss various aspects of productivity.