If this country is to develop and to compete effectively in the global market place, then more emphasis needs to be placed on improving service standards.

So says Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss.

His comments came today as he addressed a presentation ceremony by the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) to launch a study of the Professional Services Sector in Barbados at its headquarters on the Harbour Road. The study was undertaken by Kaizen Business Development Inc. with funding provided by the European Union.

Mr. Inniss stressed that Barbados should settle for nothing but the best with respect to standards of service, and urged service providers not to settle for mediocrity, but to ensure that at all times the best and the highest levels of service were provided ???in whatever we do???.

He said: ???It is alright to have a diploma or paper that says you are qualified in a particular school, [but] it is another thing to go out there and provide the level of services that certainly reach global standards.

???There are, of course, many opportunities that we must grab hold of. But I am very concerned that if we in Barbados do not separate service from servitude we???re going to continue to beat ourselves up and complain to one another.???

Lamenting the poor levels of service that were at times meted out to customers, the Industry Minister noted that ???too often in both the public and private sectors, Barbadians and visitors alike are forced to settle for mediocrity when it comes to service levels???.

He added: ???There is no [sense of] urgency. Sometimes, there is not even a simple, ???thank you???. Sometimes, [there are] great delays in responding to requests [and] in following up. If there is one thing that there is urgency on it is sending out a bill and charging money.

But when it comes to getting good service, there seems to be a great shortage of this. And if we all sit back in our quiet moments and ask ourselves where Barbados will go and what it [will] take to get us to a new level, [then] we have to appreciate that each one of us, regardless of wherever you work, regardless of whatever position we have, we have to do better at providing a higher level of service.

???And that goes for us ministers as well and politicians, as it does for permanent secretaries and public officers and those in the private sector. I don???t think the private sector in Barbados is any better than the public sector in delivering service, quite frankly. I think that we can all do better.???

Mr. Inniss pointed out that approximately 68 per cent of Barbados??? national economic activity resided in the services sector and that fact should make persons ???stand up and realise the importance of the sector to the economy and society. It is of course very diverse???.

The study examined the services sector in Barbados in a global context and identified the skills that need to be developed to meet market demands and drive economic growth. The research was conducted among stakeholders and member associations of the BCSI. The findings are expected to be disseminated in the near future.


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