Civil servants told to pull more weight

Senators Patrick Todd (left) and Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo.
Senators Patrick Todd (left) and Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo.

There will be no job cuts in Barbados’ large civil service, but as the island continues to battle economic hard times public sector workers need to pull more weight. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, said it was important that Government’s commitment to stand by civil servants be reciprocated in the form of increased productivity.

“I know that people have been talking about this question of the unsustainability of the numbers but … we have focussed on reducing numbers and so on but my argument is why do we have to reduce numbers if we can put in place systems, if we can require of public officers to deliver more?” she asked today as she piloted this year’s Estimates Debate in the Upper Chamber.

“A person who deals with X number of applications, whether it’s for a work permit, for a business licence or whatever, if he or she can sit down and analyse how much or how little they do in a given day then they themselves can see how they can increase their productivity.

“We have to look at increasing productivity and that applies to all of us and I can tell you that I was reminded by one of my employees that they are happy to see that I am usually the last person to leave that office,” she added. McClean said she was not “asking employees to stay in offices at the times I stay, because I may go in later than they go in, but the point I am making is every one of us has a responsibility to look to see what our contributions are”.

“And at the end of the day it cannot be an enforcement in a union contract, for example. It cannot be a supervisor standing up over your shoulder and insisting; it has to be a personal and private commitment to excellence and I think that is very important,” she stated.

“It is about self regulation and if we can get people to buy into that, to understand that each of us has a contribution to make to keeping this country the way it has been, to keeping this country competitive by doing what we are asked to do, and a lot of people don’t do what they are asked to do or that they are paid to do, if we can get that commitment then I can see this country achieving a lot more.” McClean said this was necessary in light of the challenges Barbados continued to face.

“When we look at Barbados at this current juncture, when we look at what we have been able to achieve coming out what we see as a global crisis we have done a number of things and we will continue to do those,” she said.

“As we … sought to stabilise this country we have been exploring, notwithstanding the financial and other challenges, opportunities to take this country and turn it around. We are willing to take some very hard decisions, hard decisions which would allow us to restructure.” (SC)

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