Deconstruct public service, says Mottley

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley says the entire public service in Barbados is in need of a deconstruction to ensure that it adequately serves the needs of residents.

Her remarks came during an address at the closeof a two-day Cave Hill School of Business Public Sector Leadership conference.

Saying the situation was similar in most Caribbean countries, Mottley noted the region consisted of a 21st century population, functioning with a 20th century and in some instances, a 19th century government.

She said a strategic intervention was therefore needed by Caribbean governments to improve the public service in order to meet expectations and bridge the fiscal gap so as to avoid “apathy at best, and cynicism at worse” among individuals and the private sector.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley

“There are aspects within our domestic borders that need urgent reform,” insisted Mottley.

“The most important task is the reconstruction of government, which can only happen when you deconstruct it. Every department and every ministry literally have to be deconstructed to determine what is the role that it serves, what purpose is it achieving, what is the public mischief that we are trying to avoid and what is the platform for empowerment that we are capable of achieving,” explained Mottley.

She posited that by deconstructing the public service, many of the regulations “and bureaucratic obstructions that currently humbug the private sector” could also be solved.

Mottley also singled out some sectors and institutions including aviation, the post office, the psychiatric hospital, the education system and the police force that she said were in need of urgent reforms while allowing for greater use of technology.

Raising concern about the time it took some government departments, including the police force, to carry out some processes, Mottley reasoned that the use of more technology could help to speed things up and save government and taxpayers’ money.

“Let us go to the Town [and Country] Planning, let us go to the Land Registry, let us go to Corporate Affairs, let us go to a child trying to get into a school, bad if you born here and worse if you are not born here. Let us go to the hospital or the polyclinics. Let us take a ride to immigration,” said Mottley, as she expressed dissatisfaction with the pace at how public servants in those departments get things done.

“Our governments in the region are too large an entity within our landscape for you not to be performing at optimum levels. You have done it in the past. The fact that you may not appear to be as effective, has less to do with what you want to do at the individual level but more to do with the systemic changes that (have) to be brought about between the executive, the legislature and the judicial,” she explained.

She urged Caribbean leaders to work together as they seek to achieve “a common government structure”. She also suggested that Barbados “urgently, at the very least, work with the Eastern Caribbean” to allow greater efficiencies to the structures of government-operated services.

“Similarly, we must recognize that what is needed in our public service is less Masters and Doctorates, but more strategic training suited to purpose, from the very bottom to the very top,” added Mottley, while acknowledging that government and governance are costly and complex.

13 Responses to Deconstruct public service, says Mottley

  1. Anson Sobers
    Anson Sobers September 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Very good identification of the outdated governments and reform needed in the public sector. It is a shame that we have not advanced out use of e-commerce to handle several government functions which then generates jobs for IT personnel leads, increases efficiency and makes Barbados more attractive to do business.

    I expect a new BLP government will have these problems rectified and it be one of the top 3 jobs as it brings both economic and social prosperity.

    Time in opposition helps us open our eyes to see more.

  2. Patrick Cozier
    Patrick Cozier September 24, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Very interesting. Have been saying the same thing on FB over the last 2 years. This is part of the transformation of Barbados that I have been suggesting to move Barbados forward with a new 21st century development plan.

  3. Bernard codrington. September 24, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Does the application of technology improve the level of service? How long do you have to wait in banks, public service departments. Health service institutions etc.? I do not remember these services taking this long when the processes were manual. All masters and doctorates are not of the same quality. Some equip the holders for doing a good job. Others are mere window dressings. But study beyond the first degree is necessary. You cannot plan strategically unless you have the relevant scientific knowledge.

  4. Winston Arthur Trechane September 24, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Some relevant observations.

  5. Doria Alleyne
    Doria Alleyne September 24, 2015 at 11:16 am

    (Y) (Y)

  6. Brimstone September 24, 2015 at 11:35 am

    This is awesome. We will never reach the level of competence suggested, simply because we are controlled by the illusion of the vote.
    The matter of the Masters degrees etc, is done and cannot be corrected for the next twenty five years, simply because these individuals will be the persons advocating a specific type of ideology, which leaves the country with many generals and very few privates.
    Only a miracle will save BIM.

  7. dave September 24, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    The reason is simple: Public Servants do not care

  8. Richard hughes September 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    @Dave. It is not that the Public Servants do not care. The System is broken. Great parts of its regulations are not relevant today because they were never updated to reflect the economic and societal changes and the new methodologies as these developed over the decades. This non-fit of System to individual employee empowerment plus outdated Union doctrine like Seniority trumps Meritocracy which they call “Supercession issues” combine to demotivate individual employees, kill initiative and create apathy in employees who see no reward in being innovative and meritorious since promotion is always going to go to the employee with the longest time in the job. Motley is saying we have to dismantle the outdated systems and build ones which deliver relevant service to today’s demands and way of doing business. Can you imagine that evidence in our log-jammed Justice/Court system is still taken by the Magistrate/Judge in long hand writing? That’s only one example. How many more can you think of?

  9. Donna September 24, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Not all of them. Sometimes the problem is bigger than the individual. Ms. Mottley is correct. The whole system needs to be deconstructed and rebuilt.

  10. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne September 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Queen Mia Amor Mottley coming back as fiery as ever. Dems will be scorching anytime soon.

  11. zeus September 24, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I lost ….present government sent home 3000 miss mottley said it was unfair now I hearing she want to mash up and build back ….Mia please stop playing to the public audience ….be genuine for once if its possible

  12. mostmark September 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Perhaps a better term to use is the Transformation of the Civil Service. We have been hearing about Public Sector reform forever but nobody has seen the benefits. Need to hire some Industrial Psychologists to chart the course for change.The hierarchical structure of the Civil Service has to be flatten.

  13. Patti September 25, 2015 at 1:51 am

    In order to bring about the fundamental changes needed in the public service it requires more than talk. The service was much more efficient and effective several years ago, however as politicians sought to effect changes that allowed them to have influence in the public service some managers have found it very difficult to do their duties. What is required is a professional public service free of direct political influence. There are many public officers who are doing an excellent job by the same token there are several who seemed not to function efficiently. Yes deconstruct the service and make the fundamental changes needed however remove the political interference and have trained officers who can function without fear or favour in an effective manner.


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