Privatization not off the table, says Sinckler

Government has not shut the door on privatization, but some services will remain under the control of the State no matter what, Barbadians have been assured.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler stated during an interview with Barbados TODAY that even though the Freundel Stuart administration had left the door ajar, the option would only be considered in areas where it was viable to do so.

Sinckler said it was not unusual for Governments here to work with the private sector to share the mantle of social service whenever it was financially prudent to do so.

“The Democratic Labour Party Government has never accepted privatization in its entirety. In instances where privatization could work and be viable, we have done so. We privatized the Arawak cement plant, which was done first as a public sector enterprise, [and] the Almond, which was previously Harewood. We also did so with our telecommunications . . . and the Barbados National Bank, which happened under the last Government,” the minister stated.

“So it is not a case where we have not done so, but it has to be in an area that is predominantly commercial but also non-commercial in areas where it makes sense to do so.”

His position echoed those of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who recently said the ruling DLP and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had no reason to quarrel with each other over divestment of state enterprises, since history would show both political parties had practised it in the past.

Despite suspicions by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and Government critics that the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) was being privatized, Sinckler was adamant that waste collection was among the essential services best carried out by the state.

“These services we believe are better served from a public sector platform than a private sector platform. Things like public health, certain parts of education, sanitation, water and those types of services,” he explained. Concerns over the possible privatization of the SSA arose after Government opted to outsource of some aspects of the SSA’s waste collection services to private garbage haulers.

The NUPW warned then that it could only lead to divestment of the waste collection agency, resulting not only in the massive retrenchment, but also higher garbage disposal levies for Barbadians. This position was  backed by the Barbados Workers Union. 

5 Responses to Privatization not off the table, says Sinckler

  1. Hal Austin November 2, 2016 at 2:50 am

    Privatisation is not one-dimensional. First the minister must open a debate on privatisation and what he hopes to achieve. Because an institution is privately owned does not mean it is better managed. Just look at some of the family-owned hotels.
    Some of the best managers are in the public sector.

  2. Tony Webster November 2, 2016 at 4:40 am

    @ Hal: some of the best managers…USED to be in the public sector. I have seen this in Grenada, and in several Caribbean countries I have served. Right here…during the passage of the last some fifty years….things have definitely changed. The new boys on the block…well let’s just assay that “some” public-sector managers evidently “do very well” thank you”, when it comes to living comfortably.

    “Country First” is an endangered concept, hereabouts and nowabouts.

  3. Hal Austin November 2, 2016 at 5:22 am

    The answer is simple. Permanent secretaries earn about Bds$150000. So, if a civil servant gets a mortgage above three and a half time his/her annual salary there should be an investigation.
    S/he might have inherited money, or won the lottery. An investigation would unearth that.

  4. jrsmith November 2, 2016 at 5:52 am

    In the (UK) lots of customer officers was living way above what would be a lifestyle at their wages level , this drew suspicion and CID got involve , after 8 months of investigation 11 of these officers at both heathrow and Gatwick was arrested in a massive drug ring… this would never happen in Barbados….

  5. Tony Webster November 2, 2016 at 8:31 am

    @above concerned, caring citizens who oft share their concerns: thanks guys,,,I thought I was the lonely boy on the burning deck…praying-away away like crazy for my beloved country.


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