Blame them!

Sir Frank comments on low productivity

Economist Sir Frank Alleyne has listed poor work ethic, complicity by trade unions and “irresponsible” politicians and the “aborting” of the national productivity board for the less than favourable productivity levels here.

Addressing last Friday’s Democratic Labour Party lunchtime lecture at the party’s George Street, Belleville, St Michael headquarters, Sir Frank charged that some union leaders were encouraging unproductive workers whose only interest was in receiving a pay cheques.

“Lots of people use the union because they want pay and no work . . . . Not all of them are like that but too many are like that. They want to be paid for turning up and they don’t have to be in the union,” he said in his presentation on Fiscal Consolidation in Small Developing Economies.

Referring to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, in which Barbados was ranked 72nd out of 138 countries, Sir Frank said he was disappointed that Barbados had fallen behind less developed countries.

“No Bajan should be proud of that,” the former chairman of Government’s advisory council on the economy said.

In 2014 Barbados was ranked 55th. The country was not included in the report for 2015.

Sir Frank said it was “an indictment on Barbados” that the 2016 report had found that “Bajans are disconnected from work”, something he said some of the country’s politicians had encouraged.

“Our very strength 20/30 years ago now is one of our greatest weaknesses. And I dare say we have some irresponsible politicians who will encourage people in this foolishness to turn up but not for work. They must go out in the road in the midday sun protesting. So there is a lot we have to deal with,” Sir Frank said.

This notwithstanding, it was the dissolution of the national productivity board that occupied most of the retired academic’s attention on this issue.

He said the board was to have worked with the private sector and Government to develop performance-related pay strategies, with a governance system established in every organization to evaluate performance.

“If that was done and follow through [and] properly managed we would never be in a situation today where when you look back at the last 20 years, pay increases but ahead of productivity improvements. What that has done to us is put us at a competitive disadvantage . . . . It meant that it gave the rest of the region an opportunity to beat us in our own markets right here in Barbados. That is what it means. By aborting it you created an environment where people started, some areas of the trade unions, some leaders had the opportunity to introduce into bargaining tactics of the middle ages,” Sir Frank explained.

7 Responses to Blame them!

  1. Hal Austin January 24, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Apart from the fact that this is bad news reporting – the reporting of a speech on Friday in bits over a number of days – we call it news because it sis meant to be new.
    |It is similar to regurgitating old news over a number of days, sometimes weeks, as if it is new. Barbados Today must improve its journalism.
    That aside, Sir Frank is the other side of 70, he is now retired. Please let this old man enjoy his retirement. He has nothing new to offer economic policy.
    There are a number of younger Barbadians, both living in Barbados and overseas, who are punching above their weight. These are the people who should be making a contribution.
    How come Tony Best can make contact with such people and Barbados Today seems not to be able to?
    The alternative is to employ a young economics graduate and train him/her in journalism.

  2. Peter January 24, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Hal, I could not have expressed it better. Barbados Today needs to have probing reporters. No questions nor paraphrasing, the pillars of genuine journalistic skills. This is a feedback echoed by over friends in several countries around the world.

  3. Mikey January 24, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Good thinking Hal, but who says that a young economist wants to get into journalism ??? To start another Newspaper ???
    Why don’t you start one right her in Barbados ???
    You seem to have ALL the ideas no one else has !!!
    GO FOR IT !!!

  4. Young HR Practitioner January 24, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I see nothing wrong about what Sir Frank has stated!

    Hal Austin, there’s a saying that I think you should apply to your life: “It is better to be thought of as a fool, than to open your mouth – or in this case, use your keyboard – and remove any doubt of it”. You post nothing but ignorant rhetoric and folly on every single one of these articles and news boards! Smh.

  5. Hal Austin January 24, 2017 at 10:50 am


    The average UK journalist has a degree, of which economics and law are the most common. A number have Oxford PPEs; some have MBAs, and education/training is a continuing thing.
    On my paper every Wednesday between 11am and midday we had what we called Masterclasses, inviting experts from the financial sector, including the taxman, to talk to us off the record of new developments.
    It was off the record (Chatham House rules) so that they could talk freely.
    But the two societies are totally different: in the UK experts are only too wiling to share their expertise, including highly reputable business schools.
    I do not like being critical of Barbadian journalists, but the onus is also on them to improve their knowledge.

  6. Milli Watt January 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I agree with Frank’s assessment about the trade unions. We got one where a recent past leader drives a mercedes and the present leader drives a mercedes but membership levels are declining and workers at the union are loosing their jobs. Clearly not a good example for workers to follow and clearly not PRODUCTIVE on the part of the leadership.

  7. Tony Webster January 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    C’mon guys…please ease up. I acknowledge some “daylight” between journalistic standards between BT , and Nation, (and a small super-Neva surrounding those alien creatures up the Pine) and those legendary professionals who have given birth to globally-admired media standards ex London eg. BBC; Times; FT; and not overlooking my own top choice, The Economist Magazine. While I also rush to agree agree that a serious journalist’s journey should include formal tertiary training, we will always suffer some handicaps locally, such as minuscule markets (and career paths/ opportunities), as well as the bane of these small-islands: small-island syndrome…where every-other printed word …will mash the toes of someone just ’round the corner, be they friend, family, or holding a financial interest.

    If you guys REALLY wish to get worried, try taking-on the latest Social Media menace: fake news!


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