Reid: End obsolete public service syndrome

A leading public servant is calling for an end to “the obsolete public service syndrome” in order to facilitate business and improve competitiveness in Barbados and the Caribbean.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Esworth Reid Tuesday morning said for much too long regional states lagged a long way behind the more developed countries because of “our obsolete way of thinking and our obsolete application of business practices” linked to the delivery of public service.

Esworth Reid

“The obsolete public service syndrome . . . is a prolonged but curable social disease that seems to have infected the countries of the region from long past and that still continues to affect the region,” Reid told the opening of the 10th European Development Fund Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures workshop at the Accra Beach Hotel in Rockley, Christ Church.

“For a long time now, I have come to the realization that the reason why small countries like ours in this region continue to lag so far behind the so called developed world in competitiveness in trade and in the way that we are looked at as individual countries and probably as a region in the world, is our obsolete way of thinking and our obsolete application of business practices and the delivery of public service to growth and development.”

Sadly, he suggested, the Caribbean was likely to be considered as Third World countries for a long time to come by the developed world.

However, he stressed the people of the region did not have to be seen as second class or third class people.

The permanent secretary maintained that public sector output in the individual countries of the region still had some way to go before it became compatible with what is required to effectively drive private sector led growth.

“I say this to make the point that the private sector cannot effectively contribute to overall economic growth at the national or regional levels unless the necessary enabling environment is adequately and meaningfully created, facilitated and supported,” he said.

Reid concluded that there was a need to upgrade the thinking of Caribbean public servants through retraining.    

6 Responses to Reid: End obsolete public service syndrome

  1. Tony Webster January 25, 2017 at 2:26 am

    It appears to be disingenuous of a galactic level….that when all other tired excuses have been exhausted for poor-rakey management of Barbados Inc.; when all private-sector whipping-boys duly whipped; and the road-sign “Rocky Gully straight ahead” comes into view, that sudden-so, all the obvious structural and policy deffeciencies and dysfunctional warts are being admitted…but the root cause of these are being assigned to a “Caribbean” syndrome or summuch.

    Mr. Reid, why therefore…not just ask the HOGS folks to despatch the problem at their next HOGS-FEST thing? They could most likely do this on day one, before brandy and after-dinner cigars make an appearance.

  2. jrsmith January 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Simple we are lazy and non productive., good at baby factories…….

  3. Sunshine Sunny Shine January 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Well stated Permanent Secretary Reid.

  4. Greengiant January 25, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    This man always calls it as it is, that’s why it took so long for him to head a government department. We in this country have to admit as Reid has made clear, ” the ineffectiveness of our public sector guidelines and the employees who simply wanted a government job to guarantee a pension are having a negative effect on private investment that can drive this country forward economically creating additional employment for their fellow barbadians and increased wages for themselves “.

    A change of government will not create a change of employee mentality, the other party only left office less than a decade ago. The same problem existed then. It’s time we all realize that governments change, but the same civil servants work in the ministries. Also, another set of lawyers arrive in our parliament to simply warm seats for a pension without making the legislative changes necessary to make government departments productive.

    Clearly an economy will only improve when those elected to govern through legislation make the legislative changes to force productivity within all sectors. Without this the workers will produce little, earn less and pay more taxes. One day this vulnerable bubble will burst. This has everything to do with both leading political parties and those entering elective politic.

  5. Greengiant January 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Just read an interesting letter in today’s midweek nation by Micheal Ray. Think we should all have a read, he’s direct and on the ball. I must now ask this question. ” Is Mr. Ray and myself seeing our country and our people through the third or fourth
    EYE “?

  6. Ordean January 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Well said but who in the Public Service will have the guts to start the hard awakening reforms needed.

    No one likes to be ridiculed, perhaps now is the time to offer contracts, if you do not perform within the 3/5 year period you go.

    Supervisors need to give their charges the grade they deserve and to ensure that the relevant training is attended, when persons refuse to attend training, they should be removed from the organisation as we operate in a dynamic work place.


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