Sewage mess indicative of inefficient public service – Worrell

The sewage crisis on the island’s south coast stands out as a notorious example of public sector inefficiency, former Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell suggests.

Worrell, a habitual critic of low productivity and inefficiency in the public sector, returned to the subject in his latest newsletter, which he describes as an economy letter, charging that the country was being held back by inefficiencies across the government system.

“The inefficiency of the public sector undermines the country’s competitiveness, and damages its international reputation. The current sewerage crisis is the latest example of this,” he wrote in the February 2018 issue of the newsletter.

It is this level of inefficiency that has retarded economic growth, he said, arguing that had it not been for a culture of delays, bureaucracy and inefficiency in recent years, the economy would have grown by three per cent last year.

“The Barbados economy would have grown by at least three per cent last year if major investments in tourism, housing, renewable energy and infrastructure had not been delayed or frustrated by bureaucratic delays and inefficiencies over the past several years. Barbados has a very competitive economy, with high-end tourist facilities, highly regarded international financial and business services, world-renowned rum and entrepreneurs that are making a name for themselves internationally,” the former governor stated.   

Worrell, who had fallen out with the Freundel Stuart administration over the bank’s continued printing of money to pay public servants’ salaries and fund Government social programmes, was fired in February 2017.

He subsequently launched the newsletter to offer economic advice to the administration, including the steps needed to be taken to resuscitate the moribund economy.

He stressed that in order to unleash the economy’s true growth potential Government must adequately cut its expenditure to reduce the current account deficit while carrying out “fundamental structural reform” to ensure a more competitive public service.

It is not very different from what his successor, Cleviston Haynes, recommended yesterday when he presented the 2017 economic review, during which he revealed that expenditure grew by an estimated $9.9 million and there was lower than expected tax revenues from the austerity measures introduced last year.

Haynes also announced that the island’s foreign exchanged reserves has sunk to a 22-year low of $410 million, or 6.6 weeks of import cover, a long way from the recommended 12 weeks.

Worrell said that was bad news, especially since Government was failing to address the inefficiencies.

“That has stifled the economy’s growth, and eroded the foreign reserves of the Central Bank,” he said, while warning that the dangerously low foreign reserves threatened the Central Bank.

He again promoted his seven-point plan, first recommended late last year, which included a proposal to slash the public service by 4.5000 over three years, with funding from international financial institutions for the separation packages, a ten per cent cut in subsidies to state enterprises. “an aggressive” programme of divestment of some statutory bodies, a temporary freeze of all public investments, except those funded by foreign finance.

Stating that his plan was perhaps the only one that would bring relief to the ailing Barbados economy at this time, Worrell used the analogy of a doctor prescribing medicine that fits a diagnosis.

“What ails the Barbados economy is a bloated public sector which the country cannot afford, and which does not deliver many critical public services to acceptable levels of internationally comparable efficiency. I have offered a prescription to address these ills. As far as I am aware, it is the only targeted and comprehensive prescription on offer,” he said.

He had also suggested the need for “an aggressive” divestment programme of some statutory bodies, a temporary freeze in all public investments, except those funded by foreign finance, final approval and start of work on all tourism projects that were to have started last year and negotiations with key lending institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, to support a five-year programme of structural adjustment, with strong conditions that fiscal reform will be implemented.

Government has recently announced that it would be implementing a Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan 2018, to drive sustainable growth.

12 Responses to Sewage mess indicative of inefficient public service – Worrell

  1. John Everatt February 2, 2018 at 3:06 am

    Is there no one in government who is willing to listen to Dr. Worrell? My goodness, all the home grown solutions you have put forward have been dismal failures. Do you no realize that you need to slash the public service as this is the biggest drain on the public purse. We can not afford your expenditures and you need to realize this sooner rather than later, But I guess you know your time is up so you have no interest in this at all.

    Reply
  2. Tony Webster February 2, 2018 at 4:55 am

    Chickens have come home to roost….with a vengeance. What happens when chicken poop hits the fan? Stay Tuned.

    Reply
  3. Cecil Brooks February 2, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Here is the devil, changing and becoming Jesus Christ our lord and saviour. Barbados wake up only God can save us, not the DLP, not the BLP or any other party. The blind cannot lead and right now we seem to have put our trust in the words of mem who have their own interest at heart. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but that way leads only to death.(proverbs 14:12) I am the light of the world (John 8:12) most of us see these words as only spiritual and in this modern times we think we know better, but in these modern times we are yet to discover that, to know God is the beginning of wisdom.

    Reply
    • O. Walrond February 2, 2018 at 8:27 am

      So would you suggest we elect God to run the government?

      Reply
      • Patty February 2, 2018 at 10:59 am

        Don’t be sarcastic! God is not mocked…At the end of the day…without God we are nothing…I read what the person said and I totally agree with the comments that were echoed. You are certainly are not interpreting then correctly or are you just trying to be… Oh by the way…don’t bother to try to attack me.

        Reply
  4. Elaine February 2, 2018 at 7:59 am

    It is all well and good to say “slash the public service” but the fact remains these are people’s lives which will be impacted. We know the public service is not productive and that the wage bill is too high…we know this. But it is still very hard to contemplate and enact measures to basically send home people. People with families, children to support and mortgages to pay. It is hard terminate anyone’s emploment. I could not do it even though i know it must be done.

    Reply
  5. Ann Thomas February 2, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Oh the poor public service!

    To whom do the members of the public service report? On whom do they depend for the resources to do their jobs? Whose programme are they implementing?

    Get real Dr. Worrell, you cannot shift the blame for poor performance to the public service if the political directorate does not identify priorities and then ensure that the resources needed are there so that the job can be done. Instead of facilitating nonsense from Spry Street, and constantly critising the public servants, you should have been impressing on the political directorate the necessity to make sound decisions.

    Reply
  6. jrsmith February 2, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    This guy is just like all frighten bajans , scared to point fingers directly at the government……..A bad government and worst public services……………. But bajans have been leaving our Barbados to God for a long ,long time and nothing has happen yet and that’s why nothing will ever happen , black people have no faith in themselves …………..
    There is 100% chance we can find a white man to save Barbados and he wouldn’t be call god……. Just where the politicians and white folk want the black people , focusing and pointing in the wrong direction……………

    Reply
  7. Alex Alleyne February 2, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Sewage mess, Road repairs, bad Drinking water, De Bushing of the roadways, bad Bus service etc. Need urgent attention. Taxes and more taxes , where is it all going ???????????????????????????????.

    Reply
  8. Committed Bajan February 2, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    When a certain individual allegedly had millions of dollars in cash stored at the central bank was Mr Worrell an inefficient civil servant?

    Reply
  9. Helicopter(8P) February 6, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    All discrepancies arrived at are normal wear and tear of any administration. Managing and balancing the deficit is the main item on the agenda.

    Reply
  10. Andrew Simpson February 7, 2018 at 5:10 am

    I’m with Cecil Brooks and Patty on this one.
    Getting the Government we deserve goes much deeper than political partisanship.

    Reply

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