A senior Government Minister is calling for some State-owned commercial entities to be privatized.
However, Minister of Industry and Small Business Donville Inniss has stopped short of saying what entities he believes should change hands.
Inniss said the State is “too large and therefore we need to shed some of that burden” on to the private sector to help manage it and, by extension, generate revenue For the country.
“It is my considered opinion that the State’s role is to provide the best enabling environment so that the private sector can thrive in an unfettered manner,” said Inniss.
“Simply put, both as a strategy to help reduce the fiscal deficit as well as to make a paradigm shift towards a more economically viable society, the State should divest some of its assets and let the private sector own and manage several entities and functions being controlled by the State.
“There is nothing within my philosophical psyche that causes any pain or sorrow in my hosting and sharing such views,” said Inniss.
Inniss also called for a complete public sector reform, saying he was “deeply troubled” that Government often said it was not business as usual “but then turned around and further entrenched the same policies and programmes that guarantee it is business as usual”.
This, he said, was applicable also to the private sector.
“This means a public sector that is leaner and meaner; a public sector where penalties are taken just as seriously as rewards, where accountability is the daily mantra, where the customer or the public must be treated as our most important client,” said Inniss.
He also called for Barbados to become a 24-hour operating jurisdiction, saying it was “a practical area for urgent redress” and he would be doing whatever he could to make it a reality.
“We have some very archaic rules and practices which are quietly sucking the oxygen from our economic life. It is like driving with the handbrakes up,” he said.
The minister said he has already received reports from the Barbados Economic Council on the matter and he has “signaled to some trade union leaders” the need for the issue to be “addressed once and for all”.
“I would rather employ a few more persons than pay excess to a few. More importantly though, we need to have more services and facilities available 24/7 in this society . . . .
“I know my friends in the trade union movement have some objections but it does not hurt to have a conversation. We don’t have to agree. It is one matter that I firmly believe in and I will use every cell in body to get Barbados to being a 24/7 society,” he said to applause.