The head of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is suggesting that the Freundel Stuart administration turn over the management of some public sector entities to the private sector, including at the Grantley Adams International Airport, the Bridgetown Port, the prison, and even garbage collection services.
In making a case for greater public-private sector partnership, chamber president Tracey Shuffler said Government needs to let go control of more state agencies.
“The assets are [state-owned] and I believe that will continue to be the case, but greater participation from the private sector in the management of both the airport and the seaport is something we expect to see more of with time,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Shuffler suggested that the areas of garbage collection, landscaping and catering for the hospital, schools and prison could also benefit from such an arrangement.
“We are hoping, in the chamber, that we can find more ways to work together with Government . . . and look at privatizing some of those, as well as the options of public-private sector partnerships, where we see that there is potential for growth and forward movement in the economy,” she said.
Pointing to the proposed move by Government to partner with the private sector as it relates to transportation, Shuffler described this as a step in the right direction.
“It is very evident that the Government has not only recognized that, but is working towards rationalization of routes so that the participation of the private sector can be more easily defined, so it can be a situation where there is equity in the sharing of the routes between Government and the private sector. So that is clear to all where we are going with transportation,” she said.
Shuffler noted, too, that Government and private sector players have been holding discussions on the issue over the years, but only on a “case by case basis”.
The BCCI head said it was “very clear that the driver of the economy will be the private sector”, and the chamber was therefore hoping that through greater private-public sector partnerships, more benefits would be realized.
She said, however, she would like to see a programme “where we have a better understanding of the areas of business in which Government will be looking to have a structured programme of private sector participation.”
“We have seen some of it and there is already private sector participation in some public sector organizations, but [it is about] how much more can we do together? How can we shift some of the burden of that employment and cost from Government to the private sector? [That] is something we are definitely willing to look at.”
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