Opposition Leader Mia Mottley says the entire public service in Barbados is in need of a deconstruction to ensure that it adequately serves the needs of residents.
Her remarks came during an address at the closeof a two-day Cave Hill School of Business Public Sector Leadership conference.
Saying the situation was similar in most Caribbean countries, Mottley noted the region consisted of a 21st century population, functioning with a 20th century and in some instances, a 19th century government.
She said a strategic intervention was therefore needed by Caribbean governments to improve the public service in order to meet expectations and bridge the fiscal gap so as to avoid “apathy at best, and cynicism at worse” among individuals and the private sector.
“There are aspects within our domestic borders that need urgent reform,” insisted Mottley.
“The most important task is the reconstruction of government, which can only happen when you deconstruct it. Every department and every ministry literally have to be deconstructed to determine what is the role that it serves, what purpose is it achieving, what is the public mischief that we are trying to avoid and what is the platform for empowerment that we are capable of achieving,” explained Mottley.
She posited that by deconstructing the public service, many of the regulations “and bureaucratic obstructions that currently humbug the private sector” could also be solved.
Mottley also singled out some sectors and institutions including aviation, the post office, the psychiatric hospital, the education system and the police force that she said were in need of urgent reforms while allowing for greater use of technology.
Raising concern about the time it took some government departments, including the police force, to carry out some processes, Mottley reasoned that the use of more technology could help to speed things up and save government and taxpayers’ money.
“Let us go to the Town [and Country] Planning, let us go to the Land Registry, let us go to Corporate Affairs, let us go to a child trying to get into a school, bad if you born here and worse if you are not born here. Let us go to the hospital or the polyclinics. Let us take a ride to immigration,” said Mottley, as she expressed dissatisfaction with the pace at how public servants in those departments get things done.
“Our governments in the region are too large an entity within our landscape for you not to be performing at optimum levels. You have done it in the past. The fact that you may not appear to be as effective, has less to do with what you want to do at the individual level but more to do with the systemic changes that (have) to be brought about between the executive, the legislature and the judicial,” she explained.
She urged Caribbean leaders to work together as they seek to achieve “a common government structure”. She also suggested that Barbados “urgently, at the very least, work with the Eastern Caribbean” to allow greater efficiencies to the structures of government-operated services.
“Similarly, we must recognize that what is needed in our public service is less Masters and Doctorates, but more strategic training suited to purpose, from the very bottom to the very top,” added Mottley, while acknowledging that government and governance are costly and complex.