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.
“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.