Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
“If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there” – Lewis Carol
“If you do not know where you are, any road will likely take you where you do not want to go” – Anon
Forty-five years ago (1976) the logical approach to planning was first introduced to Public Servants in Barbados by consultants engaged by the new administration of Prime Minister Tom Adams. The focus of that newly proposed planning process was on the outputs or deliverables (goals or destination) of the plans with the secondary benefit of improving the budgetary process. Such a process would have assisted the financial planners in better determining the costs and benefits of various proposals from the wide range of ministries in order to better allocate scarce resources.
That Mr Adams failed to get the public servants to change their archaic budgeting methodology from the “activity” system is a matter of record and the reason why so much misallocation of our scarce resources still occurs. A typical example of this misallocation has been the treatment of flooding in Speightstown and Holetown which allocated millions of dollars to drainage or treatment of the symptom in these places rather than the cause – runoff from the hills.
Would you believe that two previous 10-year Physical Development Plans prepared by the same public sector authorities and approved by two different administrations and parliaments proposed construction of small check dams in the gully courses leading to Speightstown and Holetown? That solution to the flooding problems on our West Coast had been recommended by several qualified engineers. Those check dams would have significantly reduced such flooding and the consequent pollution of our pristine West Coast beaches while increasing the recharge of our aquifers that are being rapidly depleted by too much extraction. It is an absolute shame that such plans were never implemented by our Public Sector.
Barbados public servants need to drag themselves into the twenty-first century and introduce an improved budgetary system that involves the well-tested methodologies of a “Logical Approach to Planning”. Such methodologies utilise the stakeholder and problem analyses to determining the current situation followed by the objective analysis, alternative analysis, activity listing and schedules, design framework, and assumption analysis that define the outputs and deliverables (destination or goals) which are required for implementation planning.
Without such implementation planning our public sector will never improve its 70 per cent implementation deficit that has been identified by all the International agencies.