Who Should Go Home? Featured
Central Bank Governor has been asked to resign. From published reports, it appears that the Board members disagreed with the Governor’s plans to improve the management of the Bank. If this is the only reason, and if this will be the new criterion for dismissing those responsible for managing public services, then the National Insurance Scheme should prepare themselves for applications for unemployment benefits from most chief executive officers of statutory corporations, and heads of government departments, in the coming weeks.
Perhaps the most important Board activities are to set attainable performance standards for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to meet, and then monitoring the CEO’s performance with effective accountability measures. To reduce the risk of a CEO misleading the Board, one of the first responsibilities of any Board of public services is to specify a management system within which the Government service will be developed and delivered, and the performance standards attained.
Given the frequent complaints about poor government services, it seems that our CEOs and department managers have not established an effective management system. If this is true, then the Boards are not performing their most basic function.
There is a basic international standard for managing an organisation. The Quality Management System’s reference is ISO 9001 and it is available to the Government of Barbados. Those Boards who have failed to direct their Chief Executive Officers to implement the ISO 9001 Quality Management System have done the Statutory Corporation’s longsuffering employees, and frustrated customers, a grave disservice.
When management of specific government services was transferred from Permanent Secretaries to Boards, the principal assumption was that placing public services under private sector influenced Board management would result in the improved management of the government services. However, those public services that remained within government departments, and were managed by Permanent Secretaries, appear to offer no worse a quality of service. Therefore, the experiment with Boards has failed to significantly improve the management of public services in Barbados, and those Permanent Secretaries who were relieved of their responsibilities can feel vindicated.
The principal reason for Boards’ relative ineffectiveness appears to be that Board members were selected by the measure of their loyalty to the political party in power – a proven recipe for failure.
So what should we do right now. First, all Boards that have not directed their CEOs to implement the ISO 9001 quality management system have demonstrated an intolerable level of incompetence. Therefore, they should be dissolved immediately, and the management authority should be reverted to the relevant Permanent Secretaries.
Second, all Permanent Secretaries should direct all Statutory Corporation CEO’s and department managers to implement the ISO 9001 Quality Management System with dispatch. Third, CEOs and managers who delay the implementation of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System are harming public sector employees and frustrating the public, and should be directed to seek their fortune elsewhere.
Barbados public employees can thrive within a properly managed work environment, but they are being held back. Barbados has wasted at least 20 years unnecessarily keeping public sector employees down, while other countries have improved. An example in a paper titled “ISO 9000 and the public sector” by Dr. Lawrence Eicher, ISO Secretary-General, should suffice.
In 1997, the customs department in El Salvador was very poorly managed, with “problems relating to sanitary conditions, delays in customs proceedings, unduly long merchandise dispatch times, abuses of confidence, accumulation of merchandise in holds and hundreds of tonnes of abandoned goods.”
“In response, the top management of the Ministry of Finance launched a rigorous clean-up plan in June 1997, which included ISO 9000 implementation. As a result, the customs service has been transformed into the most modern in the region with much faster enquiry response times, dramatically improved efficiency, practically no complaints and increased customer satisfaction.
The change for the better has been such that Salvadoran Customs is visited by delegations from Latin American countries to analyse the impact of ISO 9000. The programme was so successful that it was followed up with others in the Directorate General of Internal Taxes and the Internal Tax Court of Appeals.”
“Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the Salvadoran project for deep cultural change in an organization, is that it was implemented without dismissing a single employee, many of whom had worked in the Ministry of Finance for more than 20 years and were over 50 years of age.”
So, rather than planning to send home another few thousand public employees, try keeping the employees, changing the management system, and dismissing the managers who attempt to frustrate the process.
Grenville Phillips II is the founder of Solutions Barbados and can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
Voting to Suck Salt Featured
Barbadians are finally waking up to the reality that we are on the brink of economic ruin. Recommendations of currency devaluation and surrendering Barbados to the IMF are being made by prominent economists. Even newspaper editorials are finally sounding the alarm after ignoring the warning signs for so long.
Barbadians are also waking up to the reality that this election will have grave consequences for their families. Some prominent media persons appear to have resigned to the idea that it will be very bad, regardless of who is elected to form the next government. They have repeated that lie so often that gullible voters are starting to be convinced.
It is now obvious to everyone that the DLP’s best efforts have failed to improve our economy. After many have had to endure about a decade of trying to hold on, the DLP’s most recent plan is one where we must suck the proverbial salt for at least another 4 years. It is as if they are begging the public not to vote for them.
As if that were not bad enough, the BLP stated that they would not be able to solve our economic problems during their first term in office. So we are supposed to suck salt for the full 5 years of a BLP administration. Again, it is as if they were just pleading with the public not to vote for them.
The BLP have several operatives who pretend to be non-partisan. Their constant advice is to simply elect the BLP and then hold them accountable. That is a lunatic idea because we have never been able to hold any BLP or DLP politician or administration accountable over the past 50 years.
Why would political operatives make such an easily disproven claim? It appears that they were promised a place near the trough, where they can hope for spillage when the politicians feed. So they will say or do anything in order to obtain or maintain their place.
We have run out of time for such selfish political games. If the economy does not improve soon, then within one year, approximately one third of those with home mortgages will lose their houses, and within 3 years, most of the middle class will be reduced to poverty. Therefore, it is critical that all political plans be subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny.
The DLP have already revealed their high-austerity plan. The BLP claims that they have a high-austerity plan, but they will not allow anyone to examine it. Further, they stated that they will not release it until six (6) weeks after they are elected. Why anyone would even consider voting for that sort of arrogance is a mystery.
The UPP also have a high-austerity plan, and have agreed to submit it for independent examination, but they have not yet done so. Solutions Barbados published their proven and workable plan over 2.5 years ago for rigorous public scrutiny. It has been submitted to several independent economists and accountants for their critical review.
We recently received our first review results, which noted that our assumptions are ultra-conservative, and our plan eliminates the deficit and provides a surplus in our first year. This means that we would have reversed all of the downgrades and returned Barbados to investment grade in our first year. The reviewer also noted that the other political parties should seriously consider our plan.
Why does the media appear to only report on the BLP’s and DLP’s high-austerity pronouncements, and the economists’ currency devaluation and IMF based plans, but continue to ignore the only workable non-austerity plan on the table. Why do the media appear so desperate for Barbados to suck the salt that Guyana and Jamaica were forced to experience?
In this election, the only two available choices are to vote for Solutions, or vote to suck salt.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
My name is Jacqueline Alleyne – Worrell and I am humbled and honoured that you would consider me to be your voice in Parliament.
I have over 25 years of management experience, mainly in the field of construction. I have also had leadership positions in my church where I have helped and counselled persons. I promise to use my experiences to your benefit.
I am very concerned about the increased cost of living, and the limited opportunities for our youth to become independent. We have invested so much in our country, but we are not seeing the promised returns in quality public services.
Some households are barely making it due to the increase in taxes and no salary increases. That is why I have chosen to try to make a difference. This is a great parish and I am committed to seeing it reach its greatest potential.
The greatest advice about leadership is found in the Bible. It states: “whoever wants to be a leader among you must first be your servant.” I choose to be your servant, and promise to faithfully represent your interests in parliament. While my first and foremost accountability is to God Almighty, I choose to be accountable to you the people of St. James South.
We have delivered a flyer and mini-manifesto to each house in St. Philip North. It may be downloaded below.
Last week, we described how our secondary school students could graduate with some measure of independence. This can be achieved by keeping our students interested in learning by teaching them the practical aspects of subjects during the first three years, and then training them to start and grow successful businesses using this practical knowledge.
Our students can be taught the more theoretical information during years 4 and 5 in preparation for their CXC examinations. However, what will we do for those who have already graduated with no marketable skills?
Solutions Barbados’ plan is to train all persons, including recent graduates, to start and grow profitable businesses, with no or very little start-up funds.
The training workshop takes five (5) weeks and it will be transmitted on CBC television and on the Internet, where it can also be accessed with a smart phone. At the end of the 5-week workshop, all participants should have started a viable business.
Once persons have a sustainable business and wish to expand, a Solutions Barbados administration will provide micro-loans from a new national bank, which will be managed at all post offices. Such loans will not be available to start a business, only to grow a profitable business.
It is common for our youth to leave secondary school in search of entry-level jobs. Such jobs include washing dishes, mixing concrete, carrying construction materials around a site, and security guard duties. Nothing is wrong with these types of jobs. However, our youth must see them as means to an end and not their end.
There is a measurable difference in the attitude of a person who washes dishes to fund his business, and the person who washes dishes for a living. The one who sees an entry-level job as a temporary stepping-stone may work hard to complete his tasks. The one who has resigned himself to the realization that the entry-level job is permanent, may pace himself for a life-sentence of boredom.
Barbados needs all persons to participate in our economy at their highest potential. Therefore, all persons in entry-level jobs should have a plan for advancing in the company or starting their own businesses. The 5-week workshop is designed to also train those in entry-level jobs to grow out of them.
Despite all the training, our youth can still be frustrated when they try to access government services that are critical to their advancement. That is why all government departments are to be managed to the highest international customer-focused standard, ISO 9001.
Our youth can also be held back because they do not know a political operative or are not in favour with the political party n Government. Our youth should not have to prostitute themselves just to access services to which they are entitled. In a Solutions Barbados administration, any public worker who delays, denies or approves an application for politically partisan reasons, or attempts to solicit a bribe or sexual favours for government services, will be fired and lose their pension.
Our youth will eventually replace us. Therefore, they must understand our foundations, appreciate our struggles, acknowledge the threats to our country, accept their responsibilities, and embrace the discipline that is required to lead others.
In preparation for their leadership roles, they must accept the challenge to find honest income-generating work, responsibly grow out of entry-level jobs, ethically start and grow their business, and responsibly advocate for improvements that benefit all of us in Barbadians. Our students and recent graduates will enjoy developing in a Solutions Barbados administration, and we, their parents, will be relieved when they do.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and the founder of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com