The Grenville Phillips Column – Of Tooth and Tongue

Our detractors keep insisting that we should stop writing about the ISO 9001 international management standard, because the public is generally unaware of it. Only in the politically partisan world does one stop educating the public about benefits that they do not yet understand. Only in that world are proven failed initiatives promoted, while proven successful ones are rejected.

That the public is uneducated about the ISO 9001 management standard is an indictment of the established press, who ignored it in favour of failed management initiatives.

The Public Sector Reform initiative was created with fatal flaws. Every year, it failed to improve public services. Yet every year it was promoted and funded. The National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) was also created with fatal flaws. Every year it proved to be a failure, and every year it was promoted and funded.

The judiciary is a national disgrace, and the CCJ keeps reminding us that it is a regional embarrassment. Rather than implementing the ISO system and actually manage the judicial system properly, we have, for the past decade, been talking about implementing some form of mediation and other initiatives.

The government is now ignoring the Public Sector Reform, closing the NISE and the Productivity Council, and embarking on a new management initiative that can best be described as ‘Management by Talking’. However, it is the same failed management approach that we have been trying for the past 4 decades. Its direct opposite is the ISO approach of ‘Management by Doing’.

The BLP’s propaganda directive is to keep repeating the phrase ‘lost decade’ in reference to the DLP’s obvious mismanagement of the economy. However, it is more accurate to speak of a lost two decades, with one decade being managed by the BLP and the other by the DLP. We should remember that it was approximately 20 years ago when the BLP structurally damaged Barbados’ economy.

The established media appear to have received their orders to ignore this and other facts unfavourable to the BLP. Therefore, the public is generally unaware that there is little difference between the level of gross mismanagement by the BLP and the DLP. By our detractors’ reasoning, that is reason enough for us to stop mentioning it. For the record, a section from 13 Oct 2009 Moody’ report follows (capitalised emphasis mine).

“Barbados’ KEY DEBT INDICATORS have been on a deteriorating path OVER THE PAST DECADE, and are now at levels that compare poorly with other countries in the same rating category,” said Moody’s Vice President – Senior Analyst Alessandra Alecci. “While the global crisis has clearly exacerbated this trend, the worsening of debt indicators OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME suggests that structural issues are at play.” .. “These include a steady increase in expenditures, INCLUDING OFF-BUDGET, as revenues have remained at roughly the same level in terms of GDP.”

The political administration that led the government during the decade prior to 2009 was not the DLP. To my knowledge, Clyde Mascoll was the only person in Barbados who was warning us of these “off budget” corrupting no-bid contracts being awarded, and the increasing unsustainable debt. However, when he became a B, the BLP’s bad debts were somehow magically transformed into good debts and our watchdog economists conveniently lost both tooth and tongue – until the re-election of the DLP.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

26 thoughts on “The Grenville Phillips Column – Of Tooth and Tongue

  1. Bingo! You hit the nail on the head this time Grenville. “Management by doing” would be a welcome change.

  2. Greenville is showing his ignorance in promotting and suggesting ISO 9001 as a solution to Barbados governing issues. As one whose been active with ISO 9001 FOR DECADES it will not remotely change Barbados’s dis-functional management style, however it would add an additional layer of incompedence. Typical Bajan thinking, let’s introduce some new technology to cure our ills, won’t work.

  3. Yep…the iĺls run too deep, have for too long and are now cultural, economic, criminal….

    • @Vincent

      There is no efficient performance appraisal system, why not implement a system that holds people accountable?

  4. There is no system to hold employees accountable. Do we really want them to be accountable? Or do we want them to do their jobs for which they are paid?.

    As far as I know all employees have job descriptions. All institutions have institutional plans. They all have managers whose jobs are to ensure that the Institutional objectives are met within budget and within time. Why do we need other Hocus Pocus?

    The point I am making is that it is about people. Invoke the sanctions when they are not performing. In a civilized society we must live up to our responsibilities.

  5. Keep spinning Dale Whistleblower…keep spinning.

    “March 6th, 2019 – The US State Department, and the UK and Canadian governments are advising visitors to Barbados that there have been incidents of violent crime, including armed robbery and sexual assaults…..

    ……………………..Additionally, the UK government says visitors to Barbados should take great care at all times when swimming. Currents can be deceptively strong on this island, including on some of the popular beaches on the south and west coasts.

    ……..Some Barbados beaches don’t have lifeguards and/or warning flags and drownings have occurred. You should monitor all beaches carefully and obey any local warnings…….”

  6. For some years now I have been dealing with several Gov depts in settling two estates. It has been painful. Finally I made a planned visit. I will skip the details, rather it was the senior civil servant’s comment…”I am sorry but we cannot locate the document, there have been a lot of personnel changes since the election”. To which I made the snide remark, “but this matter has been ongoing for 4 years, the election was less than a year ago”. To which I received a smile, and ‘we still got many new people’.
    I will suggest, this is one of the greatest ills of any public employment body, when it is subject to wide reaching personnel changes after a change of elected government. This has been a rampant issue in small nations, cities etc etc, where the public employment can be determined by who has been elected.
    No amount of ISO 900?, or any other similar system, can cure the ills of a work force whose primary asset is the political party they support. And while this happens everywhere, it is magnified in relatively small bodies, where you cannot ignore 25% of your staff and still get the job done.

  7. @David
    “There is no efficient performance appraisal system, why not implement a system that holds people accountable?”

    As a performance appraisal system it would work, unfortunately like everything else government operated it would FAIL do to incompetent implementation and no annual follow through.

  8. Even Guyana knows they are supposed to LOCK UP…those criminals who steal public funds, taxpayers’ money, pensioner’s money…how come the so called educated in Barbados parliament, government house, DPP and police don’t know this,….could it be because since the 1940s when that bar association of vipers was activated and every decade since then…they have all stolen public funds…..every last dirty one of and out of parliament..

    “the key problem, of course, was the debt, which for many decades was always on the brink of being unsustainable, and particularly since the financial crisis. In the 1990s and 2000s large fiscal deficits, despite primary surpluses, were combined with almost as large off balance sheet debt accumulation, so an official deficit of say four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) was in reality almost double as it was accompanied by losses of often three per cent of GDP.”

  10. Grenville Phillips does not understand the role of a leader of a political party.If he thinks ISO 9001 is a ‘bread and butter’ issue,then as a former cadet officer,no 3 Company Cadet Corps,I say ‘carry on smartly’.Any party leading politician with an ounce of common sense will tell you, to succeed at the polls, your message must resonate with the proletariat.Ivory towered political misfits especially professional misfits,should stick to their Observer role and leave leadership to folk whose passion for success knows no bounds.Examples abound in Barbados,the last being the result of the May 24th general election.Barbados’s loss of a truly inspiring and captivating leader on March 11th 1985 ushered in events which continue to cause alarm in and beyond our shores on a daily basis.Remedies are not beyond the country but will take time to germinate.Those seeds were sewn post May 24th 2018.

  11. @ BA at 8 :18 PM

    Actually the model that Jamaica applied was the Barbados model which we implemented in the mid 1990s. We applied it early and moved into the economic growth phase very quickly under OSA.

    Open mixed economies like ours require close careful management. The leader has to be very shrewed. There are benefits and costs to being part of the international capitalist system. The key is management,management and management. The latter must be evidence based; not conjecture nor the results of brainstorming sessions,assuming ,of course, there are brains in the room.

    • @Vincent

      Growth mode in a global economic boom period? How do we separate the contribution of Owen?

  12. @ David BU at10:00 AM

    Eat your heart out. History is history. You cannot change it. You may interpret it however you like.

    I know of leaders in similar open economies who ,in the midst of an international economic boom , mismanaged ;and their economies declined. You do not have to look too far nor think too deep. In any case . My intervention is not about OSA it is about shrewd leadership which Grantley Adams, EWB, Tom Adams had in abundance.

  13. @ David BU at 11 :11 AM

    Do not read too much into that 74 % . It most likely was not calculated from a randomly selected sample of the voting list. One must also factor in the electoral college weighting device.

  14. Despite his best nasty political campaign pushing Crime and Violence with an American white woman Lazlo as his prop,Thompson almost decimated the DLP,misreading the economic boon of which Barbados was a major beneficiary.Only a donkey like Grenville would misread 2 supersonic concord aircraft landing at Barbados twice a week,repeat not once a week but twice a week and these high end spenders went to the super classed west coast hotels spending money,not skimping like some of those I see nowadays using Transport Barbados like they are locals.I recall a female CEO as a retirement gift to selected staff chartered a Concorde and brought them to Bim at a west coast hotel that is not cheap,for a two weeks all expenses paid experience.

  15. @ Gabriel at 2:03 PM

    I concur with your observation. Barbados has always been branded as up market. And that is where we get the biggest bang for the dollar. Within the last two decades we have confused arrivals for spending. I think we need to seriously review our marketing strategies. Incidentally the hotel chains did the bulk of the marketing.

    • @Vincent

      Agree with you on this one. Every thing has a recommended carry capacity if it is to operate efficiently.

  16. Ok
    So Enuff state that during the blp Era the rich and wealthy spend money at the luxury hotels on the West Coast
    Isnt it amazing that after the meltdowm and Tourism plummelled that some of these luxury Hotels cried poverty and sat waiting with hand outstrectched for govt assistance

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