Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nighs. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.”
-Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 190-195
One of the enduring criticisms of the Mia Mottley government which dovetail those about austerity measures implemented has been the appointment of a 26 member Cabinet. When the bell is rung to end this Barbados Labour Party (BLP) term in the legislated 4 more years, one of the questions the electorate will have to answer is whether ‘value for money’ was delivered. Time is indeed longer than twine.
There is no doubt significant remedial AND strategic work is required within central government to reposition Barbados as a lean and hungry central government operation. The dysfunction that exist within the public service is legendary. It is an entity using obsolete and redundant systems made worse by a level of political interference translated to square pegs serving in round holes. A state of affairs that has transcended both of the major political parties.
After one year in office, one ministry can easily be held up as an example of the systemic dysfunction. A ministry that has two ministers at the helm- William Duguid and Peter Phillips. Some are of the view glaring errors which have and continue to plague at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance (MTWM) exposes a lack of ministerial experience. The government promised to hit the ground running and there is a reasonable expectation by Barbadians ministers in charge supported by the technocrats possess the skill set to get the job done.
There is no need to list the cock ups that have occurred in the last year under the MTWM to explain waning public confidence. One suspects this ministry is in line for a shake up when Prime Minister Mia Mottley does an obligatory annual performance review. The dysfunction one may argue has led to the resignation of Gregory Nicholls as Chairman of the Transport Board after being publicly criticized by Mottley.
Unfortunately for Messrs Duguid and Phillips the blogmaster intends to highlight the dysfunction at MTWM in upcoming blogs as the poster ministry. The objective: to expose an inefficient approach to doing business in the twentieth century. Although policy positions of all ministries ultimately impact the electorate the MTWM by the nature of its operations is seen as one of the most visible.
One area that is an embarrassment is the system to register a vehicle at the offices of the Barbados Licensing Authority. To be fair, Barbados Revenue Authority (reports to the Ministry of Finance) must share in the chaos Barbadians are subjected to on a daily basis. Annually owners of vehicles must make the trek to the Pine or its satellite offices to show proof of insurance to receive a document to display on the vehicle. The process is one where people have to carve out 1 to 2 hours to stand in a line to complete the transaction. This is clearly a systemic problem from casual observation and should have been fixed a long time ago.
If we want to send the right message to Barbados workers and the general public, we must fix as a matter of urgency. We cannot be sending home workers, paying consultants millions from the public purse, jet setting across the globe in business class and being accommodated in 4 and 5 star hotels, YET, there is no commensurate lift in the operating efficiency at public agencies.
Minster Duguid note the blogmaster has not included the matter of Alden BLACKman. A matter that will continue to plague your performance and legacy as a member of Cabinet even if you are not the only one responsible for its resolution. The pain and suffering being inflicted on a BLACKman while a WHITE woman Pat Brayshaw is the beneficiary by a government elected by a predominant BLACK population is a woeful dereliction in your mandate to serve.
A word to the wise they say should be sufficient.