Face it and Fix it!

Submitted by Akil Daley

Since Independence many of our public institutions have had little (if any) serious structural changes to make them fit for purpose in the new global environment. The inefficiency of governmental bureaucracy has plagued our public institutions for decades and has hampered effective service delivery to the masses. These public corporations are no longer fit for purpose and drain finances through yearly subsidies and transfers accounting for most of the shortfall in financing afflicting these institutions.

This ill-advised formula can be blamed for the structural adjustment program Barbados now faces which prescribes bitter reforms to our statutory corporations. We must now as a country focus on how these services will be rationalized, paying special emphasis on the most vulnerable and needy.

We have already seen user fees being charged on some public services like garbage collection and water. The Minister of Health has also hinted at a reform of how health care is financed. One can therefore assume that the process of restructuring has begun.Commitments have been made to these reforms as a precondition to financing and the government has begun to inform the masses on some of the reforms to come.

As I write I am clueless as to how these changes will look and affect my expectations of the delivery of public services. Our political system allows for the peoples representatives in the House Of Assembly to make those decisions for us. We must trust that these reforms will be in our best interest and the effects of the changes will not decrease the level of service we have become accustomed to.

Some political pundits have been critical of the government’s approach to these reforms. They call for the public’s inclusion and input in the process but does our political system require such?

Since Independence all governments have developed policies and programs themselves before merely informing the public through the mechanism of debate in the House Of Assembly. It must be mentioned that at times the political directorate chooses to engage the public on varying national issues through consultation.

The lack of mechanisms of transparency and accountability are one of the key areas that must be adjusted if this country is to make it in this new world. The political directorate seems to have the enacting of this vital legislation on the agenda so we wait to see if they are able to get it right on the next attempt.

The political system allows the party in government 5 years to implement programs that they will inevitably be judged harshly for at the polls. We have given all 30 seats to the BLP for the second consecutive time. We have put them there to face the problems and fix them. They have come up with a plan and are steadily implementing that plan. All our political system allows us to do is give them the vote and watch!

23 thoughts on “Face it and Fix it!

  1. @DKing
    Okay I will research Akil Daley before criticisising him again for right wing tropes politics if it makes you feel better

  2. A recent modern Prophet summarized our current predicament is amazing detail for those with ears to hear the music…

    “Ride Natty (Bushie) Ride”

    Rub, rub, rubby-doo-day;
    Rum-pum-pum a-rum-pum-pum-pum!
    Dready (Bushie) got a job to do
    And he’s got to fulfill that mission
    To see his hurt is their greatest ambition, yeah!
    But-a we will survive in this world of competition,
    ‘Cause no matter what they do
    Natty keep on comin’through,
    And no matter what they say-ay-ay-ay,
    Natty de deh every day. yeah!
    Natty Dread rides again,
    Through the mystics of tomorrow,
    Natty Dread rides again:
    Have no fear, have no sorrow, yeah!

    All and all you see a-gwan
    Is to fight against Rastaman.
    So they build their world in great confusion
    To force on us the devil’s illusion.
    But the stone that the builder refuse
    Shall be the head cornerstone,
    And no matter what game they play,
    Eh, we got something they could never take away;
    We got something they could never take away:

    And it’s the fire (fire), it’s the fire (fire)
    That’s burning down everything:
    Feel that fire (fire), the fire (fire);
    Only the birds have their wings, yeah!
    No time to be deceived.
    Oh, brothers, you should know and not believe:
    Jah say this judgement – it could never be with water,
    No water could put out this fire (fire):
    This fire (fire), this fire (fire),
    This fire (fire), a yaga y’all! Ride, Natty, ride!
    Go deh, Dready, go deh,
    ‘Cause now the fire is out of control,
    Panic in the city, wicked weeping for their gold!
    Everywhere this fiyah is burning,
    Destroying and melting their gold,
    Destroying and waisting their souls.

    Go ride, Natty, ride!
    Go deh, Dready! Go deh!

    Tell you what: now the people gather on the beach
    And the leader try to make a speech,
    But the Dreadies understandin’ that it’s too late:
    Fire is burning;
    Man, pull your own weight!
    Fiyah is burning;
    Man, pull your own weight!
    Natty Dread rides again (Natty Dread rides again);
    And me say, Go deh, Dready! Go deh! (go deh, go deh)
    Oh ride, Natty, ride! (Dread rides again)
    And go deh, Dready! (Go deh, go deh)
    Ridin’ through the storm,
    Riding through the calm (go deh, go deh).
    Oh ride, Natty, ride!
    Go deh, Dready, go deh!
    Ride, Natty, ride!
    Go deh, Dready, do deh! [fadeout]


    • Howard wants IMF to say more
      by CARLOS ATWELL carlosatwell@nationnews.com

      RETIRED UNIVERSITY ECONOMICS PROFESSOR Michael Howard is calling on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be more transparent in describing Barbados’ debt.
      At the same time, Professor of Finance at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill, Justin Robinson, says while the Government is on a path to reach its target of 60 per cent debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio by 2035, there are risks involved.
      They were reacting to a report in the last SUNDAY SUN in which an IMF debt sustainability analysis assessed Barbados’ overall risk of Government debt stress as moderate and public debt as sustainable.
      Howard told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday he thought there was a level of diplomacy involved and the complete analysis was not forthcoming.
      “The IMF is not appropriately identifying the stresses and difficulties in the world economy which makes borrowing difficult to repay, and is not advising Government appropriately in order for Government to exercise some constraint in the way it is accumulating debt,” he charged.
      The Professor Emeritus at Cave Hill said the IMF owed Barbados an explanation about how the debt could possibly be labelled as sustainable in the face of global threats such as war and inflation.
      “One cannot identify a debt as sustainable in such an unstable world, especially concerning a small island developing state (SIDS) with a foreign exchange-constrained economy. I maintain any SIDS or even African country which borrows heavily from the Chinese may well find themselves in a debt trap as they may find it difficult to repay,” he said.
      In July, Howard wrote an article about the concept of a debt trap, which he said he stands by today. In it, he said such a trap could affect Barbados should its levels of Government foreign borrowing not be controlled.
      He said a debt trap could also occur as a domestic public sector phenomenon if borrowing by Government was used repeatedly to finance its current account.
      “External borrowing is necessary in small, fragile economies because of a binding foreign exchange constraint on growth. Barbados lacks the productive capacity to earn high levels of foreign exchange earnings, and tourism earnings are far below optimal levels. Therefore, foreign reserves are maintained by heavy foreign borrowing, and foreign borrowing is also used to repay foreign debt.
      “Thus, there is a cycle of debt which can become unsustainable. The debt trap concept questions whether the magnitude of borrowing is sustainable in the future, especially in fragile economies subject to serious economic recessions and weak productive structures,” he said then.
      Howard said he was in agreement with those who thought foreign exchange from tourism was not large or reliable enough to meet anticipated increases in debt obligations through to 2029 He added: “Existing debt has to be paid from
      other foreign borrowing because Barbados does not have enough earned foreign exchange to recover foreign debt, which is not sustainable.”
      In a separate interview, Robinson, who is also Pro Vice-Chancellor and chair, Board For Undergraduate Studies at UWI, said there was no doubt that the debt was “too high”.
      “One thing we can all agree on is that Barbados’ current debt is too high, so it is clear the public finances must be managed in a way to get us to a lower, more sustainable level of debt.
      “Government has set a reasonable international target of 60 per cent debt to GDP ratio by 2035 and has outlined a plan to get there. I assess debt sustainability in terms of whether or not we are on target,” he said.
      “There are significant risks which could knock us off that trajectory, such as if the economy doesn’t grow at the rate projected in the debt sustainability model, or if we end up with a larger deficit than projected. There are factors such as external shocks or if the Government becomes fiscally indisciplined.
      “It means we are going to have to be very fiscally disciplined between now and 2035 . . . . I would want both sides of the political divide as well as the general public to recognise the need to keep the Government on its toes as with our current levels of debt, we cannot afford to slip off that path,” Robinson added.

      Source: Nation

    • What is Howard telling us that we don’t know IF Barbados’ label as an open economy and small island developing state is accepted?

    • Private Sector as well.

      Capita shake-up

      CEO exits, board resigns as company fined thousands
      A MAJOR SHAKE-UP has started at CAPITA Financial Services Inc. as it faces thousands of dollars in fines from regulators and parent company concerns about its performance.
      The MIDWEEK NATION has learnt that, following the recent installation of a new board of directors, the company owned by the country’s largest credit union, Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Ltd (BPWCCUL), parted ways with its chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Maxwell last Friday.
      Efforts to reach Maxwell, who previously departed CAPITA Financial but returned to lead it, were unsuccessful. However, a representative of its new sixmember board, now chaired by Courtney Gibson, with Derrick Cummins as his deputy, said “communication” on the CEO’s exit was likely to come this week.
      Members of CAPITA Financial’s previous board of Carole Eleuther-Jn Marie (chairman), Terrol Inniss (deputy chairman), and directors Andrew Brathwaite, Trevor Colluci, Luther Jones and Sandra Osborne, all resigned.
      The company, which was renamed CAPITA Financial after BPWCCUL entity BPW Financial Holdings Inc. secured CLICO Mortgage & Finance Corporation on August 27, 2010, has been hit with thousands of dollars in fines by regulators over the failure to complete its latest financials on time.
      When contacted on the matter, the Central Bank of Barbados, which issued the licence for CAPITA Financial to operate, did not go into detail, only stating: “Please note that penalties represent one of the tools in the bank’s arsenal.”
      The fines were, however, confirmed by BPWCCUL members who attended the organisation’s annual general meeting (AGM) on December 3, and by an official briefed on the matter.
      “The financials were not completed so there was a $10 000 fine imposed and then $500 a day until they submitted them, and they were supposed to submit them on the 14th of December. It is expected to cost them about $17 000,” the official said.
      The fines imposed and CAPITA Financial’s overall performance was one of the contentious issues discussed at its parent company’s unfinished AGM.
      The company’s failure to produce audited financials was also flagged as an issue of major concern by BPWCCUL’s board of directors in its annual report for the financial year ended March 31, 2022.
      Not finalised
      “CAPITA Financial Services Inc.’s Group audit was not finalised and approved as at the time of this report. This is a matter that is being taken very seriously by this board which has and continues to express its disapproval and discontent about the matter to the subsidiary board charged with oversight of the CAPITA Financial Services Inc. Group,” the directors said.
      “We have mandated that the necessary work be done by all parties to ensure this unacceptable position is rectified within the very short term. In addition, we will also be conducting a review upon completion of the CAPITA audit, and will be taking the requisite and focused actions required to eliminate the root causes of this undesirable performance in order to avoid a repeat by any entity within the group.”
      CAPITA Financial operates here and in St Lucia. BPWCCUL’s board of directors said in their report that based on their subsidiary’s draft reports, at the end of the financial period ended March 31, 2022, “net income decreased year-on-year by 24.2 per cent to finish the period at $1.4 million versus the prior year’s $1.8 million”.
      Officials also said that while the group’s revenue increased by 21.7 per cent, “this was not significant enough to offset the 32.4 per cent growth in operating expenses that fully eroded that revenue growth”.
      Since this information was unaudited, the board of directors cautioned that there was “a possibility that the final audited financials will be different”.
      BPWCCUL’s hierarchy also said that there would be “key business development and operational support recruitments to fix noticeable shortcomings in the coming fiscal period” at CAPITAL Financial.
      The directors added: “These operational changes, coupled with implementation of the recommendations arising from the ongoing independent corporate governance review, will help in realising the objective of improving the CAPITA Group’s performance and overall contribution.”

      Source: Nation

    • The fix must be applied to our Sports Program as well. Many here have been calling for a Strategic Plan for Sports in Barbados for years.

      Minister calls for strategic plan
      by EZRA STUART ezrastuart@nationnews.com
      BARBADOS CAN ACHIEVE more success in sports but the planning must be strategic.
      Minister of Sport, Charles Griffith made the assertion while delivering the feature address on the theme “fuelling the passion” at the Barbados Olympic Association’s (BOA) Awards Ceremony on Monday night at Hilton Barbados Resort.
      “When I became the Minister of Sports, there was one focus, to move sports in Barbados to another level and make all of us proud . . . I have triggered some sports at the grassroots level but you would’ve seen during this year that we had several athletes that would’ve made us proud by hitting the podium.
      “Our task is to ensure that we can continue to have those athletes on island to make podium. The task is a mammoth one but I’m committed as Minister of Sport and, by extension, my Government . . . but we need to ensure we are able to uncover those diamonds in the rough across this country,’’ he said.
      Griffith said Government is forging closer ties with the BOA in an attempt to do what is necessary and ensure the best is done for all athletes.
      Strong federations
      “It is my hope that several of our national federations would reach out to the same BOA because we need strong national federations to drive sports in this country.
      “I believe that we can achieve the same level of success as countries that are twice, maybe three times our size but we must be focused.”
      He said Barbados needs to have a similar experience to what was done when the Olympic Games went to Beijing.
      “Beijing made a conscious decision to target those particular disciplines that they believe they can make the podium and we need to be strategic in Barbados because I keep saying that we are pouring from a single cup in Government. It is not one cup for the Ministry of Sports and one cup for each ministry.
      “But we need to be targeted, we need to be specific in terms of how we treat to the dollars that we have and if we can put the necessary funds behind athletes who are emerging or those athletes who are already there, then every single time that they move across the finish line, they will carry the whole of the nation with them.”
      Griffith said the passion and desire for success by athletes like Commonwealth Games’ women’s 400 metres gold medallist and World Championship bronze medallist, Sada Williams is there but he reiterated his call for more private sector support.
      “We need support from corporate Barbados to come on board and fill some of the gaps that are there. If we get the support from corporate Barbados, we can achieve tenfold what we are doing now,” Griffith contended.
      Support athletes
      “I’ve said repeatedly that if you go into several business establishments on this island, you will not see a single athlete hanging on the wall. We cannot be celebrating our athletes and refuse to do the necessary things to support them at that level . . . It cannot be a single entity that is responsible in any way for moving our athletes forward.’’
      Griffith also wished the athletes the best for the next year.
      “We expect that what happened this year will be replicated tenfold in terms of those who make podium.”
      Williams, who got a bonus award of $30 000 for her Commonwealth Games’ gold medal, also received the Senior Female Athlete of the Year
      and the International Excellence Award as well as a weekend for two at Hilton.
      Hurdler Shane Brathwaite was the
      Senior Male Athlete Of The Year
      while the versatile distance runner and triathlete Fynn Armstrong and swimmer Jaiya Simmons were Junior Male and Female Athlete Of The Year respectively.

      Source: Nation

  3. Tourists can’t travel

    Posted December 21 2022 08:57pm
    Airports across Canada continue to deal with mass flight delays and cancellations due to intense snowstorms. The severe weather has left thousands of passengers stranded with no clear timeline for when their travels can resume. Tracy Nagai reports on the lack of communication between airlines and travellers, and an imminent storm could affect your travel plans.

    • Probe reveals weaknesses
      By Maria Bradshaw mariabradshaw@nationnews.com

      In what is said to be an unprecedented move, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has appointed an adviser to sit on the board of the Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Ltd (BPWCCUL), whose operations have come under the microscope of the regulatory body.
      Calling the situation a “shake-up”, sources told the Weekend Nation this is the first time in the 52year history of the BPWCCUL, the largest credit union in Barbados, that a regulator had deemed it necessary to appoint an adviser to assist with its governance and financial affairs.
      As reported in the
      Midweek Nation, this has occurred as CAPITA Financial Services Inc., a company owned by BPWCCUL, faces thousands of dollars in fines from regulators and parent company concerns about its performance.
      The FSC is responsible for supervising and regulating non-bank financial institutions in Barbados such as credit unions and cooperatives.
      This newspaper obtained a copy of a letter dated December 21, 2022, from the FSC advising the board of directors, under the presidency of Jameela Hollingsworth-Broomes, that the Commission has appointed a special adviser to the BPWCCUL board pursuant to its powers under the Financial Services Commission Act.
      The adviser, who is said to be a wellrespected
      financial services expert, will be in place for six months in the first instance.
      The letter informed the board that the adviser will assume duties from January 3, 2023, and attend all meetings of the board of directors, all its subcommittee meetings and all those between the board and the board of directors and/or management of BPWCCUL’s subsidiaries. The FSC move has arisen as a result of an examination it conducted of BPWCCUL affairs between June 1 and September 30 this year.
      The Commission noted some key issues, including a poor understanding of the risks accruing to the credit union, weak institutional minutes and inadequate arrangements to ensure that risks were elevated to the board for information, consideration and/ or direction, limited focus on the strategic planning and direction of the institution, and potential abuse of position, access and funds by the members of the board.
      Of note, the FSC stated that while the credit union discussed the fact that CAPITA’s performance was below expectations, there was no evidence that there was full oversight of the entity, and no documented evidence of strategic or holistic oversight by the parent of the group on Allied Cooperators Inc., another wholly owned subsidiary of the credit union.
      Remedial measures
      The letter stated: “The Commission is of the opinion that these remedial measures are necessary” as it advised that the Commission’s examination report, which it had recently submitted to the credit union, required that BPWCCUL immediately take steps to implement the Commission’s recommendations
      set out in the Examination Report. It added that the Commission had set out various recommendations to remedy the breaches identified in the Examination Report.
      The BPWCCUL recently appointed a new board of CAPITA and shortly thereafter, parted ways with its chief executive officer (CEO), Paul Maxwell.
      Reports indicate that CAPITA was facing a $10 000 fine for incomplete financials, with an additional $500 a day until they are submitted. The financials were approved by the board of CAPITA on December 16 and await confirmation that they have been submitted to the regulators.
      In response to queries from The Weekend Nation,
      Alicia Bascombe, the Communications Officer at the FSC stated: “The Financial Services Commission is not in a position to discuss matters related to individual institutions under its area of regulatory responsibilities.”
      When also contacted, BPWCCUL president Hollingsworth-Broomes said: “I am not aware of that. I just got off the phone with Rosina Knight (CEO of the FSC) and I am not aware of that. I am currently away on holiday,” before directing further enquiries to acting president Mark Hope.
      When reached, Hope said: “I am not in a position to confirm or deny any statement at this time. If there are matters to be discussed, then the credit union would discuss them internally and when the time is necessary for any kind of statement, then we would make one but at this time I have no comment.”

      Source: Nation

  4. Typical of these petty-minded Black ‘commissions’ and ‘boards’ comprised of shiitehounds who never accomplished anything personally in life, except it was based on party patronage or ‘lackie connections’.

    How can you fine a Credit Union $10,000 for missing accounting reporting deadlines – when 95% of all State institutions not only miss deadlines, but are DECADES in arrears with reports, AND face ANNUAL Auditor General’s condemnation for questionable practices?

    Who has ever lost a penny due to Credit Union defaults?

    Bushie would be pleasantly surprised if the same shiite FSC’s own accounts were beyond reproach….

    This was an opportunity to work with the damn Credit Union to IMPROVE its already outstanding service to members – rather than seek to raise petty doubts about its operations.
    You can ALWAYS trust black ‘Bajans with keys’ or ‘watchmen with sticks’ to target fellow blacks – and to not see a shiite wrong with the lackies that gave them the keys or stick….
    The Damn Credit Unions are the BEST thing currently happening in this brass bowl place, so no wonder the ‘loser class’ would seek to demonize them….

    Damn place is HOPELESS.

  5. Who did the FSC fine for the LOTTA money laundering that resulted in a former minister now being a convicted felon?
    Where was the FSC when the radical vaccine laundering scheme was being executed? Who was fined? Where and when did they appoint observers to monitor THOSE operations?

    Lotta shiite!!!
    What is good for the goose should ALSO be applied to the damn gander…

    So can we NOW look forward to this zeal being applied to the PUBLIC accounts – where the annual budget is something in excess of EIGHT billion BB dollars?

    • @Bush Tea

      The FSC does not regulate SOEs. The Auditor General is a toothless tiger as we have ventilated on the blog over the several years.

  6. Bush Tea on December 23, 2022 at 12:09 PM:

    Who did the FSC fine for the LOTTA money laundering that resulted in a former minister now being a convicted felon?
    Where was the FSC when the radical vaccine laundering scheme was being executed? Who was fined? Where and when did they appoint observers to monitor THOSE operations?

    Bush Tea

    A “lotta shiite?????”

    Come on, Bushie…… what you mentioned above are issues that go beyond the purview of the FSC’s legislation.

  7. @ David & Artax
    The two of wunna better stop sipping the shiite Koolaid…

    So if you see government owned operations doing all kinds of folly, losing millions to graft, causing de Auditor General nightmares etc…
    Would YOU turn up the screws on a credit Union that has been a salvation to thousands of citizens…. and that is RUN by those SAME citizens? and has had no major losses?

    How do the rules for black owned Credit Unions get to differ from those of the white businesses, the foreign owned operations and the damn Government?

    Just because some political clowns of the Stinkliar ilk choose to assign certain ‘keys’ to a particular set of watchmen called ‘FSC’ justifies different standards being accepted for CITIZEN-OWNED credit unions versus the foreign, bribe paying business owners, and the local albino-centrics who fund the politicians?

    Right is right …and this is shiite…

    Same shiite with the minibus business, the village shops….
    …anything ‘local’ becomes a target for the damn ‘plantation watchmen’ whose mission seems to be to ensure that nothing local succeeds above their level of mendicancy … just like back on the plantations.

    What a damned collection of brass…

    • On the topic Face it, fix it…


      Innes case put back till March

      EVEN AS BARBADIAN Alex Tasker is appealing his extradition to the United States on money laundering charges, the extradition matter against coaccused Ingrid Innes in Canada, has not gotten off the ground.
      For the past two years the hearing against the Guyanese-born Innes, the former chief executive officer of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd (ICBL), has come up on the calendar of the Superior Court in Canada, but each time it was adjourned.
      A court official told the DAILY NATION last week: “I can confirm that the application before our court for extradition of Ingrid Innes was adjourned to March 8, 2023, at 9 a.m in Practice Court by Zoom. The case continues to be adjourned to be spoken to and the hearing date has not yet been set.”
      Back in January 2019, Innes, 65, and Tasker, 60, the former senior vicepresident of ICBL, were both charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of money laundering in relation to US$36 000 in bribes which Donville Inniss, the then Minister of Industry and International Business, received from ICBL.
      Innes resigned from ICBL in 2017 and relocated back to Canada in 2018.
      The US government, which is going after both her and Tasker, has alleged that they took part in a scheme to launder the money which they paid to Inniss into the US and that in exchange for the bribes, Inniss leveraged his position as the Minister of Industry to enable ICBL to obtain two Government contracts.
      On September 8, 2021, Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes ordered Tasker, of Mayfair Terrace, Leadvale, Christ Church, extradited to the United States to face trial. However, he has appealed that decision, but it is yet to be heard.
      On January 16, 2020, Inniss was convicted in the Eastern District of New York Court and he is presently serving two years at a US federal prison, after which he will spend two years of supervised release. (MB)

      Source: Nation

    • Fix it?

      Making SOEs efficient
      GOVERNMENT’S LATEST MID-YEAR BUDGET REVIEW is a timely reminder of why it is so important for the current administration to ensure that stateowned enterprises (SOEs) are no longer a drain on the public purse, and that these entities are providing services to Barbadians in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
      Fixing SOEs was one of the key pillars of the first Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme between 2018 and this year.
      But as with everything else, this reform was stalled and generally negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
      As Government reported, however, there was some progress.
      For example, the Ministry of Finance documented that SOEs’ arrears fell from around $755 million in 2018 to $61 million at the end of March 2020.
      This followed what it called the rollout of reform and restructuring at a number of SOEs. The ministry also said that prior to the pandemic, Government undertook cost reduction measures and revenue enhancement initiatives that were effective in delivering a structural
      decrease in transfers to public entities.
      The measures outlined included mergers and closures, the renegotiation of costly supplier contracts, tariff adjustments like increased bus fares and water rates, and new levies on sanitation, health and tourism services. These were supplemented by measures to strengthen oversight frameworks intended to improve performance and alleviate transfer needs of the SOEs over the medium-term, the authorities added.
      It was also pointed out that under the modernised Public Financial Management Act 2019, Central Government must approve all borrowing by SOEs. It can sanction SOEs for noncompliance with enhanced reporting requirements. The legislation also requires the Government and Parliament to receive regular financial reports on SOEs’ performance.
      It is clear that the structural reform of SOEs has slowed and the mid-year review said that not only were some agencies requiring increased transfers from Government, for example the Transport Board, but some fell deeper into arrears, including to agencies like the National Insurance Scheme which has its own financial difficulties to overcome.
      There must be a properly structured and consistent effort to reform statutory bodies now that the pandemic has eased and Government
      is intensifying its effort to become more financially efficient.
      Under the second BERT (Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation) programme the Ministry of Finance said a major focus would be slimming public expenditure through continued assessment of its scale and size, with specific emphasis on SOE reform.
      We will await more specifics from Government on how it intends to undertake this task without major job losses or any regression in service delivery while the changes are being implemented. Barbadians, who are already struggling with a high cost of living, will also want to know if the intended reform will result in more user fees and other charges for them, as happened with the higher bus fares and water rates.
      What is for certain is that it will be no easy task transforming a number of these statutory bodies from seemingly bottomless pits to self-sufficient corporations.
      It’s no easy task transforming a number of these statutory bodies from seemingly bottomless pits to self-sufficient corporations

      Source: Nation

    • Why did the FSC refuse a request for an extension to file the financials and ECCB did not?

      Some BPWCCUL members peeved
      Call for information on CAPITA audit
      By Maria Bradshaw
      Some members of the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Ltd (BPWCCUL) are accusing the board of not providing them with important information about the situation concerning the audit of Capita Financial Services (CAPITA) at the recently held annual general meeting (AGM).
      A long-standing member told the Weekend Nation that while president Jameela Hollingsworth indicated at the December 3 AGM that her board was taking the matter of the non-production of audited financials of CAPITA as an issue of major and serious concern, it was not disclosed that the board of BPWCCUL was delayed in confirming the appointment of the auditors.
      The Central Bank has imposed a $10 000 fine on CAPITA with an additional $500 a day until the financials are completed. Capita Financial, which provides a range of financial services, is owned by the BPWCCUL.
      Last week, the Financial services Commission (FSC) informed that BPWCUUL that it was appointing a financial advisor to sit on its board due to several reasons, including lack of proper oversight of its subsidiaries.
      Members told the Weekend Nation
      they felt that information which was crucial to them understanding why CAPITA had not been able to complete its financials was not communicated to them fully at the AGM.
      They pointed out that the audit of the BPWCCUL and its subsidiaries, including CAPITA, was conducted on a group consolidated level.
      “By regulation, the group needed to change its auditor at 2021/22 financial year as the former external auditor KPMG had exhausted the nine-year audit cycle. The BPWCCUL did not issue a RFP (request for proposal) for new auditors until December 2021. By the time the new auditors were on board, it was April 14, 2022, long after the CAPITA interim audit would have traditionally been completed – in December – which would ordinarily result in the audit being wrapped up soon after the company’s March 31 financial year-end,” one member explained.
      Late appointment
      Members also pointed out that in a letter dated December 2, 2022, which was sent to the Central Bank outlining reasons why the audit had not been completed and why CAPITA should not be fined for its failure to submit the financials on time, CAPITA cited five reasons, including the late appointment of the auditors.
      Members said they had now discovered that the auditors requested time to familiarise themselves with the information and had advised both BPWCCUL and CAPITA that they would
      not be able to meet the initial deadline of July 31, 2022, and suggested a new target date of September 30, 2022, and this was communicated to the Central Bank. However, the auditors were also unable to meet that timeline as well due to several key people falling ill.
      Upset members also want to know why it was not made known at the AGM that the board of the BPWCCUL had made a decision that CAPITA’s audit would have to give way to BPWCCUL’s audit and its consolidated accounts, another reason why CAPITA’s audit was late.
      This newspaper has confirmed that these reasons were not only presented to the Central Bank but also to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) as CAPITA has a branch in St Lucia. While the ECCB agreed to a December 30, 2022 deadline without sanctions, the Central Bank did not.
      Members who were in attendance at the AGM have expressed shock and dismay that such information was also not forthcoming there since a motion was passed that former chief executive officer, Paul Maxwell, be brought to answer questions on the late financials, but could not now be compelled to do so because he was no longer with CAPITA.
      Hollingsworth is presently out of the island.

      Source: Nation

    • Letter to the Nation Editor:

      SOEs – from sinkholes to sustainable?
      Concerns have been raised following a parliamentary disclosure which indicates that some state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or statutory corporations are in need of further funding during this financial period.
      One commentator uses the term “in deep debt”; and editorials are approaching the issues of SOE funding, operations and management.
      The Daily Nation’s Tuesday editorial wishes to see the SOEs transformed from sinkholes to sustainability. Methinks it will never happen – not under our near welfare dependency, coupled with the aftermath of two years of COVID-19 lockdown, joblessness and almost universal financial losses.
      For me there is no complete grasp of the modern (post-2019) concept of the SOE and its operation, if it is any different from the SOE operating concept when it was first introduced in Barbados. Please therefore advise, and correct me if I am wrong to assume that: 1. State-owned enterprises operate in areas where the private sector dares not tread, especially since the areas of SOE operation almost never provide profit.
      I recall 1955 when public transport was nationalised in the face of frantic calls from the previous private bus owners for a onecent per stage increase in fares. I also recall buying a week’s pack of school bus tickets for one-third of the regular rate (during the regime of private ownership).
      In the red
      Government launched the Transport Board SOE, then almost immediately, raised the bus fares, but it still operates in the red. It would be useful to compare metropolitan transport agencies and their financial outcomes.
      2. Especially after Hurricane Janet
      (1955), the National Housing Corporation became a priority as many poor people needed to be housed. However, there has always been some suspicion surrounding who gets what, and when; and even greater suspicion surrounding the use of such natural disaster events to either help friends or hurt foes. There is no doubting, however, that such an SOE is vitally needed.
      3. Reverting to (1), it is clear that most of our political parties understand and embrace the truth that some of our most vulnerable citizens will always need help which will not be provided by private enterprise nor by charity, hence the need for the various SOEs to step “once more into the breech”; to step in swiftly, deftly and powerfully where the bureaucratic constraints of ministry do not allow for timely response.
      In the modern society that has evolved, we do not question the Ministry of Education for “losses” in paying our education bills; we do not question the Ministry of Health for “losses” in sustaining the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the several well-functioning polyclinics around the island; nor do we malign the budgeting of the Ministry of Transport and Works, not even for delayed road repairs. SOEs, warts and all, are very low-hanging fruit.
      The minister did his job in laying out the financial positions of some of the SOEs – as is his duty – to enable parliamentary funding for obvious shortfalls. If there is a possibility of tightening the operations of these enterprises, then let that be done, but if, by their very existence, they do not make “financial” gain, or if there is a shortfall in funding which hinders the fulfilling of mandates, then the answer is either more funding, or simply be prepared for several needs to be left unattended.
      We should instead look at how a properly funded, efficiently managed and operated SOE can be of benefit to the country: (a) The Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) in keeping our environment tidy and our nation clean; (b) The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. in devising and producing product, and in promoting our tourism assets abroad; (c) The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) in providing potable water islandwide.
      My feeble mind clings to the view that certain institutions should not be expected to profit directly from their enterprise. No self-respecting parent talks (or should think) of profits from raising offspring. Can we then afford to affix a (monetary) profit profile to SSA, BWA, National Cultural Foundation or National Conservation Commission? And how do we count the value of lives saved by the QEH, Psychiatric Hospital and district hospitals, as opposed to cost?
      If my thought process is warped, then I expect – I welcome – correction, but the majority of Barbadians, since 1941, seem to understand the need for efficiently-run SOEs if Barbados is to lean further toward tourism as an important part of our national revenue; if Barbados is to support and embrace this new wave of entrepreneurs who need to be able to contribute to the National Insurance Scheme and not create a further problem when their retirement beckons; and if Barbados is to continue to educate coming generations out of 396 years of poverty.
      The list could go on. – Morris Greenidge

Leave a comment, join the discussion.