Government is on a mission to rebuild the Barbados Public Service.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made this clear as she hosted a press conference at Government Headquarters, where she discussed her recent trip to Canada and the United States of America for a series of high-level meetings.
Ms. Mottley said that in the last 10 years, Barbados faced the highest rate of early retirement by public officers than at any stage since its Independence.
She added that as a consequence, persons were forced into positions, sometimes two or three levels higher, and they did not have the requisite training and experience to prepare them for the task.
“Over the next three or four years, we are going to rebuild the Barbados Public Service, and we are going to do it in many different ways. One of the ways is the request for technical assistance, which partially is what we discussed last week…. In some instances, we want part-time assistance and I have negotiated that for the Statistical Services Department because the best policy comes from good data. If you don’t have good data, you can’t plan good policy, and we have also done it with respect to other areas of government.
“As chair of the University Grants Committee, two weeks ago, I would have settled with Cave Hill, a budget, that also sees the university being able to put on strategic retraining for public servants. It is not so much getting persons with masters degrees or doctorates; that is not what we need. We need people trained for purpose, and we need to change how the public service works and we are working to do that too,” she stated.
The Prime Minister pointed out that there was a defect with respect to the Customs and Excise Department, noting that even though three studies had been done, none was acted upon.
She further stated that for the last 13 years, the senior management of Customs had been acting and said government was hoping to bring that situation to an end very shortly.
According to her, the situation had been corrected, whereby a number of clerical officers were doing the duties of customs officers.
“Two weeks ago, I created 138 posts for Customs Officers Four to be able to accommodate these clerical officers, and in the instances where the officers are over the threshold, they can immediately…be qualified as Customs Officers Three….
“In spite of all we have done, there is still a lot more to be done, and therefore we requested a permanent consultant and the Canadian Government agreed, through the IMF, to assist us with the provision of three long-term consultants,” she explained.
She noted that the consultants would work with the Customs and Excise Department, the Barbados Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
Ms. Mottley also disclosed that she had received the draft Customs Tariff 2017 Order, which was now being examined by the Ministry of Finance.
She said the country had been operating under the 2007 Customs Tariff, and government was trying to bring Barbados into a modern framework with the new Customs Tariff over the next few weeks.