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When we think (and talk) about taking the opportunity post-Erika to rebuild Dominica in better, more sustainable ways, we generally consider this in the context of HOUSING, ROADS RIVER WALLS (or not!), SEA DEFENCES, etc. These are important, but equally so is improving the situation re our HUMAN RESOURCES, especially in the public service.

Everyone (literally) complains that their attitude, work ethic, how they treat the public generally, is very poor. On one memorable occasion in 2012, a certain individual suggested that OVERALL, the public service works at only about 20% efficiency. Imagine how it could be for Dominica and its citizens if the productivity doubled or even tripled in the next five years! Man, this country would boom! And we would only have raised it to a 60% efficiency rating.

As far back as 1980, CARICOM Heads of Gov't seemingly recognized the serious impediment to growth and development caused by very low productivity among public officers (the private sector is only slightly better…) and so established CARICAD ( Caribbean Centre for Development Administration) to try and improve the situation. Honestly, any progress? Twelve years after start-up, and on the appointment of Guyanese P.I. Gomes in 1992 to head the Barbados-based institution, he expressed "a renewed thrust to strengthen managerial capabilities and SYSTEMS in the public sector". Now, 23 years later, any decipherable difference in the public service in "getting the job done" quickly and correctly? Let's be clear: THERE ARE SOME VERY HARD-WORKING AND DEDICATED PUBLIC SERVANTS. But they are too few! The Caribbean HAS to do better if we are to significantly improve our quality of life, and, more particularly, enjoy the HIGHER SALARIES and WAGES that we would then deserve.

So NOW the special opportunity presents itself – ironically, by Erika's devastation – for Dominica (and the Caribbean) to leap forward. The known VISIONARY approach of P.M. SKERRIT gives us hope that he will seize the opportunity to make the rebuilding changes in TRAINING, IMPLEMENTATION, ACCOUNTABILITY (and employee re-allocation…) that is so lacking here. If strategically approached with the necessary financial support (to pay MORE to those deserving, while the others move on elsewhere) then we can conceivably TRANSFORM the public service to facilitate BIGGER salaries for their then much better PERFORMANCE!


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