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December 6 is E-Day updated 5 days, 18 hours ago
December 6 is E-Day updated 5 days, 18 hours ago

Effective delivery of services to the public is a key test of legitimacy for any government, but especially those in small developing countries like ours. . Where many challenges exist such as low-income communities, ethnic fragmentation (Kalinago), and long-present heavy political tension – and all exacerbated by the costly devastation of T.S. Erika – this can CONCEIVABLY send a country into a spiral of dissatisfaction and despair. A failure, for example, because of the subsequent unavailability of funds, to deliver water, health, education and other vital services to the accustomed standard, could itself devastate any government's chances of survival. By the same token, success and effectiveness in this area helps establish the legitimacy of a the government and its chances to serve again and again. Especially, if it is seen to be Rebuilding Dominica BETTER.

So Institutional strengthening of those government ministries actually responsible for service delivery is imperative, post-Erika Because small states like ours are often badly affected by sub-standard capacities in service departments, international assistance is often invited to respond by providing training and technical assistance on building capacity, as well as policy advice. Also, education programs focused on leadership, accountability and the responsibility of the public service have achieved progress in many settings. Countries will perform satisfactorily only when their governments and leaders promote professionalism in the public service (Pradham, World Bank, 2009). Because the private sector is generally more motivated and thus somewhat more efficient than gov't departments, a valuable byproduct that emerges from private-public collaboration is that some of the private companies' skills and knowledge seamlessly transfers to the state.

The emphasis on public-private partnerships in small struggling states is not just about improving tactics. The objective of any intervention of this kind should be to protect against destruction of precious and irreplaceable human capital, specifically that held by youth. Most developing countries have been stuck with their desperate status quo for decades. The only plausible way out is to ensure that the future generations are privy to fundamental public services. Public-private partnerships offer a way to get there.

Poverty and political conflict are, in many countries, elements of a vicious circle. To break it, BOTH must be addressed. In reflecting at the much too high POLITICAL TRIBALISM that currently exists in Dominica, it would clearly help reduce tensions if government's right and responsibility to manage the public finances and human resources continue along the path of more and more transparency. It is all about delivering accountability, giving voice to citizens, providing checks and balances for performance and against, yes, abuse of power – which, it must be said often emanates from the bureaucracy, not only the elected officials (government AND opposition).

THE legislature and the judiciary here would likely gain more respect and credibility with more 'town-hall" style interactions with the people (sexual abuse? penalties for crime"…). Also, independence of audits, addressing petty corruption, and, of course, more ACCEPTABLY transparent elections, would help. The gov't of Dominica displayed a new and welcome understanding of PRECISELY this by a recent policy statement that acknowledged there was need to "clean-up" the bloated electoral lists. Formalizing the long-accepted interpretation of the law that allowed for the votes of overseas based nationals (as is the norm in many other Caribbean (and other large) countries would likely help reduce tension over that cantankerous issue. The Opposition has to do its part in RESPONSIBLY approaching negotiated reforms.

Capacity building is at the heart of Dominica-building which in turn is linked to creating the conditions that lead to sustained reductions in poverty. Incompetence due lack of professionalism is a big problem here, and because of the "instant gratification" attitudes of the newly employed, is actually getting WORSE. Outside organizations and their experienced trainers can and should help, but ultimately, all countries – even poor ones like Dominica – have to build their own institutions and tailor them to their own REBUIDING BETTER needs.