Sunday, February 25, 2018

Let us assist you, private sector boss tells Govt

Chief executive officer of the Neal and Massy Group Gervase Warner has volunteered the private sector’s assistance in helping the Government improve its leadership and administrative strategies.

In his presentation at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce’s post-budget forum yesterday at Capital Plaza Hotel, Port of Spain, Warner said his suggestion might be stepping out of bounds, but there should be collaboration between select members of Cabinet, the private sector and respected thought leaders to recommend improved structures and practices for leadership of ministries, State enterprises and Cabinet.

Warner said the major issue in achieving the country’s aspirations of competitiveness seemed to be execution, especially from the point of view of leadership with vision and focus, as well as having the right talent in leadership positions for State offices. 

There was also a lack of management systems and processes; transparency and accountability, for example, through annual performance reviews; shortcomings in the implementation of procurement best practices; closing governance gaps identified by auditor general; and a need to balance the focus on infrastructure with capability building. 

Warner also suggested collaboration between the Police Service Commission, Police Social and Welfare Association, TTPS and private sector to streamline administrative functions in police stations to improve service and increase efficiency. 

This could include having civilians in the station with computer literacy skills to perform simple administrative duties like taking reports on a computer rather than having a policeman write it down. 

He also quipped that it was a great idea to reintroduce highway patrols, but wasn’t sure if they actually existed because he had not seen them.

Hospitals too, could benefit from more administrative efficiency, he said. 

Warner said instead of only building new hospitals, there should be a focus on improving the delivery capacity of existing ones, with trained personnel. 

“You don’t only need hardware, but software,” he said.

The same held true for his assessment of the education system. 

There should be a focus on quality of education in schools, with motivated, well-trained and well-qualified teachers; lower teacher absenteeism; and an innovative and diverse curriculum, he said.

The government also needed to balance the pace of building schools with ability to ensure the capacity to be able to staff all the new schools with high-quality teachers, Warner said.