Mergers, partnerships in Mottley’s plan for boards

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The Government is to consolidate the operations of some statutory corporations and Government agencies, and seek private-public sector partnerships in an efficiency drive tied to its IMF-supported economic recovery plan.

“From as early as this week, we will be meeting with the staff of the Barbados Government Information Service and the Government Printery as we plan to establish a new Public Affairs Unit,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the nation on Sunday.

“In terms of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), we must recognize that technology has made the establishment of a broadcast station in 1963 anachronistic. In circumstances when you can do almost everything you want on a mobile phone, how do we fit CBC into that reality? How do we better leverage the Multi-Choice TV platform and allow profits from that to pay for the Public Affairs Unit and all of our cultural activities? If things are generated from overseas content, we should be able to anchor our people in terms of our national identity with the profits from that overseas content.”

Changes are also coming shortly to the administration of Kensington Oval Management Inc., Gymnasium Limited, Caves of Barbados and the Cultural Industries Development Authority, she said.

“We are entering a joint venture with the Barbados Cricket Association so that instead of Kensington Oval Management Inc. looking after its operations, it will be managed by Government alone.

“A request for proposals will go out for the Caves of Barbados so that facility can be better managed and developed by the private sector. The land will remain with the Government and we will only part with it by way of lease, but a private company will manage the cave’s operations.

“The Gymnasium will come under the National Sports Council again, and the Cultural Industries Development Authority will be under the National Cultural Foundation’s umbrella once again, and we reckon we can complete this process between yearend and early next year.”

But there were statutory corporations managing essential services that Mottley said would need more time for a concrete decision to be made on their future.

“These include the Transport Board, the Barbados Water Authority, the Barbados Agricultural Management Company, the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, the National Housing Corporation, along with the Urban and Rural Development Commissions. We are starting to look at those now, but the process could run to 2020 owing to their complex nature.”

The Prime Minister said there was a lot of work to do with those agencies based on the challenges Government had experienced with them, especially over the past decade, but she hoped for the best with the proposed changes.

“Regrettably, we have to confront the reality that for these services to do better we must take better control of the runaway expenditure, profligate spending and contractual liabilties to which they were committed under the last government without regard to whether we could pay for them. We are hoping we can make these changes without compromising on the quality of the services they provide.” 

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