You are here
Neal & Massy CEO: Govt worst agency to run anything
Speaking at an event of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce yesterday, Neal and Massy Holdings president and Group chief executive officer Gervase Warner said at the chamber’s post-budget panel discussion, “I think the worse agency to run anything in T&T is the government.” Turning to Finance Minister Larry Howai, who was waiting to deliver the feature address at the event at Crowne Plaza, Warner said, “Not your government, any government.”
Warner explained why he believed government is unfit to “run things.” He said, “For scores of years, we’ve been talking about public sector reform and we keep talking about it, and we hire consultants (but) where is public sector reform (at)?” Warner said he went through documents on a government ministry’s Web site which publishes “every position in every ministry and salaries of all of those positions.”
He said he didn’t know that was available, but “If you see paper! If you see people! I was really struck, however, by the salary levels.” He said in the private sector, particularly as you move up, salaries are more competitive and attractive. In contrast, Warner said, “The salaries that are available in the public sector would never attract serious managers. We have a structural problem. I don’t say this thing about the government shouldn’t run things lightly. We don’t attract the best management talent or leadership.”
He said that as a result, there is no “deployment of technology to lead and manage things well in the public sector” and reiterated that the Public Service “is in need of massive reform.” Addressing the topic of “unleashing productivity,” Warner, who was preceded by Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) president general Michael Annisette, said he was very excited when the labour leader spoke. He said he agreed with Annisette that “improving productivity will require real strong leadership.”
Annisette had questioned whether government institutions, and “even the private sector,” are using the right technology and the right management practices. Warner said, “I would add: ‘Do we have the correct regulatory environment and institutions to encourage productivity?’
I think the answer to many of those questions is actually ‘no.’ So what do we need to do?” He responded to his own question, “First thing, Mr Minister, and I want you to take this back to your Cabinet, we need to get serious about removing the bureaucratic impediments to doing business in T&T. Enough talk. We need action.”
The Neal and Massy Group CEO said, “You want to have partnership. We are here to partner with you in that regard. Leverage public-private partnerships.” Warner said the time has come to put country first. The business executive said, “There’s no time for business as usual. It is time for us to bring out the extraordinary.”
He asked rhetorically, “What does the extraordinary look like? The extraordinary looks like being able to look at and tell the truth. The extraordinary looks like being willing to admit when you are wrong. The extraordinary means being able to forgive. The extraordinary also means recognising that we are all here to serve a higher purpose.”
Taking the podium after Warner, Howai’s first words were, “I’ve had to make a transition from, in retrospect, what was a very cushy position to having to deal with the myriad of challenges that faces one in government, because from the perspective of government, there is never ‘public’ and ‘private.’ There’s one nation, and, in a sense, you have to determine what is the best way to achieve the overall objectives for this country.”
Howai said in drafting the budget, choices had to be made. Some things will be in and some things will be out; some will be happy and some will be sad. “And then there are some who will be very irritated with you, but you nevertheless you have to sit and determine what are the choices you’re going to make, and in terms of determining that, you have to, in a sense, do a full analysis and determine what it is you want to achieve, where it is you want to go, and you make the choices in the context of that overall objective.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.