De­lays still the norm

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Editorial -

OVER THE LAST SEV­ERAL YEARS, Bar­ba­di­ans were told ad nau­seam that “it can­not be busi­ness as usual”.

The Cab­i­net min­is­ters and busi­ness peo­ple mak­ing this state­ment of­ten sought to im­press on cit­i­zens the ur­gency to strip away the bu­reau­cratic red tape un­der which we op­er­ate in or­der for Bar­ba­dos to get its econ­omy fir­ing on all cylin­ders again.

De­spite this, much of the frus­tra­tion in con­duct­ing trans­ac­tions for busi­nesses and or­di­nary cit­i­zens con­tin­ues.

Ex­am­ples abound. For in­stance, an of­fi­cial com­pany doc­u­ment was re­jected at the Cor­po­rate Af­fairs and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice (CAIPO) be­cause the com­pany di­rec­tor who signed it did so with a blue ink pen and not a black ink one. Yet, nowhere dis­played was a stip­u­la­tion ban­ning the use of blue ink. The trans­ac­tion was de­layed sev­eral days be­cause of it.

A com­pany di­rec­tor had to wait one and a half hours at CAIPO to get an of­fi­cial to wit­ness his sig­na­ture of a doc­u­ment. When the CAIPO staff mem­ber fi­nally be­came avail­able, the process took less than five sec­onds to com­plete.

A tax­payer was not al­lowed to pay $200 on his in­come tax ar­rears, as re­quired in his signed agree­ment with the Bar­ba­dos Rev­enue Au­thor­ity (BRA), be­cause the cashier was un­sure where to as­sign the money. The man there­after spent over

These four ex­pe­ri­ences in­volv­ing three cit­i­zens known to this news­pa­per are just the tip of the ice­berg. We are aware of other sto­ries of peo­ple be­ing turned around and forced to waste in­or­di­nately long pe­ri­ods of time, some­times hav­ing to ex­pend large sums on con­sul­tants and lawyers, as they try to ne­go­ti­ate do­ing busi­ness with Gov­ern­ment agen­cies.

Why such chal­lenges con­tinue to be the norm rather than the ex­cep­tion in deal­ing with Gov­ern­ment agen­cies is any­body’s guess. What is clear, though, is that this sub­stan­dard, ar­chaic way of do­ing busi­ness only con­trib­utes to mak­ing Bar­ba­dos an unattrac­tive place for in­vest­ment.

The pub­lic sec­tor re­form pro­gramme was started in 1995 to make Gov­ern­ment more ef­fi­cient by “as­sist­ing pub­lic sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions and of­fi­cers to im­prove their per­for­mance to­wards de­vel­op­ing a first-class Pub­lic Ser­vice”. Yet, over two decades later, in­ci­dents like these con­tinue to hap­pen. Why? Based on the con­tin­ued dif­fi­cul­ties to do busi­ness in Bar­ba­dos, what has been achieved from this ini­tia­tive?

We re­it­er­ate our call for a Cab­i­net-level min­is­ter to be ap­pointed to cham­pion ef­fi­ciency and the ease of do­ing busi­ness at all lev­els in our so­ci­ety. Bar­ba­dos can­not be­come a suc­cess­ful econ­omy if we do not dras­ti­cally im­prove the way we do things.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Barbados

© PressReader. All rights reserved.