“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
David L. Washington published a paperback in 2012 entitled “The Power of the P’s”. It states that “From Prayer to Potential to Progress … there are countless words with the letter P that inspire and give meaning to helping dreams come true – words like: possibilities, productivity, plan, philosophy, persuasion, perception, patience, persistence, perseverance and many more! Washington … hopes that you can use these words to influence you too!”
The middle of December each year signals the beginning of a two-week period where vacation mode is the practice of many. Others have to temper this with a modicum of work to ensure that at least essential services keep going. During the first week of this period culminating on Christmas Day itself, there is preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birthday and we often get swept away by the mass commercialization tide. Only the very disciplined can control the force of this festive energy. Gifts, food, drink, reunions of family and friends take centre stage and reportedly a good time is had by all.
We reflect and share our thoughts on many topics and try to solve the problems of the world. This year has been no exception. These celebrations and the accompanying discussions continue until such time, after New Year’s Day, when we regroup to return to school and to our normal work rhythm. I try to come up with a New Year’s resolution to guide the focus of my activities in the year ahead and hope that these dreams come true. We take a fresh guard, call on internal Divine energies and welcome the new life which lies ahead.
Over the last 10 days or so, as a result of the exchange of ideas over the Christmas season, the Power of the P’s has influenced me to the extent that two concepts have lingered in my mind.
Firstly, Public-Private Partnership because I genuinely believe that this is the foundation on which to build solutions for our many problems nationally, regionally and globally.
In 2008, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) studied country cases where public-private partnerships had been developed to build consensus about long term strategies.
The Social Partners desire, through their association in a Social Compact, to create a modern, efficient economy which is able to (1) produce high and sustainable economic growth accompanied by increased employment, (2) establish through low inflation an equilibrium between prices and incomes, (3) achieve a society which enjoys a greater degree of inclusiveness in all its facets and (4) engender a conscious and deliberate effort to distribute equitably the benefits of economic growth.
In this context, the social partnership should continually monitor five main drivers relating to globalization, employment, industrial relations, the domestic economy and social dialogue, as issues arise in these areas. It is intended that the partners discuss the issues and propose measures to speedily resolve them in the national interest without compromising the integrity of their constituent partners.
These ECLAC reviews included Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore and Barbados, the only country case in the English-speaking Caribbean.
It was my privilege to have been asked to author the Barbados report which is designed to tell the story of the learning experience and relative success of Barbados as an example of a country that has employed public-private partnerships. The report can be easily accessed though a Google search.
My observation now, some eight years later, is that the Barbados Public-Private Partnership has gone off track and that there is need for a strategic review of the five main drivers and to take commensurate corrective action to bring the objectives back in focus and keep them on track.
Secondly, the Profit, People and Planet (the triple bottom line) sustainability concept must be addressed by the Public-Private Partnership.
I was on my morning walk and met a neighbour, a car salesman, awaiting his pick-up for work on Christmas Eve. I stopped to chat and another neighbour joined us and announced that his hardware business had closed for the rest of the year. The car salesmen announced that he might even have to work on Christmas Day car deliveries because of Trinidad and Tobago licensing office delays.
I then said to the car salesman that the continued introduction of new cars into T&T, even though profitable to the car dealership, contributes negatively to road congestion, pollution and depletion of foreign exchange reserves but positively and significantly to government’s revenue through the customs department. His immediate response was that these negatives are the responsibility of government not us.
In another discussion, this time on Christmas Day, a European private sector manager reinforced the car salesman’s argument by stating that the focus of the private sector boardroom is to preside over the maximization of profits.
This raises the question “Who will look after the interests of the People (employment, productivity, training and motivation) and the Planet (the preservation of the environment)? My answer is “the public and private sectors, in partnership!”
My New Year’s Resolution is to promote the Power of the P’s – “If the nation wins, we all win”.
The year 2015 will soon be behind us. Here is a vision for you and your life this coming year:
Let next year be the year when: your ships come in, you find Christ within; you gladly live, you have much to give; you know the truth, you discern new youth; you observe bliss, you will live to bless; your dreams come true, you find the new you. (Adapted from “This is the Year!” written by Russell A. Kemp).
Holistic prosperity to all in 2016!
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)