“Let your speech at all times be gracious and pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer each one who questions you.” – Colossians 4:6
Good national governance is about effective and efficient decision making. Leaders make speeches designed to inform their listeners of the decisions that they have made. Since there are several social partners who have different perspectives from which to contribute, the composite message to a nation should be the spiced synthesis of several voices who speak to governance issues.
The Prime Minister should be the ultimate spokesperson and hence has the responsibility to garner all information from the political, business, labour and specialist knowledge voices.
The political voice should stick to policy on “regulatory” and “service” functions associated with a given issue unless, of course, the politician has real knowledge or experience on that particular issue in which case this is a blessing. Very often a politician in government (I have observed this in several jurisdictions) becomes an instant expert the moment a portfolio has been assigned.
The business voice should contribute based on business success because sustainable economic growth of a nation can only be achieved one successful business after another. It is not often in the Caribbean region that successful businesspersons get involved as sitting politicians.
The labour voice should protect the worker in negotiating favourable working conditions and remuneration packages where there is a deserving cause. However, when trade unions sometimes get carried away with seeking wage increases for the sake of getting more money, especially in the cases where the public and private institutions simply cannot afford it, then this activity can be to the detriment of the country. When the country loses, we all suffer!
In my opinion, the forward looking voice of the trade union should be to facilitate sessions between employer and employee to enhance labour productivity for fair compensation.
This spiced synthesis of several voices will likely lead to the thorough research of the issues so that the listeners will be in no doubt as to the reason for the decisions. The alternative, which is often the case, is that decisions are at best not sustainable and at worst lead to the haemorrhaging of the existing situation.
Then there are the voices of those with specialist knowledge and experience on a given issue who cry in the wilderness. The solution here is to establish specialist think tanks of the best and the brightest from at home or abroad and invite them to formally lend their voices to the decision making process.
Once again I would like to thank those readers who responded to my column “SAYING YES TO CHANGE” on the future of the idle lands which once drove the sugar cane economy.
From Tobago: “That was a fantastic article which should be shared with the rest of the Caribbean as the comments are so relevant in our current situation…the need for change and persistence in order to survive and progress”.
From a Guyanese, this time via Facebook, who is the name sake of my late father Charles Springer (a Barbadian): “Perhaps my folks in Guyana, bewildered by the politics of Guyana sugar and the Stage4 cancer that has it gasping for breath, should chew on this one.”
Then my trusted responder Major General Joseph Singh made two contributions on a recent high level meeting involving Ministers of the Government, leadership of the Opposition, Union leaders and private investors about the future of the sugar industry in Guyana: http://bit.ly/2jqAaXY. He went on to say here is another opportunity for CARICOM Ahoy!
Let us pool the collective wisdom of all relevant stakeholders into one voice in the interest of good governance which would lead to sustainable development. This, according to the Brundtland Report, is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”