Is the role of the technocrats lost in translation?

 It is no laughing matter who the consultants and technocrats are that  have been advising the prime minister.

It is no laughing matter who the consultants and technocrats are that
have been advising the prime minister.

What is it that everyone except our politicians seems to know? The harsh realities of life in present-day St. Lucia, that’s what. Why do our politicians refuse to acknowledge their limitations, cerebral and otherwise?

Their first order of business should be to allow the collective wisdom and experience of the technocrats to kick in. It is their job to advise the people we elect to represent us, to steer the executive away from dangerous decisions, whether or not fiscal.

It is clear our politicians are interested only in being popular for the sake of elections. But popularity is no guarantor of good policy decisions. Most of our ministers, past and current, allowed themselves to be directed by their egos.

There is little evidence that our government is working in harmony with its public sector managers. They seem concerned only with inventing ways and means for incoming administrations to reward special party supporters.

We can go back as far as 2002, to the rationale for a retreat: “The government of Saint Lucia has organized a Retreat for the Cabinet of Ministers and all Public Sector Managers. This is in an effort to define a strategic focus for the government’s new term in office, and to develop objective and subjective guidelines and norms for more effective functioning of the various ministerial teams, in contributing to the achievement of the strategic focus and vision.

“The two day Retreat which begins here on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 will review the critical issues facing the government of Saint Lucia; agree on the modus operandi for the political and managerial directorate; clarify the role and functions of the individual ministry/agency teams; identify the potential barriers to achieving the vision; develop a plan of action for the next five years and reaffirm commitment to Public Sector Reform. A total of fifty persons comprising all Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department within the Public Service of Saint Lucia will attend the sessions in addition to some members of the private sector.”

The dividends behind those retreats remain largely hidden, if not completely invisible, given the pathetic performance record of this administration.

It is the job of senior government officers to protect ministers from themselves; to be protective buffers between their fanciful campaign promises and the realities of governance.

Public sector managers–technocrats?are not paid out of the public coffers to be the yes men of the government. They are expected to demonstrate pragmatic and data-oriented problem-solving skills. But when they are confronted with narrow-minded, overly sensitive personalities whose pettiness knows no bounds, how can it be a surprise that the public sector experts tend to be silent and invisible, all to the detriment of the nation?

The prime minister’s recent public appeal for solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems, not to mention his own proposed remedies, speaks volumes about his assessment of the talents of his technical advisors and public sector managers. It begs the question, did they sound the alarm in vain or are they party to the puppet show?

Did the technocrats fail to forecast that Saint Lucia’s economy in 2014 would be on the brink of collapse if government’s pattern of borrowing and management of public funds were not reined in and more frugally managed? Did they not advise the government against forcing on public servants a four-percent increase in 2013?

It truly baffles the reasonable mind that those trained and experienced public sector economists, with the interests of the state at heart, would have advised the prime minister to impose on public sector workers a four-percent salary increase, and a few months later to further advise the prime minister to take it back? Did nobody see where all of that would lead?

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5 Responses to Is the role of the technocrats lost in translation?

  1. Woodsman says:

    “… how can it be a surprise that the public sector experts tend to be silent and invisible, all to the detriment of the nation.”

    So in the midst of supposed mismanagement of our limited financial resources by “overly sensitive personalities whose pettiness knows no bounds,” your beloved technocrats simply clam up, vanish into obscurity but continue to enjoy their inflated salaries while you defend them as powerless pawns. They seem more parasitic ticks to me. If they feel they are being disregarded they can opt to quit and use their unappreciated talents to establish their own enterprises as suggested by Pam Popo.

    “… forcing on public servants a four-percent increase in 2013”

    Honestly are you joking? Forcing? If you choose to recall, the public servants’ initial demand was close to 4 times that figure while the government’s opening offer was 0.0% which in many circles was deemed as “insulting”.

  2. joe says:

    Technocrats in the 21st Century are one more client group of the liberal agenda feeding from the trough of public money. They are the enforcers of political correctness either to ensure the money spigot is running full force (VAT or copious borrowing) or backing up the scams like global warming , gay marriage and feminism.

  3. Pam Popo says:

    A consultant sent in an analysis and brief to a prospective firm looking to hire some to evaluate why the company was failing. At his interview he profess to be able to turn the company round, and within a year productivity and profit would double. He was asked twice if he really could do what he was claiming. He said yes. Before offering him the consultancy they did a search on him and found he had lost three different companies that he had started himself. He in fact owed millions to several creditors. So my observation is this if those technocrats are so bright why are they not making millions for themselves ?

  4. Fer De Lance says:

    “Technocrats” is just another word for borborlist, it really should sound like this “Take, No Catch”, they take but you don’t catch them. Anyone can be a Technocrat, just wear a nice suit and pretend you know what you are talking about, which really means that most St. Lucians could qualify.

  5. cswaerospace says:

    Saint Lucia’s Social Partnership is non-existent due simply to the fact that there are no visionary technocrats or consultants with any shred of innovation in the ranks.

    Furthermore, if and when a simple idea to innovate an existing problem into an avenue of opportunity does become available it is instantly snatched and viciously divided between the rabid dogs of “Non-Thinking Back Scratcher Political Farts” who firmly believe that anything and everything must pass through them first.

    Result: Economic, Social and Financial Homicide. Saint Lucia is now just like France was in 1788 before the Revolution of 1789-1799

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