PM Anthony calls for change in attitude towards work

By SNO/ Office of the Prime Minister

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PM Anthony.

Growth enhancing effects of innovative technology, externalities and the adoption of lower cost production techniques, as factors for economic growth were underscored at the launch of National Competiveness Week.

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony in his address at the opening emphasized that these are all important factors that will help to trigger growth and development for the local economy.

However, he noted that beyond these measures, there is a dire need for change in people’s habit towards work. Dr. Anthony believes that St. Lucia must become more accountable and responsible.

“All I have really said is that we need to change our attitudes toward work.  This change in attitude must begin at the home, school and the world of work.  If we all resolve to do what it takes to become more effective and efficient, then we would see the fruits of our efforts,” he stated.

Anthony urged St. Lucians to focus on the solutions, rather that the negatives and ensure that they play a role in the process in improving productivity here. “Let us put aside the things that divide us, be politics, religion or even disagreements and lets us join hands as a nation to bring our country forward,” he added.

According to the prime minister, it has now become a norm where people blame others for their shortcomings and failings.  This he said should not be allowed to continue. Anthony said St. Lucians needs to develop a culture of willingness to implement tasks that are assigned to them.

“We need to be able to set targets and work towards achieving them and to constantly follow up to ensure that progress is being made,” he advised.

The prime minister noted too that there is also a need for persons to be willing to become leaders and managers and willing to provide the direction necessary to ensure that we remain on target.

Leaders he said must also be inspiring, able to motivate to get the job done, be courageous and take the right decisions no matter how hard or unpopular they may be.

“I challenge each of you here today and throughout the country to implement/undertake an activity that leads to productivity improvement starting today and see the results in a week, a month and even a year’s time. Enhancing productivity calls for deliberate attempts on our part.”

Anthony said with the advent of social media, plenty time is spent wasted. “Does the level of work produced justify the wages that are paid?” he questioned.

This question was directed not only at employees, but supervisors, managers and even the owners of businesses and in the case of the Public Service, at directors and permanent secretaries. Anthony said the question also applies as well to ministers and all other functionaries of the state.

He applauded the Saint Lucia National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) for the work it has been doing. The theme chosen for this week activities is: “Enhancing Productivity is our Responsibility is a call for action individually and collectively.”

READ PM ANTHONY’S ENTIRE SPEECH BELOW: “TIME TO ACT ”

CONTINUOUS EXCELLENCE

First of all, let me say how pleased I am that the dialogue we started a year ago on productivity has continued and is beginning to bear fruit.

The drive for increased productivity means that we are committing ourselves to excellence in our efforts, undertakings, and our work places, whatever our station may be. To do so individually and collectively would be a paradigm shift of major proportion.

I applaud the Saint Lucia National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) for undertaking this monumental and unpopular task.

Secondly, let me applaud the NCPC and its hard working Secretariat in putting together the Productivity Awareness Week, no doubt an ambitious undertaking to give meaning to a concept that seems to attract  a fair measure of cynicism.

The theme chosen for this week: “enhancing productivity is our responsibility”is a call for action individually and collectively.

The Council has put together an agenda for the week that caters to both the private and public sectors.

I am also pleased that our youth is involved and have been given the opportunity to give “their take” on the discussion on productivity.

CONCEPT OF PRODUCTIVITY

I agree, without reservation, that the concept of productivity is sometimes, not an easy one to comprehend much less to accept.

Generally, productivity is defined as the ratio between the output produced and the inputs used in producing that output. Outputs and inputs can be goods or services, as the case may be.

It measures how efficiently the production inputs such as labor (employees/workers), capital, land, etc are utilized in an economy or a firm to produce a given level of output.  The most common measure of productivity is that of labor. However, we can measure the productivity of any input be it capital, land, etc.

In addition to the definition of productivity, we know too well that there are factors that do affect productivity within a company, public service or for that matter any unit of decision making including, of course, the units of governance within the state.

We need to constantly ask ourselves basic questions. At the technical level, we need to ask, are we using the latest technology? Are we undertaking the necessary research to ensure that we can adequately compete with our neighbours regionally or even at the global level? Is there a demand for our products or services?

SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY

The situation with the banana industry is well documented and is a clear indication of our inability to compete effectively.

Saint Lucia is holding its own with regards to the tourism industry even in the face of steep competition. However, we need to be concerned about our product offering, customer service and our ability to be at the cutting edge of technology.  The same holds for the manufacturing sector and all the other sectors of the economy.

None of us should exempt ourselves from the hard questions, uncomfortable as the answers may be.

WE CANNOT EXCLUDE OURSELVES

At the organisationallevel, are the roles well defined? Do we take responsibility for the tasks assigned to us and do we do them with integrity, honestly and on time?

With the advent of social media, do we spend time on our phones or on facebook? Does the level of work produced justify the wages that are paid? And this question is directed not only at the employees but at the supervisors, managers and even the owners of businesses and in the case of the Public Service, at directors and permanent secretaries. It applies as well to ministers and all other functionaries of the state.

PERSONNEL FACTORS

Then too there are the personnelfactors. Without a doubt,  having the right person in a given position is just as important to get the job done as well as providing continuous training, good working conditions and the right compensation package.

FINANCE FACTORS

The finance factors cannot be overlooked, as it is the life-blood of the organisation.  Proper control needs to be exercised over the fixed and working capital; there needs to be too proper financial planning to ensure that there is a fair return on investment.

MANAGEMENT FACTORS

The management factors are the most important in the discussion on productivity. This speaks to proper supervision and the ability to motivate staff to produce at optimum; working more efficiently to achieve the tasks at hand.

Managers must be competent, have good judgment, and be willing to take risks. They should be able to make optimum use of resources to produce output at minimum cost, while at the same time utilizing cutting edge technology.

Other important factors in the discussion on productivity include location and marketing of products or services, proper understanding of the laws, practices and procedures regulating or influencing decision-making.

You cannot change what you do not know exists!

PRODUCTIVITY AND GROWTH

There is a clear connection between increased productivity and the growth in a given economy.

Research has shown that, in the long run, economic growth is driven by productivity and, therefore, total factor productivity consists of growth-enhancing effects of innovation in technology, externalities and the adoption of lower cost production techniques.  It has been suggested that in more developed countries, the growth-enhancing effects of productivity account for more than half of overall economic growth, and in some instances even higher, while in developing countries about one-third of growth can be attributed to productivity.

LOWER LEVELS OF PRODUCTIVITY

As we all know, the Saint Lucian economy contracted in 2012 by 1.3 percent and in 2013 by 2.3 percent. Even before that period, international agencies had suggested that one of the factors that explained the slow growth was the lower levels of productivity.

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (the NCPC) has undertaken an exercise to measure productivity levels in Saint Lucia for the period 2000 to 2013 at the macro level in the first instance.  We will have a presentation on the results a little later this morning.However, permit me to talk briefly on that assessment.

This preliminary report suggests that productivity levels in Saint Lucia are on the decline.Productivity fell by a staggering 6.0 percent in 2012 and by 3.0 percent in 2013.  The report also suggests that our levels of productivity are below those of other small states that we are benchmarked against.

Having said this, our levels are better than some of our counterparts. This should not give much comfort because the evidence suggests that we have stagnated a bit while they are on an upswing trend. If we do nothing, those other countries will soon surpass us.

IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY

Obviously, to improve productivity, we have to measure it, elusive as some may think it is. Measurement provides a quantitative and qualitative evidence of where you are, helps set targets and provide the impetus to improve on productivity growth.  I therefore congratulate the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council for starting this process.

This productivity awareness week provides us all with the opportunity to dialogue on the issues that affect productivity and the measures that we can undertake to improve.

I know it’s a discussion that can be uncomfortable but its necessity ought not to be denied.

As a nation, we must become more accountable. The norm these days is to pass the buck, blame others for our shortcomings and failings. Passing the buck has become habitual, almost an art in our society. In everything we look for scapegoats.

We must develop a culture, a habit of willingness to implement tasks that are assigned to us. We need to be able to set targets and work towards achieving them and to constantly follow up to ensure that progress is being made.

We need persons willing to become leaders and managers and willing to provide the direction necessary to ensure that we remain on target. Leaders must also be inspiring, be able to motivate to get the job done, be courageous, take the right decisions no matter how hard or unpopular they may be.

ATTITUDES TOWARDS WORK

All I have really said is that we need to change our attitudes toward work.  This change in attitude must begin at the home, school and the world of work.  If we all resolve to do what it takes to become more effective and efficient, then we would see the fruits of our efforts.

It is now time to focus on the solutions; all of us have a part to play. Let us put aside the things that divide us, be politics, religion or even disagreements and lets us join hands as a nation to bring our country forward.

LET’S BE PRODUCTIVE

The Council is made up of all the actors that are needed to put aside all differences to get the job done along with the rest of the country.

Let us take advantage of this week, and let’s be productive, let this be the start of this journey.

I challenge each of you here today and throughout the country to implement/undertake an activity that leads to productivity improvement starting today and see the results in a week, a month and even a year’s time. Enhancing productivity calls for deliberate attempts on our part.

It is with great pleasure that I now declare the Productivity Awareness Week to be officially open.

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31 comments

  1. Mr PM why dont you change your attitude towards the way you govern this country.

  2. Kenny seems to be blaming St.Lucians for his dysfunctional political administration. He talk about productivity and attitude in the work force. Well guess what Mr.Prime Minister, you can,t achieve those two elements with low morale in the work place you idiot. Your empty promises and bags of chips are no longer effective. Do St.Lucia a favour, step down.

  3. Wow! What a load of tosh! We all know that our PMs can read somewhat correctly, what the technical officers in the various ministries write.

    They can read. Thank God for small mercies!

    What confuses the uninformed masses is that after reading the various speeches, that is it. Nothing else is done about what is contained in those speeches.

    One is left to conclude that either the PMs do not understand what the hell they read, or they go through the motions without any intention to put into action themselves, all that is trotted out in the public domain.

    Not all of us, happily are that dumb anymore. There is no evidence that there is any greater understanding afterwards, than before the several readings and recitations.

    None of the ideas trotted out up there, for example appears in any of past budgets as an actionable programme, project or institution.

    For example, only those who drink the “en rouge” Kool Aid appear to be fooled by all this tripe about wished-for economic externalities. Hypocritically, see the quick pivot to blame workers, leaving the other owners of the other critical factors of production without a scintilla of advice or promise towards embedding a productivity culture in all their operations. Could have fooled me. Hey! Only workers being constantly barked at, generate national productivity increases?

  4. Well said bambi lots of public servants will not admit to the truth.Let them do some introspection.Lol.

  5. I thought that I hear wrong what kenny said. …isn’t the step program aid in the problem, these people work 8am to midday, where’s the productity in that…Nice, hope, and all these programs are also contrubuting to the problem. ..I believe in a fair days work for a fair days pay…so start with your programs man….I can’t get anyone to work for me on my farm for 8hrs, they rather work for step,

  6. Kenny said it all lead by example and unite. Does he practice this? Reference what goes on in the house in chastising other members and providing superficial expalantions to the disbersements of public funds.

    IS HE uniting or being a leader in being accountable to the people? If not then this message is not for us it is fom him.

  7. I just dont know where to start Kenny, I’m frustrated by all the bull I’m hereing , again and again Kenny is brain washing our people head. I left SLU two months ago because I was frustrated with my goverment.
    We have no rights as citizens, most people are not happy in their jobs but also scared to lose it, the employer treat their staff like crap and play ball with them when they want.
    Again the labour code needs to be reviewed because employees dont have the right.

  8. Everyone seems to have narrowed down productivity to the work place and attached instant gratification to it. One can condition one’s self to be productive by setting goals and pursuing them. The satisfaction may just be a feeling of of self- worth which ultimately boost self-confidence in one’s self. Plant a seed, clean the house, experiment in the kitchen, buy a weed eater and look for work, organize a roadside carwash with access to water, learn a trade and offer your services, get a fishing line and try your luck, be a handyman for the elderly among other things. As believers we know that we only reap what we sow. In the public sector, there is too little accountability and way too much complacency.

  9. Well said Dr. Anthony. We need to be more efficient and competitive in carrying out our duties, it does matter what job you doing. We also have to purge our minds from the cancer of resentment and party politics. Young leaders, community groups, farmers, Bus drivers, vendors, religious leaders, public servants, entrepreneurs…lets join hands, elevate our standards and work together and move forward in purposeful strides. There is no challenge to great that we cannot conquer together.

  10. In theory your speech is lovely very appealing. In reality sorry dread, I try my best to avoid placing blame but you’ve screwed up the economy, hard work doesn’t pay… back home standard of living is very low and cost of living very high…no future for the youth, our seniors are doomed while u spend millions on consulates abroad and to accommodate ministers while abroad and the tax pay and impoverish suffers. St.lucia makes the fourth highest revenue from in the region yet you have never informed us how that revenue is spent. Y isn’t there a pathway for our youth or a health care plan for our seniors. I have lost respect fot you bro……i’m abroad and im saddened by your poor choices how about those who live through it daily

  11. OMG! The prime minister actually said this? “As a nation, we must become more accountable. The norm these days is to pass the buck, blame others for our shortcomings and failings. Passing the buck has become habitual, almost an art in our society. In everything we look for scapegoats”

    Really? Himself and his spin doctors do this almost every day when their first excuse is to blame previous administrations!!

    Lead by example then we might start to take you seriously!

  12. Hey, Heyyyyyyyyy, now kenny say he cannot wait on dialogue with the Unions for a 5% cut.. and then he says to st Lucians “workers u need to change your attitudes, and be more productive”…Hey hey, heyyyyyyyy

  13. Kenny need to think before he open his mouth. Evidently he don,t. He speaks out his ass.

  14. Its about time we address our minds to the reality of things. The Prime minister is so right and we need to put aside differences when addressing such important issues. From a personal experience some time back when I visited my country and went to the VFort post office 9am to do business. Only to meet a member of staff playing solitaire on the desktop computer at the front desk with several persons waiting to be served. My words to her were, “Miss so early on the job you cannot find nothing to de but play games?” I went outside only to be approached moments after by the young woman who verbally assaulted me. I asked for her supervisor whom the matter was reported to but he could not get her to apologize for her actions. That is such poor work ethics and supervisors need to be honest with workers. The performance appraisal is the weapon to grade them after guiding them on the job, use it.

  15. This dummy is always talking some jive turkey bull shit to the people. Di man mash up the economy and he want’s to talk about being business competitive, what a load of bullocks, how can you you compete in such an expensive high cost environment.

  16. I am really fed up of ministers of government using buzz words and the language of the day for personal motives. When Ministers of government become responsible and productive then we will have a productive Caribbean. Our leaders have lost their way and are now making us the people the scapegoats. And by the way what technology are we talking about in St. Lucia. Leadership should walk the talk, when our leaders develop the culture that facilitates productivity then they can give the great speeches.

  17. Kenny listen to yourself in parliament as a leader, is no example to the nation. You speak to your minister like legitimate kids and oppositions like batas. So set the example first followed by your press sec.

  18. Well, well Kenny i have a few words for you. You need to be more transparent, stop the propaganda wheel, and be more responsible. I find it so ironic that you asking us to find solutions, when that’s your biggest failure “finding solutions to our growing problems” > note to you: there are so many hard workers in the public sector, stop employing people who cannot perform for the sake of a vote or favor.

  19. yes dr. Anthony or should I address you as Tony. You are indeed right when you say that st Lucian workers have poor work effics. Under your admistration the registry is a mess and that’s why we st lucians have so much of a hard time to correct birth certificates and passports. Begin by stating your production over the years and then how many permanent secretaries you have and a mooth piece that earns almost $8000 a month for just talking nonsense. Address your productivity by putting the vat so high, that the poor man cannot eat a bread farless pay their bills.

  20. Well,well,well. The Prime Minister has final hit the nail on the head. I live overseas, and although I have no wish to compare St Lucia to where I live, it saddens me when I visited St Lucia and encountered the lack of work ethnics in the workplace. Customer Service is non-existent. The Managers seem unable to control their staff. There is a total lack of respect in the workplace. Managers should start setting targets in the workplace to encourage productivity. Otherwise we will remain stagnant for a long long time.

  21. Very productive of you SNO to already publish this article from a speech this morning. Good job…

  22. keep your culture!!

    Well said! however I strongly believe that with a more efficient system in place, which is in your powers to fix.So when we need access to it we do not get a fight which usually leads to frustration, and a lack of confidence amongst the youths like myself. My point if you give the young generation the tools the confidence and the know hows then you can see better results.

  23. Bad speech..Someone already said it, lead by example. Kenny is the most Incompetent Manager…What’s new IMF Middle man.

    Please Governor General
    Form a Coalition
    With de opposition
    Take over de Island
    Don’t involve babylon, they like to kill mad man
    Ask de American
    Tell them we wane some fund
    To stop extra-judicial, unconstitutional, killing of criminal.
    And start de Police trial.

    Bring out de ROBO, Expose DE BOH BOH.

  24. SMH LOL KENNY I THINK YOU AND YOURE MINISTERS SHOULD TAKE A WAGE CUT JUST AS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHEN A COMPANY IS PERFORMING POORLY

  25. St Lucia are lazy they live beyond their means. They learn from their parents because they see them just have kids and send them out and work for them.

  26. This man is what you call “MAD” is the weed he smoked with the guys in Boguis to convince them to vote for him , right when he said he was going to legalized weed , is it getting to him !

  27. workers are not interested in productivity any more because it doesn’t matter how hard you work in your department, when its time for an increase in salary or a higher position is who know you and who know know and who like you

  28. Where is Mr Kenny’s productivity over the past years. Is it in Trinidad, his pocket or his mouth. Lead by example.

  29. We are usually qucik to pass the buck to the persons on the lower end of the scale. but often times the managers or supervisors. victimise worlers because of contributions they make at staff meetings…. Manager need to change too.

  30. Great speech but i wonder if it was heard because people now are mostly interested in pay day.I wish the unions would pick up the challenge to instill good work ethics in the members and not only interested in pay hikes and conditions of service.They never talk about productivity.Lol

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