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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 

Agriculture and Poverty Reduction: Closing the Gaps in Evaluation and Policy Implementation
When looking the linkages between development and macro-economic processes one element that should not be left alone is the question of agrarian development and its fit within macro-economic analyses.
As a matter of fact, by engaging this approach, policy-makers, and analysts can have a broader understanding about the repercussions that come along with stabilization and structural adjustment policies, and the changes affecting the agrarian sector, and their impacts on the level of poverty and how certain policy models tackle matters of financial liberalization in agriculture.

In this regard by stressing the relationships between the contributions of Agriculture to GDP, Agriculture Minister, Paul Persaud (Guyana) has been urging for more comprehensive studies to examine the existing impacts of such distortions on the Guyanese economy (Correct agriculture distortion)

Workers as an 'army of occupation'
Published on: 1/22/07.
The Nation News, Barbados

WHEN NATIONAL HERO, the late Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, whose life work and contribution to our country is officially being marked today, observed in one of his biting, but memorable observations, that many working in the Public Service were "an army of occupation" it caused a flurry in trade union dovecotes.

But today, nearly 20 years after his death, we still see examples of that "occupation" surfacing in areas where public workers are involved.

An "army of occupation" tends to live off the fat of the land, not seeing itself as being committed to making any worthwhile contribution but deriving what benefits it can garner. We are still today pressing on with efforts to make our public workers more committed to national development and service by such projects as Public Service Reform and the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE).

The worst aspect of this "occupation" reveals itself when workers decide they "must see for themselves", the Barbadian euphemism for stealing on the job.

A glaring example of this has been in evidence at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where last week the deputy chairman of the hospital's board, George Griffith, said there was large-scale pilfering . . . . "We know that and we are seeking to put systems in place to stop that . . . and for the minority that engage in that nasty practice it is a big issue."

In many ways this situation is déjà vu where the hospital is concerned. Not many years ago a cry went up that staff members were removing items from the hospital, especially those who came on the job with some of the biggest handbags around. An attempt to have a bag search when the workers were leaving after their work shift did not find favour with the unions.

It was no secret that stealing was going on, but the unions objected to the searches and it was soon business as usual. One point made in their objection was that only certain workers were subjected to the bag search. At the same time it was claimed that a number of "big-up" doctors working at the hospital, while not stealing, were taking hospital equipment off the premises for use in their private practice, something which should not be done.

It is just another example how institutions can suffer all down the line through the attitudes and behaviour of those who provide its services. The QEH might well be regarded as being unfortunate in some respects when it comes to people using or abusing its property for their benefit.

It will be recalled that when the hospital was about to be moved from its Jemmotts Lane site to Martindales Road, two refrigerators sent to the new hospital "disappeared" just so, even before the hospital was officially opened.

Let us not believe, however, that the QEH is the only Government-run institution where what Griffith termed the "nasty practice" goes on. It happens in other places so much so that pilfering now threatens to become part of the culture associated with some institutions.

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