Ann Marie Bissessar

Taken from “Governance in the Caribbean” edited by Selwyn Ryan and Ann Marie Bissessar.


During the 1980s many countries worldwide attempted to reform their public bureaucracies by replacing the traditional system of Public Administration with what Hood (1991) commonly referred to as New Public Management (NPM). It was obvious that the ideological justifications for introducing NPM was based on the doctrines of the 'new right' which placed increasing reliance on market forces and a reduced role for the state. The introduction of NPM was thus a universal movement which emphasized competition between service providers, a new mix of reform involving state and market, decentralization, freedom of choice to citizens and new managers who were "free to manage" (Aucoin 1990;

Metcalfe and Richards 1984; Hood 1991). What was obvious, though, was that reforms in many countries of the world were being pursued with varying degrees of enthusiasm and some governments were adopting one set of policies while other governments focused on other features.

According to Hood (1991), the change or movement from a model of 'administration' to a model of 'management' was due to several interrelated imperatives and he linked these to what he termed four mega-trends. The first trend he identified emerged out of the need to slow down or reverse the growth of government, particularly in areas such as staffing. The second trend was the shift toward privatization and semi-privatization, while the development of automation was cited as the third trend and governmental cooperation represented the fourth trend.

It should be recalled that in many developed countries, including the UK and the US, one of the frequent explanations advanced for the shift from large to small bureaucracies was the need to curb expenditure. Many of these countries had experienced a long economic boom until the early seventies followed by global crisis in the mid seventies

and then slow and partial recovery punctuated by sometimes sharp depression. It was suggested that these depressions were partly responsible for governments, first in the UK and later in the US, having to move away from their original roles of providing welfare to that of facilitating the delivery of services. The concern to reduce costs in the public bureaucracies along with the need to compete on the global market would also have led these governments to experiment with and employ new, more managerial types of administration.

By the 1980s, it was evident that in attempting to reform their bureaucracies many of the countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean also embraced NPM doctrines. This article will examine and evaluate some of the reform measures that were introduced. It concludes, though, that although the doctrines employed within each country were similar, there were differences in the method employed by each government and also varying degrees of success. This article will accordingly examine the political and economic environments and assess the degree to which these factors have hindered the imple­mentation of NPM reforms in four countries namely Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.

The Caribbean Context

The islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean comprise a cluster of nations which had formerly been under colonial rule. Apart from a shared history, each of these islands also has a distinctive socio-economic order which has been largely determined by the experiences of slavery and in countries such as Guyana, and Trinidad, indentureship. The current concern in all these countries, however, is to maintain a stable democratic system of government, a healthy economic climate, and, with the imposition of structural adjustment conditions in the 1980s, to attract new in­vestment.

During the early post-independence period, many countries in the Caribbean justified the funding of large public services and sectors as part of their ongoing policy to cater to the wide ranging development needs of their societies. However, it was observed that although there had been an expansion in the  size and  scope of the public sectors, there was accompanying efficiency in these sectors.  Rather  there were accounting criticisms that public sectors were used by the various governments as vehicles for patronage. It was to be expected, then, that while a number of committees to examine and arrive at solutions form this sector were set up during the period 1960-1980, the actual reforms implemented in these sectors were minimal. By way of explanation, writers have suggested that reform of the public sectors particularly in the Caribbean was constrained by a number actors. Caiden (1991), for example, suggested that the history of the country, the geography and even the culture of the public sector were critical obstacles to reform. Wilenski (1986) argued that the greatest impediment to reform was the lack of political will. But lack of political will, it seemed, was only  part of the problem. According to Mills (2) the public servants were unable to take decisions because they were trained by the colonial administrators to adhere steadfastly to rules and regulations. It has been suggested, therefore, that while there were always internal push factors for reforms, the movement away from a Public Administration model to a model ^New Public Management was not entirely edogenous. Rather, writers have suggested that a number of factors, better placed under the'umbrella'of globalization, was responsible for the reforms that were introduced during the 1980s and 1990s in many Caribbean states.

Globalization, it has been pointed out, is not a single phenomenon. Some writers consider globalization as an economic logo (Ohmae 1995;Wriston 1992; Guehenno 1995), others contend that contemporary globali­zation is wholly exaggerated and that the forces of intemationalization depend on the regulatory power of national governments to ensure continuing economic liberalization (Boyer and Drache 1996 and yet some are of the view that globalization is a central driving force behind the rapid, social, political and economic changes that are reshaping modem societies and world order (Giddens 1990; Scholte 1993;

Castells 1996). However, as Farazmand (1999) suggested more than economic transformation is involved since the forces of globalization have impacted on ideologies, value systems and systems of governance and administration as well. Yet as other writers have argued, a number of other internal forces or pressures were also influential including:

1 .Changing population structures, which meant that the demands placed on public services had to change.

2. Mounting criticisms of the way by which services were delivered (Hood 1991).

3. Declines in domestic economies..

The experience in the Commonwealth Caribbean, however, suggests that although there was certainly a number of internal factors that were creating the impetus for reform, the major driving force behind the introduction of NPM was the external pressure of globalization and more particularly the conditions imposed by the International Lending Agencies in the 1980s. Indeed, it has been well documented that the downturn of the world economy in the 1980s led many countries, in not only the developed world but also in Latin America and the Caribbean as well, to seek aid from these lending agencies. However, these loans or aid were accompanied by a number of conditions or measures referred to as structural adjustment measures. As La Guerre (1994) noted, the structural adjustment conditions that accompanied these loans were not confined to the economic sphere alone but also impacted on the public sector as well. Indeed, apart from the regulatory policies to be implemented, it was argued that the public sectors in the various countries should be reduced and service delivery was to become more efficient. It was also suggested that standards and measures were to be introduced and that governments should contract out services that had become too costly. In essence, it appeared that the conditions introduced by the lending agencies were very much in keeping with the general doctrines of NPM that had been introduced in the developed countries.

It was also felt that in order to attract potential investors, governments were now forced to introduce efficient and standardized systems of administration. It soon became evident, though, that the choice of 'new' methods of management had become a regional fad. Indeed, the universality of NPM could not be disputed. NPM had been introduced in countries like the US (Levine 1988; Grey and Jenkins 1995), the UK (Rhodes 1991), New Zealand (Walker 1996;

Mascarenhas 1993) and Australia (Wilenski 1986) and was accordingly considered a more than appropriate model for the Caribbean and Latin American states as well.

It appeared, though, that the main features of NPM coincided with many of the conditions laid down by the IMF and World Bank. For instance, a central tenet of NPM was that there should be greater parsimony in resource use and allocations. No doubt this was

one of the major objectives sought by the lending agencies since the reduction of expenditure in the public sector was a major goal. Another key feature of New Public Management was that there should be the breakup of the monolithic public sector into smaller units. This break-up it was felt, would foster greater competitiveness and in the long run also result in reduced expenditure for the delivery of public services. NPM and structural adjustment requirements also insisted on policies of privatization and the contracting out of service delivery. The bottom line was that the role of the state was re-engineered from its former concern with welfare to a more passive role of 'facilitator.' Thus, NPM was in fact reinforcing the notion that the state was in retreat, a concept which had been already introduced by the lending agencies. It was more than clear, also, that features such as "managers being free to manage," the introduction of standards of performance and the emphasis on outputs were in keeping with the objectives of the supra-national agencies to reduce the expenditure in this sector. What was also evident was that apart from suggesting that NPM was consistent with private sector management styles, it was also obvious that NPM was essentially based on a largely economic model of management.

There were, however, a number of differences in the actual introduction of NPM in each country. It should be noted, though, that variations in the extent to which NPM had been adopted in many countries was not a new phenomenon. As Hood (1996) and more recently Pollitt and Bouckaert (2000) pointed out, some countries have placed more emphasis on ideas than other countries, and NPM styles have even varied within the same family groups' of countries. They noted, for instance, that whereas in Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand there was a tendency to decentralize personnel manage­ment to line departments away from central personnel agencies, there had been no equivalent movement in Japan, where the National Personnel Authority was strengthened over the 1980s. They also contended that whereas pay-for-performance doctrines had been adopted in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand and the United Kingdom there had not been an equivalent movement in Germany. It was thus not

surprising that in the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean there would also be differences in the systems and procedures adopted by the various governments

Jamaica adhered closely to many of the guidelines or principles of the lending agencies and thus implemented many of the doctrines of NPM. The Government of Jamaica not only attempted to rationalize many of its ministries and departments so as to avoid duplication and overlaps, but at the same time it attempted to introduce performance objectives. Thus, measures such as auditing, financial reforms in the budgeting systems and performance appraisal systems were successfully introduced. Managers, in keeping with the principle that "managers should be free to manage," were also employed on a contractual basis. However, although Jamaica was successful in implementing many of the classic features of NPM, interview data suggests that there has been no accompanying increase in the output or performance of the public sector.

In the case of Barbados, it was also evident that many of the principles of NPM had also been successfully introduced in the public sector, and there is evidence that the introduction of NPM had led to increased output in the public sector. In the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago, however, while the political agenda clearly indicated a shift toward introducing principles of New Public Manage­ment, this did not translate in terms of actual implementation in the wider public sector. In fact, while some human resource management systems and procedures have been implemented there has not been any signi­ficant changes in the functioning of the wider bureaucracy. For instance, although there has been training with respect to the introduction of Performance Management and Appraisal Systems, promotion is still made based on the criteria of seniority rather than merit. In Guyana, on the other hand, and largely for economic reasons, there was little or no reform in the public sector. It was more than evident, as Table 1 below illustrates, and as will emerge, that Barbados and Jamaica had far more success in terms of actual implementation of the principles of NPM than either Trinidad and Tobago or Guyana.

It has been argued that the variations in the experience of OECD countries with NPM could be interpreted in a number of different ways. For instance, it might be viewed as a convergence process, where it was expected that all the countries that were considered 'backward' would have embraced most of the features of NPM. In other words, one can suggest that because of the absence of traditional systems, many 'new' countries adopting the principles of NPM would have more success than the advanced countries. According to Hood (1996), this would result in the narrowing of the gap between the leaders' and the 'laggards' over a period. Another explanation that has been advanced, is that NPM was introduced due to the process of diffusion where policies were exported from one country to another. Others have suggested that NPM is an Anglo-American idea and that countries that have successfully implemented NPM are mostly English-speaking countries, while the low scorers' are non-English speaking countries (Castles 1989; Castles and Merrill 1989). However, this argument has been refuted since it has been suggested that non-English speaking countries such as Denmark, Netherlands and France could also be considered 'high-scorers.'

Some writers, however, have interpreted NPM as a product of 'the New Right' and the 1980's reaction against big government and state led welfarism (Pollitt 1990). However, Hood concluded that the influence of 'New Right' developments was at best fairly indirect. He also refuted the argument that NPM was sometimes described as a response to fiscal stress and government overload and pointed to contradictory evidence in which NPM reflected boom conditions as well as fiscal stress. Finally, Hood offered two possible explanations. He suggested that essential preconditions for the successful application of NPM depended upon the extent to which there was a united public sector with the same goals and visions and the extent to which the reform was politically driven.' Indeed, particularly in the context of the Commonwealth Caribbean, the explanations offered by Hood appear to be valid. Indeed, in the discussion which follows it is clear that political direction and cohesiveness are necessary pre-conditions for reform.

Impediments in Implementing NPM:

Homogenous Versus Plural Societies

It should be recalled that the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean were formerly part of the wider British Empire. It was understandable therefore, that with the move to independent status, it was considered appropriate that the British Westminster model, with some modifications, could be ideally employed in these newly independent states. The Westminster model was therefore modified by civil servants in Whitehall, London, and introduced in the various territories as the Westminster/Whitehall model of govern­ment. The central tenets or features of the Westminster/Whitehall model were essentially based on the British model. It allowed for a bicameral system of government, consisting of two houses, the House of Representatives (the Lower House) and the Senate (the Upper House). The House of Representatives was an elected chamber, while the Upper House or Senate was nominated. Another tenet of the Westminster Whitehall model was that there was no complete separation between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. Also, the system of voting adopted was the "first-past-the-post" system, where the party winning the majority of seats and the leader of this party were called upon to form the government. It was also assumed that there would be a neutral public service. A departure from the British system, but understandable in such new states, was the introduction of written Constitutions. These Constitutions were supreme and served to diminish the power of the Parliaments of the various countries. Indeed, what can be suggested was that while state power was being passed on to the locals, yet the guiding principles were essentially British.

With the attainment of independence, the arrangement or composition of the various societies, however, underwent dramatic change. It should be recalled that during colonial administration, the societies of these countries were divided into three main classes namely the white plantocracy, the coloureds,

who were the off-spring of the planters and their slaves, and at the bottom of the hierarchy were persons mainly of African descent. In countries such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, however, the societies were drastically altered with the influx of other races such as the Chinese, the Syrians and more particularly the Indians who constituted the second largest group. In the case of Jamaica and Barbados, the white planter element was replaced by a dominant African elite. In Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, however, although the African group held state power, there was an uneasy relationship between two of the major ethnic groups the Africans and the Indians.

Indeed, particularly in the plural societies such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, writers have claimed that the Westminster/ Whitehall model of government has served to exacerbate ethnic tensions in the society. It has also been suggested that this method of governance has promoted what has commonly been referred to by some as 'Cabinet' govern­ment, where the majority party dominates both the Cabinet and the Parliament. Apart from the emergence of 'Cabinet' type governments, it was also evident that in these countries the first-past-the-post system did not allow for regular oscillation between government and opposition. Indeed, in the case of Trinidad and Tobago, one political party, the African dominated Peoples National Movement, remained in power during the period 1956-1986, while in Guyana, the African dominated Peoples National Congress also controlled the state for approximately three decades. The retention of state power by one government over such a long period of time also resulted in the I- public sectors in these countries becoming 'closely aligned to the ruling party. These developments as will be observed would later complicate the efforts of NPM reformers in both countries.

To a large extent, because of the dominance of the governing parties, Oppositions in both Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago were virtually powerless. Indeed, although the written Constitution in both these countries allowed for consultation between the Opposition and the Government, in many cases consultation on the part of government was merely cosmetic. In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, for instance, the Leader of the Opposition during the period 1976 –1983 berated the lack of power by the Opposition and insisted that the Opposition was regarded with contempt.

However, it was evident in these two societies that more than neglect of the Opposition was involved. It soon became evident that those who controlled the state, also controlled the public purse and could dispense with state 'favours' as they saw fit. In the case of Guyana, for instance, during the period 1973-1979, it was noted that 5 out of a total of 55 chairmen of the various Boards and Com­missions were Indians and out of a total membership of 487 members, 365 were Africans while 96 were East Indians. In the financial institutions out of a total number of 40 directors, 6 were East Indians, 30 were Africans and 4 were described as representing other groups (Debiprashad and Budhram 1987). Indeed, Ferguson, a Guyanese academic, commented on the public sector of Guyana in these terms:

The practical manifestations of party para-mountcy were several. Political appointees loyal to the incumbent government became a common practice at the senior levels of the bureaucracy. For a period in the 1970s various layers of the administrative and professional grades were required to undergo a programme of ideological indoctrination, that sought to acculturate them to the ideological, political and operational order of things. The public service also became, during the 1970s and into the 1980s, a key target for the mobilizational excesses of the ruling party on the occasion of important national observances and other politically significant events. Public servants were thus used as a ready made, handy source of participants to bolster the image of the ruling party (Ferguson 1995:178).

In other words, the political party in power in Guyana at that time was not only controlling resources but also ensuring that all aspects of the state, including the economic sphere was controlled and managed by faithful party supporters.

This tendency was also evident in Trinidad and Tobago as well. To a large extent the allegations of discrimination by Indians were confirmed by a report entitled Ethnicity and Employment Practices in Trinidad and Tobago (1994) which was carried out by the Centre of Ethnic Studies, established by the PNM government in 1991. As Table 2 indicates most of the senior administrative positions in the public services were occupied by non-Indians. Moreover, another report, on The Award of Scholarships (1995), also indicated that East Indian applicants were usually passed over for their less qualified African counterparts.

Clearly, the problem in both these countries was that one political party representing one ethnic majority had remained in power for too long. Thus, over a period, the party had become synonymous with the state and had surrounded itself with party followers not only in the bureaucracy but also at the level of boards and enterprises. However, because of the rigidity of the written Constitutions in both countries, which in many instances could not be amended without a two thirds majority of Parliament, it was very difficult to bring about any significant modification or reform in the political system, since the traditional systems in place were favourable to the ruling elite. Indeed, as Cerny (1997) has pointed out, 'state actors' were critical for the implementation or non-implementation of any policy.

However, during the early 1990s, both countries had a dramatic turn around in which the former Indian Opposition won the majority of seats and were called upon to form the government. Yet, the allegations of party patronage continued. Rather, it was now suggested that in Guyana and Trinidad, the allocations of state resources had been channeled to Indian groups. Moreover, in the case of Guyana, there has been the threat since 1992 of political instability since the tenure of office of the elected government was shortened from a term of five years to three years by way

of a compromise to curb unrest in the wider Guyanese society. In these two societies, therefore, it was obvious that given their plural nature and the infrequent oscillation between the governments and the oppositions, that little or no attempt was made to introduce long-term policies. Moreover, given the ethnic imbalances in the public services, one could suggest that it would be difficult for an Indian-based government to introduce and implement measures that were likely to have an adverse impact on traditional structures and traditional stakeholders. Thus, this can explain why in the case of Trinidad and Tobago some features of NPM have been implemented while others have not. Many would argue, though, that the principles of NPM such as contracting out which has been introduced by the present government in Trinidad and Tobago has been to the comparative advantage of that government. Indeed, as Frederickson (1996) pointed out the most important difference between the 'new management' and the traditional public administration was that it was political since NPM involved issues such as politics, democratic government and issues of majority rule- minority rights. He argued that the "new management was greatly influenced by the Laswell argument that politics including public management determined who gets what, when and how" (ibid.: 268).

It is evident, then, that in such 'conflict prone' societies such as Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, it would be extremely difficult to bring about long term change in the societies, or that if some reform of the bureaucracy was introduced it would affect the ruling political party and its interests (see Jenkins 1995). It was not surprising then, that the political directorate of the major political regimes in both Jamaica and Barbados, have had more success in introducing policy changes. Indeed, because all the political actors in both these countries were more or less internally cohesive and shared similar views and goals, these countries have been capable of initiating and implementing binding reform agreements on major policy questions including the implementation of NPM. Understandably, this kind of cohesion could be obtained because both Jamaica and Barbados were fairly homogenous societies and the ethnic factor in the composition of these countries was not as pervasive as they were in Trinidad and Tobago

and  Guyana. However, while the structures and

operations of governments were useful in exploringor offering reasons for the different levels of success in implementing NPM, one can understandly argue that while Jamaican has implemented most of the principles and procedures associated with NPM, this has not led to a significant increase in performance or output. The emphasis on the structures and operations of the government in power also does not provide us with an explanation for the relative success in implementing some reforms in Trinidad and Tobago or the virtual absence of reforms in Guyana. Obviously, then, factors such as structures and operations cannot be looked at in a vacuum. Rather, it can be suggested that reform in the public sector must be accompanied not only by political will and consensus in the wider society, but also that funds must be available to introduce and sustain these reform efforts.

The Economic Bases for Public Sector Reform

There is no one explanation to account for either the manner in which particular countries operated or the policies that were implemented in any one country over the years. In some instances, there may have been what Coleman (1994) has referred to as policy convergence, Majone (1991) as policy diffusion, Haas (1992) as policy learning or Rose (1991) as lesson drawing. Moreover, there is no doubt, as Mittleman (1996) has suggested, that the international agencies were important in introducing NPM. Yet the data reveals that some countries have had far more success in implementing NPM than others. For instance, while Jamaica has had consensus among the various actors in the society and many of the features of NPM have been successfully introduced, this has not led to sustained output. In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, however, while there has been little or no agreement on long-term policies, some features of NPM have been introduced. It can therefore be suggested, then, that a critical prerequisite for any successful reform is the state of the country's economy. As we shall see in the case of Jamaica and particularly in Guyana, stringent economic conditions in both these countries have left little room for manoeuvering or increasing output in the public and state sectors.


The economic, malaise In Jamaica started as early as 1981. Even when the Prime Minister of the country concluded an Extended Fund Facility agreement with the International Monetary Fund during this period, it was evident that the broad liberal policies did not create the turn around that was expected. Instead, the flood of imports led to the development of a thriving parallel currency market and a large balance of trade deficit. By 1984 there was a devaluation of the Jamaican dollar and the international recession resulted in the closure of many North American companies, the most significant being the companies involved in the production of Jamaica's primary commodity, bauxite.

To meet some of the conditions recommended by the IMF, the then Prime Minister, Seaga implemented a number of measures:

1. He increased taxes by J$138 million in April, 1984 and then extended the process by a further J$45 million in the regular budget in May of the same year.

2. In addition five thousand five hundred employees were retrenched in the public services adding to the already high unemployment rate.

3. Food subsidies were also cut and there were restrictions on domestic credit.

However, irrespective of the measures introduced, the Jamaican dollar continued to slide downward reaching J$4.15 to the US dollar by June of 1984. By 1985, there was no improvement in the economic environment. Inflation stood at 30% and unemployment had increased to 25.6% of the labour force. These factors no doubt were responsible for the Jamaican government approaching the IMF once more in April 1985. It was more than obvious, however, that even with the agreements that were entered into during the various periods (1985, September 1986, January 1987, 1991), there was no substantial

turn around in the Jamaican economy.

It has been suggested, however, that the implementation of NPM in the public sector of Jamaica was one of the mechanisms employed by the Jamaican government to improve performance in the economy. However, the loans granted by the international lending agencies were mainly directed at structural reorganization, while the day to day administration of the public sector was to be funded by the government. The problem, however, was two fold, contradictory, and often more costly in the long term. On the one hand, in order to attract more competent staff, the government was required to increase salaries in the public sector in order to make it more competitive with the private sector. On the other hand, in an effort to rationalize the public sector there was retrenchment of a number of top level public servants including directors and permanent secretaries. However, in a large number of cases these officers were subsequently re-employed on contract at a higher rate of pay. Thus, in reality, there was no real downsizing in the public sector and the government was left with an increased wage bill which had to be funded from an already strapped revenue base. Thus, while in theory many of the features of NPM had been introduced, in reality there had been no reduction in cost or an increase in performance. In addition to low output from the public sector, another more critical problem in the case of Jamaica, and one which the government was clearly unable to deal with, was the increase in the crime level. Indeed, business leaders were contending that the crime level had risen so significantly that it led to the "stifling of business and the fuelling of mass migration."2


The policy of state control in Guyana during 1964-1985 forced private interest, both foreign and domestic, to relinquish their economic positions. This policy of taking over the commanding heights of the economy led to a dramatic shift in the economic environment of the country so that during the period 1975-1985, Guyana experienced a persistent deterioration of its economy resulting in its virtual collapse in 1985. Gross Domestic Product at factor cost showed negative growth

during the period 1975-1980 averaging -0.7% annually. With respect to the productive sectors there were declines of 0.4% in 1981, -12.1% in 1982, and -14.1% in 1983. Further, as the economy of Guyana continued its downward slide in the second half of the 1970s, the debt servicing capacity of the state also declined resulting in a gradual build-up of arrears with all categories of external creditors. In 1976, external debt had increased to US$364 million dollars and Guyana's country risk-rating revealed that it ranked number 103 of 111 countries. In its current position, Guyana has been rated as a Highly Indebted Poor Country and has been unable to introduce positive growth in its economy. Part of the problem, no doubt, was due to both the ideological position adopted by the government and the high level of ethnic conflicts in this country.

The lack of cohesion among the different ethnic groups along with the lack of funding, resulted in little or no sustained effort on the part of the government of Guyana to introduce NPM. However, in 1996 there was an attempt by Peat Marwick Mclintock and Company to introduce Performance Appraisal Systems, which was a principal feature of NPM. This effort, though, was largely unsuccessful. It should be recalled that one critical obstacle plaguing the public sector in Guyana had been the low level of salaries and wages, leading to a high level of vacancies especially in the technical and professional categories. In order to attract staff, therefore, the Government of Guyana had reduced the entry requirement of first level clerks from five ordinary level subjects to one to three ordinary level subjects. This reduction in the required qualifications has accordingly resulted in a low level of competency in the wider public sector. Interviews with public officials on their reaction to the introduction of systems of Performance Appraisal were therefore negative. They contended that given the minimal wages, outdated equipment, lack of office stationery, and a lack of proper infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transportation, and electricity, which had been sadly neglected, it would be ludicrous to consider implementing systems of Performance Appraisal since criteria such as timeliness, and efficiency could never be achieved. As with other short-term attempts at reform, the training in systems

Of Performance Appraisal was eventually aborted. Trinidad and Tobago

Unlike either Jamaica or Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago had experienced a healthy economic environment until the 1980s. Because of the increase in its primary commodity oil, per capita Gross National Product increased in 1978 from US$1,231 to US$3,168 in 1979. By 1979 per capita income had increased to US$3,390. During this period there was considerable expansion in the manufacturing industries,  and  the construction sectors along with a surplus of foreign exchange reserves. However, there were a number of structural weaknesses in the economy of Trinidad and Tobago during the post-independence period, including the domination of the economy by oil; a heavy dependence on imports; lack of diversification in production and export; and a high wage and salary level in the public sectors. By 1982, therefore, the downturn in the price of oil along with an increase in the value of imports, led to a deficit in the current balance account of $2095.8miUion (Ramkissoon 1990). Between 1981 and 1983 the total public debt grew by some 46% and the external debt service ratio 2.4%. Thus, by 1988, Trinidad and Tobago had no option but to enter into two loan agreements with the IMF. One of the conditions of these loans was the reform of the Public Sector. It can thus be suggested that the capitulation to the conditions of the lending agencies, have been largely responsible for the introduction of some features of NPM.

While the conditions of the IMF were quite clear, in that there was to be a reduction in the size of the public sector, it was obvious that such a policy would have a direct impact on electoral outcomes and may have even resulted in industrial unrest. Instead, the government in power, the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), 1986-1991, introduced a ten percent reduction in salary along with a suspension of cost of living and other allowances. Thus as Jenkins (1995) suggested, the government was adopting and subsequently amending policies to suit the domestic environment. However, the reduction in the wage bill was a short term gain as it was eventually ruled by the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago that the reduction in wages and salaries was illegal. Other measures, though, such as the introduction of a value added tax, the lowering of trade barriers, the removal of tariffs, and privatization of some state enterprises were implemented.

With the demise of the NAR government in 1991 and the return once again of the PNM, there was a renewed attempt to introduce NPM, but on a much grander scale. There were proposals to create human resource agencies, to establish smaller agencies, to. introduce regional authorities, and greater reliance was placed on systems of contracts. To a large extent, with the advent of the United National Congress (UNC) to office in 1995, these policies have been continued. It has been suggested, however, that the items of NPM which have been introduced have been largely beneficial to the business sector which has supported these two governments financially.


During the period 1973 to 1994, Barbados, unlike her Caribbean neighbours has experienced a steady growth in her Gross National Product. While real growth had declined during the period 1970 to 1994 this had not been as dramatic as in the other countries. A number of factors, no doubt would account for the stable economic environment in Barbados. However, without doubt, Barbados' position as a major tourist resort has certainly helped this country to maintain a stable economic environment. It was therefore not surprising that given the consensus on goals by both the government and opposition, many tenets of NPM have been introduced quite successfully in this country.


In all four countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean, it has been observed that there have been attempts to introduce NPM, mainly as a result of globalization and more particularly structural adjustment measures. It was evident, however, that there were differences in the way each country attempted to introduce NPM. Jamaica and Barbados, for example, adhered rigorously to the primary tenets of NPM. Trinidad and Tobago, on the other hand, implemented some measures but not others,

while NPM has not been introduced in Guyana. Two major explanations were advanced for the differing applications of NPM in the four countries. It was suggested that the ethnic composition of the society and the way the governments operated were critical factors. Indeed, it was argued that because Jamaica and Barbados were fairly homogenous societies, there was a more democratic system of governance which allowed for cooperation and negotiation between the various governments and oppositions. Thus, in these countries the political directorates of the major political parties, because they were more or less internally cohesive, had been capable of initiating and implementing binding reform agreements on major policy questions including the introduction of NPM. In ethnically divided societies such as Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, however, the system of govern­ment and the operations of those societies did not allow for the introduction of long term or stable policy. Moreover, because there was little or no oscillation between the Governments and the Oppositions in both countries, prior to the 1980s the state became a vehicle for protecting its patrons.

Apart from the structure and operation of the governments, however, it was argued that one major explanation for the differences between the various countries had to do with the ability of the country to maintain a healthy economic environment. Jamaica, for instance, although it had successfully introduced NPM, did not achieve the output envisioned or increase performance in the public sector. The problem, no doubt, was the high level of instability in the economic and social environment in this country. In Guyana, on the other hand, because of the high level of debt, there was a lack of funds to introduce reforms in the public sector. Thus, the problem of ethnic difference in Guyana was further compounded by the lack of funding to allow the public sector to shift from the traditional system of public administration to NPM. In Trinidad and Tobago, it was obvious that there had been some attempts at reform. Yet, although funding was available, because of the high level of ethnic conflict in this society, the reforms, particularly with respect to the introduction of tenets of NPM, had been slow. Indeed, it was understandable, that the former Indo-Trinidadian government would be reluctant to introduce stern measures such as downsizing or reducing the monolithic units in a public sector that was mainly staffed by Africans. Barbados, on the other hand, has had the most success at changing from a system of Public Administration to NPM. Although there has been no evaluation to date, one can suggest that the high level of cohesion in this country along with the healthy economic climate have been responsible for the successful introduction of NPM measures.

Of the four countries, under discussion, Barbados has had the most success in introducing NPM. Indeed, the combination of two factors, namely consensus between the various groups and actors, along with the stability of the Barbadian economy has ensured that NPM would achieve the objective of increased performance in the Public Sector of Barbados. The major lesson of this study, then, is that although NPM was a set of common policies and prescriptions imported to the Caribbean for the express purpose of reforming the Public Sectors, the actual outcomes, rate of reform and their selective application in different territories were largely determined by the domestic social, political and economic environments.