Bishop Speech - Opening Address to Conference on the Economy for Managers/Heads of State Enterprises -
25 February 1982

Comrade Chairperson, Sister Gloria Payne, Comrade Ministers, Member of the Political Bureau and Central Committee, Comrades of the People’s Revolutionary Government, Comrade Managers, Accountants, Chairpersons of Boards, Comrades from the Trade Union Movement, Comrades All.

It is my responsibility in a very few brief remarks, to say something about why we are all gathered here this morning and what we are hoping to achieve.

As you all know, the purpose of this all­day seminar is to have a close, hard look at the difference state and para­statal enterprises in which comrades are involved; to examine the situation over the past years, particularly 1981, to see where we have been going wrong and to examine and evaluate what the potential is for 1982 in particular, but also beyond 1982.

IN 1982: MORE PRIORITY ON OUR JOBS

Comrades would also know that this is the ‘Year of Economic Construction’ and therefore this year in particular, we are spending so much time focusing on the economy and we are trying to get all of our people involved in discussions around the economy.

Those of us who are placed in positions of leadership in economic enterprises have a particular responsibility to ensure that this year, especially, we give the maximum attention to our jobs.

We must ensure that his year we find every possible way of increasing production, of raising productivity and long the way towards achieving this of ensuring workers' participation, workers' democracy at the work place so that at the end of this year we can begin to see a turnaround in so many of those enterprises.

The report on the economy given at the end of January [1982] by Comrade Coard made the point that in 1981 well over 90% of all new investment in our country was undertaken by the State.

That means we have arrived at the point in our country, today, where the State is rapidly becoming — in fact, has already become dominant —in several different areas of the economy.

This is undoubtedly necessary, certainly for a country like our own — a poor developing country — but equally, it places a very heavy responsibility on the comrades who are involved in running those enterprises.

A very heavy responsibility because traditionally when governments have gotten involved in economic enterprises many of the workers in those enterprises continue to approach their job with a very civil­service­type mentality viewing their work in terms of drawing a monthly salary as usually, using the Government always as a back­up system, as a buffer, and therefore in the final analysis continuing to shift the responsibility for efficiency and productivity onto the backs of already over­burdened taxpayers.

CRUSH THE OLD ATTITUDES

That psychology it seems I very, very deep in comrades who are involved in state and para­statal enterprises. And that psychology is one of the things that in 1982 we must crush completely.

Comrades are going to have to develop a new approach, a new attitude to running these enterprises that lay predominant emphasis on that fact that these are independent economic enterprises that must stand on their own feet, that must survive as a result of production going up, of worker productivity increasing, of efficiencies being introduced, of proper management, of serious planning.

That new attitude must be instilled in a very serious way. If we are not able to achieve that we would not have gotten past first base. There is no question about that.

Equally, as part of recognising this very heavy responsibility on us is a realization that we are increasingly assuming a larger part of the responsibility of running the economy in a real and concrete way.

We also have to develop a state of mind that says that the benefits and the services which we have traditionally provided over these past three years for our people have been provided largely on the basis of taxation, and of course through assistance in different forms.

But not very much of this was achieved on the basis of production and there again we have to achieve a major shift in that area.

We have to move away from a psychology which says that in order to provide services for our people that the taxes alone will do that.

PROFITS PROVIDING SERVICES TO THE PEOPLE

More and more now we must begin to lay concrete plans for the realization of that objective.

We are going to have to move to the stage of ensuring that the continuation of services to our people is provided not on the basis of taxation but on the basis of profits coming from these enterprises.

In other words, the enterprises are really going to have to become profitable, are going to have to become productive.

This in turn means, comrades, that the new psychology we are talking about at the level of management, in particular, will involve us beginning to develop an approach to the particular enterprise we are engaged in.

We must handle that enterprise as if we were conducting our own personal affairs.

We are going to have to develop a new standard of discipline, a new standard of efficiency, a new standard of attention to detail, a new standard of planning.

The same kind of standard that we would adopt if we were conducting our own personal affairs, if we were trying to achieve a balance in our own home budgets or if we were trying to run our own businesses.

It has to be that kind of standard we are going to have to adopt. Nothing short of that, comrades, is going to achieve what we are trying to do this year.

BOTH MORAL AND MATERIAL INCENTIVES

So, today when we look in the various workshops and at the three main objectives that we hope to achieve, the questions of how do we increase productivity, of how we realize a profit or surplus, of how we bring about worker participation in the particular enterprise must be seen as broad guidelines that comrades must bear very seriously in mind.

This whole question of productivity, for example, of worker productivity is really one of the most critical areas of all and yet it is one of the most difficult areas to achieve, particularly because in order to raise the productivity of workers we are going to have to be able to activate the workers and this motivation cannot come purely from moral exhortation but will also have to some as a result of material incentives which the workers receive.

And, that, it seems to me, is the link — the primary link — between raising worker productivity and bringing about the participation of the workers in the particular enterprise.

That link is a very critical link which we are going to have to achieve this year also.

In bringing about increased worker productivity, in each enterprise a number of obvious steps are therefore required.

First and foremost, production must be raised because if production is not raised then the question of a profit will not arise.

Equally, if the question of a profit does not arise then one of the two ways of achieving worker productivity will not be open to us because without the profit motivation and the possibility therefore of sharing in that profit we are going to certainly find that many workers will not receive the necessary amount of motivation.

RAISING PRODUCTION: A CRITICAL QUESTION

The question therefore of raising production at each workplace, in each enterprise is certainly one of the most critical questions for this year 1982.

Linked to that, comrades, is the question of providing training of the jobs for workers over whom we have responsibility.

That too is a very critical question.

It is linked not just to the question of increasing production but obviously it is linked to the question of worker productivity and is also linked to the question of ensuring that the new emulation system which we are trying to implement nationally during 1982 is really effective.

Because, without the necessary amount of training there is still going to be come problem with motivation and certainly there is going to continue to be difficulties in the way of achieving the full productivity that we are speaking about.

Raising worker productivity too, comrades, certainly involves raising the discipline level at the workplace and on this question of discipline many of us take the view, sometimes, that it applies to everybody else except to ourselves.

Many of the managers take the view that discipline is something for the workers but not something for themselves.

Many comrades when discussing this question often come up with all kinds of creative solutions that they wish to apply to the workers, whether it is introducing system of registering in a book or whatever else the form is at the time when the workers gets to the job.

Managers, we have noticed, would adopt the approach that this is for the worker but it does not apply to themselves.

That obviously is wrong because any example in this area we set would have to come from the top and again therefore this question of raising discipline has to start with the top and middle management, has to start with those comrades who have the responsibility of leading, of setting the example and therefore workers will be able to see that the necessary amount of seriousness that is required to get his discipline going in a real way is being applied at the top.

MORE OUTPUT FROM LESS INPUT

Comrades, the question of worker productivity is also linked to the question of examining very carefully the organization and the method of work at each workplace; examining this very carefully by trying to identify ways of achieving the same amount of work but in a shorter period of time.

In other words, trying to ensure that using a lesser amount of inputs nonetheless achieve the same or a greater output, or through achieving greater output on the part of the workers, and of course management, we are likewise able to raise production.

That is also an important aspect of what we are trying to do.

I do not want, comrades at this point to go into details on the question of worker participation or on the question of achieving a surplus.

But what I do want to say is that in the area of worker participation, even the most basic rules of all are not being obeyed.

We have found over the las year that many comrades absolutely refuse to implement even the most basic requirement: meeting with workers on a regular basis.

And if workers have not been able to get past first base in this respect, obviously then moving to the very critical needs of establishing production committees, discipline committees and emulation committees is not going to be something that will come very early.

NEED MORE CONSISTENCY IN 1982

The managers will have to develop in 1982 a more consistent and serious approach to this question.

If the workers are not involved in the workplace then we are not going to be able to get the most out of the workers.

We are not going to be able to raise productivity of the workers and therefore we are not going to be able to increase production, and thus this question of workers' participation, of achieving economic democracy at the workplace, is definitely one of the most critical questions in 1982.

The question of establishing these production committees, discipline committees and emulation committees must be one of the primary tasks that each of our State and para­State enterprises will have to get into in 1982.

It is only through these committees that we are going to get the workers to sit down and examine in a real way what the problems are at the workplace: why it is we have not been able to achieve profits, why it is that we have been running a deficit in our operations, why it is we have not been able to find wider markets.

All of these critical questions will not be resolved unless we involve the workers in discussions around them. And having discussed these problems then comes the question of trying to find creative ways to move forward.

WORKERS' INPUTS ARE ESSENTIAL

And here again, of course, the input of the workers is going to be critical. Here again, we are certainly going to need the ideas of the workers, because they are the ones who are involved on a daily basis in producing whatever it is they are producing and their inputs must be essential.

And, in any event, outside of the question of their own ideas of what can be done to life production there is also the very critical question that whatever decisions are taken, based on whatever ideas emerge, the people who are going to have to implement these decisions are the workers.

So it must make sense for the worker to be involved from the beginning and that, again, is another very, very obvious reason why worker participation is so key.

IN SPITE OF PROPAGANDA, WE CAN MAKE PROGRESS

Comrades, there is an economic crisis in the world, particularly an economic recession in the advanced capitalist world.

Yet we were able to increase our exports overall last year and notwithstanding our heavy dependence of the advanced capitalist world for exports and imports, we were, nonetheless, able to move forward in 1981 and to achieve a 2% growth in the economy overall.

This shows that is can be done, that not only can we hold the line but even in times of recession and he greatest difficulty we can nonetheless continue to move forward.

The tremendous negative propaganda against the Revolution aimed, in the first place, at destroying tourism in our country continued apace throughout 1981.

Nonetheless, we were able to see more tourists overall coming to our country in 1981 than ever before.

In the months of August and November especially, we were able to have a lot of people coming to Grenada.

That too shows that if we are creative, if we are willing to fight back, if we are willing to put out our strokes in advance, that not only can we hold the line, I repeat, but in face we can make progress and move forward in spite of adverse propaganda.

When we analyse those figures (the August and November figures) in the area of tourism our feeling is that for August one primary reason for the greater number of visitors was the Carnival celebrations in that month.

Likewise, for November there is absolutely no doubt that the major factor was the two big conferences that were held in Grenada in that month: the Third Caribbean Trade Union Conference attracting well over 40 delegates, and even more significantly, the first International Solidarity Conference with Grenada attracting well over 107 delegates.

Particularly significant and worthy of note in this regard is that most of those visitors were staying in State hotels and that too had relevance to today’s seminar.

NEED MORE BIG CONFERENCES

And it tells us that if we examine very carefully in a systematic and a scientific way what happened month by month and week by week throughout the year, not only 1981 but past years, what in fact were the best months for us, why were those the best months, that too can give us some indication of a way forward.

Because in the area of tourism, one obvious answer must be to get more conferences to be held in the country, to find more big occasions that can attract people (like Carnival), to get people to come to the country, to maintain links with the various friendship societies and solidarity committees with the Grenada Revolution worldwide, to maintain those links and to organise through those committees and societies different tours to our country.

Tours, perhaps, based on professional interests.

Comrades who are in teaching, for example, may wish to come and see what is happening in the CPE programme, or in the NISTEP programme or may want to come and see how we are approaching the question of the Work Study programme or may want to see how the Community School Day Programme (CSDP) is operating in practice.

And, perhaps, if we arrange with the Ministry of Education that a seminar be organised for those people who are interested in coming to our country on that basis, organised by the Friendship Societies, then comrades would probably find that over a period of time any number of seminars of that type can be organised in 1982: work­study seminars and seminars where at the same time there will be a built­in input for the enjoyment, leisure and recreation of the participants.

And that in turn is going to help in ensuring that the Grenada Resorts Corporation makes a profit this year and the economy overall is helped.

SEE THEM AS INDEPENDENT ECONOMIC ENTERPRISES

Comrades, notwithstanding the difficulties we have at central Government level with finding sufficient money to keep the recurrent budget going, and outside of the recurrent, finding on a day­to­day basis our cash flow requirements — notwithstanding that we have seen in practice that where we are right in our accounting and budgeting, where we are tight in our supervision and control the line can be held and we can, in fact, keep to what we are budgeted for, what we have planned for at the beginning.

And again there must be a lesson in that for the State enterprises.

And the lesson is: the need for accounting systems, the need for right and rigorous accounting, the need for tight and rigorous methods of supervision and control, the need for ensuring that whatever the plan is that we agree upon that we stick to it, and we do so ruthlessly, bearing in mind that what we are working in is not just another Government enterprise, but we do have to see it as being an independent economic enterprise that is aimed at making profits.

Because without the profits the benefits, the services which our people have been receiving and which obviously you will expect to continue to receive, will not be able to continue.

Comrades, with these few remarks I want to wish you a very successful day’s work and we certainly look forward very eagerly to your Plenary reports in a few hours' time.

FORWARD EVER! BACKWARD NEVER!


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