Notes From The Margin

November 1, 2007

The National Debt and Regular Maintenance of Government Facilities.

One of the interesting things that we on the margin have always noted is that Government is very good on building new buildings but is terrible on maintaining the buildings once they are built. The QEH is a prime example of this and so is the Airport before it was rennovated.

(Photo Nicked From Barbados Free Press)

Many of the facility problems being experienced now are the result of years and years of neglect, (yes by several administrations but the current Government has overseen the last 15 of those years) to expect the hospital board to fix everything without a major capital project is like trying to bail a moses with a thimble. The real solution to the QEH facility problems is not to supply more resources to the engineering department, but to undertake a major expansion and rennovation similar to what was done at the airport. THEN they can supply more engineers and resources to maintenance.

The government should also have a look at its other buildings and the great park projects being done by BTII we’ve already had to virtually rebuild the boardwalk at the careenage and it wasn’t that old!

The budgeting process goes like this:

1. Government department has a careful assessment of it’s needs for the next financial year and submits it’s requirements to the Ministry of Finance : “I need THIS MUCH to run the Airport/hospital/treasury/transport board/////”

2. Ministry of finance says “You have this much make it work”

3. Department goes back and prioritises.

What gets cut?

Things that are not urgent but are timely things like any regular maintenance, in fact unless it’s about to fail catastrophically forget about it.

This of course piles up, you have a bus system that is in dire need of overhaul, you have a hospital that quite frankly needs to be completely rebuilt, you have government workers in the GEED building that has more leaks than roof, you have a water system that you can’t account for much of the water in (yes we know some of the figure is due to unmetered users but a big part of it is leaks).

Eventually the end consumer (us the taxpayer) begins to suffer and government comes under political pressure to do something radical and they go and borrow money for a major capital project, so increasing the national debt.

The major capital project is completed, and the department does a full assessment of what it needs to run for the next year. They go to the ministry of Finance and say “I need THIS MUCH to run the department for the next year……”



  1. […] Notes From The Margin thinks that “Government is very good on building new buildings but is terrible on maintaining the buildings once they are built” – and shows how this eventually contributes to Barbados' rising national debt. Share This […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Barbados: Routine Maintenance — November 2, 2007 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  2. […] blaogy Notes From The Margin dia mizara ny fijeriny momba ny fomba fitantanan’ny governemanta ireo tranom-panjakana ary […]

    Pingback by Global Voices amin’ ny teny malagasy » Blog Archive » Barbàda : Kojakoja andavan’andro — November 3, 2007 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  3. Good article Marginal.

    As a courtesy, shouldn’t you attribute the source of your photo? It is an original first published at another blog. Shouldn’t you give credit?

    Comment by Anonymous — November 4, 2007 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  4. Quite true, we have added the appropriate credit.

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — November 5, 2007 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  5. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

    Comment by Idetrorce — December 15, 2007 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  6. disagreements are allowed 😉

    care to be more specific?

    Comment by notesfromthemargin — December 16, 2007 @ 12:23 am | Reply

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