ACCORDING to Dr. Chris Bart of the Saint Lucia-based Caribbean Governance Training Institute (CGTI), there are three essential qualifications all board directors must meet if they are to properly do the job: Competence, Curiosity and Courage.
Equipping Caribbean board directors with ‘competence’ has been CGTI ‘s primary mission for the past three years, and they have delivered the information, research and skills required by directors serving on any type of board, whether corporate, educational or non-profit, to delegates from as diverse organisations as the Dominica water company (DOWASCO), Turks and Caicos Financial Services Commission, Sandals International and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
The company’s signature ‘Chartered Director Programme’ covers all aspects of corporate governance, and since 2015, the CGTI team has delivered its message to hundreds of candidates in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, Turks & Caicos and Dominica, among other Caribbean venues.
Senior managers and directors from a range of industries have benefitted from the expertise of CGTI’s faculty of governance experts through three days of high-energy, interactive sessions and a final C.Dir exam, and become some of the first professionally-certified Chartered Directors in the world.
During the week of January 23 to 27, the Government of Saint Lucia became the latest regional organisation to undergo CGTI’s Chartered Director Programme. Eighty-five members of ‘senior management’ from government departments, who included 14 Cabinet ministers, 15 Permanent Secretaries and 12 Board Chairpersons, came together in an unprecedented training exercise. The schedule covered every angle of “good governance” from defining roles and creating accountability, to financial oversight and risk management, ethics and culture, strategic thinking and planning.
Three groups of delegates from across the ministries, including members of the former Saint Lucia Tourist Board, executives from Invest Saint Lucia and other “subsidiary” organisations, exchanged ideas and experiences, learning valuable lessons from private and public sector examples, challenging practical exercises and famous case studies from around the world.
As he prepared to sit the final exam himself, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was asked about the expected outcome of this considerable investment in governance training.
“If we want to change things, we can’t continue doing them the same way. You have to change how people view things to effectively change the culture within the civil service, so this is a very important investment in our key people. What better organisation is there to receive governance training than the public service, where the shareholders are really the voters, the citizens of the country?” explained Prime Minister Chastanet.
“The purpose is for cabinet ministers and ‘senior management’ – the Permanent Secretaries and senior directors – to understand what their roles are. The same with government’s equivalent of ‘subsidiary companies,’ which are the statutory bodies. Our goal is to improve the overall efficiency of the public sector, and it starts with the people. Everybody must understand the roles [and structures], and if everybody performs . . . we will have a transparent and efficient government.”
At the conclusion of the programme, CGTI’s co-founder Dr. Chris Bart, was enthusiastic about what he called the “bold initiative”.
“Prime Minister Chastanet and the Government of Saint Lucia are to be congratulated for achieving what no government in the world has ever done, which is to become “officially certified” in the principles and best practices of governance. Embracing the CGTI Chartered Director Programme speaks volumes about the progressive and innovative nature of the administration, and is one important step in [the Prime Minister’s] personal vision to create real change in Saint Lucia.”