This paper seeks to identify and discuss the predicament of Development Administration as it relates to public administration in the Commonwealth Caribbean. It will seek to elucidate thought and provoke discussion on the topic by first of all taking a journey back to the period of colonial rule and the historical antecedents that impacted administration during that period.
It will take a cursory glance at the independence period and the course of development taken by some of the Commonwealth Caribbean, utilizing mainly the Trinidad and Tobago experience (because of the exigencies of time and space).
The exercise will attempt to look briefly at the origin of Development Administration and examine the thinking and writings of some of the leading theorists on subject.
Additionally, it will focus on some of the reasons for the seeming failure of development administration in addressing some of the key problems and challenges of administration in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Further, it will look at some of the new approaches to public administration and finally it will attempt to provide some solutions and recommendations on the way forward.
In looking at the predicament of development administration in the Commonwealth Caribbean, this paper will examine the topic under two (2) broad themes. These are: 1. The theoretical inadequacy of Development Administration; and 2. The inability of development bureaucracies to realise development goals, particularly the region under review i.e. the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Jamal Khan writing in 1982 probably encapsulates it best. He said “the Caribbean region with a visage all its own and located at the gateway the American continents, is a grouping of thirty-three (33) English, Dutch, French and Spanish speaking countries, all islands except the four (4) mainland countries Guyana and Suriname in the South America, Cayenne and Belize in Central America. The region is divided into three (3) main geographic groups: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles consisting of the largest islands lying between Puerto Rico and the South American mainland and the Bahamas off the Florida coast is a string of islands, small cays and rocks of which a greater many are barren and uninhabited.”
In looking at the region in its historical context, Khan notes that “the region born out of the conquest, settlement and colonisation had sustained numerous racial migrations, protracted imperial subjugations and enormous human tragedies. Historical forces have created a diversity of ethnicities, cultures, religions, traditions and loyalties. While parts of the region have moved through the process of de-colonisation other segments still retain ii
dependency status. The Eastern Caribbean in particular is facing not only the usually problems of post-independence national development and transition from colonial status to independence but also the special problems created by geographic, political and economic fragmentation”.
The paper attempts to look at this region and its unique history and examines some of the approaches that have been employed to treat with the thrust towards development. It reviews the work and pronouncements of the some of the leading thinkers and authors in areas of public administration and development administration and the effectiveness or lack thereof of these systems of governance.
Development Administration emerged in the 1960s with the field of comparative public administration. It is a general theory of development and was designed as a possible agent of change.
The term represented those aspects of public administration that were needed to execute politics, programs and projects to improve social and economic conditions. Some countries of the
Commonwealth Caribbean sought to adopt the model as a point of departure from the rigid, hierarchical and bureaucratic forms of public administration that existed after...
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