NCPC Launch New Television Series- Productivity Matters


Screen Shots From Productivity Matters

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) are pleased to announce the broadcast dates for their new television series ‘Productivity Matters’. The series, (which is funded by Compete Caribbean) gives insight into organisations and agencies within the private and public sectors, whose programs and initiatives focus on productivity and/or competitiveness.

The series which comprises of six episodes, made its debut in January 2016.

Marketing Analyst at the NCPC, Mrs Geraldine Bicette Joseph states, ‘There are many organisations out there that are doing great things in regards to helping develop the nation through productivity initiatives and we believe that it is only right for their efforts to be highlighted. Each episode within the series varies significantly from the other as we have looked at a range of individuals and subject matters including the construction industry, solid waste management, the public service, the Commercial Division of the High Court and young entrepreneurs’.

‘At the NCPC we also recognise that it is sometimes hard to grasp the concepts of productivity and competitiveness and so we hope that the series will illustrate how these concepts, when applied practically, bring about a positive outcome for the nation’.

Productivity Matters will be aired at the following times on the stations listed.

Ep 1- Productivity Awareness Week 2015 (Calabash- 7.50pm, DBS – 8pm, 11/1/16) (HTS 8pm 14/1/16)

Ep 2 – Employee Assistance Program (Calabash- 7.50pm, DBS – 8pm, 25/1/16) (HTS 8pm 28/1/16)

Ep 3 – Commercial Court (Calabash- 7.50pm, DBS – 8pm, 8/2/16) (HTS 8pm 11/2/16)

Ep 4 – Greening the Caribbean (Calabash- 7.50pm, DBS – 8pm, 22/2/16) (HTS 8pm 25/2/16)

Ep 5 – The Construction Industry (Calabash- 7.50pm, DBS – 8pm, 7/3/16) (HTS 8pm 10/3/16)

Ep 6 – Young Entrepreneurs (Calabash- 7.50pm, DBS – 8pm, 21/3/16) (HTS 8pm 24/3/16)



Declining Caribbean Productivity; cause, effect and solution

It Is Wise To Consider The Ways In Which We Can Solve The Problem Of Productivity Decline In St. LuciaFor years, productivity was a term reserved for the esoteric conversations of academics, of little interest to anyone else, but no longer. Within recent years productivity has been at the forefront of the discussions of policy-makers, politicians and even the lay-man. The latest (2008) financial crisis and the period of hardship which ensued have exposed the vulnerabilities of Caribbean economies of which low growth and high debt top the list. This has prompted policy-makers to take a closer look at productivity and evaluate its relevance to the region. It is the belief that the Caribbean’s comatose growth is a symptom of the region’s low productivity. Barbados’ Prime Minister the Hon. Freundel Stuart previously admitted that Caribbean economies have been lagging behind in initiatives intended to boost productivity levels and drive the region’s trade competitiveness and economic development.

There is an urgent need for the Caribbean to undergo a period of introspection with the intention to identify the root of our low productivity and putting forward ideas and policies to remedy this deficiency. This article is one such attempt at self-examination, but is by no means a complete diagnosis of the regions deficiency. Rather, the article is a mere snapshot into the Caribbean’s low productivity which will hopefully inspire further discussion. The article will look briefly at the cause, effect and solutions to low productivity within the Caribbean; not necessarily in that order.

A good starting point for this review is perhaps to define productivity. The simplest definitions is that productivity is the rate within which inputs can be converted into output. The higher the conversion rate of inputs to output the more productive an individual, organisation or economy.

As was established above, low growth is one of the side-effects of low productivity. In order to appreciate the seriousness of low growth we shall consider the following. In the 1960s income per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean was almost one quarter that of the United States; compared to present day  income per capita which is a mere one-sixth of the United States of America’s income per capita. This can be juxtaposed against East Asian countries which in the 1960s had income levels well below those of Latin America and the Caribbean; now, these very same countries are fast approaching the income levels of developed countries. Had productivity in the region grown at-least at the same rate as the United States of America, the income per capita of the region relative to the United States would have remained roughly at one-quarter after 50 years. Instead, our income per capita has worsened considerably in relation to the United States of America and many other economies and regions globally.

Within the Caribbean we have paid dearly for our lack lustre economic growth which has resulted from low productivity. One side effect which comes to the fore is rising public debt. Since, our growth within the region has been constrained, occasionally we are forced to borrow to survive; not only to cover capital projects but at times we borrow to meet recurrent expenditure.

One response taken by most Caribbean nations at one time or another to combat low growth was the provision of tax incentives to attract foreign direct investment, with the intention of increasing activity within the respective country and thereby propelling growth. These measures although well-intentioned can be harmful in the long run. For example from the 1970s and 1980s Jamaica’s industrial policy was based on two pillars: granting tax incentives to attract foreign direct investment and export promotion. This has resulted in a complex system of tax incentives which has distorted the country’s structure of taxation. Jamaica’s tax system consists of over 200,000 different incentives all in the name of attracting foregn direct investment; unfortunately, these incentives on average result in the government forgoing approximately 20% of its annual revenue. This lost revenue again leads to state borrowing, but also robs citizens of revenues which could have otherwise gone into infrastructural development, healthcare, education and any other number of causes.

The effects of low productivity are felt not only by the state and policy-makes, but also by the common man. Low productivity countries will normally have a lower standard of living and a more diminished quality of life in comparison to similar countries which enjoy higher levels of productivity. This is evident from the differences which would arise in income per capita from the above example; if using this as a proxy for standard of living. Eventually the population will realise the inability of the state to provide the quality or extent of services that more productive countries are delivering, which then results in a diminished sense of wellbeing and quite possibly migration in search of more lucrative opportunities. Once again this scenario is representative of the Caribbean, where in previous decades entirely families uprooted in droves en-route to the developed world in search of a better life.

Of-course there are a number of other side effects from low productivity, apart from the few mentioned above, but brevity must take precedence. The root causes of low productivity are just as sobering as the effects. If the question of “What causes low productivity within the Caribbean” is posed to the average Caribbean citizen he or she may not hesitate to finger the government or the laziness of Caribbean people. However, the causes of the deficiency are far broader and extend well beyond the bad habits which we have adopted as a society.

Poor allocative efficiency can be credited as the overarching causes of low productivity within the region. What this means is that the allocation of resources within the region has been or is being done in such a way that the maximum benefit from resources is not being obtained, resulting in Caribbean individuals, firms and governments paying a premium for lost output as a result of input resources not being assigned to where they would provide the highest value and return.

One infamous example of allocative inefficiencies across the region is through government social policies; either through government spending or regulation. ‘Blanket policies’ which are not properly implemented or monitored can have unintended consequences to the detriment of the economy. For example short term government employment programmes in Trinidad & Tobago have paid wages above the market rate for unskilled workers. This has resulted in an influx of applications for those programmes, resulting in a large number of unfilled vacancies for unskilled positions such as cashiers, cleaners and store assistants. This may seem innocent, but the impact is that salaries for these positions must then be raised to compete with government short term employment programmes and attract suitable labour, thereby unnecessarily increasing the cost of operations and making output less competitive regionally and or internationally. Social policies if left unchecked (as has been done in the region) result in a far greater cost, than just the funds allocated for these programmes. This is just one example of a well-intentioned social programme having adverse side-effects.

Interventions in the labour market by trade unions and other stakeholders can also hamper productivity, by preventing the efficient allocation of resources. Sometimes, these interventions may seem like a necessity, but this may be far from actuality. One prominent example is the upwards negotiations of wages solely on the basis of the increasing costs of living. Employees who are deserving of wage increases certainly should not be denied of such, by no means is this being suggested; however, rising costs of living may not be the most suitable benchmark to determine whether increases are necessary. Increased profitability of private companies and noteworthy performances are more appropriate criteria for determining wage increases. When wages and salaries increase solely in response to the cost of living, this increases a company’s cost of operations, without any increase in revenue or returns, therefore making operations less profitable, competitive and more expensive. The ultimate result will be a reduction in the demand for the goods and services of this company, possibly, with the eventual shutdown of the company, a fate which could have otherwise been avoided. Perhaps, this is why the Caribbean is one of the most expensive tourist destinations globally, and not because of the loss of economies of scale due to our smallness.

Our ‘smallness’ in terms of landmass, population size and the size and proximity to major trade partners results in diseconomies of scale, which also plays a part in reducing efficiency and lowering productivity. Diseconomies of scale contribute to some extent to the elevated costs which we face in the Caribbean. Free trade has often been touted as a boon to productivity by the developed world, because it exposes producers to greater competition, forcing them to cut costs and increase efficiency while providing greater access to more and better inputs. However, high trade and travel costs, particularly those associated with transportation, have prevented the Caribbean from reaping the benefits from international trade. Economic resources must be diverted to an inefficient transportation system to facilitate trade; thus hampering the overall level of productivity in the economy. Most Latin American and Caribbean countries have higher freight rates when exporting to the United States of America than countries in the Far East and in Europe. This is alarming, particularly when considering the proximity of the Caribbean to the United States of America compared to countries in the east.

Additionally, ports and airports within the Caribbean are grossly inefficient. Inadequate physical infrastructure, archaic processes and inflated costs of operations are usually to blame for these inefficiencies. The 2014 ‘Ease of Doing Business Report’ revealed that the average costs of exporting and importing a container for Latin America and the Caribbean stood at US $1,299.10 and $1,691.10 respectively; this is in comparison to East Asia and the Pacific which held the lowest costs for exports and imports in the amounts of US $864 and US $895 respectively.

The role of technology is perhaps the most significant variable in the productivity equation. Technology determines how efficiently inputs are converted into outputs. It should be noted that technology does not refer only to information and communication technology but is far broader incorporating most sectors. The role of technology in relation to productivity is just as significant for the Caribbean as it is for other regions. Unfortunately, the Caribbean trails the rest of the world in innovation and technological developments. Whilst the Caribbean may be up to par (although this too is arguable) with the technologies which are used most of these technologies have been adopted from other regions and may not be optimally suited for the Caribbean therefore we have not maximised the benefits from technology. For example most techniques and technologies relating to agriculture have been adopted from abroad and used within the region. The region has done very little to introduce indigenous technologies which are responsive specifically to the needs of the region. One indicator of this deficiency is the fact that the highest ranked Caribbean country with the number of researchers per 1 million people ranks at 65 (Trinidad & Tobago) with 589 researchers for every 1 million people, in comparison to the leader Iceland with over 13 thousands researchers per million people. The lack of technology which meets the specific needs of the region means that what is adopted is often times not ideal for the region but rather is a compromised version of what otherwise could exist.

Now that the cause and effect of low productivity have been explored some time can be spent considering the options for overcoming the phenomena. Lifting productivity takes time, requires thoughtful choices, patience and perseverance; and is underpinned by concerted analysis of the data, research and other evidence. Increasing the productivity for the Caribbean will depend on the coordinated efforts of individuals, firms and institutions in both the private and public sectors. A one-time solution cannot be put forward to remedy the deficiency but rather a holistic push is needed to reverse the fate of regional economies. Innovation and the introduction of indigenous technology are two must-haves for improving productivity. Deliberate efforts should be made by regional governments to push the creation of new technologies and fostering of an atmosphere where innovation can thrive. Investments are needed in research and development, which will allow for technologies tailor made to respond to the unique challenges faced by the Caribbean. Also, knowledge-intensive business services, such as telecommunications, software, and engineering, can strengthen the innovative capacity of the whole economy, improving a country’s long-run growth potential.

Countries must pay closer attention to traditional services, such as transport, logistics, and wholesale trade, and the creation of links between and among the different production blocks of the economy. Increases in productivity from the creation of linkages will improve productivity in creating final goods; which will have the added effect of increasing competitiveness.

Implementing policies which correct allocative inefficiencies within the region may be challenging, perhaps this may be the most challenging task. This is because policies may go against measures that give immediate relief to society as well as immediate political benefits, such as tax exemptions for sometimes non-performing sectors. Caribbean governments must first recognize the error in pursuing short term gains at the expense of long term objectives.

There is no one policy, or direction which will correct the allocative inefficiencies which exist. Policy-makers will then need to evaluate policies from a national and regional perspective; and address those policies which may distort market forces and not inadvertently adversely tip the natural balance of the market. A balance must be struck between short run outcomes of providing relief to those who have been disadvantaged and long term objectives necessary for development and productivity improvement. A number of considerations must be made by policy-makers; each unique to the particular Caribbean country its national circumstances, resource allocations, institutional history and cultural preferences.

Ultimately, it is difficult to drill down to a one size fits all approach for lifting the productivity within the Caribbean. The above suggestions are merely a start, and after further consultation many more causes, effects and solutions to chronic low productivity within the Caribbean will be identified. There are certainly many more which have not been mentioned within this article but this does not make them any less important. Throughout the introspection, one would expect the recurring theme to be that tough decisions need to be taken to reverse the misfortunes which have plagued the Caribbean for the past few decades. It is my hope, as I am sure it is the hope of every reader of this article that we will soon get it right and begin to reverse the fortunes of the Caribbean.

The Impact of Competing Businesses to Productivity & Competitiveness

Competing Businesses Demand An Increase In Productivity and CompetitivenessWhen you think about restaurants, stores and retailers near you, why do some seem to thrive whereas others are empty and ready to close down? The answer lies in competitiveness.  A competitive business refers to a business entity which uses all of its resources to outperform its competitors.  These businesses do so in a sustainable way rather than just over the short-term. In the Saint Lucian context, there are some markets where firms must compete in order to succeed. Those who battle to succeed are generally those who are competitive.

Competition in the business environment not only has a positive impact on consumers but on the local economy as a whole.  Domestic rivalry supports productivity and international competitiveness of the business sector and promotes dynamic markets and economic growth.  That is, when local businesses are competing with each other, they strive to keep down their operating costs which makes it is easier to pass on competitive prices to consumers. Lower prices means that the disadvantaged segment of the population are now able to enjoy lower prices. Therefore, these businesses can now reach more customers and can thus increase their market share. This in itself means that those firms are achieving increased productivity while competing.

In addition, competitors in the same market are always trying to increase their share of the market. In doing so, they may export goods and services to foreign markets. This has the advantage of helping them get more sophisticated clients overseas. Of course increased market share overseas can translate to increased profits. These local businesses are then able to expand and employ more workers. If this happens collectively, this will translate to increased employment, competitiveness and thus economic growth for the country.

Michael Porter, the competitiveness guru has stated that industries that are competitive internationally are those in which domestic rivalry is the strongest. He suggests that domestic rivalry contributes to the success of a country in a particular industry.  For example, Korea’s electronics sector is globally recognised and highly competitive. The sector’s high performance resulted from rivalry between domestic companies like Samsung and LG. Therefore, when firms aggressively compete with each other locally this means they are more prepared and better able to compete and sustain competitive advantage in the international market.

Business leaders must understand that the never-ending search for competitiveness is, therefore, a search for competitive advantages. All firms in the same line of business are chasing the same thing, so you can see that the concept of competitiveness is a moving target.  The complacent business that has enjoyed advantages in the past soon finds that it is overtaken by hungrier, fast-moving competitors.

Competitive businesses usually have one or more competitive advantages. Competitive advantage refers to the factors that allow a business to outperform its competitors. In order for a company to use those advantages to work effectively, they need to be sustainable.  A business which has achieved a competitive advantage means that:

  1. The company has been able to add more value to its customers than its rivals and has been able to attain a greater market share than other firms.
  2. The company has an advantage over its competitors by offering a superior value, quality or service.

In conclusion, it is important that our local businesses know how to compete. They have to implement strategies to enable them to be more competitive. These entities have to strive for excellence in order to face fierce competition and more importantly for survival. This effort to outperform their competitors supports productivity and competitiveness which contributes to overall economic growth.

Judge Appointed to Rule on Commercial Matters

court-hammer_thumbSaint Lucia will soon have the ability to settle commercial disputes with the appointment of a judge to rule on commercial matters in a timely manner.  High Court Judge -Justice Cadie St. Rose- Albertini was appointed to preside over such matters effective July 1, 2015 for the next three years. The Government of Saint Lucia has identified the establishment of a Commercial Division to its High Court as a high priority reform which will ultimately impact Saint Lucia’s competitive position and its overall development.  In the 2013/2014 Budget Address, the Honourable Prime Minister endorsed the Division and partnered with the Compete Caribbean Program for funding support in its implementation.

This ongoing project is coordinated by the National Competitiveness & Productivity Council and the Ministry of Legal Affairs in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Last year, the NCPC with support from Compete Caribbean embarked on the design of the Commercial Division to the High Court based on the experiences of a similar court in the British Virgin Islands which has been internationally recognized as a good model. The design is now complete and the NCPC as well as the Ministry is in the process of taking the necessary steps to establish the Division.

Additionally, the establishment of this mechanism will increase Saint Lucia’s competitiveness in the regional and international market. The World Economic Forum defines competitiveness as

The set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.”

Therefore, the presence of a set of institutions in a country that support businesses results in increased productivity and competitiveness. Thus, the operations of a Commercial Division can impact the competitiveness of a country through the promotion of business and investment prospects. The Commercial Division may contribute to a healthy investment climate which encourages investment into the country thus leading to economic growth.

This project will mark the start of enhancing the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking for Saint Lucia and the overall business climate, through the Enforcing Contract indicator. For a number of years, this has been one of Saint Lucia’s worse performing indicators. That is, in 2015 Saint Lucia ranks 145 out of 189 economies on this indicator. On average, it takes 635 days and 46 procedures to settle a commercial dispute. Saint Lucia’s low ranking on this indicator is mainly due to the long delays in the trial and judgment phase. Frequently, after a case is filed, the parties have to wait over a year for a court date.

In general, the hiring of a Resident Judge to rule on commercial disputes will result in the speedy and efficient resolution of commercial disputes permits the court to be competitive and to support the business sector. In countries where contract enforcement is efficient, businesses are more likely to engage borrowers and customers which will translate to more business activity for firms.

It is expected that the new Division will be formally opened by the end of this year. It is anticipated that the Division will increase the efficiency of the legal system to settle commercial matters including contract enforcement.

The establishment of the Commercial Division cannot be realised without the associated legislative amendments or changes. It is expected that amendments will be made to the Code of Civil Procedure and the Civil Code as well as other pieces of legislation pertinent to the operations of the Commercial Division.  Compete Caribbean has provided support for the revision of these pieces of legislation and will also assist in equipping the court.

Government Approves Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Policy Framework

PPP-project-rfp-componentsIn March 2015, the Government approved a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Policy framework for Saint Lucia.  The Policy which details the criteria for engaging in PPPs will provide an alternative source of funding to the Government in meeting the infrastructure and public sector needs while at the same time ensuring fiscal and debt sustainability.

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is defined as a “long term contract between a private party and a Government agency, for providing or managing a public asset and associated services, in which the private party bears significant risk and management responsibility.

PPPs can help increase the availability, quality and resilience of infrastructure and other public assets, and associated services while reducing fiscal commitment and risk involved in providing them.  PPPs can help mobilize additional funding and financing sources for infrastructure and public services.  In addition to providing value for money, PPPs provide for adequate maintenance funding, innovation and efficiency, focus on services delivery and accountability.

With the approval of the Policy, the Government will now be able to engage in long term contractual relationships with private sector entities which will introduce resources and expertise into the delivery of public assets and services.

Assistance for the Policy was provided by the World Bank and consultations were held with both the private and public sectors in its formulation.  This initiative was coordinated by the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) in collaboration with the Department of Finance.

The Policy has several objectives as follows:

  • providing value for money – PPPs will be structured to achieve the optimal combinations of benefits and costs to the Government and users;
  • fiscal responsibility where the impact of PPP projects is well understood, expected costs are affordable and the level of fiscal risk is acceptable;
  • transparency and probity in how PPPs are identified, developed, procured and managed;
  • environmental and social sustainable impacts of PPP projects will be carefully assessed and managed appropriately; and
  • partnership and inclusiveness where PPPs meet and balance the objects of all interested parties – the government agency and its private sector partner, end users, employees and other stakeholders. It is expected the PPPs will be managed through a spirit of partnership and cooperation to achieve common goals of improved infrastructure.

The PPP Policy sets out the following:

  • The definition of PPP and the essential features of PPP contracts;
  • The objectives and scope of the PPP programme, in the context of Saint Lucia’s developmental objectives, and the specific objectives of this PPP policy;
  • Processes by which PPP projects will be identified, developed, procured and managed – including how the Government will treat unsolicited proposals;
  • Institutional responsibilities for the PPP Programme, and for developing, implementing, and approving PPP projects;
  • Key commercial principles by which PPP contracts will be structured;
  • The right approach to managing the fiscal implications of PPP projects
  • Mechanisms for ensuring transparency and accountability in the PPP Programme.

The work of the PPP focal team will be strengthen by technical support through the Caribbean Development Bank.

Competitive Countries in the Caribbean

Competitiveness refers to is the ability of a country to export goods and services, while increasing the incomes of its citizens. Therefore, competitiveness focuses on developing optimum conditions in the country to promote economic growth.  In turn, these conditions would be ideal for producing quality exports of goods and services that create economic growth through job creation, increased foreign exchange, the creation of new businesses, increased sales for domestic businesses etc.

A country should focus on its competitiveness in order to survive both in the domestic and international arena. It is critical that policymakers focus on increasing Saint Lucia’s competitiveness as the country has experienced consecutive years of negative growth and high rates of unemployment. It is therefore important to learn important lessons from our neighbours that have attempted to a certain extent to increase their levels of competitiveness. These lessons can be tweaked to suit the local Saint Lucian economy.

The Global Competitiveness Report prepared by World Economic Forum (WEF) annually measures the level of competitiveness of 144 countries by focusing on the pillars which are crucial in achieving national competitiveness. The 2014-2015 WEF Competitiveness Report ranks Barbados (55), Trinidad and Tobago (86) and Jamaica (89) as the top Caribbean countries on the list. These countries continue to implement a number of reforms to increase the competitiveness of their economies. While Saint Lucia is not included in this ranking, we can learn from some of the reforms undertaken by these economies to improve Saint Lucia’s economic standing in the global and regional market.

Barbados has scored fairly well in terms of having a fairly skilled labour force due to a high-quality education system and high enrolment rates in secondary and tertiary education. It also has solid infrastructure and generally well-functioning institutions.

Currently, Barbados is in the process of implementing a Competitiveness Program which seeks to address some of the key areas that have constrained the improvement in the competitiveness profile of Barbados over the years. The program consists of several sub components that are currently being implemented. One of the projects that have made significant progress is the establishment of the Electronic Single Window. This system will allow traders to submit all required documents through a single electronic gateway, instead of submitting the same information numerous times to different government entities.

Although Trinidad has implemented a number of reforms aimed at enhancing its competitiveness.  One project that is on-going which can be tweaked to suit Saint Lucia‘s case is a Foresight and Innovation Network.  This project involves the development of an online social network to engage and connect champions of innovation, critical thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship in Trinidad. The project seeks to build a new generation of people with the right attitudes and mind set to build a competitive economy. The results of the program so far are as follows:

  • Eleven business investment projects have been supported by this project.
  • Youth between the ages of 15-18 years have received training in developing their critical thinking skills.
  • An Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club was established with over 1,320 members.
  • Several networking sessions for entrepreneurs have been organised.

The Government of Jamaica has focused on developing the competitiveness of its people through a number of initiatives aimed at helping students become problem solvers and innovators. Some of the initiatives launched by the education ministry include: Jamaica Tablet Program, Start –up Weekend Jamaica, Digital Jam Apps Competition and Kingstoon Animation Festival. As such, a brainchild developed by two students is the AgroCentral app.  This app minimizes produce waste and supports food security.

Local farmers who cultivate top-quality produce often have a hard time selling their entire crop to the market and have to deal with spoilage. To solve this, the app serves as the first ever digital clearing house in Jamaica. It links hotels and restaurants directly with small farmers. Therefore, clients are able to identify and purchase large quantities of produce. The young entrepreneurs plan to launch this app outside of Jamaica.

The Government of Saint Lucia established the National Competitiveness & Productivity Council (NCPC) to advocate and monitor actions that affect Saint Lucia’s competitiveness.  One of the first competitiveness projects spearheaded by the NCPC is the establishment of a Commercial Court.  The Commercial Court is expected to deliver an expeditious and cost effective mode of resolving disputes that directly affect the commercial and financial sector in Saint Lucia. The NCPC intends to work with agencies both in the public and private domain to advocate on projects that would enhance the country’s competitiveness.


express mail serviceSaint Lucia Postal Service was recently announced as one of eight countries out of 192 member countries of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) – an intergovernmental organization and the main forum for the cooperation between governments, posts and other stakeholders of the worldwide sector – to receive an award for Express Mail Service (EMS) delivery for 2014.

Each year, countries are recognized by UPU for excellent performance, with 3 levels of performance awards: Gold, Silver and Bronze. To receive such an award member countries must meet the performance standards and prerequisites set by UPU, all aimed at providing customers worldwide with a high quality and competitive express mail service. The performance standards are independently monitored and compiled by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

On 9 April 2015, Saint Lucia Postal Service was the proud recipient of the much sought after Gold award and is ranked number one out of 192 countries for its performance in the handling and delivery of EMS items for 2014.

Saint Lucia has been awarded in the past, the latest being a silver award for 2013 – the sole award for a Caribbean country that year. However this award is particularly meritorious and gratifying as it is the first ever Gold award received by Saint Lucia Postal Service. Even more remarkable is the fact that Saint Lucia is again the only Caribbean territory to receive an award in 2014 and is also ranked number one in the world for the aforementioned period.

Five other Gold awards were given to the following countries Hungary, Hong Kong China, Azerbaijan and Singapore, Silver to Moldova and Norway, and Bronze to Israel.

Achieving this milestone is commendable as the management and staff work assiduously to sustain the future of the postal service amidst rapid falling letter mail volumes. Efforts are geared at innovation, which include the recently launched online shopping service and the soon to be launched postcode development to assist in a more efficient mail delivery.

Management thanks the staff for their exceptional diligence and illustrious performance, and in addition, congratulates the team on the attainment of this august award.