(Barbados Nation) The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) owes overseas programme suppliers and local contractors Bds$9.2 million and Government is coming up with the money to pay up.
For weeks now, subscribers to CBC’s Multi-Choice Television have been unable to access several popular overseas channels. The reason was revealed in the House of Assembly on Tuesday when a resolution was passed for Bds$9.2 million to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund to supplement the 2017/18 Estimates, to pay off CBC’s debts.
It was disclosed that overseas providers would be getting around US$3.8 million while Bds$2.1 million would be allocated to pay local contractors to whom CBC was also indebted.
With only Government MPs and the United Progressive Party’s Dr Maria Agard in attendance – as the Opposition Barbados Labour Party vowed last week not to return to Parliament until after the next general election – the resolution was introduced by Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy.
He told the House it was not customary for Government to have to financially support the station though it had been done before. But he added that given the current challenges the corporation faced, since it was still a state-owned entity, Government had a duty to respond.
However, Sealy advised: “We are not seeking these funds in a vacuum. The Government has insisted that the Carib-bean Broadcasting Corporation develop some strategic plan in the future and they have been actively engaging in this exercise, working with the Productivity Council to come up with a strategic plan for the future.”
That strategic plan, he explained, would include a complete assessment of every aspect of the organisation, with four key strategic dimensions: financial; the client/stakeholder; internal processes, and learning and growth “focusing on CBC’s human resource management and development efforts aimed at improving the quality of its human resource element”.