Public Personnel Management in the Caribbean: A Comparative Analysis of Trends in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and Grenada

By Perez, Donatila German | Public Personnel Management, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

Public Personnel Management in the Caribbean: A Comparative Analysis of Trends in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and Grenada


Perez, Donatila German, Public Personnel Management


After first describing the characteristics of five Caribbean island nations (the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and Grenada), this article discusses their respective public personnel management systems. Each country differs with respect to laws, structures and procedures. But they share common geographic and historical characteristics that have had a profound effect on public personnel management. Specifically, their common antecedents have affected how they develop civil service systems, training and evaluation, recruitment and selection, pay and benefits, and other aspects of the administrative career system. In conclusion, the article presents an analysis of common trends in the evolution of public personnel systems in all these countries, based on their common necessity to increase the effectiveness and rationality of the public services their governments provide.

This article outlines some general trends in public personnel management in the Caribbean. It was presented at a round table on "Trends in Human Resource Management in the Public Sector" in San Jose, Costa Rica in February 2000. It first presents some general information on the Caribbean to give readers some understanding of the context. The second part is a comparative systemic analysis of the most relevant aspects of human resource management (HRM) in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, and Saint Vincent and Grenada, culminating in a summary of development trends and issues.

This article was originally published as: "Tendencias en la Administracion de Recursos Humanos en el Sector Publico del Caribe. Casos: Republica Dominicana, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, San Vicente y Las Granadinas," in Violeta Pallavicini Campos and Ferdinando Goni Ortiz (eds.), 2000. Memoria del Congreso Internacional: Avances y Desafios de la Administracion de los Recursos Humanos al Inicio del Tercer Milenio. San Jose, Costa Rica: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, pp. 51-60. Permission to translate and reprint in Public Personnel Management is given to the IPMA by the author and by the sponsors of the Congreso Internacional.

The Caribbean offers a variety of public HRM systems with various levels of development. But its countries share a number of common problems. And, as Dr. Jorge Morales points out, "...the growing interdependence of nations in various regions of the world increases the necessity for reciprocity. Recent European examples show without a doubt that people must be familiar with the basic institutions of all the countries that form part of a region if one wants to derive the greater benefit that the region inherently provides. Regional cooperation treaties, increased interagency cooperation and an increase in communications among peoples are all examples of how important it is to know what others are doing in order to improve our situation and help others improve theirs."

An examination of public personnel management experiences in the Caribbean leads us to conclude that, in general, only a merit-based personnel system can guarantee to citizens that the public service is in the hands of people sufficiently qualified to provide the services to which users are legitimately entitled.

The author apologizes in advance for any errors of fact or judgement that the text might contain, and asks readers to excuse any errors or omissions related to their own countries.

General Data on The Caribbean

The Caribbean region refers to the eastern part of the American continent between North and South America. The Caribbean is divided into two regions, continental and insular. The continental Caribbean comprises the Central and South American countries that border on the Caribbean Sea. The insular Caribbean is made up of the Bahamas and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles is Cuba, Santo Domingo, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The Lesser Antilles is the group of small islands that form an archipelago from Puerto Rico to the northern coast of Venezuela. …

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