Investing in health
Barbados’ standard of health care may be one area that can be marketed to returning nationals and even those in the Diaspora.
This was the suggestion of Consul General for New York, Lennox Price, even as he noted that customer service in a number of areas island wide was one of the biggest challenges for returning nationals.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at the Barbados Networking Consultation conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this afternoon, the Bajan diplomat stated: “Some people feel they are not welcomed in their own country. Some complain about customer service. This goes beyond resettling, but people complain about lawyers, contractors, but customer service is a big issue.”
He continued: “People complain about health. They wonder if they will get proper health service but I believe that after listening to the Minister of Health yesterday, people should be comfortable about the level of service that they would receive in Barbados. There is more than the QEH. That is only one facility and it cannot service everybody. There are private institutions so I think there is adequate health service. That is something that we can spread to our nationals. People complain about health services too in New York.”
He praised the initiative of a Diaspora Conference, adding that he firmly believed there were benefits to be had for both the migrant and local populations.
“I think it can really help in a meaningful way to help improve the economy, because with all these things on display, goods and services reaching more individuals. The people who are here have firsthand experience and they will be able to share the information with Barbadians in the Diaspora and I think that will lead to an improvement and an increase in sales for the product.”
He noted that Banks Beer, Wibisco products, and condiments like jams and pepper sauce, were popular among the items sought by the Diaspora and he believed the conference could help with marketing efforts, especially as there are so many products on display during the event.
Tourism as well, Price said, was another area that could benefit from the links formed through the conference. He pointed in particular to the youth in the Diaspora, adding that his office was already looking at ways to link youth in New York with Barbados.
The focus this year is on the youth and it is my intention at some point in time in the very near future to organise a youth forum in New York so our young people would be able to build on the conference.
“On Eastern Parkway on Labour Day you find a number of Barbadians. Some of them might not have ever set foot in Barbados, but you see them with their colours and such and they tend to be at the stage where they are interested in finding out more about their heritage. I think the onus is on us to make sure they are informed of their heritage and culture and whatever.”
There was also a Young Barbadian Professional Society which was already trying to make those links, towards which he believed they could help steer some of the American professionals of Bajan descent. (LB/DS)