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Bim reaping benefits

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart examines a meal prepared with pre- packaged Cou-Cou.

Three of the island’s major foreign exchange-earning agencies are reporting a mixture of tangible and potential benefits from the Barbados Network Consultation held last week at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The Barbados Manufacturers Association, the Ministry of Tourism and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation informed Barbados TODAY of major benefits they either anticipated or were already realising.

For example, Executive Director of the BMA, Bobbi McKay, said this Barbadians from Britain who attended the consultation had expressed serious interest in the locally made Shirley biscuits.

McKay also said Barbados could also soon be exporting margarine and cooking oil to the Diaspora. She revealed, too, a follow up meeting had been scheduled to possibly finalise negotiations for exporting a number of other Barbados-manufactured products.

The manufacturing sector’s spokesperson was excited about the export prospects for Barbadian goods as a result of the networking with the various business people from the Diaspora. The BMA, which was part of the planning committee for the consultation, was also one of its sponsors.

The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, another sponsor and planner of the Diaspora conference, has been collecting data from persons in the indigenous services industry, so the local artistes could take advantage of the opportunities under the European Partnership Agreement.

The BIDC, which has recently taken over the Indigenous Services Unit from Invest Barbados, planned to leverage those involved in the creative industries from the Disapora, to capitalise on the opportunities in Europe in such areas as singing, music, film, visual arts and health services.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy expressed optimism with the avenues available from networking with Barbadians in such countries as Panama and Cuba.

Sealy said he expected to see greater levels of awareness of Barbados within the Disapora, particularly with the younger persons.

The minister noted too that some Barbadians went to Panama about 100 years ago to build the canal and that it was critical to maintain the link with the three to four generations, otherwise they would be lost to this island. (EJ)

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