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All hands on deck

Prime Minister looks to Barbadians at home and abroad for economic help

Government is putting plans in place to introduce financial instruments that are attractive to Barbadians living in the diaspora and at home in an attempt to earn foreign exchange.

Delivering the feature address at the Third Diaspora Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael this morning, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart noted that Barbadian migrants have traditionally responded vigorously to the major challenges of their time.

He also argued that this was the “age of innovation and entrepreneurship”, while telling Barbadians at home and abroad: “Barbados needs your positive response.

“The programme for this consultation includes a series of exhibitions, discussions and experiences to expose you to a wide range of goods, services and ideas that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing. The messages from these various sessions and exhibitions are very clear. They all relate to the fact that this downturn, and the changes it has triggered, offers enterprising Barbadians at home and abroad several pathways to properity.    “To start with, I want you to reflect carefully on the Crop Over Festival to see what business opportunities it has suggested to you, whether in goods or in services. Can you see the production and export of these unique goods and services taking more Barbadians along pathways to properity? he asked, adding that “trade and investment are essential means to economic growth in Barbados and your investment, whether continuing or potential, is important to us”.

“Now is a good time to invest in Barbados and help entrepreneurs to link Barbados to its diaspora in mutually beneficial ways and in so doing create employment and also create wealth,” Stuart added.

The Prime Minister said despite the fact that Barbados has established several institutions to help potential entrepreneurs move from the conception of business ideas to the implementation and success of their ventures, several budding business entrepreneurs have complained about the lack of capital to finance their enterprises.

He said even some of those who chose to persevere, have ended up with business projects that are grossly undercapitalised, hence the high failure rate of micro-enterprises and small businesses.

However, Stuart said Government was prepared to extend a helping hand at this juncture of the island’s economic history and “we have been giving considerable thought to the creation of financial instruments that are attractive to networkers at home and abroad, and which would lead to greater uptake of instruments issued by the Government.

“The goal is to raise foreign exchange capital from Barbadians resident aboard and from external holdings of residents of Barbados, and to leverage these resources to support local economic development initiatives. This would be done through a series of initiatives that include more effective marketing and the provision of government guarantees of safe, reliable and attractive rates of return,” Stuart said.


One Response to All hands on deck

  1. Tony Webster August 6, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Lord Havus Mercy: Deja vu.
    c.1997, I noted that the pamphlet specially-printed for those who might be tempted to join the merry F.U.R.N. party, made absolutely NO MENTION of if on return to home shores, their hard-won gains accumulated over many decades over’n’away, would be mandatorily converted into BDS$? Otherwise, the new “regulations” implied, such folks would be instantaneoulsy “morphed” (under existing Exchange-control regulations) from “non-residents” into “residents”, thereby forcing them to convert all accululated bank-balances, stocks-and-shares, and other F/X-denominated investments, into BDS$. Wondering whether the issue was was accidental or deliberate, several conversations followed with the “F.U.R.N. unit”.
    Putting myself in the shoes of such FURN-types trekking back home, I wondered: what sort of welcome-mat might tempt me to re-locate AND CONVERT such hard-won treasures? I therefore ventured formally to suggest to the “relevant authority”, several ways that the percieved conundrum could be managed: allow them a privilege, saith I, immediatley-available to keep the “stuff” IN barbados Offshore banks…but with a limited “shelf-life”. I felt that once our returnees had settled back home; they would (as usual) set-about building a nice 5-bedroom home, and might also be expected in due course, to use up such largesse, in some pet ideas/ new businesses; during the “shelf-life” of , say ten years. Whatever the “term” set, over time, and the passing of batons to following generations, such funds would be “organically” absorbed; invested; or used up. Read: most, if not all , would would be eventually converted into BB$, and the Central Bank’s working F/X balances, would …magically rise! A win -win, so I thought. Time passed, and no response; so calls were made: it was “being looked at” etc, etc. I know not, if it was The Mists of Time; or some stern, un-flinching Guardian of F/X over in Church Village could not “get the point”; or if elections intervened. It might even have been the proverbial dead hand (or head) that descended. The line…went dead; I retired in 1999.

    OK, so here we now go with FURN 2.0! Have we talked to all the people who matter, to fashion the New Beast? No, not retired (and just-plain-tired) me….please ensure the Hon. Relevant Minister, talks to those who REALLY matter: The “customers”! Effin’ they doan like how it look; an’ smell; an’ taste; dem gine pass it up. Which would be a great pity indeed. Correction: Another great pity.


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