Govt reduces hassle for returning Bajans
Government has removed the remaining causes of hassle and frustration for those who wish to relocate to Barbados.
That is the word from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who disclosed that from April 1, 2014, Barbadian networkers who lived abroad, satisfied the necessary criteria and were resettling here, could purchase duty free vehicles in Barbados.
He made the comments yesterday while delivering the feature address at the Third Barbados Network Consultation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford
Centre, under the theme One Nation, One Family: Building Pathways To Prosperity And Development.
Stuart said Government had expended a lot of effort since 2008 to improve the environment for doing business in Barbados, to provide stimuli to key sectors of the economy, and to restructure the economy overall.
He highlighted the Hotel Refurbishment, Energy Efficiency and Food Production Fund for the tourism sector as one such initiative.
“This would include also the concessions given to Sandals that have already resulted in massive investments by that company in St Lawrence Gap, and plans to purchase and upgrade the Almond Beach Club in St Peter. These concessions have since been extended to the entire tourism sector.
“In addition to this, we have sought to revive agriculture by establishing a $20 million fund for use in the sector and have facilitated access to this fund for agro-businesses. A new factory to produce alternative energy from sugar cane is in the pipeline. We have also set a target to generate over 20 per cent of the island’s electricity from alternative energy sources, and generally helped to develop a Green Economy with a $100 million injection of financial assistance,” he told the audience.
The Prime Minister underscored the importance of innovation and enterprise, saying that in the global village in which there were large powerful players, small economies could only survive and prosper by spotting opportunities in the niches of the global economy and capitalising on them.
He acknowledged that Barbados could not compete with Brazil or South Africa in providing tourism products based on just sun and sea.
“But, what we can certainly do is to diversify our tourism product with heritage, and cultural and sporting components that are unique to Barbados. We can also diversify the entire economy by producing goods and services that would obviate the need to import fossil fuels, costly mass-produced food that contributes to chronic non-communicable diseases and a host of other cravings,” he said.
Stuart added that Government spared no effort in obtaining the UNESCO designation for Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison as a World Heritage site and passed the Cultural Industries Development Act in 2013.
“It is for these reasons that we have sought to empower communities to foster community tourism. That is why we have been trying to revive agriculture through mechanisation and vertical integration with finished products such as the delicious Bajan dishes to be found in local high end restaurants, and hopefully also to be exported. And it is also the reason why we have been focusing on the production of renewable energy – not only for heating water, but also for lighting up schools, businesses and public sector buildings, and driving our machines,” he explained.
The Barbados Network Consultation ends tomorrow.
On that day, there will be an interactive session with Cabinet and the participants, as well as discussions on Hospice And Palliative Care; Returning Home: Building Pathways To Resettlement; and Building Connectivity Across Generations: Creating Pathways To Barbadian Status.