Red tape hurting country
Benn urges gov’t to change its attitude to keep valuable business
Barbados’ Consul General in Canada Haynesley Benn says bureaucratic red tape continues to be a major deterrent to foreign direct investment in the country.
Delivering a report on his tenure since taking up the post a year ago, Benn told a meeting of the Democratic Labour Party’s St Peter branch last night that the problem exists both in the private and public sectors, though it is worse in the Government service.
He said there must be a shift in attitude or the country will continue to lose valuable business.
“This is bad for the country and all I can say is I wish that our people here would act with the same degree of urgency and treat matters with the same degree of importance as business persons in Canada treat matters. If we do that, I can guarantee you that there would be a lot more businesses being set up here in the country,” he said.
To drive home his point, the diplomat noted he had sent a shipment containing about 16 boxes of toys and clothing to Barbados on behalf of McMaster University in Canada since February.
To date, he said, the items earmarked for less fortunate Barbadians have not been cleared in the absence of a letter from Minster of Finance Chris Sinckler granting a waiver on the port charges.
“I find that to be so distressing and so unfortunate,” Benn said.
“I promised the organisation that when I come to Barbados I would seek to have the storage charges waived. If I can get the Customs to waive it, I would pay from my pocket the other duties that the Customs would have charged. They shouldn’t have been charged anything except a nominal fee.
“I wouldn’t want that next year McMaster University and other people have things to send down and I have to tell them they went but they weren’t used,” he added.
Meantime, Benn is due to meet with representatives of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation this week to discuss access to the Canada market for Barbadian manufacturers of condiments.
He said there is a “tremendous market” in the North American country, given the large number of Barbadians residing there.
The consul general, who attended the 3rd Diaspora Conference held here earlier this month, is due to return to Canada at the end of this month.