Minister: Stop paying lip service to farmers and businesses
Stop paying lip service to small farmers and businesses and do more to support them.
That was the call of Acting Minister of International Business, Industry, Commerce and Small Business Adriel Brathwaite as he delivered the feature address at the official launch of the Barbados Co-operative Business Association Ltd at the St Michael School yesterday evening.
“I do not run around Barbados saying that I support small black businesses or small black famers, I do it in a practical manner. Every Saturday morning I travel to St George to buy my vegetables from a small farmer who sells his produce near St George Parish Church. I do my talking by how I act,” Brathwaite said.
“I do not believe that I should stand up in the media and say I do this or that. I do it on a very practical basis. If more small farmers and small businessmen let people like me know what you are doing, you would probably get more support. When I look in the audience I see small farmers and small businessmen I do not know and may have supported without knowing.”
During his address, Brathwaite suggested that pooling financial resources to purchase products could be a way of redcucing costs for farmers and businesses people.
Noting that people built Barbados through this communal effort, he lamented that spirit no longer seemed to exist.
“My mother would raise a pig and slaughter it in August so that she could buy supplies for her children in time for the opening of school in September. Similarly, she would raise a pig for Christmas because this was a very special season for all Barbadians. We bought from each other and supported each other. Somewhere along the way we seemed to have lost this interest in helping each other,” Brathwaite said.
“I think that in joining this association you are making a statement about the relevance of cooperation at this time.”
Meanwhile, expressing concern that Barbados had slipped and was no longer a competitive destination, Brathwaite called on Barbadians to “come on board” to help transform the country into a destination where businessmen can do business without much difficulty.
“I want to encourage more Barbadians to recognize that if we do not take control of our lives and transform this society we cannot leave it for others. We cannot sit back and say ‘it cannot happen here’,” he said.
Brathwaite also argued that businesses must have a common standard of excellence.