Buy Bajan move
A group of entrepreneurs strongly believes that local manufacturers can supply hotels and schools with many of the supplies they need.
And the Barbados Industry Solutions Group is on a quest to prove that when it hosts a small business expo next week.
“We believe that both these sectors offer extremely good import substitution possibilities and import replacement possibilities,” Senator John Watson, a member of the group’s working committee, told a Press conference yesterday.
“There is no reason in Barbados at all for the importation of uniforms for schools or school furniture . . . . If you look at the products being used in the schools, all those products could be produced locally –– exercise books, drawing books . . . . The belts, the epaulettes and the sportswear can be produced [here]. We do not need to import sportswear from the Dominican Republic or any other place in the Caribbean; they could all be made right here in Barbados,” Watson insisted.
“In the hotel industry there is no real need to import tablecloths, bed sheets, pillowcases, table mats and various other things in the hotel sector. There is a lot of food that is imported into the hotel sector that we believe that we can substitute or replace, and over time these will be the two areas that we will concentrate on.”
Watson added that by bringing the manufacturing sector back to its glory days, Barbados would earn and save foreign exchange.
“We believe that if we do that, we would really secure Barbados’ future through the manufacturing sector,” he said.
Chairman of the working committee, Jeffrey Evanson, said the expo was a means of getting “the big players in those two industries to know that we [small business owners] have goods that we can really talk about buying Bajan and replace some of the foreign exchange that is slipping out of the country.”
Trevor “Job” Clarke, another committee member, believes the expo which is set for next Monday and Tuesday will open employment opportunities for young people.
The event, which has been dubbed Bajan Industries Expo 2014, will feature 20 booths.
Watson said the hope was to make it an annual event.
“This exhibition is not a one-off project. It is the beginning of a movement . . . but the idea is that we will start with this exhibition and bring as much awareness as possible to the manufacturing sector through the exhibition and what other events that we can do,” he said.
“We are not attempting to replace any organization, or to be in conflict with any other organization. We will work with all the other organizations, be it BMEX or all the various agencies that interact with the manufacturing sector, to ensure that the manufacturing sector provides for Barbados the impetus that it needs.”