No creativity

Clarke: Business sector producing nothing

Barbados’s traditional business sector is not creative and is incapable of understanding the need to keep the workforce in place.

It is basically a collection of commission agents interested in buying goods cheaply and selling  them at exorbitant prices.

Attorney-at-law, Robert “Bobby” Clarke, made these observations today during an interview with Barbados TODAY.

Dismissing suggestions that the business sector should take up the slack arising from the layoff of public sector workers, Clarke said: “Our business sector is not a genuine one. It produces nothing. It produces absolutely nothing. It is engaged in import export business in order to make a profit. It must not allow agriculture to develop because it would not be able to import the $750 million a year in food items to sell to the poor people. We do not local production of carrots, beets and tomatoes to feed the population, the prison system, the hospitals and support the hotels.

“The import trade will never agree to the idea of producing local food items. The non development of agriculture remains in place to ensure that it supports the political system. If we have a new approach to the production of food we will have a fishing industry which would produce smoked flying fish and canned flying fish. We will not be importing tamarind, beans and okras,”
Clarke added.

Commenting on suggestions that small entrepreneurship should be encouraged, the pan-africanist said: “The idea of entrepreneurship in these small Caribbean islands is nonsense. We can look at Swan Street with the little boys selling perfume. These small businessmen cannot make a living out of that. These small businesses do not employ anyone, just the owner.”

Noting that there more than 10,000 students at the Cave Hill Campus, Clarke queried why the campus cannot produce scientists who can improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Addressing the role being played by trade unions in the current economic turbulence, Clarke said: “Trade unionists have become bogged down in their own self interest. They do not ever disclose their salary structures. Top trade unionists are very much part of the ruling class in capitalist countries. Their salary structures are phenomenal. They have refused to take the workers into their confidence. The only weapon the union has against an employer whether it is government or the private sector is strike action. The private sector has many weapons.

“They can lay off workers, make them redundant or close down the business. They understand the system and they use them.”

Clarke refused to accept the notion that the entire region would eventually descend into widespread poverty.

“It has to do with what we see as resources. We have been led to believe that iron ore, tin copper, gold, diamonds and oil are the resources. We have many resources. We have the sun, the sea and we have the Cave Hill Campus with a student roll of 10,000. We should be producing scientists in Physics and Chemistry that would produce new ideas to produce new goods. For example, Sweden has a population of eight million. The population of the Anglo-phone Caribbean is 7.5 million. Sweden produces two of the best cars in the world, the Saab and the Volvo. They produce some of the best watches in the world. It takes you 12 minutes to be processed in the Accident and Emergency Department,” Clarke said.

Commenting on Prime Minister Stuart’s role in the current economic crisis, Clarke said: “Stuart wants to speak, but avoids a discussion. He talks about reading literature. He read a bit of Chaucer, but he does not attempt to get into a discussion. He goes to events where he can speak. The Government is falling apart all around him with Cabinet members doing their own thing.”

Clarke, who was the president of the Barbados Industrial and General Workers’ Union in the 1970s maintained that if he was involved in trade unionism at this time he would lead a march against the retrenchment of poor workers.

4 Responses to No creativity

  1. Athelston March 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I cannot agree more with the comment of Boby, i always say they are sophisticated one door shop keepers who buy and sell, the true capitalist who like the safe aand lazy way of doing business. but we called them successful business men because of they color . They argument would be they employ people, in this recession where is the creativity to keep these people employed. They dont like risk but would complain when the Trinidad business men come and take on the risk and buy barbadian businesses and invest in new enterprises.

  2. Santini More
    Santini More March 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    These are tough words, but words of truth.

  3. Charly Bamboo
    Charly Bamboo March 11, 2014 at 7:01 am

    The Goverment is to blame, they don’t help invest in their own people.

  4. Brimstone March 11, 2014 at 9:09 am

    This is great Neville, it seems Bobby got it all right……
    The business sector at the behest of the government fail to utilize the one area available to us, that of agriculture. In a recent check it was found that government still owned the major share of plantations in the island from the 1970’s.
    My question therefore, is why do we have landless farmers. There is also fundig available through UNDP for farming, and repairs to degradable roads linking agricultural developments, and I am still to see us using these facilities.
    We had our world brand “Black Belly Sheep” which was allowed to die. We had the Haggatts Agricultural Station in St. Andrew which experimented in producing engrafted produce, and I am wondering if this is still done, it is in close correlation to having our home bred UWI scientist assisting indirectly to FOREX revenue.
    Our small entrpeneurs will never succeed in this economic environment, however, should they build small consortiums and pool resources, then the government needs to make available both lans and subsidized funding to assist in generating growth and sustainability.
    Our socioeconomic structure is too fragile, the land mass too small, and the finance too tight for single operations. The two largest banana producers just merged, where does it leave us or even the CSME nations.
    Our single most important resource is our people, and in mentioning the unions, we also need to understand that thay too have a responsibility to workers to educate them in good business practices and labor law and not wait for or to create unrest in the society. It is also the resposibility of the Employers Confederation, along with the unions to create long term strtegic employment needs for the society, which can be relayed to UWI to assist in the number of engineers, doctors, economist and lawyers needed. Technical schools also need to be appraised to facilitate the electricians and mechanics as well.
    Finally we need to stop the trivia and cosmetic spending by government and invest in a solar power plant. The first year savings on fossil fuel imports will be $750M and it will immediate remove the fuel adjustment clause and reduce all consumer bills. The USA is investing in several plants, we need only ONE. We also need to explore bottled and canned water. Singapore is 237sq mls and a hub of activity, yet a can of beer or water cost $20.00 and all we need to do is export K200 cases per month and we would be doing quite fine.
    The electorate needs to file an indictement against the government and the PM. Once done, it must be heard in a court of law. The jury will be 12 persons from the civil society, who will find them guilty of being a clear and present danger to the nation, thus paving the way for new elections. Bajans are the best people in the world, and the fire in us set by our fore fathers needs to be rekindled. Let usall arise hold hands and reclaim what is ours, and return t the top where we belong. GOD Bless our nation and its people…….


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