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Minister Donville Inniss delivering remarks at the inaugural lecture series hosted by the BCSI while from left to right the Hon. Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris; Executive Director of the BCSI, Lisa Cummins; President of Fairway Development Ltd,??David Staples and Master of Ceremonies, Jewel Ford look on. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Barbadians have been described as being too conservative in their thinking and not being risks takers.

This observation was made by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who said that some of the challenges being faced by the service industry in this country were partially due to the fact that as a people Barbadians were not really raised to take risks and were at times "too inward looking in their approach."

He was speaking last night at the inaugural lecture series hosted by the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries Inc. for National Services Week 2013 held under the theme Servicing Future Generations at the Grande Salle Tom Adams Financial Centre.

Noting that the services sector was critical to the economy of this country, Mr. Inniss pointed out that services in trade was necessary as it was the largest contributor to private sector activity in Barbados.

"Eighty per cent of all tradable and non-tradable economic activity resides in what is classified as the service industry as well and without a shadow of a doubt they are key to Barbados’ gross domestic product and economic growth.

"… In a small open economy with very limited natural resources we have to rely heavily on services to really drive this economy forward.?? Of course it also plays an important part in job creation particularly, as I said earlier, there are very little natural resources and certainly in the area of foreign exchange earning capacity as well as saving foreign exchange, we recognise the important role that the service industry and the various sub-sectors play," he asserted.

Outlining another challenge confronting the services sector particularly as it seeks to expand its way into the CARICOM arena, the Minister pointed out that "a lot of our financing methods for business expansion in Barbados are not really conducive for outward expansion and that is a matter that needs to be addressed," he opined.

The Minister further queried to what extent the financing mechanisms in this country were conducive to the expansion of business drives in services in the inter- CARICOM region in particular.

"…The truth of the matter is that data collection and data analysis is extremely critical for any business to expand itself whether it is domestically, regionally or internationally and we have that challenge with services companies in Barbados where we just don’t have the information…While we may be doing well on the domestic market, the reality about it is that there is fear and somewhat ignorance on how we go to the next level in expanding your business," he said.

The Industry Minister also suggested that instead of always focusing on the challenges being faced it was also time to focus on the opportunities available and pursue them.

"Too often, we in Barbados sit here and behave as if the whole world revolves around this little island of 166 square miles …another small market – when the truth of the matter is that there are 14 million people throughout the region that we can certainly go after and with the CARICOM arrangement where the barriers are pretty much removed …there is that freedom.

"…You have the right to exercise your options to establishing in another jurisdiction or doing business in another jurisdiction and I think that we as a people have to be just a little more aggressive and go after the opportunities."

Mr. Inniss told attendees that we must not limit ourselves to CARICOM but reminded service providers that they have the CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement in place which he lamented not enough Barbadian entrepreneurs and individuals were taking advantage of.

??"After six years of progressive negotiations that pretty much narrows down to a benefit and yet still, we are not hearing, seeing or feeling enough of our people taking advantage of such.?? It makes you wonder sometimes what is the sense of negotiating these trade agreements and then our people are not aggressively pursuing them.

"… For too long we have sat here in Barbados and complained about those who are coming in to Barbados to establish businesses and to take our markets.???? I say to you the time has come for us to stop the whining and complaining and get up and go out there in the CARICOM region and take over some of those businesses as well," he charged.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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