International Business: The Way Forward

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Adriel Brathwaite, Acting Minister of International Business. (FP)

The international business sector is contributing to this country’s development, however, if significant gains are to be made, then attention must be paid to service delivery.

This is according to Acting Minister of International Business, Adriel Brathwaite, who was speaking last night at a public forum sponsored by the Barbados International Business Association on the topic: Can Barbados Grow and Prosper without International Business? at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Mr. Brathwaite told the audience that it was "a given" that the international business sector had contributed significantly to this country’s infrastructural growth, in the form of roads, free secondary education and the provision of free health care.

Comparing the speed of doing business in Barbados with Singapore, Mr. Brathwaite cautioned that until this country could complete transactions within specific timeframes, then "it does not matter what we come up with … because we would not have moved forward". He added: "And we need to work as a country on how to deliver… to be able to say it will take us two days to move from point ???A’?? to point ???B’, and the investor, or whoever they may be, need not bother because they know on day two that’s what will happen."

The Acting Minister of International Business admitted that the international business sector was experiencing a number of difficulties, saying "…and we will continue to have challenges because of new entrants into the markets. There are some challenges that we have and… some would say our challenges are self inflicted. The fact is that as a country we have not responded as swiftly as we could to making full use of market opportunities."

Mr. Brathwaite noted that oil and gas explorations were still in the realm of uncertainty and at this point could not be singled out as future revenue generators. In light of this, he suggested that it would be better to focus on areas that were "within our grasp".

He continued: "I am clear in my mind that every area where as a country we are making money to feed our families… is to sell our goods and services, so that we can continue our way of life… Our greatest challenge will be whether or not we as a country can provide the kind of service that enables persons to return to us from time to time."

In Barbados, the international business sector represents some 2.2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and was responsible for employing 379 persons in 2010.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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