More Innovative Ways Needed

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Parliamentary Secretary, in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner,??addressing the Inter-American Division’s 10th annual Adventist Laypersons Services and Industries (ASI) Convention at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. At right is an interpreter.

Small island developing states, such as Barbados, will have to find more innovative ways to survive and prosper by shifting the focus from producing primary goods and services for protected markets, to adding value to whatever is produced.

This suggestion was made by Parliamentary Secretary, in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, as she delivered the feature address at the Inter-American Division’s 10th annual Adventist Laypersons Services and Industries (ASI) Convention at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, yesterday.

Mrs. Sandiford-Garner warned: "We have to wean our people from a pre-occupation with consumption, to a culture of wealth creation. We have to use our ingenuity to spot niches in the global marketplace and to capitalise on them. We have to learn to be more competitive."

The Parliamentary Secretary stated that the Adventist-Laypersons Services and Industries organisation seemed to be one of the useful vehicles to take the country out of the recession and into the new economy, since it recognised the need for more entrepreneurs and offered an effective support system for them.

"This seems to me to be the ideal recipe for inculcating religious-based moral values in our young people and equipping them with essential skills for earning a living, as entrepreneurs or skilled employees. We need organisations to foster this spirit of enterprise in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean," she said.

This, she explained could be achieved by running seminars designed to address the needs of existing professionals and business persons as well as potential entrepreneurs.?? It also involved discussing contemporary issues that affect poor people; developing projects to mitigate suffering; promoting and selling goods and services of delegates; networking among professionals and business persons and reviewing the mission of the Church in times of austerity.

However, Senator Sandiford-Garner opined: "It is patently obvious that this shift, this fundamental change in our values, will not come easily or quickly."

She indicated that the ASI’s involvement in a range of secular activities that included the provision of education and health services, housing solutions, and savings schemes for?? retirement and general welfare benefits to members were visible examples of their contribution to the social development of Barbados.

Mrs. Sandiford-Garner expressed gratitude to the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh Day Adventist for its excellent work in uniting the people of the Caribbean and making a significant contribution to the sustainable development of the region.

"When the economy was booming and revenues were flowing into Government coffers, we were able to invest in our people. But, during an economic recession, when we have pledged to maintain the level of social services to mitigate the negative impact of the fall in revenue from all sources, we find ourselves in a conundrum. I, therefore, believe that this intervention is timely and that there is a lot that Barbados can learn from the Adventist-Laypersons Services and Industries Convention," the Senator stated.

She stressed that since January 2008, Government had made it clear that all stakeholders must work closely in the creation of a better Barbados and a better Caribbean Community, "particularly in times of austerity".

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