Moderator, Siebert Frederick, panellists from left to right: Professor Andrew Downes, Tonika Sealy, Peter Boos and John Taylor.
In a move to further improve the economy, Barbados is aiming to broaden its focus from financial services to include a range of other services it should be able to successfully market internationally.
This is the word from Chairman of the Barbados International Business Promotion Corporation (BIBPC), Peter Boos, who was speaking last evening at the final town hall meeting on the draft National Strategic Plan.
He told the audience at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School, which included several top civil servants, officials of the UWI, NGOs and the private sector that : “in BIBPC, we are in the early stages of developing a policy to link directly to the national strategy. We have been concentrating significantly in the past on financial services. The new focus will be on a much broader basis, on international services.”
A cross section of the audience at the final town hall meeting on the draft National Strategic Plan.
Mr. Boos went on: “I think that Barbados has the advantage of a great reputation internationally. The diaspora of Barbados is wide and many successful people from this country are living all across the world. So, one of the strategies I believe we would want to pursue, very early on, is to take advantage of the relationships that we have built. Added to this, there is a lot of goodwill out there about Barbados.”
Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, Professor Andrew Downes, who spoke extensively on competitiveness and productivity here, agreed that the diaspora could be important for Barbados’ marketing purposes. He said “it (the diaspora) could be used for remittances, financing development and for generating new skills in the country”.
“Importantly, that is slowly beginning to happen, especially in the health sector. What we are seeing is that there are specialised areas in health care, like cardiac and ear surgery … where this is now happening.”
He envisaged this country even borrowing from one aspect of the Singapore policy, as alluded to by a member of the audience, that spoke to professionals from that country working overseas in the short-term and returning with additional skills to serve their country.
Such a policy, he said, would augur well for our economic development and he agreed with Peter Boos that this should not be seen as a brain-drain, but a way of creating alliances around the world.