Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner (FP)??

Government cannot afford to spend 20 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on education, "just to help young people get better qualifications only to find a job".

Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, made this observation last Saturday, while addressing the Tower of Power Global Network Ministries’ breakfast session at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

According to Mrs. Sandiford-Garner, Government wanted to see more Barbadians taking the plunge and becoming entrepreneurs. "We want to see more young people choosing self-employment as a serious option. That is why the Government is introducing business studies and entrepreneurship at all levels of education, from the primary to the tertiary level," she explained.

She pointed out that driven by the cumulative technological revolution, the world, coming out of the recession, would be a different place. "Most of the goods and services which we currently consume will be produced more cheaply and of a higher standard than we can produce them. We, therefore, in Barbados, run the risk of a job-less recovery," the Parliamentary Secretary warned.????????

She added that it was quite possible to imagine a situation in developing countries where the only guaranteed job was the one you created for yourself. "These jobs will be in particular niches in the marketplace where we have a comparative advantage.

"For example, no country should be able to sell and supply ???the Barbadian vacation experience’ in the global market-place better than us. In addition to this, there are some personalised goods and services which we in Barbados must identify and capitalise on," Mrs. Sandiford-Garner observed.????????

She reminded those in attendance that they should avoid hitting the panic button and preaching gloom and doom about the current global economic crisis. "We are a resilient people. Barbadians should never sit on the fence and falsify the reality to boost their own ego. This is a time when we need all hands on deck," she urged.

The Senator also reiterated Government’s strategies to try to stabilise the economy. These included providing resources to flagging businesses in the tourism sector through the Tourism Relief Fund; creating a facility for deferring statutory National Insurance and other payments to Government; and appointing a Government-led Oversight Committee to protect the interest of policy holders and depositors in troubled financial institutions.??????

She endorsed the work of Tower of Power Global Network Ministries, which includes plans to start a credit union so that capital for business development would be more accessible to its members, and the opening of a pre-school facility. These initiatives, she said, were not only consistent with Government’s policies, but also complemented the work it was doing to ride out the current economic crisis.

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