Denis Kellman, Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development. (FP)

Barbados cannot continue to do business the way it is currently being done!

This strong message has come from Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, who is of the opinion that "we cannot continue to operate in the box; we now have to get out".

Mr. Kellman’s comments came yesterday in Costa Rica after a meeting with Vice Minister in the Ministry of Economics, Industry and Trade, Luis Alvarez Soto; Director of International Cooperation in that Ministry, Jorge Rodriguez; Director of the Small and Medium-Sized Companies, Rosa Monge, and several members of the trade mission.

He underscored that "the world is not waiting on us … these countries are not waiting, they are not prepared to use old concepts, they are prepared to break out and we also have to do similarly".

The Minister said he was pleased with how the exhibition was shaping up in Costa Rica, noting that a lot of companies were visiting the display booths and the interest was high among the private sector.

"It seems the private sector here is prepared to drive the invitation [to the exhibition] and I am happy to see what has been happening over the past two days of the exhibition. I spoke to the exhibitors and everybody seems happy with what is happening… I hope we can build on that, so it is not just talk, but we can convert it to orders. What it says is that there is interest, but we must not just accept the interest at face value, we must now drive it," he advised.?? Mr. Kellman expressed the view that even though there was no direct connection between Barbados and Costa Rica, some synergies could be created. "We may believe we are doing good things in tourism, they may also have a similar viewpoint, but I believe that if we come together, we can share ideas and see how we can exchange tourists and other things," he stressed.

Noting that two-way trade was essential for Barbados, he suggested it could help to reduce the island’s cost of living. "My job is to make sure we create the atmosphere in Barbados so we can export more and I will be ensuring that the Ministry looks at all possibilities.

"We have to go back to old economics. There was a time when Government was expected to drive manufacturing, as I see it today, we will have to go back to the old concept where we drive manufacturing and then hand it back to the private sector because if we are to achieve the capacities, then it would mean that government would have to find a way to create synergies with the private sector… It might [also] mean that some of our public groups would have to turn to the private ones to get the right synergies," he surmised.

During the meeting with Vice Minister Soto, the officials also discussed the education system in both countries and the green economy. Minister Kellman also invited him to visit Barbados.


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