Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers??? Association (BMA), Bobbi McKay, has reiterated her call for more persons within the tourism sector to buy local first.

Her comments came as she addressed a press conference for the launch of the annual Barbados Manufacturers??? Exhibition, more commonly known as BMEX, this morning at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Noting that although it was not the first time that she spoke about buying local, the BMA Head charged that there still was not enough buy-in when it came to supporting local produce, and hoped that someday soon this would change.

Ms. McKay pointed out that over the years, the BMA had formed ???great??? working relationships with strategic partners, the primary one being the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

Adding that the key project between the two entities was BMEX, she recounted that back in 2005, they started a buyers??? programme, an inward mission in which buyers were brought to Barbados to meet with local producers.

The Executive Director explained that through that programme they worked with a hotel in Trinidad and Tobago that was refurbishing, and so needed from paint to windows and doors, to bathrobes, t-shirts and food and beverages.

???So, one hotel looked at a multitude of products, and there was no way that a lot of those companies would have been able to go on a trade mission and accomplish the same thing. Another example I must mention, is that another buyer came in back in 2007 from Sandals, St. Lucia, and he taught us that their philosophy is buy local first, regional second and if it is not available within the region, then look outside. I hope that more within our tourism sector would feel that way about buying local first because we have tremendous products to offer,??? she stressed.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BIDC, Sonja Trotman, pointed out the importance of the annual BMEX showcase, describing it as instrumental in playing a leading role in the development of businesses in Barbados.

Emphasising that the BIDC was fully supportive of the event again this year, the CEO said that her organisation would once again be sponsoring a group to participate.??She added that the BIDC would also have a booth showcasing the fact that this year it was celebrating its 60th anniversary.??

???This year, it is our intention to display and to exhibit the benefits of what the BIDC would have done over the 60 years of existence and the contribution it would have made to industrial development in Barbados. Therefore, we look forward to engaging the public in terms of business development,??? she stated.

The annual event takes place this year from May 13 to 16 under the theme: Celebrating Achievements, Independence and Ingenuity.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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