Still concerned that the shopping experience in Barbados does not extend beyond the “usual eight-to-four operation”, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, is once again urging stores to get on with making Barbados a 24/7 society.
Speaking today at the official launch of Standard’s new store at Millhouse, Canewood, St. Thomas, Mr. Inniss stressed that Barbados must be able to afford customers an enhanced shopping experience.
“Many of us would wish to visit stores after 5:00 p.m. and also on weekends, rather than take three-hour lunch breaks that affect our own productivity. So, please let us get on with Barbados being a 24/7 society.
“The state has provided the legislation to give effect to such. You just need now to make your own internal arrangements and market accordingly,” he said, noting he was not only alluding to Standard, but others as well.
“Those who continue to oppose a 24/7 society invariably have never run a business and have the luxury of long lunch hours. Of course, let me also add that when I say 24/7 society, it must mean being online and doing things in real time,” he remarked.
Noting that there seemed to be a challenge and some reluctance in some quarters, the Minister said he was simply reminding business folks that the enabling environment was there in terms of legislation, and they just needed to grab hold of that and make the arrangements with staff and customers.
He stressed: “Right now as far as I am concerned, there are just too many Barbadians who feel compelled to take two and three-hour lunch breaks in order to go and do business.”
Declaring it was not only the private sector, he said it was also in government. “You go to government departments and the length of time you have to spend to get things done is still unacceptable in some quarters. We have made some strides with technology in some areas, but we still have ways to go to get things done – to get a licence renewed, to get an application form submitted; you are just taking too long because you’re waiting in line for a long time and then it means some other department suffers.
“So Government, itself, has to go that route of extended opening hours as the private sector does. I am firm in the view that it would lead to increased employment opportunities; it would reduce the unit cost for doing business here in Barbados and however you look at it, it is a win-win situation,” the Minister concluded.