Government is laying the platform for positive growth to return to this island???s economy.??Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, gave this assurance yesterday as he met with the new British High Commissioner, Victoria Dean, at Government Headquarters.

Mr. Sinckler said that in addition to making the necessary adjustments in the economy, Government was also seeking to rebuild and enhance the tourism product, develop the international business and financial services sector, especially in non-traditional markets such as Latin America; roll out an alternative energy sector, and reform the sugar industry.

???The cutting of expenditure is a painful exercise but it is one that has to happen because the alternative is much worse and you do not want to visit the alternative on those who are least vulnerable in your community; so we have to make the adjustments and that is what we are doing. We are confident about what we are doing???and we are trying to work on other things to ensure that discomfort does not last longer than is necessary,??? he stressed.

He noted that there were some structural inefficiencies in the economy that had not been addressed but pointed out that Government was trying to clear the way for the private sector ??? the local and foreign – to reinvest.

Mr. Sinckler disclosed that the Bill, which would make provision for the Economic Partnership Agreement to be given the force of law in Barbados, should be debated in Parliament shortly, and expressed the view that it would be a very serious, wide-ranging and nonpartisan discussion.

Mrs. Dean described Barbados??? tourism offer as ???fabulous???, but expressed the view that there was a need for product diversification and investment. The Minister agreed, and said a number of things were being done to enhance the tourism industry.??The High Commissioner said both countries needed to explore ways in which they could collaborate and promised further discussions on the areas.

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