Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, addressing members of the international business community, while Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, looks on. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Government is committed to providing an enabling environment to protect the island’s highly lucrative international business sector from stiff competition in order to stay ahead of the pack.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart reiterated the importance of the international business sector to the country’s social and economic development, during a reception last night at Ilaro Court for members of the international business community.

The Prime Minister noted that government attached the "highest importance" to the sector as evidenced by the passing of the first piece of legislation in 1965.

Mr. Stuart said the then leader, The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, who led the country into independence, understood the important role international business was destined to play in the economic and social life of Barbados.

He added: "Forty-seven years later, we can see why he took that decision because from that sector annually, we get our largest tax intake for the revenues of the economy and we also get our largesse from the sector as well.

"So, let there be no misunderstanding about the government’s position as it relates to the international business sector. We attach the highest importance to the sector and, therefore, try as best as we can to create the kind of environment that would make for the thriving of this very important sector," Mr. Stuart emphasised.????

In highlighting the benefits of researching?? the area, the Prime Minister disclosed that "over time, Barbados has bestirred itself to try to find out as much as possible about the international business sector so that when we sit down to make decisions, we can make those that are wise and informed by relevant, enduring types of information".

Mr. Stuart noted: "We [government] keep abreast of what is going on in the market to find out how we can do things that other people have not learnt yet to do because we are still trying to find out ultimately, what it is possible to know about this sector.?? So, you should not be surprised that between 1965 to the present that the sector has developed because that is the approach that we have been using."

Additionally, the Prime Minister spoke about the importance of a highly trained workforce with a wealth of contacts in the marketplace that would provide information to assist government in constructing policies to ensure the future growth of the international business sector.

Given this situation, Mr. Stuart intimated that this would require a shift in policy that took into account the new information gathered.?? "This explains why, from time to time, we have to amend our legislation or pass new pieces of legislation that take account of new developments taking place in the sector and that is the path that government has embarked upon," he added.

He gave the assurance that government would remove the obstacles that impeded the smooth functioning of the sector. "We do not always get it right as little obstacles are drawn to our attention we move swiftly to correct those kinks so that those persons who want to invest in the sector would have no difficulty,"?? Mr. Stuart underlined.

The Prime Minister also disclosed that the product offerings were constantly under review to satisfy the diverse tastes of potential investors and to respond to challenges in the marketplace.

Mr. Stuart affirmed that government was always available to discuss any problems and was open to the exchange of ideas to take the sector forward.


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