The link between a reduction in work opportunities, a lack of support for local businesses, and the increase in crime cannot be ignored and Executive Director with the Barbados Manufacturers??? Association, Bobbi McKay is imploring Barbadians to be conscious consumers.

Speaking at the launch of this year???s May Day celebrations at Solidarity House recently, Ms. McKay said: ???Many of us are complaining about the rising crime and brutality taking place in the country over the last few months ??? well, we need to see the links; the links between increasing crime and our decision to buy imports over local products. We are putting people out of work.???

She also stressed that the survival of local businesses was dependent on national support and business owners collaborating and supporting each other in their endeavours.

???We have to actively seek opportunities if we are serious about our future and our survival. What I think has still not yet hit home is that when we face obstacles in manufacturing, it is not only a manufacturing problem, it also affects the people and the members that unions represent as well???when we remain closed-minded and selfish, everyone loses,??? she stressed.

Speaking specifically to challenges within the sector, Ms. McKay noted that every decision that we make has consequences and some of these consequences can be dire. …for example, in the purchase of imported poultry???or the choice of foreign furniture over local ??? one of the furniture stores said to a manufacturer ???we don???t buy from you anymore because your furniture lasts too long, we want furniture [purchases] to turn over in four or five years,??? she revealed.

The Executive Director stressed that ???cheap is not always good??? and said she was observing a disturbing trend where we ???import everything and anything from anywhere and everywhere. Regrettably, some of the bigger culprits in this sub culture are former manufacturers???these same people who once thrived on local production are now creating unfair advantages in the sector,??? she noted, highlighting the fact that the local market was currently being flooded by cheap T-shirts from countries like the Dominican Republic.

She encouraged both consumers and companies alike to make a calculated effort to support their own. She said: ???There???s no shame in an honest day???s work, so we need to make people aware of the opportunities; and opportunities only exist if there is work to be had when we [purposefully] keep our local business doors open. I am optimistic that together we can turn things around, but as the [May Day] theme says, we need ???all hands on deck??? to accomplish this,??? she said.

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