A changing economic environment, coupled with the effects of climate change, will require every Barbadian citizen to adapt to a new way of doing business.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, made this observation last night, as he addressed the 30th Anniversary Dinner and Awards Ceremony of Ocean Fisheries at Mahogany Ridge.
“It cannot be business as usual. All of us have to adapt; all of us have to change the way that we do business. [So], my simple message to you tonight is that your country needs you…not because a country always needs its citizens, but because the challenges that we are being faced with now require that all of us play our part to get Barbados to the next level,” Mr. Humphrey said.
He explained that Barbados’ relationship with various organizations was changing, with banks viewing the island as a “risky investment”, resulting in delinking and de-risking occurring.
“We have also been trying to satisfy the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), and every time we make changes, the OECD is asking us to do something else; changing the goal post before we get to the goal,” the Minister pointed out.
He added that there were also changes in how people viewed Barbados’ socio-economic development, with some being of the view that the island is “too rich” and not in need of support.
However, Mr. Humphrey told his audience that the biggest challenge was that of climate change, which posed a particular threat to the fishing industry.
“We are seeing less fish; the waters are getting warmer; the waters are becoming more acidic. Sargassum seaweed is still a challenge…,” he said, identifying them as some of the serious complicated, complex challenges now being faced.
Furthermore, Mr. Humphrey noted that issues surrounding ASYCUDA World also affected the Government as he called on brokers and importers to learn and treat the system “properly”.
“Everybody in Barbados must play a part…. We are asking you to be soldiers for your country,” Mr. Humphrey emphasized. He added that there were “very difficult and challenging times ahead”, and it was important for everyone to work together.
“Therefore, it cannot be business as usual. It means that all of us have to adapt; we have to change the way that we do business. For us to compete, we have to really become competitive…. We either will do this right, or we will perish. We must do what we must do to ensure that Barbados is excellent, and excellent all the time,” Mr. Humphrey stated.