Commerce Minister, Donville Inniss, has taken his critics to task, and has told them that he is not afraid of criticism and he will continue to work towards the best interest of the country, especially when it comes to outlining a national vision for our commercial sector.
Speaking at the launch of Standard Distribution & Sales (Barbados) Limited in Norman Centre, the City, this morning, Mr. Inniss told attendees that he took his job seriously and was not afraid to publicly, but constructively, be critical of our systems that inhibit the growth and development of key sectors in Barbados.
???Barbados must be known as a cost effective location for a wide range of high quality products catering to the needs of locals and visitors alike. This can only be attained and sustained if the state provides the best enabling environment for businesses to function in an efficient manner,??? he charged.
He continued that he was in fact ???deeply troubled,??? over the systems in our public sector that ???just don???t seem to work well,??? and in publicly commenting on these matters, rest assured he had raised these concerns and some solutions with his colleagues.
Among his concerns, Mr. Inniss pointed out that business facilitation seemed like an elusive dream in our economy today. Noting that the length of time it took to conduct business with the Customs Department, and the matter of the transitioning of Customs into the Barbados Revenue Authority were some of the issues that needed to be addressed.
Stating that another significant problem that challenged us in providing a better enabling environment rested in the lack of accountability, Mr. Inniss stated it was evident at all levels and in all institutions.
He said: ???This seems to be the new norm, letters are sent to departments and no one bothers to act on them, and failure to act is often times rewarded with an increment or a promotion. Same is said when staff cancel meetings with no explanation or an apology, with seemingly little regard for other people???s time and money. I am deeply concerned that as we get more degrees from universities and colleges we are getting less productivity in this society,??? he contended.
Mr. Inniss lauded Standard Distribution & Sales for reaching the milestone of 57 years of operation in Barbados and noted that the significance of this achievement was perhaps best understood in the context of acknowledging that the roll-out of this investment came at a time when both the Barbadian and Trinidadian economies continued to be challenged.