“If you refuse to co-operate then we will have to litigate.”??

Government Minister, Donville Inniss has issued this warning to the 257 tenants who are currently in arrears to the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) to the tune of $9,579,546.81.

The Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, who was addressing the official opening of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association Annual Trade Fair, commonly known as BMEX at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning, said that in order for the BIDC to meet its objectives its tenants must first pay their rent on time.

He told his audience that as of May 31, 92 per cent of the said arrears was in excess of 90 days and in several instances tenants have opted not to pay any monies since the first month’s rent, and many have also opted to renege on any payment plan agreed to with the BIDC in respect of arrears.

Noting that we have some very creative minds with excellent ideas that need to get on the production floor, the Minister lamented that the state through BIDC could not render much needed assistance if existing tenants did not pay their rent.

“I am mindful that there are some who have genuine challenges, but at least discuss it with your landlord,” he suggested.

However, he urged manufacturers and those in attendance to explore and penetrate niche markets, for in so doing their ability to compete and sustain a competitive edge would become a reality.

“It is imperative that we look at creating new businesses which will not only assist in creating new jobs for our people but also increase output, stimulate demand for our products and boost competitiveness,” the Minister charged.

Mr. Inniss, however, suggested that in order for our economy to grow as well as develop self-sufficiency, it was imperative that we foster inter-sectoral linkages and synergies with our productive sectors especially agriculture, manufacturing, agro processing and tourism.

??He said: “I am convinced that by utilising this collaborative approach we can re-position and re-focus the industry and re-capture markets.”

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers Association, Bobbi McKay, has implored local manufacturers to support each other whether it is in the purchasing of uniforms or general supplies.

She said: “We all need to walk the talk of buying local. What I find highly disturbing however, is the emerging culture with former manufacturers who are now importers suffering from amnesia because they no longer need reciprocal support…They turn a blind eye on their colleagues and I find this downright unconscionable, and for many years we have been promoting the importance of buying local and to this end many of these previous manufacturers would have benefitted from those efforts.??

“Now that they are no longer within the sector they choose to cut corners and import goods that they once reduced, which are still being produced here, but they are going to get a bigger profit margin.”

During the official opening, special awards were made to Marshall Oran, for his contribution to Entrepreneurship, and to Barton Greene for his contribution to Industry. Charlie Ray was given a posthumous award for his contribution to the Manufacturing Community.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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