Prime Minister Freundel Stuart addressing the opening of the International Business Week conference. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is calling for a revised fully functioning International Business Charter by April 2013 that reflects global competitive standards and assists with promoting Barbados as a premium business brand.

He threw out this challenge today while addressing the International Business Week conference under the theme: Creative Approaches for Global Expansion, at Hilton Barbados.

Emphasising the overall economic contribution of the sector which stood at US $450 million and employed approximately 4,000 people – 85 per cent of whom are locals, the Prime Minister said the country’s classification in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index had changed from an efficiency-driven economy to an innovation-driven economy.

"…Not only must we implement a revised Charter, but as a matter of urgency, we must creatively realign our existing systems to allow for feedback and monitoring of the revised Charter.?? The Business Facilitation Unit within Invest Barbados will no doubt, work in tandem with the Ministry to provide relevant feedback, particularly from clients and other stakeholders as required," Mr. Stuart noted.

In light of this, Mr. Stuart said the country must now "assign the highest priority to the factors that will enhance our global competitiveness to achieve a higher level of development".

"Our focus and activities must, therefore, shift ton improving business facilitation, providing excellent service, creating a sophisticated business environment and, further, to ensuring that a culture of innovation pervades not only our international business sector, but every facet and sector of our still vulnerable economy," he noted.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the need to embrace a culture of service excellence on the road to building team Barbados.?? He proffered the view that everyone must not only pursue excellence in the service provided, but aspire to execute tasks more effectively and efficiently for the benefit of the nation [and] all who reside and work here, [including] our investors and visitors.

"Where ever possible, we need to offer service on par with our competitors, but to aim to always do better than our competitors.?? We need to be passionate about customer service and ensure that those we invite to our shores, as well as those who live here, constantly experience the added value in the way we deliver service," Mr. Stuart suggested.

The Prime Minister also called for purposeful collaboration between the private sector and the government as well as mutual respect for the work done by public servants and the public.

"In short, we need to make our regulatory framework agile and streamline our non-regulatory processes and procedures for faster response.?? Good facilitation requires, of course, the right coordination and leadership for a smooth and effective transition to higher levels of customer service.?? Even more so, it requires a mindset that welcomes, encourages and fosters innovation," Mr. Stuart noted.

He reminded the audience that government remained committed to the sector, which he described as "helping to build a more stable, more sustainable and more prosperous Barbados".


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