Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, addressing participants at the??Consultation. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Although the ongoing economic recession has given some countries a "knockout punch", Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has called for the emergence of an entrepreneurial class to ride out the current situation.

He re-emphasised this view yesterday while delivering the feature address to scores of networkers in the diaspora attending the Barbados Network Consultation 2012 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He reasoned that a recession, though painful, provided opportunities for countries to achieve new areas of growth. "A downturn or recession forces all those who produce goods to become more creative, efficient and competitive, in terms of quality and price for purposes of survival.?? It [recession] also makes space for innovation," Mr. Stuart noted.

In light of this, the Prime Minister said Government was using the present situation to forge a new class of entrepreneurs drawn from all strata of society, to encourage budding businessmen and women to "search out niches in the local, regional and global marketplace, and to take the bold step to meeting existing and emerging needs".

Mr. Stuart further stated: "Education, both formal and informal, is important, but while citizens must exploit any chance at expanding their horizons by getting more qualifications, they must not sit and wait to find a job in a declining employment market.?? They must, however, embrace the entrepreneurial culture and use their God-given talents to create employment and wealth."

Additionally, the Prime Minister urged the nation to make well-informed and strategic choices with respect to policies and programmes during the economic downturn.

"If Barbados was just an economy, we would have left it to market forces or worse still, adopted the prevailing economic theory, and embarked on a ruthless austerity programme.?? But, as we have said time and time again, Barbados is not only an economy, but also a society with a unique history.

"My administration firmly believes that the masses of our people sacrificed enough in the early years of our nation. We have opted, therefore, not to impose unnecessary suffering on a people who have only in the past 50 years, begun to reap the benefits from the work of all our national heroes.?? Our recent commemoration of the Day of National Significance, has reminded us of that past." Mr. Stuart emphasied.

The Prime Minister urged the participants to use the Barbados Network Consultation as the platform for making recommendations, following through on them and reporting on their progress.


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