Barbados is fully open for business!
This clear message came from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Wednesday evening, as she delivered remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for Kooyman Barbados, at its construction site at Kendal Hill, Christ Church.
Ms. Mottley said Barbados had not yet reached the level it wanted to be at, but was certainly on the right road. “That right road means attracting persons, both domestically and from outside, to invest because they believe that investment will attract the return and that return on investment will come because of the country’s political, economic and social stability combined to create the platform for growth.
“The restructuring of an economy and stopping the bleeding is not an easy thing…. We have been able, in the space of nine months, not to do everything that has to be done. We started the process such that people who are watching on see us on the right road, and recognize that if we continue on this road we shall reach our destination,” she stated.
The Prime Minister contended that no investor would invest the sum of money Kooyman was spending here unless he had confidence in the country and its future.
She said investments such as the Kooyman Megastore and Ross University were some of the counterbalances government wanted to see more of, as the country currently undergoes an IMF programme and an economic recovery and transformation programme.
“Almost a lot of the smaller investments that are taking place in the country don’t necessarily reach the newspaper, but if you look around the country and look at the Town Planning applications and the approvals, you begin to see…that both Barbadians and foreigners believe that we can do it,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley pointed out that in the past, government played a role by fueling capital projects on its own, but that now had to be balanced by private sector activity. She noted that the private sector was not only driven by foreign capital, but it also had to be driven by local capital.
“There is excess liquidity in this economy, and next Wednesday [Budget Day] when I speak to you, I hope to speak at length about where we are going and what are the other things we want to energize in order to ensure Barbadians can use their own savings to help transform this country, and to fuel the level of capital projects that are necessary, not only to create the jobs, but to earn and to save…foreign exchange, but above all else, improve quality of life,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of Kooyman Holding International BV, Herbert van der Woude, said Barbados is the first market the company has entered outside its home markets in the Dutch Caribbean.
Mr. van der Woude continued: “Despite the current economic downturn, we think Barbados has a good investment climate in the long term – political stability and steady yearly GDP growth perspectives….
“Barbados has solid institutions, including an independent judicial system, a well-educated population, fair trade regulation and a high ranking on the Transparency International anti-corruption list.”
The store is expected to open its doors here during the first quarter of 2020, and employ between 100 and 120 people.
Kooyman is a chain of six hardware megastores originating from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.
It operates in four Dutch Caribbean islands, and is known for its innovative dual tracks. In addition to a retail store, where consumers can make their purchases, there will be a “drive-thru”, where customers can drive in with their vehicle, load the items they want to purchase and then drive to the check register.