Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is suggesting that the island may have to look at new initiatives to attract visitors and to safeguard the revenue from the tourism sector.
She issued this call today as she addressed the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s 70th Annual General Meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.
Ms. Mottley reminded her audience that the sector had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a climate crisis, and now a food crisis, worsened by the ongoing supply chain issues.
The Prime Minister pointed out that in the event of a hurricane or flood, adjustments would have to be made to mitigate the fallout from their impact on the island.
Ms. Mottley stated: “We may have to think outside the box. If the existing structures are not working for us and we may have to take principles that come from other industries like micro-leasing and other things in order to be able to get the people here that we need to get here. There may have to be some modest attempts and we’re waiting to do some work with an Allied Caribbean entity in order to be able to make life a little better for you on some fronts.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged that there was much anxiety throughout the world, and in view of this, the time had come for a review of aspirations while ensuring that we “kept our heads above water”.
“It is tough and the question is how would each of us put our individual aspirations, our individual behaviour aside and create that common platform in the middle? I have been meeting with the private sector players, particularly in agriculture, over the course of the last few months, because a hungry man is an angry man. The efforts and the words are very clear and the research is very clear. If we do not ensure that our people eat, the consequences, my friends, will not be nice,” Ms. Mottley insisted.
She expressed optimism that the country “can make it” and proffered that this required “laser-like behaviour by going after that which we can, recognising that even in the heart of the pandemic, we were able to come up with the digital Welcome Stamp, that was able to help some people and to ensure that there was still some level of economic activity going”.