Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley greeting members of the audience at The Ideas Forum, at the St. Lucy Rectory, Benthams, St. Lucy, Wednesday night. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Some innovation spaces are to be created across the island to give people additional opportunities to unleash their creativity.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said it was necessary to foster an environment to allow people to blossom and rise to the top.  

She made the comments on Wednesday night as she addressed The Ideas Forum, at the St. Lucy Rectory, Benthams, St. Lucy.

This monthly national conversation, which will be held in each parish, is part of the We Gatherin’ 2020 initiative.

Ms. Mottley told the large audience: “What we are trying to do, separate from the community development centres, is to create some spaces….  In some instances, for whatever reason, the home may not be ideal for a particular person to operate and then they may want the synergy or the space where they can bounce ideas off of other people….

“The first one will be in the Harbour because it is in town and central for people to go there, but ultimately, we want to have locations across the island….  It needs to be a public-private effort.”

During the three-hour long meeting, the Prime Minister stated that she had earlier met with senior Ministry of Agriculture officials with regard to estimates for the year, and asked them to return on Saturday with new production targets for ground provisions and vegetables.  

She said it was necessary to reduce the import bill, arguing that some of the items being imported could be produced locally.

She added that the production of food crops and ground provisions had been reduced substantially over previous years.  

The Prime Minister opined that there was a need to look at the level of value that could be added to local produce. She explained, for example, persons might prefer to purchase sweet potatoes that were already peeled.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley addressing the large audience at The Ideas Forum on Wednesday. The forum is part of the We Gatherin’ 2020 initiative. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Ms. Mottley said there was a crisis with regard to non-communicable diseases, and reminded her audience that community nursing aides would be placed across the island.

She pointed out that Government was interested in introducing community exercise programmes to get older people moving, as well as those unemployed persons who were unable to pay for a gym.

She underscored the importance of The Ideas Forum, saying a national conversation was the only way a consensus for movement could be built.

Explaining the importance of the dialogue, while using the analogy of a house, she continued: “We have to open the windows to the nation and air the house…. We will do so not just by hearing the traditional voices, who equal the leadership of this country, … but by allowing all voices to start to contend….

“If we are going to inspire a people to a higher calling, we have to hear first what is in people’s heads, listen and then begin the conversation.”

Ms. Mottley proffered the view that it was important for young people to share their stories with their peers, so they could understand what was possible and where they could go. 

She emphasized the importance of strengthening the family unit and urged Barbadians to assist each other.

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