Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has praised this island???s private sector for its support, cooperation and confidence during Barbados??? 50-year journey from Independence.

Mr. Stuart made the comments on Wednesday, while addressing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry???s January 2016 Business Luncheon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

During the address, he told his large audience: ???When this country has been challenged by significant economic events, we could always count on the private sector of Barbados to be there??? By and large, when you get down to it, we have a private sector that is interested in the development of Barbados.???

In strengthening his point, the Prime Minister said that over the last 50 years, this country had faced four major recessions because of the number of titanic events which occurred across the world.

He noted, however, that during those times Government was able to count on the maturity, patriotism, and goodwill of the private sector, including the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

???They understood what the national challenge was and they fell in line with the ideals of the Government and nursed Barbados back to a state of reasonable economic health,??? he stated.

Mr. Stuart acknowledged that it was being reported that Barbados??? economic situation was improving and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. He stressed that by working with the private sector, labour movement and the people of Barbados, Government would continue to ensure that light became more evident to everyone.

He contended that Government and right-thinking persons want businesses to be successful. ???We believe in private sector-led growth and you cannot have private sector-led growth if you have failing companies. When companies fail, jobs are affected and every government has a vested interest in job creation.

???When companies fail, the goods and services that they provide have to be pulled back and the persons who rely on those goods and services are correspondingly affected and disappointed??? If businesses in commerce and industry are failing, then the suppliers of these businesses are necessarily affected, and we don???t want that.

“And when businesses??? are not making profits, there is nothing for government to tax. So government is disappointed because if government does not get taxation, it cannot minister to the requirements of the population in the way in which it wants to do???,??? he pointed out.

Mr. Stuart insisted that Government was committed to the expansion of larger businesses and the creation of new businesses. He acknowledged that there were some challenges, including access to financing, but reminded all that Barbados was still a small, developing country.

He pointed out that there were still some issues which the country had to confront in terms of worker attitude and productivity. He added that the export capacity of the island, whether for goods or services, had to be improved to ensure more foreign exchange was earned.

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