Small Business Minister, Dwight Sutherland. (A. Olton/MRD)

Small Business Minister, Dwight Sutherland has urged the public to be on the lookout for cases of online fraud as Government seeks to advance its entrepreneurial class with the setting up of a Trust Loan Fund.

Speaking yesterday at the start of a workshop hosted by the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) for its clients, at Bagnall Point Gallery, Pelican Village, the Minister disclosed that there were already persons claiming to be aiding his Ministry with the startup of a Trust Loan Fund, he explained.

“This must be said being mindful of the fact that there are already persons purporting “online” to be facilitators of this loan. Let me therefore categorically state that my Ministry is solely responsible for this loan facility and has not given any permission to anyone to act on its behalf.  So, if you go online and you see someone saying to you that they need $50 in order to secure you a Trust Loan, you know it is not the Ministry.”

He warned the general public to be cautious against being duped by such persons who asked for personal funds to access the loan facility.  Amounts of up to $5,000.00, he disclosed, could be expected as loans to persons in the first instance, when this Fund is up and running.

The Minister, who is also responsible for Entrepreneurship and Commerce also spoke about the need to stop seeing vending, particularly wayside vending, as a crime.

“They [vendors] play a very critical role and if they break rules we have to put certain things in place. I don’t want to see any vendor going to prison as a result of breaking rules. We have to put measures and systems in place that we can treat with people who break rules as opposed to making them criminals in this country, he pointed out.

“When you begin to make people criminals in this country – that is, small businesses – they begin to retreat and what happens is that the job of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association becomes a more difficult job because people are not willing to come forward and because they don’t have the capital. So, once we give you those Trust Loans and we decriminalise vending, I am one who believes that we’re on the way to ensuring that small businesses are given the recognition and opportunity to grow and help build out the economy.”

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