BCCI President Lalu Vaswani comments on Freundel Stuart’s Stewardship 30/01/2013

{EDITOR’S NOTE -This is a timely and kindly Reminder from your friendly neighbourhood Bajan Reporter to any companies & organisations to please refrain from submitting any Statements, Releases or Editorials via PDF as opposed to Word. The following Speech is an example why it is an inconvenience, once again – like when I received a communiqué from SFA Communications – I am leaving the item as is for all & sundry to appreciate that if I was to really set about correcting the formatting error… Then it takes at least 20 minutes or more realigning the break-points created by the Adobe file, yes, I know you want to ensure Copyright and reduce the temptation of Media changing your words’ original meaning… But which is more important? Satisfying your ego or making sure the data reaches the public regardless? ONCE AGAIN, I ask in a respectful manner, to submit your documents in Word and NOT via Adobe, or the results can be awkward for all sides involved!}

The entire business community welcomes the
opportunity to meet with you and learn your Government’s vision on taking the
Barbados economy from Stabilization to a path of Growth.

As you are aware, Sir, a ship requires an appropriate level of water to maneuver
safely; likewise, the Ship of State too needs an appropriate level of economic
activity to enable its constituents, not just to survive, but to grow and flourish, so
that all constituents may realize the fruits of their efforts. In this way,
corporations can contribute to national development in terms of earning foreign
exchange, sustaining existing and creating new jobs as well as promoting
investments that stimulate growth in the economy.

Recent events in our industrial relations climate illustrate the challenges that both
Labour and capital are experiencing. On the one hand, Businesses have had to
innovatively develop new models of sustainability that would enable fresh capital
inflows to be assured by providing satisfactory returns to their shareholders.

"Capital inflows and reinvestment of profits are the lifelines that are critical for businesses to respond to market changes in terms new technology, wider competitive access and/or reduced gross margins. Examples can be found in hospitality, international business, telecommunications, international business, construction and even distributive sectors."

Capital inflows and reinvestment of profits are the lifelines that are critical for
businesses to respond to market changes in terms new technology, wider
competitive access and/or reduced gross margins. Examples can be found in
hospitality, international business, telecommunications, international business,
construction and even distributive sectors.

Successful entities in the public and private sector are the bedrock of job
security and prosperity for all employees. Sustained employment assures
macroeconomic stability and protects society and family life.

On the other hand, the trade unions in the public and private sector have
continued to display a responsibility in industrial relation matters. The Chamber
commends the representatives of Labour and Government for honouring their
responsibility to national development in keeping with the Protocol VI of the
Social Partnership.

"The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry expresses our appreciation and gratitude to you, Prime Minister, for the timely and constructive role you, your Ministerial colleague and officials in the Ministry of Labour played in averting a potential national strike earlier this month. Your intervention saved the national economy from inestimable possible damage. Thank you Mr. Prime Minister."

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry expresses our appreciation
and gratitude to you, Prime Minister, for the timely and constructive role you,
your Ministerial colleague and officials in the Ministry of Labour played in averting
a potential national strike earlier this month. Your intervention saved the
national economy from inestimable possible damage. Thank you Mr. Prime
Minister.”

However, while the Chamber unequivocally and wholeheartedly supports the
Social Partnership process, there may be scope to enhance its effectiveness for
the future.

The prospect that a dispute involving a single employer has the potential to
escalate to embrace all employers and national economy without reference to
additional steps within the Social Partnership is a cause for concern. This situation
needs to be addressed by the social partners in a consensual manner if industrial
harmony, which we all desire, is to prevail.

Another recent matter that has the capacity to impede the growth of the private
sector is the question of equal opportunity and transparency for all business
and/or professional firms in terms of access to fiscal concessions.
Based on reports in the press which to our knowledge have yet to be publicly
disputed by Government, several established businesses have questioned the
rationale for Government to grant a new business, within existing sector, unique concessions that provides the beneficiary with reduced operating costs relative to
other established businesses of the same sector?

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry has formally communicated its
members’ concerns to the Ministry of Finance so that other businesses with
confirmed plans for expansion may have the opportunity to benefit from equal
treatment.

On the matter of stimulating growth, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and
Industry has since 2008 been promoting a Public/Private Partnership called The
Revitalisation of Bridgetown Initiative.

The long term goal is to promote the sustainability of over 2,000 business and
professional firms based in our national Capital city Bridgetown, and the job
security of their 9,000 Barbadian employees.

A key aim is to significantly enhance foreign exchange earnings by supporting
Government’s efforts to market the UNESCO Inscribed Historic Bridgetown and Its
Garrison as part of our unique heritage tourism product offering globally.

This
would be achieved through year round activities and tours for locals and visitor
alike sponsored by stakeholders.

To date, several notable achievements have been realized in collaboration with
our partners:

a) Cable and Wireless LIME –ubiquitous WiFi and beautification
b) Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. –CCTV, upgrading Constitution River
and Redevelopment of Church Village underway;
c) Barbados Port Inc.,?upgrading the inner basin of the Careenage and
facilitating the growth of international boating activities.
d) Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd.?Enhanced lighting on private
properties minimal cost to businesses.
e) Tourism Development Corporation?Providing Special Project Fund for
Revitalising Bridgetown enabling 150% tax concessions for project contributions with the support of the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Affairs.
f) Urban Development Corporation and NCF –assisting with Bridgetown
Alive activities on a regular basis, blending commerce with culture,
entertainment and community.

"Through you, Sir, we wish to thank all our public and private sector partners for this outstanding and sustained example of promoting the long term development of foreign exchange earnings for Barbados. It is no wonder that this project was commended by an International development agency as a model for other countries to emulate."

Through you, Sir, we wish to thank all our public and private sector partners for
this outstanding and sustained example of promoting the long term development
of foreign exchange earnings for Barbados. It is no wonder that this project was
commended by an International development agency as a model for other
countries to emulate.

Against this background achievement and cooperation, the Chamber considers it
fitting to invite the Prime Minister to be the Patron of the Revitalisation of
Bridgetown Initiative and have a senior representative from the Prime Minister’s
Office on our Standing Committee.
This action would intensify our partnership and serve as a catalyst for further
activities that will promote economic growth, entrepreneurship and job
opportunities, initially in Bridgetown and extending to other economic zones in
Barbados.

The Chamber looks forward to learning the Government’s views on the
immediate impact as well as the long term potential of the Revitalisation of
Bridgetown Project, since this would likely encourage large, medium and small
corporations to recognize their individual roles in improving the economic
climate.

On a national level, the imperative of sustained growth requires equitable,
transparent and efficient business facilitation to achieve the necessary
environment which must stimulate investment and expansion of industry.
Government placing a high priority on completion of the Competitiveness
Programme would have the positive effect of transforming high deposit balances
in commercial banks into investment capital resulting in employment and growth.

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Comments

add a comment

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.