Saturday 5 December, 2020

Barbados embarking on a national transformational drive

The Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados

The Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados

The government is starting upon a drive that requires a strategic shift from an attitude of comfort and entitlement, to one of reaching up and at the same time of “giving back”.

It will also require a commitment to responsibility and to productivity, and must be embraced by all persons in the society, and equally, by all sectors of the economy.

Prime Minister the Rt Hon Freundel Stuart delivering the keynote address at The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) business luncheon at the Barbados Hilton made this disclosure and said that Government, the private sector and the labour movement, members of the Social Partnership Tripartite and Consensual Model, will have a critical role to play in the success of this national transformational drive.

“As we try to create a sustainable future, each of us must discourage the impulse to live only for today. We should not attach so much importance to our own enjoyment, our own ease and our own convenience today that we forget our duty to our children and grandchildren who will follow us tomorrow. We should not mortgage or put at risk the potential or the prospects of those who are coming after us,” he said.

One of the defining features of the phase of the journey he stated is realizing that foreign exchange earnings and saving potential through exports and import substitution initiatives, can help the country to maintain the high quality of life to which it has become accustomed, without the benefit of the special preferences we have enjoyed in the past. 

He wants Barbadians to redouble their efforts to diversify and build a more resilient and sustainable economy.

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The Prime Minister believes it's time to shift away from being a nation predominantly engaged in buying and selling commodities, to one oriented more and more to the delivery of quality services and niche products primarily for export.

Recent ventures in the renewable energy sector, and the promotion of cultural industries through, among other things, the enabling legislation and the appointment of four Cultural Ambassadors he noted as good examples of where the country can and has to go.

Prime Minister Stuart referred to the January Global Economic Prospects report of the World Bank, where it states that 2018 is on track to be the first year since the financial crisis that the global economy will be operating at or near full capacity, “that is at pre-crisis levels”. The World Bank also forecasts that global economic growth will “edge up” to 3.1 percent in 2018 after a much stronger than expected 2017, as the recovery in investment, in manufacturing, and in trade continues, and those developing economies which export commodities benefit from more stable commodity prices.

In reviewing the economic performance of the Barbadian economy over the past few years and the expectations for the year just ended 2017, he added that though it is observed that the trends in growth are very encouraging, we must be cautious of systemic risks. But he asserted we must guard against and not rest on our laurels or become complacent.

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