Nation e-Edition

In the name of service

By Leonard St Hill

| Mon, December 24, 2012 - 12:01 AM


When the Barbados Chamber of Commerce became  the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), there was a presumption that the interests of the distributive and manufacturing/producer sectors would be merged to avoid any impression  of a division or lack of cooperation in objective, which the former separation suggested.

The point at issue in the separation was that the best interests of local manufacturer/producer and distributor/retailer mainly as importers commission agents could not be served by one and the same organizations without observance of boilerplate protocol designed consensually.

When the BCCI endorses the grant  of a licence to Burger  King as an incentive  for local restaurateurs  to improve their service, there has to be an assurance that the competition will take  place on a level  playing field. Burger  King will no doubt  use local meat  products and bread  and condiments.

The suggestion that visitors come to Barbados, proclaimed nightly  on TV as the epicurean centre of the Caribbean,  to indulge the same  fast foods to which they are accustomed in North America or anywhere else is ludicrous. It only reinforces commission agents’ penchant which has become the hallmark of BCCI membership, and further frustrates the development of enterprise and imagination which cannot be aught from  the lectern of any classroom or seminar.

Enterprise and imagination are products of experience. The blind cannot lead the blind.

In the business  climate where venture capital is virtually  non-existent risk capital  is unknown, initial public offering of equity in business is a foreign language, the Securities Exchange is a stagnant pool, all the hype  about entrepreneurship  is a lot of froth on top  of very small beer,  the wind bloweth  and it is gone. Nothing  is left but the imported vessel on which the commission agent has earned a fee. Business  as usual. Buy cheap,  sell dearer. This is the service industry maxim.

And then we talk  some more about making progress by advertising what we do not have  and exporting what  we do not make –  all in the name  of a service-orientated industry.

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