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Time to think outside the box

BEA DOTTIN, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 26 March 2013

A wise person once said “if you do things the same way, you will get the same result”. After reading the remarks from the Auditor General of Barbados, I am left to wonder if governments will continue to be negligent of the pressures faced by members of our society in these hard economic times. Each day we hear how Government plans to implement social and economic policies which will improve the livelihood of Barbadians but it is evident that the benefits of these policies are not reaching the grassroots level of our society. Millions of dollars are allocated each fiscal year to fund projects and promote employment, yet our unemployment rate continues to rise, and I am left to wonder if this is a continuation of Government’s failure to properly administer public funds or if it is the behaviour exhibited by the hierarchy, demonstrating their lack of empathy towards the low-income and poverty-stricken members that are affected by their vague decisions. People in authority find it hard to admit they don’t know and seek advice. This little nation is the Government’s business and if they continue to spend money on operations and imports without replenishing the coffers we will continue to have a shortfall in our finances. It is evident that we have long passed the days of sugar exports being our main source of income and with the economic downturn tourism is not a healthy alternative, since the majority of our visitors have limited spending power and, as you would notice, most of our arrivals are shortlived since they arrive via cruise ships. Maybe it is time to start thinking outside the box as there are many areas in which we can generate revenue. Lots of money has been invested in modern sporting facilities; use them to host regional and international games. Proceed with the refurbishment of the Empire Theatre and use the facility as a school for the arts to mentor our youth and promote their talent in dance, poetry, theatre and music. Embrace technology and inspire our young people to be innovative designers and inventors. This is a new world of gadgets; if they can design and we can assist with the exposure, doors can be opened to new kinds of exports. Create a catalyst for employment via community-based job attachment programmes where people can go and learn technical and vocational skills and once certified they can be attached to various agencies within the public and private sectors. Educate young farmers via agricultural workshops and create areas for growth in this sector. Every farmer will not be able to secure a contract with a supermarket or hotel, so the time to provide facilities for vending outside the city is now. Each parish should have a market where young entrepreneurs can ply their trade freely. This economy needs help and Barbados has too many brilliant minds for us not to find solutions and be self-efficient.


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