NEW Senator Kerrie Symmonds wants to see Barbadian businesses, such as fast food outlet Chefette, move to the next level and explore the Caribbean market. Symmonds, who was sworn in at Government House yesterday by Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands as an Opposition senator, along with Santia Bradshaw, said the time had long come for Chefette which has 14 branches here in 11 parishes, to set businesses elsewhere in the region. He said he would like to see other local businesses like Chicken Barn and Mister Tees Donuts expand as well. “I was in Gros Islet, St Lucia, recently and it disappointed me to see that in the heart of the tourism belt I could see a lot of North American chains of businesses, and there was not a Chefette restaurant to be found, no Chicken Barn to be found, Mister Tees Donuts to be found. “And I refuse to accept that it can be that these service providers here are not as competitive as elsewhere. I don’t accept that. I think that what has to be done is that we have to find ways and means to get Barbadian service suppliers to recognise that there is an expanding market place. It makes no sense having 13 or 14 outlets in one little island when you have a product that is sought after, a foreign exchange potential that is abegging but nothing is being done to bring home the bacon,” he said. Symmonds said that this did not only apply to the food and beverage sector. He said that in many sectors, including the legal profession, far too many individuals were too “home grown” and not thinking of “spreading their wings” across the region. He said that rising global power India was a fine example of a country that used its expertise in information technology to supply services overseas and bring foreign exchange home. “We have the potential to do a similar thing in a number of sectors,” he said. Symmonds said it was important that swift action was taken on these things. “We talk about the competitive edge of the Trinidadian businessman. There is no reason why we can’t have a similar competitive edge in Barbados. “What it is that makes the Trinidadian businessman so hungry to compete in the region and to succeed and why it is we are so apparently reluctant to try new things in a region that has now been crafted and carved up in such a way as to make it legally possible to do what might not have been possible many years ago?” he asked. The former Member of Parliament for St James Central said he was concerned about the high level of unemployment and the “the failure of our productive sectors to show any signs of growth”. “It is not sufficient to say we are facing a recession, but the question now becomes what steps are being taken by the Government in terms of policy implementation to advance the interest of Barbados economically and help us come out of this at a time when our sister countries in the Caribbean, namely Guyana, are registering improved performances,” said Symmonds. “I still happen to be one of the youngest members of the parliamentary group of the BLP [Barbados Labour Party] and . . . anticipate being part of the next parliamentary group, so there is still a lot of life left in me. I am going to be around for the long haul,” he added. Bradshaw, 34, who has been given the nod o represent the BLP in St Michael South East, showed up for the swear-in with her father Delisle Bradshaw, a former MP for the same constituency. This country’s newest female senator, was also accompanied by her mum Shirley, and companion Tony Hoyos. “I am looking forward to this. I am happy to be joining a long list of other female senators and females in politics that have contributed to Barbados,” she said. Bradshaw, who has made her mark in the entertainment area by way of Pyramid, the promotion agency she manages, will speak on cultural and social matters. “I believe this is the first step in a number of other things to come from me in public life. I am going to no doubt embrace this as one step in the long journey in politics that I intend to have . . . . “I will certainly play my part in terms of contributing with respect to the creative sector since that is my experience and I will also be contributing to other issues of national importance,” said Bradshaw, who also plans to deal with housing, health care and education.