A way out
The credit union movement in Barbados is being urged to invest in three main sectors to help drive the economy out of the ongoing recession.
According to Dr Don Marshall, senior research fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies if the country is to go forward then credit unions should inject capital into the agriculture sector, alternate energy and the film industry.
His recommendations came during the City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union’s annual Winston Alleyne Lecture at the Frank Collymore Hall on Tuesday. He said the country was now at a point where it should “rethink the role of market to achieve the public good.
“It is not sufficient to think about efficiency alone. My main point is that we need to connect the market to a politics of the common good of social care and of enabling the rise of social entrepreneurs and/or social business ventures.
“I am asking that the credit union movement look to foster the rise of a new entrepreneur rooted in social entrepreneurship along three key areas – alternative energy, agro research and development and film-making,” he said.
Marshall said investing in alternative energy was “moving along with the time”. He further posited that most developed countries around the world spent a large portion of their budget developing the agricultural sector. He said the credit union should not see sponsoring development and research as an “expensive undertaking”.
“I also mention film-making because there is no way you are going to deepen the tourism and national business profile in Barbados without making a statement about who we are. The only way we are going to be known for our culture and for who we are, is if we get into the business of sporting a burgeoning film producing sector,” said the scholar.
According to Marshall, “the greatest way in which we will defend our national identity is if we begin to, in the global market place of cultures, express who we are beyond just a place for resorting and doing international business”.
“And I am saying that it falls to the duty of the credit union movement, with its resources, to choose those areas of potential, to do the picking of potential winners and to lend capital towards that venture.
“We cannot rely on the traditional banking sectors with economic stringency and we cannot rely on Government alone to do that role.” (MM)