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Foreign ‘brains’ a boost

Tony Best

Foreign ‘brains’ a boost

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Barbados should consider making it easier for foreign-born business executives and owners with the money and specialized skills the nation needs to become residents.
That suggestion came from John Beale, Barbados’ top diplomat in Washington, who told the SUNDAY?SUN that like Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, he believed Barbados must accelerate the pace of its economic diversification effort.
He added that one way of achieving that goal was by attracting and keeping people from abroad who had the skills, financial resources and business savvy to launch business enterprises that pay taxes, employ Bajans and contribute to the economy.
While stopping far short of proposing economic citizenship, Beale, a former leading bank executive in Bridgetown before becoming ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States, said that many executives involved in the lucrative financial services sector and its offshore banks, captive insurance entities and other related businesses were already living and working in the country, but their immigration status was uncertain, despite the fact that they had lived in the country for years, raised their children and enjoyed the quality of life.
“Over the years we have accumulated a number of people with tremendous expertise in the international financial sector, but a lot of them still don’t have a clear definition of their status in Barbados,” Beale said.
“It would be nice if we could keep some of these brains in Barbados. It doesn’t necessarily have to be citizenship, but we can have some sort of approach that removes doubts about their immigration status.
“It could be in terms of their residency or tax status, et cetera. That doesn’t cost us anything; it would just involve approving the appropriate legislation to allow these things to happen.
“These people don’t take jobs from Barbadians. It’s the opposite. They create jobs for Barbadians. We should approach it from the angle of having the brains in Barbados, ensuring that they stay in Barbados and in the process they would attract other people in similar positions to come to Barbados and make it their preferred residence location,” added Beale.