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RIGHT OF CENTRE: Bring City alive with vendors

Alister Alexander

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Due to the economic tumult, national and worldwide, the challenges that have been with us are likely to be magnified in 2013.
Crisis time is with us and the most critical element in any crisis is leadership. This is not a moment for Government and businesses to panic but to be managerial.  
Change is a constant in life, but the holistic management of change is the only thing that can eliminate or minimize its chaotic bent.
Management style and philosophy in this crisis may ultimately determine whether we look for opportunities to innovate or continue to stagnate and deteriorate.
The management view of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN) is that a society should be governed so as to promote partnerships among individuals, groupings and sectors.  
Mere coexistence preserves unnecessary inequities and creates tensions that are ultimately unpredictable and dangerous.
The idea of social partnership acknowledges that a nation is much more than an economy. It is a governing philosophy which recognizes that the business of a nation must be guided by superior social considerations and that we must communicate and accommodate.  
In 2013, the humanizing traditions of our society should not be sacrificed for the sterile interests of big business; a balanced approach is where we will find justice in every issue.
For this reason, the association will be pushing to incorporate the Enhanced Heritage Business Accommodation (EHBA) programme into the Bridgetown redevelopment plan. The beautification of our capital city must be animated by living beautification through the enhanced presence of street vendors.
The EHBA programme details how such heritage icons can reasonably be formalized within our business structure.
Bringing some life and spirit back to the present dry-bone approach to development and fleshing out a social partnership that needs to be widened and deepened must be urgently done in the interest of the greater good.
Without the spiritual, the moral foundation of a country becomes unsettled and our relationships become economically centred.
The church as the representative of the majority religion must revitalize its voice and as there is no institution better suited to be a mediator or part of the alternative dispute resolution initiative, she should fearlessly use her influence to oppose development concepts that are overly materialistic, greedy and anti-poor.
In any year, a morality that cannot be bought or sold makes a telling difference for the better, and would it not be good for the visible custodian of such values to have a presence in a more inclusive social partnership that has an allegiance in 2013 to something higher than the dollar?   
In 2013, every leader should make him- or herself available to the idea of a national collective management pool and should our Government call, be ready to put proposals on the table – especially of the type that harmonizes and develops our respective sectors.
Progress will always have a vacant room and may we all do our best to assist Barbados in occupying some space in it for 2013.
• Alister Alexander is president of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs.