Economy needs’outside help’
A VETERAN IN the retail sector has suggested that Government may need to seek external advice on the best way to turn around Barbados’ struggling productive sectors.
However, the head of one of the island’s private sector bodies believes Barbadians have the ability to chart the way forward.
Manager of Caribbean Furnishing House, Steve Bradshaw, told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY too much damage had been done to the island’s economy for it to improve in the short term.
“Our economy suffered tremendous blows and as a result we had some injuries and we started to bleed but the problem is there was no professional, really straight-on approach to try to prescribe some medication or treatment for the economy,” he said during a recent interview.
Bradshaw said although there were individuals in Barbados “capable of making strategic decisions”, they were not necessarily in the positions where they could implement those decisions.
He pointed out that it was incorrect to say all economies were in dire straits when the United States had recorded unexpected improvements in its employment numbers last month.
“I do think that we may need to bring in certain individuals and specialists from overseas to look at where our manufacturing industry and our retail industry should go and certainly where is our tourist industry going,” he said.
“You may have to look at the United States economy and see what they do to try to keep the manufacturing industry, like for instance the car industry, going,” he added.
However, chief executive officer of the Barbados Small Business Association, Lynette Holder, said Barbadians had “all of the skills we need to get us out of this situation” as a result of the island’s educational system.
“The concern I have though is I am not yet seeing that we have the will to do it,” she said.
Holder said Government was a product of the society and if the people demanded change, the politicians would have no choice but to deliver that change.
“If it is that the politicians understand the need for change then they would initiate the kind of changes required and the population by extension would support [them],” she said.
Meanwhile, Bradshaw, who has over 30 years’ experience in the retail sector, said furniture retailers were importing inferior products because local manufacturers were not being given Government support necessary to produce their high quality items.
“There was a demand for locally made products, particularly furniture. Now, we are importing substandard furniture coming out of Miami, China, Panama and Korea and we have manufacturers right here that are willing to make really good and dependable furniture but they’re getting no assistance from the areas in government,” he said.