EDITORIAL: Focus on business and health
As we near the end of the third quarter of this year, a confluence of events demand our attention. The international business sector is about to commence a week of celebrations; the island is reminded of the need to maintain its high standards of health and cleanliness, and also to reduce its level of crime; and we have two non-Barbadians speaking in different contexts about the attractions of Barbados as a good place to live.
We should not ignore these things, for as we make our way through the consequences of problems within our economy, these events remind us of the power which we have as inhabitants to do the things which can help us restore our fortunes to the heights hitherto attained.
The contribution of the international business sector has been a major pillar and boost in our economy for almost 30 years now. By our creative efforts we have fashioned a service that caters to the needs of those from foreign countries who decide to invest from within our shores when our offshore legislative framework fits their business plans.
Now we have it in our power to make required and additional pieces of legislation part of our laws so that we may continue to attract more businesses and individuals to do offshore business. Not only that, but we also have it in our power to remove the atmosphere of “bungling” which has accompanied the “municipal tax” and the “economic citizenship” budgetary proposals.
These matters are of concern to the international community already here or, more seriously, those who are contemplating to come; and no amount of marketing of the island as a place to do business will avail if the product and the collateral conditions are not conducive. Hence we need the new or amended laws to enhance the offshore sector.
It is for this reason that we have concurrently to deal with containing the level of crime in our country as well as promoting high personal community and national standards of health and cleanliness.
The highest priority must therefore be given to eliminating or containing any outbreaks of dengue fever as well as eliminating the unlawful importation or smuggling into our country of illegal firearms. In other words, we must attack this matter of improving our economy and our island on several fronts. We must eliminate the harmful and dangerous developments and we must embrace those activities which will help to strengthen our economic push forward.
During International Business Week, we ought to remind ourselves that while we have lost sugar as an export and foreign exchange earner, international finance has more than filled the breach.
Therefore, measures which matter to the broader society such as crime levels and cleanliness and health also have the capacity to hinder the growth of our offshore sector if they get out of control.
Last week the singer Fantasia left our shores telling how much she would love to live here, and the former prisoner Raul Garcia also left praising our country and its people.
During International Business Week, we need no further reminders of the capacity we have to maximize our natural assets for the national good. Let us just do it!