McClean: Divert LIAT funds to ships
SOME OF THE funds being invested in LIAT should instead be used to improve shipping links between Caribbean islands.
The suggestion comes from chief executive officer of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), Dr Leroy McClean, who lamented the challenges faced by local and regional exporters.
“Even though we’re just a few miles apart it continues to be a problem for our producers in Barbados to get their goods into neighbouring countries,” he said yesterday during the BIDC’s Export Readiness Programme graduation.
“Instead of wasting so much money on LIAT, put a fraction of it in finding one or two ships that can go through the Caribbean to replace the Federal Maple and Federal Palm and perhaps we will see greater development.
“If we can move goods, people will follow. If we concentrate on moving people, all they will be doing is moving to shop,” he said during an impromptu address at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery in Pelican Village.
The CEO gave an example where it was cheaper to ship a product from Japan to Jamaica than to get it from Barbados.
“That is ridiculous and I will continue to flog what seems to be a dead horse. Unless we do something about the shipping in the region, we will not be able to develop the kind of trading that we are supposed to.
“You cannot integrate isolated countries and right now St Lucia is next door, Brazil is just down the road from us but if you want to get something to or from Brazil, it has to go through the Dominican Republic or Miami or something like that,” he said.
He urged participants in the Export Readiness Programme to assist the BIDC in putting pressure on those who could improve regional transportation of goods. (NB)