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THE ISSUE (ON THE LEFT): Timeliness at the heart of the issue

Lisa Gale

THE ISSUE (ON THE LEFT): Timeliness at the heart of the issue

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I can recall a response in the Press three years ago to a comment made by my then president Andy Armstrong about the challenges several persons in the business community were having with the Town Planning Department, and the response was suggesting that there are some inaccuracies in that statement, and there began our relationship with the Town Planning Department.

We have had quarterly meetings with the Town Planning Department and we have had letters, one or two back and forth, some very strong, some very interesting, but at the end of the day the whole purpose of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry is to ensure that the business community is being able to trade in a fair and a facilitating environment.

So we embarked on this path of engaging with several of the state enterprises to ensure that business strives as well as the speed with which we do business is improved.

Barbados has not done very well on some of the indicators that we have seen, whether it is the Competitiveness Index, whether it is the Doing Business Index.

Just a couple weeks ago, we actually dropped down in the Doing Business [index] and that has a lot to do with facilitation.

It has to do with timeliness. It has to do with the business community understanding some of the processes that we have to participate in and sometimes you feel as though there are moving goalposts.

In some instances, we have had members complain that you send in a request and then sometimes you try to reach out to persons within the different departments and it takes sometimes too long.

And the call is not just really to complain; the call is to ensure that there is a movement up the scale and that’s really what we are focusing on.

We are focusing on moving incrementally from Stage C to Stage B and then to Stage A.

It is going to take some time, but we do not expect that it takes ten years to move from stage B to A-. We see ourselves as a small developing state, but at the same time we are hoping that a lot of our capabilities are improved at the end of the day.

We have written a few letters and had some engagement with the Chief Town Planner and his team and then we engaged in quarterly meetings and in that process we started sharing some information with our membership through our newsletters and so on and we continued.

The process will continue. There will be some persons who would be satisfied but we do have some issues and we will be talking through with them.

We have a good communication channel between ourselves and the Town Planning Department.

They give us good updates. Sometimes the update is saying the same thing that we know already, but we hope that gets better.

Lisa Gale is executive director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry .