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Time for change


Courtney Selman

Time for change

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MY JOURNALISTIC SKILLS may not be as good as you or your professionally qualified journalist or writers, but I wish to make a journalistically feeble attempt to enunciate or verbalise some suggestions nonetheless.

Even though I did not matriculate in the fields of economics and marketing, I nonetheless had a great deal of life experiences in the latter, if not both. I also wish to succinctly add that in Biblical times, the men of God advised the kings, queens and leaders on governmental matters. I want to think that this writer prides himself on being a man of God. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a prophet to see or pronounce what is happening in our homes and communities, and what can possibly happen to our country futuristically and indeed to our young people, if we continue along the same highway we are travelling. That is, creating a healthy and prolific educated population and hardly any employment opportunities for them.   

If we do, our young people or those who will take the baton, could well create some devastating and debilitating maladies of destructive potholes along the road we have to travel. Such negative attitudes as apathy, inertia, hopelessness, frustration, anger, moral decay and an army of educated derelicts.

These experiences, especially anger and hopelessness, I wish to suggest, can open the floodgates of estrangement and tension within families, and possibly lead to dysfunctional homes, an increase in the drug trade and crime, and sad to say, immoral behaviour, such as prostitution.     

I wish to respectfully suggest, to use a cricketing metaphor, to the captains of our tourism marketing team, and the powers that be, that there needs to be a change in their stance. We must be more proactive and adopt a more aggressive and positive paradigm shift, in the execution or method with which we market Barbados to the globe. 

This inevitable change must come about, I must suggest, as a result of the changing economic times, and especially in light of the concern or truism that Cuba, futuristically, could possibly become a big challenge to us in the area of tourism.

We can no longer rest on the misguided premise that Barbados, even though true, has sea, sun, beautiful sand and safety to offer, but we must also be wisely cognisant that those things are also common to other countries as well. I might also reluctantly add that the prices in those countries are more attractive, competitive and, importantly, the services they offer are exemplary.

Proactive

It is now therefore incumbent on us to be aware and more proactive, and to market Barbados to the world at large not only as a tourist destination, but as a place to do business as well. 

I am therefore suggesting that to address our high unemployment, especially among the thousands who have degrees and are forced to take jobs that they are overqualified to do; and to turn around our financial woes, we also promote Barbados to the business world as an educational and academically proficient country, as a country with a communication network second to none, safe communities, a good network of roads, modern infrastructure, a good transport system, good climate and adequate land space – the things that are conducive to doing business in Barbados.

We can target companies such as pharmaceutical and medical institutions, rehab centres, collections companies, call stations, customer service companies, manufacturing operations, assembly firms and many other companies to conduct business in Barbados. 

If I am correct, New York and the Cayman Islands are doing it successfully. Of course, we will need to bite the bullet and offer some attractive tax breaks and incentives to these companies, such as “free land lease” (Government land) for a number of years, generous tax breaks and other incentives.

I wish to suggest that what financial shortfalls we may miss up front will be realised at the back end or bottom line. 

Such a decision can potentially reduce unemployment, increase PAYE taxes and value added tax to the Government’s coffers, and cause a surge in spending power, especially to businesses and other services. 

When those persons with degrees or others are gainfully employed, it will create additional middle-class persons.

It will also have a domino effect, resulting inevitably in enhancing the lower economic population, caused by the trickle-down economics as it were.

– Courtney Selman

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