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Abed’s call to action

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Abed’s call to action

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BARBADOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (BCCI) president Eddie Abed has issued a call to action to business leaders.

Declaring that the private sector “can no longer be content to merely observe from the sidelines” after eight years of economic frustration, he said they would be “participating robustly in the national dialogue”.

In a message to BCCI members, published in the March edition of the organisation’s newsletter Chamber Biz, Abed said: “Our mission mandates us not only to be seated at the table of decision making with the other relevant stake holders but to lead by growing the Barbadian economy”.

He reported that in recent weeks the BCCI’s executive body “has met with the Prime Minister, Ministers of Finance and Commerce as well as participated in small working groups with the Comptroller of Customs, the head of [Barbados Revenue Authority] the Social Partnership and the [Barbados Private Sector Association]”.

“ . . . All parties are resolute in ensuring that the primary beneficiary of our combined efforts must be our country.

“Although we may have differing agendas, the resounding priority of all stakeholders is steadfast in our desire to ensure that Barbados remains a desirable and safe place to live, work, vacation and invest in,” he said.

“Individually, we may have become overwhelmed and frustrated over the last eight years, during this prolonged recession, but our goal cannot be obscured or neglected as we deal with our day to day activities.

“Consequently, we have proposed frequent meetings, ranging from monthly to quarterly intervals, with small working groups made up of key individuals from all entities so as to ensure that business facilitation is improved and national issues are discussed.”

Abed added this was intended to “enlighten the private sector of the views of the other stakeholders as we share our concerns”.

“Indeed with the high levels of distrust currently in our society we see our role as participating robustly in the national dialogue thereby dispelling any ambiguity as we can no longer be content to merely observe from the sidelines,” he said.

“The BCCI has approximately 300 members employing nearly 20 000 persons . . . that is 15 per cent of the workforce!

“Our responsibility as business leaders has never been limited to ensuring a return on investment to our shareholders, but also entails the safeguarding of the well-being and betterment of all our employees and our environment.”

Abed said that faced with “the ever increasing reality of falling standards and low productivity in both the private and public sectors”, business leaders “now have an even greater responsibility to act as exemplary models of good governance, economic sustainability and continued opportunity to young entrepreneurs and small businesses across the length and breadth of this country”. (SC)