Lalu N. Vaswani President, Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The past year was certainly a challenging one for the business community with many legislative changes occurring, particularly in the area of employment. The chamber and its peers have been at the forefront of making the case for practical and workable solutions.
The economic climate in 2012 difficult as it was, could have been more acute, were it not for the unique Social Partnership we have collectively fostered over the past two decades. It is a significant achievement for any nation, let alone one of Barbados’ size and capacity. It is a reminder of the many sacrifices that have been made together which we acknowledge with gratitude and faith in its continuity.
Recognising that the economic outlook continues to pose challenges for the business community in terms of forward planning for investment, exports and human resource needs, this makes it all the more important to work together to achieve common national goals of growth, development and stability and continuing to be the driving force leading the way with innovative and sustainable solutions.
Time is fleeting and the private sector has to remind itself that it has always been the driver of the economy. While Government’s medium term strategy is evolving steadily, businesses must of necessity recognise the high cost of waiting until a full turn-around in the economy is realised. These costs have been reflected in substantial declines in business profits and erosion of accumulated reserves.
Therefore, wherever possible I urge businesses to seek opportunities to stimulate local economic activity as this will inure to the benefit of the business climate in which employees and customers depend on for a sustainable livelihood as well as your own entities. Equally, for Government to consider such changes in policy as are within their capacity that can have a similar effect on stimulating the economy.
That which is in our capacity to do, let us do. Together we strive, together we achieve. Ever mindful of the spirit that Christmas represents that of caring, sharing, compassion and love. Let us each strive to exemplify in our thoughts, words and deeds those ideals of which Jesus Christ was an exemplar in his Life.
On behalf of the council and secretariat of the chamber, I extend to Barbados best wishes for a blessed Christmas season and for a New Year filled with hope, opportunity and prosperity.