A senior member of the business community is calling on Government to play a key role in the Revitalisation of Bridgetown Project.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lalu Vaswani while paying a courtesy call recently on the newly appointed Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss at his Reef Road office, told the minister: “Something needs to be done, if not our capital [Bridgetown] will collapse.”
During the meeting Vaswani mentioned his concerns to Inniss and stated that he along with other stakeholders had a shared vision as to how they would like to see Bridgetown develop over the next 25 to 50 years. He said that it was their hope to see this country’s capital transformed to a city of diversity operating 24/7, blending commerce with culture, entertainment, heritage and tourism.
He explained to Inniss that their vision was established with short, medium and long-term goals in mind. He noted that it was not the objective of the Chamber to take over from what anyone else was doing but to merely be the driving force to bring together ideas and shared beliefs in order to complement each other, so they could plan a way forward strategically.
The senior businessman disclosed that one of the long-term goals envisioned was to have a corporation called Bridgetown Inc. that was public/privately owned but privately driven, which could undertake several of the activities that multiple agencies were doing.
In response, Inniss expressed interest in such avenues for development and pointed out that his ministry was meant to be a facilitator of the expansion of business in Barbados and it was here to help and not to hinder.”
He said: “We have an open door policy … and we have to be very proactive and very responsive to the needs of the business community. This Government recognises and certainly appreciates that it really has to be the private sector that has to really drive this economy forward. My view is that the State should provide an enabling environment to make it happen with our policies and laws etc … but it really has to be the private sector that takes the baton and runs with it in terms of creating jobs, expanding businesses, creating and saving foreign exchange and all that has to go with it.”