One of the major problems Barbados faces is not an absence of government assistance to the business sector, but reciprocity that will benefit the whole country.
Responding today to Opposition criticisms that the current administrations new budget offered no hope to companies which were struggling, St. Michael West Central MP James Paul said selfish attitudes displayed by some businesses was a substantial hurdle.
The offending parties, he said, included “international franchises” which earned income from Barbadians, but did not buy local.
“A lot of them their business model is not designed to buy local supplies. And I want to say to them they cannot expect to come into this country Barbados, expect Barbadians to spend their hard earned dollars with them and turn around and look at the same Barbadians and tell them ‘We can’t buy nothing from you!’,” he said during the Estimates Debate in the House of Assembly this afternoon.
“Look to buy local because that is how we will keep employment going and I want to hear the Opposition speak to that, … but it has got to be a Barbadian first under these circumstances. You can’t hold water in your mouth, let them know that when they come here they have to buy Barbados first, that is how we maintain employment.
“It is all well and good to think that you earn the most money, but at the same time if the people out there ain’t have jobs who are going to buy the things that you are bringing in? We need a new approach in this a country that seeks to create greater harmony in terms of the approaches to development between Government and between the private sector.”
Paul said the private sector “cannot expect to place the responsibility of the psyche of the individual solely upon Government, because it is the actions of the private sector that sometimes undermines the very initiatives that Government at the same time is trying advance, that is what they are doing”. In comments directed at local business people, he said while they continued to ask for support for Government, they should remember that “to who much is given much is asked”.
“And tourism people can’t tell me now that when they have projects that they should not devise it in such a way that our local farmers, that our local manufacturers and musicians should be able to engage in productive activity to provide them with the goods and services that they need,” the Barbados Agricultural Society CEO said.
“Too many of the projects that we are seeing today are not designed to benefit local producers, [they are] designed to benefit people from outside. When we spend money abroad it is to help keep a worker abroad employed.
When we spend money home it is to help to keep Bajans here employed and we have businessmen walking in to Government everyday (saying) ‘I want this, I want that’, but they ain’t prepared to spend it on Barbados. When we give them the money the are looking overseas to spend it.
“We need to stop that kind of practice within our business community and then we will see change, and then you will see the kind of impact that the policies that this Government is having … in the so called depressed communities that we talk about,” he added. (SC)