The only relevant debate in Barbados cannot be about debt and foreign reserves, the country must place emphasis on getting back the community involvement and principles it once had.
That’s the view of MP for St. James South, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the launch of a Community Entrepreneurship and Mentorship Programme this morning at the Western Light Church of the Nazarene in Oxnards.
Stating that there was a time when residents in communities knew where to find whatever they needed in the neighbourhoods themselves, Inniss stated: “I think those fundamental principles are lacking from old time Barbados and I think we really have to get back to them.
“The debate in Barbados cannot just be about the economy, just be about the deficit, financing; it cannot just be about our level of national or foreign debt, it cannot just be about those things that might excite politicians from time to time. It has to be about getting back to building a basically strong and well-united Barbados, which comprises of strong families and strong communities,” he said.
The project being proposed by the St. James South Constituency Council, he noted, would enable the community to begin to form the kind of links necessary as well as to create a database from which to draw and share.
But he warned that there must be a method of marketing those businesses that came forward, as well as those that were born out of the initiative, as well as a system of updating the database to keep it current.
Stressing that “Barbados cannot borrow or tax” its way out of the recession, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Small Business said he was optimistic that the project could be a start to the kind of entrepreneurship the country required.
“Despite the naysayers and all the doom and gloom, I am very optimistic that we have a level of resilience within our people which if encouraged to come to the fore will lead to a major transformation in our communities and this society and really transition Barbados to be one of the most vibrant and diversified economies in the Western hemisphere providing a wide range of services and products…
“A lot of it has to start back at the community level. It is not just what happens in the boardrooms of the large conglomerates around Barbados, those who are on the stock market or wherever … a lot of it has to happen at the grassroots level, at the community level, where we start to inculcate in our people a stronger level of entrepreneurship, where we recognise that you don’t have to be residing in a particular area, you don’t have to have all the degrees from university, nor do you have to have a certain pigmentation to succeed in life. You just have to have that willingness to work hard,” said the minister.
Inniss said he believed the programme had the kind of model that could help in a major way to reduce the cost of living in Barbados through the linking of the resources the community needed and having that information right at their fingertips. (LB)