Potentially lucrative trading links between Barbados and Dominica will be strengthened like never before if Government’s chief spokesman on business has his way.
Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss made this assessment this week as he told Dominicans that the key to the sustainability and development of the Caribbean will lie in the islands’ ability to work together.
Inniss, who at the time was addressing the 50th annual conference of the Dominica Labour Party at Pointe Michel, told followers of the Roosevelt Skerrit administration: “I am persuaded that even though we are separated by water, and even though we have to fashion our own individual development, Caribbean islands can accelerate development if they but deepen cooperation and collaboration one with the other.
“I know we have CARICOM, OECS, etc here, but this evening I am speaking of Dominican businessmen forming alliances and entering into business ventures with Barbadian businessmen. I speak here of Dominican farmers producing and Barbadian businessmen retailing organically grown fruits and vegetables from Dominica. I speak of our chefs in Barbados creating special dishes utilising Dominican dasheen, plantain, fruits, foods and displaying the same against a backdrop of a colourful array of Dominican flowers,” he stated on Sunday.
Inniss, who was this year elected as General Secretary of the Democratic Labour Party, told Dominicans that Barbados and that nature isle of the Caribbean, had long held close connections.
“Our development as Caribbean islands and Caribbean people is in our hands. Others may assist if they see that we are serious and are making meaningful efforts, but the responsibility is ours to carry these islands with their diverse populations forward.
“No one owes anyone of us a favour and no one else is genuinely concerned about these little dots on the world map. That is why I say we have to return to the guiding principles of the founders of our political parties of the 1950s and seek to pull ourselves up by our boot-straps, and the Dominica Labour Party has been pulling Dominicans up by their bootstraps.”
He maintained: “We need in these islands to begin living the vision of self-reliance and working together as a people to make meaningful development in these islands a sustainable reality.”
Commenting on the fact that Dominica, unlike many other Caribbean states had not suffered a mass migration of people, and had been able to develop considerably in the last decade or so to become a place that people want to go to, Inniss noted that efforts to foster greater cooperation and collaboration would indeed be welcomed.
“I saw recently where your prime minister spoke of the acquisition of a cargo vessel to ply the waters of the Caribbean. I would hope that Barbados would be one of the first ports of call for that vessel.
“Our late PM David Thompson had expressed a vision and determination to facilitate the deepening of trade relations between our countries and the acquisition of urgently needed transportation is a significant step in the right direction and I salute your Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit for showing leadership on that front once again.”
Cautioning the party though not to take anything for granted, the General Secretary stressed that the islands of the region were responsible for their own development.
“Yes we are all members of regional and multinational organisations, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we all have to row our own canoe . . . We each have to devise a formula for overcoming the various challenges that being small and vulnerable present to each one of our islands. We each have to devise ways and means of managing fiscal responsibility with the needs for social and infrastructural advancement…,” he said. (LB)