Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is suggesting that the local health care and education sectors are in danger of being destroyed due to Government’s budget cuts.
Mottley added that the competitiveness of the two sectors could be negatively impacted and opportunities lost.
Though agreeing that it was critical for Government to curtail its expenditure, especially during the economic crisis, Mottley suggested that essential services such as education and health care should not be touched.
She was speaking on the topic Exploring New Opportunities In A Competitive World at the opening ceremony of the 17th annual conference of the Barbados Association of Office Professionals (BAOP) today. The two-day event is being held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“Some of you already know the opportunities, for example, that are afforded in education and the medical sector. It is inconceivable to me that the two areas in which Barbados, and the only two areas in which we are globally recognized in the World Competitiveness Report, namely education and health care, should now be the subject of cuts in expenditure to [reduce] the competitiveness edge that we have globally . . . ,” said Mottley.
“You do not destroy the very platform that gives you that competitive edge. Rather than destroy it, we need to be building onto it,” she said.
In order to respond appropriately to challenges over the short and longterm, Mottley said individuals, companies and the Government should first recognize that there was a crisis.
“If we don’t recognize there is a crisis then we cannot appropriately position ourselves to meet the challenge. It is surprising how many people fail to recognize the situation that they find themselves in until it is too late. We know it all in our personal circumstances. It is no different in our business or national circumstances.
“The earlier action is taken during a crisis the more likely the change will be possible and the most likely that it will have its desired effect,” added Mottley.
Also addressing the topic of telecommunications, Mottley said it was critical that every household had Internet access.
She said, however, the more expensive it was for the average citizen “the more difficult our development will be”, adding that prices could rise if close attention was not paid to the way that sector was being expanded and how some aspects of it was being “controlled”.
Mottley told the room of office professionals that despite existing challenges she believed each person had the ability to alter or shape the future, urging them to adopt “a can do attitude”.
“Let us believe that we can,” she said.
“Whether we want to believe it or not we will not continue to enjoy a quality of life by serendipity or by luck or by divine intervention. We have the ability to alter or to shape our future,” she said.