This country’s emerging fashion industry is among a number of sectors that will shortly be getting major assistance from a United Nations’ development agency. The help was secured by Minister of Commerce, Industry and International Business Donville Inniss during his attendance at a recent meeting of Ministers of the Economy and Industry from Latin America and the Caribbean, coordinated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and held in San Jose, Costa Rico.
“I expect that in a few months’ time, we will be having a few activities here involving UNIDO, particularly in relation to development of the fashion industry; an area that we recognize as one of tremendous potential,” Inniss said at a Press conference this morning. “UNIDO is coming onboard to give us some assistance in that area.”
The minister disclosed that he was also able to secure assistance for Barbados from UNIDO in other areas, including transfer of technology and industrial development.
“And we will be exchanging formal correspondence on this over the next couple of weeks,” he added.
Inniss also reported that he and his Caribbean counterparts had signed a declaration at the Costa Rico meeting, demanding a strong physical presence by UNIDO in the region.
“UNIDO’s Latin America and Caribbean offices are located in Latin America; there are seven offices and all are located in Latin America. And some of us took a position that this was not acceptable,” he said. “We could not maintain a situation where the Caribbean is seen as a sidebar location, tagged on to Latin America. We believe that we have enough of our own to demand a stronger presence by international organizations such as UNIDO within our context.”
Inniss told journalists, gathered for the Press briefing at the Democratic Labour Party’s George Street headquarters, that the declaration was prepared and delivered to the head of the Latin America and Caribbean office of UNIDO based in Vienna, Austria.
“I thought it was a very useful exercise. Barbados is now re-engaging Latin America in matters related to industrial development, as well as we will fully engage the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, of which we’ve been a member since June 1985, to ensure that the new Barbados that’s emerging fully locates in its rightful place, industrial development in the contemporary context . . . that we can then see many more jobs created, foreign exchange saved and foreign exchange earned in this particular area.”
Inniss said the ministerial conference also examined intra-regional trade, labour, access to labour, kinds of labour and training and retooling that was necessary to build the best kind of human resource to drive industrial development in the region.