by Neville Clarke
The private sector has been given an easy ride, but must now be placed under the microscope as the Freundel Stuart administration seeks to restructure the economy.
Dean of Social Studies at the Cave Hill Campus, Dr Justin Robinson, offered this advice last night while speaking at a panel discussion sponsored by the James Tudor Institute of Politics at St Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary School, Richmond Gap, St Michael.
Referring to data contained in a World Economic Forum Report, Robinson noted that, at present, Barbados is at Stage Four because of a per capita income of US$ 15,000 per annum.
“That puts you well into Stage Four with Stage Five being the highest stage. We are solidly at Stage Four trying to get to Stage Five. How is Barbados doing vis-à-vis other countries that are in Stage Four? Barbados tends to outperform other Stage Four countries in terms of infrastructure, our health, primary and higher education and training, our technological readiness, our financial market development and our labour market efficiencies. We tend to underperform in terms of the size of our market and the macro-economic environment,” Robinson said.
Stressing the need for innovation and sophistication in the private sector, the lecturer said: “The real area where Barbados can get the biggest boost is in improving our business sophistication and innovation. For a long time Barbados has been trapped in Stage Four what economists called the middle income trap. It is like if you get to a certain level and you are bouncing around there and you cannot actually get out of that.”