If we are to benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement we have to get up and work.
Government legislator Denis Kellman issued this stern advice today as the House of Assembly continued debate on the trade and economic pact.
The Member of Parliament for St Lucy said the cultural industry and the hotel sector were well poised to help market Barbadian products to European visitors.
“We cannot expect people to market our country for us,” he insisted, while criticising Opposition members who made comments critical of the agreement.
Kellman believes that the products produced by Banks Breweries, including the flagship Banks beer, could easily benefit from the EPA in light of their high standards and quality.
“It’s obvious that if the EPA is to work that we must have something to sell but at least we can identify [local] products.
“There are many products on the European market that fetch a much better price on the European market than in Barbados. What is needed is cooperation . . . we need to bring the private sector together to create synergies and allow them to have an appreciation and understanding that if we are to tackle these issues they cannot operate on a piecemeal basis . . . ,” he said.
“The best [opportunity] is within the hotel industry where we promote our local products. Allow people to have an appetite for what we are producing and that is the best way we can market.
“When we bring them [tourists] here, we cannot be feeding foreign [food] or clothing them in foreign [clothes], we must allow them to have an appreciation for what we are producing.”
Kellman also argued that the economy should be far less dependent on services with more attention given to the manufacturing of products.