Barbadians need to stop feting and start working if they hope to benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.
Independent Senator Professor Henry Fraser offered this advice to Barbadians today in the Upper Chamber while speaking on the EPA between Europe and CARIFORUM – the grouping that links the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with the Dominican Republic.
Condemning the decline in Barbados’ work ethic in recent years, Fraser said: “I rise to support the Bill, but with some caution, because while the Leader of Government Business in the Senate has emphasised the importance of this legislation, facilitating the transition from an unfair colonial situation between us and our European friends, the transition to a profitable relationship with CARICOM countries, including Barbados, will only be effective if we stop feting and start working in this country.
He stressed that “the only way we can exploit the arrangements in this Bill is if we cease to try to emulate our Trinidadian cousins and friends and become the party nation of the Caribbean and start working again.
“We built our reputation as a solid country with a sober, Christian, hard working people who could be trusted to give an honest day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
“That is not what we have been seeing [in recent] times,” lamented Fraser.
He said Barbados’ reputation as manufacturers of “the best sugar in the world” had been lost to Mauritius “whose sugar in profitable small packages has completely dominated the British and other markets, while we have sat back and allowed our sugar to be given away to the British to be refined and sold back to us.
“This approach to manufacturing must stop if we are to exploit this arrangement. If we go back in time we exported sugar, we exported rum and mahogany. Our mahogany trees were in demand in the British market, because it was one of the finest hardwoods for the manufacture of furniture,” he noted.
The independent senator further lamented the fact that Barbados has become a country of acres of river tamarind, shack-shack and other trees that have no commercial value.
Fraser, who is a heritage consultant, suggested that Barbadians should be planting large tracts of land in mahogany trees for export, instead of allowing land to run to ruin.
Noting that Barbados produces high quality hot sauce, which is now produced by Costa Rica, Fraser contended that like Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Barbadian hot sauce should be found on every table around the world.