Against a backdrop of police frequently moving street vendors in Bridgetown, internationally renowned economist Avinash Persaud has said that the country is making outlaws of small businesspersons.
The guest speaker at the Small Business Association’s Annual Dinner And Awards Ceremony took time out from his given topic to deal with this worrisome issue affecting many Barbadian micro traders.
“A significant amount of the entrepreneurial activity in Barbados is crimalized. Many of our favourite food vendors are parked without permission, are unincorporated and unregulated,” he said at Hilton Barbados on Saturday night, adding: “Because of this, they cannot move over from the unofficial sector to the official sector.
“No bank can lend to them. They’re trapped in a twilight zone, unable to establish themselves and grow. They are sometimes able to compete with legitimate businesses.”
Avinash, a non-resident senior fellow of the Pierson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said: “We need to create a new regulatory regime, a kind of start-up in a box for nano [minature] enterprises for which small micro payments will register these companies and allow them to have only basic reporting requirements.
“Once registered [it] gives them access to attractive bookable vending spots at low rents.”
The Barbadian former senior executive at JP Morgan and UBS appealed to Government to halt the slide into uncontrolled hawking in the streets of the island.
“Please let us not let our fair isle start to look like some of those other places where street urchins weave between cars at busy intersections to sell cheap goods of unknown providence. Let us better respect ourselves.”