“Lethargy, apathy, and lack of drive” are preventing Barbados from reaping the benefits of a Bioscience Park that a technology professional proposed to build here more than two years ago.
That’s according to the entrepreneur, Harold Morley, who expressed disappointment at Government’s slowness in moving to provide an enabling environment for people to harness their skills in the area of bioscience technology.
He told Barbados TODAY that despite his enthusiasm and his efforts, he has not been able to move ahead with the project.
“There is 10 to 15 acres next to the Gildan Activewear factory on the highway, which the Government has actually already said is available for this project . . . I am looking at building a Bioscience Park on [that] land that the Government has, where we would encourage early stage companies that came out of UWI and they would have a chance to set up and then become something special, just like what happens in America, England and all over the world,” Morley said.
“Barbados hasn’t really got that together as yet. It has all the potential but it really hasn’t got a leader, it hasn’t really got a driver. It has a lot of talk but no action.
“Nobody can really get their act together. It is disappointing,” he added.
The non-executive chairman of international emerging technology companies DST Innovations Limited, Scayl Inc and StoreBox InFlight, who has been living in Barbados for the past 16 years, said it was time authorities stopped talking and started acting.
The technology enthusiast said he was not sure what was the hold-up with his project, but noted that he has been “working with the Government” on the idea for some time and a steering committee was set up.
At the time it was noted that the project would be partly funded by the private sector.
It is understood that the Government would need to enact relevant legislation.
“We have done a huge amount of work on [planning] it and it is just basically stalled. So the potential is there and it could be very special. It could be very special if people land at the airport and drive in on their holidays to Barbados and pass the Barbados Bioscience Park and say ‘Wow! Barbados is a very modern market place’,” Morley said.
“That could be so easily achieved and a lot of spin-off would come from that. An executive from a pharmaceutical in the states might come here for a holiday and plant a seed in his mind that Barbados would be a suitable place to do research and development to encourage things to happen. It is a great place for business, it just needs a little bit of help,” he added.
Morley said he believed the island had a lot of opportunity for people here to develop their technological skills but there was a lot of work to be done in order to encourage such. He said policymakers needed to become “more realistic about how to give people a chance”.
“We need to have a system for putting early stage money into inventors. We need to have a system that actually captures the invention and decides whether it belongs to the inventor or the university. We need to have a system that brings angel investor to actually put money into companies,” he said.
“We need to have a system that takes early stage venture capital and gives it to businesses to try and grow and we need to have a system that provides an incubator so that an early stage company has somewhere to operate that it can afford to operate out of. I don’t believe those things exist in Barbados in an organized form although they may exist in a haphazard form,” Morley added.