Rising crime remains a major concern for the business community here as the New Year approaches. Crime is one of a number of issues which the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) wants addressed in 2016, Chairman Alex McDonald said.
Other matters that have attracted the community’s attention include Government and “self-inflicted” bureaucracy and the difficulty in doing business here.
There must be “a laser-like focus” on the ease of doing business if the country is to enhance its ability to attract investors and good ratings, McDonald told Barbados TODAY.
“That is an important metric for us,” he stressed.
However, like most Barbadians, crime is a perturbing issue for the BPSA, which is worried it could get out of control.
“The rise of petty crime and serious crime is something that we all need to be very careful about. We don’t want it to be like the snowball on the tip of the hill where it cascades out of control. I don’t think it is at that point, but we don’t want it to get there. That is something that should concern us all,” the private sector executive said.
Of equal importance are a peaceful industrial relations climate and the performance of the economy.
McDonald said many businesses had been holding strain for a long time and were sometimes forced to carry out restructuring. However, McDonald said, these matters could be dealt with, “with deliberate, meaningful and consistent dialogue” among the parties in order to overcome their differences on the industrial relations front.
“ . . . we again call for an awareness that we could be on the tipping point of moving forward again but those gains can be erased by us not paying attention to all the elements in the economy that need to be paid attention to,” McDonald concluded.
The executive said the business community believed the local economy should improve, especially given the back-to-back strong winter tourist seasons. But he called on private sector operators to take responsibility in ensuring that tourists also increase their spending.
“If you talk to people in the tourism sector you will find that room nights are up which is a good sign. What we have to translate that into –– and that is really a private sector matter –– how do we add more value into the market to eke out greater tourist spend with more activities, things the tourists want. The private sector should be focusing itself on creating those types of interesting events,” said McDonald.