Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder is adamant that the time for talking is over.
And today she served notice that the SBA would be turning up the heat on Government this year, as it seeks to get action on a range of issues affecting the sector.
While stopping short of saying precisely what the SBA intends to do to force the hand of the Freundel Stuart administration, Holder said: “We will be mobilizing, we will be doing what we need to do this year to get the message across that it is now time for action. No more talking!”
She argued that unemployment was increasing and people were feeling “a sense of hopelessness”, as she called on the decision makers to stop “pontificating the political verbiage” and to do what was necessary to advance the sector.
“Young people in particular are having a sense of uncertainty about their future, not knowing what to do with their skills, having ideas and talents but feeling a sense of hopelessness in their ability to turn those talents into productive endeavours,” she said.
“So we need to bring back a sense of hope to our society and we believe the small business sector can do so . . . . It is time now for action,” the SBA leader stressed.
Stating that she expects 2016 to be “another challenging year” for the sector, a frank-speaking Holder said she wanted to “send a message out there that this is the time for the Government of Barbados to really look assiduously now at putting the frameworks in place – the legislative framework [and] the policy framework” to address the impediments to business.
“Gone are the days where we are just talking about it. And it is my intention actually in this year to talk as little as I can and maybe try to do a little bit more. Let there be more action and less talk. We have been talking for a while,” said Holder during this morning’s presentation ceremony for the winners of the We Love You Right Back promotion, put on by design and marketing communications consultancy firm Miona Avenue.
Pointing to successive reports on doing business in Barbados, which have identified challenges such as access to finance, an unproductive workforce, high levels of bureaucracy, and the need for affordable utilities, Holder said the authorities were well aware of the problems.
“These are things that we have been talking about now for years. I am sure that all of you would agree that you tired of hearing these things. These things have been said time and time again,” she told the gathering at the SBA’s headquarters.
“I am now of the view that it is incumbent on us not to just talk anymore but we have to do. We have to bring to bear the kinds of solutions and responses necessary to grow and sustain this very important sector.”
She also complained that many small business operators were unable to do business online because of security concerns as well as the high cost associated with e-commerce platform here.
“We are saying to Government, ‘look, you have to put the legislative framework in place and the policy framework in place now to enable our sector to grow. It is time now for action no more talking’,” emphasized Holder, adding that the sector had proven that it was able to contribute significantly to GDP, employment creation and the improvement of Barbadian society.