Minister of Industry Donville Inniss has joined a chorus of calls for more affordable intra-Caribbean travel.
Back in Barbados from a five-day trade mission that took him to Grenada, Guyana and St Lucia, Inniss said the cost of travel within the region was impeding trade among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
He explained that the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) had identified transportation as one of the hindrances to increased trade, stressing that it was neither easy nor inexpensive to ship goods throughout the region.
“This is certainly a matter that we have to discuss and make some decisions on with respect to the CARICOM arrangement. I note that some strides have been made but we still have a way to go with the movement of goods throughout the region,” Inniss said at a press conference at BIDC on Harbour Road, St Michael.
The Minister contended that in addition to the high fares, it was also difficult getting around and he called for effective solutions to these problems.
“I have raised this matter with my counterpart in the Ministry of International Transport . . . LIAT is pretty much the main vehicle we have for moving throughout the region and I am sure we all appreciate the challenge that LIAT has, including the lack of financial support from governments in the region who benefit tremendously from LIAT.
“I remind people that the Barbados Government is a 49 per cent shareholder [in LIAT] and perhaps the one that is holding the largest amount of debt over LIAT but certainly if we are able to move our people throughout the region at a lower cost and with less hassle, I think we will get a far greater appreciation of the goods and services produced in the region.”
The mission was one of the major activities in the BIDC’s Going Global programme, and is the first of several planned to grow the country’s export market space and increase the number of Barbadian exporters.
A second mission to northern CARICOM countries is scheduled for later in 2016.