Commerce Minister Donville Inniss, has hit back at his critics, saying he will continue to work towards the best interest of the country, especially when it comes to outlining a national vision for the commercial sector.
Inniss told the launch of Standard Distribution & Sales (Barbados) Limited at Norman Centre on Friday that he took his job seriously and was not afraid to publicly, but constructively, be critical of the systems that inhibit the growth and development of key sectors in Barbados.
“Barbados must be known as a cost effective location for a wide range of high quality products catering to the needs of locals and visitors alike. This can only be attained and sustained if the state provides the best enabling environment for businesses to function in an efficient manner,” he charged.
He added that he was “deeply troubled” over the systems in our public sector that “just don’t seem to work well,” and in publicly commenting on these matters, rest assured he had raised these concerns and some solutions with his colleagues.
Inniss noted that business facilitation seemed like an elusive dream in Barbados’ economy, noting the length of time it takes to conduct business with the Customs Department.
He also added that the transitioning of Customs into the Barbados Revenue Authority were some of the issues that needed to be addressed.
Inniss pointed to a lack of accountability as another significant problem, which, according to him, was evident at all levels and in all institutions.
“This seems to be the new norm, letters are sent to departments and no one bothers to act on them, and failure to act is often times rewarded with an increment or a promotion. “Same is said when staff cancel meetings with no explanation or an apology, with seemingly little regard for other people’s time and money. I am deeply concerned that as we get more degrees from universities and colleges we are getting less productivity in this society,” he contended.
Inniss lauded Standard Distribution & Sales, a subsidiary of Trinidad-based ANSA McAL Group of Companies, for reaching the milestone of 57 years of operation in Barbados.
He noted that the significance of this achievement was perhaps best understood in the context of acknowledging that the roll-out of this investment came at a time when both the Barbadian and Trinidadian economies are facing severe challenges.