Amid repeated complaints by the private sector and Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss about how difficult it is to conduct business here, Minister of Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean has identified a small cog in the wheel of business facilitation.
Speaking in the Senate Wednesday on the Notaries Public Bill 2017, the Leader of Government Business said the measure would help facilitate business development, as well as contribute to the island’s competitiveness on the global market.
The Bill seeks to increase the number of notaries in order to give the public wider access to public officer who serve in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business.
“We see this amendment as part of not only a wider ministerial initiative, but also an even wider cross ministerial effort to do what is necessary to facilitate business development,” McClean said.
At the same time she called on the business community to play its part in making it easier to do business here.
The senator said while it was “very easy and very popular to be critical of Government’s limitations”, business leaders also needed to upgrade their technology and systems in line with the current global practices.
In addition to the need for technological advancements, McClean also pointed to the need for improved productivity, insisting that all of Government’s efforts would come to naught if steps were not taken at the operational levels to enhance the quality of service to customers.
“We in Barbados have to spend some time focusing on how we as individuals providing services, do so. The quality of customer service, for example, whether it is at the retail sector level, whether it is at the provision of services – the point I’m making is that all the systems can be put in place, the legislation could be put in place, but in the absence of the right attitudes, the proper training . . . all of these things have to work hand in glove to ensure that what we have is a society and a business environment in which all the stakeholders recognize that all the elements must work together to ensure that we are able to realize the benefits of business facilitation efforts,” McClean emphasized.
On the issue of global trade, she revealed that Barbados was preparing to sign on to a trade facilitation agreement as part of its membership at the World Trade Organization.
She added that the Foreign Trade Department had already prepared the necessary documentation, which was being considered by the Ministry of International Business and the Solicitor General before it is submitted to Cabinet for approval.
“What that means is that if we are signatory to that agreement, we need to be able to deliver, and being able to deliver is about finding ways to ensure that we minimize any stumbling blocks, any constraints to business activity,” McClean said.