Pan-Africanist Elombe Mottley believes Barbados can build an economy around education.
He offered this suggestion to policymakers last Thursday night, while delivering a lecture at the headquarters of the Barbados Workers Union in Harmony Hall, St Michael.
“I want to see Barbados attracting ten to 15 medical schools. It is not about Barbadians attending the schools, but running and working in the schools at all levels. If we can get one medical school to bring in 25 000 people, I have no objection. The more schools you have, the greater the number of people would gain employment,” Mottley told his audience.
“Do not believe that these schools are fly-by-night operations. They train people in many areas of medicine. Many of them are recognized in California and once they get that stamp of approval from that state they are accepted across the USA.”
Mottley pointed out that at present there are 72 medical schools in the Caribbean, with 41 of them being designated offshore medical schools.
He identified St George’s Medical School in Grenada, Ross Medical School in Dominica and the American Medical School in Antigua as three of the biggest in the region.
Mottley further suggested that Codrington College in St John could be developed as an international spiritual university catering to the needs of a wide range of religions.
“Codrington College no longer trains Anglican priests exclusively. They train members of the Baptist Church, the Nazarene Church and many other denominations,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, taking a critical look at the island’s cruise tourism industry, Mottley noted that duty-free shops on board
cruise ships sailing into Barbados had cut into the business of duty-free stores on island.
“Cruise ships only spend a couple hours in a destination. The duty-free shops are now on board the ships instead of on land. If we are to survive we have to get an alternative set of goods to sell these people coming to Barbados,” he insisted.
Mottley also encouraged tourism officials to use social media more to “sell Barbados to the world”.