Organizers of the annual Barbados Manufacturers’ Expo (BMEX) say patrons can expect a range of products and services from 129 exhibitors this year, including 22 new ones.
This year’s theme is Back to Basics.
And while security has not been an issue over the past 35 years, officials today pointed out that the Department of Emergency Management had imposed stricter guidelines for this year’s staging of the annual showcase, which attracts thousands of patrons every year.
In this regard, Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) Bobbi McKay warned that time was running out for exhibitors to get their plans together.
“One guy came to us a couple days [ago] and said, ‘find me a booth even if you put me on the roof’.
“We are two weeks out and we are not playing magician . . . we are trying not to have a lot of last minute stress. We are not magicians although we try hard,” McKay said.
During an exhibitors briefing at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, where the event will be taking place from June 2 to 5, participants were also strongly urged to adhere to the times allotted for setting up their booths, as well as to have their booths manned, especially during the diplomatic tours.
Event Coordinator Ann Johnson pointed out that last year Lady Loretta Belgrave – wife of Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave – had to leave without getting some of the items she wanted because exhibitors were not present at the time of her visit.
This year, there is also a limit on the number of people allowed to watch the highly anticipated fashion show segment. However, Johnson said patrons could purchase tickets online.
She also revealed that the opening day would not be restricted to school children this year, but open to the general public.
“We are not sure how it is going to go so we are trying it. We find that on the Friday
. . . we get some of the older persons, including housewives and those who are at home who want to come,” she said.
As for the opening ceremony, this will take place in the morning as opposed to the evening, as has been customary. And in terms of the annual prizes, this year patrons, instead of BMEX officials, will get to choose the best booth on display.