Opposition Leader Mia Mottley only sees one way out for the Barbados economy from its present “crisis”.
However, addressing the 60th anniversary dinner and awards for Hinds Transport at the weekend, she warned that there was still too much red tape stifling the performance of the local business sector.
“We are not going to get ourselves out of this crisis unless Barbadian businesses and Barbadian individuals earn their way through their businesses,” Mottley warned, while pointing out that “Governments do not grow, businesses and individuals do”.
“And I want us to understand this because it is against this background that we recognize that it is our solemn duty to make it easier to do business in this country,” the Barbados Labour Party leader said.
Amid concern about the country’s high debt burden of over 140 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and its high fiscal deficit of about six per cent of GDP, Mottley stressed that while it was important to focus on debts and deficits “it does not take away from us the obligation of making it easier to do business in Barbados.
“It is too difficult to do business in the ports, it is too difficult to do business in public affairs, it is too difficult to do business in anything that requires licencing . . . . Until we start to create that seamless environment, we are not going to be able to do the things that are necessary to take us out of this economic hurricane for the last nine years,” she told the gathering which included Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss.
The Opposition Leader is therefore clamouring for the implementation of policies to guarantee businesses and investors better returns.
“In this environment where returns . . . are as minuscule as they are in our banking system, 0. 01 per cent and 0.1 per cent, we have a duty to pass an enabling framework, through legislative and other policy measures, to match funds that people want to save with entities that need access to finance in a way where confidence is created,” Mottley said, adding that “there has to be a deepening of our capital markets and there has to be the creation of trust where entities, Barbadian entities, can legitimately source capital at cheaper rates and Barbadian investors can collect better returns on their investments than they are currently getting”.
At the same time, she commended the Hinds family, who she described as long time friends, on their achievements. As one of the few remaining Black enterprises on the island, Mottley urged them to set examples for the future of Barbados with a view to normalizing the entrepreneurial spirit within the country.
In his address, Inniss also commended the Hinds family on their success, while challenging them to expand their brand beyond this island’s shores.
“As you look towards the future, please recognize that Barbados is not the only sphere within which you can operate. I know it is not easy, but recognize that the world is an oyster. I want to see more Barbadian owned businesses go beyond our natural borders doing business,” Inniss said.
The intergenerational family business was founded by Harold Hinds. And with three generations of Hinds present, as well as the 28 staff and business partners, the company on Saturday relived its journey from 1957 to 2017.
In honour of its diamond anniversary, Hinds Transport also disclosed that it will be restoring the East Point Lighthouse for the Government and the people of Barbados. The project is to be completed by the end of October.