The 2019 edition of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) has turned a major focus on the service industries.
This is among the changes introduced at the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) annual exhibition which is being staged at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
For the official opening of the venue on Friday, there was a deviation from the traditional fanfare ceremony. Minister of International Business and Industry Ronald Toppin performed the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to declare the exhibition open.
School children from several primary schools in the north of the island were among the first to take in the displays, which ranged from art and craft, food and beverage to furniture, finance and fashion.
Executive Director of the BMA Shardae Boyce said some minor changes had to be made to the annual event because of the presence of the Ross University School of Medicine at the Two Mile Hill, St Michael location. Over 200 exhibitors are taking part in this year’s three-day expo with a larger number of them showcasing their products on the outside.
“This year we have introduced a lot of new features to BMEX,” she declared.
New this year, is the accommodation of visits of schools to the location by zones. Boyce explained that zone one, which includes schools in the north of the island, visited the location first, while zone two would visit the location later.
“This year we have introduced the creative village which is something to see . . . We are going to fully entertain and we have the services sector fully on board. We believe from a manufacturing perspective that it is important to work with sectors outside of manufacturing because of the linkage and the value that they add to the sector,” said Boyce.
“We have the services sector bringing all the entertainment. We have a fashion show included and you are going to see the mixologists. In addition, we have the home expo,” she said, adding that a number of financial service providers would also be on hand.
Executive Director of the Barbados Coalition Service Industries (BCSI) Graham Clarke said he was happy to partner with the BMA in the annual showcase since the services sector formed a critical part of the manufacturing processes here.
The BCSI cultural showcase will include a fashion show every evening during the exhibition. There will also be performing artistes, and visual artists doing live painting.
“This is a really great example because I feel that often services are excluded from the whole manufacturing process. And really services are part of the whole production process. So we are delighted to be here,” said Clarke, who pointed out that involvement of his association in the showcase, coincided with this month’s issue of its exporter magazine which focuses heavily on driving business in the cultural industries.
Looking back at last year, Clarke said service providers believed the economic measures implemented by Government to help grow the economy were harsh but necessary.
“The adjustments have been a bitter pill to swallow for many of the service providers, but many of them feel it has been a very necessary pill. So I feel the stance is that people feel we had to make some serious adjustments, and even though those adjustments are fairly tough on the bottomline, I think that there is a willingness out there to see this through and make sure that businesses turn around in two to three years’ time,” said Clarke.