Barbados and Canada sign amended air accord
The governments of Barbados and Canada Tuesday signed a reciprocal air transport agreement, which gives designated carriers from both countries “the flexibility to operate without directional or geographical limitations”. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, who initialed the agreement at her Ministry’s Culloden Road, St Michael offices, along with Canada’s High Commissioner Marie Legault, said the accord should also redound to increased airlift and more long stay visitors from Canada, which is the island’s single largest source market for international business. “The evidence is there that there is a renewed commitment on both our parts to ensure not only that our visitor arrivals increase, but also to facilitate the business transactions that take place between our countries,” McClean said. The new pact replaces the original air services agreement signed between Barbados and Canada in 1985. High Commissioner Legault agreed with Senator McClean that air connectivity was crucial to the promotion of trade and investment between the two countries. “In 2013, 50,000 people came just with Air Canada and in three years we were able to increase that to 81,000 people . . . and it’s increasing every year. So, an instrument like this is essential to make sure there are no barriers between our countries,” Legault said.
Fertility Clinic Encourages Further Medical Tourism Thrust
The Medical Fertility Centre (BFC) has been the island’s leading proponent of medical tourism for the past 15 years, annually attracting hundreds of visitors from the United States, United Kingdom and the Caribbean. The Eastern Caribbean’s lone internationally accredited fertility facility has put Barbados on the map, and is now helping more Barbadians and non-nationals alike to have families. The centre provides egg and embryo freezing, sperm injection, ovulation induction, and intra-uterine insemination. Patients not only receive internationally recognised and accredited treatment, but also spend holidays in Barbados while seeing professionals at the BFC as part of a special package deal. Medical tourism is one of the areas of Barbados’ services economy that needs to be paid some serious attention. That’s the view of Dr. Juliet Skinner and Anna Hosford, co-founders of the Barbados Fertility Centre. They want to see other health-care stakeholders jump on the medical tourism bandwagon as well, and engage in cluster marketing, which would allow the country to better advertise itself as a provider of varied medical care to persons also wishing to travel to a holiday destination. “The fringe tourism markets can only improve, and it’s them that can help protect the ones which are under threat,” Skinner, the centre’s consultant gynaecologist, told the SUNDAY Sun in a recent interview. She believes medical tourism remains the reason the centre’s doors have remained open over the years, and other medical departments need to follow suit. “Without medical tourism, it would not have been financially feasible to have an IVF facility,” Skinner admits. “People thought this would have taken away from local tourism, but it’s the opposite. It adds to it.” Hosford said that Barbados’ reputation as an island paradise was at the forefront of the country becoming a medical tourism leader. “Barbados sells itself,” the Irish clinic director said. “The island is so attractive, and then if you can provide that combined with good medical care, that’s a complete package.” “When we first set this up we had huge Government support and they saw our vision. What we would like to see is other medical tourism products coming to Barbados. It has so much potential for all the reasons Barbados sells itself.” Skinner said the BFC had been the medical tourism flagship carrier for a long time, but that needed to change. “There are areas like orthopaedics, cosmetics, which can make their mark.” Hosford said collaboration is the key to Barbados making a bigger dent in medical tourism. “The future is private medical tourism bodies and hospitals coming here in collaboration with the Government and bring a joint view,” she added. The pair said they believe customers, including those who have returned for repeat cycles if not successful in getting pregnant the first time around, believe in the BFC mostly because of individualised care, and that had allowed the facility to prosper. “We are competing with the world. These people can go almost anywhere for this treatment, and they have chosen Barbados.” “It’s about 15 per cent from Barbados, and the other 85 per cent from overseas,” Skinner revealed about their customer base. “Overall the numbers have increased because our clinic is successful, and more people have shared that both locally and regionally.” (Adapted from the Nation Newspaper) Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Initiatives To Improve Customs & Immigration
Passengers using Barbados’ ports of entry should soon see an improvement in the time it takes to get through Customs and Immigration. Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Darcy Boyce, today announced a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring “quick though secure passage through border control”. Speaking at the opening of a border security training workshop for Immigration and Customs officers, Senator Boyce said that shift systems at the ports of entry would be redesigned to ensure that the Customs and Immigration counters were fully staffed during peak periods. In addition, he has asked that discussions be held with the Ministry of the Civil Service and trade unions to facilitate the process. The Ministry is also continuing to work on an initiative which involves the installation of 14 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in the Arrivals Hall at the Grantley Adams International Airport, aimed at significantly decreasing the waiting times of arriving passengers in the terminal. The kiosks, which, according to the Minister, are expected to be activated later this year, will give passengers the option of inputting the required Customs and Immigration information electronically. International airports using the system have reported a 40 to 50 per cent drop in the wait times, Senator Boyce told his audience. Another initiative expected to help improve security and processing times, the Minister revealed, related to the provision of advanced passenger information by carriers coming into Barbados, and the Ministry was working to ensure that this was effectively provided. He added that work was also ongoing on a project to provide technology which would enable the Customs Department to improve and increase surveillance of luggage and cargo in less time in order to improve security and increase facilitation. Senator Boyce told the workshop participants that relevant training also remained a priority and, in addition to the current workshop, other training opportunities were forthcoming in areas such as fraudulent document detection and e-passports. The week-long border security workshop is sponsored by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), in collaboration with the European Union and the United States Customs and Border Protection. The training is expected to improve interviewing techniques, fraudulent document inspection, body language analysis, and luggage and person examination. It will also enhance the capacity of border security officials to identify and intercept persons, goods or vessels travelling across borders by illicit means or with illicit intent; improve screening techniques to reduce wait times at checkpoints; and reduce litigation and poor publicity that might result from interaction with immigration or customs officials. Article compliments
Investment interest in Barbados continues
The recession has not chased investors away from our shores nor is the financial situation at present keeping them away. The Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss and Invest Barbados are assuring Barbadians that investments are still coming. At the grand opening ceremony for the Barbados Entertainment Complex (BEC) in the Warrens Industrial Park, Inniss told the media and those gathered that he welcomes investment such as this project. The BEC is a Canadian-owned company owned and operated by W.A. Ventures and Enterprise Inc. Speaking about the level of investment enjoyed by Barbados and the significance of this investment by W.A. Ventures and Enterprise, Inniss shared: “Barbados has been the home, or the third largest recipient of foreign investment coming out of Canada in recent years. The last figures I saw up to two years ago, this little island was managing assets of businesses with a value of about $77Billion Canadian… “That is not money in Barbados, that is just the value of the entities that are Barbados-based and Canadian-owned and doing business internationally. So Canada remains our main source market in the international business sector. That is based on the treaty that we have in place with Canada and it has worked really well.” He thanked W.A. Ventures for taking advantage of the treaty and the opportunity because, as he said: “It shows to the world that this little island sitting out here in the Eastern Caribbean is playing a very significant role in global business. The fact remains that outside of the UK and the USA, Barbados is the preferred domicile for Canadian businesses to go global says a lot.” In the midst of everything, the Minister called on Barbadians to note and celebrate these investments as well. “Sometimes we don’t really take time out as Barbadians to be positive about what is happening and there are others outside of our domain who really recognise what we have to offer and using Barbados as a conduit through which their legitimate businesses can grow and expand globally,” he lamented. From Invest Barbados, Senior Business Development Officer Adrian Sealy told Loop News: “Sharon [Anthony, one of the Managing Directors of BEC] identified the project in Toronto through our offices in Toronto, and from there then she came down to Barbados to help identify the best possible location for the project and in doing so, one of our mandates is to facilitate new investment into Barbados. “So once we understood the concept of what she wanted to achieve we then set about identifying where it is possible to setup such a location and what properties were available.” Beyond BEC though, he added, “There are still a lot of companies interested in Barbados and not only as the Minister said, from the brick and mortar perspective, from the financial services arena as well. You might not see us in the same light as this particular project because financial services are in itself a smaller component of an office space. So you’ll find that they employ persons and you don’t hear about it as much but you see the spinoffs from the investments through the incorporation of the companies and the assistance that they would’ve received from attorneys and from Invest Barbados through the development of the project as it goes along.” Taking a moment, to acknowledge the role being played by Invest Barbados in the fight to gain more and secure more investors, Minister Inniss urged: “Quite often people don’t appreciate what public officers do especially those who are stationed abroad to get out there through the snow, through the hail, through the summer, whatever to knock on doors and get businesses to come to Barbados. “I spent three years in New York City covering half of the United States promoting Barbados as a place to do business, and I know sometimes months passed and you don’t get a good one, so when you land one you gotta thank God you got it and you feel good.” Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
Gov’t Looking To Expand Rum Industry
The Government of Barbados has initiated a project which is geared towards the expansion of the country’s rum industry. Word of this came from Commerce Minister, Donville Inniss, on Monday, as he delivered the feature address at a reception and tasting of Authentic Caribbean Brands. The event was hosted by the Directors of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association Inc. (WIRSPA), at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa. Mr. Inniss stated that the objective of the initiative was two-fold: transitioning the industry’s output of bulk rum to branded rum; and engaging stakeholders in a strategic partnership to expand the market share of the local brands in the hospitality sector. Explaining that there were three components to the programme, the Minister noted that this would include a geographic indicator of Barbados’ rums, supported by a Barbados Rum Marque, which would become a certifying seal of approval. The other components, he revealed, included the repositioning of the industry to incrementally convert bulk rum to primarily branded rum; and embarking on an ongoing promotional campaign in the tourism sector to secure Barbados Rum Brands as a spirit of choice across hotels and bars. “I am proud to say that this initiative has begun to bear fruit with the successful completion of the inaugural Barbados Sugar and Rum Season. This event was held during the period February 1 to April 1, 2017, under the auspices of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority. …Its objective was geared towards enhancing the island’s cultural heritage, particularly rum and sugar, and culinary tourism product offerings,” he disclosed. Mr. Inniss also revealed that statistics for the period 2012 to 2016 showed that Barbados’ exports of rum to one of its lucrative markets – the European Union, stood at approximately BDS $89.9 million. He pointed out that the industry continued to provide valuable foreign exchange and revenue; supported the sustainability and linkages of many other businesses within the agro-processing and tourism industries; and contributed significantly to job creation. Article compliments BGIS.
Norway’s Ambassador Meets Foreign Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, recently met with the newly-elected Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, Ingrid Mollestad. Climate change was high on the agenda, as Ambassador Mollestad disclosed that it was an important area of focus for Norway, and could also potentially be an area for future collaboration between the two countries. Senator McClean agreed, and stressed the importance of climate change in light of the resounding impact it has on everything around it, including the hurricane season and the economic sector. She also mentioned that following the recent damage done to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, she was especially concerned about the local coral reefs, and said she believed they should be closely monitored. The officials also discussed their interest in renewable energy, and pledged to keep in contact in hopes of collaborating in this area, and also to maintain their “excellent” relationship. Article compliments BGIS.
Online Learning Platform Launched
Public officers will soon be able to study and upgrade their skills online through new initiatives from the Training Administration Division (TAD). The 50-year-old institution launched its Chapter 50: Entering the E-Environment, featuring a new-look website, a virtual classroom and a mobile application, at the Hilton Barbados Resort yesterday. And, it is a move that has come in for high praise from Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce. “Internet-based technologies will undoubtedly result in enhanced levels of productivity, as public officers will be able to learn at their own pace, access information at a time that is convenient for them and equally important, learning can be accessed by remote students that otherwise would not be able to travel to a classroom,” he explained. Senator Boyce highlighted a number a number of areas of which public servants needed to be more aware. These areas include aspects of the various trade and integration agreements, especially the CARICOM Single Market and Economy; the internationalisation of the economy; globalisation; environmental issues; competitiveness; productivity issues and human resource management issues. The Minister suggested that knowledge in these areas could be disseminated in a number of ways, including creating case studies; disseminating learning; through workshops; seminars and conferences and the hosting of webinars by public officers. Mr. Boyce added that the move would also introduce new ways of supporting public service learners as they acquired new knowledge and skills to facilitate a more efficient and effective approach to the execution of their duties. In fact, he remained optimistic about the possibility of developing a virtual public service college over time and not just a virtual classroom. At the same time, the Minister cautioned the TAD against starting the process and resting on its accomplishment. “My advice would be to always ensure that your products are of quality, and that you should be steadfast in pursuing rigorous marketing strategies that will position the Training Administration Department as a learning provider of choice,” Senator Boyce said. The launch also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Higher Development Education Unit of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the TAD, which will guide the process forward. Article compliments BGIS.
Tax stain on Barbados sticks, says Inniss
Minister of International Business Donville Inniss is cautioning that Barbados will not soon escape the stain brought upon it for being declared a tax haven, reports Barbados Today. “The tax haven label is not something that has gone away, slowed down or will go away in any foreseeable future,” Inniss told Barbados today. This sentiment came on the heels of the recent move by the American state of Illinois to blacklist Barbados as a tax haven, following the introduction of a new bill by the state’s house of representatives. Bill HB3419, which also names a number of other regional and international countries, forbids businesses operating in jurisdictions considered “foreign tax havens” from submitting a bid or entering into a contract with the state of Illinois. The new measure also restricts “expatriate corporations” in the countries named from doing business with the state. Inniss, who said he was not aware of any such corporations in Barbados or that this country did international business directly with the state of Illinois, suggested that there was no merit to the move to blacklist Barbados as a tax haven. “It is a classic example of every time you do the things that are expected of you to get a fair rating and hearing somebody comes with a label,” said Inniss. “As a matter of fact I think they just looked at the map and picked a couple of countries in a particular geographical space without even looking to see if there is any substance to what has been prepared,” he said. Inniss told Barbados TODAY he has since sent correspondence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade “for direction to our ambassador in the US for our transmission to that particular state and their representatives. “We are not taking these things lightly because even if we don’t do business or have companies with that particular state, the reality is that the message coming from that state is being picked up by other states and other countries and then you have the snowball effect,” he said, pointing out that the view expressed by the state of Illinois was not necessarily that of the United States, with which Barbados has treaties in place. The minister said the decision in October last year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to upgrade Barbados to a “largely compliant” jurisdiction in relation to tax matters and exchange of information was an indication that the country was not a tax haven. At the same time he acknowledged that the island still had a lot of work to do in relation to tax matters and exchange of information as the goal post continues to shift. Inniss said he was satisfied that Barbados continued to engage its international partners on the matter instead of just sitting back and “taking what people give us”. He lauded the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), saying had it not been for that association the island would not have been as forward looking in the international business arena. “We perhaps would have made some mistakes along the way had we not had that energized and forward looking group, BIBA. I can boldly say that they really work well with us and help to keep us on our toes in Government,” Inniss said. Article compliments IFC Review.
Committee Meets To Discuss Proposals
Under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Q.C., M.P., a small Committee formed by the Heads of the Social Partnership Groups (Government, CTUSAB/BWU and the Private Sector) met on Tuesday, April 18 to discuss the proposals regarding the Fiscal Deficit and Foreign Exchange Reserves, presented by the two Working Groups set up at the last Meeting of the Full Social Partnership held on March 3. The reports had been received in more or less “final draft” form between late March and early April. Notwithstanding the urgency of the matter, given the specific concerns of each member of the Social Partnership, it was considered imperative that the proposals be thoroughly examined and discussed by each Social Partner, prior to action. The meeting was informed that the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals were likely to be presented before the end of May and thus that the Social Partners would not wish to pre-empt the 2017 Budget presentation process. The Groups were advised that some of the proposals made in the reports would be dealt with in the Budget. With the sense of urgency shared by all, it was felt that there were certain issues among the recommendations presented by the working groups which would be not addressed within the Budgetary Proposals, but on which engagement could start immediately, with a view to early action. Among these, was the issue of State Owned Enterprises (QEH, BTB and the SSA). Information was to be shared among the Groups with a view to early discussions. It was also agreed that there would be a meeting held after the Budget to discuss the Budgetary measures announced. The Prime Minister noted that the discussions were frank and robust and the need for clarity, certainty and firm action emphasised by all. The vital importance of dialogue among all stakeholders at all stages of the process towards solutions of the Fiscal Deficit and Foreign Exchange problems was stressed. The Prime Minister advised that, in this vein, meetings of the Partners on specific matters will be taking place over time. The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs also attended the meeting. Article compliments BGIS.
Take the Barbados Employer Survey
We would like to make you aware of the Barbados Employer Survey and encourage your participation. The Survey is being implemented by the Government of Barbados through a Consultancy of MRSB Consulting Services of Canada and Kaizen Business Development Inc. and Abelian Consulting Services Inc. of Barbados. The survey is an important opportunity for employers to make a direct contribution to the productivity and competitiveness of their sector through the provision of skills needs information that is critical to future workforce development. The survey is being administered within the International Business and Finance Sector and the Manufacturing Sector first and then with the Cultural and Creative Industries and Tourism sectors. You may hear about the survey through various channels –the Barbados Government Information Service (GIS) press releases, a direct email from the project Consultancy (via MRSB Consulting Services) and /or outreach such as this from industry associations. We invite you to complete the survey online at any time from Monday March 13 until April 21, 2017 at https://www.research.net/r/Government_of_Barbados_Employer_Survey You can click here to see an overview of the survey and determine if you need information from other colleagues before beginning. If you are unable to complete the survey on line at one time, an enumerator will contact you to complete the remaining questions with you. You may also complete the entire survey with an enumerator by telephone or in person. To arrange a telephone or in person survey please contact any of the following: Cathy McPhail at email@example.com or Skype: cwmcphail56 Alison Beckles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 246-829-6251 Alison Holder at email@example.com or 246-253-5026 Individual survey results will be confidential. Information will be used in aggregate form only. If you have questions about the purpose of, or validity of the survey, please contact: Mr. Mark Franklin, Chief Research and Planning Officer Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development Tel: (246) 535-1420 YOUR COMPLETION OF A SURVEY IS CRITICAL TO ENSURING THE INFORMATION COLLECTED IS AS REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR SECTOR AS POSSIBLE. THANK YOU!
New Financial Stability Report published
THE CENTRAL BANK of Barbados and the Financial Services Commission have published the 2016 Financial Stability Report, an in depth analysis of the island’s financial system. The report, which examines the structure of the financial services sector as well as the resilience of different classes of financial institutions, found that “key financial sector indicators point to the continued stability of the Barbadian financial system during 2016”, and further stated that “stress tests performed on the financial system suggest that the system is generally stable and can survive a range of adverse events.” According to the report, commercial banks continue to dominate the local financial landscape, holding 55 per cent of domestic assets, with the second largest percentage, 13 percent, being held by insurance companies. Credit unions, trust and financial companies, mutual funds and pension funds all controlled similar percentages of the market. It goes on to examine each type of financial institution and to conduct simulations of events that could impact its stability. In addition to its analysis of the island’s financial institutions, the 2016 Financial Stability report contains two research notes. The first concerns household debt and its implications for the local financial system. It looks at the rise of household debt over a 25 year period as well as the sources of this debt. The second note is on de-risking, a phenomenon that has impacted countries in the Caribbean and Latin America as well as Asia and Africa and that has potential grave implications for the local International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) sector. The report is available for download on the Central Bank of Barbados website www.centralbank.org.bb. (PR)
Bitt by bit ICT is developing in the Caribbean
Barbados’ Bitt Inc. has come together with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) to take the region’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) forward. The CTU and Bitt Inc have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signaling the start of a working partnership between the two organisations to further develop social and economic sectors in the Caribbean through the use of effective ICT. The MOU was signed by Selby Wilson, CTU Telecommunications Strategist and Oliver Gale, President and Co-Founder of Bitt Inc. during day one of the 15th Caribbean Ministerial Strategic Seminar, as held in Antigua and Barbuda from March 22 to March 23, 2017. Wilson was a former Minister of Finance in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. “With the signing of this MOU, Bitt and the CTU will coordinate their efforts to advance innovation in the ICT sector and facilitate the growth of digital financial services in the Caribbean,” Gale stated. Bitt Inc, a Barbadian based FinTech company, utilises distributed ledger and blockchain technology to improve efficiency and significantly reduce the costs of the payment system. “The specific characteristics of distributed ledger and blockchain technology, namely its unprecedented security, immutability, non-counterfeitability, efficiency of transfer, robustness and transparency, make its application clear to Central Banks for the foundation of a digital legal-tender issuance infrastructure,” Gale explained. Conversely, the CTU’s main mission is to facilitate the cooperation, collaboration and promotion of ICT related services and development with the aim of advancing the Caribbean region. Upon signing the document, both organisations have agreed to work together to achieve a number of common objectives. These include using and promoting ICT’s as a way to address and aid in the development of the region and to “facilitate the establishment and effective operation of a single economic space.” “Technology that enables rapid payment services to large sections of the population, has been advancing at a fast pace to deliver robust, secure and convenient payment solutions. These digital payment solutions allow for services to be delivered at lower costs, aﬀording greater scalability and ease of access,” added Gale. The CTU is the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s arm for regional telecoms and technology. Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
Sandals goes Royal
What started out as major expansion of its existing hotel at Dover has become the construction of a new luxury property to be called Sandals Royal Barbados, which is scheduled to open on December 20. The project is expected to cost US$160 million when completed, a price tag Sandals Resorts International (SRI) said would make it the company’s “largest ever investment in a single property”. Company officials also said the construction phase of the new hotel was employing 700 people, a number that was expected to increase to between 1 000 and 1 200 by the end of this month. Also, when Sandals Royal becomes operational, the property will employ 600, bringing the Sandals workforce here to about 1 200. Article compliments the Nation Newspaper.
Byer Suckoo: No Pay Difference In Public Service
There is no disparity between the salaries of male and female workers across Barbados’ public sector. Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo disclosed this finding yesterday, while speaking at the media launch of the 2016 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report, at United Nations House. According to data trends from the report’s Human Development Index, it was recorded that on average, “women globally are paid 23 percent less than their male counterparts.” However, based on localised research, the island’s Labour Minister revealed that this trend was not occurring in Barbados’ public sector. “We’ve heard the figures about women being paid less than men… I must say that since I’ve heard these figures I have been looking for the evidence [locally]; and I have not been able to find it at our Statistical Service or in the Ministry of Labour…. “We have not been able to find that job for job, where all other things are equal, men and women are paid differently. We know across the Civil Service men and women at the same grade are paid the exact same amount,” she verified. While maintaining that there was no gender-related pay difference within the “formal sector”, Senator Byer Suckoo cautioned against such a practice which might occur within the “informal sector”. The Minister told those gathered: “If this is happening in smaller agencies which may not come under the collective agreements…then that is something that we would be very concerned about…because our legislation does not allow for this disparity of wages job for job…,” she stressed. In supporting the development of disadvantaged groups, which were identified in the UNDP Report as women, children, victims of forced labour, impoverished persons and the disabled; the Senator called on other Ministries to remain “vigilant” and ensure that these trends did not permeate the Barbadian society. Minister Byer Suckoo stated: “The Barbados National Employment Policy and the Human Resource Development Strategy have prioritised the empowerment of the vulnerable groups in our labour market. My Ministry is administering targeted programmes in employment and training for these vulnerable persons… “We are also now partnering with the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development on the Strengthening Human and Social Development in Barbados Programme to eradicate poverty.” The media launch culminated with a panel discussion featuring Minister Byer Suckoo; Stephen O’Malley, Resident Representative of the UNDP Barbados and the OECS; Sean Cooke, Representative for the Barbados National Organisation of the Disabled; and Neisha Cave, Youth Economist. Article compliments BGIS.
Gov’t Focusing On Improving Business Facilitation
Government is actively exploring ways of improving business facilitation and this country’s competitiveness. This assurance came from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he delivered remarks at the launch of the 11thEuropean Development Fund’s (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme, earlier today, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Mr. Stuart said that small open developing countries needed to earn foreign exchange in order to maintain and improve the quality of life of citizens and ensure their survival. “The recent developments in the world around us: the events of 2007 and their enduring consequences; Brexit; and the effects of climate change, have all conjoined to make the environment even more challenging. But we know that our resilience, demonstrated over the years, is testimony to our capacity to recreate ourselves and to overcome the odds,” he told his audience. The Prime Minister stressed that private sector development in the Caribbean remained pivotal and suggested that exporters must continue to be empowered to penetrate global markets. According to him, enabling and strengthening the private sector was the most effective way of ensuring continued economic growth in this region. He urged the regional private sector to be proactive and creative and seek to increase the number of projects that could be assisted to the next stage by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. “Countries like Barbados need foreign exchange for almost every stage of our production in the various sectors. But if we do not earn it, we cannot spend it without serious effects on our entire economy and society. For example, companies in the retail sector – which use a large proportion of foreign reserves in providing the goods that we both need and want – must be creative and explore how they can assist in producing more foreign exchange, through contributing in some way to our export thrust,” he insisted. During the launch, the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union (EU) signed the 11th EDF agreement worth EUR 24 million to support regional private sector development. Mr. Stuart told the gathering that the signing was another clear indication of the EU’s steadfast commitment to the region, and its support of Caribbean Export in implementing programmes aimed at assisting the private sector in the Caribbean. “EDF programming has contributed to job creation, revenue generation, and export growth, within the states of the Caribbean region… and it has boosted our capacity to compete with firms on the global landscape,” he pointed out. Under the 11th EDF, focus will be placed on market penetration, supply chain and intelligence frameworks, increased access to finance, and the promotion of green energy and energy efficiency as key factors in lowering costs. The overall objective of this programme is to, among other things, increase employment creation and reduce poverty in CARIFORUM states through targeted interventions that provide innovative frameworks for growth and development. Article compliments GIS Barbados.
Barbados International Finance & Business 2017 Magazine Now Available
The Barbados International Finance & Business (BIF&B) 2017 magazine is now available. This annual magazine, now in its ninth year, is a publication of Invest Barbados. It caters to the international business and financial services community, highlighting through several stimulating articles by a range of knowledgeable experts in the field, why Barbados continues to be an attractive jurisdiction of choice for investors. Whether your focus is on international business, international insurance, wealth management, general features on Barbados as a preferred domicile, real life case studies on various international entities or the quality of life that the jurisdiction offers, it can all be found within this magazine. In his message, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Invest Barbados, Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce, discusses the enhancements that have occurred within the sector during the last year. He indicated that although there were fresh challenges emerging, the Government of Barbados in conjunction with Invest Barbados and other government agencies would work together to facilitate the smooth conduct of business in Barbados. Additionally, as Invest Barbados celebrates 10 years of operations, the Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer (Ag.), Sandra Payne, shares in her message that, “…we will maintain the ethos and values of good governance and efficiency which have characterised our success…Together with our stakeholders we will nurture a more prosperous Barbados.” The BIF&B 2017 magazine is available from any of its three offices: at headquarters in Barbados, New York, USA or Toronto, Canada. It can also be viewed online here. Be sure to get your copy today. Article compliments Invest Barbados.
GERMAN ENVOY CALLS ON SENATOR MCCLEAN
Germany’s Ambassador to Barbados, Dr. Lutz Görgens, recently paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Maxine McClean, to mark the occasion of 50 years of bilateral relations between the two countries. Ambassador Görgens stated that he was very happy to meet with the Foreign Minister to celebrate their 50-year relationship, which he described as “unparalleled and incomparable”. A main focus of the conversation was protecting and preserving the island’s coastlines, which Senator McClean noted was of critical importance to Government. Dr. Görgens suggested that Barbados participate in the Caribbean Challenge initiative, a project geared at bringing together governments, companies and partners, to collaborate on accelerating action on the marine and coastal environment in the region. The officials also discussed the challenges associated with regional marine and air transport, to which Minister McClean proposed that the region should cooperate and explore the idea of establishing a commercial ferry operation. Article compliments BGIS.
BYER SUCKOO: STRENGTHENING OF HUMAN CAPITAL A MUST
Barbados must focus on building the capacity of its human resource capital, as Government moves towards the implementation of its Green Jobs Initiative and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy. Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, expressed this view recently, during a courtesy call from Japan’s Ambassador, Teruhiko Shinada, at the Ministry of Labour, Warrens Office Complex. Stating that there will be a need for adjustments to the roles of employees across various sectors, Senator Byer Suckoo noted that jobs would need to incorporate new techniques to support a sustainable green economy and mitigate against climate change. “It’s one thing to build the structures and ensure that our buildings…and other infrastructures are in place, but we also need to ensure that the workers know how to do the new things required… “Agriculture, for example, is very susceptible to climate change. Changes in rain fall and other factors can affect our cultivation, so there will have to be new ways of doing agriculture…and the people involved in agriculture have to be trained,” she explained. The Minister also highlighted the fishing industry as an area where training and capacity could be upgraded, due to the direct impact of climate change on our reefs and fish harvesting. Mr. Shinada, who shared in the Minister’s sentiments, disclosed that Japan was also “diligently working” on measures to combat climate change, and outlined how the two countries could collaborate. According to him, capacity building could be achieved through possible collaborations with the Japan International Corporation Agency (JAICA), which fulfills this mandate within various organisations. Other areas of discussion included strengthening the social security system of Barbados, as Japan also has an ageing population, which has impacted on its social security system; reducing youth employment through the promotion of innovation and the green economy; and retrofitting the work place to provide greater opportunities for disabled persons to be hired. Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Yolande Howard; and Acting Chief Labour Officer, Victor Felix, were also present at the meeting. Article compliments BGIS.
CTEP A Revenue Earner For Region
Education Minister Ronald Jones has welcomed the idea of the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP) in Barbados, stating it not only addressed the acquisition of knowledge but also the development of that knowledge into a final project. “It is there to solve a particular problem…moving the idea to a revenue stream. It is not only assisting with the clarification of the idea but assisting those ideas to reach a point where those ideas carry value…value that can be felt because it impacts on the livelihood of the individual and the community and society,” the Minister emphasised. Mr. Jones who was the featured speaker at CTEP’s launch, at the Accra Beach Hotel, alluded to the billions of dollars in net worth, amassed by companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, and said it was his dream that such would occur in this region through the innovation of some young man or woman. “If you look at the world and how it is going and the use of the technology, a lot of these, almost intangible, parts of the digital world…result in massive sales. We are using these platforms in our daily lives… entertainment, for instance. “I am looking at possibilities that can generate revenue … and therefore we have to invest in our youth, in our schools, training institutions and universities that they can produce a product or product or service that utilise these technologies,” he asserted. While suggesting the region needed more and more ideas to be converted into greater revenue streams, he urged universities with surplus funds, and as part of their research agenda, to aid young entrepreneurs move from the idea to revenue stage of business. Article compliments BGIS.
Minister Jones Meets Canadian Envoy
The success of programmes ongoing with Canada, and the Education Ministry’s future plans, were the focus of discussion, when Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados, Marie Legault, called on Minister Ronald Jones recently at the Elsie Payne Complex. Accompanied by his top officials, including Permanent Secretary, June Chandler; and Chief Education Officer, Karen Best, Mr. Jones welcomed Ambassador Legault and acknowledged the longstanding relationship between Barbados and Canada. “Barbados carries a very large financial sector, a lot of it fuelled by Canadian financial business and that helps fuel the Barbadian economy. We know that there have been changes taking place but we still continue to survive. The banking sector (the Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank of Canada) are all part of the Barbadian financial and economic framework, and for that we are glad,” the Minister said. Tasked with discussing the future intentions of the Ministry, Permanent Secretary Chandler signalled to the High Commissioner that Barbados was seeking more collaborative arrangements between the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Canadian universities. This, she explained, was in a bid to move towards internationalisation and arriving at alternative means of raising revenue while reducing dependency on Government. Pointing out that such arrangements were also welcomed with any other universities, she added: “My main thrust is to look at these collaborative efforts so as to grow our regional university, and, of course the spin off benefits that would redound to the economy of Barbados.” Ms. Chandler commended the High Commissioner on efforts already in train with New Brunswick University, noting this was an example to be encouraged in order to aid the Ministry in developing its capacity, especially with respect to special needs education. Moreover, she added, Canada could also benefit from an exchange of staff to see how Barbados “does things in the classroom”. The High Commissioner said she was pleased with the programmes already in place with Barbados. Alluding to an arrangement between Colleges and Institutes of Canada and the Barbados Community College which began five years ago, she added her country was also funding a programme at UWI Open campus to the tune of $20 million. The officials also discussed Barbados’ thrust towards hands-on skills and Caribbean Vocational Qualifications; opportunities to strengthen primary school teachers; the capacity of tutors at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College; and teaching computer programming from an early age. Article compliments BGIS.
Education Vital To Human Resources
The over BDS $10 million in teaching material handed over recently by the People’s Republic of China to the Government and People of Barbados is significant in more than one way. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart underlined this in his address to those gathered at the hand-over ceremony, at the Ministry of Education’s Elsie Payne Complex headquarters. Included among these were China’s Ambassador, Wang Ke; and Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones. Acknowledging that the gifts had other significance, Prime Minister Stuart said: “When we speak of the productive sectors of our economy, we like to think that we are talking about those sectors like tourism and agriculture and manufacturing that produce things. Tourism produces money for us; agriculture produces food, manufacturing produces things. “But, I have always contended…and always believed, that the most important productive sector in any country is its education sector because whereas other productive sectors produce things and produce money, the education sector produces people – the human resources we need and have needed, over the years, to make Barbados the very great country that it is.” Explaining that this was why Government had invested as heavily as it had, over the last 56 years or so, in education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, Mr. Stuart pointed out a “virtual revolution” was taking place at the nursery level, in that the nursery sector was in the process of being built out with the assistance of the Maria Holder Trust. “We believe that education is the most important productive sector in Barbados, and we have indigenised, made local, our assessment of the students in our educational system whether they are at the nursery, primary, secondary or tertiary levels,” the Prime Minister stated. Article compliments BGIS.
Critical Legislation Planned For PWDs
A draft Bill which will facilitate the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is currently under consideration by Parliament. Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, was addressing the annual church service to mark the Month of the Disabled when he explained that the Persons with Disabilities Bill seeks to bring even greater comfort for those in the disabled community. “It aims to codify in law those rights to which every person with disabilities (PWD) is entitled, and to ensure that they are treated according to the international benchmarks,” he stated. The Minister explained that the Bill will address issues such as access to public facilities and services, education, employment, cultural life, and support to ensure that any current disadvantages for the disabled community are eradicated. He added that amendments are also being made to current legislation, among them the Road Traffic Act to address issues affecting parking for PWDs; the Employment Rights (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill, as well as the Building Standards Bill, which promotes the construction of buildings with adequate provisions for PWDs. Mr. Blackett also acknowledged the work of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, stating that its work has made Barbadians more aware of PWDs. “The Council boasts of a membership of 20 organisations of and for persons with disabilities, and continues to work towards improving the quality of life for the differently abled, through partnering with Governmental and Non- Governmental Agencies,” he said. He described this year’s theme: Inclusion Matters: 40 Years Towards Access and Empowerment, as “truly fitting”, as the Council and Barbados alike have made significant strides in ensuring that PWDs in the community are fully integrated into society. Mr. Blackett also sought to remind those gathered that such persons were not disabled, but “differently abled and very valuable members of society”, and the people of Barbados should approach their welfare without partisan considerations. Article compliments BGIS.
PM Thanks China For Its Support
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has lauded the contribution of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados over the last four decades. Speaking today at the hand-over ceremony at the Elsie Payne Complex of teaching material by China to his Government, Prime Minister Stuart said: “The relationship has worked very, very well, and the decision that Barbados took 40 years ago was in consonance with what other countries were doing and what other countries had to do.” Emphasising that this relationship had “borne much fruit”, he highlighted China’s efforts in building the Wildey Gymnasium in 1992, and praised today’s donation of over BDS $10 million in desktops, laptops, tablets and furniture. Mr. Stuart added that gestures like this would continue to deepen the relationship between the two countries. “It has yielded benefits and there are benefits to come… there are other initiatives in the pipeline with the Ministry of Education,” he indicated, alluding to the project at The Hope in St. Lucy and the ongoing refurbishments at the Gymnasium. The Prime Minister thanked the Government of China for being a “loyal” friend to Barbados, and assured that country of Barbados’ continued cooperation and support as it deepened its relationship with the region. Article compliments BGIS.
PM To Chair Full Partnership Meeting
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will chair a meeting of the full Social Partnership today, Friday, March 3, beginning at 9:00 a.m., at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael. Introductory remarks will be delivered by Prime Minister Stuart; Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Charles Herbert; President of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, Cedric Murrell; and General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Toni Moore. During the one-day meeting, Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Cleviston Haynes, will make a presentation, following which discussions will focus on the Foreign Exchange Reserves and the Fiscal Deficit. Two working groups to study both subjects will be named, and the members are expected to begin their deliberations today. Article compliments BGIS.