“January, like February, was introduced into the Roman calendar by a legendary king of Rome, Numa Pompilius (c.715-673 BC), who named it in honour of Janus, the god of doors and openings (Latin janus, a door). Janus is represented in Roman art as a man with two faces, one looking backwards and one forwards, implying that he stood between the old and the new year, holding both in regard. The ancient Jewish New Year, which began on March 25, continued for a long time to have a legal standing in Christian countries. In England, it was not until 1752 that in legal, as in popular circles, January 1 became New Year” – www.wilsonsalmanac.com

Traditionally when we mention the New Year it conjures up thoughts of the twelve days of Christmas which is a festival that straddles the old and the new year. In government circles we talk about the fiscal year which runs from April to March. In business circles there is greater flexibility. In Rotary International the year is from July to June , a period which the last week has straddled.

At the recent Rotary International (RI) Convention in Chicago, we were prepared for the expected transition on July 01 2005 from one President to the other. On the occasion of Rotary’s Centennial Year the President of Rotary Club of Barbados South John Forde presented a plaque with the names of all the Rotarians in our club, at the time of the convention, to outgoing RI President Glenn Estess.

The 20th installation of officers at our club, since the club was chartered in January 1986, was held last Friday night at the Accra hotel. On this occasion, the face of President John Forde was replaced by the face of President Professor George Nicholson. In his acceptance address, President George alluded to the fact that the average age of the directors of the new Board under his leadership was significantly reduced. He pointed out that he and his Vice president were the only ones who could possibly be described as having grey hair. This was a statement in support of the introduction of youth and he also pointed out that there were two young female Rotarians on his Board. Indeed, he thought that the introduction of youth among the men and women in the club on the board of Directors and the greater representation from the female gender, would augur well for the growth, development and sustainability of the club as it continues to offer service to the community.

In the new year he promised to focus on a rapid expansion of the membership of the club, preserving the concept of youth and gender balance which would allow us to have the resources to turn many of our visionary concepts of ‘service above self’ into realities in the shortest time frame possible. He planned in the new year to formally access the formidable expertise and
experience of the twenty past presidents of the club, thirteen of whom are still active Rotarians in the club.

In the context of economic growth of our country, which is a necessary pre-requisite for sustainable poverty reduction, the current two week period represents an attempt to change from the old to the new through new vistas for enterprise development. Last Tuesday, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation mounted a two hour Think Tank where selected persons were invited to engage in interactive dialogue to produce innovative business ideas to ultimately inspire young entrepreneurs and attract investment.

CBET facilitated this process, and 12 ideas were spawned which covered many sectors. These may be found on the website www.cbet-inc.org under Calendar of Events in the manual for the High Impact growth strategy (HIGS) Workshop to be held on July 05 and 06, 2005 at the Island Inn Hotel. The ideas from the Think Tank last week will be fed into the HIGS workshop process in an effort to stimulate the economy from a mix of ‘Sunset’ Industries which have supported us in the past to emerging ‘Sunrise’ industries which will support us in the future. HIGS will be hosted by BIDC and facilitated by CBET in collaboration with the 4P Group in Atlanta. There are a few places left and anyone interested in participating in this two day experience should immediately contact Ms Emeline Taitt, Director of the BIDC Small Business Centre at 426 2300. It should be a very enjoyable, educational experience, at no cost to the participant, but indeed with potential future benefits, should the business opportunity profiles generated at HIGS evolve into businesses that attract investors.

Also this week, one will have the opportunity of changing your lifestyle from the Old to the New as we seek to practise preventive health care which of course contributes to an increasingly healthy population with the potential for enhanced productivity in all endeavours. The Heart Foundation of Barbados invites you to their eleventh Healthy Lifestyle seminar on Thursday July 07 at the Sherbourne Conference Centre beginning with breakfast at 7.45 a.m. and ending with lunch. Those persons interested should call the Heart Foundation of Barbados immediately at 437 3312.