“Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom” – 1 Kings 10:8
The term Sustainable Development was used by the Brundtland Commission and is defined as: development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” – www.sustainablemeasures.com. This commission has stood before Him and heard His wisdom and those who listen, learn and lead, happy shall we be.
Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental issues. The United Nations 2005 Outcome Document refers to the “interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars” of sustainable development as economic development, social (including spiritual and cultural) development, and environmental protection.
Counterpart Caribbean @ the Future Centre in Barbados manages an exhibition site, projects and activities which are designed to stimulate awareness of the need for sustainable development in this holistic sense – www.counterpartcaribbean.org.
The last week was a mixed bag of experiences for me. The Barbados Minister of Environment Awards 2008; reports from the Twenty-Ninth meeting of the conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Antigua; my first visit to the Turks &Caicos Islands; positive reports of Invest Barbados; and the West Indies cricket team capitulating to what must be an all time low. Today we will have the Barbados budget presentation. Are we listening, learning and leading according to the guidance of the Brundtland Commission?
The Barbados Minister of Environment Awards 2008 took place in the Edenic and idyllic setting at Orchid World in St. George. The Minister, Dr. The Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo and her Permanent Secretary, Mr. Lionel Weekes, both made presentations alluding to Government’s environmental policy and, in particular to a paper which was currently being prepared promoting the Greening of the Barbados economy. The Minister also presented awards honouring Barbadians who were shining examples in the protection of the environment. We at the Future Centre empathise with the slogan of the Barbados Minister of Environment Awards 2008 “Living Sustainably is Living Responsibly”.
The Caribbean region, within and on the boundary of the Caribbean Sea, is a spectacular amalgam of attractive islands and mainland territories, ranging from atolls with beautiful beaches, coral reefs and marine life to the majesty of rugged volcanic mountains. This combination of natural and physical resources has been exploited over the last 50 years to develop an industry based on leisure, eco and sports tourism.
The impact of the global food and energy crises and airline cutbacks from traditional supply markets has exacerbated the sustainability challenge. Reports from the Heads of Government conference indicate that these crises have precipitated a new marketing diversification thrust including a single Caribbean Brand and a tourism marketing fund.
My first visit to the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), a CARICOM Associate Member State, was indeed a startling revelation. Although my time was short and client focused, I learnt quite a bit about the TCI and met many people whom I knew from all over the Caribbean. The hospitality was excellent including a visit to a Jamaican restaurant “Big Bamboo”. I was impressed with the high end tourist development thrust(à la Dubai), the relatively high standard of living, the globally cosmopolitan nature of the community and the high level of foreign direct investment and imported labour from all over the world. I even learned that the 2009 annual CDB Board of Governors meeting will be hosted by the British Government in Providenciales, TCI.As I turned on the TV in my hotel room, I witnessed the launch of a new comprehensive Health Service which was orchestrated by a Barbadian Public Relations firm. There are many Barbadians in TCI. My stay was not long enough for me to comment on whether TCI has listened, learned and led, according to the principles of sustainable development and hence how happy they will be.
Invest Barbados is an emerging Government organisation to assist the country to become even more responsive in a competitive international environment. IB is now responsible for attracting, winning and sustaining international investment for Barbados; unleashing the export potential of the indigenous services sector; and helping to develop and manage the Barbados Brand. Although I have been involved in some Invest Barbados initiatives relating to the indigenous services export sector, I was pleased to see a newspaper report indicating that there is great potential in Britain for attracting significant investment that would transform the Barbados health care system. Indeed, a welcome thrust in terms of our social and economic sustainability.
Now to the fourth One Day International against Australia. The West Indies cricket score was 3-247 after 42.5 overs chasing a 50 over target of 283; 36 runs required from 43 balls to win. So confident was Sir Vivian Richards of a West Indies win that he said on radio that he would wager his lifesavings in favour of a WI victory. Then Dwayne Bravo got out; 36 runs to win from 42 balls. Sir Vivian was still very confident. The West Indies cricket team lost the match. We are not happy, this is not sustainable living. This is gross irresponsibility from the third best paid cricketers in the world. We know what to do but yet we will not do it. The latest call is from local PR practitioner Greg Hoyos – please treat WI cricket as a business!