“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – Philippians 4:13

I begin this year with thanks and many inspirational blessings.  The recognition of the above text is paramount both in reflection and in prospect.

Bevan set the standard on December 31 with his weekly New York Amsterdam News article.   Based on the email feedback which he shared, it is a widely acclaimed motivational piece. He began by saying that “Another year has come to an end and as everyone gets into the party spirit, folks are undoubtedly listing their resolutions. For me instead, it’s my second season of thanksgiving for the year, as I choose to give thanks for family, friends and even those challenging spirits who tested my strength, forcing me to dig deeper and become stronger in the midst of adversity. Indeed – All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  He concluded: “As we enter the New Year, let’s not forget to give God His praises, for without Him, none of us would have made it into 2010 – and for that, we give thanks”.
On January 01, I thanked my Barbados Business Enterprise Corp. virtual team for the contribution that they have made to the implementation of the CBET Shepherding model (including Seed and Venture Capital funds) in Barbados as follows: “We have a country to develop, we have a people to protect.  We have a receptive Government, we seek private sector partnership. We have a Vision before us, we have an Action Plan.  We have entrepreneurs with concepts, we have shepherding as ‘collateral’.   We have a virtual team of shepherds/business advisors, we shall increase our productivity. We have learnt much, we are now ready to take the plunge. We have aggressive objectives, we shall ‘leap frog’ economic growth. We have prospective recruits for expansion, we shall overcome. We shall address our challenges and clear the path to the achievement of our objectives. Thanks for your help and contact during our first full calendar year and we look forward to the support and persistence of our expanded team in the year ahead (www.bimventures.com).”


Then John Watson was quickly out of the blocks on Friday evening. He wished members on his email list a happy and healthy 2010. Then he posed a challenge: “In your opinion what should Barbados be trying to achieve this year and what has to be done by the Government, the agencies and the people to get it done.”  My response was: “Here is my GOSPA according to Barbados:  Goal – Holistic Prosperity for its People.  Objectives – (1) spiritual awareness; (2) social cohesion; (3) cultural insight; (4) environmental protection; (5) economic growth; (6) physical health; (7) financial wealth; (8) emotional stability; and (9) intellectual prowess. Strategy – Smart Public/Private Partnerships.  Plans – Strategic Plan for each Objective.  Activities – Implement each Plan with expert shepherding, virtual teams and professional management of results.

Then in came a report from Kevin, resident in Dubai, on Barbados born pop superstar Rihanna’s long waited appearance in United Arab Emirates. Rihanna greeted her fans at her New Year’s Eve concert at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace with the words – “the wait is over”.  She delivered her breathtaking performance with an almost unbelievable stage presence for someone only 21 years of age.  The first half of the show, which took place on a stage strangely decorated with mannequin torsos, mainly male ones, was a soulful, emotional performance, incorporating songs whose lyrics could only point to hurt and mistrust: the opener, Russian Roulette, her current single, the twisted Disturbia and the telling Rehab, the tale of a relationship gone from love to obsession.  Rihanna remarked that Rehab was written by Justin Timberlake – who performed at Emirates Palace in December 2007 – much to the joy of the audience.

While her conversation with the crowd, numbering in the thousands, was little, she made sure to remind everyone she knew where she was, calling out “Abu Dhabi!” at least half a dozen times.  I understand that she is also wont to remind the audience, wherever she is in the world, that she hails from Barbados.  What tremendous publicity! What have we done, are we doing or planning to do, to boost our tourism growth as a result of the Rihanna experience.

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry is currently developing a plan to Revitalise Bridgetown for tourists and residents alike. We must start now in creating the Bridgetown Barbados Brand and leverage the global popularity of our international ambassadors in this regard.

Rihanna, coupled with the likes of major record label celebrities Hal Linton, Shontelle, Livvi Franc and Vita Chambers (all Barbadians), is a competitive advantage which must be expertly exploited by our tourism authorities (www.myspace.com). What is the vision for targeting the middle Eastern, South East Asian and Far Eastern markets? What is our vision to get Emirates Airline (based in Dubai) to have a link to the Caribbean (they currently have a spoke to almost every other region of the world).

As we embark on another year, may I exhort each and every one of you to recognise that you can make it through anything in the One who makes you who you are. He will stay alongside you with your troubles.  May holistic prosperity abound in 2010.