“I have done the Lord’s work humbly, but with many tears” – Acts 20:19

Today I am motivated to take a Caribbean perspective mainly because of a video that I watched which Johnson Johnrose, the Communications Specialist at the Caribbean Tourism Organization, posted on Facebook.  It may be accessed as follows: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150212916850883&comments.

My comment to him was “Johnson, Congratulations – Great interview! Barrington is a great Exemplar of the philosophy adopted by Bim Ventures – www.bimventures.com – “Start Small; Do It Right; Make a Profit; Then Expand”.

Keep up these interviews – Let us use Social Media Marketing to introduce the multi-faceted Caribbean to the World. Let us systematically develop the Caribbean by developing “one successful business after another”. Let us continue to develop the Caribbean Brand and transform this Caribbean Archipelago and Basin into a massive global force of positive tsunami proportions.  We are sitting on a major opportunity let us make it happen!

Can you think of any other region in the world which is blessed with such a multi –cultural, -ethnic, -lingual, -agricultural, -culinary, -vintner (exotic fruit), -musical, -religious, -landscaped and –seascaped resource potential?  How can we mobilise these resources and convert them into a commercial reality to bring socio-economic advancement to the people of the Caribbean?

The Caribbean may be grouped according to heritage and number of administrations, as follows:  English (17); French (6); Dutch (5); and Spanish (3).  The respective populations are:  6.0m; 17.2m; 0.3m; and 22.5m.  If you take the English and the Dutch together we have a grossly over managed sub-region, 22 Prime Ministers or Premiers, not to speak of the Ministers governing 6-7 million people. Lima, Peru has a population of 7-8 million people and is managed by a Mayor.  This undoubtedly is an inefficient state of affairs and will inhibit the rate of progress of the sub-region under the traditional governance system.

The chance of changing this basic governance system is small but there are alternative hybrids which may give us some hope for the future. The opportunity for change lies in the recognition of the roles of the social partners. It is my opinion that the Government should focus on regulatory (legislation) and service (use of taxation) functions; the trade unions should be focused on increasing the productivity of their members for fair compensation to ensure that our workplace can be as competitive as possible in the global environment; the private sector should grow the GDP per capita by diligently developing sectors with economic potential.  Other members of civil society should support the activities of the three main social partners.

The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation has been established with the lofty goal of Barbados becoming the #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020.  One of the quantitative targets embedded in this goal is the doubling of the Barbados GDP per capita by 2020.  Just to give an example of the gargantuan size of this task, if we continue to grow at the recent average rate we would only achieve approximately a 30% increase in GDP per capita by 2020 and not 100%.  So too was the task demanded by President John Kennedy in 1961 “To put a man on the moon before the end of the decade”.   This was achieved and we can do it too.

It is gratifying to note that the social partners are now represented on the BEF board and that they have agreed that the BEF goal should be an integral part of the social partnership Protocol VI.  This Barbados example can have a pull effect on the other countries of the Caribbean and the BEF is building this into their planning.

How do we go about effecting change?  It is all about productivity and growth.

Increasing productivity is simply defined as increasing the output of a system with the same level of input or reducing the level of input to give you the same output.  This must be achieved among the political directorate, in the civil service and in the private sector. Once one increases productivity then the strategies for growth will have an even grater effect on GDP per capita.

The opportunities to grow the economies of the Caribbean lie in developing the traditional sectors of minerals, tourism, exotic agriculture, high-tech manufacturing and financial services. In addition we must pay attention to the cultural industry, the science & technology driven industry, the wine industry, the sea-island cotton industry, WI cricket industry, the renewable energy industry as well as to encourage international businesses to set up their world headquarters in Barbados.

(1) Cultural industries: film, fashion, music, drama and culinary arts.  (2) Science & technology driven industry: The Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology & Innovation has been established. (3) the wine industry: there is considerable Caribbean expertise and experience awaiting a favourable business environment; (4) the sea-island cotton industry:  we know what to do and would not do it. (5) WI cricket industry: Again, we know what to do and would not do it. Did you know that even though WI is only number 7 in the world rankings the WI brand of cricket is in great demand? (6) the renewable energy industry: when are we going to convert the sun’s energy into “solartricity”? (7) Encourage international businesses to set up their world headquarters in Barbados:  We need to ensure that services such as large band width and international arbitration are available in this jurisdiction.

Humility is the honest recognition of our own worth but we must strive to succeed in developing the Caribbean Brand.