“I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” – Psalm 121:1-2

The following extract from the Internet has the words deliberately misspelt:

“I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

I am not proposing that spelling is not important but merely illustrating the power of the human mind.

The Lord made Heaven and Earth with perfection. The human mind is a God given resource and we have access to it on a continual basis as long as we are alive. This collective resource is massive and is available to us as we address the many challenges that face us on a daily basis. We human beings need to seek help from the maker, we need to rediscover and use the power of the human mind. We need to use it to build, rather than destroy, for the benefit of us all.

The Earth exists, whatever the philosophy of its origin.  We had the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions between the 17th and 19th centuries AD. The intelligence to make an object heavier than air fly was there for as long as there was Earth.  Kites were the first kind of aircraft to fly, and were invented in China around 500 BC.  Yet it took until the beginning of the 20th century AD, a mere one hundred years ago, before the Wright brothers from the USA embarked on the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.  What took us so long?  The Earth was made, nothing was added in the interim, yet we had to wait for the discovery spectrum to manifest itself  – “Data, Information, Knowledge, Insight, Understanding and Wisdom”.

We witnessed more rapid progress in the last 50 years, the Information Age, with the Space, Computer, Internet and Telecoms revolutions. Now we are into the Knowledge and Wellness revolutions.

We need talent to experience economic growth rates of eight per cent and higher. We need growth rates of eight per cent and higher to address the disparities between the rich and poor, the urban and rural and the educated and the uneducated. These are the three major challenges faced, to a greater or lesser extent, by each country in the World at present.

An Internet search revealed a recent New York Times article which told readers that: “As a general rule of thumb, every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil reduces the growth of the gross domestic product by half a percentage point within two years.” Whatever the quantum of the impact in Barbados, we experience the same trend.  The culprit – the price of oil and there is no respite on the horizon. The global increases in the price of oil are passed directly on to the consumer through a fuel charge and it appears that there is little that the consumer can do about it other than grin and bear it, given the lifestyle to which we have all grown accustomed.

Can we not do something about it? Of course, we can. We can replace the source of energy. We should know that in Barbados because, over the last 35 years, we have developed a solar thermal industry (solar water heating), now #3 in the world. We have experienced a contribution to net foreign exchange savings, energy and environmental security and to the carbon credit economy which is slated to be the world’s biggest commodity market, and it could become the world’s biggest market overall.

I had two back to back meetings last Friday. The one was to share a few ideas with members of the newly formed Barbados Renewable Energy Association (at the request of Clyde Griffith, Executive Director); and the other was to interact with colleagues at a meeting of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Finance Pillar (at the request of Colin Daniel who was chairing the meeting) to see how best the BEF Finance Pillar and the BEF Mentoring Pillar (which I have the honour to chair) could work together towards the BEF goal: “Barbados to become The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World By 2020”.

At the first meeting I enquired as to why are we not seeing a rapid increase in coverage of photovoltaic panels on roof tops in Barbados to feed electricity into the national grid thus reducing the dependence on the use of high priced fuel.  I was assured that the single most important constraint was access to finance even though there is an abundance of liquidity in Barbados.  Surely we can invoke the power of the public and private sector minds in Barbados to find a quick and sustainable solution to this problem free from bureaucracy.  This is an emergency!  If we do not address this now the growth rate challenge will be aggravated, the wealth divide exacerbated and crime rate will be on the increase. We are faced with an economic problem, not a financial one, we need to Bank on the Sun.