“I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12

As the light of life falls on our children, shadows are cast. It is in the comfort of these shadows that parents reflect on their stewardship as parents. A good parenting score is deemed to have been obtained if we can view our children’s progress with pride and if we rate highly their potential to be satisfied when they too reach the stage to reflect in the comfort of the shadows cast by posterity.

We learn from our parents until we eventually become “orphans”, and even beyond, since our memories serve to continually remind us of their care. Also, in my experience, we learn from our children as they explore new adventures and respond to a new age of life with unbridled awe and joy. When you witness your children holding their own in society and are well on their journey towards financial and social sustainability then this is a source of pride. The inspiration for this column came not only from the regular interaction, directly or indirectly, with children and grandchildren in my own bailiwick of experience but, more recently, also from an experience with friend and his son.

In my April 16, 2007 column I wrote “Our teenage cricket writer Avinash Vaswani took up his pen again and engaged readers of the Nation newspaper column ‘The Teen Umpire’, in the Cricket newspaper ‘Feva Pitch’ on April 07, 2007 on the subject of unravelling the mystery of what is missing in West Indies cricket.”  To put this date in perspective, the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup took place in the West Indies from 13 March to 28 April 2007.

Then in Nov 2008, Avi’s parents found it appropriate to reward his sound academic achievements by giving him his most desired gift, the opportunity to have one of his songs studio produced with the lyrics and melody created by Avi himself. His CD ‘Ah Hold on Me’ was launched at a private gathering of family and friends.  Avi soon after went to the University of Warwick and I lost track of him except for news through occasional exchanges with his father, Lalu Vaswani, reporting on his son’s welfare as many proud parents are wont to do. So it was a very pleasant surprise when Lalu called me up on Thursday evening to say that AVI was in Barbados and wanted to engage me in a discussion on a very exciting business enterprise (in partnership with some of his colleagues) which was in the embryonic stages of business systems development even though the idea itself had been well researched and ready to undergo the due diligence required before acceptance into the shepherding process.

I acquiesced and what a memorable experience. Avi, already a precocious youngster had matured into a well-balanced adult and shared with me his university experiences based around an economics major with lots of formal management exposure.  He said that he wanted to develop his skills as an entrepreneur towards growing the business to sustainable success. His partners’ contributions were in the area of ICT. I shared with him the intricacies of ManOBiz Matrix™, as a shepherding tool, and he did me the honour of asking me to be the shepherd for the business. Whereas, Lalu is undoubtedly a proud parent in the comfort of the shadow cast by the light of life on his son, the week before he was the guest speaker at the weekly luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Barbados South as President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is still setting an example for his children, before they become paternal “orphans” and those who care to listen.

In summary, Lalu shared with the audience some perspectives of the Chamber in terms of its assessment of the role of the private sector as we, as a country, traverse the protracted constrained economic climate dating back to 2008. He indicated that the approach of the Chamber is to be responsive to its members’ needs and concerns, and fashion solutions that will deliver benefits to all businesses.

These solutions will be focused on four critical areas to promote growth, profitability and sustainability, namely: (1) Expanding markets for business including some of the BRICS countries; (2) Reducing cost of business, in particular energy cost and to this end a Green Service Centre where all the elements required for energy transformation solutions can be facilitated by the Chamber including a Green Finance Solutions Seminar in April 2013; (3) Improving efficiency of the business environment through representation on the competitiveness project undertaken by Government where three agencies responsible for planning, trade facilitation and immigration have been selected for primary attention; and (4)  Promoting sustainability, through health and wellness, where management and employees will be encouraged to undertake a “walk your talk” programme which involves half-an-hour of exercise per day.

Lalu concluded by reporting on the implementation of the Revitalisation of Bridgetown Initiative, the long term goal of which is to transform Bridgetown, our capital city, into a green city of diversity, operating 24/7, blending commerce with culture, entertainment, hospitality, accommodation and heritage tourism.

The CICMC economic strategies lecture/panel discussion, held on the evening of Monday March 18, 2013 is now available in HD on www.trident10.tv every day for the next 2 weeks at 8:00pm, also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Trident10tv. Also on YouTube  at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvGIceD-NDM.