“Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1
Many international news monitors over the last week have discussed the impact of falling oil prices on the economies of the world. Oil prices have plunged from more than US$100 per barrel in July 2014 to around US$50 per barrel in early January 2015, threatening oil-producing economies around the world.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, as the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean, in an election year to boot, has got to be positive and step up to the plate with expert leadership skills to prevent the country from falling into a recession.
In this column, on February 27, 2012, I wrote about The Spiritual Blanket: “A spiritual blanket is a virtual creation which exudes a tranquil, serene and idyllic environment and allows one who is spiritually attuned to receive the whispers from God. What a wonderful gift … (but) how many of us are tuned in?”
In order for our leaders to avoid crisis and to move along a renewed path towards the creation of a Caribbean Empire, I suggest that they should position themselves to become spiritually attuned, seek refuge on a spiritual blanket and receive the whispers from God.
Here are five useful principles from www.christianity.co.nz/guide2.htm to improve interpretation as our leaders sense the whispers from God and then set about to execute plans: (1) Follow what is clearly revealed; (2) Trust the Lord; (3) God expects us to use our intelligence; (4) God does not show us more than we need to know; and (5) Do not tell God how he must guide.
exporTT sponsored 13 of Trinidad and Tobago’s outstanding food and beverage manufacturers at the 2014 New York Summer Fancy Food Show. The objective of Trinidad and Tobago’s participation was to showcase the Trinidad and Tobago brand – the Energy of Trinidad and Tobago – with a special focus on export promotion for the agriculture, agri-business and food and beverage industries, along with investment promotion for Trinidad and Tobago.
At the show, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications, Senator Vasant Bharath said: “It’s really quite a golden opportunity for TT manufacturers to be there. The Government will continue to create the enabling environment for our manufacturers, simply because this is part of our diversification thrust.”
On Tuesday this week in Trinidad, the Global Business Innovation Corporation launches the Caribbean Food Business Innovation Revolution initiative. This initiative promotes the growing of the Caribbean economies through increased agricultural, agri-business and food and beverage exports. The GBIC team believes that the Caribbean can inspire the world by leveraging food as a business example and is proposing a year-round export thrust to complement the gains already achieved through participation at trade shows.
Last Thursday in the Trinidad Express, it was reported that “in light of the continuing fall in oil prices, president of the Hotel and Tourism Association in Tobago, Christopher James has said Government should look at offsetting these losses by building the country’s tourism product”. He said “tourism marketing should be increased, and there should be continued investment in the sector to ensure a year-round sustainable tourism industry.”
So there we have it. Three diversification alternatives: (1) Commitment to the New York’s Summer Fancy Food Show; (2) The Caribbean Food Business Innovation Revolution initiative and (3) The enhancement of the country’s tourism product and tourism marketing thrust have been clearly revealed.
Hereon, we must trust the Lord, mobilize the best brains; start small, do it right, make a profit and then expand; and keep listening to those whispers from God.
It was quite encouraging to receive responses to last week’s column: “Creating a Caribbean Empire”.
So much support, so much advice!
“This concept is brilliant, in every way. Can it work to make Barbados pepper sauce go global? What can be the Caribbean alternative to Heinz tomato ketchup? Pepper sauce, mahogany furniture, floriculture, and Barbadian candies.? ”
“Idle sugar cane lands – why not grow sorghum to replace imported chicken feed and cassava to produce beer? Can we fill the 80% of containers that leave Barbados empty? Why is it that we cannot see each other’s TV stations but we see all parts of the world? Whither a solution to the inter Caribbean shipping problem? Guyana as the bread basket of the Caribbean? The emergence of Cuba, do we invite them to join Caricom? Protection of national markets? Do we need over 40 universities in the Caribbean? Who owns the Caribbean? A single stock exchange for the Caribbean? How do we build trust? What is the message to young people of the Caribbean about their future? Then, a plea for help to tie these together?”
“Where are the phrases “organic agriculture” and “climate change” in your column? Organic agriculture is critical to the Caribbean region adapting to and mitigating climate change. This needs to be emphasized in the Caribbean Empire we want to build.”
“If only we could come together as a people and do this project, rather than get caught up in our trivial differences.”
“Great move…. and Congratulations on the Food Initiative.”
“The subject of poor land use as it relates to land capability and the realization that we are not making full use of our land and human resources. The fragmentation of our Caribbean countries in terms of policy and in some cases a lack of policy at the regional level have not helped. Your call embodied in your paper is sound.”
Let us embrace our spirit of freedom as we create the Caribbean Empire so that we do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)