“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19
The Economist magazine stated last week “On May 24th the Barbados Labour Party (led by now Prime Minister Mia Mottley) won three-quarters of the vote for the country’s House of Assembly – and every one of the chamber’s 30 seats…When voters rebuke a sitting government with so lopsided a vote, it is usually amid a dire national crisis.”
Crisis there is!
The disaster mitigation and recovery strategy after this economic hurricane must focus on debt restructuring, reduction in government expenditure and innovative economic growth.
In this series, we have so far suggested smart solutions for (1) constitutional reform, (2) public-private partnerships, (3) the political process, (4) decentralized government, (5) innovative taxation and (6) debt restructuring. In today’s column, I was going to address reduction in government expenditure but shifted priorities to look at a sensible smart solution to address (7) innovative economic growth opportunities which have such great potential if led by dynamic vision and managed with disciplined action by the politicians and executive arm, respectively.
PM Mottley, during her first week in office, has already demonstrated the no-nonsense leadership approach to effect change. If this is coupled with the discipline of management methodology similar to the Malaysian model – http://bfrinstitute.com/what-is-bfr/ – then we will be well on our way on the journey of sustainable success. In this way the country was run like a company.
Let us discuss five low hanging fruit which can be immediately addressed to build on tourism, manufacturing, financial services and traditional agriculture to transform the Barbados economy.
(1) Demand pull agriculture – the United States-based Global Business Innovation Corporation (GBIC) has combined expertise in food design, open innovation systems, communications and agricultural production re-engineering to create a Caribbean food business innovation revolution to transform the Caribbean’s food and beverage industry. Action needed: a partnership between GBIC and the local agricultural industry.
(2) Enterprise development – the three-pronged 3M Shepherding model consists of tested systems to (a) Metamorphose ideas for the global market, and (b) Shepherd start-up businesses and systematically remove obstacles on the way to business success using the ManOBizTM .
(3) Internationally Operating Companies setting up their Global Headquarters in Barbados – as Barbados rehabilitates to reestablish itself as a welcoming destination, these companies would have their bank accounts in Barbados and thus proportionately enhancing the GDP of Barbados.
(4) Renewable Energy leading to cost reduction and a clean environment – this initiative has already begun with solar and wind energy conversion applications e.g. water heating, water distillation, water purification, drying and electricity, but could be extended to tidal power, wave power, hydropower, radiant energy, biomass, geothermal power, biomass and compressed natural gas.
(5) Solid Waste Management converting from waste to wealth and well-being – scientific applications abound, including (a) separation of garbage; (b) commercial recycling businesses (plastics, rubber, glass, organic matter, paper & cardboard and light & heavy metals); (c) fertilizer production from human and animal waste; (d) incineration to generate energy with harmless effluent and useful bi-products; (e) diversification of the uses of the sugar cane plant and agricultural diversification on all arable lands; (f) automobile recycling; (g) collection of roof water; (h) diligent pursuit of environmental impact assessments to mitigate disasters; and (i) conversion of domestic, commercial and cruise ship used cooking oil, and extracted oil from locally grown agricultural crops to bio-diesel fuel.
Let us do away with the past, keeping that which has served us well. However, let us reach into the future grasping all the innovative opportunities on the horizon which will lead us to a sustainable path of hope and happiness.