The Barbados Coalition of Service Industries hosted a consultation on the service sector of Barbados at The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel this Wednesday. The well attended meeting under the theme “A World Class Service
Economy: Building a Bridge from Sector Development to services exporting” attracted stakeholders from the public and private sectors, association representatives, individual service providers and the development community. President of the BCSI Mr. Vincent Price opened the meeting and urged participants to contribute constructively to what was expected to be outcome oriented session which was the mere beginning of a period of engagement.
“The recommendations emanating from this meeting have the potential to reposition the entire service sector of Barbados” said Senator Jepter Ince in his remarks. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Ms. Maxine McClean congratulated the BCSI on conceptualizing the meeting and reiterated Governments support for the organization and its new work program. Noting that there had been challenges in the past, Senator McClean, noted that the BCSI needed to ensure that the ideas and proposals generated in this forum would lead to the development of plans which will take the country and region forward.
Presentations on integrating services into the economic value chain and on private sector business models by Senior Market Intelligence Adviser from the Caribbean Export Development Agency Mr. David Gomez and Managing Director of Courts (Barbados) Mrs. Trisha Tannis respectively.
Recently appointed Executive Director of the BCSI, Ms. Lisa Cummins told participants that the BCSI was established to be the agency that drove the competitiveness and development of the service sector and that this was a mandate that was particularly important in view of the dynamisms that characterize the global economy.”Barbados derives close to 80% of annual GDP from the services sector and while the bulk of that consists of tourism receipts, there are several other sectors which are either strong inputs into the overall economic value chain or are emerging high growth potential sectors like the creative and cultural industries for instance.” “What is important,” Ms. Cummins went on to say, “is that Barbados must be able to treat with the trade in services sector in a way that marries our export ambitions with our own domestic developmental processes and that is where the BCSI is going to be directing much of its attention as we move forward.” “Domestic competitiveness in the service sector that is strategic, targeted and developmental must be the launch pad for our export promotion thrust as we look to take advantage of our regional economic space, third party trade agreements and explore new market access opportunities.”
Participants were divided into four clusters: Business and Professional Services, Creative/cultural/Health and Wellness Services, Value Chain Integration and Trade Policy.
The representative from the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants Norma Shorey-Bryan, stated, “What was interesting is that the presentations and discussions in each group highlighted how important it is to increase management capacity in service sectors. This could help service sector businesses with good technical skills be more successful as they streamline their management processes, financial systems and the contribution of their people.”
Jewel Forde, President of Barbados Association of Journalists, added, “One of the key points that came out of the discussions is that the creative industries have a huge potential and are pitting Barbados on the map. But it is not enough to take and entrepreneur to a trade show to showcase their product. We also need to support that entrepreneur to produce that product on a large scale to meet the demands of a market.
The BCSI is the organization mandated to promote the competitiveness of Barbados’ services sector and represents a broad range of service sectors.