Barbados is an amazingly successful Nation by any measure.
Its real strength is its sophisticated human capital, social cohesion and stability. These are enhanced by one of the “loveliest and friendliest” physical environments anywhere.
Today we are challenged by the new global realities but which in fact afford us greater opportunities than ever before for National Wealth creation at all level of society and to unleash the value and potential of our decades of investment in education.
In a world where, enabled by technology, we have seen “the death of distance”, by effectively combining our Natural and Human Resources with clear and consistent Government Policies and visionary leadership we can and will deliver an explosion in investment and business formation and the creation of National Wealth.
Our biggest danger now is in NOT moving aggressively to create the right policies that ensure success.
The role of Government must not be to be the primary employer but to be the primary Wealth Creation Facilitator.
The challenge-we have all the pieces of the puzzle but how can we complete the puzzle now?
Put another way-we know the soup we want to make, we have the ingredients but we need the right recipe.
The wastage and misuse of national resources today is not sustainable-we can and must do better.
We have a very good engine but it needs an overhaul for better performance.
Here are some ideas that if implemented effectively will have a dramatically positive impact on Wealth Creation in Barbados and on the well being of all Barbadians.
10 Strategic Actions We Can Take Now
1. Create a governance model for strategic management of Barbados and the economy based on a well researched and nationally adopted long term Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan should be the responsibility of a strengthened Social Partnership represented by all stakeholders.
Political parties should be elected on the basis of their capacity, competencies and plans to execute the NSP.
A change in Government should not disrupt the national agenda in a country that is not divided on economic policy and has limited resources.
We need less politics and more national strategic execution.
What we do now is incredibly wasteful of our limited resources.
2. Focus on creating an investor and business friendly brand. Barbados should become known as the place to be for superb business facilitation. Barbados Works For You.
This requires a complete transformation of the relationship between business, labour and civil servants. The “WE” approach.
Collaboration, communications, trust are essential elements.
3. Entrepreneurship development should be the vehicle for job and wealth creation.
More taxation and expansion of Government will shrink national wealth.
Size down the civil service and create more entrepreneurs.
Requires appropriate education, creative financing solutions and mentoring.
Commercial Banks have to now play a bigger role in this critical initiative and be willing to take more risks to support this transformation of the economy. It is in their best long term self interest.
Experienced business people must give of their time to mentor the new entrepreneurs.
4. Encourage FDI and export growth by strategically and aggressively liberalizing investor immigration policies by targeting strategic export growth industries and inviting foreign business partners into Barbados. This is NOT a threat to Barbadian jobs. This approach will fast track exports growth in out identified strategic export sectors, enhance skills transfers and create sustainable job creation.
Creating wealth is entirely dependent on our successful penetration of global markets. Our domestic market is too small.
5. Remove protectionism-the legal profession is a prime example of how protectionism has lead to high cost and poor service. Open the economy to more competition and market forces. That will drive competitiveness.
6. Identify and eliminate labour practices that serve only a few but lead to high cost and destroy jobs in the wider community. Productivity and performance based compensation should be the way to do business.
7. Focus education and employment practices on operacy not on just knowledge accumulation. People should be carefully chosen for their ability to succeed in well-defined positions within any organisation. Treat people as a treasure. Thoughtfully select, train, and develop them for greater achievement.
8. Create the World’s best Public Sector known for its knowledge, skills, execution etc. Make it one of our Key Value Propositions and a reason why people choose to invest and live in Barbados.
9. Establish a National Culture based on accepting nothing less than the best we can be-the Gold Standard. Benchmark against the best and create a new higher benchmark.
This culture should have as its under-pinning the absolute requirement for accountability and getting things done. Empower people and hold them accountable. Why does a simple thing like painting lines on the road seem to be so difficult to achieve consistently? Or getting a passport or driver’s license.
Decentralise decision-making across the board and develop good managers and hold them accountable.
10. Develop a Barbados Quality Of Life Index and work tirelessly to achieve it.
Measurement and action will be critical for success.
In a globalised economy it is the QOL factor that will drive FDI.
We have all the ingredients to transform the economy and create a far greater level of National Wealth than we have now and to create a fast growth economy that is sustainable and that provides opportunities and wealth creation for all Barbadians.
We need leadership at all levels of society aligned with the National Vision for Barbados.
Hold leaders accountable and reward them for success and vice versa.