By Theresa Blackman
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Trinidad businessmen will learn more about the investment climate in Barbados, when the country’s industry minister, Donville Inniss, heads to the twin island republic this week to address the first quarterly luncheon of Trinidad and Tobago’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
On Wednesday, the minister will deliver the feature address at the event, when he will outline the government’s plans for turning the Barbadian economy around.
Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss
Inniss said of his expected meeting: “I think the average Barbadian can see with the naked eye the benefits to this economy because of Trinidadian investment. They can also readily see the areas that Trinidad has invested in, such as the retail industry, and real estate. They [the Trinidadians] obviously have some concerns about what has been happening with the Barbados economy and they felt they needed a minister there to discuss with them and to give them a perspective on what is happening here and what we are doing to turn things around.”
Stating that it was “natural that as investors they would need some level of assurance from the government that their investment was safe”, the minister said it was part of his remit to “provide that level of comfort to the Trinidadian investors on this matter”.
Another critical factor, he added, was that Barbados continued to be an attractive place for investment “in spite of all that is being said negatively out there in some quarters”.
“We are still perhaps one of the better places in the Caribbean for investment, and the goal here as well is to indicate to other Trinidadian investors who have not yet come into Barbados that we are open for business and we welcome their investment,” Inniss stressed.
Speaking about the repeated concern expressed about Trinidadians coming into the country and “taking over some of our prized industries and businesses”, the industry minister asserted that “we have to be mature and responsible enough to put that behind us and focus on how we can help Barbadian businesses get into the Trinidad market”.
“My conversation with the Trinidadian business people is not going to be only about their current or future investment in Barbados, but the fact that Barbadian entrepreneurs are open to partner with Trinidadians, and want to invest heavily in Trinidad in some niche areas. Moreover, we will be looking at getting some Barbadian products and services into the Trinidad market,” he explained.
The minister added that this meeting must be seen as a renewed effort on the part of the Barbados government to re-engage with its CARICOM partners.
“There is a sizeable market in the region that Barbados must be able to tap into and Trinidad is my first stop on this crusade to get more Barbadians goods and services into the regional market,” he said.
Among the key issues expected to be raised will be Barbados’ short to medium term plans to address reducing the national budget deficit, and attracting domestic and regional and foreign investment.