The Barbados economy is “in imminent danger” and Barbadians will have a “much more painful time” if action is not taken now.
Barbados Private Sector Association Chairman John Williams sounded that warning this morning, noting that the business community was “taking hard decisions” and the country as a whole needed to do likewise.
He voiced the concerns directly to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and other members of the Social Partnership this morning when the full membership of that body met for the first time since November last year.
“Regrettably too many of us seem to believe that by saying that all is well our problems will go away, but they won’t. By not taking action now we as a country will inevitably have a much more painful time in the future, and the not too distant future,” the private sector leader said as today’s talks opened at Hilton Barbados.
“The unwillingness of creditors to take up medium and long term government bonds is a sure sign that the crunch time is here. I put it to our Social Partners that for our country to survive and grow in the future we must change our national business model.
“As leaders of business, as leaders of the labour movement, and as leaders of government we cannot sit on the sidelines and pretend that everything is all right. We need to be honest with our fellow Barbadians as to the seriousness of the situation and must explain to them that change is necessary. We must plan the change and most importantly we must lead our country through that change and do so now,” he added.
Williams said all of this was necessary because “things now are not normal”.
“Although our society is not in imminent danger our economy clearly is. We in the business community are acutely aware of this reality. The recently publicised restructuring of several major companies is a clear sign of this. This is happening not because these businesses are uncaring, but because they have no choice if they are to survive and so they are taking hard decisions before it is too late,” he informed the meeting
“In doing so the business community has demonstrated that we accept the reality that there is need for reform in the private sector as well. Most importantly, our companies have realised that their businesses are not sustainable in their existing form and have taken action.
“We examined our processes, we have reviewed our cost structures, we have looked for new opportunities, we have communicated with our staff and we have consulted with their representatives and then we acted. We didn’t talk more or plan more we acted,” Williams stated. (SC)