BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday June 18, 2015 – Barbados’ industry minister says he’s embarrassed by how little local businesses are utilizing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which Caribbean countries signed with the European Union (EU) seven years ago.
Donville Inniss lamented yesterday that despite the technical and financial support provided by the EU and others, the establishment of an EPA Implementation Unit, seminars, and the provision of free advice and facilitation, “we are still talking and not doing”.
“We sit here and complain about much and, often times, do too little ourselves,” he said as he addressed a Barbados Private Sector Trade Team workshop.
“I am quite embarrassed when I see the little uptake that this island has in many international funding, technical support and market opportunities. I simply ask ‘Is it that we are afraid? Are we lazy? Are we too comfortable? Are we expecting Government to negotiate trade agreements and then run businesses too? Or is it that these things are just too onerous to achieve?’”
Inniss said Barbadians needed to shake off their intellectual shackles, get out of their comfort zones and behave as though they want to become entrepreneurs who want to get into, and stay in the EU market.
“No one owes us a favour. The days of favours to small islands that are former colonies are near an end. Those who want to wait on reparations can do that. I suggest that meanwhile we get up and earn our way in life,” the minister advised.