Thursday, April 18, 2024

EDITORIAL: Time for talking has long past

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“Remember to perform your allotted tasks while it is still day.
For the night cometh when no man shall work” – Anonymous.SUGAR AND ITS BY-PRODUCTS to be exploited; the black belly sheep to be an export industry; our Sea Island cotton to be in demand worldwide and road tennis to be patented and promoted everywhere. These have been, from time to time, stated objectives towards expanding our economy.
Given our experience with sugar, coupled with the fact of our having established, many years ago, a cane breeding station locally, one would have expected our sugar industry not only to have been thriving but diversified to the extent that production would have been maintained at a level which allowed us to satisfy our European commitments, local consumption and other export demand.
This has not been the case nor have we been able to motivate farmers to increase black belly sheep production to satisfy the local market for lamb and its by-products. Information coming to hand suggests far from our making progress, entrepreneurs elsewhere have seized the opportunity to breed a similar variety and as has occurred with rum and pepper sauce, promoted them as Bajan products.
We have boasted, understandably so, that our Sea Island cotton is the best in the world. Yet we have failed to capitalise on this characteristic and even strain our mind and bodies to have a yearly crop. We have, for reasons unclear to most, yet to understand the challenges of taking this industry to higher levels and making
it one of the planks of our economy.
More recently the attractiveness and indigenous creativity of our road tennis game have evoked murmurs about its export potential, the opportunity for franchise, production and supply of the relevant gear. What progress has started in this direction? Will we allow this opportunity to be copied and captured by external opportunists?
We have always had institutions charged with the responsibility of promoting our export trade. Why have we appeared to flounder? We believe the necessary drive, confidence in our own abilities and surprisingly so, our hunger for success have been lacking or maybe not appropriately girded.
And so the time for action in terms of improving, expanding and enhancing our export trade is now. Both private and public sectors must, on the one hand be willing to take risks, and on the other to provide the environment for unharnessed investment in new areas, driven by incentives and concessions.
Bold courageous initiatives seem the only way forward.

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