FOR THE NEXT FOUR DAYS, Barbados and the products and services it has to offer will be on show at the annual trade expo, BMEX, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
It will be a chance for Barbadians to not just show their creativity in the products they make, but also the unique services not just to our own, but to the world.
With Barbados celebrating 50 years of Independence this year, there are high hopes that those who are mounting booths will use this as a timely opportunity to do something different and not just bring the “same old same old”. It is also a chance to continue to push our own and celebrate this country’s achievements and ingenuity.
This trade fair could not have come at a better time when Barbadians ought to be holding on to their uniqueness and claiming what is theirs.
With the economy still floundering, it is important that we realise how critical it is to not only produce high-quality products, but that we also buy local in an effort to keep money within the country. Given our economic situation, we can ill afford to have much valued foreign exchange leaving these shores.
For some years the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association has been pushing the Buy Local and 100% Bajan campaign. While there has been some success with this initiative, more needs to be done to sensitise all to the importance of the message. In short, Barbadians must learn to support their own first.
Too often there are some people who prefer things that are “foreign” even when similar products are produced right here. We need to recognise the stress and strain that places on our economy because it means that employment opportunities are lost as well as revenue that can be generated.
That said, the onus must also be on those producing these products and services to ensure they are creating the best quality possible. People are demanding value for money, especially in these tough times. No longer will people readily or easily dole out their hard-earned money to pay for substandard products or services just because they are created by Barbadians.
We all have a part to play if we are to push our own and be proud of the products and services produced locally. The opportunities are endless when we take our sights past these shores with quality items fit for any international market. We cannot afford to limit ourselves if we want to boast of being a country punching far above its weight.
This weekend’s expo provides a great opportunity to show off exactly what we as Barbadians are made of and what we can do as a people. Let home drums always beat first.