More Barbadians are beginning to recognise that international business is not some sector bracketed off for foreigners but an area that they can actively participate in and benefit from says a leading professional in the field President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Connie Smith. Smith also indicated that this year’s International Business Week celebrations, brought to the fore that Barbadians from as young as aged eleven, were seeing themselves as potential international business professionals.
“We had 213 students and their teachers from 10 secondary schools turn out in full force to our Schools Symposium, last Friday. We were expecting we would get about 10 students from each school and we were overwhelmed that some schools brought 40 and 50 students. As a Barbadian who has benefited from this sector over many years I am extremely gratified to see so many youngsters recognising that the jobs in this sector offer them the kind of possibilities that will make them global players in the future,” said Smith. She added that this response from the secondary school students was by no means a fluke as the partnership fostered with the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors since earlier this year continued to bear fruit.
At the tertiary level, Smith reported, the careers showcase staged at the University of the West Indies the day before had seen students eager to engage the public and private sector volunteers on potential opportunities even before the display booths had been fully set-up. Smith said that this response, on connection with the close to 400 people on the road for the BIBA Charity Fun Run/Walk, the strong turnout of over 200 people to both the Discussion Forum and the BIBA Charity Cocktail Fundraiser, and the calls received from members of the public on the sponsored call-in radio programme on Tuesday, and even the following day, signalled that Barbadians were taking an active interest in the sector.
“This shows that when we in BIBA say that the sector pays on average a quarter of a billion dollars in corporate taxes each year, and millions of dollars in licensing fees, salaries, rents, etc, that Barbadians are listening and recognising that this sector helps to keep our economy ticking over and directly benefits them.
“I am therefore extremely grateful to the Ministry of International Business for the lead role that they took in organising the major public outreach efforts within their contribution to this year’s International Business Week.
“We would also like to thank the Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite who, in his capacity as acting Minister of International Business while the substantive minister was absent on official business, participated in a number of our events over the course of the week and brought out a number of home truths that spoke to the need for both sides, Government and private sector, to put their shoulders to the ploughs to ensure that the name ‘Barbados’ continues to stand for quality internationally.”