“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5
By Dr. Basil Springer
The Caribbean is a leading, exquisite, warm weather, diverse multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious, multiculinary, multilingual, multigenre (music) tourism-based region. Global leisure, business, sports and entertainment travelers yearn to visit.
The Caribbean tourism sector, by dint of its past achievements, is well placed to lead the economic recovery process by taking advantage of opportunities presented in the backwash of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Thursday’s Barbados Today editorial reminded us that “For certain, some leaders will be crushed by the weight of the challenges caused by the global pandemic, while others will be made stronger because they chose to create lemonade from the deeply soured lemons presented to them.”
Our priority is economic recovery and development. Our land, the “blue economy” and our country’s talent are our resources. Our course is disruptive innovation. The “12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp”; Bay Gardens Resorts’ “Live in Paradise” St. Lucia initiative; and the Antigua and Barbuda “Nomad Digital Residence” are examples of innovation.
As the standard bearer raises the banner “Tourism is Our Key” in the vanguard of our COVID-19 transition recovery march, it is expected that our psyche will be inspired to be all in this together.
However, a structured business approach is paramount and we have demonstrated, in this series of columns, how the overlay of the concept of an Economic Gearing System on the tourism sector has the potential to sequentially and evolutionarily create enterprises and much needed jobs to restore the circular flow of money.
American psychologist Abraham Maslow has identified the basic needs of residents and visitors to any tourism destination as food, water, warmth, rest, security and safety. In this column, the focus is on food and we support the concept of Dr. Nicholas Earle Brathwaite, a Grenadian financier living in North America, that “Agriculture is Big Business.”
The modern environment has led many of us to believe that “food grows in the supermarket”. Others have grown accustomed to the food import culture which is a major drain on our foreign reserves. Few have even dared to pay lip service to the maxim “Grow what you eat, eat what you grow”. In World War II that is how we survived. And we need to take heed as we battle today’s “World War III”.
Agricultural linkages opportunities abound as I outlined in a previous column last year.
The Global Business Innovation Corporation, which launched its vision in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015, promoted the Caribbean food business innovation revolution 2020. Our team believes that the Caribbean can inspire the world by leveraging food as a business example – a global market pull approach which embraces food design, open systems, communications, and shepherding expertise.
Each agricultural enterprise arising from this thrust forward may be shepherded by an emerging innovative SHIELD program we are rolling out - Shepherding Helps Independent Entrepreneurs Leverage DNA.
When our visitors return home they need to build on their Caribbean culinary experiences. There is an opportunity to share Caribbean recipes and products for their domestic use as well as to facilitate the opening of more Caribbean restaurants in the Diaspora, especially where there is a dearth of West Indian dining options.
Incidentally, World Food Day 2020 was celebrated on Friday, October 16. Annually, The Graham Gooding Trust reminds us of Eat Bajan Day. The trustees have arranged to have our annual fundraising fruit tree sale at Carters, Wildey, on Saturday, October 24. If you make it, do enjoy, but remember to wear your mask, social distance and observe good hand hygiene.