Andy Armstrong

Andy Armstrong

Business Monday: Ready to move Barbados forward

LEADING Businessman, Andy Armstrong, has said that the private sector in Barbados is waiting and trying to do things to assist in growing the local economy; but there are still some hurdles the business community has to overcome before going forward.

Armstrong of Armstrong Agencies spoke to Business Monday moments after participating in the company’s award and prize giving function for employees at Mahogany Ridge, St. James.

Armstrong, who is a former President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), said that if one uses the Renewable Energy sector as an example, the private sector has been itching to get going with solar panels and wind energy. “But for whatever reasons, all sorts of regulations are being thrown at you and it takes very long to get permission for these things,” he explained.

Mr. Armstrong recalled that when he served as president of the BCCI, we were talking about wind energy at Lamberts (St. Lucy) with all the public hearings and even some opposition to it. “Finally, after a lot of pressure, they got the approval to go ahead. But then there is still a lot of red tape,” the Armstrong Agencies’ official declared.

He said that if the government is really serious about the private sector stepping forward, then the government also has to take “a step to one side and let the private sector come through”.

Other private sector officials have taken this line noting that a lot of the things that need to happen tend to reside with the government.

Just last week the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Cleviston Haynes, said he believes the private sector will have to be the main source for increased economic activity and growth since the government cannot be the one leading that charge. He said too that for the economy to return to growth, that “outcome will be influenced by the speed with which new investments particular in the private sector, occur.”

Armstrong said that it is not so much the politicians, but rather officers in the public service who have been telling investors they “need to do this and to do that”. In response to a suggestion that the new Barbados government is committed to private sector lead development and growth, Armstrong said he is encouraged.

He added, it would be a good for the country if the private sector is allowed to step forward.

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