Caribbean should continue to be innovative – ISVG head
November 21, 2014
Caribbean should continue to be innovative – ISVG head

As small island states strive towards development and economic resilience, the need exists for inter-generational dialogue and greater private/public sector cooperation and dialogue.

So says executive director at Invest SVG (ISVG){{more}} Bernadette Ambrose-Black, who this week attended the Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium 2014 (November 11 to 12), which was held at the Hilton Resort, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Ambrose-Black, who since taking up the mantle at ISVG has stressed and embarked on an aggressive campaign to foster Private/Public Partnerships (PPPs) and to leverage on partnerships with other agencies, said that when it comes to products and services, we must ask ourselves the question, “do we innovate or do we imitate?”

Answering, she is of the opinion that the Caribbean is innovative and should continue in this light, as it has brought prosperity in a number of instances.

“The prescription really is to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, as Bob Marley rightfully puts it. The essence really is a shift in mindset. We have to remember who we are. For example, we remember names such as Ms Lou, Rex Nettleford, Derek Walcott, Eric Williams, CLR James, Brian Lara, Viv Richards…there is no matrix to measure the impact these persons had on the world,” said Ambrose-Black, who stressed that there is no doubt that these Caribbean natives have evoked excellence, not only on the Caribbean stage, but on the world stage.

“It is my fear that as a Caribbean people, we have lost the essence of who we are and what these persons have done to propel the Caribbean and to further the ennoblement of our Caribbean civilization. We need to remember who we are. It is not always a burden to be small. Being small could also be beautiful,” said Ambrose-Black.

The ISVG head said that Caribbean nations must try their best to transcend the constraints of small size, something that always been a task for us.

“According to William Demas, we need to transcend the constraints of small size. We need to have joint collaborative responsibility to design and execute strategies that enable the Caribbean to once again regain confidence that will create and drive creativity and engender resilience through excellence. It can be done. It always seems impossible until it is done,” said Ambrose-Black, while speaking from the Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium in Barbados on Tuesday.

The Exporters’ Colloquium 2014 was held under the theme “Building Economic Resilience in the Caribbean.”

It focused on examining the state of regional exports, private sector advocacy, innovation and entrepreneurship, branding and intellectual property protection, key issues affecting competitiveness, the role of alternative energy as a driver for increased competitiveness and opportunities for the Caribbean within the context of the Panama Canal’s expansion.

The colloquium culminated with a presentation outlining the next steps towards “Building Economic Resilience in the Caribbean Region” for consideration by policy makers, Ministers of Governments, the private sector and donor agencies.

Ambrose-Black said that her campaign to foster PPPs and to leverage on partnerships with other agencies has, over the last few months, afforded St Vincent and the Grenadines the opportunity to participate in overseas missions at no cost to the country and ISVG. The Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium is one such mission and Ambrose-Black disclosed that all costs for this mission were covered by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).

“Our relationship with these organization and entities continues to grow and become more enhanced,” she declared, adding that the Vincentian mission was made up of two other persons: executive director of the SVG Chamber of Industry and Commerce Anthony Regisford and managing director of Select Pasta Enterprises Limited Andew Woodroffe.

The Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium also saw the launch of Caribbean Export Outlook 2015-2015. During the launch of the magazine, an exclusive preview of the publication was held, while persons at the launch heard from guest speaker Dr Kiran Akal, who is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Smaks Luxury Group Limited.