August 11, 2011


Harris At Large!





I feel the pain of those who are unemployed, underemployed or even employed and can’t meet their financial obligations. The greatest nation on earth is struggling with the same issues.  It should be all about the economy at this time. The current unrest in the UK attests to the unstable environment in which our young people are asked to live in. The future as it relates to jobs is very unclear.

Hope is fast disappearing and the desire to level the playing field of poverty is stepping in. It is not a good time for the political leaders of the world who are expected to find economic solutions. 

Something interesting has just happened, the OECS Governments have agreed to open their gates and all that a citizen of the sub region needs to do is to jump on a plane, armed with adequate resources and stake their claim to freedom of movement and right of establishment. I will sincerely hope that an urgent study will be undertaken to point Entrepreneurs to opportunities within the sub region. Entrepreneurs have been finally given the opportunity to find their ELDORADO in the OECS. This is a time for the Chamber of Commerce, SLISBA and other private sector associations to take collective action to inform their membership about opportunities in the OECS. We don’t have to think anymore about the movement of our key staff. I hope it will be hassle free. Think about the possibilities – a small ICT company can now own a subsidiary in every OECS State and put its headquarter in any one of them.

 Our OECS Governments indirectly have created new challenges. The principal one is to keep their existing businesses at home. Don’t be fooled the decision to open up the countries to OECS citizens has been ongoing especially in the area of business. Grenada in the past two years has lured a few of our successful manufacturers to establish operations there. They are quietly providing the necessary incentives that are exciting our manufacturers. My recommendation is that the private sector associations with the support of the Government and agencies such as OPSR put together an adhoc committee to urgently identify investment opportunities that can be duplicated throughout the region. Given the present state of businesses, many grappling with keeping their heads above water – financially, there will be need for financial assistance to implement the project.

 How can we energise the economy to produce jobs? Where are the incentives? There is need for new thinking as it relates to creating businesses. There should be a pool of money dedicated to making this happen. I am not suggesting grant funding; I am looking at serious Entrepreneurs seeking to participate in a fund that will be revolving. There is need to recharge the energies of those Entrepreneurs who have stopped short of the finishing line, just waiting for a glass of water to complete the race successfully. The race I refer to is not about being first but to successfully completing the distance.

 I am suggesting that administrators in every Government Ministry, Agency or Corporation that has to do with investments in this country go through their drawers and cabinets and seek out those Investors who showed an interest in investing in St. Lucia and get in touch with them, let them know you are interested in their business, and those who are knocking at the door, take them seriously. Acknowledge receipt of their proposal while you process their request. This is time for prompt action. Treat every Investor with respect. Make him/her an   Ambassador. He/she may be the one to introduce St. Lucia to the rest of the world. While we are on the subject of investors, it might be a good idea to invite those Investors who currently operate businesses here to a Seminar and Cocktail Reception to share their experiences and at the same enlist their support to attract Foreign Direct Investors. The winners are going to be the ones who show a serious interest in the Investor. It is getting more competitive with every passing day.

 St. Lucia has the benefit of size. In today’s world size could be an advantage. Singapore comes to mind. I have heard so much about the progress of that country over the years that I feel I visited it. Let us get together; I am ready to make a contribution to the debate. I am firmly convinced that we can do a better job at creating employment and promoting St. Lucia as a unique destination for business, pleasure and retirement in the Caribbean.

 St. Lucia has a lot to offer to investors and vacationers. We surely have more restaurants, bars and entertainment options than any other OECS State. We should be advertising in every OECS newspaper inviting Entrepreneurs to invest and headquarter their operations in St. Lucia – An ideal location for Business and Pleasure. I love St. Lucia! Can I help?

 Remember always to Keep the Faith, God is in Charge, Dream Big and expect Daily Miracles!

Edward Harris

Biblicist, Freelance Journalist, Author, Realtor, Business & PR Consultant


Websites:  St. Lucia – Agent ECREDMC

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