February 29, 2012 

Harris At Large!


The challenges to life come in many forms and must not be allowed to overwhelm you. In today’s mad world, you must be strong. Your faith in your ability to overcome obstacles must be deeply grounded. Everywhere there are challenges of one type or another. I have many challenges in my life but I am resigned to the fact that nothing lasts forever and some are gone faster than could ever be imagined. Never let your own challenges prevent you from doing what you should be doing for others.

The economic outlook for the region is far from being what can be considered reasonable. It is back to the drawing board; new strategies must be worked out to reposition our economies to be attractive to the Foreign Direct Investors. While tourists from Europe are being threatened by addition taxes on their travel tickets, the countries of the region are concerned that the new taxes will possibly dampen the enthusiasm of potential tourists to visit the region. Every country in the world is grappling with the issue of new and increased taxes as a means of balancing their budget. Europeans are not afraid to tax their citizens but American seem very reluctant to tax theirs, especially the rich.

 Looking at developments at home, citizens are being called upon to exercise patience as it is obvious, it is not going to be business as usual. New ideas, necessitating new approaches will be the order of the day. I like the consultative approach being practiced involving some of our best minds. I have always alluded to the benefits of such an approach. I will like to see the process broadened.  Get contributions from the people; in the final analysis, it is the people who will be the beneficiaries of the outcomes. The bottom up approach is necessary in these times. I remember an economist in earlier days who spoke about planning from below. What it simply means is to involve the people in the planning process.

 A lot of funding went to the small business sector over the years but has any study been undertaken to really understand the real needs of the sector. As the new government seeks to implement its various plans, especially plans to deal with unemployment, the needs of the private sector in general and the small business sector in particular should be identified and addressed.  In the past subventions were given to the representative body for MSMEs, many times too late. A serious look needs to be taken at the level of government support that should be given to SLISBA.

 Most people will jump to the conclusion that micro and small businesses need adequate financing but there are more fundamental issues than money. Why MSME operators cannot pool their resources, financially and otherwise? What specific areas of training are necessary? The majority of small businesses are owned by persons advanced in age, 50 and over. The services sector is attracting younger persons but a substantial amount of older persons are also involved. Demographic assessment, all these things should be informed by a comprehensive survey of the MSME sector.

While there are many issues within the MSME sector and generally the wider private sector, private associations are busy promoting their sectors. The year 2012 is a stellar year for associations as we witnessed the Chamber Awards, sold out Luncheon Meeting addressed by Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment & Consumer Affairs. A Luncheon Meeting will also be held in Vieux Fort on March 13, 2012 and will be addressed by the Hon. Minister. This weekend Manufacturers Awards Ceremony was sold out two weeks ago. I tried everything to get a ticket, so far at the time of writing this article, I am still hoping. Entrepreneurs can only do what they do best and it seems that they will allow nothing to stand in their way. Government and Business working together can find solutions for many of the pressing challenges that confront the nation.

Here is my motivational piece of the week:


The truly successful person doesn’t use others, other people use them.

   If you can contribute to others, no matter how small your talent, you too can become successful.  The measure of anyone is the number of people that they serve.

 Service to others is the essence of success.

No one achieves success without being of service.

   All great men and women became successful because they gave some talent or ability in the service of others.

   Everybody has to be somebody to somebody to be anybody.

© 2012 

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

Edward Harris

Freelance Journalist, Realtor, Business & PR Consultant


Websites:  St. Lucia – Agent ECREDMC

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