“My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely.” – Job 33:3

The Barbados election is now over. Congratulations to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on leading the DLP to victory. Through his calm, cool, patient and affable personality and brilliant intellect he has confounded the critics and analysts. He now has his own mandate to govern and he must now build on his leadership skills to mobilise his team of parliamentarians and others to convert the DLP manifesto strategies into an action plan.

He must choose his Cabinet carefully. He must heed the supplication to have a Government “Call to Action” which challenges the public sector (politicians and civil servants) to develop an innovative enabling environment. This is done through innovative regulatory and service functions in support of the innovative private sector business models, with the potential to achieve commercial success and socio-economic development outcomes.

My advice to the PM is that he mandates each appointed minister to assemble the most knowledgeable team with respect to each ministerial portfolio, especially finance, and ask them to contribute to making him/her (the minister) “look good” in his/her best interest and in the interest of Barbados. This approach has the advantage of assembling the best brains, irrespective of the perceived party affiliation, and complementing the ministers’ extant knowledge of the subject for the benefit of the nation.

The PM has already told supporters that with the election over “we are not going to embark on any revenge”. Former opposition leader Mia Mottley, who easily retained her seat in parliament, said the electorate had through the results of the 2013 election, sent a message to both parties. She further commented that “I think Barbados is in serious crisis, not only economic crisis but also in terms of our governance. I think people want serious transformation”. Prime Minister Stuart needs to work closely with Mia Mottley and the opposition to examine our governance system and effect this transformation for the people. Barbados does not have the luxury to be politically polarised – now that the fun of an election campaign is over we must put this behind us for another five years. We must focus on mobilizing our capital assets: our (1) Human; (2) Intellectual; (3) Social; (4) Cultural; (5) Physical; (6) Natural; (7) Financial; and (8) Spiritual capital. If Barbados does well, we all do well!

While Prime Minster Stuart must continue to access whatever philanthropy is available through various government aid programmes from countries in North America and Europe, in particular, he needs to court the private sector as well. Globally, in recent times, philanthropy from the private sector has played its part in keeping with the spirit of the release of the social responsibility standard (ISO 26000) in November 2010. Business and organizations do not operate in a vacuum. Their relationship to the society and environment in which they operate is a critical factor in their ability to continue to operate effectively. It is also increasingly being used as a measure of their overall performance.

ISO 26000 provides guidance on how businesses and organisations can operate in a socially responsible way. This means acting in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society.

On the Caribbean front, Prime Minister Stuart must look for opportunities for the Caribbean to work together to develop the Caribbean brand from which we can all benefit. The brand is exemplified by the description as a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-genre and multi-lingual region. In response to my last “Call to Action” column, Robert Stephens, Pragma Consultants Ltd. in Jamaica (rspragma@yahoo.com) advised that the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) which includes some of the major NGOs, private sector and church groups are lobbying for the development of a sustainable growth strategy which is led by micro-/small- and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) being assisted to get key sectors moving. JCSC is now expecting to sit with the Jamaica government to develop united approaches to achieve sustainable development. The CBET Shepherding Modelâ„¢ comes to mind as an approach in this context.

Plans are crystallising for the lecture and panel discussion mounted by the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (Barbados Chapter) under the theme “Strategies for accelerating growth in the Barbadian Economy” on Monday, March 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. This lecture comes at a pivotal time as our newly elected government will be seeking to navigate the country out of economic hardship. This lecture/ discussion will provide its audience with strategic, implementable initiatives that can jump start the economy as well as ensure that it is steered in an economically viable direction.

The lecture will be presented by Professor Andrew Downes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Planning and Development at the University of the West Indies. He is a notable Professor of Economics at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus and economic consultant to several regional and international organizations. Panellists will be Celeste Foster, former President of the Barbados Small Business Association and successful entrepreneur; Lalu Vaswani, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and successful entrepreneur; and the Honourable Robert Morris, Ambassador of Barbados to the Caribbean Community. Yours truly will be the moderator for the evening. The public is invited.

We are all spirited beings, bubbling over with joy and enthusiasm for life! Now is the time to recharge our bodies, minds and spirits for the benefit of our nation. Let us lift our moods and feel enlivened, uplifted and filled with zeal to embrace change.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org).

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