The Economic Contribution of Bajans Abroad: Our Untapped E-Government Online Revenue Potential

Austin

What is E-Government? “E-Government’ (or Digital Government) is defined as ‘The employment of the Internet and the world-wide-web for delivering government information and services to the citizens.”

The government of Barbados has an opportunity to use E-Government online services to expand the economic contribution that Bajans living abroad can make in these challenging economic times.  While we continue to place “ALL” bets on new arrivals from a tourism perspective, the government has in no formal sense recognized the economic contributions that Bajans abroad make to Barbados’s economy annually, as a result they have also not recognized the revenue potential from servicing Bajans citizens living abroad via the internet.  Visiting Bajan nationals support local bajan communities from coast to coast in many ways that typical tourist do “not” and this key distinction should be recognized.

  • Returning Bajans shop at local corner shops all over Barbados and “NOT” just those in the tourism or town districts.
  • Returning Bajans entertain themselves at local corner bars, restaurants .. many which are well off the tourism path.
  • Returning Bajans shop in Bridgetown as a “must visit each trip” pastime.
  • Returning Bajans give cash gifts to family and friends as available via regular wire transfers to provide significant financial support to family members in Barbados.
  • Bajans abroad serve as ambassadors for Barbados educating and inviting friends and colleagues to visit Barbados.
  • They buy, own and rent real estate in Barbados at significant levels.
  • They drive, buy gas and rent cars in Barbados.
  • They are increasing staying in hotels, villas versus with family.
  • They activity participate in Cropover and Kadooment and join bands and spend money with local street vendors.
  • Returning Bajans travel back home for holidays when tourism often drops off during holidays like Christmas, Independence Day, Mother’s Day … and during a few US, UK holidays which we should be directly marketing but that is another issue.

“In essence Bajans abroad contribute significantly ($$$$$) to the economy of Barbados often with little or no say in political matters, and will do more”

We should further harness the economic contribution of Bajans abroad in a government-to-citizen service and support oriented manner to generate much needed government revenues and service our citizens abroad, which to me is a WIN-WIN.

To accomplish this government should implement a range of “NEW” online government services to support the many needs of Barbados citizens that live abroad for a “FEE” which many are willing to pay for, online services like:

  • Online Immigration and Passport Services
  • Online Land and Real Estate Tax Services
  • Online Barbados Government Forms and Request processing

To do this unfortunately “will” require that the current Barbados Government Information Service (GIS) be completely revamped with emphasis on its leadership.  The Barbados GIS today does not possess the ICT management and leadership needed to implement such leading edge revenue generating ideas, which by the way should be implemented by local Barbados ICT industry businesses, and not via the “lets run to the UK, US and Canada for ICT consultants to do this” approach that is often used by government via consultancies.  We have all the ICT talent in Barbados needed to accomplish this, however ”old school” leadership and lack of cutting edge ICT knowledge is currently plaguing the progress of the Barbados GIS.

In closing the government of Barbados has an opportunity to potentially earn millions of dollars in revenues from the “millions” of Bajans in the diaspora worldwide (US, UK, Europe, Africa) who need many of the online services mentioned.  The US, UK and Canada all earn significant revenues annually from E-Government initiatives and so can BARBADOS.

BAJAN PATRIOT – PUTTING BIM FIRST

0 thoughts on “The Economic Contribution of Bajans Abroad: Our Untapped E-Government Online Revenue Potential


  1. Austin right on target. I recently asked plant quarantine if their forms were available online and was told no. I suggested that they should be available so that customers will avoid making several trips to Bridgetown to get the form, to return it and to collect it. I was given a blank form and was told that I can copy it several times to use rather than making that extra trip to Bridgetown.


  2. You go Austin…
    Keep it coming til the last one falls…
    We do appreciate ya.
    .Hants and all…..


  3. Mr. Austin, In 2003 while listening to some program on one of the radio stations here, it was mentioned that returning nationals contribute to the economy $100 millions versus sugar $50 million. Almost nine years later and no one, that’s, the powers that be has sought to capitalized on all possibilities to be realized from nationals abroad; speaks to a people who are not evolving. Sir, you’ve mentioned in the above a number of opportunities, intelligent people might pursue as these times call for a paradigm shift. However, my fellow Barbadians, those who have grown up stupid under the Union jack; would rather wallow in their shit rather than approach their fellow Bajan. There’s much anti Trinidadian sentiments here in Barbados, could it be that had the people here engaged the support of Barbadians abroad, much could be accomplished.
    Then again, after an experience I had today Saturday, May 19 in Lemon Arbor, St. John, at this place known for it pig souse, one can appreciate why the more things change yet their remains the same. Recently returned home after a visit to a place, I’m told that’s run by a Canadian in Worthing Christ Church; definitely not the same pig shit attitude as this woman who runs the rum shop in lemon arbor.


  4. Didn’t the government host a Diaspora Conference last month?

    Didn’t PM Stuart address Bajans in Washington on his last trip?


  5. Talk cheap. If an overseas Bajan or otherwise …had confidence in the island….(grew up under the union Jack or otherwise mentality )..and was interested in investing in Barbados..pig shit n all…thy will would have been done.


  6. The Barbados GIS today does not possess the ICT management and leadership needed to implement such leading edge revenue generating ideas, which by the way should be implemented by local Barbados ICT
    industry businesses, and not via the “lets run to the UK, US and Canada for ICT consultants to do this” approach that is often used by government via consultancies.
    *********************************
    Hammer meet nail on the head…….Are we aware of the yearly cost ? Such,the security and all, may out run the initial benefits. Budget constraints in these times may also prohibit new endeavors from taking off.But we welcome this and more ideas from the diaspora…. Investment in some of our better companies like BL&P, BNB, BST ICB, RedJet and FourSeasons were sought. There is a local stock exchange (internet access) to enable up to date info to promote investment from the diaspora….but nay Trini friends took hold of such info and ran with it instead. Was it a case of making the opportunity available but Digga ( the nextdoor neighbor dog ) eat um first ?


  7. ICT initaitives by Government are the responsibility of Data Processing and not GIS, even the building and the hosting of websites for agencies and departments. but neither GIS nor DP are appropriately focused to engineer E-Government. This requires a specialist agency, which brings me to the substantial point:

    During the last economic crisis under PM Sandiford there were several reform initiatives – Civil Service Reform, the Productivity Council, and the Social Partnership, all of which have a futuristic role in fashioning the modern Barbados. Even tax concessions on the purchase of PCs at that time represented a construction for the future.

    Everything this present government does seem to be for the now and ahead of the elections. E-Government has been lagging for at least 15 years and neither Party in power seem relevant on this frontier agenda item.

    It is obvious that there is need for a specialist department of Government to engineer the on-line govermental process to satisfy both administrative and revenue generating services in modern government. This is Stuart’s role.


    • Everton is correct that the Data Processing department is responsible for IT solutions in central government. What is also known is that old school civil servants have been blocking egovernment initiatives for years.


  8. Anyone who was aged 16 at the time of Independence is now 62 (ish). It’s time to get away from the “grown up stupid under the Union Jack” view, or risk a response that the saying should now become “grown up stupid under the Broken Trident”.


    • Every year the Barbados Chamber of Commerce sponsors an ICT Week and to what end? We boast of how deeply penetrated our Internet connectivity is but yet our government which should be leading the effort to be efficient in how services are delivered holds on the old way of doing business. Can we imagine the cost savings if many of the manual processes are improved with technology? How can we boast of EDUTEC, NISE and public sector reform yet hold on to padding the civil service out of a need to be politically expedient. Both parties are guilty of it.


  9. We need more that tech and old school management talk at “all the conferences referenced” … holding a one day conference on bajans abroad, or flying to DC to get aways from issues in Barbados … is total fluff and politics…

    We need legistation and laws passed that help us tap into the potential of bajans abroad in dollars and cents terms…

    Not just sweet talk


  10. “There are always good reasons to keep doing foolishness”

    quote by Austin (if no one owes this quote it is now mine 🙂 )

    Listen…

    There are no online security challenges that “RISE” to the level of not seeking this potential revenue opportunity … however if attempted by the “old school” government ICT folks at GIS or whoever would be responsible for this will be the “MAIN SECURITY ISSUE” …. There are UWI ICT students that can build such a solution with defense in depth firewalling to mitigate many know risk and threats …. So leave the security scare tactic as it won’t hold water at the end of the day 🙂


  11. comment: “ICT initaitives by Government are the responsibility of Data Processing and not GIS, even the building and the hosting of websites for agencies and departments”

    Response:
    Government ICT leadership “ACROSS” the entire government is LACKING ( FACT ) … We as a nation are NOT capatilizing on our smart as hell ICT youth because “old head” folks that grow up in the “TYPEWRITER GENERATION” are calling all the main ICT shots with little or no knowledge, hence poor ICT decisions are being made and no ICT progress across the board is being made.

    We NEED more young ICT managers and employees in Government with performance incentives … and RETIRE a lot of folks.

    Example: Over 3 years now ago the GIS has been working to post government tenders and contracts which support the DLP promises of FOI and to date NO SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS has been made, go take a look for yourself. This is task that could be implemented in 30 days but here we are 3 years later.


  12. @ Davis

    We Bajans love a “TON” conferences … which in essense is TALK, TALK and more TALK … The real action is in “WHO” gets the opportunities that come from these “TON” of conferences and endless TALKS …

    Unfortunately the real action and good jobs/opportunites are “STILL” being given to ICT consultants in the UK, US and Canada who we often see liming in the GAP having a ball in Barbados, while ICT young people are looking for jobs.

    For some reason (we know the reason) we as a nation still in 2012 think that just because the ICT talent is coming from abroad it is “SOMEHOW BETTER, EVEN WHEN THEY FAIL US” … which is sad and totally not the case as we have impessive ICT talent right here in BIM that can do a GREAT job with many of the task we keep outsourcing internationally.

    What our bajans ICT focused youth and small businesses need is not TALK TIME be OPPORTUNITIES that make $$$$$$.


  13. “To do this unfortunately “will” require that the current Barbados Government Information Service (GIS) be completely revamped with emphasis on its leadership. The Barbados GIS today does not possess the ICT management and leadership needed to implement such leading edge revenue generating ideas, which by the way should be implemented by local Barbados ICT industry businesses, and not via the “lets run to the UK, US and Canada for ICT”

    u seemed uninformed. the Data Processing Dept is responsible for all that u are talking about


    • Whether it is the Data Processing or another government department the bigger point Austin is making remains. We need to take our heads from where the sun don’t shine and progress to the 21st century in how we do business in the public sector.


  14. The problem for a young man like Austin is that he lives, works and competes in a developed country where solutions to problems are easy to find.

    Barbados is a very difficult place to work and do business unless you have the patience and motivation to adjust.

    The other problem is that the “old guard” at the top of the civil service are not likely to give up their comfortable perches with pensions around the corner..

    I hope the younger fellas like Austin will persevere and make a meaningful contribution to Barbados.


  15. @austin | May 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM |
    “Over 3 years now ago the GIS has been working to post government tenders and contracts …task that could be implemented in 30 days but here we are 3 years later”

    stop talking crap and go to
    http://www.gov.bb/bigportal/big


    • @Hants

      The following press release might interest you:

      Karib Cable is a telecommunications provider whose quality Cable network deployment enables it to provide Cable Television, Broadband Internet Connectivity and Fixed Line Telephony. Karib Cable currently operates in three (3) countries and in seven (7) islands in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), catering to over 50,000 regional customers. It promises to bring an entirely new and improved user experience to Barbadian consumers. More importantly, Karib Cable’s presence in Barbados will provide a major social benefit as the company seeks to generate new employment opportunities for Barbadians by introducing between 230 and 250 new jobs. The company will invest in the region of $65 million into the Barbadian economy, while also creating major foreign direct investment opportunities.

      We would like to formally invite you to the media launch of Karib Cable on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 at 11:00am. The press conference will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Hastings Christ Church.


  16. @Bush Tea

    It is true but there remains the vacuum about how we fix the problems.

    The frustration and cynicism of a people is likely to grow.


  17. @smooth chocolate

    I checked that link you provided and your point is “What” the site you referenced further supports my point.


  18. Well wonders never cease, for more than 40 years many of us Bajans abroad have been advocating closer ties through the gover4nments of either persuasion, yet we are in the positiopn we are today and still no proper thinking from the political elites. There is so much that could have been done but alas, the political tribes that run the show only use visits abroad to take their mistresses at the taxpayers expense. Barbadians abroad are no less nationalistic than any other race on earth. I personally go around advocating that successful bajans do not invest in their country until the something has been done about the crooked lawyers and other professional have been brought under control. Why should Bajans abroad use their resources to invest in their homeland only for the legal classes to rob them and then get a slap on the risk?
    Several Bajans in Britain couls have been of tremendous value3 to the manufacturers of Barbados, yet when these enterprises come to Europe they seek out white companies that have no knowledge of Bajans abroad and their communities, habits or customs . Wityh the result that most ventures fail.
    Both on the commerciaql level, government level and even at the individual level one is left with the conclusion that our country is led by a bunch of amateurs that I would not cross the road to hear them speak, so detach from reality are our so called leaders opver the last 30 odd years.
    To this end I now encourage close friends and colleagues to forget Barbados and invest wisely. The country is no longer good enough for us to spend holidays there. On top of that we seem to select diplomats that can hardly spell the word nevermind do what they are supposed to do to assist their country with proper investments. Truth to be told, I have long been disillusioned with the country and the way it is run.

    Henderson Dalrymple

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