Grenville Phillips Speaks – Welcome Stamp
The Government has implemented a welcome stamp program, where visitors can work from Barbados for up to one year. They can also apply for an extension.
This is one program that was well conceptualised, well designed, and well implemented. The main beneficiaries are property owners, businesses, and the Government.
This should be an exemplar for all Government plans. Its opposite is the Ross University initiative, where Ross students were forced to stay at the Coverley properties. This automatically disqualified all but a chosen few from benefiting.
For the Welcome Stamp initiative to be sustainable, we must all do our part in making our long-stay visitor have a delightful experience in Barbados.
There is one foreseen risk – crime. We are graduating a majority of students with no academic certificates and no marketable skills. Entry level jobs are competitive. Therefore, many see their only options as engaging in illegal activities. This should have been urgently addressed a long time ago.
The solution remains simple – modify the secondary school curriculum so that our students graduate with marketable skills. Former Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, did a lot of talking, but no action on this critical matter. The current Minister of Education is copying her predecessor exactly. We seem to be waiting for the foreseen risk to be realised before doing anything about it.