A Heather Cole Column – Can Discriminatory Business Practices be Changed?

Heather Cole

This article is not meant to shame anyone but to create awareness that will bring about the much-needed change. This is the second time that I have noticed of late that opportunities in business that fall under state own enterprises discriminate against a wide cross section of the Barbadian public.

The first of the recent observation was back in December last year when I applied to and Ad which stated that the Enhance Credit Guarantee Fund was offering funding. I applied on the behalf of The People’s Agricultural and Business Cooperative Society Ltd to find out if this Agricultural Co-op would qualify for funding. 

The response that I received from the Central Bank of Barbados, was that “the support is only for existing businesses incorporated in Barbados.” To this, I responded “The Co-op is in Barbados.  It was certified over a year ago by the Registrar of Cooperatives.”  To this day there has been no response from the Foreign Exchange and Exchange Credits Department of the Central Bank of Barbados.

Although I let the above slide, I chose this occasion to respond to an article carried in this newspaper on March 31, 2022, under the caption Ocean Innovation Challenge giving thousands of dollars to Blue companies, as this bias is hiding in broad daylight.

Given the fact that the blue economy is relatively new to Barbados and the untapped potential of the ocean is vast since Barbados owns more ocean that it does land, the challenge should therefore be to the entire island.

Why are existing companies singled out to be part of the Ocean Innovation Challenge? Why have entrepreneurs and persons who have ideas not been included? How will the island develop a class of entrepreneurs if the focus is always on existing businesses?

This action is discriminatory, and it says that the ordinary man in Barbados does not have ideas that can be utilized in the creation of a blue economy, and nothing can be further from the truth.

What about the hundreds of fishermen who ply their trade off the coast of Barbados? They know the sea and the ocean better than any business that the challenge is currently offered to. Have you extended your challenge to this entrepreneurial class of Barbadians? If the offer were extended to them one can be positive that they will come up with ideas for business, but they have not been put in a position to accept any challenge.

Not even your being in a partnership with Caribbean Export can be an acceptable response as the criteria must have been agreed to by both partners. I hope this criterion will be revisited soon to be all inclusive as there must be equal opportunities for all Barbadians.

Considering the aforementioned, there is an opportunity here not only for Export Barbados but the entire government of Barbados to have a defined nondiscriminatory policy. Discrimination was the very backbone of life that was created in Barbados during slavery by an oppressive legislature. One should therefore expect that every act of government and its state own enterprises would contain a nondiscriminatory policy statement which should reference equal opportunity to all members of society. This nondiscriminatory policy which is normally used for employment. It states that persons must not be discriminated against due to their religion, class, sexual orientation, or disability.

There is no nondiscrimination clause in the new Charter of Barbados.

Perhaps, now that this issue has been brought to light, government and state-owned enterprises will operate under a nondiscriminatory policy which along with the aforementioned, include equal offerings in business opportunities.

107 comments

  • Yup! I am certain I bought SOMETHING from Courts during that period. I think I deserve to know what happened to the VAT I paid under the impression that it was going to the government.

    VAT, unlike income tax concessions or write-offs is money collected from people. In my opinion, no government has the right to give MY money to Courts. Effectively, they advertised one price and got to charge me a 15% higher price after the transaction was complete.

    I do not see how that could be legal. VAT write-offs should be illegal.

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  • And now, Donna is going to open her big mouth and say something that may get her cussed AGAIN.

    “This [post] is not meant to shame anyone but to create awareness that would bring about the much-needed change.”

    I was all set to take the plunge and join in this co-operative agricultural venture but now I hesitate because my confidence has been severely dented by the seeming inability of some to understand that a meeting turn and a “blessing circle” are two different things.

    Meeting turns or sous sous are based on sound reasoning and simple arithmetic. They work.

    Blessing circles are nothing more than Ponzi schemes. They are based on flawed reasoning and impossible “arithmetic”. They are doomed to failure, eventually because they assume an unlimited number of “investors”.

    Common sense should have told Heather that something cannot come from nothing! One cannot grow an “investment” without producing SOMETHING for sale or offering a service at a price.

    If this is the kind of business acumen at the head of this co-operative, then it is doomed to fail just like a ponzi scheme.

    Recently we heard from officials that there is a lack of financial awareness and knowledge among Barbadian would be entrepreneurs. This is being singled out as one of the main reasons that many businesses fail. Help is being offered in this regard.

    That so many Bajans were taken in by blessing circles and cannot be convinced as to why they WILL fail is a shocker to me.

    Does Heather even now understand that her “meeting turn” was a Ponzi scheme?

    My money is not burning a hole in my pocket. I plant potatoes. They grow and I reap but I will not bury my money in the ground in expectation of growing a money tree. Never seen one of them yet!

    So…does this co-operative have the wherewithall to convince any lending scheme that it knows how one makes money “grow”?

    Just saying.

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  • From my understanding the co-op is different from the ponzi

    I am some what not In agreement with borrowing (at this stage )

    I would support the co-op

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  • You never seem able to understand what I am saying. I am well aware that they are two different projects.

    I am questioning the business acumen of a person who does not understand the difference between a meeting turn and a Ponzi scheme. I am questioning the business acumen of a person who does not understand why a Ponzi scheme cannot work.

    A person does not change in business acumen when she moves between projects. She carries her faulty financial reasoning with her wherever she goes.

    Sigh!

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  • She May be the founder/ president / what ever her title may be ……. My understanding is the the co_op will be run by a board

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  • Ps
    My comments are not made with any intent of trying to convince you to do anything .
    Just sharing my views

    To each his own

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  • ANY influence she would have over my financial endeavours would be too much for me.

    Like

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