On Thursday, December 16, 11 Export Barbados (BIDC) employees, who have served the organisation for between 10 to 40 years, were recognised for their long service in a virtual awards ceremony.
Employee recognition is crucial, even more so during a crisis. Therefore, the ceremony, which had as its theme ‘Still We Rise’, sought to highlight the resilience of the Export Barbados team. Recognised were Trudy Joseph – 10 years; Brian Layne and Monica Mason-Crichlow – 15 years; Stella Hackett, Julia Deane, Joan King and Edward Holder – 20 years; Nicole Ifill-Brathwaite – 25 years and Sylvia Taitt- 40 years. Michael Williams and Humphrey Broome, who are retiring, were also honoured for their outstanding service.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Hill, highlighting the staff’s perseverance despite the difficulties faced this year, described the employees as dedicated, resourceful, and results-driven while commending them for their “stellar performance” throughout the period.
Hill stated, “The unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic, the volcanic eruptions and subsequent ashfall, severe weather systems were major and unexpected challenges thrown in our path. Rather than fear these adversities however, our staff and our team have repeatedly risen to the occasion, and adapted to overcome. This is a testament to what we can achieve through teamwork… I have no doubt we can achieve all we set out to do in 2022”.
The CEO explained that the Export Barbados team is striving to generate US$1 billion in exports and will champion the resurgence of the island’s industrial landscape while shaping a future based on life sciences.
Chairman of Export Barbados, John Rocheford, also expressed appreciation to the awardees for their service and pointed to the role the Export Barbados team plays in helping the export sector reach its fullest potential and transforming Barbados into a global powerhouse. Underscoring some of the economic challenges faced by Barbados, he stressed the urgency to “graduate from rhetoric, to action areas we have circumvented as a country in years past”.
Chairman Rocheford insisted that it includes the diversification of Barbados’ export portfolio. Reflecting on that, he referred to the launch of a shared-use facility, which will put exporters and entrepreneurs in a position to improve their production capacity and deliver products consistently to international standards.
In his remarks, Minister of International Business and Industry Ronald Toppin reiterated Barbados’ need to cultivate new industries and diversify our exports to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis stronger, smarter, more relevant and resilient than ever before.
Minister Toppin stated, “The partners, markets, customers, and even employees of globally competitive Barbadian businesses may be beyond our shores, but Barbadians can design, develop and use technology to drive innovations that the world values… FinTech, intellectual property, and the creation of research parks are some of the niche areas my ministry has identified for us to target and excel in. We must fully exploit these potential lines of business that can afford us a competitive advantage”.
Congratulating the honourees for their excellent service, Minister Toppin also applauded the efforts of Export Barbados to embrace and promote innovation and technology around national problem areas, via activities like the Volcanic Ash Challenge. The Minister said such measures could help make businesses internationally competitive and facilitate wide-ranging business development.
Minister Toppin insisted that innovative and carefully crafted development interventions are urgently needed to guarantee economic recovery. It is anticipated, he said, that Export Barbados will develop much-needed new sectors and increase exporters, including those providing high-volume products and services.