Come on home!
That’s Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s call to Barbadians living in the diaspora who want to help the country move forward.
With indications that Barbados’ workforce is projected to contract in 13 years or so, she sees a place for Barbadians and descendants with skills in the new economy, in areas such as life sciences and renewable and wind energy.
“We want to encourage you to come on home, come on home,” she said Wednesday night during the two-hour virtual Prime Ministerial Global Town Hall Meeting for Barbadians living in the diaspora.
Stating that the country needs “the continued engagement of our citizens in terms of investment, in terms of skills” to move forward, Mottley she asked Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Jerome Walcott, and Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands, to work on collating a database.
“Without a database we don’t have information that is capable of manipulation. And I continue to say if you have not registered with the various embassies or high commissions or consulates then we’re asking you to do so.
“Very so often we would say ‘who in the diaspora can do ‘a, b, c’ or who in the diaspora can provide ‘d, e, f’?’a. Without your participation it’s going to become difficult, and we have to rely on word of mouth,” said the prime minister.
She said the new Immigration Bill, which is still being drafted, will “lengthen the relationship as a right” so that the great grandchildren of Barbadians will have the opportunity, through a point system to competitively participate.
With the population declining, as figures from the Population Commission report show that “Barbados is 80 to 100 000 people less than we ought to be”, which means those living in the country “are having to work harder and harder and harder to sustain that which existed or that which is being given to citizens under the times of Tom Adams in 1980”.
“Now that can’t be right in the third decade of the 21st Century and that’s what we’re working to be able to correct. So that those governments who come after, hopefully, will have an easier time in terms of having sufficient people producing goods and services to be able to maintain and build on our quality of life, and to be able to engage the world on terms that are reflective of global excellence but that are equally reflective of being rooted in Barbadian roots and Barbadian tradition and we would far more prefer to do that with Barbadians descendants.
“So that for those who also have persons who are their grandparents or great grandparents or whatever, come home. There are opportunities here to help build out. We believe you can engage the world in the digital and creative economy from here. … Come home and engage the world from here”.” said Mottley.