Welcome

Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

*NEW!!! LISTEN TO BLOG POSTS FEATURE ADDED!!!*

*PLEASE READ COMMENTS POLICY--NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS, PLEASE*

*REFERENCES TO NEWSPAPER OR MEDIA REPORTS ARE USUALLY FOLLOWED BY LINKS TO ACTUAL REPORTS*

*IMAGES MAY BE ENLARGED BY CLICKING ON THEM*

*SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG BY E-MAIL (SEE BOX IN SIDE BAR)*


______________________________________

**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thinking about the issues: the example of foreign investment

The past few days have seen some interesting discussions on various Barbadian blogs about foreign investments and what they may or may not bring to the island. What they highlight for me is that issues are rarely cut and dried, and that there appear to be some real efforts to get beyond the surface of the issues. I like the piece I read today on Notes from the Margin blog(entitled "Barbados and Foreign Investment",see link), which tries to identify how aspects of foreign investments may or may not benefit the domestic economy. This adds useful points to consider made on another blog, Barbados Underground (entitled "Going, Going And The West Coast Of Barbados Is Gone!", see link). These discussions were spurred by a Middle Eastern news report (see http://www.menafn.com/) of a recent visit to Barbados by a Saudi prince, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, to discuss investment opportunities in the tourism sector.

One of the roles of a good, free press, is to be able to sense where in the issues of the day they need to go and dig deeper for the good of the public knowledge. Investigative journalism is not an easy task and there may be social and institutional blocks that stop it being a common feature of the mainstream press. A mark of a mature democracy is the fact that the press is broadly free, and reporters are generally able to work to pursue stories with a large degree of physical and literary liberty. When such investigative journalism seems to be lacking, the door is opened wider for those who are not part of the mainstream press who are prepared to press the tough questions, and do so until they get satisfactory answers. Even where investigative journalism is well established and known to be of very high quality, there is still plenty of space for others to probe, and the Internet has made that task much easier.

Having spent much of my life in the UK or US, I am accustomed to difficult questions being raised without the messenger always having to beware that there could be reprisals for even raising an issue. Some of the comments I have had on my blog suggest that in Barbados a good number of people feel that to raise questions is to open oneself up to a possible reprisals. Nevertheless, I hope that people in Barbados will see this probing as a normal part of what is needed to get a wider and better understanding of problems. Not all of those who write and comment are in a good position to then provide the answers. But probing should also help in getting at the information. I remember being told when I first went to work: "We don't expect you to have the answers, but we do expect you to know what are the right questions".

One of the questions to think about is why foreign individuals and enterprises who have the choice of where to invest their money choose to invest in Barbados, and are the factors that make Barbados attractive legitimate and sustainable. Two related question come from this. First, if the environment is right for foreign investors is it the same for residents? Second, if Barbadians have funds available, are they investing in the island, consuming or are they saving, and why are they making these choices? Food for thought over the weekend.

1 comment:

marginal said...

Well said Dennis, well said.
Marginal