Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Its also fighting an uphill battle which it shows little sign of winning. No doubt the reason is because tourism in itself is an extremely transient business, depending on a stability and income in a world when those two words are difficult to say in the same sentence.
I think we are at the stage where small countries like Dominica have to look towards getting people to move to the country, either as tax refugees from the first world, or as people looking for a superior quality of life. There is a greater economic theory surrounding this, but I'm not going to bore anyone who tries to read this.
Inward migration of economically self reliant citizens will aid in solving our biggest problem. A homogeneous and relatively closeted population with very little racial diversity.
All countries which develop do so because of an inward migration of intelligent people who have driven the development and economy of the recipient country. We have very little of this. It is the formula for innovation.The problem is that both the current business community and the general political climate strongly protects the current status quo. And thats natural in some ways and counter productive in others. A new generation of 'citizens' with or without families, moving into Dominica, would radically 'up' both the income and IQ of the island.
As it is...unless we define a new taxation landscape and change an antiquated approach to inward migration (unbelievable but true), this country is going to continue to struggle to attract Foreign direct investment and ironically will struggle to protect its natural assets.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Since my return to the Caribbean I cant remember ever asking for a discount on anything. Sure, I will take a fair discount if offered but I usually believe that the price offered is the price the service or the product is being sold at. If I get it lower great, but I wont actively lobby for it. I wont go into a supermarket, look at an overpriced can of beans, and mentally calculate the margin from import (I worked in wholesale as my very first job after school). This is despite knowing its probably 3-400% margin on what its imported at. I am not obssessed with managing someone elses outcomes and risks.Nope...I dont.
Yet, a supermarket man, an event owner, an insurance man, a telephone man, pretty much everyone who sells products and services they do not compromise cost on, and I never twist their arms on, see creative works as eminently negotiable and discountable. They will and have even approached employees behind the scenes to massage them to provide creative services at lower costs, of course directly.As Daffy Duck would say its Deshpicable !
Its a common story whichever creative resources I speak to. The Caribbean has literally become a haven of intellectual theft. Barbados is one of the biggest leeching locations in the world, and countries like Dominica and Antigua routinely steal creative works, including music, photography and creative works, for reuse. Its an ideosyncracy which is odd when you consider the Caribbean has probably the greatest concentration of cultural and creative resources in the world.
A man will get 6 months in jail for stealing a bag of biscuits, but someone can take an ad, or a musical riff and reuse it without permission with a much greater 'theft' value and nothing is thought wrong. This is no watershed moment for me. The people who often decry the value of creative works usually cant do one even if you left them for a month with every possible tool and inspiration. And most people can upsell insurance and resell a can or beans or a bag of rice. I think we need to create a spoof campaign.
Friday, December 21, 2012
As someone once remarked to me it is ironic that two of the most powerful influences on the people usually have no qualifications and almost no responsibility for their utterances and actions.Politicians and Preachers.
Across the region the problem gets replicated though its magnified in certain jurisdictions and lessened in others. The pragmatism of life means most people put their heads down and just deal with daily life, but if you sit back and ponder the ridiculousness of it all, it really is 'something else'.2012 has been a rebound year business wise personally though the economy in the Caribbean is still stagnated.
Dominica hasnt resolved what it wants to be. Is it a tourism destination ? Not yet. Dominicans have not yet considered what it is to be a service based economy. Is it an agricultural haven. No. The farmer is a dying breed and the status quo businesses are actually ushering in the death of agriculture by pushing more and more cheap imported goods on a market which values price above health and taste.
Is it a manufacturing locale ? No. The energy costs are too high and the red tape is still too thick. Ontop of that you have a serious issue with work ethic, which makes me remember John Dyson, former coach of West Indies, talking to the fact that West Indian cricketers resented being told what to do. So sometime in 2013, a serious discussion should start with understanding what the island is.Creating managed expectations is a key part of life. Many people have decided by the age of 30 odd what they want to be. Life doesnt afford them much opportunity to keep on dithering about it. Dominica is in country terms still an infant, but that debate hasnt happened and we are a generation away from both a population and a statesman (or woman) who can take us there. In the meantime politicians and preachers will talk about changing the names of mountains and fixing the roads. Enjoy the Season.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I had to stay over in every one of those destinations and ate a proper meal in every one.
Then something came to mind.
How fresh is the food. I mean, its a pretty simple question. The answer though isnt quite as easy.
You see in Dominica, I go over to the market for my vegetables and ground provisions or I call Royal George for my beef or pork, Morne Anglais farms for my local chicken, and get my fish and shellfish from San Sauveur. I wont mention the wild game that we get ever now and then.
Usually I can eat meat or vegetables which has had low chemical exposure, within three to four days of being pulled from the ground or sea or being killed. And you can taste the difference.
Caymans was good for the fish. But everything else is shipped in and distributed. Miami...might be decent on seafood but its still not fresh unless you explicitly search I guess. Vienna...I couldnt taste the beef in the beef, and in New York, well lets just say I accept that I am going to eat some stuff that has served some punishment time.
The other odd thing is this. When you step into a supermarket in the US in particular, two things shout out. The sheer size of the vegetables and fruit, and the lack of any, and I mean any smells.
I mean when you walk into a food market in Dominica, you smell everything. Onions, thyme, mangoes, even carrots, and tomatoes. Its like an assault on your nose.
You walk into Western Beef or Pathmark or Publix and you could swear someone has clipped your nasal capacity. Even pineapples stare you in the face with a kind of 'yes I am a pineapple but you cant friggin smell me' look. A pineapple in Dominica quickly becomes a car fragrance if left in the car for any longer than 5-10 minutes.
The flavor of course is key. And fresh fruit, vegetables and meat taste great.
We may not have great restaurants or a vibrant foodie scene, but in reality Dominica is food heaven. You just have to learn to make it for yourself or lean on someone who can.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Its a refreshing freedom that would eliminate many a 'dear friend' here in the Caribbean.
There are however a large amount of decent people who simply want your presence. These people are the elders in our society. They sit alone in many of our houses, needing someone to interact with, argue with, and share with. They just need your time.
If you live in the Caribbean (or anywhere), find an older person in your community and call in on them once every often. It'll help. Honestly...
If you spend your life interacting with people whose main need is to have their egos fed so that they can help you put food on your table, then....you will have many an imaginary friend.