DominicaBy Joseph Jay Dee Doway

News Americas, ROSEAU, Dominica, Tues. Jan. 31, 2017: I am not politically inclined.  My biggest concern is the future of our children.  There is a saying: “Entrepreneurs don’t invest worrying about risk, but more about the fun of owning the business and making it work.”

When are we in Dominica going to make Dominica great again? I say again, because it was in the years long gone by.   Forget government; they are just a rubber stamp.  The job of the government is not to create jobs but to facilitate the creation of jobs by providing the avenues for investors and entrepreneurs to enter the niche and start business and creating jobs and paying salaries that are meaningful.   Government’s job is infrastructure to facilitate movement.

There has to be hope for Dominica, but it has to come from innovative people who have money and want to spend it here.  Dominica needs more overseas corporations to be encouraged to do business on the island.  Coming from a corporate world, I know that Dominicans are not “Consortium Savvy.”  As we would say about Dominicans, most Dominicans have this motto: “ME, MYSELF AND I.” With that slogan, the country has remained stagnant, which I am assuming is the reason why the government selected the easy way – selling Dominican passports.

I wish there would come a time, when government and Dominican business owners would start to think: DOMINICA FIRST.  It is sad when a person like me has difficulty wanting to remain in Dominica and do business, when you have to go through so much RED TAPE.  It is even much more difficult when some Dominicans tell me that the status quo is still the same – only certain people in Dominica are allowed to have business and prosper.

Of course, that is so far from the truth, because if I want to open any business on Dominica, there is no one who can stop me other than the frustration of the bureaucracy, which is really built to do just that, frustrate the hell out of me, wanting me to jump on the next airplane and head back home or shut me up.

While I understand all the political ramblings, who the hell cares what the government wants to do? Our mission is to hold any government responsible for the progress of a country, but we don’t have to wait on the government to move Dominica forward and it is time this country moves from where it is to where it should be.

But here is the problem: foreign aid.

The Chinese proverb says: “You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”

If the government and people of Dominica would follow that philosophy, Dominica would be far ahead.  When people are empowered, they become very independent.  Obviously, when they become fully educated and are able to make a good salary, then the sky becomes the limit. When we consider that in these times, Dominica pays the lowest minimum wage, you know that there is no avenue for improvement and it bothers me when government ministers tell me that Dominicans don’t have enough disposal income.  Whose fault is it?  Who is crazy enough to leave a job on another Caribbean island or even further a field where your minimum wage is EC$10.00 to $7.50 and return to Dominica to make a salary of EC$5.50/hr?

Then you work 4 hours a week because business is slow. There is always the complaint of poor customer service but what do we expect if staff is frustrated because they are not paid poorly or not trained. I know for sure that the majority of business owners on this island need training. Some have no clue what it is to operate a successful business and by that I don’t mean just making bank deposits – but how to treat staff and customers.

So as patriotic as you are, you stay where you are and you abandon your country, be it by choice or circumstance.  And the ones governing tell themselves it’s not their problem, whether you stay or go, because it benefits them if the population stays at a controllable minimum.   Dominica is all about votes.  Nothing more!  Let’s keep the youth at bay, so that they must beg for their keep every week.  You realize that you come to Dominica with a degree and for hell you cannot get a decent job, because there is always the “you are too qualified” or “we cannot afford to pay you” mantra.

And the best part is, when I hear that because of experience and knowledge, you become a threat to those who are in high positions so you don’t get the job to help move your country forward.

What should really happen is that salaries should be increased so that persons could work and remain on the island and those overseas who want to come home would be enticed to do so.  The situation should be that overseas investors who are genuine, be they Dominicans or not, should be encouraged to come and invest meaningfully.

We need factories, corporate companies, second home owners and celebrities to come in, enjoy Dominica and decide to do business that will help improve the economy.  We, as Dominicans, must stop stifling our country, because Dominica as a country has so much to offer, but as an economy, we are dormant.

The government needs to improve the education system, because I heard horrible stories about our State College. The difficulties students are faced with leads me back to the fact that we may be pretending to help our youth, but still keeping them controlled.

Let’s empower our people and please, let’s improve our customer service.  If Dominicans mind their own business as well as they mind the business of the next man or woman they see out with another person, Dominica would strive. We have very innovative people with a voice within and without, but they fear victimization.

Growth is not based on gossip, but on being effective entrepreneurs, happy students and well paid workers.  If we pay better salaries, the businesses would obviously feel the effect, because people will shop, they will patronize entertainment venues, the single mothers would be less stressed and families would be stronger.  We, as Dominicans have to learn to give VALUE FOR MONEY.  That includes products and services.  FOCUS on business creation and not on what the politicians are doing or who your neighbor messing with. Stay focused.

People, I leave with these words.  When you travel to St. Lucia, Antigua, Bahamas, the ABC islands and St. Maarten, ask yourself why we are so backward. I am sure you will feel we are missing out.  Then question yourself, your family, your parliamentary representative and your employer on why we are where we are.

Jealousy and envy will only keep us underground at Ground Zero.  I remember when Dominica was an agriculture super power.

I remember the trucks full of bananas lined at the dock.  Unfortunately, we were not sustainable and consistent enough.  Our marketing strategy was zero. Maybe we should look back at farming and make it sexy. Tourism is still growing and that needs a hell of a lot of improvement. I am still waiting for someone, somewhere in government to tell me what our main industry is.

The people with the jobs where decisions for development have to be made believe instead in “go and come bureaucracy.” They need to get off their high horses and think country and not just wait for a monthly check.

Let’s make a change in 2017.  We have the natural beauty and the people to do it! Let’s make Dominica great again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Joseph Doway is a business turnaround / management consultant.





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