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Small Islands Voice: Small Island Business
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Page 1 of 1Total of 1 messages
Posted by:Apr 3rd 2007, 12:14:06 pm
Do you live in a small island?
Tell us what you think.

In view of the reactions to the 'colonialism in the 21st century' notion in
the previous article, it will be discussed as a separate topic after the
present one. Below are summarised further views on the racial and income
divide in tourism and other business in island countries.

I'm tragically not surprised, writes Jaye Green. There seems to be a certain
'pattern' that expatriate nationals follow: Create a 'first-world' standard;
hire expatriates for main or technical jobs and locals for subsidiary; move
some locals to main or technical jobs with less pay than the expatriate but
more than standard; train local people for all posts; sell company to another
expatriate; another expatriate begins milking the cash cow; cut out frills and
hold salaries at level while it rises in competition; fire locals who are
getting paid 'too much', hire others who will work for less; blame locals for
drop in profitability; finally, bring venue to the ground, close it and leave.

The present situation in the Caribbean is a reflection of the past for Arlette
St. Ville from St. Lucia (Caribbean) who quotes from Perez: "In converting
former agricultural monoculture economies to travel monoculture, tourism
renews and reinforces the historical process of underdevelopment". Tourists
prefer to consume products they are familiar with and high status is often
attached to foreign products, including by the locals. The food system remains
a vestige of the past when the role of the island was not to sustain itself
but to sustain another, Europe. International tourism as it is now formed has
all the hallmarks of another colonial construct in St. Lucia: the banana
industry. Think about it! - local producers, external consumers, environmental
degradation, adaptation to foreign tastes and values, relatively large
ecological footprint, control by multinationals, susceptibility to natural
disasters and unresponsive to local political climate.

Turning to the Pacific, the following are some actions and ideas addressing
the issues.

Maere Tekanene from Kiribati writes: I agree that there are cases of local
employers that do not give what local employees deserve. In some cases this
happens partly because many of our people began business by employing
themselves and when their businesses got larger they hire people. These hired
people were treated likewise by owners because there is limited understanding
of many legal and upgrading ways by locals. The Kiribati Chamber of Commerce
is trying to raise awareness on the laws where employers need to comply with
providing benefits to their employees. It is hoped that with more education to
local employers, including legal and other aspects, unintended exploitation
may be avoided.

I recommend several things that have proven to be successful with us in the
South Pacific, writes Rosario De Medici. One, if you can't beat your
competition, join them. What I mean by this is to solicit joint partnership
with foreign investors. If a native already owns a small hotel operation, it
would do well to invite the joint partnership of foreign investors who have
expressed an interest in the hospitality industry. Granted, you won't own the
business entirely, but it offers the opportunity to revamp the business, make
it upscale and more inviting for tourists. If they have the financial
capability along with the marketing and advertising, and technological
resources, then it only makes sense. The fact is that the ones with the bigger
dollars are going to win in the long run so it only makes sense to partner
with a good ethical investor.

Secondly, local businesses should get the government intimately involved in
their business operation. By partnering with select ministers of the
government who serve as members of the company's board of directors, it
provides accountability and good stewardship in both directions.

Thirdly, our company, an aquaculture business, has established a cooperative
corporation in the Marshall Islands. This way it empowers the native residents
by making the company employee-owned and democratically controlled. Thus the
company doesn't operate independently of the employees - it is the employees’.
This is contrastingly different from the traditional capitalistic model which
is an old paradigm that must be phased out because it doesn't operate upon the
principle of sustainable development. allows for translation into other languages.
For those who prefer, you may react in Español, Français or Português.

Title: Small-island business
Author: R. De Medici, J. Green, A. St.Ville, M. Tekanene
Date: Tuesday, 3 April 2007

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