The news this week that fast food restaurant Burger King had to pull ‘beef burgers’ from its UK outlets which were supplied by an Irish vender has alarmed many Barbadians. Why you ask? Burger King recently opened its doors at Sky Mall formerly Mall Internationale in Barbados. It is a bold move by Bizzy Williams the principal investo given the view that Barbadians are not regarded as burger lovers. Perhaps he is banking on the fact that Bajans have moved on from the McDonalds experience. Nothing wrong with eating horse meat though, the issue like most things nowadays is it is all about the lack of business ethics and public trust. If you say you are selling beef burgers how the hell does it translate to HORSE MEAT? Let us hope that the carcasses of some of those retired horses owned by Bizzy’s brother do not make it into the kitchen of Burger King Barbados.
What has provoked the interest of BU about the coming of Burger King is a statement made by President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce Lalu Vaswani at the renaming of Sky Mall which coincided with the opening of Burger King:
“… Barbados’ food and beverage and agricultural sectors can greatly benefit from the opportunity to secure long-term supply partnerships with franchises. Equally, it is in the economic interest of franchises to ensure a viable local supply chain, since reinvesting in the local economy promotes economic growth and consumer demand,” he said. (Barbados Advocate – 1/28/2013)
It is a free country and as Vaswani also indicated in his statement, the protective duty period is expected to expire within two years, it will not matter two hoots who Barbadians want to come to our shores to do business, neither goods and services. However, should the current state of things not offend Barbadians and cause us to question a growing penchant for junk food? We are an educated people but here it is the figurehead of the captains of industry is reported to be so lavish in his praise of a fast food restaurant setting up in Barbados.
Are we forgetting that Barbados is still fondly referred to as the ‘Amputation Capital’ of the world? And this is despite the political rhetoric coming from Minister of Health Donville Inniss. Why the hell do we have to jump on the bandwagon by welcoming Burger King to Barbados and in the process give further opportunity to deepen our reputation as the Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) domicile of the world? When our leaders appear to be so accommodating does it not serve to seal a questionable belief by the public that junk food is good?
To the President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce Lalu Vaswani: what good is Burger King establishing in Barbados if any gains to the local economy are quickly eroded by a rising healthcare expense?
No wonder Bushie is frustrated!
The same logic is extended to questioning the several concessions which this government disgorged to Cost-U-Less, a company which is a retailer and an avarice consumer of scare foreign exchange. Was an impact assessment done before giving permission to Cost-U-Less to setup here? Now tell us why spend billions in educating our people and this is where we find ourselves?
It is the silly season and therefore the sentiments expressed above will be happily be spun by the politicos.