Style Observer

My Kingston - CHRISTOPHER BARRETT

Chief Executive Officer, Sprint Financial Services

Sunday, July 02, 2017



What's the best-kept secret in Kingston?

My father's house for Sunday dinner.

What would you do if you were mayor of Kingston for a day?

Petition to be mayor for more than a day! But seriously — as mayor for a day I would feel especially compelled to address the dire state of the city's roadways. I think many people can agree with me in my displeasure about the lackadaisical manner with which the maintenance of infrastructure in general is approached in this country, but especially where our roads are concerned. Kingston is our metropolis and yet it lacks something as basic as proper roads, which isn't just a matter of aesthetics but road safety in general. I would definitely have to see to it that some measures are put in place for the proper overhauling of the city's roads. Perhaps for once I would be able to go through my daily commute and not have it end in my being perturbed about the state of my tyres and bumper or the thought that I may have left behind pieces of my undercarriage in the road driving to work in the morning.

As the lead of your own micro-finance company in a mushrooming industry, how do you maximise its reach and sustain growth potential?

The key words here are “convenience”, “technology” and “innovation”. I am constantly looking at new and creative ways to make access to financing easier and convenient for my customers. I have pioneered the incorporation of the “drive-through” method of getting loans into my business. What this essentially means is, just like going to Burger King and being able to place an order and receive your goods without leaving the comfort of your car, similarly we are allowing customers to access all aspects of loan servicing at their own convenience (from home, on the go, etc). They never have to come into our office for any aspect of the application process, for example, all our customers sign their loan agreement through touch- screen on their smartphone. Payments can be made in real time by cellphone and also at a wide range of outlets and the reach of our service extends islandwide.

Financial entrepreneurship often sees more failures than success. Is there a fail-proof method to strike out against the odds?

I would not necessarily use the term “fail-proof” with regard to any method employed in pursuit of entrepreneurship. With everything there is great risk and, with regard to entrepreneurial pursuits, this is exceedingly so. It is also instrumental to note that it is simply unavoidable that you will experience pitfalls, especially when just starting out. There is a large margin for failure in business; however, one might perhaps shift the odds in favour of success by being consistent, investing a great deal in research and development of the business, being innovative and forward- thinking and by staying on the edge of technology.

What's your current TV obsession?

I am currently hooked on the show Suits. I love the intelligence and the wittiness of the writing. I also like the fact that it is essentially a show that focuses on leverage, and I can relate to that.

The art of diplomacy matters except when ...

... life and death hang in the balance.

What is the next chapter of your life entitled, and what's the two-sentence summation?

The next chapter of my life would be entitled “Balance”. As it regards my business and my personal life I'm now more focused on having balance between the two. I'm looking towards the prospect of starting my family and all that that entails. to quote Bob Marley “if my life is jus fi me mi nuh want it”.

You're seemingly the lone survivor of a global catastrophic event, but soon discover you're not alone. Who would you want it revealed as the world's other living human, and why?

Well, firstly, and perhaps imperatively, the other human would have to be female, preferably one who is strong emotionally, resourceful, has strong spiritual beliefs, a sense of humour, a lot of “energy” and is as committed to repopulating the earth as I would be!

The thing that irritated you most about your parent when you were younger, and is now a trait you possess is...

When I was younger my parents had always been obsessed with being organised and extremely task-oriented. I have found myself gravitating towards a similar disposition. I now have to be organised, every morning or at nights I “have” to make note of everything I'm going to be doing the next day.

Your most cherished summer getaway was...

Hawaii. I spent an amazing summer in Hawaii. I learned to surf, scuba dive, rock climb, made life-long friends and I ate the sweetest pineapples on earth. Being a pilot I also had the opportunity to island-hop to the different islands. Beside Jamaica the Hawaiian Islands are perhaps the most topographicaly beautiful place I have ever seen.

The book sitting dog-eared by the bed is...

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Do you opt for fashion labels or cultivating your own stylised individuality?

I like to dabble in a little bit of both. I do have a few preferred labels but I also like to mix things up and cultivate my own style from time to time.

Etched on your headstone will be...

“To be continued...”

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