By Betty Vedrine, Bahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, the Hon. Brent Symonette says that the government is committed to easing the way business is conducted in the country. The Minister made the comments while delivering opening remarks at the 6th Annual Arbitration and Investment Seminar, held at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at the University of The Bahamas yesterday.
“While The Bahamas is recognized internationally as a mature, well-regulated and sophisticated international financial centre with international financial institutions delivering a myriad of services including banking, private banking and trust service, investment advisory services and insurance among others, there are real concerns about the ease of doing business in The Bahamas which has the potential to erode our competitive advantage in these areas globally,” said Minister Symonette.
He said that as globalization continues, The Bahamas has to meet the demands of the global community including its perception of the country as a business centre and its expectations.
“We cannot be left behind as our regional neighbors make changes to the way they do business to position their countries globally,” he said. “Too much is at stake for the Bahamian people, particularly the youth of our country, the backbone of the future.”
He said with this objective in mind, the government would implement a number of initiatives aimed at improving the ease in which business is conducted. He pointed to three priority areas.
“Those areas include the business license process, the investor proposal process and various immigration processes, including work permits,” said Minister Symonette, “The government will also move to bring ‘greater transparency’ to the processes of doing business in The Bahamas.”
He said that as it pertains to resolving disputes, the government remains committed to the establishment of the country as a modern and sophisticated international commercial arbitration centre.
“We believe that given our developed financial services sector and large ship registry, there are opportunities which can allow these matters to be arbitrated here in The Bahamas creating jobs for Bahamian professionals while having trickle down for the economy at large. The potential for long term employment opportunities for Bahamian professionals has to be stressed.”
Topics discussed at the summit included, ‘Smooth or Rough seas? Challenges to Maritime Arbitration,’ ‘Court-Connected Mediation & Arbitration, Anti-Suit Injunctions, Helpful or Harmful’ and ‘Construction Adjudication: Baha Mar Open, Now Have We Learned the Lessons for Construction Dispute Resolution?’