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Leading lawyer calls for greater promotion of Nassau’s assets

One of the country's leading lawyers has called for renewed vigor in promoting The Bahamas as a place for investment, saying: "We need to look at our physical assets. That is one thing we do not market enough." 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One of Nassau’s leading lawyers has called for renewed vigor in promoting The Bahamas as a place for investment.

Pamela Klonaris, a senior partner at legal firm Klonaris & Co, believes that more marketing of The Bahamas’ natural resources is key to enhancing the jurisdiction’s international reputation, and put it ahead of competitors in the region.

“We need to look at our physical assets. That is the one thing we do not market enough,” she says. “It distinguishes us from the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other places that have a problem with space. We have availability of land, and all the space to do business. We do not market that enough.”

The lawyer, who served as a director of the Bahamas’ Financial Services Board (BFSB) from 2000 to 2004, would like to see a return to the days when the country attracted investors not only as a place to do business, but also as an idyllic place to live.

“When The Bahamas first started developing its financial services product, it used a two-pronged approach: you can do business here and have a lifestyle here. You could move with your family and have a home and a business,” says Klonaris. “That is the big attraction. It is not too late for us to realize the full potential of that original vision.

“We have so much to offer, but we are not fully cognizant of how much.”

Klonaris, who specializes in corporate and commercial law, believes that the government could do more to attract skilled legal professionals into the sector, especially in terms of administration.

“We need transparency in our immigration process and more attorneys entering the field of financial services. That is one of our biggest priorities right now,” she says.

Klonaris, who is a past chairperson of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), does say, however, that the financial sector has benefitted in recent years from an improved relationship between government and the private sector.

“There has been an increasing focus on financial services by both [recent] administrations and better public sector dialogue with the private sector,” she explains. “I’ve also seen improved response from regulatory authorities such as The Central Bank of The Bahamas.”

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