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Minister Symonette hints at immigration reform

While delivering the keynote address at the Bahamas Financial Services Board meeting held this week, Minister of Financial Services Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette outlined some of the government’s objectives regarding financial services, saying that more has to be done to improve the country’s second industry in terms of ease of doing business and increasing competitiveness. Pictured: Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette, delivers the keynote address at the British Colonial Hilton. (BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

While delivering the keynote address at the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) meeting held September 20, 2017 at the British Colonial Hilton, Minister of Financial Services Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette outlined some of the government’s objectives regarding financial services, saying that more has to be done to improve the country’s second industry.


“Over the past few months as the new Minister of Financial Services, I have recognized that there is a critical need to enable the financial services industry to operate more efficiently,” said the Minister.

This efficiency, according the Minister, would be achieved if the government implemented several measures including resourcing and restructuring the government agencies that provide support.

The Minister said that by allowing for a more “competitive” environment through legislative reform and the development of new products and services in an environment that is customer friendly, The Bahamas would have a comparative or superior edge to competing jurisdictions.

He also pointed to the easing of the immigration process so that it is more business friendly, timely and efficient in order to prevent the hindrance of operations as to allow options that make it feasible for investors to choose The Bahamas not only for business purposes, but also as a place to reside.

He said that it is also of paramount importance that a change takes place in the way that business is conducted in the country.

“It is clear that what we are doing is not enough. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results. We have to open our minds and The Bahamas must find ways to open its doors to a global economy that allows professional exchanges that foster growth. And by this, I mean the exchange of legal expertise in certain areas like trust, arbitration, maritime and other financial services aspects. We must be forward thinking to open our economy so that we can advance ourselves. We must do this to survive,” said Minister Symonette.

He said that there are many untapped opportunities out there and that the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments “is open” to listening to the voices of the private and public sectors in order to devise solutions to drive change and provide opportunities to grow the economy.

“My ministry has met with numerous entities over the past several months, and I can say that the universal challenge facing the industry has been centred heavily around the increased pressure from global regulatory bodies such as the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the need to focus on the ease of doing business in The Bahamas; and the enhancement and integration of government departments through advanced technology,” said Minister Symonette.

“We are listening very carefully and have identified areas deemed to be quick fixes or low hanging fruits to which we have already begun to make improvements. It is time now to bring forth solutions instead of continuing to focus on the challenges.”

Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson has called for Grand Bahama to become an arbitration hub at the opening of the Alternative Dispute Resolution seminar.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis gave welcome remarks at a meeting of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) officials at the Island House, September 26, 2017.

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