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Date: 22 Jul, 2015
Source: Nation Newspaper

The private sector, especially international business and financial service providers, has not only been marketing Barbados as a place with which to do business, but also helps to shape public policy here.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, made the comment when he gave an update on his recent two-day trip to Colombia to explore investment with linkages to that Latin American country. The tour was coordinated by Invest Barbados and a Barbados-based Colombian-owned company.

“I can say there is an excellent working relationship with the Barbados International Business Association and the rest of international business sector and the Government. We rely heavily on their expertise [and] there is great mutual respect. It is not that we always agree on everything, but I can say that there is undoubtedly the commitment on the part on the private sector to grow Barbados’ international business and financial sector.

Inniss said while people might query why Colombia, the reality was that language was no barrier for conducting business in the financial and international business sectors.

“In the past we would have invested a lot of resources in Canada and it still remains our main source market. I think last year we managed about CAN$70 billion in investment through Barbados. We continue to be the No. 3 place for investment out of Canada which is commendable. We still maintain some out of the USA and parts of Europe. We have committed to expand our wings into the Latin American market. I can tell you the business is growing out of Mexico, Venezuela and certainly we are now making a greater push to the rest of the South American continent.”

Inniss said the visit to Colombia, comprising businessmen, bankers, lawyers and tourism officials, was very productive.

He also said there were discussions with Aviatur, the largest tour company in Colombia, “and almost with immediate effect they are going to start promoting Barbados as a place for tourists. We also had a good meeting with Avianca Airlines and if both sides are able to hold steadfast to the discussions, I would expect that at the end of the year, Avianca would be flying to Barbados direct from Bogotá…”

During the mission to Colombia, Invest Barbados hosted an International Business Seminar in Bogotá. The seminar was geared towards fostering stronger business relationships between Colombia and Barbados. It was also designed to raise Barbados’ profile as an investment location for both Colombian investors and global investors making investments into Colombia.

Minister Inniss delivered the feature address to the audience which included more than 70 persons from the banking, insurance, legal, tourism and investment sectors in Colombia, as well as approximately 15 public and private sector delegates from Barbados. Key presentations were also heard from Sir Trevor Carmichael, KA, LVQ, Q.C., Chancery Chambers; Mr. Tyson Thompson, Thompson Henry & Associates; Mr. Paul Jenkins, Scotia Bank and Mr. Felipe Daza, Global Tuition & Education Insurance Corp.

The seminar was deemed to be successful and productive by all participants.