This year’s International Business Week Conference, held recently at the Hilton Barbados Resort, has once again been described as a success.
The flagship conference is held each year during the Barbados International Business Week of activities. Organised by Invest Barbados, in collaboration with the Barbados International Business Association and other strategic partners, the event targeted local and international industry professionals, including accountants, attorneys, bankers, insurance and tax advisors, wealth advisors and other business executives, as well as representatives from various government agencies. The conference, held under the theme: Weathering the Perfect Storm: Explore, Evolve & Adapt, attracted 200 attendees.
During the featured address, which was delivered by Hon. Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, he highlighted a number of areas in which the sector had made progress over the last year. Among these included the proclamation of the Foundations Act, 2013-5, the introduction of the Incorporated Cell legislation and Barbados’ signing of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement.
Minister Inniss noted however, that although the sector was clearly “exploring, evolving and adapting”, there was still quite a bit of work to be done across both the public and private sectors.
“… The time is now for there to be that clarion call – a reminder of the need for all of us, as stakeholders, to band together and display that strength and resilience that Barbados is known for. More importantly, we need to implement those creative, feasible and sustainable solutions that will see us moving forward together. For this, I submit, is the only practical way that we can grow, improve and reach greater heights, over the long term.”
The Minister also reiterated that, “despite the various challenges it may face, Barbados’ international business and financial services sector continues to play a significant role in the economic and social development of our country.”
The varied topics, which mostly reflected the conference theme, while identifying and addressing the current issues impacting international financial centres, were delivered by a cadre of expert speakers from Barbados, Canada, Cayman Islands, the UK and the USA. Among them were Ms. Alison Manzer, Partner, Cassels Brock Lawyers; Mr. Gabriel Abed, Co-Founder and CEO, Bitt.com; Prof. Avinash Persaud, Chairman, Intelligence Capital Ltd; Mr. Neil Monhindra, Public Policy Consultant and Freelance Writer; Mr. Sanjay Joshi, Head of Fixed Income, London & Capital, Dr. Don Marshall, Director, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, UWI and Mr. Micho Schumann, Principal, KPMG Cayman.
Over the one and a half days, attendees were also able to view various sponsor exhibits and network with their peers.