New President of the Barbados International Business Association outlines priorities for 2011 – 2012

New President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Ms Connie Smith has placed working with Government to reform legislation and practices that hamper business facilitation high on her agenda of priorities.

Prior to her current position, Ms Smith was a Partner with Ernst & Young Caribbean and was responsible for the development and management of its office in the British Virgin Islands. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in the United Kingdom and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Following her election to the post at BIBA’s AGM on Thursday, June 23, Ms Smith noted that the international business sector was one of the key hinges on which Barbados’ economic recovery would swing given its importance to tourism, real estate, sustained foreign exchange earnings, and Government’s overall revenue collection. Therefore, she said, it was critical for BIBA to continue to partner with Government and other organisations to enhance Barbados’ competitiveness.

In order for Barbados to compete on the international front, we must place significant efforts on ramping up the execution of any initiative that focuses on improving business facilitation. It is past time to execute on the several initiatives that have already been studied and articulated,” the Managing Director of Tricor Caribbean emphasised.

Ms Smith, a Barbadian who worked in the sector in the British Virgin Islands for more than a decade prior to returning to Barbados, noted that other jurisdictions were very dynamic in doing what it took to remain competitive in this arena. She drew the example of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tax information compliance ‘white list’ on which Barbados was the only independent Caribbean nation in April 2009, but by January 2010 it had been joined by every other Caribbean nation with an international business focus who had done what was necessary to guarantee their ascension to that list.

With this in mind, Ms Smith said that BIBA would be working with the relevant parties to conduct reviews and, where appropriate, recommend amendments of some of the enabling legislation for international business such as the Companies Act, The Mutual Funds Act, The Exempt Insurance Act, the Regulations to support the International Corporate and Trust Services Providers Act.

On the domestic front, Ms Smith said that BIBA would continue to raise its profile and by extension that of the international business sector in Barbados, especially through the third staging of International Business Week, which would take place in October again this year. She added that this week of activities was critical to raising awareness of the benefits, economic contribution and strategic importance of the sector to all Barbadians.

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