Bridgetown, Barbados, November 21, 2014. Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion agencies (CAIPA), in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), through funding support from the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) hosted the Annual CAIPA General Assembly at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Dominican Republic from November 17-18, 2014. In her opening remarks to the General Assembly, Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Mrs. Coke-Hamilton, noted that “ Caribbean Export has had the pleasure of co-hosting all five of the annual meetings (of CAIPA) subsequent to our assuming the role of the CAIPA Secretariat, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with CAIPA.” It was within this vein that a Letter of Exchange between CAIPA and Caribbean Export, strengthening the relationship between the 2 regional entities focused on regional investment promotion, was signed during the Opening Ceremony.
Under the theme “Implementing a Regional Strategy for Investment Attraction” Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) officials from Member countries that include: The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, sought to focus attention on the recently completed Regional Investment Promotion Strategy (RIPS) and to propose initiatives towards its implementation in 2015. The RIPS was developed under the guidance of a Regional Investment Promotion Steering Committee, led by Professor Alvin Wint of the University of the West Indies, Mona. The Strategy document was completed in September 2014.
The Opening Ceremony of the CAIPA Meeting saw presentations from the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Council for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), both supporters of the development of CAIPA as an institution. In delivering the guest presentation, Mr. Carlos Gonzalez, President of the Association of Foreign Investors in the Dominican Republic noted the importance of understanding the motivations of regional investors in order to craft policies that are fair and transparent. He indicated that foreign investors are not interested in receiving benefits over and above those available to all investors. They want a level playing field.
Another special feature of the Assembly was the adoption of the CAIPA Statutes by a majority vote and the official signing of these Statutes by its members. This year’s General Assembly also saw the hosting of the biennial elections to the CAIPA Board of Directors. The new CAIPA President is Mr. McHale Andrew, Chief Executive Officer of the National Investment Promotion Agency of Saint Lucia (Invest Saint Lucia).
In his first remarks as President of CAIPA, Mr. Andrew shared that as he assumes this role he is deftly aware that the “…economic future of Saint Lucia is necessarily intertwined with the fortunes of our Caribbean neighbors and IPA partners”. It is with this in mind that his efforts will be directed at supporting the attraction of increased investment flows into the region.
The other members of the Board include, Ms. Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO, Dr. Jean Alain Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Centre for Export and Investment of the Dominican Republic, standing as first and second Vice Presidents of CAIPA for the period 2015-2017, assisted by the following Directors: Ms. Racquel Moses, President of invesTT (Trinidad & Tobago), Ms. Lejia Melanie Gideon, Executive Director (Actg) of BELTRAIDE, Ms. Bernadette Ambrose Black, Executive Director of InvestSVG and Mr. Ryan Rajkumarsingh, Executive Director of the Cayman Island Department of Commerce & Investment.
In his last presentation to the CAIPA membership as President, Mr. Ronald Theodore, CEO (Actg.) of the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) commented “CAIPA has come a long way since its inception in 2007. And there is still a far way to go, but I am heartened by the commitment of CAIPA members to the Association and the support afforded by Caribbean Export for CAIPA’s institutional development.”
The CAIPA Annual Meeting 2014 also saw the second hosting of the Regional Investor of the Year Award (RIYA) for the Caribbean territories who are members of CAIPA. The Award seeks to recognize and promote the contribution of foreign and local investors to the Caribbean economy and this year, the focus was on investors in the green economy and on women investors. Thirteen countries participated in this year’s event with the following category winners: Foreign Investor of the Year – Palmis Eneji of Haiti; Local Investors of the Year, EGE Haina of the Dominican Republic and NCB Group Ltd of the Cayman Islands; and the Special Award went to Manpower & Maintenance Services Group of Companies Ltd. from Jamaica. The overall winner of the Regional Investor of the Year Award for 2014 was NCB Group Ltd of the Cayman Islands. The company focuses on the construction of homes using sustainable methods and on the installation of geothermal cooling systems in buildings. The CAIPA AGM and the RIYA were both made possible with the support of the EU under the 10th EDF RPSDP that is managed by Caribbean Export.