The Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, in her opening address to delegates attending the 3rd Caribbean Conference on the International Financial Services Sector on March 31, 2014, has reiterated the importance of the crucial role of the sector in regional development.

“Given the significance of this sector to this region’s development, it is clear that we as a regional agency must work with your stakeholders to find solutions to the myriad challenges facing this sector. The challenges this vital services export faces, places us in a precarious position and affects our growth as a region. Many countries in the region have sustained their share of criticism as tax havens which has led to a distorted and negative perception of the work undertaken in the region.”

She called on key stakeholders including the private sector and Governments to play a pivotal role in protecting the financial sector “I would like to challenge our regional IFC’s and governments to move beyond stating grievances about external threats and move towards finding practical mechanisms towards keeping the sector vibrant and innovative. We may try to mitigate the global threats we face as a region, but there is only so much that we can control, what we can control however, are the competitive positions of the IFC’s which operate in our member states,” she said.

Coke Hamilton noted that IFC’s must become more competitive in order to stay ahead of the game.

“We must approach this sector as we would any other business and ask the hard questions… what must we do differently to ensure that clients are satisfied and to stay with us….all hands must be on deck, we must continue deeper engagements, we must also deepen the levels of cooperation as we seek to strengthen regional economic growth,” she added.

The 3rd Caribbean Conference on the International Finance Services Sector is jointly hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the Government of The Bahamas, with the focus of providing a forum for policy makers, regulators and finance practitioners of Caribbean International Financial Centres to interact with the architects of the major global financial policy initiatives.


By Kathy Barrett