Laws can boost foreign interest
GOVERNMENT SHOULD PUT MORE emphasis on legislative development and business facilitation, according to Barbados International Business Association executive director Henderson Holmes.
Noting that economic uncertainties have dampened growth prospects across the industrial sectors, he said it was imperative that those responsible for guiding Barbados’ strategic development zero in on areas that can make the island competitive in attracting foreign investment.
He said Government took the right step in this direction by tabling the Private Trust Companies Bill in Parliament in October.
“It is expected that the passage of this legislation will be attractive to wealthy families for their asset-protection strategies.
“This, along with the long awaited foundations legislation, would put Barbados squarely in the sights of high net-worth individuals and their advisors in the Latin American market, which is opening up as the new frontier for international business growth in Barbados,” he said.
Writing in the December edition of the Central Bank Of Barbados International Business And Financial Services Newsletter, Holmes expressed the hope that the passage of these and several other eagerly awaited pieces of business legislation would be accelerated in the new year to boost Barbados’ competitiveness.
He stressed, however, that the passage of new legislation in itself would not attract and maintain international business.
“There also needs to be greater urgency in ensuring that our private and public sector institutions which play key roles in the establishment and conduct of business on the island can consistently deliver their services at the standard expected by global investors.
“A key but perhaps overlooked player in this area is the Barbados judicial system,” he said.
The executive director noted that the “unfortunate extreme sluggishness of our court processes” was a major deterrent to international investors looking for responsiveness and efficiency.
“Even when they do establish here, most international entities refuse to make Barbados the deciding courts in their contracts – a poor reflection on us as an international business and financial centre.
“It is therefore hoped that the new year will bring a new national resolve and determination to significantly improve the ways in which we do business as a country [in order] to ensure we capitalize on more of the opportunities with which we are presented and truly realize our potential as an international business centre,” he said. (NB)