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Questions for Nassau talks

Tony Best

Questions for Nassau talks

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Are the prospects bright for a strong rebound in 2014-15 by members of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation? How about the fallout from the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which became effective on July 1 and is drawing increasing attention in and out of Barbados, Canada, China, the Bahamas, Jamaica and more than 70 other countries in different regions of the world?

As the US and British economies continue to show strength, should The Bahamas, Barbados and their Caribbean neighbours expect a steady flow of foreign direct investment?

They are some of the key questions which Caribbean and American business executives, prominent public figures in the US, the Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean, economists and entrepreneurs are expected to answer when they attend the 19th annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference in Nassau from November 6 to 9.

“They are important questions for the public and private sectors in the United States and the archipelago of islands across the Caribbean,” said Karl Rodney, publisher of the New York Carib News and the key organiser of the conference.

“We have seen projections for a three per cent growth spurt in the US economy this year and should that be achieved the impact on countries that range from The Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, the Cayman Islands and their neighbours could be significant, helping them to return to economic growth and reduced unemployment.

“After all, most of the island-destinations rely on tourism for jobs, foreign exchange and trade. A vigorous growth rate in the US would brighten the spirits of hoteliers, stores, taxi-owners and drivers and employees of businesses involved in the hospitality sector. We expect participants in our conference to analyze the economic prospects for 2014-15.”

A hot button issue is the implementation of FATCA, a global US tax that is affecting American citizens, green card holders and foreign-born business people with substantial interest in the US.

“This is a far-reaching bit of legislation that’s affecting 77 000 financial institutions in about 80 countries,” Rodney said.

“Failure by foreign banks to comply can pose some dire consequences for them, such as being frozen out of the US market completely. That’s why so many countries are moving to comply.

“We believe this issue can become crucial to businesses and individuals in the US and the Caribbean and that’s why we plan to devote a session to the implications of FATCA. We hope to bring some clarity to the issue.”

This year’s conference to be held at Sandal’s Resort in the Bahamian capital is expected to attract more than 120 executives, legislators and parliamentarians, government officials and representatives of US and Caribbean trade, financial and business organizations.

Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, P.J. Patterson, who led Jamaica longer than anyone else since the country became independent in 1962, and David Dinkins, New York City’s first Black Mayor, are expected to address the conference.