Nassau, Bahamas – Remarks by Senator, The Hon Z.C. Allyson Maynard Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs at The Bahamas Financial Services Board Excellence Annual Gala Awards Dinner British Colonial Hilton Hotel Governors Ballroom Friday 14th November, 2014:
Good evening nominees, and ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased to be here tonight at your Annual Gala Awards Dinner to bring remarks on behalf of the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The government of The Bahamas recognizes that the success of The Bahamas is linked to the success of the second pillar of our economy.
The Bahamas’ greatest asset is its people. People (human capital) are vital to the success of financial services.
We are in an environment where competence is assumed and even taken for granted. Expertise, efficiency and excellence will distinguish us in the new competitive normal. Tonight BFSB recognizes the expertise, efficiency and excellence of the stars of our industry. I am filled with national pride as I congratulate all nominees and their families tonight.
As I look at the stars being recognized tonight [all nominees are stars] I think that we can affirm that The Bahamas is the best little country in the world. We have Academy Award winners, Grammy Award winners; Olympic Gold Medalists; Rhodes Scholars and Financial Services Stars. When people look at The Bahamas as financial services destination they see you. Your professional and academic lives match your colleagues all over the world. You showcase The Bahamas – where we plan to go from strength to strength.
Our world standing is good and we are constantly exploring ways for improvement. Recently, after extensive consultations with the industry led by BFSB; AIBT and the Ministry of Financial Services, the government of The Bahamas announced our commitment to implementing global standards on the automatic exchange of information by 2018. Next year, The Bahamas will undergo the CFATF Fourth Round Review.
In order to sustain and expand the sector, especially in an era of transparency, The Bahamas must stand out as a centre of expertise, efficiency and excellence.
While we celebrate expertise, efficiency and excellence I want to thank members of the sector for the spirit of volunteerism and dedication manifested by your active engagement and involvement in industry associations like BFSB.
The Prime Minister has set the tone for public private sector collaboration and cooperation. The fruit of this collaboration is the development of new product legislation, like the ICON. This collaboration was also critically important in developing at the Registrar General’s Department the new automated system to incorporate IBCs and Companies Act companies entirely online – from name registration to obtaining the certificate of incorporation. I repeat, entirely online. The target date for the IBC Pilot Project is December 1st and for the Companies Act Pilot Project is December 8th.
We expect that voluntary dissolutions will be available online within the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime the manual process for such dissolutions has been streamlined and we expect that you will see a marked improvement in delivery times. Again, we thank BFSB for its collaboration on these Projects.
Also this year we expect that Notary Public licenses will be applied for and issued online.
This week the Prime Minister announced the launch of the cellular liberalization process. Like financial services the success of ICTs requires intellectual capital. Look around the room. I am satisfied that The Bahamas is ready to compete and excel.
As I end I note that the person receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the person to whom I presented the Minister’s Award when I was the Minister of Financial Services and Investment in 2002 – Mr. Ian Fair. In congratulating him I too acknowledge his tremendous contributions to financial services.
Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” That wisdom holds true for this industry and indeed for the country. To the extent that we exemplify excellence, we do so not by a single act but by consistent acts. Those consistent acts will transform financial services into the number one pillar of the economy in your lifetime. Look around the room at your colleagues. Look at yourselves. You are the frontline for effecting this transformation.
As I take my seat I invite you to continue to mentor and expose and inspire young people to the myriad of vistas and opportunities afforded by financial services. I also encourage you to remember that consistency in expertise; efficiency and excellence are the yardsticks that will propel financial services to the number one spot in The Bahamas and to world preeminence.