PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis addresses the CEO Summit of the Americas, in Lima, Peru, on Friday. (BIS Photo: Yontalay Bowe)
By Lindsay Thompson
LIMA, Peru – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Friday assured leading businesspersons and Heads of State from the region that the Bahamas is emerging from the global financial crisis of 2008 and encouraged them to explore investment opportunities in this island nation.
Speaking at the third CEO Summit of the Americas at the Westin Lima Hotel, Dr Minnis also brought his platform of transparency in governance to the conference, which is being held under the theme “Democratic Governance Against Corruption".
The Prime Minister is further scheduled to address the Summit Plenary on Saturday. His speaking slot is number five during the morning session.
The CEO session, which precedes the two-day eighth Summit of the Americas, is deemed the most important business forum of the Americas.
“It is an honour to participate in this third CEO Summit of the Americas as we engage in dialogue on integration and partnerships for fuelling economic growth in the Americas,” Dr Minnis said.
“We are encouraged that our 2018 GDP growth is estimated at 2.5 per cent,” he said. “Given planned strategic public sector investments, there are accelerated projections for 2019. The Bahamas has always been a paradise for tourists. We are also a paradise for investors and businessmen. We invite you to explore the Bahamas advantage.”
The Prime Minister said that it is the responsibility of government leaders to create the best environment in which businesses in respective jurisdictions may flourish, and that transparency and integrity are crucial in this process.
“As leaders, whether in government or commerce, we can all attest that we are often required to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions. This includes in the areas of good governance and accountability,” he said.
In this vein, he said that the government of the Bahamas is undertaking dramatic reforms to include: enhancing provisions for confiscation of assets derived from corrupt means, enhancing the independence and autonomy of the Office of Public Prosecutions, advancing the freedom of information from the government to the public, taking the first steps to establish an Ombudsman’s Office and ensuring an Integrity Commission to spearhead reform and investigate issues related to corruption, financial disclosure, malfeasance and misfeasance, while strengthening the public sector code of conduct and bolstering whistleblower protections.
“We seek to implement international best practices that will make us a leading jurisdiction in the hemisphere,” he said.
Dr Minnis also noted that upon assuming office in May 2017, his government appreciated the critical need to uncap human capital.
“We were determined to unleash the ingenuity of Bahamian entrepreneurs in order to stimulate, expand and sustain a modern Bahamas economy,” he said
“We knew this would be accomplished in tandem with strategic inward investment, underpinned by the principles of inclusivity, economic and social empowerment, and transparency in governance. We consulted and continue to collaborate with civil society and the private sector.”
The first Summit of the Americas was convened in Miami, Florida, in December 1994. This summit was the first of a series of events with leaders from 34 countries of the Americas. Since its inception, the Summit has served as the region's highest-level process for cooperation on increasing economic competitiveness, fostering growth and development, improving regional and citizen security, and promoting democracy and human rights.
The Prime Minister leads a delegation which includes Senator Carl Bethel, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs; Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd; Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield; Joshua Sears, senior policy advisor to the Prime Minister; Viana Gardiner, Chief Operating Officer of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit; Mrs Patricia Minnis, and other officials.
The Republic of Peru has a multi-ethnic population of over 31 million. It is located in western South America bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile and in the west by the Pacific Ocean.