”Let me welcome you here in The Bahamas. We have close relations with all your home countries, namely Barbados, The British Virgin Islands, Canada, The Cayman Islands, Curacao, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and The United States. We are all in this together.
I welcome the CEO of BDO, and the Latin American coordinator of BDO from Uruguay. I recently met the Heads of Government in St. Lucia and have fresh in my mind the common problems of the region.
You are an important firm. BDO Bahamas is a member firm of BDO International , the world’s fifth largest accounting network offering Audit, Tax and Advisory services to clients in 137 countries and employs 49,000 people. I have known your local chief Clifford Culmer for most of my life. He is married to a favourite cousin.
I want to encourage you not to be bystanders, but encourage wealth creation ideas from amongst you.
As a partnership in development, we have made some specific promises as a government: No new taxes, in fact the government has reduced taxes.
We promised to create jobs in this country by growing the economy. We did this the last time we were in office with 22,000 jobs created in our five years of governance, with positive growth in the economy.
To pledged to ensure that the standards in our country with regard to trade, finance, business and public administration are consistent with international best practices. We have pledged to double the investment in education as a means of ensuring growth of the economy and job creation.
We believe that in the fall of 2014, when the new hotel at Cable Beach will open, some 7,000 people will need to be hired to man those new hotels, a $2.6 billion investment. There are signs of positive growth.
Our tourism sector is important toward wealth creation and the Financial Services Sector. Many bring their wealth here after first seeing the country as a tourist.
We continue to be concerned about the sounds of hostility from many developed countries regarding the wealth accumulation managed in financial service sectors like The Bahamas. The arguments are impatient of debate that these wealth accumulation centres in The Bahamas and the centres in this region help to mobilise capital which eventually ends up in the economies of developed countries. These centres are not harmful to developed countries and their leaders should not say so.
You can help us make the case to defend these financial centres from your vantage point and profession. You can help us explain to the international lending agencies the real story on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a financing tool for decision makers.
In conclusion then, I wish to thank you for coming to The Bahamas. I hope that your conference is successful.”
The Minister’s remarks were made at the recent BDO North America and Caribbean regional meeting, hosted by BDO Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island. 25 high level delegates were in attendance; including BDO’s CEO, Martin Van Roekel, and the Regional Senior Partners for Latin America, and for North America and Caribbean.
A key theme of the Minister’s remarks was wealth creation, and BDO Bahamas is well-placed to help our clients make this a reality. This is because we set high standards, and put in place global systems that give our people the responsibility for delivering a tailored service that works for our clients. Business cultures differ around the world, so a tailored client service is of paramount importance.
BDO prides itself in adapting to individual clients and getting the right service mix. BDO firms across the world have freedom and flexibility, and it’s up to us to get exceptional client service right for our clients. It’s a customized approach, not off-the-peg, and one which is already benefiting our clients in the Bahamas.