Over the past several decades Barbados has built for itself a
reputation as a high quality international business and financial
services centre, where global businesses can establish operations
to compete worldwide. Companies that set up in Barbados are
assured of good telecommunications, connectivity to major centres
like London, Toronto and New York, attractive lifestyles for staff
who relocate here, lower cost of operations than in New York and
London, and a safe, well regulated environment for their
operations. The fact that English is our native language, our
educated labour force, and our location in a convenient time zone
are additional factors that make Barbados an attractive
The invitation from Barbados to international investors is to
take advantage of our network of double taxation agreements
(DTA's) and bilateral investment treaties (BIT's) to
establish business of substance in Barbados, to service a global
clientele. Those who take up our offer choose to do so
because their Barbados operations allow them to be more competitive
and profitable than they would be if they provided the same
services from alternative locations. That is because the
alternatives do not offer the attractive combination of features
that Barbados affords them. Their decision is based on the
strength of the underlying business proposition.
It is because of this underlying economic logic that we are
confident of the future of our international business centre.
Their operations in Barbados enhance the overall profitability of
the firms that are located here, and that enables them to price
their services more keenly, have greater resources to invest in
growing their businesses, and provide a more attractive return to
their shareholders. The growing financial strength of these
companies makes a positive contribution to the growth of the
national income in their countries of origin.
The sector has become an important source of new jobs for legal,
financial and other professional jobs, and the skills they employ
will, over time, expose Barbadians to an ever widening range of
specialisations. As locals master those skills we strengthen
the case for international firms to locate in Barbados, because
they will be able to recruit from a local labour pool.
As everyone knows, our international business sector faces
challenges. The interpretations of provisions in our double
taxation treaty have changed, undermining the viability of some
businesses and some activities. In addition, it has become
increasingly inconvenient for smaller international business
companies to establish operating accounts in Barbados. This
has come about in spite of Barbados' sterling reputation as a
well-regulated, transparent, high quality jurisdiction.
These challenges, which Government and the Central Bank are
tackling in robust, proactive fashion, have slowed the growth of
our IBFS sector temporarily, but they do not impair its inherent
potential. That potential is based on all the factors that make
Barbados a competitive location, and that create profits for the
investing companies, jobs and income for Barbadians, and investment
income and economic growth for the economies of Canada and all
other economies that are home to foreign investors. In the
end, these factors create an economic logic which continues to
drive the expansion of the IBFS sector. And in the meantime,
efforts continue to have the unjustified roadblocks removed, once
and for all.
Source: Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor, Central Bank of
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