In last month’s special “Elections Issue” of the BFSB Online Newsletter, we indicated that the governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) very early in its administration had addressed one of the key issues it identified for the country’s financial services sector in its election campaign. That is, the appointment of a person of Cabinet rank to head the promotion of the industry.

BFSB asked a selection of industry practitioners to comment on the creation of the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments, with the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, M.P., as Minister. Their feedback follows:

*”We are very pleased to see the creation of the new Ministry of Financial Services and Investments; such a vital step in the revitalisation and re-engineering of the second pillar of the economy. The energy and commitment to dialogue already displayed by the Minister bodes well for the future of the industry.”*
**Betty Roberts, CEO,
SG Hambros Bank and Trust Bahamas Ltd.**

*”It is good to see that the government has formally recognised the importance of the financial services industry to our country by appointing a cabinet minister with responsibilities of the industry. I note, further, that the Prime Minister’s choice in Minister Gibson could not have been better. She clearly has the experience and talents to help this sector to not only compete internationally, but to be a strong voice in the international community.”*
**Paul D. Moss, Vice President,
Dominion Management Services Limited**

*”Mrs. Maynard-Gibson brings a wealth of experience in the sector to her new appointment. Her energy and frankness have given hope to many persons involved in financial services. This should generate confidence as she and her Government plan the re-vitalisation of this industry.”*
**Lester Turnquest, Managing Director,
Britannia Group**

*”A breath of fresh air to breathe new life into the sector. A brave new face to tackle the challenges that face the jurisdiction. A practitioner with a wealth of experience, both at home and internationally, who will bring a new level of understanding and priority in government with respect to the needs of the sector and the competitive difficulties we all face going forward. Minister Gibson’s appointment is a sign of the government’s recognition that the sector merits proper representation and a sign of confidence in the future of the sector. As the Minister has said, if the government and the private sector work as a team, we will deliver effective results which will produce a stronger and better equipped financial services sector.”*
**Geoffrey Hooper, Chairman,
The Winterbotham Trust Company Limited**

*”We are pleased with the appointment of Mrs. Allyson Maynard-Gibson as the Minister of Financial Services and Investments. The new minister is a multi-talented professional, eminently qualified for the position and, having served as a director of BFSB, is aware of the current challenges faced by the financial industry. We are certain that, with the support of the sector, she will effect positive change so The Bahamas can maintain its position as a premier offshore financial centre.”*
**Diane Pindling, General Manager,
Deerfield International Administrative Services Ltd.**

*”The appointment of the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson as Minister of Financial Services and Investments fulfils an election promise by the PLP for this important sector to have its own ministry and underscores the government’s commitment for the country’s financial services industry. Minister Gibson, a respected attorney and social advocate, possesses the energy, spirit and dedication to secure the future of the industry – a welcome and timely appointment.”*
**Vincent King, Managing Director,
Swiss Financial Services (Bahamas) Ltd.**

In announcing the creation of the Ministry, Prime Minister Christie said its main focus will be to provide leadership and direction in restoring The Bahamas to the pre-eminent position it once enjoyed as an international financial and banking centre. *”This Ministry will also have as its role the task of mounting and sustaining an aggressive campaign both locally and internationally to attract new investment in all areas of economic life,*” announced the Prime Minister.

Minister Maynard-Gibson revealed in the House of Assembly recently that the Government will release a five-year plan for further development of the financial services sector. A primary goal of the new Ministry is to make The Bahamas more competitive in the provision of financial services through the development of new products and ensuring the quality of service. *”Client expectations must be exceeded,”* she said.