Throughout the many and varied presentations given during Financial Services Week in September, there ran a common thread to the message being promulgated by the Minister of Financial Services and Investments:

*”The Bahamas Government is determined, through wide consultation, to formulate policy, legislation and other means to secure the on-going viability of the industry and our economy.”*

Minister Maynard-Gibson said the **Financial Services Consultative Forum**, shortly to be announced, will be at the heart of this consultative effort. Through a Board and a network of sub-committees, the Forum will thoroughly examine financial sector issues as such relate to the international obligations of The Bahamas, its national interest, market needs and changing market trends. The consultative body will ensure that the views of the private and public sector, regulators and other parties are fully considered.

##Strategic Plan##

The Ministry plans to release a **5 Year Strategic Plan** for both the financial services and the investment arenas in the near future. It has been described as the first national Strategic Plan devised from public and private sector participation and agreed as a national strategy by both sectors. Reportedly, it will unveil opportunities for well qualified Bahamians; linkages to tourism, construction and real estate; enhance government revenue; and build a strong professional community.

Minister Maynard-Gibson believes that the Strategic Plan will bring transparency and accountability to the work of the Financial Services and Investments Ministry. This work, she says, impacts the day-to-day economy in The Bahamas; hence, it mandates a close public/private sector partnership. *”I hope to forge a consensus between the public and private sector on how we will together create economic growth over the ensuing years,”* she said.

##Private Sector Promotional Support##

The new Minister has called upon the private sector to walk and work shoulder to shoulder with the government in spreading the good news that in The Bahamas investors will find a hands on, proactive government, with a pro business attitude. Partners who speak positively of the benefits derived from partnership arrangements are invaluable in a promotional campaign.

The image of strong private sector presence and voice in promoting The Bahamas will ensure that the nation far outdistances its competitors, according to the Minister, who further stated that she looked forward to joint promotions of The Bahamas with the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB). *”Not only is BFSB a firmly planted and highly respected part of the financial sector, it is growing from strength to strength. Over the next few years, I look forward to working with the very dynamic BFSB executive team and its visionary Board of Directors. Those who best understand the market greatly increase opportunities for success. For the Bahamas to reap success in financial services, it must listen attentively to the market. “*

The Ministry continues to pledge its commitment to respond proactively with policy and legislation to meet changing market needs; and to promote the Bahamas as a blue chip, well regulated and co-operative jurisdiction.