Within the next few weeks, the Government intends to present to Parliament legislation that will enable e-commerce and e-government to flourish in The Bahamas.

Addressing delegates at the 47th Convention of the governing Progressive Liberal Party, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services and Investments, said that e-commerce, e-government and other aspects of the electronic world affects every aspect of life in The Bahamas.

The development of e-commerce throughout the entire Bahamas is a major component of the Government’s plan for diversification of the economy and positioning The Bahamas as a blue chip financial centre.

The Ministry of Financial Services and Investments has committed to working closely with the Ministry of Finance to develop the enabling framework for the e-commerce industry and will move forward expeditiously to promote this new industry for The Bahamas. Through promotion and consultation with industry stakeholders investment in e-commerce will be encouraged, according to Minister Maynard-Gibson.

A large part of the e-government component of this initiative is to fully computerise the Companies Registry by the end of this year. This will mean that company names may be reserved and companies formed, annual returns filed and payments made from anywhere in the world. It is anticipated that the entire Registry will be fully computerised over the next 24 months.

Financial services and e-business require efficient, reliable and affordable communications, said the Minister, emphasising Government’s commitment to ensure the delivery of efficient, affordable and reliable services.

Attorney General The Hon. Alfred Sears, in his address to the Convention, reported that by January 2003 an integrated justice network will be in place. The Bahamas Integrated Justice Information System (BIJIS) is a computerised system accessible to all of the various elements of the “law and order” system in The Bahamas – including the Office of the Attorney General and the Courts.