**Julian W. Francis, CBE
Governor, Central Bank of The Bahamas**

Addressing BFSB’s annual Awards Banquet last week, the Governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas pointed out that sixty-seven years have passed since The Bahamas entered the international financial services business, with the establishment in 1936 of The Bahamas General Trust.

Political evolution provided the opportunity for the broad relevance of the industry to the Bahamian economy, and eventually for the developing sense of “ownership of the industry” that Bahamian professionals feel today. This is reflected in statistics that show that of the 4,523 persons employed in the banking and trust industry, less than 300 are expatriates.

While paying tribute to the Bahamian professionals, Governor Julian Francis also thanked those who have “temporarily or permanently adopted The Bahamas as home”, many of whom he said have contributed to the gains made in the financial services industry over the years.

Commending BFSB on the annual awards programme – a formal system of peer recognition of “professional excellence” – Mr. Francis took the opportunity to put forth a recommendation of how the industry might be propelled even further forward. In addition to recognising leadership, management, compliance and professional achievement generally, he called on BFSB to also encourage innovation through the introduction of an award for new ideas to the industry.

*”In addition to the above things which we are constantly doing better – hence tonight’s awards – it will be on the battle field of new techniques and products, in particular, that the battle for leadership in financial services among jurisdictions will be won as we move forward,”*said Governor Francis.

The 2003 Financial Services Industry Awards went to:

**Executive of the Year**: Heather L. Thompson, Partner, Higgs & Johnson

**Professional Excellence**: Cheryl Major-Bazard, FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Ltd.

**Achiever of the Year**: Alicetine Newbold, Office Administrator, Arner Bank & Trust.

The annual awards programme is a major component of BFSB’s ongoing Financial Centre Focus initiative, an ongoing public relations outreach promoting the industry. It seeks to showcase those “role models” who have made outstanding contribution to the development of the financial services industry.