Bahamians went to the polls on May 2nd to elect a new government for the next five years and, in their proud tradition, they registered and voted in overwhelming numbers. At the end of the day, the Free National Movement (FNM), led by The Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, secured 23 of 41 seats.

The FNM addressed the financial services industry in its Manifesto ’07. The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) supports the two-pronged approach of maintaining competitiveness and a well regulated sector proposed by the newly elected Government. In this regard, further regulatory reform and capacity building both within the regulatory bodies and the Bahamian Overseas Missions are important steps supported by BFSB. The latter, in particular, will enhance the presence and quality of our international reach.

BFSB also welcomes the Government’s commitment to increase its contribution to the annual marketing budget on a 50/50 basis; a decision which we see as critical to effectively market the high quality services and products available from within the jurisdiction in an expanding and competitive global environment.

The Government’s recognition of the need for a School of Business, akin to the Swiss Banking School, is certainly one that has the strong support of BFSB’s industry members. The Government’s pledge to facilitate an adequate number of professional and administrative professionals in the legal and judicial areas is also vital to our continuing development and success as a jurisdiction.

We welcome the Government’s commitment to continued support of a modern legislative framework that supports product development and ultimately ensures that the jurisdiction remains competitive in the provision of international financial services. BFSB has always pursued an approach of partnership with government and the regulators and looks forward to continued collaboration to further develop and strengthen the financial services sector.

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) announced yesterday that the FNM victory in the General Elections should yield continuity and strong investment support. S&P Analysts reporting on the election results said, *“Both the outgoing PLP and the incoming FNM share the same views on maintaining macroeconomic stability through a disciplined fiscal stance and prudent monetary management, factors that underpin the sovereign credit ratings.”*

BFSB would also like to applaud both parties for recognising the importance of the financial services industry to the Bahamian economy. The degree to which both parties acknowledged the significance of the sector will resonate strongly with the international community that is vital to our growth and development.