Prime Minister David Thompson (second from left), chatting with guests at a recent cocktail reception at Ilaro Court.

Prime Minister David Thompson wants Barbados to have closer ties with more nations in this hemisphere. He made this suggestion recently during a cocktail reception for international business clients, at Ilaro Court.??

Pointing to the large number of Barbadians living in Panama, as one reason for seeking closer ties, he said it also had a very successful airline which could provide an air link between Barbados and Central America and South America.?? ??He indicated that dialogue was also established with other South American countries, namely Brazil, Chile and Colombia, to pave the way for air services agreements and double taxation agreements.

Speaking about other areas where Barbados could strengthen diplomatic relations, the Prime Minister noted that his government hoped to open an embassy in Cuba, later in the year, and this would be explored during his upcoming official visit.????

He added that his administration would also be using the opportunity of going into China to foster relations with other Asian countries, and was also desirous of exploring ways of working more closely with African nations.??Mr. Thompson noted that it was important for Barbados to continue ???even in these difficult times??? to promote this country and to work with private sector organizations, Invest Barbados and other agencies to ensure that Barbados remained a domicile ???of great distinction in the international business sector.???

Meanwhile, Invest Barbados??? Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Kirton, told the audience that Barbados had made the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development???s list of tax compliant countries or ???the white list???, and was in fact the only Caribbean nation to have done so.????

Touching on the positive feedback he had received about Barbados??? potential to attract business investments at risk management and offshore alert conferences in the United States, he said there were several new enquiries in various areas. ??Mr. Kirton mentioned that an international consultant had proffered the view that Barbados would be the only Caribbean offshore financial centre to survive the current wave of attacks by G20 countries and probably the only one of six worldwide.????

The CEO stated that his company was monitoring the international scenario for leverage and had stepped up its marketing thrust. ???We have road shows with tax advisors set up in May and June in several countries???. We???re spreading the news wherever we can and as far as we can, because this competitive advantage may not last too long, particularly when you consider that we have what is in effect the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads in the form of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act or Bill before Congress in the US now. It may take only a few months before it matures, but we???re going to get some kind of measures that will affect us in terms of the offshore sector and our ability to attract US companies in particular,??? he explained.

???So we are not resting on our laurels by any means and are continuing our lobbying process as well. We are also moving quickly to explore new markets in the Middle East, Brazil and China, to name a few of the countries that are expected to be the investment flow powerhouses of the not too distant future,??? he remarked.

Mr. Kirton identified the recent launch of a new website as another tool by Invest Barbados for providing information about this country???s investment potential and services.

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