The financial services sector and the role of the Commonwealth Secretariat were the focus of brief, but intense discussions between Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, and outgoing Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, when they met earlier today at the Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Sharma, who is currently in Barbados for the 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government Summit, was accompanied by the Director and Head of the Secretary General???s Office, Simon Gimson.

During the discussions, Mr. Inniss spoke about the US$450 million contribution of the international business sector to the Barbadian economy, and its creation of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly.

Pointing out that Barbados was now also a Vice Chair of the Global Forum Steering Committee, the Minister informed Mr. Sharma that Barbados took a position that it was not going to sit back and simply criticise the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Global Forum, but would ???get up and get involved.???

He further explained that this country was one of the smaller International Financial Centres under the Global Forum grouping and that in October of this year Barbados will host the plenary session of the Global Forum.

The Commonwealth Secretary General took the opportunity to extend an invitation to Mr. Inniss to visit his headquarters, next time he was in London to further engage and participate in extended talks.

The officials also discussed matters pertaining to Climate Change and the environment, most notably the increase of Sargassum seaweed along the island???s coasts; Barbados??? recent blacklisting by members of the European Union; the issue of transparency; the upcoming Global Forum Conference and medical tourism.

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