Prime Minister David Thompson, addressing participants at the third Plenary Meeting of CIEX. Also pictured (from left) are Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Teresa Marshall, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean.

The Council for Investment, Exports, Foreign Exchange and the Diaspora (CIEX) provides a good opportunity for the private sector, representatives of the workers, as well as other stakeholders to make their input into the way forward for Barbados.   

This observation was made yesterday by Prime Minister David Thompson, as he delivered opening remarks at the third Plenary Meeting of CIEX, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.   

“The role of CIEX is very critical to the strategy that we want to employ. I believe that the opportunities, now that we are entering a new financial year, are here for us to ensure that we intensify the work that we need to do, because there is a lot that is happening around us, and … other countries in the region … are looking to Barbados for leadership,” Mr. Thompson observed.

He said that the meeting was an opportunity to see what progress had been made and the extent to which CIEX could be used as an effective tool in promoting national, regional and international objectives.

The Prime Minister further stated that the meeting provided a forum to look at what could be done “against the background of the gravely challenging times that we are facing in the Caribbean to improve savings and investments, to work with the diaspora in particular … and how we are going to establish opportunities for greater philanthropy”.  

In her welcome remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, pointed out that in the context of these challenging times, creativity had to be the response, and in going forward, a path should be charted that pulled together the best ideas from Barbadians, including “young people, who, as we anticipate, are very creative but need the necessary assistance”.

She further added: “We have to look at our approach to expanding our foreign exchange earnings to incorporating Barbadians overseas, and, therefore, a part of the strategy must address not only foreign direct investment, but also encouraging Barbadians abroad, particularly those of significant financial means, to participate.”

The CIEX was one of the initiatives proposed by Prime Minister David Thompson in his Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals in July 2007. Its first meeting was held in August, last year.          

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