Mr. Chairman, Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.
Let me begin by thanking Lord Marland and the organisers of this Commonwealth Business Forum 2015 for inviting me to address this very important gathering focusing on investment in the Caribbean.
I am especially delighted to be joined by two fellow Caribbean Heads of Government: Prime Minister Timothy Harris of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago.
In his 1992 Nobel Prize lecture, the Saint Lucian, Trinidadian, Caribbean poet, Derek Walcott described the Caribbean thus:??Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape and, faced with its beauty, the sigh of History dissolves.??Derek Walcott is one of our three Nobel Prize winners, one in Economics and two in Literature.
The Caribbean, as many of you know, is famous for its beauty, the vibrancy of its peoples and culture [need I remind you that today???s global superstar, Rihanna, hails from the 166 square mile island of Barbados which I have the honour to lead?].Of course others like the internationally renowned Bob Marley from Jamaica preceded her!
Marrying the beauty of our surroundings and the appeal of our culture, the Caribbean has built itself into one of the world???s most formidable brands in tourism, one of the world???s most competitive markets.
The full speech can be downloaded by clicking here.