Prime Minister David Thompson cuts the ribbon to officially??open the Barbados Stock Exchange’s building. At left is one??the Directors of the Stock Exchange, Grenville Phillips.

Given the demand for financial education, opportunities to save hard-earned money wisely and to create wealth safely and to have it growing at a cumulative rate, the services of the Barbados Stock Exchange are needed "now more than ever before".??????

This observation was made recently by Prime Minister David Thompson, as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the Exchange’s Building in Belleville, St. Michael.

Mr. Thompson noted that by the time the recession ended, the fundamental changes that were accelerated by the technological revolution at the dawn of the 21st century would have manifested themselves more fully.

"All the goods and services we consume en masse will be produced more cheaply by people more efficient than us. This will pose serious threats to our human rights, including our right to work and to earn a decent living. Barbados runs the risk of having large numbers of educated citizens who are unemployed," he warned.

The Prime Minister suggested that more employment opportunities needed to be created that were commensurate with the education that persons were receiving. The financial services sector, he said, had the potential to meet that demand.

He added that more Barbadians would need to become entrepreneurs, capable of spotting and capitalising on niches in the global marketplace. "The expected stream of better-educated, new entrepreneurs who do not have access to old money, will need the services of the Barbados Stock Exchange to finance new ventures," Mr. Thompson opined.

He lamented, however, that in light of the recent financial meltdown in the developed countries, and the exposure of the criminal schemes of those driven by greed and dishonesty, the financial services sector had "a monumental task" to restore confidence.

The Prime Minister admitted that shadows of doubt had been cast over Barbados and the Caribbean. He indicated that there was therefore "an urgent need to repair the damage done, restore confidence and trust, and create an environment of transparency and inclusiveness in the activities of capital markets, so that more Barbadians would participate in the trading of financial instruments."

He also offered his support for the establishment of an International Securities Market (ISM) in Barbados, which he described as "the missing pillar of Barbados as an international financial centre and business destination".

Mr. Thompson stated that there was no doubt that the objectives of ISM were achievable and that Barbados would derive many benefits from them. He also pointed out that while no new legislation was needed to establish an ISM, such regulations were needed for it to be successful.

"It is self-evident that it must be well regulated and that the legislation must be upgraded for it to grow and succeed," he observed.????????

The Prime Minister also gave the assurance that Government would offer support for funding from the Inter American Development Bank; legislative and regulatory changes; and a review of the tax and incentives framework.

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