Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Business, Gabrielle Springer, (right) in discussion with Consultant to the International Institute of Financial Risk and Regulation, Dr. Barbara Drexler at the Stakeholders Workshop on the Establishment of the International Institute of Financial Risk and Regulation held today at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Government remains committed to meeting the needs of the financial services sector.

This was reiterated today by acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Business, Gabrielle Springer. She was giving the welcome address at a Stakeholders’ Workshop to examine the establishment of the Institute of Financial Risk and Regulation (IIFRR) at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. The project forms part of the financing agreement between the Barbados Government and the European Commission for sugar protocol countries.

Ms. Springer pointed out that so much emphasis had been placed on the international business and financial services sectors, demonstrated by Government’s recognition of its significance and the important role it played to the local economy. Consequently, she added measures were being put in place to ensure that the financial services sector was meeting the needs of its investment clientele and the creation of the Institute would further such objectives.

The Permanent Secretary said that the creation of the IIFRR would facilitate the development of an internationally accredited curriculum; a programme of professional/continuing education courses and targeted lectures; the building of local training capacity; the development of a business model; and the implementation of a regional marketing plan to target professionals within CARICOM.

Ms. Springer stated that the venture was one of three projects undertaken by her ministry that were sponsored and funded by the European Union (EU).

In his remarks, Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Valeriano Diaz, stressed that the EU’s commitment to Barbados had not waned. In fact, he said they had decided to invest some EURO 52 million in resources, so that the island could reach developed country status. He added that the monies would be used to revamp the human resource base in Barbados through a comprehensive programme.

"…our grants are a non-reimbursable contribution that the citizens of Europe make to the citizens of Barbados, even in these difficult times, when Europe itself is facing unprecedented challenges to our monetary union and national public finances," he noted.

Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles, told the gathering that the University was deeply committed to the facility as an important project for the region. He said he had given government the assurance through a Memorandum of Understanding to assist in shaping the structure of the Institute as it evolved.?? Sir Hilary expressed the hope that the entity would embody "first class research that is extremely relevant and intense".

The proposed world-class customized IIFRR will offer financial post-graduate training in the Caribbean for young and mid-career professionals and senior management. It will operate as an independent institution under the auspices of the UWI, with the EU contributing technical assistance. Its major stakeholders will be the University, the international business sector and regulatory bodies in the finance sector.

It is expected to be operational in 2012.


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