Member delegates at the 2015 conference of Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (CICMC), heard firsthand the benefits of Grand Bahama’s Free Trade Zone (FTZ) for regional and international investors. The 3-day annual symposium took place in the nation’s capital October 16th – 18th, bringing together dozens of CICMC members and delegates from neighboring Caribbean jurisdictions.
Sr. Manager of Business Development for The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), Derek Newbold, expressed that the forum, appropriately themed “Partnerships-Performance-Profits: Keys to Business Successes” was an excellent opportunity to share the benefits of The Bahamas’ FTZ and its advantages.
“The city of Freeport was featured as a Free Trade Zone case study and I believe that every delegate present was astonished to learn of Freeport’s contribution to the economic development of The Bahamas,” stated Newbold.
“Freeport offers significant benefits which neighboring destinations can capitalize on. Unfortunately, as we often see each other through the lens of ‘a competing destination’, our contributing benefits may be overlooked. My lecture, ‘Freeport, Grand Bahama: Destination Ally’ sought to address these points, and highlight Freeport’s value to the region, from a logistics perspective,” Newbold continued.
Delegates heard from a variety of speakers throughout the symposium, covering a myriad of topics essential to increased collaboration, support and regional integration. The Hon. Michael Halkitis, MP and Minister of State for Finance gave the keynote address during the event.
GBPA President, Ian Rolle noted that the CICMC symposium brought very timely discussions to the forefront. “The Caribbean community is very diverse, yet we all share similar economic challenges,” cited Rolle.
Freeport’s proximity to the US market in the north, combined with its infrastructure and other competitive advantages, could be leveraged by our Caribbean neighbours for hub and spoke transshipment collaborations in addition to nearshore distribution.” Rolle continued.
He added that while strengthening regional collaboration is a key step forward, it must be complimented by the networking of professionals, with a common vision of facilitating access to new markets and building capacity on a regional level. This Rolle said, would greatly empower each destination’s ability to attract significant investment projects.