The May 7 2012 elections are being contested by three parties, including the Governing Free National Movement (FNM), the Official Opposition the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA).
Recognising Importance of Financial Services Industry
The political parties have released their platforms, all paying tribute to international financial services and its importance to the national economy.
The FNM in its Manifesto speaks to its efforts to safeguard and protect the sector, especially the high-value jobs held by Bahamians within financial services. It lists a number of pending initiatives that will complement the necessary measures to ensure compliance with internationally adopted best practices, noting that it will continue to insist on adherence to the “level playing field” principle. Some of these include exploring the broadest options for embracing the opportunities in the new global financial environment to ensure that The Bahamas’ financial services sector is both more resilient and better able to profit from international trade; promoting greater efficiency to ensure timely consideration and determination of applications, policies and procedures; keeping policies, programmes and legislation important to the success of domestic and international business under review. The FNM also pledges to maintain continuous dialogue with business leaders and stakeholders, so as to remain abreast of the changing needs of the sector
In its Vision 2030 Charter for Governance, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) pledges to ensure that The Bahamas remains on the cutting edge of law reforms that facilitate an increasing range of complex cross border transactions through a major rebranding initiative carried out by a re-invented Ministry of Financial Services. Such Ministry it says will give dedicated full time leadership for the development and promotion of this industry. Specific initiatives include strengthening of relations between the Government and the private sector; ensuring Bahamian investment in the sector; ensuring the stability and predictability of the business environment, the quality of staffing available, and the support provided by infrastructure; strengthening links between the financial services sector and tourism; promoting The Bahamas as a uniquely qualified domain for an international arbitration court, comparable to The Hague as a location for the International Court for Criminal Justice. In short, the PLP aims to associate The Bahamas with diversity of financial services industry activities which flourish in the jurisdiction and specifically deepen carefully selected areas.
The DNA Vision 2012 and Beyond commits to a National Development Plan that prudently charts a course for sustained development – one that will form the basis of a new highway to empower the people, grow the economy, put people back to work and leave a vibrant and robust economy upon which future generations can thrive. It specifically identifies the financial services arena as one it will actively pursue, recognising the opportunities for expansion with the existing best-trained professionals in the region. It proposes to create a Financial Services Authority, which will be a ‘one stop shop’ for doing business in The Bahamas. Particular emphasis will be on targeting new markets, while expanding product ranges and encouraging Bahamian ownership in the sector.