Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis says Grand Bahama is the ideal location in The Bahamas to support the establishment and growth of a technology cluster of the blockchain, and other software companies that can jumpstart the technology industry in The Bahamas. In spite of the challenges that come with establishing and growing a technology sector, Prime Minister Minnis said that The Bahamas is uniquely positioned to quickly become the jurisdiction of choice for technology companies, particularly blockchain technology companies, and fintech solution providers. Prime Minister Minnis was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremonies for the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, which opened on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at the Grand Lucayan and will run until Friday, June 22, 2018.
The three-day event attracted a wide range of local and international participants learning the latest information about blockchain and cryptocurrency from professionals proficient in the field. Prime Minister Minnis said that the conference, which is the first of its kind for The Bahamas, represents an important step towards his government’s new vision for The Bahamas and a new, progressive step for the island of Grand Bahama. “Our government recognizes that in order for the economy to grow, we must diversify and create other opportunities for Bahamians to be successful,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “I firmly believe in growing a diverse technology industry sector in The Bahamas, where entrepreneurs can start and grow new technology companies. We must also welcome existing global technology players to move their operations to The Bahamas, which will have a meaningful impact on our economy and which can be achieved in a relatively short period of time. “Companies that utilize blockchain technology as a basis for their new products and services, represent a genesis of a new wave of solutions that we believe will change the world as we know it. There is no reason why these new blockchain technology companies that have their eyes on global markets cannot have their base of operations here in The Bahamas.”
The Prime Minister, in outlining reasons why such companies should consider moving their operations to The Bahamas, noted that the Bahamas is a sovereign jurisdiction that has been a stable parliamentary democracy for over 250 years. It’s a country that believes in the rule of law and is situated only 68 miles from the United States. He added that his government is committed to establishing the proper regulatory framework to ensure that incorporating, funding and operating technology companies that have global ambitions is a relatively easy process. “Significant progress has already been made with the passing of our Commercial Enterprise Act and with our ease of doing business changes and amendments,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “Other software and technology companies inclusive of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing operations can make the Bahamas their home as well, forming clusters that would only serve to diversify and strengthen our technology sector.
“Additionally, in The Bahamas, we can provide a quality of work-life balance that is second to none given our ability to offer sun, sand, sea, and cultural experiences that are uniquely Bahamian.” The Prime Minister noted that in order to build a thriving technology sector that will benefit the country’s economy in a meaningful way, several key components must be in place, these include:
(i) Policies that encourage innovation,
(ii) The educated and motivated workforce with access to higher education and professional development resources,
(iii) Flexible immigration policy,
(iv) Locations and infrastructure that can support population growth, and provide broadband access telecommunications services that are on par with the rest of the world.
“I do not think it would be too far-fetched for me to say that the next generation of Bahamian millionaires, and possibly billionaires, could earn their wealth in the technology sector,” said Dr. Minnis. “What we do here at this conference is the first step in that journey: a journey that we cannot accomplish alone, which is why our international friends and partners must play an integral, an important role in all of this.”