Prime Minister Perry G. Christie on Launch Of E-Services

New Registrar General E-Services ‘Perfect Example’ of Public-Private Partnership Effectiveness

By Eric Rose

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister Christie said he is a “firm believer” in the critical importance of Public Private Partnerships (“PPP”) and that the launch of the Registrar General’s Department E-Services facility has been a perfect example of the effectiveness of such partnerships.

“We are opening new vistas for domestic and international business, and we are making it easy for you to do business online in The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Christie said at the event held at the Registrar General’s Department on the corner of Shirley and Charlotte Streets, January 5, 2016.

“This collaboration with the private sector is one that is a constant, enduring activity that will — in the sense of competition — always cause us to be committed to moving further and further ahead,” he added.

Also present at the launch were Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services the Hon. Hope Strachan, Registrar General Deirdre Clarke-Maycock, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) Leon Williams, CEO and Executive Director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board Tanya McCartney, her immediate predecessor Aliya Allen, other senior government officials and PPP representatives.

Prime Minister Christie said the launch that day marked a “very important step” in his Government’s plan to build a “safe, modern and prosperous Bahamas — really, a Stronger Bahamas.”

“It presents sterling evidence of my government’s commitment to encouraging high-quality domestic and foreign investment by putting in place the necessary components to foster and encourage the ease of doing business in The Bahamas which, I firmly believe is the greatest little country in the world,” he said.

He pointed out that he was pleased that the private sector so willingly and enthusiastically responded to the invitation of the Attorney General to effect the ease of doing business in The Bahamas and to take this further step to position financial services in The Bahamas as number one in the region.

He added that he was advised that at that time The Bahamas was one of one of the only jurisdictions in the world that had the capacity to incorporate companies entirely online.

“The service will be available 24/7 and it will be possible immediately to get incorporation certificates and certificates of good standing,” Prime Minister Christie stated.  “This is the way that people expect business to be conducted in 2016. We are responding to market demand and we are doing so with a view to becoming number one in financial services in the region.”

Prime Minister Christie noted that Minister Strachan advised that on her recent tour of the Far East significant interest was shown in the product being unveiled that day.

He added that he was also delighted that version two of the program was being developed and should be unveiled in the third quarter of 2016.

“And, we support efforts to continue the e-government and ease of doing business thrust in the recording of Deeds and Documents, registration of Births and Deaths, Intellectual Property and Maritime Marriages,” Prime Minister Christie said.

He noted that work was imminent on the already-approved new office space for the Registrar General’s Department.

“Today we are assuring that The Bahamas expands its competitive edge in financial services,” Prime Minister Christie stated.

He added that as The Bahamas works to become number one in financial services in the region — which he pointed out was a fluid and fickle position to be in — the country will continue to demonstrate his Government’s commitment to e-solutions and information and communication technology (ICT).

“ICT for creating, managing, storing, disseminating and receiving and analyzing information and providing solutions is a foundation stone of a modern, strong economy,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “The Bahamas joins the United States of America, the European Union and numerous other countries recognizing that ICT provides long-term good jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.”

He added that ICT is “necessary and indispensable” for a modern and stronger Bahamas.

“Recognizing The Bahamas’ commitment to ICT, last month the International Telecommunications Union committed to making The Bahamas the world’s first ‘Smart Island’,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “We expect the entire Bahamas to join the world’s smart cities such as Amsterdam.”

“Today I want Bahamians all over The Bahamas, especially young Bahamians to recognize that this initiative enables people all over The Bahamas to have the same opportunities to conduct business online,” he pointed out.

He used the example of young men in the Valley Boys Junkanoo Shack, with “initiative and aspirations,” being able to use smart phone to incorporate a company and to sell souvenirs. Prime Minister Christie added that the souvenirs sector is a highly lucrative one that is growing expeditiously.

“The potential that this gives the young person who is looking for opportunities to use his own individual gifts and talents is enormous and the opportunities are enormous,” he said.

Prime Minister Christie added that, as further examples, young people participating in Carnival could use their smart phones to incorporate companies and sell carnival costumes around the world, and young women in Long Island could use their smart phones to incorporate companies and sell their beautiful straw mats and other products online.

“When I was the Chairman of CARICOM we established a committee dedicated to developing and facilitating business opportunities for our creative people,” Prime Minister Christie said.  “This committee is chaired by the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica.”

Prime Minister Christie also stressed that — in light of the committee’s findings for the region — The Bahamas has “untold opportunities” in the tourism and cultural industries.   “Gifted and talented young people,” should be given the chance, the education they need, and be assured that in the modern Bahamas there will be additional prospects to exploit their talents.

“And we are going to make every effort to find them — and to create a facility — for them to be able to join the world in taking advantage of this multi-billion dollar industry,” Prime Minister Christie said.

He added that the launch that day was about more than just forming a company at the Registrar General’s Office.

“This is opening up opportunities for young Bahamians to be able to understand that they have untold opportunities, as they look to their future, to use their own talent beyond what present circumstances allow,” Prime Minister Christie said.

Prime Minister Christie stated that cellular liberalization and competition has also been a “major policy thrust” of his Government.

He said: “BTC by bringing smart phone technology to the mix, making it possible to complete the eServices while using a smart phone strongly demonstrates The Bahamas’ commitment to ease of doing business; so, Mr. (Leon) Williams, I thank you and the BTC team for their input and for making this a reality.”

Prime Minister Christie added that the Department of Information Technology has also ensured modern and secure systems.

“Let there be no doubt about our commitment to building a stronger Bahamas where we can live safely and enjoy modern advancements that demonstrate advanced technologically connected opportunities throughout the country,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“As I thank and congratulate the Attorney General, all those in the private sector who have participated in creating this initiative and the entire team at the Registrar General’s Department, I call upon Bahamians from all walks of life to embrace the opportunities being unveiled today and to work together as we create a strong, safe, modern and prosperous Bahamas.”

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