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WEEK 16: 12-4
NFL WEEK 17
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles 1 p.m.
Even though they are officially eliminated from the playoffs, the Eagles have been playing inspired football lately. Michael Vick and company are determined to finish the season strong. I think that both Vick and Lasean McCoy will have over 100 yards on the ground in this game.
Eagles 27, Redskins 17
N.Y. Jets at Miami Dolphins
The Fins would love nothing more than to officially end the Jets' playoff hopes. Even with a win, the Jets wouldn't be guaranteed of a playoff spot. I think they'll struggle in South Beach on Sunday though. Led by Reggie Bush, the Fins are productive on the offensive end, and ever since week nine, their defense has been consistently shutting down teams.
Dolphins 30, Jets 23
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints 1 p.m.
The Saints are still alive for a first-round bye so I think that they won't ease up on the Panthers this week. Cam Newton and the Panthers have proven over the past two weeks that they don't intend to go quietly but the Saints are on a different level right now, especially in the Superdome. I think that Brees will go over 100 yards again, and the Saints will continue to roll.
Saints 34, Panthers 30
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers 1 p.m.
Now that they have that one loss out of their system, the Packers will continue to cruise into the playoffs. Despite a few minor injuries, the Pack is ready for the post-season and ready to defend their title. The Lions have already wrapped up a playoff spot as well, so I don't expect them to lay it all out on the line this Sunday.
Packers 37, Lions 27
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams 1 p.m.
Led by their defense, the Niners are surging at the right time of the year. They are still battling the Saints for a first-round bye heading into the final game of the season. Meanwhile, the Rams are battling the Colts for the first overall pick. Both will have things work in their favor on Sunday.
49ers 20, Rams 6
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars 1 p.m.
Don't look now, but the Colts are on a two-game winning streak. Will they make it three in a row... only time will tell. I believe the Colts will play hard this Sunday though, and go into Jacksonville and leave with a victory.
Colts 20, Jaguars 17
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots 1 p.m.
The Bills got a big win over the Broncos last week, but they'll have to deal with the AFC East division leaders this week. Not to mention, the Pats are still looking for revenge after falling to the Bills early in the season. Tom Brady and company will have a field day this Sunday.
Patriots 42, Bills 20
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans 1 p.m.
This game will feature two of the better running backs in the league. Whoever has the better day will probably lead his team to victory. I think that Chris Johnson and the Titans will get the job done. The Titans is the more desperate team and the Texans have struggled in their past two games.
Titans 20, Texans 19
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings 1 p.m.
Despite not recording much wins, Christian Ponder is proving that he is the right man for the job in Minnesota. He should be their starting quarterback next season, and hopefully they'll have a healthy Adrian Peterson in the backfield. The Vikings always play the Bears tough, and this game will be no different.
Vikings 28, Bears 20
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns 4:15 p.m.
The Steelers are still trying to win the AFC North, so I don't expect them to come out and roll over against the Browns. There's no doubt that the Browns will try to end their season strong, but they're simply not on the same level as the Steelers right now. The 'Steel Curtain' defense will dictate the pace of this game.
Steelers 23, Browns 6
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos 4:15 p.m.
Will Tebow mania rise again? The Broncos have cooled down a bit after that six-game winning streak but they are still very much alive in the playoff race. A win this Sunday will lock down the AFC West and the number four seed in the playoffs for them. The Chiefs won't just give the game to the Broncos, but I think that Tebow will rise again and lead his team to victory.
Broncos 16, Chiefs 13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons 4:15 p.m.
The Falcons are trying to fine tune themselves going into the playoffs while the Bucs have pretty much packed it in and are calling it a season. I think that these teams will continue to go in opposite directions on Sunday.
Falcons 27, Buccaneers 13
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals 4:15 p.m.
This game could be a preview of what's to come in the playoffs. They could very well meet again. The Ravens play great at home but are subpar on the road. The Bengals, who along with the Niners, are the surprise of the league this year, will be looking to prove that they can compete with the Ravens. I think that it will be a physical, grueling contest, and the Bengals will have just enough to come out on top.
Bengals 23, Ravens 20
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals 4:15 p.m.
Both of these teams turned it on in the second half of the season, but it was too little too late for both of them. They were both eliminated from the playoffs last week. I think that Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks will come out on top this Sunday though. They came within an eyelash of knocking off the Niners last week, and will have enough in the tank to get past the Cards this week.
Seahawks 24, Cardinals 20
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders 4:15 p.m.
The Raiders have a division title within sight but will have to get through the Chargers this Sunday. I don't think they'll be able to get into the playoffs, but I think they'll get past the Chargers this week. The Chargers have been sporadic all season. They'll play hard on Sunday against their division rivals but they'll be hard pressed to stop the Raiders.
Raiders 27, Chargers 24
Dallas Cowboys at N.Y. Giants 8:20 p.m.
Game of the Week! The Cowboys and G-men meet in 'The Big Apple' on Sunday with the AFC East title and a playoff spot on the line. The last time these two teams got together, Tony Romo and the 'Boys blew a 15-point lead in the final quarter. They won't have that leverage this week, as the Giants will take control of this game early. Eli Manning and company will book their tickers for the playoffs and it will be another disappointing end to a season for the Cowboys.
Giants 30, Cowboys 17
Nassau, Bahamas -- "Do the right thing" is the message that came through loud and clear during the Caribbean-wide "No Witness, No Justice" Youth Network Conference hosted by the United States Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados from December 6 to 7 2012.
For an investor, technology companies can be a scary place.
With memories of the dot.com crash still fresh in some people's minds, investors are rightfully cautious. But last week, Apple surpassed Exxon as the world's most valuable company, worth $337.2 billion now compared to the oil-giant's meager $330.8 billion.
It was truly a sign of the times, said Kevin Burrows, the Senior Vice President of CFAL.
"It's important to highlight that when you think of technology companies today, they aren't the same highly leveraged and volatile industries they were back in 2000, during the Internet bubble," he said.
"These companies are fairly mature now and have very strong balance sheets."
But if you're seeking an investment in technology, Borrows said Apple isn't the only company in the electronic universe.
On Monday, Google sent stocks of Wall Street flying when they acquired Motorola Mobility for a whopping $12.5 billion - in cash.
The acquisition sent Motorola's stock price surging more than 60 percent.
Analysts said the move was the first step by Google to build a position in the mobile world so they can distribute their products and services through phones and tablets.
If this proves accurate, the acquisition could mean huge strides for Google.
At press time, Google was trading at $533.14 per share.
"This is really the first time they are buying a manufacturing type of company," Burrows added. "Google is clearly diversifying. I think this purchase made people realize that Google is not content to let its growth rate slowly decline like that of Microsoft. That sometimes happens when you have a monopolistic situation. It's good to see that Google, as big as they are, can still focus on earnings and revenue growth."
In fact, Burrows said he wouldn't be surprised if eventually Google surpasses Apple as the world's most valuable company.
In some respects, technology companies are a good buy when it comes to investment, he said. They can be less risky than your industrial company that may be dependent on economic growth, or the lack thereof.
However, can these companies be too much of a good thing?
"I think that something investors are trying to get their heads around is how do you evaluate a company like Google or Facebook. At times, these juggernauts appear to be invincible."
He points out that no business model is iron clad.
However, in his mind, what differentiates Google from Facebook, for example, is Google's willingness to diversify its holdings.
"I tend to question the valuation of something like Facebook and social media," Burrows said. "I wouldn't put them [in the] same value for the long term. "
Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins has had a long, intoxicating run in the headlines.
After repeatedly incensing his party with his highly critical statements in and outside the House of Assembly, Rollins must now decide whether he will apologize in the House of Assembly for verbally attacking Prime Minister Perry Christie on the floor of the House.
The demand for an apology was made by the National General Council (NGC) of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) at its meeting on Thursday night.
On August 20, Rollins declared that "it is evident we need new political leadership" in the country.
Rollins expressed anger over the fact that Christie spent a majority of his contribution to the value-added tax debate to "threaten" backbenchers for their dissenting views, instead of providing "hope and comfort" to Bahamians who are concerned about the impact of VAT.
He also said he was tired of listening to the prime minister quote scripture.
We noted in this space before that Rollins resonated.
He did so because he echoed what so many Bahamians are feeling: The country needs new leadership. We are without clear direction.
While Rollins' stunning criticisms of Christie last month drew him applause in many circles, his recent comments on the controversial matter of a letter of intent (LOI) his friend Renward Wells signed with a waste-to-energy company in early July without Cabinet approval signaled that Rollins may be losing momentum.
His clarification notwithstanding, Rollins left many people with the impression that he knows of something untoward about the matter.
It is easy to see why so many people were left with the view that the MP knows of some wrongdoing in relation to the LOI affair.
Rollins himself acknowledged: "I can understand how I may have created this impression. I certainly regret that such an impression was created."
In his original statement, he seemed to have issued a direct threat to the government.
Rollins said if Wells is fired over the matter "some other people need to be fired too".
His comment was directly in response to the question, "Do you think Renward Wells should be fired?"
Rollins said, "In time, if that happens, I am prepared to say who also should be fired, because there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this whole, as you call it, LOI affair," he told NB12's Vaughnique Toote in an interview.
Rollins added, "If Renward Wells needs to be fired, he is not the only one, and I have a problem with you trying to scapegoat my friend. So when I say that I believed we were used as tokens, I was also referencing that matter."
While he later said that he did not impute corrupt motives to anyone, many people have had a hard time accepting that he did not make a clear suggestion of wrongdoing based on his statements.
Amid widespread negative reaction to his comments to Toote, Rollins explained: "I was referring to the principles of ministerial and collective responsibility as defined by the Westminster system of government and in that regard, I sought to convey that any shortcomings or failings with respect to the LOI matter cannot be leveled solely at the feet of a junior member of the government".
He said to do so would make the individual a scapegoat, which would demonstrate a clear lack of respect for that individual and the system of government we are supposed to be guided by.
Rollins should be guarded in his choice of words, particularly as there is great public interest in him at this time and in the LOI matter.
His statement in response to the reaction to his comments in the NB12 interview seemed to reflect a backtracking of a very clear impression he left.
While Rollins is shaking up the status quo, we would hope that he would not make comments that suggest he knows something the public should know, and is using that knowledge as leverage to have his way.
If Rollins does know of some wrongdoing we would hope he would reveal it, whether or not Christie takes action against his friend.
Not surprisingly, Rollins' statement to Toote drew a strong response from PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.
"We will see hell freeze over and the second coming before Andre Rollins blackmails a PLP government or organization because his egomaniacal and selfish genotype prevents him from reasonable and balanced behavior and being a team player," he said.
"If he is so dissatisfied in the leadership of the PLP, he can freely leave just as he freely joined the organization."
Roberts challenged Rollins to "put up or shut up".
By his statement in response, Rollins appears to have put his tail between his legs and scurried away.
Interestingly, Roberts and the PLP were quiet when Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller made his own strong statements on the LOI issue on July 31.
Miller's statements were not so far off from the recent comments made by Rollins.
"I think he was coerced in [signing] this so-called document that he signed, by people who should know better, by seasoned men who have been around for a long time and they know why they would have gone to him to sign this so-called document and he signed it," Miller said.
"So he may have signed it out of ignorance or just out of trying to be helpful to people who he knows are friendly with other people.
"Should his whole career go down the drain because of a letter he signed where the [permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works] says the government is not binding?"
Are Roberts and the PLP concerned that Miller accused senior men in the party of "coercing" Wells to sign the document?
Clearly, Rollins is on a war path with his party. His relationship with the PLP is turbulent.
If he decides to stay with the PLP it could be in for a very rough ride with this vocal backbencher who took the gloves off weeks ago.
If the party expels him, it may face even more problems from Rollins.
We see no benefit to the party in kicking Rollins out.
If Renward Wells decides that his alliance and friendship with Rollins is more important than his love for or commitment to the PLP, this could present another dynamic.
Deciding how to deal with Rollins then is a tough decision for the PLP.
The party revealed after its council meeting on Thursday night that Roberts appointed a four-person committee from the National General Council to decide what sanctions, if any, Rollins should face for his public comments regarding the party over the last few months.
Rollins told us in an interview earlier this month he has no plans to leave the party.
"The PLP is where I am," he said.
"I believe the PLP has the capacity to effect change. If I see things happening that I don't agree [with] and I don't support, I make it known to the public.
"It may be that I have no future in the PLP. If the PLP decides that they don't want me, I cannot force myself on the PLP.
"But I'm not about looking for political cover or trying to do what is politically expedient in the hope that I would be re-elected as some would suggest.
"But I don't have time to suffer fools. If you are doing nonsense, I will say so, and if you have a problem with me speaking my mind because I am echoing what the Bahamian people are saying and feeling, tough.
"And if that means you have no place for me, so be it, but I hope you understand that just because you have some in the party who want nothing to do with me, that should not mean that I should be out there finding out who does in fact want me.
"I can't do that, and I haven't met with any other political party or parties. I can assure you of that."
The jury is out on Rollins' political fate and his future with the PLP.
Valentine Grimes, the former parliamentarian who heads the PLP committee looking into the Rollins matter, told National Review there is nothing wrong with members being critical of the leadership and of the party.
"It is where they are critical and if they do so publicly how they do so, and I think that's the difference that may have arisen within the PLP family," he said on Friday.
"I think it is important for any member of Parliament to understand the workings of the party and understand the make-up of the people who are part of the organization.
"PLPs have said from time immemorial, the PLP was bigger than [former Prime Minister the late] Sir Lynden Pindling and Christie would say the PLP is bigger than Perry Christie and it's important for those MPs who are part of that to understand that."
Grimes added, "I think that Rollins has a tremendous future in the country. There may or may not have been a misstep. The team appointed will properly investigate the matter and come up with the best solution and hopefully the best solution will be what is in the interest of the party and what is in the interest of Dr. Rollins."
Grimes said it is important for the party to put the Rollins matter behind it, as it is an unnecessary distraction. The government has more important issues to focus on, he noted.
For Rollins, this ought to be a period of soul searching.
If he still believes he has a place in the PLP, he must seek to strike the right balance between being an effective backbencher who helps keep the government on course, and being a team player.
If he continues to attack the leadership, he would be increasingly ostracized by his party.
If he does this, he might still have a political future outside the PLP.
But Rollins must be careful not to come across as an angry, self-absorbed man seeking to grab more headlines.
While his brand of politics has been largely welcomed and refreshing, his continued public fight with the PLP could become tiring, and in time less entertaining to many political observers.
The young MP clearly has a lot to offer. He is bright. His stock is high. He is well liked and respected for his courage.
But he should also be sound and measured in his statements moving forward.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
BEC's ocean thermal energy partner yesterday revealed it plans to develop an eco-industrial park in the Bahamas, leveraging its project into technology and export spin-offs that would make this nation "a world leader in green technology and green energy".
Jeremy Feakins, chairman and chief executive of Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTEC), told Tribune Business that the company's "vision" was to emulate the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA), and its Ocean Science and Technology Park, in the Bahamas, having already assessed potential sites at Clifton Pier and in Grand Bahama.
He explained that the deep sea water employ ...
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The College of The Bahamas Caribs is hoping that its home court advantage on the basketball court this Friday against the Florida Memorial University (FMU) Lions will give the team the momentum it needs to secure the win against its rivals.
COB's 40th Anniversary Basketball Game, scheduled for Friday, November 7th at 8:00 p.m. at the Kendal G. L. Isaacs Gymnasium will be the second time in nine months that the Caribs will face-off against the Lions, but will be the first game played on COB's turf.
Head coach of the COB men's basketball team Bacchus Rolle says Friday's game is critical in evaluating the team's progress.
"As a coach I am looking to use this game as a gauge, measuring not only our improvement, but as a test to determine if we can compete at this level," he explains.
FMU is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in The Sun Conference.
Coach Rolle is optimistic that the Caribs' youth and energy are key ingredients to leverage its potential on the court.
"The team's strength is truly our youthfulness which could be seen as a negative also but I think it speaks to, in this case, a positive and a willingness to be molded and shaped into a team to be reckoned with in years to come," he adds.
A new online brokerage is looking to triple its staff complement and move to a 4,000-square-foot office space in the up-and-coming Elizabeth on Bay complex.
SureTrader.com, established in December of last year, has already doubled its staff to 9.
That number could be as high as 30 by the end of this year, according to Guy Gentile, the CEO of SureTrader.com. With just 30 active accounts in January, that number has mushroomed. The brokerage now handles more than 620.
Gentile, who is also the creator of SpeedTrader.com, the U.S. online trading broker with $20 million per year in annual revenue, said the 700-square-foot office in the British American Financial Center off Bay Street West is getting a bit cramped.
The move to Elizabeth on Bay marks yet another major tenant for the newly-renovated development and signals a further revitalization of the East Bay Street area.
"We are hitting our goals and made a profit for the first time in our three months here in The Bahamas," Gentile said.
"We will be relocated to a bigger space in the next six to eight weeks. Our staff has grown to nine people and we expect it to be between 20 to 30 by year end."
The goal, he said, is to "bring Wall Street to Bay Street". The brokerage is currently facilitating as many as 1,500 trades every day.
The growth is consistent with the CEO's claims back in January, when he told Guardian Business he plans to be the largest trader in the country within six months.
"We actually haven't pushed that hard yet," he explained. "We are now on track though for 4,000 customers in 12 months."
At this rate, he said four new hires each month is possible to meet the demand. In terms of hiring, Gentile added that his strategy is to bring on Bahamians with international education or experience. Candidates with a background in technology and networking are preferable, Gentile explained, because much of what SureTrader.com does is providing support for investors.
As an attractive offshore trading hub to short sell penny stocks, the brokerage removes many of the regulations governing traders in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
SureTrader.com is not subject to the Pattern Day Trade Rule. Imposed by U.S. firms, investors with less than $25,000 are prevented from performing more than three trades in any five-day rolling period.
It also offers a wide margin of leverage to its clients. Scanning the company's client profiles, Gentile noted that the majority of his clients have between three to five years of trading experience. Unlike its American counterparts, this brokerage aims to capture a wider market of investors.
"With us, they can put in $5,000 and have similar buying power. It makes business sense for the trader. Less money means less risk. I know for a fact you don't need $25,000 to be a successful day trader," he said.
Gentile attributes much of the firm's success to affiliates.
Timothy Sykes, an author, educator and celebrity Wall Street enthusiast, is one of the company's more important allies. He sends his pupils to the online platform.
"Most people, if they are willing to listen to you to buy and sell, will probably be wiling to listen on where to trade," he told Guardian Business. "In traditional marketing, you spend money up front and hope it will turn into business. When someone is referring you in business, we are helping them also."
A veteran of the brokerage business for 15 years, SureTrader.com markets primarily to tourists and individuals that live in The Bahamas but possess other nationalities.
An online brokerage launched early last year is reporting more than 100,000 equity transactions each day, a figure that far exceeds all other Bahamian firms combined.
SureTrader.com, listed with the Securities Exchange of The Bahamas since January 2012, has increased its staff to eight Bahamians and filled out its 4,000-square-foot office at Elizabeth on Bay. The firm plans to hire up to 20 more people by the end of this year and currently seeks professional Bahamians amid expansion, according to its founder Guy Gentile.
The parent company, Swiss American Securities Limited, is also the founder of SpeedTrader.com, a U.S. online trading broker with around $20 million in annual revenue.
Gentile told Guardian Business that SureTrader.com is poised to earn $25 million in annual revenue in 2013.
"What gives us our edge is superior trading technology and a New York business approach," he said. "I operate a lean aggressive staff that has a strong desire to be the best. Not only the best in The Bahamas, but the best in the world."
Gentile added that SureTrader.com hopes to open 5,000 new accounts in 2013 after opening 2,000 in 2012. The firm wants to become the largest brokerage in The Bahamas by revenue in 2014.
"We have given ourselves an advantage by offering extended margin leverage of 6-1 compared to 3-1 in Canada and 4-1 in the U.S. We have the largest short list in the industry, we allow shorting in penny stocks, and you can fund an account easily with a credit card. There are no restrictions on day trading," he added.
Later this year, Swiss American plans to widen its project offerings through Canadian stock and options, Gentile said, and by connecting VISA debit cards to the accounts.
Following a staffing boost, the firm also wants to offer a customer service line and eventually go to 24 hours after adding European trading. The company has recently aligned itself with RBC Royal Bank, Interactive Brokers, ETC Clearing and DAS Trader.
Gentile, a U.S. investor, remains the largest tenant in the Elizabeth on Bay plaza, located on East Bay Street. He has invested approximately $400,000 into the new SureTrader.com office, with an additional $1.5 million or so in Sur Sushi.
The latter is expected to open in the coming weeks.
Back in December, Gentile reported that the restaurant has received more than 500 applications. Only 45 Bahamians will be hired for the trendy, new restaurant. Blu, formerly located across from the up-and-coming Sur Sushi, closed its doors late last year and put dozens of Bahamians out of work. Investors hope Gentile and his business ventures will help re-energize the plaza and East Bay Street.
More than 145 financial services professionals from The Bahamas and internationally attended the annual International Business & Finance Summit (IBFS), hosted this past weekend in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
Paul Winder, Chairman of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) said, "Although relatively new, IBFS has its origins as a long-standing strategic planning vehicle for the Board, and the recent event lived up to expectations of promoting this jurisdiction as an ideal location for both international business and finance, while at the same time helping BFSB better define some of its action plans for the year ahead. The locale in beautiful Abaco also served to reinforce our message that The Bahamas indeed is the place to not only conduct business, but to live."
Under the broad theme of "Pursuing Comparative Advantage" IBFS 2012 focused on examining current strategies and ways to advance comparative advantage, bringing together a large and broad cross section of stakeholders in the industry and internationally. BFSB CEO & Executive Director Aliya Allen said, "BFSB recognizes the reality that individuals, institutions and jurisdictions must focus on key benchmarks and exploit their comparative advantages for success. IBFS 2012 targeted the right mix of individuals - presenters and participants - to examine current strategies and ways to advance comparative advantage in today's business environment."
Allen added, "BFSB appreciates the great enthusiasm for the event demonstrated by both domestic and international participants and their ready willingness to collaborate over two and half days of intense sessions and discussions."
In addition to the more than international intermediaries, most of whom served as presenters, the list of distinguished participants at IBFS 2012 included The Hon. Zhivargo S. Laing, Minister of State for Finance, who provided opening remarks on behalf Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Ryan Pinder, M.P., represented the Official Opposition. Also in attendance were the heads of the regulatory bodies: Governor Wendy Craigg of the Central Bank of The Bahamas; Philip Stubbs, chairman of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas; Dave Smith, executive director of the Securities Commission, and Michele Fields, superintendent of the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas.
Additionally, an impressive number of other government and credit union officials joined with private sector industry stakeholders to make up the attendees at the annual event.
International presenters and other external invitees represented a cross section of global financial services, with experts coming from North and South America, Europe and the UK, and China. Without exception, the external intermediaries spoke to the value of events such as IBFS to update them on developments within the Bahamian financial services sector and the unique networking opportunities with industry and regulators - both of which enable them to speak with authority to clients about "The Bahamas Advantage".
In keeping with past events the agenda for the working sessions was wide ranging, covering issues such as trends in the industry; holistic planning for markets such as Latin America, the United States, China and the Middle East; philanthropy becoming a priority for more and more clients; developments in the asset management sector; global developments of particular impact tor the industry, inclusive of OECD, FATF and FSF initiatives; and talent management challenges specific to financial services. The summit concluded with an interactive session on a "wish list" for The Bahamas and what needs to be done to sustain the financial services sector.
IBFS 2012 also was successful in attracting a broad range of sponsors and cooperating agencies, including: the Association of International Banks & Trust Companies (AIBT), ATC Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd., Bahamasair, BORCO, COPA, Ernst & Young, Grand Bahama Port Authority Ltd., Klonaris & Co., Ministry of Tourism, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RBC Wealth Management, Schooner Bay, Societe Generale Private Banking, and UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd.
Allen said the event has set the stage for a comprehensive schedule of BFSB initiatives for the year ahead. In upcoming months, there will be steady focus on both jurisdictional development and external communications and marketing programs. Plans are also underway already for the next Summit, scheduled for February 2013.
BFSB operates as a partnership with the public sector, and the vision it is pursuing is a joint product of industry and government. Specifically, BFSB is focused on promoting The Bahamas as a globally competitive international business jurisdiction for private wealth management, international investment into the Americas and the emerging markets, and as an ideal place of residence for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). This vision, BFSB maintains, will result in the creation of high value jobs and business opportunities on a sustainable basis. At the time the strategy statement was developed, it was recognized, too, that its success would depend on leveraging the opportunities for international business and finance through an integrated approach across "The Bahamas Advantage" for financial services, and including related sub sectors.
The Christie administration remains committed to the so-called "anchor project" model of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Minister of State for Investment Khaalis Rolle told Guardian Business that, despite the problems with some of the high-profile "anchor projects," the model itself is fundamentally a sustainable one.
The model operates like this: An investor agrees to build a resort, supported by a second-home or some other real estate development. The government sells the investor the land, which the investor would then use as collateral together with a heads of agreement from the government to raise capital to build the resort. In many instances, the developer intends to use the money raised from presales on the real estate side to fund the resort development side (Rum Cay Resort Marina, for example, followed this model).
The high-profile collapse of the multibillion-dollar Ginn project in West Grand Bahama and the struggles Baha Mar experienced following the global recession in 2008 raise questions about the fragility of anchor projects as an economic model. Emerald Bay, the Rum Cay Resort Marina, the I-Group project in Mayaguana and other anchor projects have all experienced difficulty in performing to expectations.
Still, Rolle said the administration is confident in the system.
"I believe that [the anchor project] is a sustainable model, and I'll tell you why," he said. "If you look at [it], during the recession, many of these properties that didn't perform well, didn't perform well because they were leveraged in the first instance, but the funding source globally dried up.
"During the recession, Baker's Bay was heralded throughout the Caribbean and the United States as one of the most successful developments in the Caribbean. They were recession-proof."
He said the Albany development in southwest New Providence has the same model and is as successful as Baker's Bay.
"They carry no bank debt on the business," he said. "The development has been financed by the developers. And if you use it as an indicator of success, they are now onto phase two. They've broken ground. They've started construction on phase two."
"So I don't believe that there are fundamental challenges with that model. With any model you will have some challenges, and you're not going to find success with every individual property."
He also pointed to Exuma, where Sandals took over development of the former Four Seasons at Emerald Bay resort. In 2012, Sandals Founder Butch Stewart acknowledged that high operating costs, including high utility costs, a shortage of trained workers on Exuma and limited airlift nearly forced the resort to close its doors.
Rolle said the resort is now "doing extremely well".
"So well that they are now looking at developing a new airport" he added.
"So the [anchor project] philosophy is correct."