British official promotes Caribbean private sector
British Foreign Secretary in the Caribbean says private sector should be recognised as an engine of growth.
ST GEORGE'S, Grenada, Thursday January 19, 2012 – Ahead of his attendance tomorrow (January 20) at the UK-Caribbean Forum, British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has highlighted the major role of private sector investment in these difficult economic times.
“The private sector is the engine of growth for our economies, so it is right that they frame the questions that we politicians will discuss. The UK is a major investor in the Caribbean. BG has recently made a large investment in Trinidad & Tobago, and Pinewood Studios are building a state of the art film studio in the Dominican Republic with local partners Grupo Vinci.
“There are however more business opportunities available, which is why I am being accompanied by Nick Baird, Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment, and will lead a discussion with a range of UK and Caribbean businesses at the Forum,” said Hague.
The Forum will start with a meeting of British and Caribbean companies.
“It is hoped that the meetings taking place in and around the Forum will lead to increased cooperation between businesses and a renewed interest in investment across the region,” said Hague of his two-day meeting in Grenada.
The British foreign official hailed a ‘new era’ for UK-Caribbean relations, as for the first time in its seven iterations of the Forum, the Dominican Republic, one of the fastest-growing countries in the area, Haiti and Suriname will also take part, and observers will include British Caribbean Overseas Territories, including Bermuda, Canada, Australia and the USA.
William Hague said: “When I became Foreign Secretary I was determined to reinvigorate the UK’s relationships with its partners across the Caribbean. This year’s Forum has afforded me my first opportunity to demonstrate this commitment in concrete terms, by hearing firsthand the value of our relationships and how we can improve them.
Hague noted that around one and a half million British tourists visited the Caribbean in 2010, and tourism is a key plank of the economy, but, the Forum was set up in part to emphasise other vital links.
The British official said he wanted to forge out of the meetings a modern UK-Caribbean built around the following three principles: A relationship of equals that focuses on working together to shape the global agenda to our mutual benefit; a dynamic partnership that delivers real benefits for our citizens through tackling drugs and violent crimes and the means for making our economies resilient to global shocks and creating jobs for our young people; and a broad-based partnership that involves business, civil society and ordinary people.