Premier, the Hon. L. Craig Cannonier JP,MP; H.E. Boyd McCleary, Governor of BVI and Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar taken at the BVI Government House. *Photo supplied
Premier, the Hon. L. Craig Cannonier JP,MP; H.E. Boyd McCleary, Governor of BVI and Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar taken at the BVI Government House. *Photo supplied

Premier, the Hon. L Craig Cannonier, JP, MP was a featured panelist at BVI Business Outlook 2014 conference in Tortola, BVI this week and spoke on the topic of Smart Government- Critical to the Global competitiveness of Small Territories.

The annual event brought together heads of government of the British Overseas Territories,  CEO’s, MD’s  and other key influencers to look at the year ahead and the outlook for business in the British Virgin Islands in the context of ongoing global economic challenges.

Premier Cannonier said of the Conference: “The timing and theme of the Conference is vital for the survival of our small nations as we are all facing economic challenges.  Global competition is fierce for tourism and financial services, as leading developed countries reassess their national concerns regarding tax evasion, tax avoidance and transparency as their economies experience a sustained zero or negative growth. 

One of our imperatives for survival depends on our ability to diversify and collectively reach beyond our borders to tap into new markets. I encouraged those at the conference to collaborate instead of compete amongst ourselves as individual entities; to leverage our unique strengths for the betterment of the whole. For example, a company from Asia can incorporate itself in the BVI, insure itself through Bermuda and invest its funds through the Cayman Islands.  That’s a shining example of collaboration and cooperation. “ 

The Premier also discussed Bermuda’s efforts to exemplify Smart Government through its SAGE Commission initiative, a concept which captured the interest of those in attendance.  He told participants that in ten years time, Governments will not look and function as they do today and that the SAGE Commission recommendations will be a key initiative for Bermuda’s blueprint to transform the Government.

Conference organizer, Russell Harrigan stated: “Our conference theme for 2014 is Change is in our DNA - Taking our Game to the next Level.  It was chosen primarily because survival today means formulating a long term economic strategy and literally, the daily management of the same to avoid becoming ‘road kill’ in the global marketplace.  Survival today is all about relevance.”

Other panelists included the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, the Hon. Fabian Picardo and Russell Crumpler, Director Advisory, KPMG BVI.