Remarks by PM Minnis at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in Grand Bahama
Jun 20, 2018 - 2:24:35 PM
Freeport, Grand Bahama - Remarks Dr. Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, MP Prime Minister of the Commonwealth
of The Bahamas Bahamas Blockchain BBCC 2018 Cryptocurrency Conference
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Grand Lucayan Hotel 9:00 A.M.:
Senator the Hon. James Kwasi Thompson and other Cabinet Ministers
International and local conference participants
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Today it is my privilege to be in our nation’s second city of Grand Bahama, for the official opening of the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.
This represents an important step towards my government’s new vision for the Bahamas, and a progressive step for the island of Grand Bahama.
Our Government recognizes that in order for our economy to continue to grow we must diversify, and create other opportunities for Bahamians to be successful.
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, both of which, will have a meaningful impact on our economy and can be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Companies that utilize blockchain technology as a basis for their new products and services represent the 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.
We are a sovereign jurisdiction that has been a stable parliamentary democracy for over 250 years.
We believe in the rule of law, and are only 68 miles from the United States.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My 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 our ongoing Ease of Doing Business changes and amendments.
Here in the Bahamas, we fully understand that establishing and growing a technology industry sector is not easy, however, the Bahamas is uniquely positioned to quickly become the jurisdiction of choice for technology companies, particularly blockchain technology companies, and FinTech solution providers.
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.
We understand that in order to build a thriving technology sector that will benefit our country’s economy in a meaningful way, several key components must be in place, these include:
(i) policies that encourage innovation,
(ii) an educated and motivated workforce with access to higher education and professional development resources,
(iii) a flexible immigration policy
(Iv) and locations and infrastructure that can support population growth, and provide broadband access and telecommunications services that are on par with the rest of the world.
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.
We are well positioned to become the new Silicon Capital of the Caribbean.
Grand Bahama was designed, and has the infrastructure to support 250 thousand residents.
Today it has a population of just over 40 thousand residents.
Broadband connectivity is of the highest quality within the Bahamas, with gigabit networks becoming the norm for both commercial and residential usage.
Grand Bahama is the ideal location in The Bahamas that can support the establishment and growth of a technology cluster of blockchain, and other software companies that can jumpstart the technology industry in The Bahamas.
Recently, my Government announced plans to provide free tuition at the Bahamas Vocational and Technical Institute, which provides degree programs in Information Technology Management, and free tuition at the University of the Bahamas commencing 2019, which also provides various degree programs in Technology.
The Bahamas also has a significant number of financial services, and wealth management firms that can provide investment and advisory services.
Here in The Bahamas, we have all of the available resources, and expertise, to work with both international, and local entrepreneurs, and investors, to build a robust technology sector.
We are pleased that many distinguished international and local professionals in blockchain and cryptocurrency have come to this place at this time to help us tell the world that The Bahamas is taking a deliberate step in building its technology industry sector.
I would also like to welcome the many Bahamians who have joined us with the desire to be the pioneers in this new industry, recognizing that technology will allow us the opportunity to become global players in an industry that is poised for growth.
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.
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, and important role in all of this.
We welcome you all here to The Bahamas, and look forward to learning from you, investing with you, and laying the foundation to build a technology industry that will benefit all who are a part of it.
Thank you and good morning.
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