The Consulates General of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda, members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Consular Corps, in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) hosted the inaugural USA-Caribbean Investment Forum on Sept. 15 and 16 at the prestigious Marriott Hotel in Times Square, Manhattan.
According to a statement issued on Monday, as far back as 2017, such a forum was discussed by Bernadette Ambrose and CAIPA, but this landmark event only took hold last year when it was first mooted as a Corps event, under then Chair Consul General of Barbados Mackie Holder, in a meeting with Mayor Eric Adams last year and originally slated for June, during Caribbean-American Heritage month and around celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM.
Ambrose is chair of CARICOM At 50 Subcommittee (CARICOM Consular Corps NYC), and liaison for Foreign Direct Investments and International Trade Promotions (The Americas & Canada), and Embassy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the USA¦Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the OAS.
The statement said the forum brought together government officials, investment promotion agencies, entrepreneurs, and business leaders to explore investment prospects and discuss the opportunities for investment in the Caribbean region.
Over the course of two dynamic days, attendees engaged in networking sessions and presentations focused on the opportunities for investment for US investors, the statement said.
It said the event also placed a spotlight on the potential for the Caribbean nationals residing in the United States to invest in their respective homelands.
The event was opened by Ronald Theodore, CAIPA president and head of the Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC) and CG Holder.
Distinguished speakers, including representatives from the New York State Governor’s Office and the Office of the Mayor of New York City (NYC), “delivered insightful perspectives on investment and collaboration between the city of New York and the Caribbean,” the statement said.
Keynote speakers included Kenneth Bryan, Minister for Tourism & Ports, Cayman Islands, and chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO); as well as E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Trade, and Investment, Turks and Caicos Islands; Molly Bauer, Industry Development Associate from the NY Governor’s Office representing Gov. Kathy Hochul; NYS Commissioner Jeanette Moy NYS Office of General Services representing Hochul; and NYC Commissioner Edward Mermelstein, NYC Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, representing Mayor Eric Adams.
“Invaluable inputs were made by specialist officers of agencies such as the Caribbean Development Bank, (CDB), IDB Lab, and USAID, who contributed their expertise and perspectives to the discussions, as well as major investors in the region who spoke of their experiences and shared their success stories,” the statement said. “The event was a resounding success having achieved the desired objectives of increased visibility by US and Diaspora investors for Caribbean investment projects.”
Consuls General Holder, Jerome Andre Laveau (Trinidad & Tobago) and Rondy McIntosh (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) “shared valuable insights around the potential to forge even stronger connections between the Caribbean Diaspora residing in the United States, their respective countries, and the Caribbean as a whole,” the statement said.
“The USA-Caribbean Investment Forum marks a significant step. It reflects the collaboration, commitment and resolve that are required among all our countries, governments, agencies, and people for a new engagement and push worldwide to help break the cycle of stop-start development of the Caribbean and is indicative of what can be achieved when all sectors come together,” Holder said. “We must sell the immense and immeasurable collective talents, skills, and resources of the region – and in so doing do not undersell ourselves – and the best way is to do so collaboratively.
“The support from major regional institutions such as the CDB, USAID and IDB, and businesses, underscored the importance of this inaugural event,” he added. “The Forum was excellent, impressive in maximizing one on one conversations with the testimonials from investors already operating in the region a signal feature.
“It has set the appropriate tone and platform on which to build out similar events throughout the diaspora and the excitement suggests there will be practical desired outcomes – investments in the region,” he continued. “It was a particularly proud moment to play a role in the historic forum and I applaud my fellow CGs for their support and resolve to see it come to fruition, our partners CAIPA and the outstanding work of Bernadette Ambrose and Suzette Hudson who pulled it all together.”
“The Caribbean is the new investment frontier. The Caribbean is where you vacation while you work. The Caribbean is where the weather, the scenery, the topography, and the investment landscape are all warm, friendly, hospitable, and inviting as the people who inhabit the region,” McIntosh said. “We are just awaiting your interest to capitalize on the untapped opportunities and resources in our slice of paradise. The time to invest in the Caribbean is now, and we await you with open arms.”
“The USA-Caribbean Investment Forum provided an excellent opportunity for the participating CARICOM Countries to present their collective and individual strengths as investment destinations,” Laveau said. “I go away from the Seminar with a confidence that our attributes such as political and social stability, near-shore location, ‘scholarization’ of our populations and moreover, readiness to do business, do in fact distinguish us and make us attractive at this particular juncture and moving forward.
“Discussions brought forth very insightful prescriptions for the attraction of capital from institutional investors as well as the welcoming of diaspora capital- financial and human,” Laveau added. “This is an excellent platform for further investment promotion by all of our countries and we expect to intensify our encounters in the coming months. Excellent outcome!”
“This landmark event is only the start of renewed efforts by CAIPA to increase its partnership with a wider cross section of stakeholders including regional and international entities. This event marked a new era of engagement for CAIPA,” noted Ronald Theodore, CAIPA president.
The USA Caribbean Investment Forum served as “a powerful catalyst for forging new connections and fostering partnerships, paving the way for a brighter economic future in the Caribbean,” the statement said.
For more information, contact bambrose-black@embsvg,com or [email protected]