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HomeNewsArchivesPRIVATE SECTOR OBVIOUS KEY TO GROWING ECONOMY

PRIVATE SECTOR OBVIOUS KEY TO GROWING ECONOMY

Introduction
Thank you for this opportunity to participate at Caribbean Trade Mission 2000.
For the next twenty-five minutes, I would like to share with you a few ideas on economic development of small communities; be an apologist, more so an advocate for the role of the private sector in this effort; and offer a few recommendations specific to economically growing our communities and making us competitive in the world economy.
Before discussing small community economic development, and by small communities I am specifically referring to island communities such as the Virgin Islands and the communities of the Eastern Caribbean, I would like to introduce you to Seslia Securities and Virgin Islands Capital Resources. Both play a role in addressing the financial and financing needs of this Virgin Islands' community.
First, let me discuss Seslia Securities, whose focus is to increase investment return for Virgin Island institutions and individuals and bring the opportunities of global world markets to its clients. Second, I will introduce you to Virgin Islands Capital Resources, Inc. VI Cap's mission is to channel investment dollars from external sources to the Virgin Island economy in a form that allows for entrepreneurial growth and expansion.
Seslia Securities, a National Association of Securities Dealer member firm, assists Virgin Islanders and their institutions access investment opportunities in the wider US and global economy. Seslia is the first local institution to provide these services and, it is my understanding, one of only three regional firms in the greater Caribbean enjoying this affiliation.
Prior to Seslia, for many Virgin Islanders, investments meant real estate, a few local business opportunities, and bank Certificates of Deposit. Seslia has opened to its clients the world of mutual funds, domestic and foreign equity, domestic and global debt instruments and bank instruments from institutions nationwide.
Particularly in small communities, there is the need for windows to the outside world. Seslia seeks to be this window to the world of investments.
Small communities tend toward tunnel vision. The sun rises and sets on our insular physical world.
Telecommunications opens vistas to the greater world. Intermediaries are often needed to truly open wide these windows such that individuals can reach through and avail themselves of opportunities readily available to others. Equally importantly we need those intermediaries to be user friendly, non-intimidating, and sensitive to our peculiarities, customs, limitations, individual and collective experiences.
Seslia addresses this role. Those of us associated with Seslia anticipate the day when we can appropriately structure and participate, among our investors, equity investments in local and regional companies.
As Seslia Securities opens windows to the outside, VI Cap seeks to open the door and bring external investment dollars to the Virgin Island economy. Virgin Islands Capital Resources, started in 1997, is a recognized Community Financial Institution. In addition to its own investment capital, VI Cap is a recent recipient of approximately $800,000 from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the US Treasury. The existing assets of VI Cap allow significant participation in some $10,000,000 of projects.
VI Cap is the first privately managed equity venture fund in the Virgin Islands and, again to the best of my knowledge, the Eastern Caribbean. Policy and management of VI Cap is in the hands of a Board of Directors of local Virgin Islanders.
VI Caps goals are two-fold, financial return commensurate with risk and community economic development.
VI Cap seeks to identify start-ups and expansion phase businesses that see their market as the region and beyond, have high prospects for growth, and distinguish themselves by entrepreneurial vision. The VI Cap decision making process to invest or not is premised on the entrepreneur's vision, the validity of the business plan and operating model, and the entrepreneur's willingness to be significantly at financial risk.
Hopefully, it is obvious that my associates and I seek not to be one-way traffic players in the investment and development game but to create dual pathways for investment income growth.
Sector Role in Economic Development
From the above perspective, I offer certain observations on economic development for small communities and the role that the private sector can plays in moving development forward. I should add that it is not possible to discuss the private sector without also discussing the force exerted on the economy by the more dominant sector, government.
The impact of government in small communities is excessive and often depressive. Government overarching presence and influence in these small communities must make way and allow for the private sector to grow and be competitive.
The importance of the private sector role in economic development is hardly a debatable point. Worldwide, the private sector is recognized as the engine of growth. Appropriately regulated, the private sector is an efficient user of resources. A vibrant and expanding private sector assures any community continued development and competitiveness.
The Private sector, in return, has certain responsibilities and true market forces will keep that sector honest in discharging those responsibilities. The private sector must be aware and responsive to the challenges posed by an increasingly global society and position itself competitively. Information, capital and human resources are critical to maintaining competitive positioning.
What then is the role of Government? Am I an advocate of the increasing irrelevance of this institution in the economic expansion process? The answer is No.
Government has a substantial role to play in the economic development process. It must, however, neither in actuality or rhetoric, seek to dominate the development landscape, except at its own peril.
Government must reduce its role in the economy in order to create a more accommodating environment for business growth. Uneconomic business practices impacting labor, productivity, investment and reinvestment must be changed; discretionary public sector interventions and counterproductive taxation eliminated; and bureaucratic inefficiencies in the processing of investor applications and response to business activity re-examined and corrected.
Government's role is addressing the public good and providing the infrastructure for development.
* Physical infrastructure
* Transportation and communication
* External marketing
* Providing incentives to attract business growth and encouraging business expansion
* Human resource development and quality of life considerations
* Eliminating legal, regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles which hinder and retard growth and scare away investment
* Focusing seed investment to stimulate growth and location
Human and Capital Considerations
I previously mentioned that information, capital and human resources are critical to private sector competitive positioning. The engine that drives private sector expansion is made up of human resource availability, retention and development and investment capital.
Human resource development speaks to
– Investment in competitive education and skill training.
– Appropriate and skilled health service delivery
– Personal and property security.
Addressing Capital availability is more straightforward. For any investment initiative, the hardest dollar to obtain is the first dollar.
Government can play an important role in making capital accessible and available. It can, however, play this role only once priorities are established for the use of government's finite financial resources.
Spending only to address current needs is not long term investing in the growth of a community.
Let me offer an illustration of what I am referring to. During the lean US business period of the late eighties and early nineti
es, research and development at the most successful companies went unscathed while spending reductions savaged other operating divisions. As an example, the technology industry annually reinvested 5.5 to 6.5% of spending on R&D. For several of those companies the mandate was that even in those lean times no less than 25% was to be spent on research and development that had no immediate market application.
Problematic for all small communities is the difficulty if generating investment capital. It is difficult to attract investment capital unless the initial investment capital can be raised locally. Government's role in assisting in this effort is often misguided and ineffective; not confronted with the need to raise investment capital, government intermediaries often lack the understanding of how investment capital is allocated and leveraged.
Government can direct how the economic pump is primed through the application of capital among competing opportunities. The return from this investment is tax revenues and quality of life improvements for the community's residents. Government investment can be in the form of industrial incentive benefits, the allocation of surplus land, direct equity investment or low interest rate loans.
Public pension funds also can and should play major roles in making capital available for local community development. Economically Targeted Investing is a growing area of asset allocation for pension fund portfolios. ETI combines private equity investing and economic development. In 1994 the US Department of Labor reinforced the eligibility of ETI as consistent with Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations. In 1997, 254 of the largest North American tax-exempt funds had invested $69 billion in ETI; a 92% increase since 1992.
In 1997, 41% of public funds were invested in venture capital financing; and in 1996 alone, this type of targeted investing attracted $32 billion. Public funds were the largest participants in this investment class.
Pension plans are sources of "patient capital, because of their long term investment horizon and because their membership constitute the primary stakeholders in a diversified and expanding local economy. Retirees, for example, are highly dependent on effective government service and community stability. Government's ability to afford such services is conditioned on a vibrant economy and sufficient tax revenues.
Flexible, trained and competent local financial intermediates are critical to the development process. VI Cap is an example of this type of institution. These entities shape investing to the needs of the potential recipient as opposed to requiring investment projects to conform to the investment model of the financial institution.
Credit lending done by banks and more traditional lenders is often irreconcilable with the risk associated with entrepreneurial gestation and development. This investment function can only be discharged by organizations knowledgeable of this type of investing and motivated by financial return. Only then are limited resources allocated appropriately.
In the Caribbean, most private sector investor programs are owned or managed by State intermediaries– financial assistance to the private sector has been administered largely through government or quasi government agencies. Government institutions are unfamiliar with the demands and motivations of private sector institutions.
Hopefully, by this time you have connected some of my thoughts to the challenges of small island communities but let me speak directly to the challenges confronting the Caribbean.
Caribbean Context
Through the end of the cold war the Caribbean enjoyed a geo-political advantage for the US and Europe. The Caribbean was the gateway through which much of the oil requirements transited and was the passageway for much of US military supplies to Western Europe.
Today, the reconfiguration of Europe has diminished the geo-strategic importance of the region and investment flows have declined rapidly as have Caribbean preferential market access to the European Community and North America. As an indicator, between the late 1980's and 1996, US aid to the Caribbean dropped from $225 million to $26 million, a decline of 90%.
Economic growth and competitiveness of Caribbean based businesses are critical if these communities are to thrive.
NAFTA has already had a detrimental effect on the competitiveness of Caribbean products into the US market. Mexican products are usurping the market. This is particularly apparent in apparel manufacture. The intention of President Clinton to include the small states of the Caribbean in NAFTA remains unfulfilled as Congress has side tracked efforts to expand NAFTA.
The opportunities that an expanded NAFTA will make possible also will bring challenges. It is doubtful that many of the fledgling businesses of the Caribbean are adequately positioned to withstand the competition posed by Mexican and other Latin and South American products.
It is in this context that we consider the competitive positioning of the private sector in the Caribbean.
In the OECS as well as throughout much of the Caribbean, the absence of economic diversity as well as the small size of internal markets have produced a narrow private sector base. Throughout the Caribbean (with some notable exceptions) there is a relative lack of true business culture and entrepreneurship. Contributing factors include few role models; overarching government; outside ownership; a single model of financial intermediation not suited to entrepreneurial activity –banks; over emphasis on academic training to the exclusion of skill development; high interest rates; currency obstacles; lack of access to specialized trade information and the lack of technical expertise to analyze data.
The Cuba impact on the greater Caribbean is not to be overlooked despite its slow gestation.
* Foreign investment in 1996 numbered 260 initiatives. By February of the following year the number had risen to 410 projects under varying stages of negotiation and implementation.
* Cuba has no trade unions promoting higher wages and improvements in the condition of work, low wages, and high education and skill development.
* Cuba's tourism grew by 35% between 1995 and 1996.
The Caribbean countries can not compete against Cuba as they might each other. Cuba's low cost and size makes it more attractive to investors and tourists attracted by the low cost structure of that country.
Natural disasters throughout the region have distracted investment from expansion to the frequent rebuilding of existing infrastructure. Much of the Eastern Caribbean has seen the necessity of rebuilding their tourist infrastructure from hurricane damage over the past ten years. As a result, skilled and qualified workers have left our communities and scare resources have had to be redirected to retraining and rebuilding. Governments strapped for cash are forced to spend on rehabilitating infrastructure and capacity with the concomitant reduction in healthy, well-trained people to spur economic activity. Governments are financially stressed and find it difficult to adequately deliver basic services. Police lack manpower and resources to address more intense criminal behavior; judicial and prison services are over-stretched; hospitals lack equipment, personnel and material; schools are understaffed with concerned and well-trained teachers.
Finally, adversarial politics in small communities creates undue confrontation and acrimony with the resulting loss of talent during periods when opposing parties and personalities assume leadership of governmental structures.
In the recent past, the private sector has led the way through other periods of economic turmoil and can assume similar leadership today if appropriately nurtured and developed.
In 1967, when political dialogue on Caribbean unity was virtually at a standstill, a six person team comprising private sector leaders from different countries throughout the region sought to encourage hea
ds of government to discuss the creation of a free trade area and other areas of mutual cooperation. A year later in 1968, the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) was formed.
The Caribbean business community continues to be proactive. Hemispheric integration through the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and through the projected Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is being driven largely by private sector interests in the region which have fashioned linkages with private sector counterparts in a number of Latin American countries.
When the Caribbean is viewed in the context of the greater and evolving FTA (Free Trade Area of the Americas a market of 754.1 million and a potential GDP of $90 trillion), it forces businesses to strategically evaluate opportunities for future profitability and success from that larger market. In the final analysis, FTAA is nothing more than individual business initiatives and agreements driven by the private sector. By successfully competing in this larger market, the private sector brings back to its respective community ownership, employment, tax revenue, and recognition in the world economy.
Conclusion
Some twenty-five minutes ago I suggested I would review with you two organization's roles in moving the economic development agenda of this community forward. I also said I would share with you certain observations gained along the way.
What hopefully has been accomplished is to be an apologist for private sector leadership in our communities' economic development and to join a much-needed discussion of this topic in the Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean countries.
Thank you for affording me this opportunity to address you.

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Introduction
Thank you for this opportunity to participate at Caribbean Trade Mission 2000.
For the next twenty-five minutes, I would like to share with you a few ideas on economic development of small communities; be an apologist, more so an advocate for the role of the private sector in this effort; and offer a few recommendations specific to economically growing our communities and making us competitive in the world economy.
Before discussing small community economic development, and by small communities I am specifically referring to island communities such as the Virgin Islands and the communities of the Eastern Caribbean, I would like to introduce you to Seslia Securities and Virgin Islands Capital Resources. Both play a role in addressing the financial and financing needs of this Virgin Islands' community.
First, let me discuss Seslia Securities, whose focus is to increase investment return for Virgin Island institutions and individuals and bring the opportunities of global world markets to its clients. Second, I will introduce you to Virgin Islands Capital Resources, Inc. VI Cap's mission is to channel investment dollars from external sources to the Virgin Island economy in a form that allows for entrepreneurial growth and expansion.
Seslia Securities, a National Association of Securities Dealer member firm, assists Virgin Islanders and their institutions access investment opportunities in the wider US and global economy. Seslia is the first local institution to provide these services and, it is my understanding, one of only three regional firms in the greater Caribbean enjoying this affiliation.
Prior to Seslia, for many Virgin Islanders, investments meant real estate, a few local business opportunities, and bank Certificates of Deposit. Seslia has opened to its clients the world of mutual funds, domestic and foreign equity, domestic and global debt instruments and bank instruments from institutions nationwide.
Particularly in small communities, there is the need for windows to the outside world. Seslia seeks to be this window to the world of investments.
Small communities tend toward tunnel vision. The sun rises and sets on our insular physical world.
Telecommunications opens vistas to the greater world. Intermediaries are often needed to truly open wide these windows such that individuals can reach through and avail themselves of opportunities readily available to others. Equally importantly we need those intermediaries to be user friendly, non-intimidating, and sensitive to our peculiarities, customs, limitations, individual and collective experiences.
Seslia addresses this role. Those of us associated with Seslia anticipate the day when we can appropriately structure and participate, among our investors, equity investments in local and regional companies.
As Seslia Securities opens windows to the outside, VI Cap seeks to open the door and bring external investment dollars to the Virgin Island economy. Virgin Islands Capital Resources, started in 1997, is a recognized Community Financial Institution. In addition to its own investment capital, VI Cap is a recent recipient of approximately $800,000 from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the US Treasury. The existing assets of VI Cap allow significant participation in some $10,000,000 of projects.
VI Cap is the first privately managed equity venture fund in the Virgin Islands and, again to the best of my knowledge, the Eastern Caribbean. Policy and management of VI Cap is in the hands of a Board of Directors of local Virgin Islanders.
VI Caps goals are two-fold, financial return commensurate with risk and community economic development.
VI Cap seeks to identify start-ups and expansion phase businesses that see their market as the region and beyond, have high prospects for growth, and distinguish themselves by entrepreneurial vision. The VI Cap decision making process to invest or not is premised on the entrepreneur's vision, the validity of the business plan and operating model, and the entrepreneur's willingness to be significantly at financial risk.
Hopefully, it is obvious that my associates and I seek not to be one-way traffic players in the investment and development game but to create dual pathways for investment income growth.
Sector Role in Economic Development
From the above perspective, I offer certain observations on economic development for small communities and the role that the private sector can plays in moving development forward. I should add that it is not possible to discuss the private sector without also discussing the force exerted on the economy by the more dominant sector, government.
The impact of government in small communities is excessive and often depressive. Government overarching presence and influence in these small communities must make way and allow for the private sector to grow and be competitive.
The importance of the private sector role in economic development is hardly a debatable point. Worldwide, the private sector is recognized as the engine of growth. Appropriately regulated, the private sector is an efficient user of resources. A vibrant and expanding private sector assures any community continued development and competitiveness.
The Private sector, in return, has certain responsibilities and true market forces will keep that sector honest in discharging those responsibilities. The private sector must be aware and responsive to the challenges posed by an increasingly global society and position itself competitively. Information, capital and human resources are critical to maintaining competitive positioning.
What then is the role of Government? Am I an advocate of the increasing irrelevance of this institution in the economic expansion process? The answer is No.
Government has a substantial role to play in the economic development process. It must, however, neither in actuality or rhetoric, seek to dominate the development landscape, except at its own peril.
Government must reduce its role in the economy in order to create a more accommodating environment for business growth. Uneconomic business practices impacting labor, productivity, investment and reinvestment must be changed; discretionary public sector interventions and counterproductive taxation eliminated; and bureaucratic inefficiencies in the processing of investor applications and response to business activity re-examined and corrected.
Government's role is addressing the public good and providing the infrastructure for development.
* Physical infrastructure
* Transportation and communication
* External marketing
* Providing incentives to attract business growth and encouraging business expansion
* Human resource development and quality of life considerations
* Eliminating legal, regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles which hinder and retard growth and scare away investment
* Focusing seed investment to stimulate growth and location
Human and Capital Considerations
I previously mentioned that information, capital and human resources are critical to private sector competitive positioning. The engine that drives private sector expansion is made up of human resource availability, retention and development and investment capital.
Human resource development speaks to
- Investment in competitive education and skill training.
- Appropriate and skilled health service delivery
- Personal and property security.
Addressing Capital availability is more straightforward. For any investment initiative, the hardest dollar to obtain is the first dollar.
Government can play an important role in making capital accessible and available. It can, however, play this role only once priorities are established for the use of government's finite financial resources.
Spending only to address current needs is not long term investing in the growth of a community.
Let me offer an illustration of what I am referring to. During the lean US business period of the late eighties and early nineti es, research and development at the most successful companies went unscathed while spending reductions savaged other operating divisions. As an example, the technology industry annually reinvested 5.5 to 6.5% of spending on R&D. For several of those companies the mandate was that even in those lean times no less than 25% was to be spent on research and development that had no immediate market application.
Problematic for all small communities is the difficulty if generating investment capital. It is difficult to attract investment capital unless the initial investment capital can be raised locally. Government's role in assisting in this effort is often misguided and ineffective; not confronted with the need to raise investment capital, government intermediaries often lack the understanding of how investment capital is allocated and leveraged.
Government can direct how the economic pump is primed through the application of capital among competing opportunities. The return from this investment is tax revenues and quality of life improvements for the community's residents. Government investment can be in the form of industrial incentive benefits, the allocation of surplus land, direct equity investment or low interest rate loans.
Public pension funds also can and should play major roles in making capital available for local community development. Economically Targeted Investing is a growing area of asset allocation for pension fund portfolios. ETI combines private equity investing and economic development. In 1994 the US Department of Labor reinforced the eligibility of ETI as consistent with Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations. In 1997, 254 of the largest North American tax-exempt funds had invested $69 billion in ETI; a 92% increase since 1992.
In 1997, 41% of public funds were invested in venture capital financing; and in 1996 alone, this type of targeted investing attracted $32 billion. Public funds were the largest participants in this investment class.
Pension plans are sources of "patient capital, because of their long term investment horizon and because their membership constitute the primary stakeholders in a diversified and expanding local economy. Retirees, for example, are highly dependent on effective government service and community stability. Government's ability to afford such services is conditioned on a vibrant economy and sufficient tax revenues.
Flexible, trained and competent local financial intermediates are critical to the development process. VI Cap is an example of this type of institution. These entities shape investing to the needs of the potential recipient as opposed to requiring investment projects to conform to the investment model of the financial institution.
Credit lending done by banks and more traditional lenders is often irreconcilable with the risk associated with entrepreneurial gestation and development. This investment function can only be discharged by organizations knowledgeable of this type of investing and motivated by financial return. Only then are limited resources allocated appropriately.
In the Caribbean, most private sector investor programs are owned or managed by State intermediaries-- financial assistance to the private sector has been administered largely through government or quasi government agencies. Government institutions are unfamiliar with the demands and motivations of private sector institutions.
Hopefully, by this time you have connected some of my thoughts to the challenges of small island communities but let me speak directly to the challenges confronting the Caribbean.
Caribbean Context
Through the end of the cold war the Caribbean enjoyed a geo-political advantage for the US and Europe. The Caribbean was the gateway through which much of the oil requirements transited and was the passageway for much of US military supplies to Western Europe.
Today, the reconfiguration of Europe has diminished the geo-strategic importance of the region and investment flows have declined rapidly as have Caribbean preferential market access to the European Community and North America. As an indicator, between the late 1980's and 1996, US aid to the Caribbean dropped from $225 million to $26 million, a decline of 90%.
Economic growth and competitiveness of Caribbean based businesses are critical if these communities are to thrive.
NAFTA has already had a detrimental effect on the competitiveness of Caribbean products into the US market. Mexican products are usurping the market. This is particularly apparent in apparel manufacture. The intention of President Clinton to include the small states of the Caribbean in NAFTA remains unfulfilled as Congress has side tracked efforts to expand NAFTA.
The opportunities that an expanded NAFTA will make possible also will bring challenges. It is doubtful that many of the fledgling businesses of the Caribbean are adequately positioned to withstand the competition posed by Mexican and other Latin and South American products.
It is in this context that we consider the competitive positioning of the private sector in the Caribbean.
In the OECS as well as throughout much of the Caribbean, the absence of economic diversity as well as the small size of internal markets have produced a narrow private sector base. Throughout the Caribbean (with some notable exceptions) there is a relative lack of true business culture and entrepreneurship. Contributing factors include few role models; overarching government; outside ownership; a single model of financial intermediation not suited to entrepreneurial activity --banks; over emphasis on academic training to the exclusion of skill development; high interest rates; currency obstacles; lack of access to specialized trade information and the lack of technical expertise to analyze data.
The Cuba impact on the greater Caribbean is not to be overlooked despite its slow gestation.
* Foreign investment in 1996 numbered 260 initiatives. By February of the following year the number had risen to 410 projects under varying stages of negotiation and implementation.
* Cuba has no trade unions promoting higher wages and improvements in the condition of work, low wages, and high education and skill development.
* Cuba's tourism grew by 35% between 1995 and 1996.
The Caribbean countries can not compete against Cuba as they might each other. Cuba's low cost and size makes it more attractive to investors and tourists attracted by the low cost structure of that country.
Natural disasters throughout the region have distracted investment from expansion to the frequent rebuilding of existing infrastructure. Much of the Eastern Caribbean has seen the necessity of rebuilding their tourist infrastructure from hurricane damage over the past ten years. As a result, skilled and qualified workers have left our communities and scare resources have had to be redirected to retraining and rebuilding. Governments strapped for cash are forced to spend on rehabilitating infrastructure and capacity with the concomitant reduction in healthy, well-trained people to spur economic activity. Governments are financially stressed and find it difficult to adequately deliver basic services. Police lack manpower and resources to address more intense criminal behavior; judicial and prison services are over-stretched; hospitals lack equipment, personnel and material; schools are understaffed with concerned and well-trained teachers.
Finally, adversarial politics in small communities creates undue confrontation and acrimony with the resulting loss of talent during periods when opposing parties and personalities assume leadership of governmental structures.
In the recent past, the private sector has led the way through other periods of economic turmoil and can assume similar leadership today if appropriately nurtured and developed.
In 1967, when political dialogue on Caribbean unity was virtually at a standstill, a six person team comprising private sector leaders from different countries throughout the region sought to encourage hea ds of government to discuss the creation of a free trade area and other areas of mutual cooperation. A year later in 1968, the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) was formed.
The Caribbean business community continues to be proactive. Hemispheric integration through the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and through the projected Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is being driven largely by private sector interests in the region which have fashioned linkages with private sector counterparts in a number of Latin American countries.
When the Caribbean is viewed in the context of the greater and evolving FTA (Free Trade Area of the Americas a market of 754.1 million and a potential GDP of $90 trillion), it forces businesses to strategically evaluate opportunities for future profitability and success from that larger market. In the final analysis, FTAA is nothing more than individual business initiatives and agreements driven by the private sector. By successfully competing in this larger market, the private sector brings back to its respective community ownership, employment, tax revenue, and recognition in the world economy.
Conclusion
Some twenty-five minutes ago I suggested I would review with you two organization's roles in moving the economic development agenda of this community forward. I also said I would share with you certain observations gained along the way.
What hopefully has been accomplished is to be an apologist for private sector leadership in our communities' economic development and to join a much-needed discussion of this topic in the Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean countries.
Thank you for affording me this opportunity to address you.