The widely anticipated Saint Lucia Investment Forum got off to an impressive start Sunday, May 4 with keynote speaker Egbert Perry delivering a most inspirational albeit realistic and upbeat address.
Antiguan by birth, Perry is no stranger to the Caribbean region and is integrally involved in some major projects here on Saint Lucia, which he calls his second home.
Perry, whose company Integral Group has solidified a partnership with the Government of Saint Lucia to conduct research and feasibility studies on several infrastructural projects, urged the participants at Sunday’s opening to give greater consideration to public private partnerships as the means to develop essential infrastructure which ‘Governments can no longer undertake with just their public resources’.
“Back in the day essential infrastructure just really meant roads, sewerage, water, power. Overtime, it’s evolved.” “It’s all of those,” he explained, “but now it’s renewable energy, telecommunications, data infrastructure – and in the more sophisticated communities, it has expanded further to recognize that primary and secondary school education, health care assets and recreational facilities are the foundation of essential infrastructure and you need both private and public sector resources to do that effectively,” he remarked.
Also speaking at the official opening, Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte, remarked that “This investment forum is a catalyst that presents a unique opportunity to transform our economy and foster long-term sustainable growth by driving investments into strategic sectors. For us, development is not an esoteric concept, it is about investment in people, training, new equipment, embracing technology, all designed to move Saint Lucia forward.”
The minister pledged the government’s commitment to adopting a ‘whole of government approach’ that ensures policy coherence and consistency across all Ministries and agencies to create a seamless investment facilitation process.
The opening ceremony, under the distinguished patronage of Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of Saint Lucia, was also addressed by the Chairman of ISL Costello Michel with Prime Minister Kenny Anthony delivering the feature address with a rousing welcome to delegates who comprised visitors from Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas as well as Government leaders, Saint Lucian-based businesses and public sector representatives.
The inaugural Saint Lucia Investment Forum continued Monday with presentations on ‘real investment opportunities’ as well as presentations on the local investment landscape and Infrastructure development. The Forum ends Tuesday with presentations on manufacturing and tourism.