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generic viagra times;”>Hope Strachan, Minister for Financial Services
Well Hope Strachan, the Minister for Financial Services threw down the gauntlet to the Bar Association about an alleged cartel or closed shop that they run here where it does not allow foreign lawyers to practice in The Bahamas by opening their own law firms here. Here is what she said in her own words a reported y the Tribune on 17 September. The Bar Association President Ellsworth Johnson said that he does not agree and that there are some unspecified private interests who are driving this bid for foreign law firms to open up here. Mr. Johnson said that there are plenty of unemployed lawyers and they can’t find work. This is Mrs. Strachan’s point though that if you allow the foreign firms to open up there will be more work for Bahamian lawyers. Well Mr. Johnson over to you. Here is what the Minister said in her own words:
“The Bahamas is notoriously recognised for its closed shop policy towards foreign lawyers and certain other industry professionals. On a recent industry-related trip, it was communicated that this continues to be an impediment as to why more business is not being referred to the Bahamas, despite our advanced legislation, our location and proximity to the US, our language, political stability, our cadre of well-educated and experienced professionals, and our reputation as a well-regulated and respected international financial centre.
“This was a common unsolicited theme from many of our friends and industry partners. The question is what should be done about it? Are we prepared to recognise the problem and do something to fix it?
“With so many young lawyers being called to the Bar each year as well as the migration of business going to our international and regional competitors in financial Services, I charge the legal profession to recognise that there are opportunities for substantial growth in the financial services sector if we are able to liberalise the sector…
“As we continue to further our efforts and to innovate for the future, one area identified as crucial to the growth of the financial services sector in the Bahamas is to allow international law firms to establish business operations in the Bahamas for the facilitation of cross-border business and arbitral matters.
“This will provide access to more jobs, more jobs and more jobs, while increasing the knowledge base of our legal professionals and also providing opportunity for the export of their knowledge to other jurisdictions. It will also provide substance to the jurisdiction as an international financial centre and a soon-to-be International arbitration centre…
“This will further solidify the Bahamas’ position as a premier financial services jurisdiction and the Government’s commitment to investing in human capital resources.
“The Bahamas was ideally selected among our Caribbean counterparts as the country in which to establish the Centre for Excellence along with Barbados, because of the progress we have already made in providing education in financial services as well as our infrastructure and technology.
“The Centre for Excellence will cater to not only Bahamians but other financial services professionals within the region. This allows for the ease of facilitating the Centre of Excellence. Paramount to its success will be the expertise which exists in BIFS.”