New president of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Ryle Weekes is keen to see Barbados fully realize its potential and firmly secure its place internationally as a leading financial and wealth management centre.

This goal was identified by Weekes following his election on June 25 during the BIBA annual general meeting at the Barbados Yacht Club, Bay Street, St Michael.

“As the global attacks on international financial centres escalate and competition amongst jurisdictions intensifies, Barbados runs the very real risk of being marginalized if we are not proactive, nimble and sophisticated.

Weekes acknowledged that with its extensive treaty network, advanced technological systems, highly educated workforce, stable political system and sound legal infrastructure, Barbados has emerged over the years as a well-respected jurisdiction to live, work and invest.  However, he asserts that complacency is an unaffordable luxury in the face of adverse global pressures.

“We need to do more than just work with our partners in the public and private sectors to respond to problems and discuss issues ad nauseam. We must urgently leverage the intellectual capital, experience and passion of all of our stakeholders to take action and elevate our legal and regulatory infrastructure, range of products, and quality of service, to a level that establishes Barbados firmly as the jurisdiction of choice among professionals and international clientele,” said Weekes.  Despite the challenging market conditions, opportunities abound in regions such as Latin America and as long as Barbados delivers on the promise of being open for business, the benefits to the country will accrue.

Along with creating greater synergies between BIBA and its strategic partners, Weekes also pledged to focus over the course of his tenure on creating greater value-added for the membership of BIBA; and increasing efforts to sensitize Barbadians to the very significant contribution that the international business sector makes to foreign reserves, government revenue, and their overall quality of life.

A Barbadian, Weekes is the president of Cidel Bank & Trust Inc, which he joined in February 2000. His previous experience includes working at TD global Finance in Dublin, Ireland, and as an assistant consultant with KPMG Barbados. He holds a BSc (Honours) in Economics and Accounting from the University of the West Indies; is a CFA charter holder; and a member of the Barbados CFA Society and the CFA institute.