Barbados still top choice for Canadian investors


Barbados continues to be a top choice jurisdiction for investment by Canadians. This assurance has come from High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Lilian Chatterjee. During her recent address to the Global Business Week 2021 Conference, hosted by BIBA, the Association for Global Business in Barbados and its strategic partners, High Commissioner Chatterjee noted that the island was still within the top 5 jurisdictions in the world for Canadian investment.

Despite fierce competition, the top diplomat noted that in 2020, the island had secured direct investment of more than CAN$42.5 billion. This investment was primarily in wealth management, finance and insurance.

The High Commissioner touted Canada’s long-established relationship with Barbados and the Caribbean since the 18th century and its evolution into strong international business ties between Canada and Barbados.

Citing the week of activities’ theme Adapt, Evolve, Execute, Lead the Change, Chatterjee, who was addressing the conference last Wednesday, drew attention to how critical it was for entities to adapt, evolve and be committed to change.

She noted that businesses globally had been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months, forcing a swift adjustment to the new business climate. She emphasised how the pandemic had caused enterprises to concentrate on remaining afloat while at the same time seeking to be competitive, and possibly expand.

Conceding that all of these represented a difficult set of circumstances to surmount during a pandemic, she noted that this was critical to countries’ economic survival over the long-term.

However, she also pointed to established Canadian investments in Barbados singling out the Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, and the Canadian Imperial Bank, electricity provider Emera, apparel manufacturer Gildan, big box store Cost-U-Less, finance and insurance group Sagicor, and petrol retailer and distributor SOL.

Chatterjee also pledged to BIBA and its strategic partner Invest Barbados, the support of the High Commission’s Trade Commission team in fostering Canadian partnerships and interest in the Barbados global business sector.

She noted that the Trade Commissioners could assist in fostering investment opportunities in areas such as food and agriculture, renewable energy, clean technology, and tourism.

Acknowledging that the global business sector has been under increasing pressure, she however lauded Barbados’ swift efforts to be removed from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union blacklists and to demonstrate its commitment to transparency.

However, the High Commissioner urged Barbados public and private sectors to also address issues related to the ease of doing business as this was key to the island attracting more foreign investment in critical economic areas. She especially highlighted the need for greater online rather than in-person delivery of services. (PR)