News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 26, 2021: Invest Caribbean founder and CEO, Felicia J. Persaud, on Thursday unveiled a 10-Point agenda for US and CARICOM engagement, as part of the lunch time chat series: ‘Strengthening CARICOM-U.S. Relations Through Trade And Investment.’
The event was presented by The Shridath Ramphal Center, (SRC), in collaboration with the US Embassy in Barbados and the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. Persaud was a discussant on the panel.
HERE’S THE 10-POINT PLAN FROM THE ICN CEO
1: That the US government, which has for too long treated the Caribbean and the Americas like a stepchild, create a $100 million Caribbean Development Fund to invest in innovative ventures originating throughout the region. And most of all, that this fund be managed not by a governmental institution, but a private hedge fund working with Caribbean investment companies.
2) That US President Joe Biden gives his Caribbean roots Vice President, Kamala Harris, the job of implementing this plan and the outreach to the Caribbean.
3: That the Biden administration co-hosts a conference in 2021 on Future Of The Caribbean – and not just have the region lumped into the bigger Summit Of The Americas.
4: That the US government foster partnerships between major US companies and Caribbean companies – so products from the region can easily make its way into the US, and small companies can partner to overcome the expensive overheads of trade and scaling up their operations.
5) That President Biden creates an Assistant Secretary Of State for the Caribbean – and not just the Western Hemisphere.
6) That President Biden does not make political appointments for ambassadors to the Caribbean – but rather from strong experienced professionals with knowledge of the region – including from the Caribbean American Diaspora.
7: That governments of the Caribbean use this pandemic to hit the reset button and create a 5–10-year vision plan that the region can move towards – on trade from the region and investment into the region – that is beyond hotels and tourism.
8: That the region creates its own ‘Silicon Valley’ so to speak, with technical business incubators, education, training and easily accessible funding to grow tech starts ups to small enterprises, and small enterprises into medium and large enterprises. This is across the region – and not just on a per country basis. Which means anyone in any island should be able to take advantage of this or be able to scale up from seed to even invoice factoring to small loans and investment.
9: That we create a mapping system in the Caribbean Diaspora, with a data base of the key talent pool of business owners and entrepreneurs and experts, that can be tapped into across borders to grow both communities, much like the Israeli Diaspora has helped grow Israel.
10: That the Caribbean Diaspora be engaged to invest in a Diaspora Bond, as India and Israel have done – which can be used to fund anything from infrastructure projects to crisis relief across the region.
India had tremendous success with issuing the India Development Bond, The Resurgent India Bond and The India Millennium Deposits.
Israel issued its bonds for development purposes and has reissued them on an annual basis since 1951.
“The patriotic devotion the diaspora has for the Caribbean region can prove to be very important, especially if they see a mutual benefit and a return on their investment with such a bond,” said Persaud.
David Lewis, vice president of the D.C.-based Manchester Trade Ltd, also presented on the topic, delving into the historical trade agreements between the US and the CARICOM region, and focusing on government engagement of the US as a bloc.
The event was moderated by Dr. Jan Yves Remy, deputy director of the SRC.
SEE THE FULL EVENT HERE
Invest Caribbean is the global private sector investment agency of the Caribbean. The company has partnered with the international project services Bespoke Division of the Barbados-based company, The Ritzury Group, to launch the service for investors seeking to invest in the country’s new medical marijuana sector, which opened officially for business in January.
The companies are currently working with middle to large operating ‘distressed’ companies that are seeking growth capital – debt and/ or equity or some form of liquidity, whether through partial sale, recapitalization or via a management buy-in (MBI) or a management buyout (MBO).