First of all, let me use this opportunity to congratulate Tremmaine Harvey and Diandra Mills for hosting a successful and excellent two day economic empowerment conference. This conference has taught us many lessons and provide opportunities for us to explore. Special thanks to all the speakers and panelists including Floyd Seymour, E Jay Saunders, Diandra Mills, Kenrick Walters, Devon Cox, Tamell Seymour, Stacy Cox, Dr. Anya Malcolm-Gibbs, Rexy Rolle, Alexa Cooper, Stanley Williams, Stanley Williams, Gilbert Morris, Elery James, Stewart Howard, Hon. Josephine Connolly, Hon. Galmo Williams, Mr. Walter Gardiner Jr. and myself. These speakers have a wealth of knowledge and experience and if all of us can unite, we can transform and revolutionize the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Embrace the talent and bright minds in this place
Turks and Caicos is full of great talent and bring minds. I never attended a conference like this in TCI where 99% of the speakers and panelists were from Turks and Caicos. A special recognition to E Jay Saunders who launched an artificial intelligence software company and is now being recognized internationally. His company is not only being recognized, but the software is being used by the Governments of Barbados and the Bahamas. Unfortunately, the private sector and public sector in TCI are yet to embrace his product. I used the software at my corporate company and I am very impressed with it. I also wish to highlight Dr. Anya Malcol-Gibbs, the youngest presenter at the conference. Her presentation was on the psychology of money.
There is a lot of wealth in this place.
E Floyd Seymour did the first presentation and based on his research, there is over 1 billion dollars floating in the economy of TCI. However, this wealth does not go in the hands of the majority of Turks and Caicos Islanders. There are a few Turks and Caicos Islanders who are wealthy but you can count them on your two hands. The opportunity exists for us to be wealthy.
Access to Financing
Throughout the Conference, one of the main themes is that the locals have challenges or face obstacles in getting access to financing. As a result, the business opportunities for expansion or start- ups are limited. Ms. Alexa Cooper of Invest TCI did a presentation on the availability of funding. To date, the fund has been underutilize and the money is returned to TCIG. Perhaps, now is the time to review this policy and remove the restrictions.
There is an opportunity for unity and private financing
As a result of this conference, many of us have decided to unite and provide the avenues to transform TCI. This includes pooling resources together and provide loans to TC Islanders. Another bold initiative is for TC Islanders to come together and establish and own several businesses in TCI.
Our country is such a blessed country. Opportunities are here, money is here, talent is here but we are divided. If we do not unite, we will no longer know these islands as we used to and we would have done great injustice for the legacy of the future generation of TCI. I believe we are about to see a major shift and change in TCI.