Bahamas Development Bank - Making Strides as it Re-launches

Nassau, The Bahamas – Charles Barnett, Chairman of the Board, Bahamas Development Bank, said the institution has made “good” improvements during a 23 months consultancy diagnostic review and strategic planning period.

 “We’ve made good improvements at the bank due to the commitment to this particular task. It hasn’t been easy all the time. We’ve had our challenges. Today we could see struggles have not been in vain. Possibilities before us are great and we look forward to what’s to come ahead,” he said.

Chairman Barnett was one of several speakers who addressed virtual stakeholder meetings Friday, July 3, 2020 to re-launch the bank.

The objective of the meeting was to emphasize the bank’s strategic direction in light of its role as the national development bank of The Bahamas, with the goal of strengthening collaborative partnerships. Among the stakeholders were government and international representatives, technical officers, managers of key agencies and international and government representatives.

The Chairman informed that International Financial Consulting Ltd. (IFC) has done an exceptional job in putting together the guiding documents for the bank and the board. He confirmed that the board fully supports and endorses the recommendations and action plans of IFC.

“It is our expectation that the successful execution of this strategic plan would demonstrate the bank’s key role in providing national development assistance across sectors and industries within our community.

“The new vision for the BDB is certainly forward looking and very timely given what has happened in our community particularly with respect to Dorian and COVID-19 pandemic which has caused immense uncertainty and expanded the need for funding opportunities.”

Financial Secretary, Marlon Johnson, on behalf of the Hon. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, said the leadership of BDB was given the simple yet poignant directive to “Fix it!”

“Fix whatever barriers are standing in the way of achieving its mandate; whatever legacy challenges that have impede the bank’s growth.  It has been asked to strengthen the organization to enable better access to funding, grants and other assistance offered by BDB and other multinational institutions such as The Caribbean Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the like to catalyze development across the archipelago.   The Bank is being made to harmonize its operations with the Small Business Development Centre, BAIC, the Bahamas Venture Fund Ltd. and other policy initiatives supporting Bahamian businesses.”

Mr. Johnson said BDB has invested in ‘retooling’ itself and ‘re-energizing’ the organization to better meet the needs of small businesses across The Bahamas. 

“The BDB has said it is determined to be a development bank that is flexible and capable of meeting the complex financing needs required to support economic diversification and expansion. As part of its shift to a new reality, BDB has grounded itself in the view that the ladder of national

development must go all the way to the bottom and provide a pathway for every Bahamian,” said Mr. Johnson.

BDB Managing Director, Dave Smith, said BDB is presently in the ‘best’ financial health than it has been in decades. “From day one human capacity building has been one of our major priorities. At its core, BDB is about its people and their passion for economic development.”

He said BDB is becoming a lean, professionally driven operation with versatile, talented and skilled staff who are capable of carrying out the rigors of development banking.

Participants in the first session also included Peter Blackman, Caribbean Development Bank Representative; and Michael Collins, IFC representative on BDB Strategic Direction.

The afternoon technical session for operation level persons focused on detailed discussion of the new strategic areas, along with impact and potential synergy with other agencies as it concerns the national development agenda.  The sessions were led by Mr. Collins and Troy Sampson, BDB Manager/Business Development.

The BDB is the government’s primary provider for promoting industrial, agriculture and commercial development, facilitating participation in approved enterprises while stimulating and enhancing the economic development of The Bahamas. The bank is mandated to provide financing for economically viable projects that create employment, utilize Bahamian materials and resources, reduce imports and increase exports, introduce new technology and skills and promote prosperity for all Bahamians.