Overly burdensome regulations are stifling business in Barbados.
Every day we hear how difficult it is for young entrepreneurs to get finance for their projects in Barbados, so I was particularly interested when I heard of a new company that had been formed by a group of experienced finance professionals to take deposits from people who have money to invest and lend it on to people who wish to borrow money for their homes, businesses etc. I went along full of enthusiasm to hear the owners of the company present their new venture and honestly I was very impressed, so I told them that I would join their list of depositors and send them a cheque from one of our companies. I was so happy that something more was being done to support business activity and growth.
Sounds simple enough, but alas I was soon to find out that there is no such thing as simple in Barbados anymore. Our regulators are leaving no stone unturned to make sure that they make it as difficult as possible to get anything done in Barbados now.
The new finance company sent me the following list of things that our regulators require us to provide before they can accept a cheque from our company that has been in legitimate business in Barbados for over 30 years and has bank accounts with two banks.
(a) Certificate of incorporation.
(b) The name(s) and address(es) of the beneficial owners(s) (anyone owning 10% or more of the company) and/or the person on whose instructions the signature on the account are empowered to act.
(c) Memorandum, Articles of Association and By-Laws (and any amendments thereto).
(d) Resolution authorizing the opening of the account and conferring authority on one signatory to operate the account. Resolution, including full names of all directors and their specimen signatures and signed by no fewer than the number of directors required to make up a quorum.
(e) Copies of Powers of Attorney or other authorities given by the directors in relation to the company;
(f) A signed director’s statement as to the nature of the company’s business. The source of the company’s funds to invested and estimated total investment;
(g) Principal place of business, registered office and mailing address;
(h) Contact telephone, cell phone, business phone number, email address. Copy of ID (Passport (or drivers licence) of signatory empowered to operate the account. Details of the company bank account to be used to make or send withdrawals (copy of cheque or top portion of bank statement showing bank, branch and account number).
Now bear in mind that our company would have to have provided the banks with all this information before it could open an account so why the unnecessary duplication I ask? Can you picture a young business person who has recently started his or her business and is working non-stop to get production through the door to make ends meet, having to stop, seek a lawyer or corporate secretary and pay to get all these things done? Are we hell bent on being at the head of the list of the most difficult countries to do business in the world?
Ralph (Bizzy) Williams
Founder & Chairman of Williams Industries