Albert Isola, the Government of Gibraltar’s Minister for Commerce, recently led the Gibraltar delegation to the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) Summit in Grand Cayman. This provided Mr Isola an excellent opportunity to address leaders and senior representatives of the Overseas Territories.
During the visit Minister Isola fulfilled two public speaking engagements. On the opening day he was invited to contribute to a panel discussion moderated by Alan Gemmell and with panellists Rt. Hon. Sir Hugo Swire, MP, Cayman Island Chief Officer, Eric Bush, JP, and Premier, the Hon Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, JP. The session, entitled: “Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council” (CWEIC), discussed the commercial opportunities available within the Overseas Territories for growth and expansion in a Commonwealth context.
Minister Isola also delivered a keynote speech on Gibraltar’s fintech industry within the session “Building a Fintech Industry” on day two. His address covered the theme of “Our Journey, Challenges and Opportunities”. The session, moderated by Jude Scott, CEO Cayman Finance, included the Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister of Financial Services, Cayman Islands.
Mr Isola’s talk covered many key areas. He stated, “The need for a regulatory framework was markedly apparent from an early stage, quality firms encouraged us to create one and were fully involved throughout the process” He added that Gibraltar’s perspective remains that “this not a short term win scenario, our objective remains long term sustainability.”
He further commented, “we work very hard on creating deep relationships that fit with our vision for the future. We remain firm in our conviction that what differentiates us is the unrelenting way in which we guard our reputation, the quality and efficacy of the regulation we provide and our commitment to invest in the appropriate level of resources to drive this industry forward at pace. The 10th core principle of the DLT Regulatory Framework is in train and will cover market abuse issues. We are not resting on our laurels; we acknowledge that the speed of development and change has never previously been experienced and we will work relentlessly to maintain our position of leadership in this space.”
Minister Isola also attended a UKOTA Trade Summit in Grand Cayman on 26th and 27th June 2019. The event, hosted by the Cayman Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs, was the first of its kind and brought together Leaders and Senior representatives of the Overseas Territories.
Minister Isola contributed to a panel session, “Harnessing the potential of the Commonwealth”, and additionally delivered a keynote speech on Gibraltar’s burgeoning fintech industry. In his talk, Minister Isola explored the understanding within the overseas territories of the fintech industry globally and the benefits a jurisdiction can derive by successfully attracting fintech businesses within a regulated environment. He concluded by setting out a clear vision of the future.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories, also attended and delivered the opening keynote speech. A pre recorded video message from Liam Fox, UK Secretary of State for International Trade, was played to the audience.
Minister Isola commented, “It was a great pleasure attending the UKOTA International Trade Summit in Cayman this week. Bringing together a family of nations to discuss matters of common interest is undoubtedly deeply rewarding and of great relevance to all our future aspirations. This high level gathering, fully supported by the UK Government, covered a wide range of topics and provided an excellent opportunity for Gibraltar to present its case as global leader in the new technologies space.”
The summit concluded with the release of a Trade Summit Declaration agreed by representatives of the Government of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom Overseas Territories.
The Summit was preceded by a pre-Joint Ministerial Council meeting hosted by Cayman Premier McLaughlin that covered a series of topics including Brexit, environmental issues, fintech, trade and other matters of common interest.
Accompanying Minister Isola on this visit were Dominique Searle and Tyrone Duarte of Gibraltar’s London office and Paul Astengo, Senior Executive with Gibraltar Finance.