New York-based firm bullish on Jamaica

Thursday, July 10, 2014

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DESPITE the prevailing macro-economic conditions persisting in Jamaica, Commonwealth Partners (CWP) is bullish on the opportunities to participate in existing enterprises in Jamaica.

The firm has been bolstered by several Jamaican foundation investors, each with considerable experience in business.

Among them are: Mark Myers, managing director, Restaurants of Jamaica; Duncan Stewart, managing director, Stewart's Auto Sales Limited; Nigel Chen See, finance director, National Supply; Dr Carl Bruce, consultant neurosurgeon, cerebrovascular and skull base specialist at the University Hospital of the West Indies; James Godfrey, partner and director, PAVECON and S&G Limestone; and Phillip Lee, group managing director, Labels and Boxes Limited and managing director, Rotoflex Jamaica.

"(Commonwealth) has the ideas and capabilities to redefine the way we think about capital in the Caribbean," said Chen See. "I am particularly keen on seeing the ways in which Commonwealth will work the obvious synergies between Caribbean and Diaspora investors and opportunities."

"We are all aware of the challenges that exist when it comes to doing business in Jamaica, but the discussion cannot be just about doom and gloom," said Lee. "The way forward for Jamaica must include aggressive investment in Jamaican enterprises that, ultimately serve to deepen and improve our overall economy."

Commonwealth has indicated that its primary focus is the acquisition of hard assets in the Caribbean.

Speaking from Commonwealth's Wall Street office, Rohan Barnett, managing partner, said, "Access to the broad base of knowledge, skills and experiences that our founding investors provide will only bolster the efforts of CWP to properly evaluate and capitalise on Caribbean market opportunities."

In addition to Barnett, CWP's leadership team includes Paul Simpson, partner; Adrian Campbell, chief operating officer, and Weldon Maddan, chief financial officer. Simpson was previously vice- president, Investor Relations at Proven Investments, where he co-led the largest private placement in the history of Caribbean finance.

Campbell has over 20 years' accounting experience and was a partner in New York-based Certified Public Accounting firm CAC Partners Ltd, where his responsibilities included tax planning for high net worth clients.

Maddan is a skilled finance professional with over 12 years of consumer banking experience at Citigroup, where he had international assignments in Canada, UK and Poland. He was the CFO for the Digital & Internet Marketing, Affiliates & Partners and the Customer Contact, Leveraging business units at Citi Cards.

"For numerous reasons, our economy has been underperforming thus far, but the power to change that lies within us as a community," Barnett said. "That simply means harnessing and applying the considerable financial and intellectual capacity that is available in our community in pursuit of local opportunities.

"Everything flows from that; stronger companies, decreased unemployment and greater prosperity in the society. We look forward to announcing our initial project in the very near future."




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