2018 Speaker Series kicks off with talks on Brexit

Monday, January 22, 2018

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Leaders-to-Leaders (Jamaica) will kick off its 2018 Speaker Series on Wednesday, February 7, with a panel discussion examining the potential fallout of Brexit and its relevance to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.

The high-profile discussion will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew, starting at 11:00 am.

In June 2016 voters across the United Kingdom in a referendum (Brexit) cast ballots to end that country's more than 40 years of political and economic marriage to Europe.

Since then a wave of apprehension and some amount of remorse have descended upon the global economy with the power of a Category 5 hurricane. Economists, academics, and business leaders are among those suggesting that Brexit could spell a cataclysmic outcome for the global economy.

In the context of the Caribbean, there is little doubt that Brexit presents a significant impact on the nature and scope of the EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in ways as yet to be seen. The EPA is designed to create ease of trade between the EU and Caribbean economies. Trade between the EU (including four French 'outermost regions' and 13 'overseas territories' — six British, six Dutch and one French) and the 15 CARIFORUM countries (Caricom plus the Dominican Republic) are estimated as being close to €8.5 billion per year.

It is unclear precisely how Britain's desire to untangle its economic and political relationship with the EU will affect the Caribbean and its export of diverse goods and services (for example, fuel and mining products, notably petroleum gas and oils; bananas, sugar and rum; minerals, particularly gold, corundum, aluminium oxide and hydroxide, and iron ore products; and fertilisers).

Confirmed speakers and panelist for the discussion include British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad; president & chief executive officer of Victoria Mutual Building Society Courtney Campbell; president, Jamaica Exporters' Association Michelle Chong; president, Jamaica Trade & Invest Diane Edwards; senior director of entertainment, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Gillian McDaniel; and Government Senator sAubyn Hill, the executive director of the Economic Growth Council.

The panel discussion will be moderated by former Member of Parliament, Cabinet minister, Ambassador Aloun Ndombet Assamba, the chief executive officer of COK Sodality Cooperative Credit Union Ltd. Ambassador Assamba was Jamaica's high commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to six other European countries and brings a wealth of knowledge experience to the discussion.

“We are excited by the stellar line-up of speakers for this first event in our 2018 Speaker Series calendar, because they bring with them a depth of understanding of the issue surrounding Brexit and its potential impact on Jamaica and the Caribbean,” said Delroy Morgan, Executive Vice-President of Business development/chief event Planner. Morgan further stated: “We chose as our lead-off event a discussion on Brexit because of its relevance to many Jamaican firms and individuals doing or thinking of doing business in Britain-EU. Additionally, Jamaicans at home and in the affected Diaspora communities are very much interested in knowing how local policymakers are preparing short- and medium-term strategies to mitigate the effects of the Brexit on EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement.

According to the organisers, Leaders-to-Leaders was founded on the belief that empowerment can only come through knowledge. The Leaders- to-Leaders 2018 Speaker Series will bring together panels of c-suite executives from the private and public sectors to a candid discussion on Brexit and other topics relevant to the Caribbean economy.

Since its inception in 2013, Leaders-to-Leaders Speaker Series has evolved into one of the leading fora of its kind in Jamaica with at least three events annually. Inspired in part by the world-renowned TEDx Talks, Leaders-to-Leaders Speaker Series brings together influential business and public sector leaders to share their experiences and expertise on a multiplicity of topics, including work-life balance, corporate governance, cyber security, among others.

To date, more than 40 speakers, drawn from a diverse group of public and private sector entities, have spoken at previous Leaders-to-Leaders Speaker Series.

For more information on Leaders-to-Leaders Speaker Series visit the event's website at www.leaderstoleaders.org or send email inquiries to leaderstoleadersja@gmail.com.

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