HIGGS & JOHNSON hosted its annual client seminar on Tuesday 22 September 2009 under the theme ‘Surviving the Present, Preparing for the Future’. Opening remarks were given by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, the Hon. Zhivargo Laing. He noted that, based on meetings with officials from other countries around the world, The Bahamas had fared better than some with regard to the current economic climate and he was confident that The Bahamas would emerge from this difficult season to enter a period of progress and abundance.
The first session, Future Forecast: What Lies Ahead?, was presented by Global Managing Partner, Mr. John K. F. Delaney, QC. It focused on the tax information exchange treaties “TIEA’s” and their effect on the financial services industry. Mr. Delaney gave a detailed description of the steps that led The Bahamas to its present position as well as his ideas on the actions necessary for future progress.
Higgs & Johnson partners, Oscar N. Johnson, Jr. and Tara A. A. Archer, elaborated on the various challenges faced by employees and employers and the laws in place to govern and protect both parties.
A visiting associate from the Higgs & Johnson Cayman office, Mr. Benjamin Wrench, spoke on a director’s duties including the common law responsibilities which directors owe to a company, its shareholders and creditors.
The seminar concluded with a provocative debate on whether or not the financial services industry would continue to contract unless the legal profession “opened up”. Senior Partner, Mr. Philip C. Dunkley, QC along with Mr. James Smith, CFAL chairman, spoke in favor of the motion. Dr. Earl A. Cash, Higgs & Johnson partner along with Ms. Cheryl Bazard, partner at Bazard, Lamour & Co gave the opposing view. Common threads to both arguments included an increased need for continuing education and exposure for local attorneys in order to provide legal services competitive with other jurisdictions.
Higgs & Johnson, in its effort to promote Going Green, distributed reusable grocery bags and water bottles at the seminar. These items were sponsored by First Bahamas Title Insurance Agency and H&J Corporate Services Ltd. In addition all were provided with presentation materials on a CD for future reference.