It was just over five years ago that I was sitting in my Brickell Avenue office in downtown Miami transfixed on a photograph taken just twenty-four hours earlier. It was the last photograph taken of my then two-year-old son’s extended holiday in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an island located 90 miles due west of […]
By Dustin D. P. Delany
May 6, 2013
It was just over five years ago that I was sitting in my Brickell Avenue office in downtown Miami transfixed on a photograph taken just twenty-four hours earlier. It was the last photograph taken of my then two-year-old son’s extended holiday in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an island located 90 miles due west of Barbados. There he stood on my in-laws’ beach with a self-picked mango minus a few bites, a big smile and mango juice dripping down his shirtless chest. Proof positive of his adaption to life in the Caribbean and supplemented by the persistent intimation of my Vincentian wife’s craving to return to the region, I realized that my days in south Florida were numbered. As a Miami based international practitioner, the obstacle that stood in the way was the relocation of a successful law practice.
Logistically, Barbados was ideally situated. The upgraded Grantley Adams International Airport serves as the link between the Eastern Caribbean and the rest of the world. Barbados’ appeal on a regional scale is evidenced by the fact that many utilize Barbados as their logistical hub. Time zone-wise, it affords the opportunity for same work day communications with all of North America, South America and much of Europe. Otherwise, Barbados is situated so that same day communications or exchange of information may occur.
Barbados is no stranger to international business. It has been a participant for almost 50 years and continues to progress its status as a well-respected and well-regulated international business and financial centre. Barbados boasts one of the most sound banking systems in the world having been ranked third in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, some erroneously group Barbados with some blacklisted jurisdictions in the Caribbean. Barbados does not share any of these unfortunate experiences. In fact, many do not know that Allen Stanford was rejected several times by the Central Bank of Barbados in his efforts to set up a bank in the island. In assessing the jurisdiction, it was satisfying to realize that not only did Barbados have its place on the OECD’s White List, it was also the only English speaking Caribbean country on it.
From a familial perspective, Barbados is an ideal place to raise a family. It prides itself on a consistent literacy rate in the range of 99% and its students routinely earn their way into top tier universities around the world. It is a jurisdiction that has not lost sense of traditional communal and family values. The island’s beauty extends beyond its world renowned south and west coast beaches through its diverse interior to the mountainous east coast. It has a rich culture of its own complemented by others welcomed from around the world. Needless to say, my wife feels right at home. My son, now seven, has thrived academically, athletically and socially. Most importantly, I now get the opportunity to more actively partake in his upbringing. Rather than sitting in traffic for two plus hours per weekday on I-95 in south Florida, I am now fortunate enough to spend extra time with him each such morning as I drop him off at school and interact with his teachers.
Many of my first world colleagues query as to my life in Barbados. In sum, I described as the quasi first world; simply meaning that it has the best that both worlds have to offer. It has the quality of life that only a Caribbean island can deliver but the integral components of the first world. There is not a weekend that passes without a significant event, whether it be polo, horseracing or a music festival. From the standpoint of doing business, Barbados has a modern and well-developed business infrastructure. In the age of globalization and due to the nature of my practice, the island’s commitment to advanced ICT was comforting.
Opportunity-wise, doing business in Barbados meant that I was able to expand the range of offered services including various types of offshore entities, insurance companies, and trusts. Moreover, as I continued my due diligence, I was able to further appreciate Barbados’ comprehensive network of bilateral investment and double taxation treaties. As an international practitioner, not only was this element the decisive factor re relocation but also made me realize that what I was doing in Miami, I could do better in Barbados.
Having realized that Barbados was ideal for both my family and law practice, I needed to ensure that it was appropriate for my clients and afforded my clients the same legal luxuries as Miami or another parallel jurisdiction. As I evaluated Barbados from this point of view, it seemed like a matter of destiny. A brand new ultra-modern courthouse was being constructed and new civil procedures rules were phasing into implementation. A solid legislative framework was in place as well as an impressive regulatory framework that included oversight by the Central Bank, its Exchange Control Authority, the Barbados Stock Exchange and now also the Financial Services Commission.
Since the family’s arrival the concept of a Barbados based international law practice has evolved into a firm representing a global client base in over a dozen countries from Florida through the Caribbean down to Guyana. Barbados’ decision to further engage Asia, Europe and Latin America has permitted me to continue what I had been doing in Miami but in an enhanced capacity. The firm’s success and its service level to clients would not be possible but for the educated work force and service providers available on the island. Needless to say, we are all doing it better in Barbados.