Madam Speaker, three years ago we introduced Financial Services as a compulsory subject into the curriculum of our secondary schools in the latter part of 2012 to ensure the sustainability of our financial services industry. By doing so, we were ensuring that the interests, minds and talents of our students are developed to maintain our leadership position in the sector and our territory’s global competitiveness.
The Financial Services sector contributes significantly to our economic success and continues to facilitate our socio-economic development as well as our healthy and productive relationship with the rest of the world. Financial services impacts the lives of all residents of the Virgin Islands and its significance to our standard of living should never be underestimated.
In the Ministry of Education Madam Speaker we recognized that we must prepare our students to assume positions at all levels of this sector. Further, it is our duty to ensure the success of these Virgin Islands by preparing our citizens to conduct the affairs of this territory on a global stage.
To this end, we began discussions with the Financial Services Institute (FSI) with the then Director Mr Raja Khrishnan in an effort to ensure that what was being taught at the secondary level would dovetail seamlessly into the offerings of the FSI at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
It was also during this period Madam Speaker that we initiated discussions with the Caribbean Examinations Council for the development of a Financial Services Syllabus at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level.
Madame Speaker, our leadership on this issue was highly received by several Territories in the region as they all realize the value and opportunities for our students and our economies in this industry. With this encouragement, the Council took action, imploring technical experts from the Virgin Islands and around the region on the subject matter. I thank the Council for their diligent work and I am very pleased that the CAPE Financial Services syllabus will be ready for examination in 2017.
I am very happy to inform this Hounorable House and the community that the Virgin Islands will have the opportunity to launch the Financial Services Syllabus here in the Territory in collaboration with CXC on November 3. Madam Speaker, it is customary for CXC to launch its new subjects after development and ask a member country to host it. Given our initiative and leadership on this development, I happily accepted on behalf of the Territory when approached and I look forward to seeing all my colleagues of the House come out to support us on the 3rd.
Madame Speaker, I believe that this advancement in the addition of Financial Services at the CAPE level will be beneficial to our students as we seek to maintain ownership of an industry that though not unique to the Virgin Islands, we have undoubtedly impacted its development in a substantial way through the innovation and hard work of Virgin Islanders. I therefore look forward Madame Speaker to new generations of residents being actively engaged and leading the financial services industry, locally and internationally.
Thank you Madam Speaker.