When the Caribbean 2030 meeting took place this week in the United Kingdom, Bitt CEO and Co-founder, Gabriel Abed added to the discussion on ‘New Thinking For a New Generation.’
Abed’s official contribution was made on June 03, 2015 the last day of the three-day session as organised by Wilton House in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), JN Foundation and The Caribbean Council.
Attending under special invitation, Abed embraced the opportunity to speak on the challenges facing innovators and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean region.
“In 1986, a new way of global communication via interconnectivity was birthed. Within 28 years a new ‘pseudo-country’ was formed that became the single largest resource of information. The internet has enabled most us to be international citizens of the world with a virtual global passport. Unfortunately the idea of being a global thinker has not fully penetrated the minds of the citizens and particularly the government’s of the Caribbean,” he asserted.
“This misstep in generational thinking has resulted in a draconian and archaic approach towards the way we evolve our economies, make decisions and educate our youth on policies. Our leaders have created a disparity between what is young and possible versus what is old and known. The fear of risk has forced us to be at arms’ length with creativity and innovation which further perpetuate the extinction of entrepreneurs and growth in the region,” he added.
In November last year, Abed and Co-Founder, Oliver Gale launched the Caribbean’s first digital asset exchange with a core focus on providing access to crypto currencies in emerging markets, from their homeland of Barbados. Since that time, Bitt has received global attention with Abed and Gale being recognized for their pioneering vision in these parts.
Abed was therefore quick to remind the meeting’s participants, most of whom were representing their island’s , that they are the leaders, visionaries and freedom fighters of their nations.
“As such, it would be an injustice if we left here today and returned to our homes to forget the common visions and goals that were defined here at Wilton Park. Each of you have a mandate to plant the seed of growth that will shape the focus and paradigm of the Caribbean by 2030. You owe it to yourself, to your people, our people,” he said.
“A thought has been rooted in our minds that we must let germinate and spread like a positive virus through our words and more importantly, our actions. We have been empowered with the task of amalgamating our collective mindsets and taking the next step towards harmonization. The relationships and bonds we have forged today must be utilized tomorrow to accomplish what we know to be the right paths forward and in doing so ensuring we have one Caribbean Community,” he added.
He explained that “What is important about today is that we are not here as Ministers, government officials, entrepreneurs or citizens of our nations – but as people of the Caribbean, sitting on neutral grounds in the United Kingdom as participates in what may be the first ever gathering of this kind. For that I commend the organizers of this event for seeing scope for a better Caribbean and taking measures to placing us all in the same room.”
On a more personal note, he said that six months from now, he plans to have accomplished his goal of enabling digital money and global financial access to every man, woman and child in the Caribbean.
“I do not know where I will be in 15 years when 2030 arrives, but what I can promise you is that I plan to be part of the change I wish to see in my community and we owe it to ourselves to see these visions through to the end,” he said.
In noting the importance of involving the youth in the creation of the future, he put forth that “We are the artists of painting the face of what the Caribbean will look like by 2030 and what we learned and discussed here this week must grow and manifests itself into an actionable task to evolve our nation’s and ensure a common collective is formed. Each of you here today is now responsible for the future of our nations and to involve the youth in every step – they are after all the real vision of 2030. We sit here as commons but we have been implored as the leaders and ambassadors of the Caribbean – and we must do exactly that – lead. There is no other option if we wish to be successful. United we stand, divided we fall. Onward and upward, to one Caribbean and one people.”
As background, Wilton Park is considered one of the world’s leading institutions for in-depth discussion of international policy issues and challenges. Key features of their meetings are the highly participative round-table discussions, mix of expertise brought together amongst the 50 or so participants and the residential setting enabling invaluable networking. I attach more details about Wilton Park and further information can be found at www.wiltonpark.org.uk.
This particular meeting was aimed at addressing questions such as: How do the new and next generation of leaders in the Caribbean see the future? What is their vision for 2030 and beyond? How can they work better together to face the economic, political and security challenges and opportunities they face?