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Secured Transactions - March 2015

Caribbean Capacity-Building Workshop on Secured Transactions and Asset-Based Lending

The Department of International Law (DIL) of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) of Jamaica co-hosted the Caribbean Capacity-Building Workshop on Secured Transactions and Asset-Based Lending in Kingston, February 10 to 12, 2015. The workshop brought together international experts, local stakeholder groups representing the financial and business sectors (banks, micro-finance and other lending institutions), groups promoting financial inclusion for women and MSMEs, and government officials from Jamaica and other Caribbean states. It was attended by over 80 participants.

Caribbean Capacity-Building Workshop on Secured Transactions and Asset-Based Lending

In 2013 Jamaica passed the Security Interests in Personal Property Act and established a collateral registry, thereby creating a new legislative framework that is in conformity with the underlying principles of the OAS Model Inter-American Law on Secured Transactions and Regulatory Regulations. This new regime will facilitate the use of a more expansive range of collateral in secured lending, such as inventory, accounts receivable and intellectual property, thereby improving access to credit, particularly for those without more traditional forms of security, which are frequently MSMEs, women, and women-owned businesses.

The workshop was the culmination of a diagnostic phase that was conducted by the DIL in partnership with MIIC and that included desktop analysis of the legislation in conjunction with a series of stakeholder visits to determine what was working under the new regime and what was not. The issues identified during that process helped to shape the workshop agenda, which included the need for institutional supports from other entities such as financial regulators and central banking authorities, the need for consistency with the newly enacted insolvency regime, and that incorporated breakout sessions with pragmatic exercises on asset-based lending using new forms of collateral (inventory and receivables).

Opening remarks were made by H.E. Robert Ready, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica; Hon. Anthony Hylton, Minister of MIIC; Ms Therese Turner-Jones, Inter-American Development Bank Country Representative; Mrs. Jeanelle van Glaanen Weygel, Representative of the OAS General Secretariat in Jamaica; and Mr. Dante Negro, Director of DIL. International speakers included experts from the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL Secretariat), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Commercial Finance Association, Brooklyn Law School, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Dominican Republic’s Central Bank and its Ministry of industry and Commerce, and practitioners in the fields of factoring and insolvency. Various regional and local experts were included as panelists and participants (Jamaican Bar Association, University of the West Indies, Jamaican Bankers Association, Companies Office of Jamaica, Development Bank of Jamaica, Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, Small Business Association of Jamaica, National People’s Cooperative Bank of Jamaica, Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, and others).

A special panel was held to outline the potential of secured transactions reforms for the advancement and empowerment of women through financial inclusion and improved access to credit for MSMEs. This panel included speakers from the Secretariat for the Inter-American Commission of Women of the OAS, Jamaica’s Bureau of Women’s Affairs and other groups dedicated to the promotion of micro-lending and women-owned businesses.

Although tailored in response to the specific needs of Jamaica, the workshop was also an opportunity for an exchange of lessons learned with other Caribbean states that are considering similar reforms. The workshop was attended by representatives from the Dominica Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda.

Results from the workshop will be incorporated into a set of recommendations to further strengthen and support Jamaica’s nascent secured transactions regime. Moreover, after successfully completing the workshop, forty Jamaican attorneys received certification and entitlement to continuing legal education accreditation. Materials and presentations from the workshop are in the process of being posted to the secured transactions website.

The OAS/DIL Secured Financing Project is made possible through funding from the Government of Canada.

» To see OAS Booklet — Secured Transactions Reform in the Americas, click here

» For additional information about Secured Transactions, please visit our Website

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