NOTES FOR GREETINGS BY THE HONOURABLE MARIGOLD HARDING, CD, JP CUSTOS ROTOLURUM FOR THE PARISH OF ST. ANDREW AT JAMAICA STOCK EXCHANGE 6TH ANNUAL BEST PRACTICES AWARDS CEREMONY JAMAICA PEGASUS HOTEL WEDNESDAY 8TH DECEMBER, 2010

Appreciation
It is a pleasure for me to attend and bring greetings at the 6th Annual Best Practices Awards Ceremony hosted by the Jamaica Stock Exchange.  Your Distinguished Patron His Excellency The Governor-General is unavoidably absent, but he has asked me to extend his best wishes for a very successful evening. 

The JSE – a Barometer of the economy
Incorporated as a private limited company in August 1968, the Jamaica Stock Exchange has promoted the orderly development of the stock market and the Stock Exchange in Jamaica, by ensuring that the stock market and its Broker-members operate at the highest standards possible. 

A stock exchange may be regarded as the barometer of a country’s economy.   The September-October 2008 stock market crash in the United States for example, sounded the alarm that all was not well in the global economy.  It signaled the start of the global financial meltdown which was ushered in by, among other things, the collapse of some of the world’s renowned securities dealers, banks and financial institutions.

On Wall Street,  the Dow Jones industrial average declined by 504 points (4.4 percent) on Monday September 15, 2008 and continued to slide unabated throughout much of September that year, until it plunged by 778 points on Monday, September 29. The instability on Wall Street and the interconnected nature of the world’s stock markets affected the entire global financial system, and soon the impact was felt around the world.

Corporate Governance
The meltdown which is said to be ‘worse than the Great Depression,’ brings into sharp focus the importance of good corporate governance and adherence to standards and best practices.  This is the benchmark of a successful and profitable business.  As the global financial crisis has proven, the absence of those practices is a contributory factor in the failure and ultimate collapse of once successful corporate entities. 
The Jamaica Stock Exchange Best Practices Awards therefore sends a clear and pertinent message that Jamaican companies and stock brokers are expected to operate at internationally accepted standards. 

The JSE Best Practices Awards are governed by a set of criteria designed to identify companies that continue to be guided by internationally accepted standards and regulations, and whose management and staff make excellence a significant part of their overall mission and vision.  Established in 2004, the Best Practice Award is a commendable initiative by the JSE to recognise stock brokers and listed companies who uphold and pursue best practice standards.

Conclusion
I congratulate the companies that will be awarded this evening and urge them to continue to raise their standards as part of a collective commitment to Jamaica’s future as a viable and prosperous country.  I commend the Board, Management and Staff of the Jamaica Stock Exchange for providing the policy framework and structure for the establishment of a fair, efficient and transparent Stock Exchange. 

I thank you and wish for you all a pleasant evening.