As a part of their 40th Anniversary celebration, Barita Investments Limited (BIL) rang the Opening Bell this morning to signal the opening of the Market at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).
Speaking at this historic occasion a delighted Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the JSE, in her welcome to the audience stated that, “Barita Investments is not only a company listed on the Exchange but its roots go so much further. The Company represents one of the first stockbrokers to have acquired a seat on the Exchange and it has stood the test of time and weathered the storms when a number of stockbrokers did not. This truly points to and underscores the importance of good leadership”.
Mrs. Street Forrest further noted that, “Barita Investments has played a pivotal role in the building of the securities industry and indeed, capital markets, therefore, this bell-ringing ceremony at the Stock Exchange, truly is a fitting tribute to such an august company. One cannot divorce the work and worth of the Chairman of Barita from that of the growth of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the growth of the economy and this was achieved within the 40th years of Barita’s existence. Directors of the Exchange and indeed all our Chairmen are selected from our Member-Dealer firms. In the history of the Exchange, it is only from Barita that we have seen the Chairmanship on three separate occasions, namely 1984-1986 and 1995-2000 under the leadership of Mrs. Humphries-Lewin and our current serving Chairman, Mr. Ian McNaughton from 2016. This not only speaks to a willingness to serve but a deep interest in the market”.
The Managing Director next outlined the milestones of the Exchange under the stewardship of Mrs. Humphries-Lewin. These included:
- On October 2, 1996, the Exchange moved from the Bank of Jamaica to its residence at this very location at 40 Harbour Street
- On February 25, 1997 the JSE placed its website on the worldwide web
- On June 1, 1998, the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) was established and began to formalize back office operations
- On February 2000, the JSE’s fully automated trading system, Sunrise was implemented under the watchful eyes of the then Chairman, Mrs. Humphries Lewin.
Mrs. Street Forrest further stated that “we were not surprised when in 2009, the Company signaled its intention and listed on the main market of the Exchange and in Barita’s true style, it did not list one security but three. I am sure you will appreciate that Barita Investments is a company that is compliant and naturally proud of its records given the fact that this bell-ringing ceremony is part of its celebratory activities. Again congratulations on your achievements and may you continue to blossom and grow”.
An emotional Mrs. Rita Humphries-Lewis, Chairman of Barita Investments Limited, started her remarks by thanking Mrs. Street Forrest and the JSE team for the support and encouraging words. She went on to trace her journey and stated that “In my younger days I spent ten years at Annette and Company, 1962-1972 where I learnt the business and became the first female trader in this part of the world”. She informed the audience that, “I had a three year stint of working with the Small Business Development Board, until I eventually decided to establish Barita Investments Limited.”
Mrs. Humphries-Lewin went on to inform by telling the audience that “since my return to Stock Broking, I have to say that my greatest achievement to this Stock Exchange was the establishment of the Central Securities Depository and the Electronic Trading Platform, which happened under my watch as Chairman. After the last crash in 1998, the Board was determined that we had to put in these facilities and although some institutions were against this decision based on fears of being irrelevant, we continued and succeeded.”
The Market is now better and stronger because of her wisdom and perseverance.