Thu | Mar 30, 2017

US billionaires experience Destination Jamaica ... talk nation building during 'Visionaries Summit'

Published:Friday | February 17, 2017 | 2:00 AM
From left: Reanno Gordon, better known as Busy Signal; Caron Chung, executive director of The American Friends of Jamaica, Inc; and Ali El Husseini, vice-president of global, Overstock.com, during the Affinity Dinner held as part of Destination Experience 2017 in January.
Dr Patrick Byrne (left), chairman of Overstock.com; Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, founder of The Destination Experience; and Dr Sabrina Kay, chancellor of Fremont College.
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The 2017 Destination Experience 'Visionaries Summit' welcomed several powerful US billionaires to Kingston, Jamaica, for three days of events.

Among the topics discussed were nation building and philanthropy. Now in its third year, the Destination Experience is designed to drive a paradigm shift in the economic outlook of Jamaica and the Caribbean by presenting networks capable of enabling high-level market access that encourages partnerships and investments. The event, which attracts an audience of global business luminaries, innovators, persons of influence and investors, was conceptualised by the entrepreneurial duo Kirk-Anthony Hamilton and his sister, Michele-Anne Hamilton.

Industry leaders, including David Panton, Michael Roberts, Michael Lee-Chin, Wes Edens, Dr Kingsley Chin, Dr Peter Blair Henry, Alex McKenzie, Sherri Pittman, Ambassadors Audrey Marks and Luis G. Moreno participated and attended.

The guests at the event represented more than US$100 billion in assets, which marks a historic milestone for Jamaica.

 

Passionate

 

Overstock.com CEO Patrick M. Byrne addressed nearly 150 guests who attended a dinner, one of the events over the three days. Speaking to them about his passion for the region and philanthropy, he stated that the Caribbean had always played a unique role in his life. He made reference to Professor Richard Joseph from Trinidad, who he said had left him with a lifelong connection to the Caribbean.

Byrne said he was always impressed with the human capital in the Caribbean. He also spoke about WorldStock, which facilitates access to US markets for artisans selling unique goods.

WorldStock has built 26 schools around the world named after Byrne's mother, Dorothy Byrne. Overstock.com was launched in 1999 and achieved its first profitable quarter in 2002. The company went on to achieve its first full year of profitability in 2009, and in 2015, it posted revenues of US$1.7 billion. Byrne is already invested in the region and made clear his interest in investing in Jamaica.

Jamaica's renowned reggae artiste Reanno Gordon, better known as Busy Signal, who was also in attendance, spoke about the importance of giving back and about his charity, Busy2020 Helping Hands.