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Issue No. 63

Business of Manufacturing The

May/June 2012

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No. 63


May/June 2012

Contents FEATURES Cover Story

53-91. Manufacturing in St. Lucia The SMA Quality Award

REGULARS 04. Editor’s Focus 06. Business Briefs Business Tech 08. Banking on Mobile Payments 10. Working or Networking 12. Investing in IT Money Matters 14. PM says island will be ready for VAT 16. Women Are Investors Too 18. Businesses need to re-think risk In The Know 42. Security lights 44. Leadership Management International launched 45. Satisfying customers 46. Importance of corporate governance to small businesses 48. “At risk” youth being prepared for work 49. Top 5 “must dos” to survive challenging economic times 50. The employers’ role in employee work ethics


36. Business Spotlight

Economy & Trading Focus 28. Don’t ignore China 30. Slow movement of OECS goods 32. St. Lucia seeking cheaper fuel & social programs 33. Commerce minister meets chamber & southern business sector 34. Government unveils plans to ease doing business 20. Environmental Focus 22. Lionfish to be processed for human consumption 24. JICA to provide $600M for green energy 26. Starbucks offers help to Blue Mountain coffee growers Torism Focus 92. St. Lucia’s tourism industry performance 96. Bizz Buzz Health & Wellness 98. Fat profits embrace big people 98. Events 2012 100. Major Moves 102. New Company Registrations BusinessFocus

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Setting New Standards

BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh email: Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - Graphic Designer: Mensah Fox Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - Hudson Myers - Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services


he Manufacturing Sector represents the collective factory of every country. No matter the size, it is what’s produced and sold that keeps the national production and productivity line running. Low production means low balances of trade with other countries, but also low levels of national productivity that could spell doom for any nation. St. Lucia’s manufacturers, like all others in the OECS, are at their wits’ end to keep the production line running profitably. Button-holed from several quarters, they have had to think hard on how to break out of their mould. They chose to take the proverbial bull by the horns and, in short time, established their own system of adding value to their products by embracing the concept of quality being measured by standards. The quality awards ceremony held by the local manufacturers to coincide with our 33rd anniversary of independence went a long way in setting the stage for local manufacturers to be able to measure their progress on the standards and quality front – by their own. In this issue, BF highlights the efforts of the local manufacturers -- and the results. And we also highlight how leading lights in the sector saw the manufacturers’ efforts on their first awards night out. We also seek to highlight some of the new administration’s efforts to ease the pain of doing business in St. Lucia, as well as plans and efforts by local entities to bring even the most “at risk” youth into the world of work alongside the new and potential young entrepreneurs. As per usual, this issue offers the widest possible range of news, views and interviews with and about the people who do business and whose businesses it is to make business succeed. Our various sections highlight the latest developments in St. Lucia, the Caribbean and the world that are of interest to the local business community. This being a time when global responses and partnerships are needed to address world business and economic changes, St. Lucian and other Caribbean businesses have begun the process of looking back to better move forward. BF is pleased to have been present all the way to date and we pledge to continue to be there to monitor and report the continuing progress along the way. As always, we have gone to all limits to bring you, Dear Reader, the reliable reading material that you have become accustomed with and to which you look forward after taking in each issue of BF. Here’s hoping this issue, like all others, will satisfy you that we have gone all out to provide you with the most about the most we can cover. This we always try to do and that we continue to do, as always. And, as ever, we wish you Happy Reading!

Happy Reading! Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor BusinessFocus

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Photography: Advertising & Marketing Services Ashley Anzie | MASL Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop Dr. Andre Gordon | Pilaiye Cenac | Betty Combie | Rashid Jean-Baptiste | Bevil Wooding | Brian Ramsey Keitha Glace | Paula Calderon | LIME CRNM | First Citizens Investment Services | ECFH Business Guardian | Energy Chamber – Trinidad & Tobago Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email:, Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialized fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication. On The Cover: Senior managers of WLBL at the SMA Awards: Thomas Leonce, Greg Graves & Shelley Black.


Diaspora Wants to Make it Easier to Invest and do Business in St. Lucia

BOSL’s New Soufriere Location Blends with Town’s Heritage Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) has relocated on the Soufriere Waterfront. Its owners say the newly-renovated building boasts a design reminiscent of the town’s heritage, in keeping with the long-term developmental plans of Soufriere. At the brief opening ceremony, BOSL Senior Manager for Retail Banking, Bradley Felix, indicated that customer comfort and the ease of transacting business were major priorities for the bank. It was with this in mind that the bank subsequently took the bold step to relocate to the waterfront premises. He observed that the new layout honoured the bank’s mission statement of being “Customer-focused and efficient.” Branch Manager, Mrs. Arleta RatiMitchell, said she was “very pleased with the move to the Soufriere Waterfront”— a move which she said was “a strategic one” for the organisation. The Branch Manager further indicated that the area where the bank has been relocated to is still earmarked for future development. Like Mr. Felix, she also observed that the new location was “more customer focused with a touch of sophistication.”


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President of the Union of St. Lucia Overseas Associations, Bertram Leon, says he wants government “to seriously consider the contribution of St. Lucians residing overseas in the ease of doing business study being undertaken here.” He said the USLOA “has already contacted the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture expressing our support for initiatives making it less frustrating for St. Lucians overseas to engage in investment and business opportunities.” The Union, which represents a grouping of St. Lucia Associations in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, St. Croix, Barbados and other regions of the world, will hold its 15th Biennial Convention in St. Lucia July 22nd to 28th at the Bay Gardens Hotel. That convention will be hosted by the St. Lucia International Association (a grouping of St. Lucian returning nationals) under the theme “Annou toute kontinwe bati Sent Lisi” (“Let us all continue to build St Lucia.”) Among the agenda items are issues relating to “Doing Business in St. Lucia” and the “Integration of Returning Nationals.” A task force appointed jointly by the Government and the Chamber of Commerce is expected to report soon on its findings on issues impacting on the ease of doing business in St. Lucia. Leon, during a recent visit to St. Lucia, said the USLOA is looking forward to discussions with the government on its expectations for the formation of Unit of Diaspora Relations. That unit, he said, is expected to be established in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Special $75m Fund to Help CLICO Policyholders in the OECS The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will continue holding talks with the Trinidad and Tobago Government over the establishment of a special fund to assist policyholders affected by the collapse of insurance giant Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO), Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit recently advised. Skerrit said that the issue had been discussed between OECS leaders and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar during the recently concluded 23rd Intersessional meeting of CARICOM leaders in Suriname. He said the meeting was to help the OECS address the issue of the collapse of British American Insurance Company (BAICO) and CLICO. "We have got some form of commitment, we have not been able to identify with Trinidad and Tobago the full amount of EC$150 million (US55.5 million); I think we got to about 74 million dollars (US$27.4 million). "So we have to further engage them to see where we could get the EC$76 million (US$28.1 million) and of course the OECS will put in about $75 million dollars (US$27.7 million) to create this special fund in an effort to assisting the people," Skerrit said.


One Caribbean Media Profits Up The One Caribbean Media Group has produced a profit before tax and goodwill impairment of $95.5 million (US$14.9 million) for its financial year ending December 31, 2011. This was 3.5% higher than $92.2 million (US$14.4 million) before-tax profit achieved in 2010, OCM chairman, Sir Fred Gollop QC said in a statement. "The OCM Group of Companies produced satisfactory operating results in 2011 in spite of adverse economic contractions in our markets," he said. As a result of "ongoing macro-economic challenges", revenues across the group decreased by 5% from $474 million (US$74 million) in 2010 to $451 million (US$70 million) in 2011, Sir Fred added. "The group continues to focus on its operational efficiency and was able to improve its net profit margin before goodwill impairment from 19% to 21%" he said. OCM Directors have approved a final dividend of $0.43 per share, resulting in a total of 68 cents for the year. This is an increase of seven cents on 2010. The group's Annual General Meeting will be held on May 11, 2012 at 10 a.m. at Express House, Independence Square, Port of Spain, Trinidad. OCM was formed in January 2006 from the merger of regional media enterprises Caribbean Communications Network (CCN) Group in Trinidad and Tobago, owners of TV6 and the Express Newspapers and the Nation Corporation Group (Barbados) owners of the Nation Newspapers and Barbados Rediffusion. The OCM Group are also the owners of The Wave Radio Station in St Lucia.

Young Fashion Designer Off to Bahamas in St. Lucia’s Name Jaeylu Inc., one of the island’s youngest fashion design businesses, is getting ready to walk the walk on another Caribbean catwalk, with its owner, Sharleen Lagon, invited to compete in the Islands of the World Fashion Showcase in Nassau, The Bahamas, on May 11th and 12th. At stake is the NextGen Designer Award, involving a scholarship for the summer sessions (2013) at the Parsons New School for Design in New York. The recipient will also have his or her line included in the “Islands of the World Fashion Tour” over the next year and participate in select fashion shows and weeks around the world, to which IWFS has been invited. The NextGen Award recipient will also be specially featured on the online fashion boutique “ExIles” which will also be launched during IWFS in the Bahamas. Lagon and Jaeylu Inc. were among the first winners of the Generation Next (Gen-X) Prize for young entrepreneurs two years ago, sponsored by local entrepreneur Rayneau Gajadhar, and indeed, their main sponsor to the Bahamas show is CIE Ltd, the local company behind the Gen-X award. Jaeylu’s fashions have hit catwalks in Barbados, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Lagon says she’s looking forward to making a strong first impression with her unique St. Lucian Madras Creole outfit designs. Says a very confident Lagon, “I’ve had to put together an all-new line for The Bahamas and we’re going with confidence that we will make an impression that St. Lucia will be proud of. We intend to score and we’re counting on it.” Jaeylu is the only local fashion company participating in the event.

LIME Pays Tribute to Saint Lucia’s Queen of Dance & Culture LIME has dedicated the front cover of the 2012 Services Directory to honouring Mrs. Teresa Hall, one of Saint Lucia’s most popular and dedicated cultural activists. Mrs. Hall is the founder of the Helen Folk Dancers, one of the island’s leading dance troupes. She started the group in 1991 with a core ensemble of students and alumni from the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School and other secondary schools, some of whom are still involved in the group to this day. Mrs. Hall has devoted most of her life to teaching and promoting the art form and has helped to foster greater public appreciation for St Lucia’s culture, especially among the youth. She is a recognized authority on Saint Lucia’s national dress, and has taught art and craft around the island. She has also worked with the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association and served as a member of the local Poppy Day Committee. LIME Vice President for Country Operations, Chris Williams who delivered the feature address at the unveiling, said LIME is very proud to honour Mrs. Hall. He said featuring her on the directory cover is a tangible way of memorializing her many years of service to the communities, and her selfless devotion to the development of local arts and culture as a whole. Mr. Williams said, “The social fabric of the country has been strengthened through her continuous involvement in promoting Saint Lucian culture and the arts, both at home and abroad, and she has played a great role in the passing on of knowledge and skills to the younger generation. Her work has been in many respects, a labour of love and a testament of her patriotism and loyalty to her country.” BusinessFocus

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Banking on Mobile Payments By Bevil Wooding

Mobile Payments 101 Mobile payments can be understood in two broad categories. The first is a contactless system, which uses a mobile device in lieu of traditional debit or credit cards. The second is a payment system that relies on a mobile network to initiate or authorise a transaction. The former is seeing widespread take up in developed economies where near field communications (NFCs) are at the forefront of mobile payment technologies. The latter is particularly relevant, and popular, in developing markets where there is a significant unbanked segment of the population.

A Global Phenomenon The global payments industry is experiencing the most dynamic and innovative transformation in its history as Internet access and the proliferation of mobile technologies spur a new era of innovation in payment systems and services. Mobile payment systems (a number of different technologies and processes for initiating and receiving monetary transactions using a mobile BusinessFocus

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device) are at the forefront of this transformation. One of the unique facts about mobile payment systems is that innovations are being driven by developing markets more so than the richer, more technologically advanced developed ones. In countries like Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Afghanistan and India, many new mobile payment users are also new entrants to the formal financial services sector. They form part of the global ‘unbanked,’ people with no access or limited access to formal

bank accounts who nonetheless could have access to financial services for the first time thanks to mobile payments. According to the United Nations, the global unbanked population with mobile phones is expected to hit 1.7 billion people in 2012 - a 70 per cent increase over 2011. This growth is expected to be attended by an explosion in global mobile payments as well, thereby creating new wealth creation opportunities in developing markets where many citizens do not have

the spending power of their counterparts in more developed economies. In fact, ABI Research estimated that consumers worldwide will spend more than US$119 billion using their mobile phones by 2015. Financial Inclusion: A Joint Undertaking For the unbanked and economically challenged, demand for mobile payments and mobile commerce in emerging markets represents a significant, empowering shift in financial access. Across the world, mobile payments are much more than a high-tech convenience. For countries, communities and individuals in the developing world it represents a truly transformational shift, opening much-needed financial service capabilities to poor, unbanked, underserved and rural citizens. Despite such projections and prospects for growth, mobile payments are still far from mainstream adoption. For that to happen retailers, financial institutions as well as device and software makers need to work together to develop standards for communication and transactions, much like various industries did in order to push the adoption of credit and debit cards. In several markets, this is already happening with banks, payment card and processing companies teaming up with mobile and

technology providers in order to deliver innovative mobile payment solutions.

Enabling Mobile Payments Changing the payments infrastructure to introduce mobile payment technology is a huge, complex, expensive, longterm undertaking. To get banks and merchants to adopt new hardware and technology can be like teaching old dogs really expensive new tricks. Indeed, if the evidence emerging from countries like Kenya is anything to go on, many in the financial sector will actively and powerfully frustrate efforts to bring change and innovation. It is for this reason that very underdeveloped economies, such as Haiti, where its widespread traditional financial services are unprofitable, are actually at the vanguard of mobile payments in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, the long-term cost advantages and widespread social and economic benefits, including the lowering of costs in the traditional banking sector, means that reluctance to change and resistance to mobile payment technology could ultimately cost us in global commerce and international competitiveness.

Global Realities = Regional Opportunities The opportunities afforded by mobile payment systems are particularly relevant to the Caribbean. The region has high mobile penetration rates, between 80 per cent and 85 per cent, according to a BuddeComm February 2012 report. The region’s domestic financial services market is comparatively expensive and suffers from lack of competition making formal banking expensive for lower-income citizens. The Caribbean also has a very large number of micro-enterprise and small enterprise businesses which would benefit from mobile payment systems if for no other reason than added convenience and security. In T&T, it was reported that the three largest merchants for whom local credit cards were utilised in 2010 were HiLo Food Stores, PriceSmart and This top tier ranking from an entirely online enterprise is significant. From a national economic perspective, the dominance of US financial giants like Visa and Mastercard means that for every local credit card transaction, there is effectively an overseas ‘tax’ in the form of payments to these global giants for use of their platforms. In fact, the real opportunity lies in the local development of more ubiquitous mobile payment infrastructure at both the telecomm and financial services levels. In the region, we may not replace cash for e-money anytime soon. Inevitably, though, our local payment systems will be eventually forced to evolve to take mobile payments into account, even as adoption in the rest of the world increases. The majority of the Caribbean population already has possession of a mobile phone. If the banks, merchants and policymakers seize the opportunity with decisive leadership, Caribbean phones may soon be used for much more than just texting and talking. The future of payments is mobile, and it is a future that will change not only how we interact with our money, but how we build our societies.

About the Author: Bevil Wooding is an Internet Strategist with the US-based research firm, Packet Clearing House and the Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN, an international non-profit organisation. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding, and Facebook: BusinessFocus

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Business & Social Networking Sites

Working or networking?

By Pilaiye Cenac

Nowadays, it’s usual to find company reps and managers, clad in their corporate short pants, liming on some social networking site. No, no, they’re not wasting time — they’re working the social crowd. Some businesses believe that they need to represent on those sites because… they don’t want to be left out? Well, it should really go beyond that; it should be more about understanding those social contracts than about following the crowd. People head to those social networking sites to catch up, loosen up, wind down, mind and discuss people’s business, share opinions, personal stories and photos. Businesses invited themselves to the lime, recognizing the marketing opportunities, but some important questions come to mind: o Are businesses using those sites effectively? o Can businesses show figures (e.g. revenue generated/number of customers acquired) justifying their social presence?


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How do the people on those sites regard ‘all those business people’ invading their personal space?

Below, find the results coming out of a combination of primary (I surveyed 100 regional Facebookers/Twitter followers) and secondary research.

o o o

Depending on the type of business If the business targets the right people for its products/services If the business does not spam/ post too frequently

What do you think about businesses trying to get your attention on social networking sites?

1. The top 3 reasons why people frequent Social Networking Sites: o o o

To connect with friends and family To access news and entertainment To share views/opinions

2. Of the 100 persons surveyed, 75% were OK with businesses trying to get their attention on social networking sites; 25% were not. The 25% found it irritating, distracting and an invasion of privacy. However, most of those who supported businesses’ presence stated some conditions. They’re OK with it…

3. Companies generally decide what they will provide on social networking sites instead of understanding what their customers want/need/expect of them on those sites. What do your customers want? Is it information? Customer care assistance? Is your target audience even on Facebook/Twitter?

4. If you want to invade a lime, you better

6. You’re on their turf, so they can shut you a brand in a very public forum. Persons

walk with something for the crowd. What’s in it for them? Most people will Follow/ Like a brand if they think they can get something from it. Deals/special offers are major incentives.

up by ‘unliking’, ‘unfriending’ or ceasing to follow you if you don’t adhere to the social contract. 81% of persons surveyed had never taken such action but the 19% cited the following reasons for exercising this power:

Here are the top reasons Facebook and Twitter users gave for Liking/Following businesses: o o o o

71% - For benefits: deals, information, avenue to vent 10% - I am a customer 10% - My friends Like/Follow the brand/business 9% - To support friends associated with the business/ brand

5. Persons who Like/Follow a brand may not be true fans/supporters/customers. Being liked/followed certainly does not indicate loyalty. It is better to focus on the value delivered via this media rather than the number of followers.

responsible for maintaining those sites on behalf of businesses should be capable of engaging and inspiring followers rather than broadcasting to or talking at them. Businesses should enter those social situations with a plan in mind, giving much consideration to the personality of the brand. All companies should have a measure to determine/define success on those sites, otherwise, it’s just… liming.

I deleted a business/brand because… • • • • • • • •

It posted too frequently (spam) or tried to engage me too often Its posts were repetitive/boring Its posts were of no relevance to me It did not offer enough deals It marketed too aggressively It deleted negative posts instead of addressing them It misrepresented itself on those sites Nothing was happening on its page

Social networking sites offer a very low cost way to reach and acquire customers, but they also give customers a voice, and that voice can be used to malign (e.g. Greenpeace vs. Kit Kat) or support

Interested in finding out how your customers see you, your products/ services, and processes? Contact us at About the Author: Pilaiye Cenac is an entrepreneur. Her qualifications include a BSc in Psychology and Sociology and an MSc in Marketing. She is also a PMP® and a published writer. One of her companies, In Tandem, focuses on low cost approaches to enriching the customer experience.


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Investing in Information Technology By Rashid Jean-Baptiste


nvestments in Information Technology (IT) can lead to a competitive advantage for firms, but most business owners see such investments as an unnecessary and avoidable cost. In this article I will present some of the reasons for this attitude and show why this thinking is incorrect, and I will end with an example of a strategic IT investment. The reason I hear most often for not making an IT investment is the price is too high. Depending on the particular investment, the price can be high, especially for a small business owner, but the purchase needs to be looked at as a long term investment. When this is done, it can clearly be seen that the Return on Investment (ROI) will far outweigh the cost. Take for example, a small business owner who is contemplating purchasing an inventory management program for EC $10,000. The business owner just sees this as a piece of software and he just can’t understand why he has to pay so much for it. But, let’s say that on average his inventory is unexplainably shrinking by $500 per month. Over a three year period he is looking at losses of $18,000. BusinessFocus

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This is not even the total return on the investment because more than likely this software will be around a lot longer than three years. Three years was chosen because it is usually the time period when a software upgrade is required. When the losses or potential return are compared to the investment, it clearly stands out as a wise decision. Further, it is priceless to know that your total inventory is being very tightly managed. One other reason I hear often is that there are many IT service providers in St. Lucia selling software and hardware which just don’t work as promised. The business owners state that “these providers are not able to help with successfully implementing the IT investment and all they are interested in is getting paid. They set you up with something and after a few months it just sits by the wayside and they have no incentive to assist at this point because they have already gotten paid.” The provider basically sold something to the business owner without ensuring that its implementation satisfied the specific requirements of the business owner. I do admit that this happens a lot but I see

the onus on the business owner to ensure three key things: 1. They get a full demo on the capabilities of the product before deciding to purchase. With this approach the business owner can be assured that all their questions about the product can be answered before they spend any money. 2. They request a trial period to use the investment before paying for it to ensure that it satisfies their requirements. This may not be possible with a hardware purchase, but it is almost always possible with a software purchase. 3. They send out requests for proposals to other companies who provide similar products. Too often I see business owners in St. Lucia deciding to move forward with one service provider because that person is a friend or there is a family connection. In business, I think should be a requirement that there be a minimum of three quotes or proposals for any significant purchase which needs to be made by any business of any size.

In my experience this just does not happen enough in St. Lucia. Folks just go with their friend, family connection, or very first proposal because it is the easiest thing to do, only to realize later on that it was a wrong choice. Another reason is some business owners are just not too comfortable with technology and therefore stay away from such investments. They prefer the old way of doing things. Some may not even own a computer so it can be a challenge to get them to use a product which is computer based. In this day and age the advancements brought about by the use of technology are very clear, but the onus is still on the service provider to clearly articulate and prove the specific benefits of an investment and to provide the required training to the business owner so that they can fully maximize the investment. This may increase the cost of the investment but even with this additional cost for extra training it could still be a lucrative investment for the business owner. In this scenario one option for the business owner is to delegate the operation of the product to a member of staff. But in these situations

the business owner needs to ensure that they understand how the product works and what they are getting from it, even though they do not understand fully, the inner workings. An example of a strategic IT investment is the purchase of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software package. How many companies actually keep a database of their customers or clients? Let’s look at a small garage for example. Wouldn’t it be very useful for the garage to track customer visits with details on what was done on each visit? The software could then automatically let the business owner know that ‘Customer X’ is due for a service after a preset length of time, like three months. The business owner could at any time pull up the details of the customer’s last visit showing all the parts that were changed. This would help greatly in building greater overall customer satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn boosts customer retention. The same software could be queried for historic trends to assist the business owner in making certain decisions. For example, if the business owner needs to

decide on whether they should upgrade a particular piece of equipment, they can query the software to determine the number of times this equipment was used to perform operations in the past year for various customers. Then depending on its frequency of use, the more economical decision for the business can be made. In closing, I would like to state that there are tons of opportunities for Information Technology to be more fully utilized in St. Lucia to increase the productivity of our businesses and people. All we need is for more business owners to be open to the possibilities and potential and for more service providers to deliver on their promises. About the Author: Rashid Jean-Baptiste is the Managing Director of West Technology Group Inc., an IT services provider company based in St. Lucia. Prior to this he spent over ten years in senior IT roles at Microsoft Corporation.

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Prime Minister says Island “Will be Ready for VAT” Come September


fter ten years on the table, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony says St. Lucia will be ready for his promised introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT), come September 2012. As far back as 2002, the issue of Regional Tax Reform came to the fore with VAT one of the primary considerations. Most OECS territories needed to come to terms with budgetary constraints that included reduced tax earnings and challenges to older taxes resulting from new terms of regional trade. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), to which all the OECS territories belong, commissioned Grenada-born international economist Sir Alistair McIntyre to make recommendations for regional (OECS) tax reform, which were adopted by the OECS Monetary Council in 2002. VAT was recommended by the ECCB as the preferred approach and regional (OECS) governments, including St. Lucia, committed to consider its implications and launch national educational campaigns about its importance and effect. In the past decade, succeeding governments have kept VAT implementation on the back burner, none willing to be the one to implement a new tax. The VAT was first expected to be BusinessFocus

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implemented after the 2006 General Elections. But while an Implementation Office was subsequently established, staffed and budgeted to carry out a national PR campaign promoting the VAT as “A tax for us all”, actual implementation was never advanced from the back burner. While St. Lucia delayed implementation for a decade, all other CARICOM territories eventually implemented VAT, leading to some accusing Castries of playing the delay card while imposing taxes that made their manufactured goods less competitive than St. Lucia’s. One such “unfair tax” the complaining governments pointed to was the Environmental Levy; another was a Security Tax. And both drew not only criticisms, but also threats by some of the larger CARICOM countries (Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica and Belize among them) to take St. Lucia to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Under pressure to pass the tax, the previous (2006-2011) UWP administration indicated before the November 2011 General Elections that whichever party won would have had to implement the VAT on April 1st 2012. But the then Opposition SLP insisted its hands would not be tied to a date set by an outgoing government. The current SLP administration accepted from the onset that it would have to implement the VAT, but in March announced, just ahead of the Budget, that contrary to expectations the tax would be implemented by May 1st, it would instead be implemented in September 2012. Prime Minister Anthony – who is also

Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Social Security – said the VAT will definitely be implemented come September, but with a “basket” of “zero-rated items” that would protect consumers from unintended pressure. Dr. Anthony named electricity and water as two public utilities that would be VATfree and promised to name the others in his budget presentation. He also noted that VAT would replace the Consumption Tax, the Environmental Levy and the Security Tax. He also said the tax threshold will be increased to $21,000 annually, which will also protect more persons at a time when unemployment is at its highest (24%) and everyone’s feeling the pressure. Since the Prime Minister’s announcements, there has been much national discussion and debate about the VAT, with mixed views as to the island’s state of readiness. Some in the business sector (including former Chamber of Commerce President Chester Hinkson) say September is “too early” and the business sector needs “more time” to know more about the tax and to get itself ready. But others argue that a decade of discussion has been enough and the island can now also well learn from the lessons of those other CARICOM states that have implemented the VAT. Dr. Anthony insists, however, that the September deadline “allows enough time for the island to be ready.” He said in early April the ongoing debate was “very helpful” as it allowed his administration “to see and hear and to make necessary adjustments” ahead of the implementation date.

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SERVICES OFFERED: a. New business underwriting (Homeowners, Motor and other general insurance products) b. Policy Renewals c. Issuing of insurance certificates, cover notes and endorsements d. Payment of premiums e. Premium financing f. Site surveys and inspections g. Reporting of claims and claim forms processing


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Women Are Investors Too!


or years, women have stayed on the sidelines of the financial industry simply because of lack of knowledge or fear of investing. However, women are now becoming more financially successful and independent and as such, there is a greater need for them to manage their own wealth.

Why target women specifically? Statistics have shown that women live longer than men by an average of 7 years and so they need to save more for retirement. Women’s working lives are also interrupted by family life, as on average, women have to take off about 11 years more from work than men. Most importantly, women earn 25 percent less than most men for the same work. All these statistics just prove that women need to be more conscious about the growth of their money. The most recent statistics also show that women tend to be better investors than men. Women’s portfolios have gained 1.4 percent more than men’s portfolios. Women tend to do more research in their investments and therefore, they make more sound financial decisions rather than just going with a tip or following a ‘hunch’. Some key points for women who are investing: • Start Now Time is money. It is never too early or too late to start investing. Take advantage of any extra funds you may have now and make finances your priority. Also, look at any employer benefits such as pensions, insurance coverage and even educational subsidies. • Plan a Budget There are some expenses that are mandatory such as utility bills, mortgage or rental payments and food. And then there are other expenses that you can place a limit on like shopping, entertainment and other luxury items. However, when placing BusinessFocus

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limits on these luxury items, do not go so far as to deprive yourself of something that you enjoy. This will only reduce your motivation for saving and investing. • Set Realistic Goals As part of portfolio management, investors have to set goals for their funds. You may be planning for retirement, children’s education or your own personal education. These goals are important in order to determine a time horizon for investing, how liquid these investments should be

and the amount of risks that should be taken. At the same time, have expectations that are realistic and attainable. • Seek Financial Advice Most women lack the financial expertise needed to make wise investments. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask questions. Read the newspapers and articles on financial matters in order to increase your knowledge. Seek advice from a professional advisor, a close friend or relative or anyone else who you can feel comfortable talking with. Some women may even undertake their own research via the Internet or libraries. • Do Not Be Afraid of Risk Between 1996 and 1998, 90 percent of women kept their money in Certificates of Deposits (CDs). While these are secure

investments, the rate of return on these CDs are very low and are not adequate for women planning for any long-term goals. Most women have typically been very conservative in their investments. It is important to understand that there is a difference between saving and investing. Saving is simply putting money away for a rainy day. Investing involves the use of more aggressive investment vehicles for growth of money that one already has saved. In order to receive a higher return, a higher level of risk has to be taken. Women can become more aggressive by investing in mutual funds, money market funds or even stocks and bonds. Of course, it is always best to seek professional financial advice before taking on risk. Do not be afraid of making mistakes in some investments. Learn from those mistakes and look for ways to improve your investments. • Seek a Financial Identity While women should work with their partners and family to make financial decisions, it is important for a woman to create her own financial identity. This could start by simply ensuring that there are accounts in her name or joint accounts with her partner. Financial independence is important because as statistics have shown, women do outlive men and over 75 percent of women are widowed by the age 56. Therefore, women should learn to take care of themselves and have the necessary funds in place in which to do so.


May / June




Businesses Need to Re-Think Risk, says ACCA New online 'risk health check' for businesses launched by global accountancy body


usinesses need to work harder to spread responsibility for risk management across the whole organisation, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) issued in March 2012. The survey of over 2,000 ACCA members found accountants have a vital role to play in successful risk management, and that they stand ready to do more. The survey found a statistical link between the use of accounting practices that contribute to managing risk and lower occurrences of dysfunctional behaviour, and also found differences in the perception of a company's exposure to risk between those at board level and those accountants working below board level. "Risk happens at all levels of business," said Paul Moxey, ACCA head of risk management and corporate governance. "It doesn't sit in silos. Risk management needs to be something that is undertaken by everyone in an organisation so it is fully integrated," he added. The survey shows that accountants have an excellent grasp of the risks faced by their organisation and the steps needed to manage those risks. The survey also shows clear support amongst accountants for "challenging senior people" as being part of good business culture. "Accounting is really about providing information to help make good decisions, BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May Mar/ /June Apr



and good decisions mean less risk. The accountant's day-to-day role is all about managing risk, even if people don't think about what they do in that way," Moxey said. "The results are both encouraging, in terms of what accountants do and would do more of, and frightening in terms of the extent of dysfunctional behaviour revealed. There is a big problem to be addressed. Businesses need to make sure they use the risk awareness and risk management skills of their qualified accountants, and not miss an opportunity to effectively integrate risk management." The ACCA noted that the survey highlighted that the value of accountants' contributions can be lost through their misuse. Accountants in the survey reported very high levels of 'bad behaviour' around risk management. Examples include

frequent 'gaming' of forecasts, providing optimistic versions to avoid criticism or pessimistic ones to reduce expectations. Only one per cent of respondents reported never seeing any of the bad behaviours asked about in the survey at their organisation. However, ACCA said the survey did find a statistical link between the use of good risk management practices by accountants and incidences of dysfunctional behaviour: more good practices correspond with less dysfunctional behaviour. Types of good practice include aspects of management accounting, forecasting, reporting and quality controls, decision support and controls over wrongful behaviour. Accountants who thought dysfunctional behaviours were widespread most wanted to make more use of the good practices, said the ACCA.

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LIME Powers up with Green Energy

Eastern Caribbean Seeking Funds For Green Growth


IME has announced plans to install eco-friendly fuel cell generators to power its cell sites around the island. A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or hydrogen, or another oxidizing agent. Fuel cell generators can replace diesel generators to provide power for telecom cell sites and they create no noise or pollution. They have proven to be up to 99.9% reliable. They are also durable, providing power to cell sites that are either hard to access or are susceptible to inclement weather. LIME will be installing PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells produced by IdaTech, a world-renowned designer and manufacturer of fuel cell systems for telecommunications applications. “These operate at relatively low temperatures, about 80°C. They can readily adjust their electric output to meet shifting power demands, and offer a high energy density. They are also faststarting and can begin delivering electricity within milliseconds of activation,” said LIME Assistant Manager Transmission & Power, Kirth Gray. “They are also easy to maintain, very efficient and quiet, and produce only water and heat by-products, which have no impact on the environment. Problems usually associated with diesel generators, such as fuel spills and spoilage and carbon emissions are never a concern with fuel cell generators. Ours will be used to provide primary or backup power for our switch nodes, cell cites, and other electronic systems that would benefit from on-site, direct DC power supply.” The first fuel cell generators will be deployed at LIME’s cell sites at Leslie Land, near the Marian Home and at Sunny Acres. “We were unable to install a much needed conventional generator near the Marian Home because of the noise and exhaust fumes emitted from diesel generators, thus disturbing the residents,” Mr. Gray explained. “In Sunny Acres we have an outdoor site that is exposed to the elements. A fuel cell generator will be used to provide backup power and it will also be able to withstand the weather with minimal maintenance.” This project will be the first of its kind in St. Lucia and will project LIME as a pioneer in green-energy initiatives within the telecom sector. LIME VP Country Operations, Chris Williams said, “As leaders in the search for cost-effective substitutes for fossil fuels, we are exploring all avenues to enhance our commitment to protect and conserve St Lucia’s environment." BusinessFocus

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elegates from the nine-nation Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) met in St. Lucia in early March to discuss ways and means to access potential funds to combat climate change. Keith Nichols, head of the Sustainable Development Division at the St. Lucia-based OECS Secretariat, told reporters that among other things, "The workshop sought to raise awareness and share experiences related to financing adaptation and sustainable energy." The meeting also explored carbon financing opportunities to enhance the ability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the OECS islands – to respond to challenges like sea level rise and coastal erosion. Delegates discussed case studies on sustainable land management for climate variability and climate change; adaptation challenges in the coastal and marine sectors; climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the OECS; as well as an adaptation finance case study from the Pacific region. The OECS comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. KittsNevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. Chrispin D'Auvergne, St. Lucia’s Chief Sustainable Development Officer, said the OECS can better negotiate access to global climate funding, despite plenty of competition among developing nations. He pointed to the recent launch of the Green Climate Fund and an existing Adaptation Fund. Approved at a U.N. conference in South Africa, the Green Climate Fund is supposed to raise 100 billion dollars a year from rich nations by 2020 for climate adaptation in poorer countries. D'Auvergne argued that, "one of the things we have to do as Small Island Developing States is press these developed countries to live up to those pledges and some of them have started doing so. But also, we really have to try to crystallize exactly what we are seeking in relation to climate change funding.”

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Rainforest Seafoods to Expand into Lionfish Distribution


Plans to Commence Processing for Human Consumption

egional seafood distributor, Rainforest Seafoods, headquartered in Jamaica, is to begin selling and distributing Lionfish. This fish species has become an apex predator and is responsible for reducing local species but at the same time it is edible and is increasingly making its way onto many Jamaican dinner tables. Rainforest Seafoods’ Marketing Manager, Roger Lyn, said: “We have to protect our oceans and its supplies because if we do not, we will go out of business. We will be selling and distributing Lionfish and be playing an active role in the ‘Eat Them to Beat Them’ campaign. This fish is devouring other species which we have to protect and ensure their proliferation.” Lyn pointed out that the Lionfish has many spines, rather like a porcupine, which act as both an attack and defence mechanism and although this fish is venomous, it is not poisonous and has to be handled properly before consumption. In this regard Rainforest Seafoods will be embarking on a public education exercise.


May / June



“We were approached by Dr. Buddo of the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory (affiliated to the University of the West Indies) and we were very excited to come onboard. We saw it as an opportunity to not only protect our coastal waters but to bring a new product to the market. This is a medium to high-end delicious fish very much like grouper. We have to educate our fishermen on how to handle and deal with this fish. “Jamaicans are receptive to consuming the Lionfish and we featured it at last year’s Jamaica Observer Food Awards and it went down very well. We will now be bringing it to the mainstream market with an energetic marketing campaign,” added Rainforest’s Marketing Manager. The plan now is to offer Lionfish as a fillet product processed at Rainforest’s new facility. This plant is being built at a cost of US$8 million and should come on stream before the end of this year. Rainforest Seafoods also has plants in Belize and Honduras.

Scotiabank Group is partnering with the Centre for Marine Sciences at the University of the West Indies (Mona) as it leads the National Lionfish Pilot Project. It will be contributing $4 million to this effort. This project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, The United Nations Environment Programme, The Government of Jamaica, and the University of the West Indies and is coordinated by the National Environment and Planning Agency. It aims to conduct research to formulate and implement response actions to manage and control the species in Jamaica as well as far reaching training and public awarness. Lionfish have been classified as a Marine Invasive Species and there is growing concern by marine scientists that this species will cause significant impact to the native marine life, especially commercially important fish and crustacean species. Rainforest Seafoods will market Lionfish commercially both in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.







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JICA to Provide US$600 Million for Green Energy Financing IDB Member Countries in Caribbean and Central America to Benefit


he Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide up to US$600 million in financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Central America and the Caribbean over the next five years. The framework agreement was recently signed during the IDB’s annual meeting between IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno and JICA Senior Special Advisor, Hiroto Arakawa. The financing will benefit IDB member countries that already are eligible for JICA financing: Guyana, Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname. “For more than 30 years, Japan has been a great partner of the IDB and in particular, of our borrowing member countries,’’said Moreno. “This agreement is another example of Japan’s efforts to help our region overcome key development challenges. This contribution, in addition to encouraging the adoption of climatefriendly energy investments, will support much needed mitigation measures to address the negative impacts of climate BusinessFocus

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change among our most vulnerable nations in Central America and the Caribbean.” Arakawa noted that Central America and the Caribbean are at the core of JICA’s agenda to address global climate change. “We count on the IDB’s experience, knowledge and long-standing working relationship with the region to create a successful synergy in this effort,” he said. Under the agreement, the IDB and JICA have created two different co-financing schemes: joint-co-financing, in which the IDB will match the financing provided by JICA in each project; and parallel cofinancing, in which each organisation will separately finance specific components of an eligible project. JICA will provide $300 million in concessional financing for the facility, which could potentially mobilise another $300 million from the IDB’s own resources if all projects are financed under the joint co-financing scheme. “We are considering potential projects in the areas of hydroelectric power plant rehabilitation, photovoltaic power generation, and installation of energy saving facilities and equipment,’’ said Toshitaka Takeuchi, Energy Specialist and

technical contact for the agreement at the IDB’s Energy Division. “In addition we will explore financing opportunities for geothermal power generation considering its significant potential in the region.” All projects will be processed, approved and executed in accordance with the IDB’s sovereign guaranteed loan policies and procedures in the case of joint co-financing. This framework agreement was a result of two Memoranda of Understanding between the IDB and JICA, the most recent in 2011, focusing on strategic partnerships on renewable energy and energy efficiency, a key component of the bank’s response to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Under the recent General Capital Increase, the bank sets a target of 25% of total lending to be dedicated to climate change adaptation, environmental sustainability and renewable energy. Japan became the first Asian member country of the IDB in 1976 and has contributed over $5 billion to the bank’s financial resources and, more recently, an additional $3.5 billion to the capital increase.

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Starbucks Offers Help to Blue Mountain Coffee Growers

By Paul Rodgers


tarbucks, the world's largest coffeeshop chain, has offered to help Jamaican growers to become more environmentally and socially responsible. Blue Mountain producers were invited to join in Starbucks' CAFE (Coffee And Farmer Equity) Practices programme by Anthony Carroll, the manager of coffee quality in the Seattle company's supply chain operations division. "It's all about consistency and quality," Carroll said after a tour of an Amber Estates plantation near the peak of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. "We just want to elevate the entire industry." Anthony Carroll of Starbucks inspecting coffee cherries in the Blue Mountains last week. (Photo: Paul Rodgers) CAFE Practices is a set of buying guidelines developed by Starbucks, Conservation International and Scientific Certification Systems of California to ensure that coffee is grown in a responsible way, whether on small holdings or corporate estates. Starbucks says it aims to help farmers grow coffee in a way that is "better for both BusinessFocus

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people and the planet". Applicants get points for their performance on different criteria, and are awarded preferred supplier status if they pass 60 per cent and strategic supplier status if they get an overall score above 80 per cent. Starbucks reportedly offers enhanced pricing and contract terms to its preferred and strategic suppliers. The company would neither confirm nor deny this, however, saying that it does not comment on pricing conversations with suppliers. Among other things, the programme calls for growers to provide safe, humane working conditions, protecting the rights of their employees and providing adequate living conditions. In particular, it insists on compliance with minimum wage laws and disapproves forced or child labour. It also calls for farmers to conserve water and energy, to manage waste and protect water quality, to reduce the use of agrichemicals and to preserve biodiversity. The company bought 84 per cent of its coffee (100 million kilograms) from CAFE

Practices growers in 2010, up from 77 per cent in 2008. It is aiming to reach 100 per cent by 2015. While most companies bemoan any increase in their input costs, Starbucks boasts that it spent US$1.56 ($134) per pound on average in 2010, up from US$1.47 the previous year. In addition to the CAFE Practices programme, Starbucks also offers more concrete help, including an investment fund for farmers worth U$14.6 million last year and scheduled to grow to US$20 million by 2015. It is also pilot testing carbon offset markets in Mexico and Indonesia that earn income for farmers while protecting the environment. Starbucks also supports Conservation International's Verde Ventures programme, which has invested US$18 million in small and medium-sized businesses that contribute to healthy ecosystems. More than three-quarters of the fund is invested in coffee farms. Courtesy: Jamaica Observer

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Banker, Chamber President and Commerce Minister warn:

Don’t Ignore China!

Jason Julian, General Manager First Citizens Investment Services

Gerard Bergasse, President, St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce

Hon. Emma Hippolyte Minister of Commerce & Investment

leading banker and the President of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce have warned against ignoring China’s role in the world today or needlessly picking on Chinese businesses for selective treatment, while the island’s Commerce Minister is inviting critics of the Chinese businesses to understand that

trade restrictions are not a solution to their problems. The three leading local officials all spoke as a debate continued across the island since the beginning of the year regarding the future of St. Lucia’s relations with China and Taiwan and the role of Chinese businesses in St. Lucia and the Caribbean.

First Citizens Investment Services (FCIS) General Manager, Jason Julian, said, “We cannot hide from China” as that would be “like trying to hide from a mountain.” Julian, who heads the local branch of the Trinidad & Tobago-based entity, noted that “China is the world’s second largest economy after the USA and remains an



May / June



engine of global growth.” He cited China’s startling growth figures, which remained high even though slightly weakening: For the last quarter of 2011, they declined from 9.5% in the third quarter to 9.1% in the last quarter, but remained much higher than any developed country. The FCIS CEO said China’s presence in the Caribbean was “the clear result of a strategy” backed by its pledge last September in Trinidad & Tobago (at the 3rd China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum) of US $1 billion in preferential loans to the Caribbean to support economic development. Julian also noted that a further US $1 million had also been pledged by Beijing to the Caribbean Development Fund. Regarding the billion-dollar pledge, the banker said, “The details of that offer are still to come, but I think what it shows is intent. It shows they are very serious about expansion across the globe. “Clearly, they see the Caribbean as a place they want to make sure that they put their stamp on.” As Julian saw it, “China is expanding their interests all over the world. Here in the Caribbean we are seeing that in the

form of foreign direct investment. We therefore have a situation here where we have to definitely figure out, as a Caribbean people: How do we want to tap into the Chinese market? Do we bring Chinese tourists to the Caribbean? Do we sell Caribbean products to China?” In his view, the Caribbean can make a strategic move to attract Chinese “middle class tourists” – who have surpassed the Japanese as the biggest spenders from Asia on the world tourism market. “Just one percent of Chinese visitors – or just one percent of anything in China, for that matter – can spell wonders for the Caribbean,” he said, adding, “China is the world’s biggest economy and therefore it has many possibilities.” Chamber of Commerce President, Gerard Bergasse, also contributed to the debate. He told local reporters it’s not wise to “single out” Chinese businesses operating here for criticism based on nationality, as “they are not the first set of non-nationals” to carve a niche in the local business community. Bergasse noted that Indian and Arab business owners have also set up shop on the island over the years.

He said, however, that in response to the manufacturers’ calls, the Chamber’s leadership would consider the representations and eventually deliberate on the issue. The Chamber had earlier also been called upon by the manufacturers to consult or involve their association in its deliberations with the government regarding the future of business with China and Taiwan. However, Chamber Executive Director, Brian Louisy, said the manufacturers “are also members of the Chamber” and their concerns would therefore be addressed in its deliberations with the government. Meanwhile, Commerce Minister, Emma Hippolyte, responding to calls by the manufacturers for government to impose restrictions on the areas of investment and business activity allowed by Chinese businesses, replied, “We cannot restrict trade as a result of the many agreements we have signed regionally and internationally.” “What we need to do,” she added, “is to see challenges as opportunities and do our best to make use of these opportunities.”


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Slow Movement of OECS Goods Worrying Planners OECS governments continue to lament the slow movement of trade between the islands, even though they continue to create mechanisms to promote more trade exchanges. The islands continue to mourn a deficit in trade in manufactured goods between them because, like the wider CARICOM region, their goods go more to external markets than to regional neighbours. With most islands over-depending on tourism, they have had to seek to reorient their trade into service-oriented industries, in which they enjoy a comparative surplus. The OECS Secretariat’s trade section is making the comparative analyses and advocating the diversification of economies away from traditional dependence on old models. But while this process of readjustment is being promoted, the islands’ manufacturers still have to contend with the usual problems, including cost of transportation, which is just one of the added costs that make their products more expensive. Shipping by sea may have increased in volume due to containerization and modernization of port operations. However, movement of goods between Caribbean states has declined considerably over the years, due mainly to the skyrocketed cost of shipping. In addition, the presence of worldwide air parcel and air freight carriers has made that form of transportation of goods faster by far. But movements of goods and acceleration of inter-OECS trade continue to be problematic, leading to recommendations for a return to the earlier forms of regional sea transport between the islands through the introduction of ferry services as the modern equivalent to the schooners and other vessels that transported people and goods from island to island up to the 80s. The OECS has been pursuing its own smaller version of the CSME through an BusinessFocus

May / June



Economic Union that has been agreed to by the majority of member-states. The Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Economic Union was signed on 18th June 2010 in St Lucia. Its provisions seek to upgrade the sub-regional arrangement by creating a single economic space through which capital, goods and people can flow unimpeded. The Caribbean country that most benefits from OECS trade is Trinidad & Tobago. Virginia Paul, head of the OECS Trade Policy Desk based in Castries, recently noted that OECS imports from Trinidad & Tobago exceed a quarter of a billion US dollars annually, with petroleum products accounting for some 45 percent of the twin-island republic’s exports to the sub-region. The OECS Secretariat is focusing on economic diversification as an essential aspect of future economic health. Trade between the OECS is virtually non-existent. All show a negative balance of trade with each other in manufactured products. Instead of trading in goods and services, most compete for visitors from similar source markets. Tourism accounts for 83 percent of OECS exports and is linked to 70 percent of employment in the islands. Its contribution to GDP ranges from 24 percent in Montserrat to 75 percent in Antigua & Barbuda. But the islands enjoy a surplus of trade in services, interpreted by the analysts as indication that serviceoriented activities may hold the key to much-needed diversification of the OECS economies. Accordingly, OECS governments regard diversification into services as essential for eventually weaning the sub-region away from its present overdependence on tourism. Some regional experts advocate lessening tourism’s contribution to 50 percent or less of GDP,

employment creation and export earnings as three ways to change things around. OECS governments are indeed seeking to develop economic activity in such areas. Educational services (like training nurses to meet international demand) and other aspects of “Health Tourism” are seen as holding considerable promise. Provision of professional business services (such as accounting, design and information technology) as well as creative arts and culture are also being recommended as new diversified products. The developing motion picture industry is also being seen as holding significant promise. The OECS Trade Policy Desk says the thrust toward economic diversification away from tourism needs to be accelerated as much as possible, to transform the subregional economy from its current state of virtual monoculture. But what about the security of OECS manufacturers? Already in business and struggling to survive, they find it difficult to adjust as fast as expected. Facing both domestic operations in the same markets and regional bottlenecks, they find it hard to compete against larger-sized CARICOM entities that will benefit the most from operating on the level playing field of a common market guided by common rules that apply to all. Manufacturers’ associations across the OECS are calling on the governments to do more to enact legislation to protect them against unfair competition from stronger regional competitors, as well as from what they see as unfair competition from extraregional businesses, especially Chinese in the retail trades and other businesses, operating on the basis of their access to “economic citizenship” passports sold by some OECS member-states. The governments are at the crossroads, recognizing the decrease in trade and movement of goods and having to promote alternative paths that are not immediate enough to guarantee any smooth passage for manufacturers that can’t make the transition fast enough. But even while pointing to new paths, avenues and directions the experts are also hoping that a return to ferry services and an acceleration of sea transport between the islands will result in more, cheaper and faster movement of goods within and between the islands of the OECS.




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May / June




St. Lucia Seeking Cheaper Fuel and Social Programs from Petrocaribe and ALBA


aint Lucia has indicated its interest in seeking cheaper fuel and social programs from Venezuela’s Petrocaribe initiative – and may also be interested in looking at more assistance from its friends in new Latin American and Caribbean groupings such as ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for People of Our Americas). The island made that much clear on March 12th when Deputy Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre met with Ambassador Rodolfo Sanz, Secretary General of ALBA, who headed an official delegation comprising key members of the ALBA Secretariat and Ms. María Andreina Colmenares, Coordination Manager of PDV Caribe. Ambassador Sanz and the members of the visiting delegation visited St. Lucia as part of a working tour of the region. Accompanied by Venezuela’s Ambassador to St. Lucia Eduardo Alfonzo Barranco Hernández, they met with Pierre, who is also Minister for Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport and leading the island’s belated infrastructural recovery efforts following nationwide destruction by Hurricane Tomas in late 2010. The Deputy Prime Minister, accompanied by officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation, discussed several possible BusinessFocus BusinessFocus

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projects revolving mainly around solving the island’s energy needs and tapping into more social programs for the local population. A statement following the meeting said, “Among projects discussed were the possible implementation of various social projects and programmes within the framework of ALBA and Petrocaribe, geared towards the advancement of social justice and the attainment of the Millennium Goals throughout the region.” It added, “The visit by the ALBA official followed on the heels of expressions of interest by St. Lucia in joining the Petrocaribe initiative, which is already being subscribed to by several CARICOM member-states.” St. Lucia has long indicated interest in Petrocaribe. In late 2006, a Petrocaribe delegate visited St. Lucia and met then Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, who indicated St. Lucia’s interest in joining Petrocaribe to ease the burdensome and increasing cost of fuel to the island’s electricity services and the population generally. Since then, Dr. Anthony repeatedly indicated his interest in St. Lucia benefiting from the Petrocariobe initiative. He told the Chamber of Commerce just ahead of the last general elections here that a government led by him following the

poll would urgently seek to re-engage Venezuela on Petrocaribe. He also assured the chamber that first recipient of any negotiated supplies would be St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd, to lower the cost of electricity bills by doing away with the fuel surcharge that has for many years seen consumers pay the cost of the utility’s fuel. The St. Lucia Prime Minister, immediately upon his return to office late last year, rekindled the island’s interest in Petrocaribe. Dr. Anthony publicly declared St. Lucia’s position during the December 2011 meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC) in Caracas. He has also repeated this position in subsequent interviews at home and abroad. During the discussions in Castries, the Deputy Prime Minister reiterated, “while St. Lucia will be proceeding with Petrocaribe, no decision has been taken as yet by the island’s Cabinet about joining ALBA.” The Caribbean tour by the top ALBA official also included stops in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba.

Commerce Minister meets Chamber and Southern Business Sector

Hon. Emma Hippolyte


Minister of Commerce & Investment

ommerce, Investment, Business Development and Consumer Affairs Minister, Emma Hippolyte, has begun a series of dialogues with local private sector entities and nongovernmental groups that she says are aimed at improving the relationship between the state and the island’s business community and working together to improve the ease of doing business in St. Lucia. The outreach has so far included meetings with the island’s Chamber of Commerce, manufacturers, small businesses and other private sector entities, as well as the National Consumer Association (NCA). The Minister on February 29th addressed the resumed Chamber Business Luncheons with a major address at the Palm Haven Hotel at Rodney Bay, followed by a meeting with the Southern business community in Vieux Fort on March 13th. The Minister also held an introductory meeting in March with the new leadership of the NCA, with a

view to improving the working relationship between the Ministry and the consumers’ body. During her meeting with the Chamber, the minister invited the private sector to work with her administration to improve the ease of doing business in St. Lucia. She told the business community her government had initiated “six comprehensive actions that will ameliorate the situation and reverse current negative trends.” She indicated the government had restructured the National Development Corporation (NDC) into an Investment Promotion Agency, “and consolidating within its mandate all support services required to facilitate both local and foreign direct investment, so that this agency functions effectively as a single window or one-stop-shop for prospective investors.” The minister also said that, “With the assistance of the World Bank Doing Business Survey team, we are accelerating the work of the National Trade Facilitation Task Force in addressing all administrative and regulatory hurdles identified in the Survey Report.” She said the government was also “proceeding with alacrity” to implement the electronic business registry (a project funded by the World Bank) “which will allow new businesses to simultaneously register with all relevant agencies.” In addition, she said, “We are in the era of ‘Smart Commerce’ where global connection and social media are redefining commerce… We are presently responding by enacting much needed e-commerce legislation and developing a services policy that will facilitate and encourage new modes of business and electronic transactions.” The minister told the business leaders

her administration “is pursuing the establishment of a business incubator, in the very short term, to provide a structured and more supportive environment (both physically and virtually) for businesses that are at critical start-up and/or scale-up phases.” Ms. Hippolyte said, “We are also integrally involved in revising the fiscal incentives and trade concessions that government has provided to businesses in the past.” The minister’s outreach followed a similar move by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, who had also been meeting with local private sector leaders ahead of his presentation of the 2012-13 Budget. Meanwhile, Senator Debra Tobierre, who is also Managing Director of True Value Ltd – a Vieux Fort-based business – has welcomed the outreach by the Commerce Minister. The prominent Southern business lady, whose business has been operating in the South of the island for the past 13 years said, “It’s good that the minister is working on creating those sorts of business alliances between the public and private sectors, which are very critical if we are to move forward.” She said that “although there are in-built blockades to progress” on the business front, she also felt “there is much that can be done but is not even being tried.” The senator and business executive said the Southern businesses were “particularly pleased that the topic the minister chose to speak about was ‘Ease of Doing Business’, which most of us saw as a welcome sign of her interest in creating the avenues for us to ease the pressure of doing business in Saint Lucia.”


May / June




Government Unveils Plans to Ease Doing Business in St. Lucia


inister for Commerce, Emma Hippolyte, has highlighted six Government initiatives to improve the “Ease of Doing Business” ratings of Saint Lucia, which were severely lowered in recent years by the World Bank. Presenting the Government’s response to the current situation, Ms. Hippolyte has reassured members of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce of her Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that the requisite action is taken to “stimulate, support and fuel business activities in areas that will generate and sustain economic growth BusinessFocus

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and development in the medium term.” She addressed the resumed Chamber Luncheon Lectures at the Pointe Seraphine Hotel, where she told local businesses one of the Government’s first steps will be to “restructure the National Development Corporation (NDC) into an Investment Promotion Agency and consolidating into its mandate all support services required to facilitate both local and foreign direct investment,” so that it effectively functions as a single window or one-stop-shop for prospective investors. Secondly, she said, “Government will accelerate the work of the National Trade Facilitation Task force in addressing all administrative and regulatory hurdles identified in the World Bank Ease of doing Business Survey.” The third step, she continues is that “Government will implement the Electronic Business Registry (a project funded by the World Bank), which will allow new businesses to simultaneously register with all relevant agencies.” The Government’s fourth step, according to Ms. Hippolyte, will be: “Enacting E-Commerce legislation and developing

a Services Policy that will facilitate and encourage new modes of business and electronic transactions.” The fifth step will be: “Establishment of a Business Incubator in the very short term, to provide a structured and more supportive environment (both physically and virtually) for businesses that are at critical start-up and/or scale-up phases.” Step Number Six will be: “Revising the fiscal incentives and trade concessions that Government has provided to businesses in the past.” However, a more comprehensive statement was expected to be outlined in the 2012/2013 Budget on Governmentled initiatives to restore confidence in St. Lucia’s investment market. The six steps announced by Ms. Hippolyte came as part of the decisions that followed a joint approach to the improvement of the island’s Doing Business ratings by the Chamber and the Government, which established a Task Force to examine the problem and make recommendations. The Task Force was first to have reported on March 15th, but its work continued closer to the 2012 Budget Presentation.


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reputation in the electrical contracting field. J.H. Larcher's Electrics is a family business, managed by John Larcher and his son Kareem. Kareem Larcher will continue to build the name and reputation his father worked so hard to create. “We believe in maximizing the customer experience at every stage in business. Ensuring that all products meet and surpass industry standards enables us to always deliver the highest quality.

Thirty years ago Mr. John H. Larcher started his training as a junior electrician with a leading electrical company. He always had a passion for electrical work with a keen focus on safety and high quality. Ten years later, equipped with a vault of experience in all electrical applications and installations, Mr. Larcher registered his own electrical company and J.H Larcher’s Electrics was born. As it states in its mission statement, the company fosters an effective connection with all clients and provides a high level of satisfaction for all projects with a clear-cut commitment to safety. Since its establishment, J.H.Larcher’s Electrics Limited has continued growing, acquiring a large portfolio of completed jobs from the most complicated of industrial projects to the average house installation. With a high level of customer satisfaction J.H.Larcher’s Electrics has developed a respectable BusinessFocus

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Customer feedback is very important to us and therefore, we are in constant dialogue with our clients and suppliers in order to keep abreast with new industry standards, products and innovations. This practice has led to the company consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations. In doing so, we have developed a trusting relationship where clients can rest assured that the products they purchase from us are absolutely the best. On the construction field, our qualified and licensed electricians have a keen knowledge of the approved methods of installation and maintenance practices. Our commitment to safety has resulted in the company completing hundreds of projects without major incident. Our staff are encouraged to further their electrical education/training to ensure that they produce quality work in an effective and cost efficient manner. Having recognized a void in the market, J.H Larcher’s Electrics began the retail of high quality electrical equipment and fixtures in May of 2008. The company takes pride in the fact that our line of products that are the best value for money. In an ever-changing world J.H. Larcher’s Electrics has remained committed

to providing the latest and the most affordable electrical products to Saint Lucia. Our electrical sales outlet located in Corinth, Gros Islet, stocks everything for commercial, industrial or domestic use and we import new products every month. One of our most recent introductions has been the importation of LED lighting to the market. LEDs, which are known for greatly reducing energy consumption, have a significantly longer life and emit more light than the regular incandescent bulbs. J.H. Larcher’s Electrics has proven itself to be your effective connection and looks forward to continued growth for the company and the market within which it operates.


May / June




Soufriere Foundation Back on the Road – Again! Soufriere is best known for its Pitons and Sulphur Springs and as the island’s tourism capital. But one of the town’s least known but well acknowledged successes is the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF) - better known as the Soufriere Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit company established to promote, encourage, support, facilitate and coordinate local development initiatives in the Soufriere region, and in that respect has quite an interesting historical record. The original Soufriere Development Foundation (SDF) was formed in 1991, succeeding the Soufriere Development Programme (SDP) formed by Cabinet in 1986. Clem Bobb and Michael Gustave were appointed as its first Chairman and Deputy Chairman, respectively. The SDP was best known for its development of the Sulphur Springs Park and construction of the Soufriere jetties and waterfront. But it also developed an inventory of the community’s heritage assets and initiated an anti-harassment programme. Eventually, it metamorphosed into the business framework of the SRDF Ltd. in 1993. The new company comprised directors from the SDP, the Soufriere Town Council, the National Mothers and Fathers League, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, the St. Lucia National Trust and the St. Lucia Tourist Board. In 1996, ownership and management of the Sulphur Springs Park were transferred to the foundation through a 99-year agreement with the government. Today, the SulBusinessFocus

Mar / Apr



phur Springs Park and the Soufriere jetties are the foundation’s main income-earners. In 1997, the foundation broadened its reach even further, with a director each from the Fond St. Jacques Development Committee, the Soufriere Fishermen’s Cooperative Society and the Soufriere Taxi Association. For over a decade the foundation established its presence and in 2008, its articles were again changed, this time to allow the Prime Minister to appoint the full Board of Directors. At the beginning of 2012, well-known Soufriere resident and veteran Deputy Chairman, Michael Gustave, was appointed as the new SRDF Chairman. As the new Chairman of the Board, he says he has “mandated the board to at all times act within the framework of the law and be guided by the articles that govern the institution and the facts presented, and not by mere perception.” He insists that, “The board must be transparent and accountable and ensure that the community of Soufriere remains informed and participates in the development process.” According to Gustave, “Given the rapid rate at which the Global economic and environmental changes evolve, the foundation must be in a position to adapt accordingly and in a timely manner, with the forward thinking that may very well require them to think ‘outside the box,’ which may include, at times, an unconventional approach towards investment and problem solving.”

He thinks the board should be “proactive and results-driven and not seen to be reactive” because “the success of the organisation depends on the treatment of its human resource base and that of the wider community.” “Social development is of critical importance as the town develops. As a result, we will seek to foster partnerships with other social organisations that share a similar vision for the town and the region,” he says. Says Gustave, “We (at the foundation) are aware of the tasks we face at this time and we are ready, as ever, to face the challenges and grab the opportunities that will come with these challenges, to do what we have to in order to restore Soufriere to its original place of pride as our island’s historic first capital and today’s tourism capital.” As he spoke, a huge rock on a road above the town that was precariously perched and threatened an entire community had just been removed after the only road to the town from the West coast was closed for a weekend to facilitate the delicate operation. The bridge leading to the town was just rebuilt and about to reopen; and traffic to and from the West coast town had resumed in full. “We’re back on the road again – and that’s perhaps the best way I can describe my own humble, personal plan for the SRDF as Chairman: We’re back on the road – again!”


Mar / Apr




Car Care

Tips In this issue, we conclude our series of car care tips with a focus on fleet management. Over the past seven issues we have discussed several useful tips for the car owner focusing on a range of topics such as external care, internal care, engine care, tyres and batteries. All of these issues are pertinent to the fleet manager as well. However, the fleet manager has other specific concerns beyond that of the typical individual car owner.

Volume 8

volatile fuel prices. To quote an old cliché, be wary of being penny wise and pound foolish. For example, many fleet managers are unaware of the impact the type and brand of lubricant can have on a

due to maintenance problems. But just as importantly, a high paid business executive who has to forgo the use of an assigned company car suffers more than just an inconvenience – he/she may suffer

vehicle’s maintenance and operating costs and simply buy the cheapest lubricants available. But, not all lubricants are created equal. Using a high quality, extensively tested lubricant like Valvoline can help to maximise engine durability, extend oil change intervals and save fuel.

an invaluable loss of productivity that will impact on the overall business’ bottom-line.

The term ‘Fleet Management’ refers to the management of a company’s fleet of vehicles such as cars, vans, and trucks. Fleet management is particularly important for businesses with large number of vehicles such as distributors, car rental companies and any business that offers a delivery service. However any business that owns several vehicles, even if it is just a few corporate cars should be concerned about the issues of good fleet management. Good fleet management is important for several reasons. Firstly, vehicles are a significant investment for most businesses. Vehicle purchases represent a significant upfront capital outlay. For many businesses, vehicles may even be their largest fixed asset. It is important to protect and preserve the investment in this asset. With proper care and management, a business can minimize the risks to their vehicle asset, prolong the useful life of the asset and increase the resale value at the end of the useful life of that asset. Secondly, reoccurring operational and maintenance costs of vehicles are likely to be high line items of expenditure. Savings in these reoccurring costs should be a high priority for the fleet manager, particularly in these times of increasingly high and BusinessFocus

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Thirdly, the reliability of the fleet is critical to the ability of the business to deliver on an expectation to deliver a good service to its customers, as well as the ability of the staff to perform at an optimal level. Clearly, repeated downtime can impact on a business’s ability to make on-time deliveries. A car rental company may lose revenue if vehicles are unavailable

In conclusion, more focus on the function of fleet management can save company money, and help it to be more competitive. Given the size of most company fleets in St Lucia, having a dedicated fleet manager may not be practical. Nonetheless, fleet management is still an important function that should not be neglected and someone in the management team should be given specific responsibility for the fleet management function.


May / June




Security Lights An Inexpensive Deterrant in Crime Reduction T

By Brian Ramsey

he use of lighting for security is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to reduce burglaries and yet many persons do not use lighting as part of their protection against crime. Very often it is found that the individual says that the cost of the electricity is too high but that same individual rarely looks at the cost that they would incur if they had to replace stolen items, nor does that person look at the cost of the additional insurance premium that the insurance company will charge after they have been burgled. Security lighting is a deterrent to crime simply because burglars do not want to be seen committing their acts and so will avoid premises that are well lit. In addition to being a deterrent, appropriate lighting aids in reducing crime because it allows neighbors and passersby to see what is happening around a property and so quickly contact the police if actions have the appearance of a crime. Security lights also provide an added safety benefit to the homeowner who gets home late after dark. Your security lights will avoid you BusinessFocus

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having to be peering into the dark and so you get to your front door safely. The term security lighting causes many individuals to think that these are special lights that have to be installed by a specialist; however in most instances that is not the case. Instead security lighting has more to do with the placement of lights although there are some types of lighting arrangements that have a definite security purpose. Lights should be placed in any spots around the building that could provide a hiding place for burglars or prowlers. Lights mounted on either the corner or end of the building should be set in such a way that they illuminate dark areas behind shrubbery, screens, walls, trees, etc. Lights should always be mounted high enough so they cannot be unscrewed easily by a burglar. In addition lights mounted high on the end of a building provide a great amount of light for a wide area, thus reducing the amount of physical bulbs needed to illuminate an area. Here is a special tip: When lights are mounted high one does not need to use

high wattage bulbs because the light is cast over a large area. For most homeowners the purpose of the light is simply to see that there is someone in the area who is not authorized to be there. Usually one is not interested in identifying the person or taking photos of the person rather simply being able to tell that someone is there. Thus a homeowner can use 60 watt bulbs to illuminate a backyard. As a result of using lower wattage bulbs, but placed high, the homeowner consumes less electricity. Installing lights and then not using them does not make sense. This type of situation however can easily happen to a homeowner because they are not home to turn on the lights either because they worked late or have gone away on vacation. One way of dealing with this type of situation is through the use of photocells, which automatically turn on the lights whenever it is dark. Most persons in the Caribbean are familiar with photocells for lights however may associate them with large spotlights. Many individuals do not realize that there are also photocells for regular small household lights. Thus you can use

a photocell even when you are using an ordinary light to shine on your backyard. One of the key points about using photocells is that they have to be in the open. If the photocell is up under an eave then the immediate area around the cell remains dark even after the sun has risen and so the light stays on longer than intended. The individual therefore who is using ordinary lights with photocells for protection, needs to ensure that the light is on the edge of the eave. An added advantage of using photocells is that they cause the light to switch off when it is daylight thus avoiding the sign that no one is at home because exterior lights are on when it is daylight. Another method of turning lights on and off when no one is in the premises is to use timers attached to the lights. The timers can be set to turn the external lights on and off at any time period(s) that you desire, so that the lights come on without someone having to be in the building. Timers also have the advantage that they can be used for activating and turning off lights in any rooms in the premises. Experienced burglars can discern houses that are not occupied even though external lights are on. Timers can therefore be used to simulate the natural light activity in a house even though the house is empty. By setting the timer(s) to have lights in one room inside the house come on at set times and then go off after a specific interval and then have lights in another room inside the house come on at another time and then go off after a specific interval it gives the impression that people are at home and then going to sleep. Yet another method of providing security lighting to a building is through the use of Passive Infra-Red (PIR) beams. These beams detect the heat of moving objects such as a person walking in the yard or a vehicle entering a driveway and then cause the light to come on. Use of lights with PIR detectors is especially useful for the individual who is very concerned about the cost of electricity because the PIR causes the light to only come on when there is movement in the area of the light. Lights with built-in PIR detectors can be purchased as a complete unit or a standalone detector can be fitted to a number of lights surrounding the property. If one seeks to install a PIR to control several lights the detector should be mounted at least 7 feet above the ground to avoid it being tampered with. When purchasing lights with PIR detectors you should look for lights with a manual override facility which would allow you to switch on the light when you want a constant light source. A variation of the beam controlled lighting is known as HiLo Lighting which combines the advantages of both PIR and Dusk to Dawn lighting. It switches on automatically to a low level of brightness when natural light dims at dusk and remains on until dawn. When it senses movement or body heat within its detection range, it switches to full brightness for a period of time that the owner can pre-determine. It can therefore be seen that security lights can be effectively used as part of the deterrents against crime, and with foresight and planning are actually an inexpensive deterrent.

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About the Author Brian Ramsey has a B.A. in Accounting & Management, along with an M.B.A. in Finance and over 25 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Limited which is the parent company of Alternative Security Services St. Lucia Limited. Amalgamated Security operates in Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

P.O. Box 363, San Souci Round About, Castries Tel: (758) 452.4151 Fax: (758) 452.1651 E: St. Vincent Tel: (784) 457.0100 Clarke Street, Vieux Fort Tel: (758) 454.5013 BusinessFocus

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Leadership Management International LMI St. Lucia Launched Leadership Management International, Inc., a USA based performance improvement company specialising in assessments, personal leadership, and organisational development announced the official launching of their local office here in St. Lucia on February 6, 2011 headed by Mrs. Marcelline Chitolie.

Mr. Lucien Naarden & Mrs. Marcelline Chitolie at the Launch LMI, St. Lucia, specialises in people development – primarily in the executive, managerial and supervisory areas. LMI serves its clients through in-house training programs, where they work with groups of employees, on company premises, towards achieving company goals. LMI has an outstanding record of accomplishment in helping their clients achieve measurable results towards their goals. Their training programs have been offered in over 80 countries worldwide; it is translated in 20 languages and has positively impacted millions of people, including the Caribbean. The event’s guest speaker was Mr. Lucien Naarden of Suriname. Since 2001, Mr. Naarden has served as the Master Licensee for Leadership Management International (LMI) in the Caribbean. In addition to being the certified LMI representative in St. Lucia, Mrs. Chitolie, a Management Consultant, brings a wealth of experience, business knowledge and education in the areas of business plan preparation, business management, business etiquette and protocol training and Human Resource Management. Mrs. Chitolie is a graduate of the University of Leicester in the UK with a Master Degree in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies and Etiquette & Protocol Training in the USA. She has worked for thirty years in the public sector as a regional officer and for the past five years as Management Consultant for the firm TMAC (Tax, Management and Accounting Consultants). Her experience in both the public and private sector gives her a unique perspective on human resource and business management. Mrs. Chitolie, stated that LMI St. Lucia’s goal is to train local companies to maximize their profit margins, while efficiently utilizing and managing their staff to achieve their full potential. She is excited about the LMI programs because it is the first time BusinessFocus

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such training is offered in St. Lucia and the OECS countries. It is long-term training and participants are awarded certificates on completion. An executive showcase was held in mid-February for CEO’s, business owners and Human Resource Officers and another will begin in April, 2012. The executive showcase serves five main purposes: 1. It provides an opportunity for the Executive Decision Maker to see first-hand how the LMI process works, to determine how their organisation will benefit, and to determine their potential return on investment. 2. The showcase will help the Economic Decision Maker identify current challenges and set very specific smart goals both for themselves and the organisation to accomplish. 3. The EDM decides who else in the organisation should be involved in the following in-house programs. 4. The Effective Personal Productivity Program (EPP). 5. My-Tyme Calendar/Commitment System. (Time Management Training). The LMI Programs are delivered through facilitation, not through teaching or lecturing. Teaching and lecturing merely delivers information and very little of that information is retained for any length of time. An LMI facilitated program delivers the transformation of individuals by modifying attitudes and behaviours. Simply stated: “Information without application is merely entertainment”.

List of programs: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Effective Personal Productivity Effective Personal Leadership Effective Personal Leadership Effective Communication Effective Selling Strategies Effective Supervisory Management Effective Management Development Effective Motivational Management Effective Team Dynamics Leadership for Women Effective Strategic Leadership Effective Leadership Development

For more information visit the website at or email; “LIKE” on Facebook at Marcelline Chitolie, or call 458-4322.

Satisfying Customers

A Satisfied Customer is the Best Business Strategy of All

By Betty Combie


recently got a call from a client requesting Customer Service training. I suggested an alternative training programme entitled: Customer Satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction training was developed taking into consideration what it is customers dislike. For example, customers dislike: • Poor quality products/services • Being overcharged • Rude or indifferent service • Long queues • Lengthy time periods to address complaints • Insufficient and inaccurate information • Their documents or other belongings getting lost or misplaced • The release of personal information without their permission • Being made to feel inferior to other customers The training stresses the importance of the customer, and the environment in which that customer exists. It arms participants

with the tools to produce quality products/ services as well as to deliver it in a manner that is satisfying to the customer. It further emphasizes the need for employees to appreciate and communicate the value being offered to customers. So whereas Customer Service training focuses mainly on the manner in which the product/service is delivered; Customer Satisfaction focuses on this, as well as the other factors contributing to satisfying the customer. Returning to the client, my suggestion was accepted; and I conducted the training in Customer Satisfaction. The feedback from the training participants when responding to the question “How can you apply this training to your work?” included: • Documenting procedures so that staff can be more competent when dealing with customers; • Being more knowledgeable of the importance of the customer - both internal and external; • Using suggestions from clients;

recommending recording all complaints and encouraging team efforts; • Better deal with difficult customers and avoid promising customers delivery of tasks that cannot be fulfilled or that are not part of the company policy; • First identifying the customer complaint and then dealing with it in an appropriate manner; • Being proactive as it relates to customer satisfaction. In this environment of increasing competition, satisfying customers requires a much more thorough approach than just training in Customer Service.

About the Author: Betty Combie is a Process and System Management Consultant. She offers services in training and auditing, and assistance in process/system improvements.

“National Development Through Local Expertise” The National Insurance Property Development and Management Company Ltd.

P.O. Box CP 5484, 5th Floor, Francis Compton Bldg. Waterfront, Castries, St. Lucia, W.I Phone: 758-451-5100, 451-6763 Fax: (758) 458-1334 Website: BusinessFocus

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Importance of Corporate Governance to Small Businesses

nder the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2010 which came into effect in July 2011, both active bribery and passive bribery (that is “failure to prevent” bribery and corrupt practices within the organisation and by third parties) can lead to unlimited fines, prison sentences and a debarment from government business. This piece of legislation has a huge impact not only on British businesses, but also on organisations and industries around the world. The Bribery Act introduces extensive reforms to laws against foreign bribery, with implications for Caribbean companies operating in the UK, or those that are partners or contracted by British multinationals. For the Caribbean contractor, this legislation precipitates a review of the local company’s current anti-bribery compliance programme and risk assessments. The Bribery Act speaks to an integral part of a corporate governance framework. Corporate governance is a control mechanism put in place to promote transparency, accountability and ethical behaviour in businesses. Ultimately, a corporate governance framework helps a business to be sustainable, establishes closer relationships with its stakeholders, and importantly, prevents investment scandals and minimises the risk of fraud. While many associate corporate governance with larger publicly listed companies, a corporate governance framework also applies to firms with traditional forms of ownership (eg, a sole trader, partnerships or limited liability partnerships). Corporate governance does not discriminate against company size. As such, adhering to corporate governance principles is as important for a large producer of natural gas as it is for the owner of a food restaurant, a welding shop or even a general contractor. There are key elements of any good corporate governance framework. As a starting point, a small business owner should have a well documented system of the company’s policies, procedures and processes. They are all simple to write and implement and add structure to what the BusinessFocus

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business is already doing. A company’s policy defines the company’s position on various issues and provides guidelines. It sets out rules for issues such as internet usage, drugs in the workplace, etc. The business’ procedures involve a step-bystep guide to achieve some outcome (eg, procedure for operating heavy equipment or for requesting vacation), while the processes are systems for achieving an outcome. A documented system ensures that the small business is run smoothly long into the future. It helps to train new staff, gives employees a clear sense of how to operate in the business and it ensures that the business does not solely depend on the owner, among other things. As part of its corporate governance framework, a small business will also need to define and regularly update its risk management policy. Essentially, this policy identifies and addresses the positive and negative risks associated with business operations or activities. It helps the business adapt to abrupt changes, take advantage of opportunities and mitigate against threats. How would your company be affected and respond to a fall in the rate of interest, a hike in the price of key inputs, a significant increase in customer demand or even losing customers? A well-defined risk management policy will provide the right answers on demand. In addition, a corporate governance framework also involves documenting the

company’s business strategy. It provides direction for the small business over a period time (eg. 3 - 5 years). It defines the goals of the business and maps out how they will be achieved. More than this, a business strategy spells out the company’s vision, provides a strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, and outlines the company’s resources, business initiatives and situation analysis (eg. an assessment of the performance of competitors). At any point in time, a quick review of the business strategy will inform the reader of the current position and direction of the company. It allows the small business to identify loopholes, reconfigure its resources, meet its stakeholder expectations and help the business perform better than its competitors. Clearly, these benefits of a business strategy apply to small businesses. A transparent performance reporting system forms part of a corporate governance framework and is extremely important for a small business. It allows for checks and balances of the financials of the business and allows for comparisons of the company’s financial position with previous budgets. These reports can be as regular as weekly or annually. In addition to providing the metrics of the company, good performance reporting includes other aspects such as the company’s production output, the rate of

turnover of inventory and staff, the number of injury free work days and the number of new customers. Good performance reporting is essential because in many instances, the tendering process requires applicants to provide annual reports as a means of assessing the company’s performance and to ensure that its performance is based on ethical decisions. When applying for capital, financial institutions also require companies to submit performance reports. At the same time, company reports act as a form of marketing for a small business by informing key stakeholders about company performance. To sum it up, adhering to corporate governance principles provides useful checks and balances for small businesses; it helps to secure contracts; it is a tool against fraud and corruption; it allows for quality control and reduces the risk of losing money; it improves efficiency and promotes sustainability in business operations as the company size increases. Developing a corporate governance framework is a simple task which can be undertaken by the business owner, or a group of advisers or consultants. In the interest of promoting transparency and efficiency, a wise business owner will ensure that the framework is well communicated and well understood by all employees and other relevant stakeholders. Courtesy: Energy Chamber – Trinidad & Tobago

“We Service What We Sell” P. O. Box RB 2484, Massade Gros Islet Highway, Saint. Lucia, West Indies Store Tel: (758) 452 0763 Office Tel: (758) 452 9914 Fax: (758) 452 9915 Service Dept. Cell: (758) 486 3876 Wholesale Dept. Cell: (758) 487 3876 email:


May / June




‘At Risk’ Youth Being Prepared for World of Work Over 200 young St. Lucians considered “most at risk” turned a new chapter earlier this year, when they graduated from the Caribbean Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP) with a certificate – recognized by the University of the West Indies (UWI) – in life skills and technical training. The CYEP project is a youth training initiative that provides an opportunity for a distinct group of St. Lucia’s population – underemployed, unemployed and at-risk youth, aged 17 to 25 – to change their lives for the better. Normally written-off by the rest of the population after running afoul of the law or the justice system, many young persons with potential to do better – if given a second chance – are denied employment and otherwise prevented or deprived of engaging in positive community activities. This venture, undertaken by the NSDC along with supporting organisations, held a unique and powerful difference that no project has accomplished before it: the start of a probation and parole pilot program supporting (current and former) Bordelais Correctional Facility inmates and targeting other crime-diverting agencies such as Upton Gardens Girls Centre and the Boys Training Centre at Massade. “The Caribbean Youth Empowerment Program is a compelling initiative because it gives us the ability to change young persons who were considered lost causes, with holistic education, both in developing positive mind-sets and attitudes as well as an employable skill that could support them in the economic marketplace,” explained John Victorin, the NSDC project coordinator. The project was first envisioned by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) which, with funding through USAID, brought the CYEP to Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Jamaica. But the organisers soon found out that St. Lucia could benefit equally. BusinessFocus

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To ensure it was successful, IYF was able to identify three organisations with the capacity necessary to effect real change in the project’s young participants: The NSDC, the Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (C.A.R.E) and RISE St. Lucia Inc. These three organisations formed a symbiotic ‘Consortium’ team that led to notable achievements in the first phase of the Caribbean Youth Empowerment Program and led to discussions for an 18-month extension and expansion of the project with new organisations, BELfund and the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, entering the picture and signing-up to the agreement. The graduation ceremony was held at the Gros Islet Secondary School and included a keynote address by a major NSDC private sector partner, Rayneau Gajadhar, the CEO of Construction and Industrial Equipment (CIE) Limited, whose company was the first locally to agree to hire graduates from the NSDC program. Local companies have been reluctant to employ or commit to give jobs to former offenders. However, those promoting the program refer to the experience of the UK, where Government Ministers say giving prisoners help to get into work will cut reoffending. London recently announced that companies will be given £5,600 each time they get an ex-prisoner into work and keep them on for more than two years. Ministers are promising that those who are released from jails in England, Scotland and Wales and move on to jobseeker's allowance will be placed straight on to the Work Programme. They say this will provide specialist help to make them more employable and reduce reoffending. Like in St. Lucia, British ex-inmates have high unemployment rates. Under the British government's plans, benefit claims will be processed

while prisoners are in jail so they will immediately join the Work Programme – designed for the long-term unemployed or those deemed most at-risk of becoming so – if they claim jobseeker's allowance when released. Firms will be able to start providing support and guidance about employment opportunities towards the end of inmates' sentences. UK Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, says, "Getting former offenders into work is absolutely crucial to tackling our crime challenge. The rate of reoffending in Britain is far too high and we have to reduce it. In the past we just sent people out onto the same streets where they offended in the first place with virtually no money and very little support. We're now working to change that." Official figures for England and Wales showed that half of ex-offenders were on out-of-work benefits two years after being released from prison in 2008. Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt said: "Getting ex-prisoners into work at the earliest opportunity will help them stop reoffending. Referring offenders to the Work Programme straight from custody will ensure that they get help and support to find work as they leave custody, when they are currently most likely to start reoffending." Meanwhile, a report warned that prison overcrowding in the UK – like in St. Lucia – is undermining the rehabilitation of criminals and risks increasing reoffending. The Criminal Justice Alliance, which represents 64 organisations across the UK, called for the government to urgently limit "the unnecessary use of prison", ensuring it was reserved for "serious, persistent and violent offenders for whom no alternative sanction is appropriate." The warning came after Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said the rising pressure on prisons from budget cuts and increasing numbers could not go on indefinitely. The prison population in England and Wales hit 87,787 in March down slightly on the all-time high of 88,179 set last December. The St. Lucia project coordinators say it’s too early to make an overall assessment of the project’s success, but are still appealing to local employers to break with the traditional mistrust of young persons who ran afoul of the law and give them a second chance to change their lives.

Top 5 "Must Dos"

To Survive Challenging Economic Times By Keitha Glace

Most conversations these days start off with the usual, “How are you doing?” Closely followed by this other common question, especially between business owners – “How is business?” This is where the variances in responses lie. I used to find myself cringe inside [the description of the emotion being one with eyes closed, forehead creased in anticipation almost expecting a physical slap in the face] since 98% of the responses were not positive, but courtesy demanded that you ask. – “Weeeeell …– [the word is drawn out in a build-up to the hard hitting words] – … Keitha, NOT so good!” Being in business these days is really a matter of survival of the fittest. After observing the local market (market being defined as the Caribbean region as a whole as opposed to one single island) with a projection from the past, to present to possible future, business owners must look at what they can do during lean times and maybe leaner times even before they hit. Here is a simple list that I have used in my personal and business life which has served me well. I am by no means an economist, but just use common sense in seeing where one can still provide value to customers without literally selling the clothes on your back: 1. Review all your products and services that you currently offer and identify your top sellers based on your customers’ buying trends. Develop strategies to maintain or increase volumes on these items or services.

2. Keep your prices attractive and affordable to consumers – if they can’t afford it – they just won’t buy it. If you provide “must have” services and goods – they will come! 3. Lower your overhead cost – Think about outsourcing and consolidating some of your business processes, leaving more money for these non-variable expenses. Brainstorm, and if you can, share support resources with another business owner. Learn what services they use and what is working for them. Together you can help cut costs when you team up. 4. Plan ahead – 3 months to 6 months in advance. Know the Season of Business in your area. No more last minute mad dash to try and put together products and advertising strategies only when you realize that you are in the midst of the lean season. You have already missed your chance. Put certain things in place to bolster you when the lean times set in. BE PREPARED! 5. Last but not least - Never stop Marketing and Advertising. How else are the consumers you are trying to reach going to know about your great deals and offers? Ensure that you identify where your

target audience can be reached. If serving the local market, understand where you can be more visible – be it radio, TV, newspapers, magazines or online. Find the channel that will give you the most “BYB” - Bang for Your Buck and shop around for the best deal. Competition is healthy. So next time you meet one of your business colleagues and the above referenced opening line is posed - don’t cringe but smile in anticipation of what you can now share with them that may change the answer to that question to be instead – “Weeeeeeell Keitha, business is great!” About the Author Keitha Glace is the owner and Managing Director of and the St. Lucia Business Directory – Slooogle. com. She has been providing advertising and marketing services, specializing in online products and solutions for clients worldwide since 1998.


May / June




The Employers' Role in

Employee Work Ethics

Solving the problem of a poor work ethic in a nation's labour force can be a responsibility that is shared by several parties, the most important of which are the government, via our education system; and the private sector, via the work of executives in positions of management and ownership. The perfect employee arrives to work already imbued with a respect for the intrinsic value of work and an acceptance of responsibility for its proper completion. Outside of this ideal, however, is the reality that businesses should act under the assumption that its employees require motivation to perform at a high-level, rather than relying on an individual's personal standards. In addition, businesses should acknowledge the existence of a poor employer work ethic. Recognition of this enables an un-blinkered view of what a company can do to ensure it provides an environment which can sustain a good work ethic amongst its employees.

The elements which comprise a good work ethic are also requirements for the achievement of good performance but it must be noted that poor performance by an individual could be caused by reasons other than just a poor work ethic. Therefore, companies must ensure that a ‘poor work ethic’ is not being used as shorthand, or as the default reason, for ‘poor performance’. The former has personal responsibility connotations while the latter demands a wider analysis which looks to the roots of the problem which may or may not lie solely with the employee.

The causes of poor performance: Apart from poor work ethics and the existence of macroeconomic vagaries more powerful than either the employee or the institution, substandard employee performance can be caused by, amongst many other things, an employee who is ill-suited to a particular role, has not received sufficient on-the-job training, is embroiled in a contentious employee-supervisor relationship, or is otherwise dissatisfied with the job. The reasons behind poor performance could be as many as the actual number of employees within a company. One way in which to learn more about the members of a labour force is to ask questions of them. Whether done by survey or orally, companies should encourage employee feedback. This has a direct link to an employee's sense of belonging and empowerment within an organisation, which in turn positively affects employee output. The performance appraisal is a vehicle already existing in many organisations, which may be tweaked to encourage detailed feedback from employees on their motivations. Perhaps the employee who management assumed was driven by performance-based bonuses would gain greater satisfaction from being granted flexible working hours; or the employee who it was assumed wanted a job which provided the opportunity for promotion, in reality, preferred a role which provided the opportunity for lateral moves throughout the company and the development of new skills.

What is a work ethic? An ethic is a set of principles of right conduct. A work ethic then, is an extension of this conduct or behaviour, to the workplace. It may run the gamut from ethical and moral behaviour, to effective interpersonal relationships with clients and colleagues, to what is viewed as professionalism. Generally, however, all businesses share common overall criteria for defining what constitutes a ‘good’ or ‘poor’ work ethic. BusinessFocus

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Another cause of poor employee performance lies in the failure of the employer to abide by a proper set of its own work ethics. The perfect employee has already been described, but what of the perfect employer? This would be an individual or institution which provides a safe work environment; treats employees with dignity and respect; operates the business with integrity; and provides fair wages. However, once again if you were to step outside of such a utopia, business executives must acknowledge that there is ample evidence of employers who have been found guilty of improper practices, engage in unprofessional and unethical business conduct at the top echelons of management, and base wage levels primarily on what they can "get away with".

When a poor work ethic is, in fact, the problem: Regardless of the above, it is undeniable that there are many employees in today's workforce who enter an organisation lacking an individual sense of responsibility and self-discipline, while saddled with under-developed social skills and low self-esteem. Faced with such an individual, the employer must initially shore up its first line of defence, which is its written guidelines and expectations for the operation of the company – and by extension the behaviour of its staff. Timely training of new employees and continuous retraining of current staff is essential to enforcing these written guidelines. An employee who receives a well-written manual, explicit on several details, including the office dress code, will not wear a jacket and tie for long, if seated next to a colleague whose uniform appears to be a polo shirt. Therefore, adherence to all aspects of a company's workplace guidelines must be upheld by everyone. Supervisors or those who seem to be exempt from the rules create dissension in the ranks and make the process of attaining a good work ethic amongst everyone, even more difficult.

The role of education: We've defined the perfect employee and the perfect employer. In a perfect world, the nation's education system would have seen to the development in its young citizens of not just the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and the thinking skills of reasoning, decision-making and problem-solving, but also the personal qualities and 'employability' skills of self-management, pride in work, personal image, interpersonal skills and integrity. This last set of 'employability' skills and behaviours can be integrated into a school curriculum by the choice of subjects on offer, the manner in which they are taught, through the fervent promotion of extra-curricular but still school-based activities such as student councils and entrepreneurial business groups, and the encouragement of volunteerism in the student body. Once this is done, and these students grow into young adults having had the benefit of a more holistic education, we should expect a cadre of business executives pleased at the outset, with the productive nature of their work force which would produce a more friendly business environment.

Canadian Project to


Caribbean Entrepreneurship A recently concluded one-month economic development project undertaken by a Canadian-based group in Guyana could provide assistance to other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, say organisers. The initiative by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) began in March and concluded in April. The project was facilitated in partnership with stakeholders at the local government level, the aim of which was to support expansion of entrepreneurship endeavours by small producers and manufacturers. The project had already been discussed with government officials, including President Donald Ramotar, who met with the FCM International Director, Sebastien Hamel, and Project Director, Naresh Singh. The new project targets communities across the country, including the hinterland and coastland areas, with intensive investment on the ground for the first three years and a model to be shared with CARICOM. Hamel said that FCM International has 100 years experience in the field of collaboration with municipalities in various countries, adding that the project has been endorsed by Guyana. He said he regarded this as another step towards closer sustainable relationship between Guyana and Canada. Minister in the Ministry of Local Government Norman Whittaker said that the new project would serve to provide the kind of guidance that is needed in the full utilisation of the country’s resources. He said Guyana has tremendous resources but what is needed is some building of capacity, guidance on choices of how to use the resources to help create jobs and provide more earnings for people.


May / June




Media Association of St. Lucia Launched Members Elect New Executive

Standing L-R: Glen Simon, Richmond Felix, Wesley Gibbings, Clinton Reynolds and Jerry George. Sitting L-R: Alisha Ally, Maria Fontenelleand Delia Dolor.

Media workers have been enjoined to maintain momentum moving forward, following the election of an executive for the new Media Association of Saint Lucia (MASL). The elections on Sunday February 12, 2012, saw the establishment of a new representative body for media workers after an almost year-long preparatory process. The first executive of MASL comprises Clinton Reynolds - President, Delia Dolor Vice President, Richmond Felix - Secretary, Glen Simon - Treasurer, Maria Fontenelle - Communications Officer and floor members Jerry George and Alisha Ally. In his first address as MASL president,

Reynolds told media workers it was time to get down to business, saying, "For too long we have gone without a united voice on issues that affect us and our profession... We want to ensure we put the necessary safeguards in place to protect officers from the temptations that lurk." Reynolds told those gathered to reestablish an association after several years, "We must retake our privileged positions as the fourth estate in this country; we must let our voices be heard on matters that affect us and our society." President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), Wesley Gibbings was in attendance in a show of support from the regional body. He reminded his Saint Lucian

colleagues that, "Each one of us here has a responsibility to keep this thing going to get it viable... Don't take your eyes off the ball, remember what this is all about." Jerry George, the ACM Saint Lucia rep, warned that many undiscovered landmines lurked on the landscape. "We have the Freedom of Information Act, we have the Broadcasting Act, we have social media issues, all these things impact on how we do our work and we now have to set the stage to ensure that the future is secured for media in Saint Lucia." Reynolds indicated that the first order of business for the MASL executive would be establishing committees to address training and professional development, membership, social wellbeing and physical health among other issues. Courtesy visits to the Prime Minister and Minister for Information and Broadcasting are also a priority. Gibbings promised tangible support from the ACM in the form of the services of a media trainer. He also extended to the executive an invitation to the sixty-third annual congress of the International Press Institute (IPI), which will be held in the Caribbean for the first time in June 2012. The new executive will serve for two years. Media Workers in Attendance


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The Business of Manufacturing


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Foreword Paula Calderon, President - SMA Ministry of Commerce and several other government ministries on a variety of issues which impact as well promote and enhance the integrity and ideals of the manufacturing sector in St Lucia. Some key issues primarily emanating from the CARICOM Treaty and the Articles dealing in particular with industry and its safeguard - in particular the Article 164, the Review of the Fiscal Incentives Act, have been some of the major areas of the Executive’s preoccupation. The establishment of the Trade Export Promotion Agency is another critically important milestone that has dominated the concerns of the association.

The St. Lucia Manufacturers Association is proud to have instituted the recently concluded SMA Quality Awards for its membership. We congratulate all those who participated and received awards and thank all those who enabled its resounding success. On behalf of the Membership and its Executive, I take this opportunity to thank the many sponsors including Diamond Sponsor - East Caribbean Financial Holdings, Platinum Sponsor - Baron Foods Ltd, Gold Sponsors - St. Lucia Distillers Ltd, Windward & Leeward Brewery, North American Assemblies, St. Lucia Electricity Services, Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Ltd, Digicel, St. Lucia Air & Sea Ports Authority, Consolidated Foods Ltd, Collaborating Sponsors - Harris Paints, St.Lucia Development Bank, Bay Gardens Hotel and Wilrock Ltd. Special words of thanks are commended to the East Caribbean Financial Holdings Ltd. for vesting their faith in our association and the dedication to our Quality Awards Programme, and all those who worked hard to make this a success story. The association, over the past ten years, has been working closely with the BusinessFocus

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The progress the association has made has been painstakingly slow. However, it is the hope that we continue to encourage the culture of positive change in our Membership in readily making available data on the businesses if not the respective sectors to engender proper planning for further development of manufacturing in St Lucia. At the same time, all other key stakeholders also need to step up their operations to make that quantum leap; whether it be in the public sector, or the improvement in outreach institutionally - by both the private and public sectors at this stage - that is also critical to the responsiveness of the national and global challenges ahead. The institutional arrangements in particular, in the OECS and CARICOM Secretariats, must always seek to promote and seek to guarantee the interests of the industry at all times, and to enhance the role of the private sector at the respective national and regional levels. In this regard, and in an effort to carry out its mandate to assist the manufacturers to survive in the present down turn in the economy, the primary goal of the association is to establish its own Secretariat. This Secretariat is expected to relate more purposefully and directly with the institutions that impact on the

operations of our membership. As part of a secondary goal of the association, it shall focus and will implement a strategy that will embrace the efforts of its membership to seek export markets for its products. We believe there is a bright hope for the manufacturing sector if we continue to steer our membership to seek new markets for its products. An outward orientation is critical to its growth and the development of manufacturing in St Lucia while we continue to enhance our competitiveness within our national and regional shores. It is for this reason, we embark on a path to seek to identify and tap into all forms of resources for our membership to improve the resourcefulness to export and to ascertain the type of manufacturing necessary for St. Lucia. In passing on the baton of leadership, as I come to the end of my tenure as President of the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association, it is my wish that our association will move from strength to strength, and that our small economy will survive the many national and global challenges as we attempt to create a “better” St. Lucia for our people. Paula A. Calderon, SLPM, J.P. President

P. O. Box MF7177, Castries, St. Lucia, Tel: 457-7462/6 Fax 453 1882 email: SLUMANUFAC@CANDW.LC Website:

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May / June



A Platform for

Innovation and a Key for Business Sustainability

Former Standards Bureau chief advises manufacturers on importance of quality to the very survival of their businesses Now that they’ve adopted their own measurements for success, local manufacturers are well placed to allow quality and standards to play a much greater role in keeping their businesses alive. That’s the view of Dr. Allison Plummer, a young manufacturer who is well placed to assess the sector from several vantage points. A former Executive Director of the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards, a local manufacturer and Second Vice President of the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) at the time of the recent SMA Quality Awards ceremony held at Sandals Halcyon, Dr. Plummer was also Chairperson of the Quality Awards Committee for the SMA. She is also a former Independent senator in the St. Lucia parliament. Now, Dr. Plummer is Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, which allowed her to look back at the recent awards with a different perspective – and to look forward from an even more different vantage point. “The basic principle in business, including manufacturing,” she explained up front, “is that the customer is always king and all the quality and standards we may adopt centre around the fact that they will only buy what they need. So, quality is important.” The first task of the manufacturer (or other business person), she explained, “is to be able to understand that quality and standards can be generic or systemic. “But now that standards and quality measurements and processes are more easily available to all,” she explains, “it is important for businesses to decide, from the very outset, which set of standards they want to adopt and comply with.” BusinessFocus

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She adds, “The choice would be to ensure one chooses an appropriate set of standards locally, but more importantly is to be able to know and meet the standards in the country or destination to which the goods will be exported.” Dr. Plummer urged local manufacturers, “big, medium and small, new and old” to set out to implement standards and quality measurements at every level of their operations. “They don’t have to re-invent the wheel,” she explained, “as there are several categories of standards – local, regional and international – that they can assess and select from, according to their products and their export markets.” “If companies can find local standards they can trust and have confidence in,” she added, “that can very well assist in the transacting of trade.” Dr. Plummer warned that, “Standards can be misused by operatives who don’t understand that they are designed to allow for flexibility in the market.” But, she added, “If properly applied, standards can be the most powerful tool for sustainability.” “Standards are a platform for innovation and they are the keys for business sustainability and for consistency in meeting people’s needs,” said the former SLBS chief. She urged to manufacturers, “Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on the awards and not on the system that generates them.” According to Dr. Plummer, “What is as important as the awards – and maybe even more – is what happens between the awards, which will only come every two years. “We are not implementing the standards for awards, but for improvement of the product and the survival of the business itself.” “In other words,” she concluded, “it’s not just about the awards, but about ensuring that the system of standards and quality assessment is continuous and ensuring they are so engrained in the business’ system that they are applied every day.”

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May / June



How Local Manufacturers Upped Their Own Ante to Add Value and Boost Business The St. Lucia Bureau of Standards is the local standard-bearer for standards in the interest of both producers and consumers

 This year is important for the creation of a culture of quality in the region – and local manufacturers have responded, in the most glittering way, to the call to show slate. The local entity responsible for promoting standards, the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) has been pushing ahead with its own agenda for ensuring appreciation of and conduct by measurement of quality standards, in the interest of both producers and consumers, as well as to protect consumers against negative effects of goods of low quality standards. But perhaps the biggest tribute to the Bureau’s role in promoting the importance of standards to improve quality and value was the manufacturers’ quality awards ceremony hosted by the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) as part of the island’s 33rd Independence celebrations. Under the pressure of increased competition and decreased production due to lower sales and facing all the additional nuances (if not vicissitudes) of international, regional and intra-regional trade, local manufacturers – big, medium BusinessFocus

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and small – have been sounding alarm bells and issuing warnings about threats to their very survival. Like everywhere else in the OECS, the St. Lucia manufacturing sector feels that not enough is being done by government to specifically and particularly protect them against larger CARICOM businesses and manufacturing conglomerates, as well as by increasing threats from European businesses now able to compete with Caribbean businesses on “a level playing field” in the region under the European partnership agreement. There continues to be wide distances between what OECS manufacturers expect governments to do for them and what governments are doing in the wider national or private sector interest. But instead of waiting for the elusive day when public and private sectors will be at one on how best to keep factories open and production lines moving, the SMA decided to take the next best step: to do for themselves what no one else will do for them. In the case of St. Lucia, the SLMA enlisted the support of the SLBS and other entities interested in improving standards (including the Chamber of Commerce and other private and public entities) and together they developed an assessment mechanism to ensure the best quality standards possible. They consulted local manufacturers over a lengthy period and eventually arrived at a set of measurement standards that did not allow producers to nominate themselves but to be judged on the basis of the criteria agreed to after

consultation. Having set about their rules and regulations and criteria for judging, the SMA was able to host the inaugural ceremony where the winners were announced and awarded – both by the SLMA and by the government. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Commerce were present to bear witness to the local manufacturers upping their own ante and adding value to their products. There’s no doubting that both the Prime Minister (and Minister of Finance and Economic Development) and the Commerce Minister would have walked away impressed by what they saw, which should go some way in helping them define or redefine, better appreciate or understand the level of preparedness of the local manufacturing sector to rise to the challenges at hand. But the consistent work of the SLBS over the years would have had some bearing on the local manufacturers’ eventual decision to engage in their commendable qualitative value-added activity, which will become a biennial affair. The role of quality in improving standards is, undoubtedly, increasingly being better understood by manufacturers and consumers alike; and the recent standards measurement mechanism adopted by the SMA and the local manufacturers may very well serve as a model for consideration by its OECS counterparts.

This year is important for the creation together they developed an assessment of a culture of quality in the region – and mechanism to ensure the best quality local manufacturers have responded, in standards possible. They consulted local the most glittering way, to the call to show manufacturers over a lengthy period and slate. eventually arrived at a set of measurement The local entity responsible for standards that did not allow producers to promoting standards, the St. Lucia nominate themselves but to be judged on Bureau of Standards (SLBS) has been the basis of the criteria agreed to after pushing ahead with its own a genda for consultation. ensuring appreciation of and conduct by Having set about their rules measurement of quality standards, in the and regulations and criteria for judging, interest of both producers and consumers, the SMA was able to host the inaugural as well as to protect consumers against ceremony where the winners were negative effects of goods of low quality announced and awarded – both by the standards. SLMA and by the government. The Prime But perhaps the biggest tribute to Minister and the Minister of Commerce the Bureau’s role in promoting the were present to bear witness to the local importance of standards to improve manufacturers upping their own ante and quality and value was the manufacturers’ adding value to their products. quality awards ceremony hosted by the St. There’s no doubting that both the Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) Prime Minister (and Minister of Finance as part of the island’s 33rd Independence and Economic Development) and the celebrations. Commerce Minister would have walked Under the pressure of increased away impressed by what they saw, which competition and decreased production should go some way in helping them due to lower sales and facing all the define or redefine, better appreciate or additional nuances (if not vicissitudes) of understand the level of preparedness of international, regional and intra-regional the local manufacturing sector to rise to trade, local manufacturers – big, medium the challenges at hand. and small – have been sounding alarm But the consistent work of the bells and issuing warnings about threats SLBS over the years would have had to their very survival. some bearing on the local manufacturers’ Like everywhere else in the OECS, the eventual decision to engage in their St. Lucia manufacturing sector feels that commendable qualitative value-added not enough is being done by government activity, which will become a biennial to specifically and particularly protect affair. The role of quality standards W O   R   L   D   W   I   D   E         I   them M   Pagainst   O   Rlarger   T  CARICOM       A   Nbusinesses  D    E X  P  O   R   Tin improving    SER VICES and manufacturing conglomerates, as well is, undoubtedly, increasingly being as by increasing threats from European better understood by manufacturers and businesses now able to compete with consumers alike; and the recent standards Caribbean businesses on “a level playing measurement mechanism adopted by the field” in the region under the European SMA and the local manufacturers may very Air/Ocean partnership agreement. well serve as a model for consideration by There continues to be wide distances its OECS counterparts.  Custom Brokers between what OECS manufacturers Freight Forwarders expect governments to do for them and what governments are doing in the wider Ship Agent national or private sector interest. But instead of waiting for the elusive day Import/Export when public and private sectors will be at one on how best to keep factories open and production lines moving, the SMA decided to take the next best step: to do for themselves what no one else will do Castries Office, Hospital Road, P.O. Box CP 5333, Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies for them. In the case of St. Lucia, the SLMA Tel: 1 758 458 1590     Fax: 1 758 453 7100 enlisted the support of  the SLBS and other entities interested in improving standards Vieux-fort Office, No. 46 Clarke Street, (including the Chamber of Commerce Tel 1758 454 5213    Fax: 1758 454-7467 and other private and public entities) and

“Excellence In Shipping Services”     Website: BusinessFocus May / June | 59

CROSQ at 10 Years The Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with several activities planned for St. Lucia and other CARICOM member-states for the rest of the year. CROSQ was established in 2002 with the signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement by CARICOM heads of government and has since then strived to introduce and establish mechanisms and documentation to assist in the development of quality of life in the region. It has a mandate of facilitating the development of regional standards, representing the interest of the region in global standards work, promoting the harmonization of measurement systems and supporting the sustainable production and trade in goods and services in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The Headquarters Agreement, signed in January 2007 with the government of Barbados, provides a permanent base for CROSQ in Barbados, where the Secretariat has been located since 2003. The regional standards body promotes advancement and achievements in the development of a quality culture through introduction of quality products and services with cooperation, collaboration and support of the governments and people of St. Lucia and other CARICOM states, donors, private sector, academia, civil society and other national, regional and international partners. The regional entity also especially recognises the contributions of persons who were instrumental in its development. In honour of CROSQ’s achievements to date, it has organised a series of activities throughout the year to commemorate its anniversary. A church service was held on 5th February in Barbados, where Chief Executive Officer, Winston Bennett, provided a brief speech on CROSQ and its role and benefits to the people in the region. The next event was held in Grenada from 21st - 24th February, in conjunction with the Grenada Bureau of Standards.


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Regional Quality and Standards Bearer Marks a Decade Promoting Best Practices CROSQ Executives at Regional Meeting

Additionally, a press conference and reception was held in April in Barbados to officially commemorate the anniversary of CROSQ, which was attended by the members of the Council of CROSQ, ministers, donor agency representatives and representatives from other partners around the region and internationally. Plans are underway for the presentation of CROSQ and its benefits during a stakeholder consultation and the hosting of a press conference surrounding the planning of activities under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) project relevant to CROSQ and its member states. The aim of each of these activities is and was to focus on promoting how CROSQ and its member states can increase quality of life in the region, from the consumer all the way up to the manufacturer and the importer, by

ensuring that goods and services entering into the market meet the high level of quality that we should expect and demand in the region. The CROSQ message has been heard and adopted in St. Lucia and the SLBS continues to advocate and enforce standards and quality requirements as per law. However, St. Lucia’s manufacturers have also started paying more attention to international standards as well, such as those assessed and maintained by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the HAACIP – both of which are already being used to certify local high-end marketing products such as the products of Baron Foods, which became the first ISO-certified producer in St. Lucia and emerged as the number two winner at the SLMA’s awards show.

Pursuing an Export Market Exporting can be one of the best ways to grow your business, but for many small enterprises, the preparations appear so daunting that no definitive plans are ever made. In addition, it’s still a widely held belief that exporting is for larger companies with hundreds of staff, fancy lawyers and willing bankers. Though exporting has its risks, these can be diminished by detailed planning, regardless of your company size.

Benefits to Exporting

Increased sales and profits is the most obvious benefit to exporting. Its positive flipside is a decreased dependence on your domestic, or any one market. These increased sales can come not only from the expansion of your production capacity, but also by the sale of excess items that would otherwise have gone to waste. As exports grow, naturally, so does the business.


Trade Barriers

With particular respect to CARICOM as a potential export market, trade is not as open as the ethos of the establishment of a single market would suggest. Each Caribbean country has widely ranging tariffs, quantitative restrictions and discretionary licensing. In addition, access to this information is not easy. However, given the potential benefits to exporting, it is worth getting the details behind the tariffs of each country whether CARICOM or not, that could be a willing purchaser of your goods.

Little Control Over Distribution/Marketing

This is a double-edged sword. Companies which wish to retain full control of their marketing and distribution channels face the hurdle of growing their foreign contact database and understanding the idiosyncrasies of each new market on their own. What works in Trinidad & Tobago may not work in St Lucia, but it’s a challenge to realise this without the benefit of hindsight. However, should a company decide to retain the services of a local agent, the risk is in that agent impairing the branding and image of a product through inefficient or unprofessional distribution and marketing practices.

The hurdles associated with exporting for a small business are many; some real, others imagined, most exaggerated, but they do exist. However, the hurdles change depending on your specific business. What may be a problem for a business selling scented candles will not be an issue for an exporter of decorative glass Local vs Imported Goods Some markets put a qualitative premium on imported goods artwork. It is important that the decision not to export or to delay exporting is based on a cogent analysis of the facts, and not be the from particular areas. This often comes as a result of the national branding initiatives of the exporting country. However, imported result of untried assumptions. goods may also come under fire and a business may find itself a victim of political bluster and turnabout nationalism. This is High Transport Costs Freight costs can make exporting uneconomical, particularly particularly true for Trinidad & Tobago exporters in the CARICOM for products with low value to weight ratios. For example, both region. a scented candle and a hand-etched figurine may be encased in glass and weigh the same, but the figurine would command a Restricted Access to Financing Small businesses face serious hurdles when looking to finance higher sales price and, therefore, be better able to withstand the their domestic operations, so receiving export financing is one costs associated with shipping such a fragile item. hurdle to successful exporting that is neither imagined nor exaggerated. Businesses are faced with local bankers who neither know nor are particularly interested in your target market. Their working assumption will be that you know just as little as they do and, therefore, it is your responsibility to prove otherwise. A well-researched export business plan is imperative. To all the business owners who fear that getting too detailed encourages the theft of your ‘idea’, consider the fact that your unwillingness to properly present your plan results in your failure to receive financing and ensures that your idea remains just that - an idea without execution.


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Exporting Made Easy with E-Commerce

If you’d like to only gingerly dip your toes into the world of exports, e-commerce gives you the ability to choose the scale of production most comfortable to you, and then to sell your goods as well as your services to a global audience. Though you would want to avoid the hubris and then consequent downfall associated with the catchphrase that “everyone is an expert online,” it is true that the openness, ease of access to information and the ability to teach yourself make online sales a great medium for small business exports. If you don’t have the capital to integrate an e-commerce platform into your website, there are many other websites which provide businesses with the opportunity to set up their online marketplaces. Issues to look out for when making your e-commerce platform selections are: upfront deposits, credit card fees, length of time to repayment, access to several channels of technical assistance and ease of payment process for the customer.

Exporting Magnified with Tradeshows

If you’re looking beyond web sales, consider becoming an exhibitor at local tradeshows where the world comes to you as well as travelling as an attendee to tradeshows in foreign markets. The local Private and Public Sectors host tradeshows locally and plan trips to tradeshows in markets already discovered as open and willing to do trade with businesses in CARICOM countries. As an attendee, you can benefit from matchmaking services and chamber-originated export research. Exporting not only grows your bottom line through increased sales, production capacity and therefore economies of scale, but it goes beyond the figures to the development of your business and you as a business owner or executive. Entering a market not readily known to you provides a wealth of learning that improves your strategic thinking and benefits your competitiveness within the domestic market. Don’t let fear of the unknown restrict your business possibilities. There is nothing gained if you don’t venture. Courtesy: Business Guardian

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May / June



Cast In Stone


hen you turn into the East Winds entrance just off the Castries-Gros Islet Highway and head up the narrow road, just as you crest the small incline, if you look to your right, you will see a two-storey building with a workshop and office opposite. It is quiet but there is a sense of commerce taking place there. When you see and understand the precise workmanship produced in this space, you will have this thought: there is something noble and near spiritual about shaping, cutting and coaxing a large piece of stone into a utilitarian surface to serve as a grand altar in the divine provision of services – from kitchen countertops and bathrooms to spas, table tops and elegant bars. Top Stone Fabrication Limited has made it the ultimate expression of reverence for the power and beauty of nature. That achievement is no mean feat; watering the seeds of an idea into a strong, sturdy business ready to take on a chunk of the world of specialty construction was BusinessFocus

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not a simple gardening notion. But why stone you might ask? “Genuine stone is held in high regard because it reflects unique character, stability and grandeur – qualities that each lover of stone embodies. Sometimes a client has not included stone as an option but as soon as we suggest it, they are more than happy to look at our samples and choose something which reflects their unique personality. It happens every time”,

says Pauline Gomez, of the husband and wife team behind the Top Stone brand. And so for the past 7 years, Pauline and William have been guiding their clients, loyal and potential, into making the right choices for their residential, commercial, historical, resort and religious properties. In the process customers have not only found inspiration in helping design their assets, but they have discovered something unique about themselves in the

stone they select to reflect their style and character. And what a selection Top Stone offers – the names of the granite stone are as exotic as their looks, Giallo-Fiorito; Santa Cecilia Gold and Amadeus, while the marble sport monikers such as Bianco Carrara; Billiemi and Emperador. Travertine on the other hand is reminiscent of a subtle brush of light orange to pale pink sponge effect on wallpaper. And Top Stone is steadily adding new stone to their growing line, to keep things interesting and to give customers a wider range of choices to decide upon. The cost? No more than Formica – a plastic laminate used as an alternative to the classic elegance of stone. Detractors say it is not porous and is a durable substitute for the real thing. However granite is relatively non-porous because of the interlocking nature of the crystallized minerals which it contains. So the choice is easy – choose real stone every time. Top Stone Fabrication will help guide you in that enjoyable process!


Mar / Apr



How Manufacturers Benefit From SMA Membership The St. Lucia Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) commenced operations in 2000 and is a not-for-profit organisation established to provide effective representation and advocacy for a vibrant manufacturing sector in need of special and specific attention. Membership includes enterprises in several sectors ranging from agro-food processing (including beverages and non edible processed products), light engineering (including electrical assembly, tyre retreading and plastics), garments (textiles and apparels) and furniture manufacturing (wood products and bedding) to paper products (including printing and packaging), handicrafts, building construction and aesthetic products (including paints and chemical processed products), data process and Informatics. The SMA’s programs are developed and executed with the specific interests of its members in mind. They (as manufacturers) feel the Chamber of Commerce (which represented their interests before the SMA was born) had what they perceived to be “an import-trading bias”, so they created their own. With the new globalised environment, rapid regional and international changes and a multiplicity of critical trade and market issues, the SMA membership can count on their body to ensure they are better represented at all levels, including relationships with other related private and public sector organisations. The SMA also continues to constantly agitate for and represent their interest at the national level in the continuing debates over import/export and trading regimes, as well as such issues as concessions for local businesses and protection for manufacturers against unfair treatment and external competition. The benefits of membership of the SMA came to the fore earlier this year when it hosted its first Quality Awards system to encourage members to improve quality and standards. But benefits also come through the persistent representation offered by the SMA’s current leadership at various forums, here and elsewhere in the Caribbean – especially efforts to get OECS and CARICOM governments to better understand and respond to the particular concerns of manufacturers small, medium and large. Membership of the SMA has its many benefits, many of which are increasingly attracting the interest of new and potential members. The organisation continues to grow and its influence continues to expand, but its work will continue unimpeded as the manufacturing sector grows and more and more who aren’t yet members start to discover just what they’ve been missing out on.


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May / June



Supports Local Manufacturing Sector

Major Sponsor of SMA Quality Awards In light of the past and current economic challenges faced, St. Lucia can no longer remain dependent on the tourism sector as the main driver for future growth and development. The process of economic diversification must continue. The ECFH Group through its largest subsidiary, Bank of Saint Lucia, has been supporting economic diversification and in particular the manufacturing sector for a number of years. There is no disputing that the manufacturing sector plays a critical role in the economic development of Saint Lucia - from its sterling contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the impact on local employment. The future growth of the sector is contingent on a number of factors - including access to additional financing, the adoption of policies and strategies based on internationally recognized standards and the development of entrepreneurial capacity. Like the manufacturing sector, financial institutions are pivotal to the economic development of a country. Financial institutions like Bank of Saint Lucia must continue to offer support to assist in creating an environment conducive for growth and development of manufacturing entities, through the provision of financing for a number of activities including increasing the supply of medium and long term loans for infrastructural growth & development, operational expansion, research & development and standards & policy implementation. The ECFH Group has taken its support for this crucial sector a step further, with the recent endorsement of the Saint Lucia Manufacturer’s Association’s (SMA) Quality Awards Programme. The programme is designed to recognize companies within the manufacturing sector for exemplary work and best practices, and to provide a platform for the development of other companies towards the adoption of internationally recognized standards. The local manufacturing sector, and all relevant stakeholders including the SMA, QMA Consultants, the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards and Casse Consultants Inc, must all be lauded for development and implementation of this quality standards programme – the first of its kind in the Caribbean - a bold, strategic step in the right direction. There is no doubt that


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this programme will revolutionize the manufacturing sector and make significant strides towards the achievement of performance excellence. The achievement of performance excellence must

be high on the agenda of all sectors, as we continue to navigate through challenging economic times. The ECFH Group recognizes its role as a catalyst for development, and the support of the SMA Quality Awards Programme is a clear demonstration of its continued commitment to the sustainable growth and development of the manufacturing sector. The Group has every confidence, that with the combination of a clear competitive strategy, the mantra of performance excellence and necessary financial and capital backing, the manufacturing sector is well poised to play a pivotal role in the future economic development of St. Lucia. We look to the future with considerable optimism, and we anticipate that other sectors will follow suit and adopt a similar systematic approach to development of their respective industries - for the greater benefit of St. Lucia.

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May / June



This Is How We Do It!

QSM Consulting explains how it managed the successful

St. Lucia Manufacturers’ Awards System So, how did they do it? According to Dr. Walcott, “The whole program was designed to promote awareness of performance excellence as an increasingly important element in competitiveness. It also promoted the sharing of successful performance strategies and the benefits derived from using these strategies. So, we were very glad to have been given the chance to make this happen.”

And how did organisations qualify for awards?

The recent successful Quality Awards ceremony hosted here by the St. Lucia manufacturers Association (SMA) was both memorable and commendable. It was professionally executed every step of the way and all who attended left satisfied the SMA and its constituent members had taken that key step. They had clearly decided to take the bull by the horns and add definite value to their products through a stiff injection of standards and quality guidelines to be constantly assessed, measured and rewarded. The program was conceptualised by the SMA in 2009 and launched in October 2011. It was meant to be a Performance Excellence Program to reflect the BusinessFocus

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evolution of quality in the sector from a focus on product, service and customer quality to a broader, strategic focus on overall organisational quality—called performance excellence. But much of the success behind the event was due to QSM Consulting, the island’s latest (and probably only) private entity aimed at promoting and pursuing professional improvement of quality and standards of local products. Launched last year, QSM and its Managing Director, Mkabi Walcott, were contracted by the SMA to basically implement the program from concept and design to completion on the evening of the awards ceremony.

Dr. Walcott explained that it wasn’t as easy as many thought. “To receive an award,” she pointed out, “an organisation had to have what we called ‘a role-model organisational management system’ that ensures continuous improvement in delivering products and/or services, that demonstrates efficient and effective operations, and that provides a way of engaging and responding to customers and other stakeholders.” “However, Dr. Walcott explained, “the award is not given for specific products or services. The programme provides companies with a holistic model for managing a business for excellence and therefore allows space for the company to be able to evaluate itself along the way, along with the auditors.” Dr. Walcott explained further, “The criteria serve two main purposes: to identify award recipients that will serve as role models for other companies and to help companies assess their improvement efforts, diagnose their overall performance management system, and identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement.


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“In addition, the criteria agreed to will help strengthen Saint Lucia competitiveness by improving organisational performance practices, capabilities and results; facilitating communication and sharing of information on best practices among companies of all types; and serving as a tool for understanding and managing performance and for guiding planning and opportunities for learning.” The programme was administered at all levels by QSM and up to eighteen awards may be given annually across five eligibility categories: Leadership, Implementation of Standards and Best practices, Product and Customer Service Quality, Human Resource Development and Social Responsibility. Additional awards included the President’s Award for Excellence and the (Commerce) Minister’s Award for Innovation. What are the outputs and results expected from the exercise now that it’s been held? Dr. Walcott expects participants, especially winners, “to engage in consistent delivery of ever-improving value to customers and stakeholders, contributing to organisational sustainability, improved organisational effectiveness and capabilities, organisational and personal learning, making quality a national priority and disseminating best practices across Saint Lucia.” The QSM MD, herself a former senior functionary at the island’s Bureau of Standards (SLBS), also saw the SMA’s awards system as a clear example of partnership between stakeholders. She explained, “The SMA Award is supported by a distinctive public-private partnership as it brought together Private and Public Sector donors and sponsors to raise funds to endow the award program.” Indeed, the range of cooperation was extensive: The SLBS developed the criteria; the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (which is responsible for the Manufacturing Sector) was fully on board; the SMA administered the program; the selection committee consisted of experts who volunteered their time to evaluate the audit reports; and the award recipients shared information on their successful performance and quality strategies. With over fourteen years working experience in agriculture, manufacturing, standardisation, food safety, quality (ISO 9001) management and project management, Dr. Walcott was excited about implementing QSM’s first major public activity. “During my work experience,” Dr. Walcott explained, “I have been involved in a number of developmental and system implementation initiatives within the manufacturing, agricultural and agro processing sectors, in various capacities both locally and internationally. “So, we have organised QSM in a manner that will allow us to assist in improving the quality of the services and products offered to customers and stakeholders, here and anywhere else.” Dr. Walcott is very enthused about the entire process and says she has the confidence that the initiative by the SMA will augur well for the local manufacturing sector. “The only way they can go after this is up,” she concluded, while “thanking the SMA for having the confidence in us to allow us to show what we know and do what we know that we can do.” Undoubtedly, from the responses to the event on the evening itself, all who were there would agree that the program was properly executed from start to finish.


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SMA Hosts

Inaugural Quality Awards By Stan Bishop

ust over forty awards of excellence were given out to some of Saint Lucia’s manufacturers as the Saint Lucia Manufacturers Association held its inaugural Quality Awards Ceremony recently. The awards ceremony, held at Sandals Halcyon Hotel on the evening of Saturday, March 3, brought together some of the key players in the local manufacturing sector. The formal-attire invite-only gala event to reward excellence was the culmination of the tireless efforts of the SLMA, according to its Vice-President, Dr. Allison Plummer. According to Dr. Plummer, the awards ceremony sought to recognize the performance of companies and was not necessarily the result of a competition. The recognition programme, she added, was based on quality management principles and third-party assessment of the companies. Dr. Plummer, who also serves as Chairperson of the Quality Awards Committee, added that the Quality Awards will be held biennially and hopes that the initiative develops into a national quality awards scheme that incorporates members of the service and agricultural sectors. President of the SLMA, Paula Calderon, emphasized that it is imperative that doing business in Saint Lucia be made easier. She also highlighted some of the issues that local businesses face in their daily operations. Clear and stronger policy-making, she said, are among the changes needed to ensure that Saint Lucian businesses remain viable and competitive in the global market. Another focus of Calderon’s presentation was the need for the community to purchase products produced under the “Made in Saint Lucia” tag. Not only does that augur well for providing jobs and revenue for Saint Lucian companies; it also demonstrates that Saint Lucia has the capability of producing quality products. Featured speaker at the awards ceremony was Dr. Andre Gordon, who centred his presentation on the theme of quality. “Quality is absolutely essential if manufacturers are to become globally competitive,” Dr. Gordon said. “This, I see, has been recognized in your Saint Lucia National Export Development Strategy.” The main sponsor of the Awards Ceremony was the East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd. (ECFH). Robert


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Norstrom, Group Managing Director of ECFH, said the island could no longer afford to depend on the tourism industry being the leading breadwinner. “It is my view that we need to continue the process of economic diversification,” Norstrom said. “What we have tonight with the manufacturing sector, and the development of quality management of all areas of one’s operations, is a step in the right direction.” Norstrom added that local businesses need to operate within acceptable international standards, especially if they intend to export their goods and services. More assistance, he added, need to be meted out to small and medium business enterprises in order for such businesses to play a significant role in the development process of the country. Also present at the evening of celebration were Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Stephenson King and a number of government ministers and other invited guests. Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Hon. Emma Hippolyte, made some brief remarks before presenting the Minister’s Award for Innovation to Baron Foods. Hon. Hippolyte said the SLMA’s initiative “indicates the direct support for ongoing efforts at the national level to develop a cadre of world-class exporters.” Quality standards, the minister added, are crucial in an ever-changing global business environment. “Quality matters. It matters particularly in this era of trade liberalization and globalization and in an increasingly discriminating world. Companies are now duty-bound to put in place systems of management that guarantee consumers and other stakeholders that the best practices have been employed in generating a particular product or service. In today’s business environment, there are no easy markets, no captive markets as ours out of empathy for our susceptibility to external shocks. Every Saint Lucian manufacturer, regardless of size, needs to measure up to international standards if they are to succeed in today’s competitive global market,” the minister said.


Enjoy Responsibly BusinessFocus

May / June



A Clarion Call for Excellence in Manufacturing From Dr. Andre Gordon Current Realities

When they got together in common anxiety to hear and see who among them had won meritorious awards in the inaugural St. Lucia Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) quality awards exercise, local manufacturers thought they had heard it all about the importance of quality and standards to their success. But they hadn’t heard all about the importance of an export development strategy in their planning – which was precisely the message from Dr. Andre Gordon, Managing Director of Technology Solutions Ltd. of Jamaica, who delivered the feature address at the event. Noting that the SMA consists of, “many fine companies covering a range of sub-sectors including food, fabricated products, heavy manufacture, personal care, distilled products and others” he also congratulated them “for being the exceptional business people you are to survive in such a hostile global environment for small manufacturers.” Dr. Gordon also saluted “the government and people of St. Lucia for crafting a National Export Development Strategy (SLNEDS)” from as far back as 2004. He viewed the SMA as a “visionary association” whose mission – To Develop the Manufacturing Sector, by working with Manufacturers in areas of Technology, Productivity and Competitiveness to Foster Economic Growth through Exports - he said, “is enlightened and fits well with the forward-thinking step of establishing the Quality Awards.” “Quality is absolutely essential if manufacturers are to become globally competitive,” Dr. Gordon pointed out, noting too that, “this is recognized in the SLNEDS.” From his own experience, he told the gathered manufacturers, “My mantra has been to ensure that any company wishing success stays at the cutting edge of what is happening globally.” He added, “This is critical because we need to make sure to stay abreast of what is happening, how quality and other systems are evolving and most importantly, what is the best way to incorporate these into businesses in the eyes of the most important people: your market.” BusinessFocus

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Dr. Gordon said an essential condition for the success, however, was that “Our public sector partners - particularly those in the area of Standards and the Ministries of Industry & Commerce, Trade (Foreign and Domestic), Investment Promotion and Health and the Environment - to really make an effort to understand what is going on in export markets if that is where you intend to go.” “For far too long,” he revealed, “I have watched and listened to officials promoting the approaches and systems, useful though there are, but of yesterday, without understanding what are the current realities in the markets they are encouraging their exporters and manufacturers to target. “The result has been, and continues to be, resource-challenged producers in the Caribbean putting significant resources into implementing systems and achieving standards that do not bring the expected commercial benefit.” Regarding the building and implementing of a St. Lucia National Export Strategy, Dr. Gordon recalled first coming to St. Lucia in 1997, when he introduced HACCP-based modern food safety principles to the Caribbean. Based on what he’s been able to assess since then, he said, “I strongly believe that St. Lucia can build a strong competitive economy based on exports. This, however, has to be underpinned by the right strategy.” However, he explained, “Effective strategy is the result of careful choice after consideration of all of the options available… so a SLNEDS strategy that identifies ten strategic areas is, by definition, not strategic.” He cautioned, “I am not suggesting that everything is being done as it should in Dominica without problems. What I am saying is that you can't just follow boiler-plate prescriptions that could be used by anyone; it won’t work. Your Export Development Strategy must be very specific to St. Lucia's realities and specific needs.” He advised, “You must leverage unique strengths and build on what exists where this is capable of becoming sustainably competitive as judged by global standards. “You must also create or access new skills, new areas of business and new or existing but previously unrecognized opportunities.” He also advised that manufacturers “focus on meeting the unmet and unarticulated needs of the universe of existing and potential consumers of St. Lucian goods and services, so you must know who they are. “Specifically,” he said, “you must be practical and visionary at the same time.”


Dr. Gordon also offered some specific examples for local manufacturers to consider: 1. He pointed to Trinidad & Tobago, “where they decided to focus on building on their strengths in engineering (derived mainly from the oil industry) and have extended this to all forms of manufacturing, including foods.” He noted that, “The TTMA demanded (and got) full government support, including in all matters to do with trade and exports. They focused on their home (CARICOM) market


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Excellence in Manufacturing Continued with competitively priced products using the treaty preferences available. The outcome was their dominance of the CARICOM market in manufactured goods, largely on the basis of price.” 2. “In poor Haiti, exporters are shipping container loads of mangoes into the US when the rest of CARICOM is shipping nothing. A leading exporter there took efficiency, quality and food safety seriously and is now reaping the rewards, even after the earthquake, with large volumes being profitably shipped to the US.” 3. In Jamaica, his company, TSL, “designed and led a carefully developed, nationally implemented programme to upgrade ten agro-processors exporting ackees, moving ackee exports from 4.4 million in 2000 to over 13.5 million in 2009, a three-fold increase on the same volume of production in nine years.” 4. “Exporters of selected spices and sauces from Barbados to the US, who have been able not only to get into very competitive markets, but are able to command significant premiums over brands which are much better known, but not available.”

more about our standards infrastructure, including our laws, rules and regulations than many of our government officials negotiating on our behalf do.” He described this as “just an example of the role of focused government support, also offered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) - something only Trinidad and Tobago and the TTMA in CARICOM seemed to have been able to understand.” Dr. Gordon said the main message was that. “The new approaches to export strategy development must be market and data driven.” He also said there was nothing to lose from starting late, as “there is a benefit to coming to the party late because you can learn from the mistakes of others.” He encouraged the local producers to, “Make sure you develop and implement programmes that will allow your strengths to be the drivers of you success; and make sure you get really useful, practical and implementable assessments of your export readiness, such as was developed for use in the Caribbean under the PSDP in Jamaica.” “In all of this,” he noted, “the role of quality and meeting the specific requirements of the country being targeted, the buyers and the consumer is paramount. Without them, none of this is Strange but true… Addressing his by now captured audience, Dr. Gordon addressed possible. the local situation once more. “This may sound strange but it is Specific Recommendations very true. St. Lucia should focus on identifying, developing and Dr. Gordon left the local manufacturers with a list of supplying specific, high value, very profitable market segments recommendations: in carefully selected markets with the products they need, using • He urged them to “Approach exports with a long-term most favourable and effective route-to-market possible. vision and approach the markets mindful of the current state “Much more value will be derived from this (approach) than of play, but do not be restricted by it.” He noted, “The world is focusing on driving down production costs.” changing and will continue to change,” warning that, “The SMA He offered yet another example to back his argument for the must make sure it is not caught playing the game of yesteryear as local manufacturers: “In New York, most Caribbean exports you seek to grow your economy through exports.” go into the boroughs of New York City and Brooklyn with a • He also advised them to, “Ensure that competitiveness combined population of 10.5 million. We target the West Indian and the production of quality goods and services are at the heart population that at best totals just less than 1 million in all of of your product and service offerings, because both are journeys, New York State. We don’t focus on the potential market of West not destinations.” Indians and African Americans who together total 3 million in • Dr. Gordon also encouraged them to “Learn from others, those two boroughs alone. We don’t focus on Mount Vernon or as cooperation and collaboration are prerequisites for real and Buffalo where this market segment is very affluent and accounts lasting success.” for 60% and 37% of the population, much more than the 29% • He also advised, “Make sure you have proper succession (average) in the other areas.” planning, or your hard work may be for naught in 20 years’ time.” Other examples: “We ship papaya – profitably - into the markets But his major overall recommendation had to do with excellence. in London but could be commanding a 30% higher price, if we • He advised, “Focus on excellence - and remember, went into Holland or elsewhere in the UK; we are giving Jamaican excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, Blue Mountain Coffee away in Japan while Belgium, France and risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others Italy will pay up to 60% more for it, if they could get it.” think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible. Then he asked and advised, “Will St. Lucia do the same? Don’t Excellence is also the outcome of an expansive vision, supported make the same mistakes.” by careful thought, enlightened strategic planning, effective Dr. Gordon cautioned that St. Lucian and other Caribbean resource mobilisation and skillful execution.” exporters aiming for the US market, in particular, were to be In Dr. Gordon’s closing words of wisdom – and blessing he said, “I aware of certain realities – especially the level of preparedness am convinced that this beautiful, God-blessed country can deliver a on the part of the regulators who will have to be negotiated sustainably comfortable living for all its people. with. “This can and must be done through the refinement of and He explained, “In the United States, before the state department effective implementation of an export strategy focused on through the US Trade Representative (USTR) begins any excellence. In such a future, I have no doubt that a vibrant worldnegotiations, they are fully briefed on the details of all aspects of class competitive manufacturing sector will play a pivotal role. product areas involved in the countries of interest, including with “Let NO ONE tell you otherwise!” information that the countries themselves don’t have. “A key player in this process is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), their Bureau of Standards. They know BusinessFocus

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Distribution Centre Odsan Industrial Estate Tel: (758) 451-3211 Fax: (758)453-7596

Manufacturers: SMJ (St. Lucia) Limited, Vieux-Fort Industrial Estate Tel: (758) 454-7777/65 Fax: (758) 454-5567


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The Awardees President’s Award

Minister’s Award for Innovation

Windward and Leeward Brewery

Baron Foods

Human Resource Development

Social Responsibility Diamond Baron Foods Saint Lucia Distillers Windward and Leeward Brewery Platinum Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Harris Paints North American Assemblies Gold Caribbean Awnings Paradise Springs

Leadership Diamond Baron Foods Caribbean Awnings Harris Paints Saint Lucia Distillers Windward and Leeward Brewery Gold Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Paradise Springs Windward Islands Packaging Company – WINERA

Implementation of Standards and Best Practices Diamond Baron Foods Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Caribbean Awnings Harris Paints Windward and Leeward Brewery Windward Islands Packaging Company - WINERA Platinum North American Assemblies Paradise Springs Gold Forest Springs Natmed Poyotte’s Joinery Top Stone Fabrication

Diamond St. Lucia Distillers Ltd. Windward and Leeward Brewery Platinum Baron Foods Caribbean Awnings Harris Paints Gold Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Windward Islands Packaging Company – WINERA

Product and Customer Service Quality Diamond Baron Foods Caribbean Awnings Harris Paints Windward and Leeward Brewery Platinum Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Gold Natmed

Gold Level Addresses basic processes linked to the foundational elements of quality improvement.

Platinum Level: Builds on the elements of quality, and emphasizes key components of customer-centered products and services, creating consistency in product quality through standardized processes, and involving internal and external customers in the decision making process.

Diamond Level: Focuses on the achievement of quality by monitoring outcomes using evidence and best practice for continual improvement Note that the levels and scoring provide a profile of achievements and strengths, as well as an indication of opportunities for the improvement of the organisation relative to the performance oriented criteria. BusinessFocus

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Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. Overall Winners at SMA Awards By Stan Bishop

GM Greg Graves receiving the President's Award from SMA President, Paula Calderon Nearly four decades ago, when Heineken sought to set up its first brewery operation in the Caribbean, Saint Lucia seemed the ideal location for such an endeavour. And for good reasons too. The topography of Vieux Fort: the open expanse of the area, quality water supply, along with the attractive concessions granted under the island’s Incentive Legislation, proved too difficult for Heineken to resist. Since its incorporation in 1974, the Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. has grown to become a giant in the local manufacturing sector. But becoming successful in a globally-competitive business such as Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd.’s is no mere guarantee. It takes core values such as “passion for quality”, “enjoyment of life”, “respect for people” and “respect for our planet”. With BusinessFocus

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such an equation, the company contends, only positive end-results can be realized. The company’s line of products include Heineken Beer, Piton Beer, Piton Malta, Piton Shandy, Ti-Malta, Vita Malt, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Rooster, Strongbow Cider and Royal Club. Currently, Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. has three global brands within its portfolio with Heineken as its key strategic asset and undisputed leader of the international premium segment. In fact, the brand still leads the way in Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd.’s export thrust and even accounts for over 90% of export volumes! With such successes, the company intends to continue pursuing opportunities in export markets wherever they present themselves. Another of its products,

Strongbow Cider, has found favour with consumers since its introduction to Saint Lucia two years ago. Billed as the world’s number one cider, it has been able to tap into non-beer occasions. Meanwhile, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout remains the world’s number one stout brand. Together, the two brands add to top line growth in the Saint Lucian market. The Heineken brand continues to spearhead the company’s innovation thrust and Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. aims to continue innovating and renovating its product portfolio with new brand introductions. This will be done both within and outside of the beer category in an effort to remain relevant to its customers and the preferred brands of choice. This year, the newly-renovated and refreshed Piton Beer brand – the pride of Saint Lucia and Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd.’s leading domestic mainstream lager brand – will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary with a commemorative label run. The brand continues to be resilient and export volumes for Piton Beer and Piton Malta to sister island Barbados continue to be robust. Another key element of Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd.’s upward thrust is that of driving personal leadership. The company recognizes that its human resources are its main source of competitive advantage, and thinks that by thinking globally and working collaboratively are just some of the ways that can redound to inspiring and developing its staff base. Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. also believes in having a common understanding and building capacities from marketing and

sales across all functions so as to ensure that efficiency and winning is consistent. The company will also remain committed to strengthening the capabilities of its human resources in order to achieve its vision by investing further in functional and leadership skills development. In doing so, Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. hopes to continue promoting a culture of high performance and achievement that is open to new and fresh ideas, learning, driving collaboration

Heineken launched the latest phase of its global approach targeting customers with respect to responsible consumption of its various brands. Their media communications all use the “Enjoy Responsibly” tagline. As a founding and active member of the Saint Lucia Alcohol Beverage Association, Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd., believes in the philosophy of taking responsibility. Going forward, a number of other measures are being implemented by the

that the Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. dominated at the Quality Awards hosted by the Saint Lucia Manufacturers Association. The company picked up six awards at the gala event held in March 2012. Despite a strong showing by a number of other formidable companies in the manufacturing sector, that met the judges’ criteria, Windward and Leeward Brewery was able to snag the following top awards:

Brewery Executives Celebrate at SMA Awards and innovation. An integral aspect of Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd.’s business objective is its new approach to sustainability. Two years ago, Heineken introduced its “Brewing for a Better Future” programme, thereby creating a sustainable value for its shareholders. The programme placed strong emphasis on improving the environment, empowering people and communities and ensuring that the role of beer within the society has a positive impact. The going green initiative is the overall objective of the Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. To that end, last December WLBL/

Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. to make it a much more dynamic company. Continuous success, the company believes, does not equal complacency. As such, recognizing that its human resources are its most important assets, Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. has and will continue to invest in training so as to continually increase the strength and capabilities of its employees. Such training includes specific initiatives that seek to improve functional capabilities in key areas such as marketing and sales, and personal development programmes such as leadership training. There are also plans to launch an internship programme in collaboration with local colleges this year. Being a good corporate citizen and one of Saint Lucia’s leading manufacturers, the company believes that it is crucial that it plays a dynamic role in helping to develop local talent and capabilities. With such a colourful history and an impressive performance in the local manufacturing sector, it came as no surprise

• • • • • •

Human Resource Development (Diamond Award) Implementation of Standards and Best Practices (Diamond Award) Product and Customer Service Quality (Diamond Award) Social Responsibility (Diamond Award) Leadership (Diamond Award) President’s Award for Excellence

Prior to that event, the company picked up the Green Award at the third annual Saint Lucia Business Awards held last January at the Sandals Grande. Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. welcomes both awards schemes and recognizes the need for such initiatives that seek to foster excellence in quality within the business sector. Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. also believes that the criteria set out in both awards schemes serve as an independent benchmark that can serve to the company’s credit as it continues its path to maintaining high quality standards. The end-product of such rigorous quality standards, the company believes, will be Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. continuing to produce an excellent brew of quality products in the years ahead. BusinessFocus

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Baron Foods Ltd.

Ronald Ramjattan and his Baron Foods Team with SMA Awards

St. Lucia’s Flagship of Top Local Quality and Standards When Ronald Ramjattan started Baron Foods in 1991, many saw him as just another West Indian businessman trying to package and sell curry and black pepper. And when he started grinding hot red and yellow peppers in electric mixers that juiced water from the eyes of even passers by, many wondered just how long he would last. Well, Baron Foods has lasted 21 years – and is today St. Lucia’s most decorated, most certified, best known and probably most appreciated homegrown local company - at home and on the regional and international stages. Baron’s is a classic story of success based on innovation and quality par excellence. It’s not exactly your typical rags-toriches story. Instead, it’s a true tale of one man’s determination to venture into new territory and discover new worlds to conquer. And conquer he did. At a time when manufacturing hot sauce and ketchup was seen as eye-burning, back-breaking work that wouldn’t be the first choice of anyone seeking to build a new business, the forward-thinking BusinessFocus

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Ramjattan carefully analyzed his product’s possible performance in a virtually empty local market. All St. Lucia’s condiments and sauces were imported – from as near as Trinidad and as far as Jamaica, India and the USA. The market was here, but the product wasn’t. All the raw materials and human resources – the most important ingredients for the business he had in mind – were here, but not the refined product. Ramjattan set out to fill the gap. Not only would Baron package rare spices, but it would increasingly create new ones. That, in itself, would not only help build his dream, but also provide a lifeline to the workers and farmers who would have to help him make it happen. He grew his company with all the skill and care of the farmers planting his peppers and other local food and spice products. He personally monitored distribution and sales across the island, visiting supermarkets and various outlets to better inform his marketing and advance sales. Baron moved incrementally but steadily

Ramjattan Celebrates up the quality ladder in both product and marketing. Shelf arrangements changed along the way, just as labels improved and the number of products expanded. The company could always be counted upon to introduce a new line of products, almost annually. Baron Foods has so varied its stock of product offerings that its continually

expanding range of products is at over 150 today - ranging from Pepper, Cooking, Garlic, Onion, Barbecue, Chinese Stir Fry, Soy, Worcestershire and Passion Fruit sauces to Green Seasoning, Mango Chutney, Tomato and Banana Ketchup to Gravy Browning, Jerk Seasoning, White Vinegar and a wide array of essences and fruit juice concentrates. Most recently, the company launched its new Gourmet line (including the likes of Black Bean paste, Thai sauce, Sweet Chili Thai paste, Coconut Curry paste, Tikka Massala paste, as well as Sour Cream Onion dip, Seafood dip, Chunky Salsa dip, Sweet and Sour sauce) that have hit kitchens and tables here and everywhere with a hot shot! In its first decade, Baron Foods moved steadily onward and upward. It established itself in the Vieux Fort industrial zone and built its local market steadily. It didn’t complain about the imported competition or seek protection. Instead, Ramjattan concentrated on offering a better product. Baron Foods not only offered an alternative to the imported product, but offered more because it was made locally by local people, from local produce planted by local farmers, in local soil. As the business grew in its first decade, Ramjattan set his eyes on two other important ingredients for his business’ continued success: market expansion and continued product development.

Baron Hot Peper Sauce in Production He set his eyes abroad – and set out to ensure his Vieux Fort factory metamorphosed incrementally through the ongoing application of modern (increasingly hi-tech) food preparation science and technology. Manual labourers wearing protective goggles gave way to white-cloaked teams of scientific-minded lab-type technicians monitoring and manning computerized equipment. So impressive was Baron Foods that on a state visit to Argentina just after the end of its first decade of existence, Ramjattan was selected by the local private sector to be its representative on the PM’s official delegation. Baron’s products stood out among the St. Lucian products exhibited during that official visit, which established initial trade ties between Argentina and St. Lucia and opened avenues for greater private sector cooperation between the two countries. Baron’s second decade was even more spectacular. Ramjattan aimed for the sky, looking beyond the horizon. The company set out to brand itself - and to become the

Ramjattan and Team in Management Meeting BusinessFocus

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flag-bearer of a true St. Lucian brand name. It set ‘Excellence and Innovation’ as its code words in pursuit of expansion beyond the island’s borders. The Vieux Fort based company chalked-up several ‘firsts’ while growing and expanding by leaps and bounds from year to year, setting local and regional records in the process. Its products started winning awards and the company increasingly gained special mentions - at home and abroad. Baron’s record of achievement in quality and product excellence is quite enviable. It was the first Caribbean manufacturer to receive ISO 22000:2005 certification in 2008; this year the company also became the first to gain FSSC 22000:2010 certification; and the healthiness of all its products are HACCP certified – all three top marks coming from internationally reputable standards and quality institutions. Baron Foods also earlier this year won six of seven top awards at the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) Quality Awards ceremony, for everything from Innovation, Leadership and Customer Service to Corporate Social Responsibility,


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Implementation of Best Practice Standards and Human Resource Management. The company’s story may make pleasant reading, but it wasn’t all just a free and easy business joyride these past twenty-one years for Baron Foods. It has gone through the trials and tribulations of every other local company. However, what has kept it steadily going and growing has been the dogged determination of the founder and Managing Director, who has steered the company’s course and maintained his focus, through thick and thin, for the entire journey to date. Another winning element of Baron Foods’ success and excellence has been its firm embrace of quality and standards, marketing and export. Baron Foods is today a household name and a flagship for quality local products. All its “Made in St. Lucia” labels on each of its products sport not one, but two St. Lucia flags – a fact St. Lucians at home are very proud of and which those in the Diaspora are even more proud to exhibit. Indeed, for many, it’s a perfect gift item to relatives and close friends, here and elsewhere. Baron is increasingly becoming a regional player, both as a manufacturer and in terms of its products. The large range now graces more OECS supermarket shelves having recently expanded into Grenada, where its hot and spicy condiments adorn tables in the Spice Isle. The company has also long had a distribution presence in the enormously spicy Guyana market; and now Ramjattan has both eyes and feet set and moving on establishing a presence in the even bigger condiment market of Trinidad & Tobago. Over the years, the company has developed an integrated and rewarding alliance with the local farming community. It depends entirely on fresh produce from local farmers who plant and deliver according to quality and quantities demanded by its high standards. The island’s largest and best known condiment manufacturer has also developed a highly skilled and dependable workforce at its ever-expanding Vieux Fort plant along the St. Jude Highway. The spacious but also very neat plant is easily voted (by most who’ve been there) as the most aesthetically clean and healthy

factory on the island. The factory compound includes a modern clubhouse for staff that seems as focused on their health as their welfare. Meals are provided daily and there’s also a fully equipped modern gym available to those with fitness in mind, but which is also transformed into a beehive of recreational activity on Friday nights. At 21, Baron Foods has made its mark. And if its past is anything to go by, the company is worth betting on having an even brighter future ahead. After more than two decades at the wheel, the ever-thinking and forward-planning Ronald Ramjattan would (evidently) have long re-focused his vision from the laudable historical personality aspect of his company’s history, to what his legacy will be. Ramjattan has already started laying the basis for continuity of transition by investing in development of a leadership succession base. One home-grown husband-and-wife team was developed at the Vieux Fort factory to lead the Grenada extension project, and this team is now ready to be replaced by another (also being trained here) when they will eventually move to Trinidad & Tobago. Immediate family and relatives demonstrating interest in the business have also been invested in – through university Baron Foods Club House

and back – to ensure continuity in effective management at the enterprise. The focus has been on developing a young management team, as Ramjattan increasingly sees himself as a mentor to his grooming successors. Ever an innovating entity, Baron Foods won the Commerce Minister’s Award for Innovation at this year’s inaugural quality awards ceremony. Ever the foremost local condiment innovator, Ramjattan can be expected to already have in place a wide range of innovative approaches to succession that’ll be as spicy on the quality front as his continuing legacy in local manufacturing. But, whatever’s up his sleeve or stored in the hard drive of his mind for his company’s immediate or distant future, the Baron Foods Managing Director can always be counted on to deliver the unexpected from the seemingly bountiful and bottomless reserve of saucy stuff. Ronald Ramjattan must be thinking ahead and looking further down the road, beyond the shores, even beyond the horizon. But what else to expect? He has spent 21 years showing that his vision has no boundaries – positive proof that his plans are definitely to take Baron Foods beyond borders.

Congratulations on

21 years

Here’s to the (Hot and Spicy) For complete harmony of all your senses...


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Du Boulay’s Bottling Co. Ltd.

L/R: Dunstan & Tony Du Boulay Receiving SMA Awards

Drinking Up Success

By Stan Bishop

When Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Limited began its modest production facility forty years ago, the founding brothers Dunstan, Leslie, Frank and Tony were in no doubt that their company would be successful. The company entered the local market on the 1st


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of March 1972, with a range of flavours in a 12 oz. returnable glass bottle under their private name brand, ICY, and in 1973 acquired the Seven-Up franchise and introduced it to the local market. The company subsequently acquired the Coca Cola

franchise in 1982, when the product was introduced in a new Georgia green 12 oz. package, with overwhelming success. From its headquarters located between Manoel Street, Bridge Street and Hospital Road in Castries, the company has become a household name over the decades of its existence. According to the company’s philosophy, producing products of the highest quality at the most economical price to achieve the highest levels of consumer service and satisfaction has been a crucial facet to the company’s continued growth and success. Today, the company’s product range has grown to include quality international products, namely CocaCola, Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Zero, Sprite, and Sprite Zero. Additionally, the company produces its own exciting flagship range of ICY flavours, Tropic Mist vitamin water which comes in four flavours and Crystal Clear Premium Purified Bottled Water which comes in a range of sizes with the newest addition being the twin-pack 2-litre Value Pak Crystal Clear package. The Tropic Mist and Crystal Clear products were introduced in the last two years. The company is also the authorised distributor for Glaceau Vitamin Water, Minute Maid Juices, Full Throttle and Powerade. But just what quality standards set Du Boulay’s products apart from other leading thirst-quenchers? Ellen Antoine, the company’s Management Systems Manager, told BF recently that keeping current with the latest technology and best manufacturing practices is one of DBC’s core principles. “We institute the highest level of standards at all stages of production,” she said. “Even when the scope of our operation does not require it, we believe that our policy of implementation of the most stringent measures (taking pre-emptive measures) to adhere to international standards sets us apart.” In fact, she explained that those premium standards of production are applied across the board to the company’s entire line of products. Currently, the company has ISO 22000 food certification and, through the implementation of the management systems, adheres to the requirements of ISO 14001, ISO 9001, and ISO 18001, as well as KORE (the Coca-Cola requirements) and national and regional laws and regulations.

According to Antoine, the company’s relentless pursuit for excellence knows no boundaries. Du Boulay’s Bottling Co. Ltd. will soon be FSSC 22000 certified (which is a combination of ISO 22000 and PAS 220) and, subsequently, ISO 9001 certified. The company, she added, will continue to implement within its management systems the requirements that fall under ISO 14000 and 18001. The company has also embarked on establishing a computerised, state-of-the-art waste water treatment plant to treat all waste water that results from the company’s complex manufacturing processes. This addition speaks to the company’s commitment to the global and local stewardship toward the preservation and conservation of our environment and water resources. That ‘going green’ initiative, Company Director Tony Du Boulay, told BF, would cost the company a well-deserved $2 million investment upon completion. Boasting a staff base that currently stands at close to one hundred employees, some of whom have been with the company from inception with many of the others having worked with the company for over 20 years, Du Boulay’s Bottling Co. Ltd. has definitely come

a long way from its initial twelve employees forty years ago. A continual human resource development thrust, Antoine told BF, adds significantly to the flavours that the company has come to be known for over the past four decades. At present, the company exports its wide range of products to Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Looking ahead, the company envisions including other regional states within its marketing network. In terms of extra-regional markets, the company is currently in negotiations with a major distributor in England with respect to distribution rights for the re-introduction to the UK market of the company’s flagship brand array of ICY flavours. Over the years, the company’s social conscience has resonated with the community too. Substantial injections of support have been made by Du Boulay’s Bottling Co. Ltd. in the development, promotion and sponsorship of sporting, cultural, educational and other social activities in Saint Lucia. Over $100,000 in investment by the company towards such initiatives is expended by the company on an annual basis. At the inaugural Saint Lucia Manufacturers Association’s Quality Awards held in March, the Du Boulay’s Bottling Co. Ltd. was awarded five trophies for its excellence in business. Those awards were namely: Leadership (Gold), Implementation of Standards and Best Practices (Diamond), Product and Consumer Service Quality (Platinum), Human Resource Development (Gold) and Social Responsibility (Platinum). BusinessFocus

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The SMA Evening in Pictures


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THE ELECTRICAL SAFETY TESTING SCHEME  COVERS THE FOLLOWING APPLIANCES: Christmas Tree and other Decorative Lighting Outfits. • Electric Irons  • Instantaneous  Water Heaters  •  Fans  • Household and Similar Electrical Appliances   •  Adapters     Plugs and Sockets- Outlets for Household Purposes  •  Fused Plugs      Transformers Auto -Transformers • Microwave Ovens • Kitchen Machines

nces applia Larger  ested at   t e can b ises ’ prem owners

Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards Bisee, Castries Saint Lucia

Phone:  785-453-0049 Fax: 785-452-3561 Website: Email:


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Saint Lucia’s Tourism Industry


By Stan Bishop

Saint Lucia’s tourism industry recorded a less than favourable performance during the past year. However, the key players in the island’s chief income earner have vowed to institute measures to steer the vital industry towards a positive growth trend. According to statistics from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB), there were 304,639 stay-over arrivals in 2011. That figure accounted for a 0.42% drop compared to the previous year’s figure of 305,937 stay-over arrivals. That decline also represents some 1,298 less people who chose to stay-over in Saint Lucia last year. As per a month-by-month basis, January, April, October, November and December of last year were the only months that recorded increases in stay-over arrivals compared to the previous year. Those increases were January (4%, or 927 stay-overs), April (12%, or 3,214 stay-overs) October (8%, or 1,600 stay-overs), November (63%, or 9,210 stay-overs) and December (13%, or 3,544 stay-overs). With respect to the eight main markets targeted, the United States of America remained the island’s key contributor to the tourism sector with 123,599 stay-overs last year. However, there was a 4% decline in stay-over arrivals from that market, with 5,486 less stay-overs last year compared to the previous year’s total stay-overs from the USA which stood at 129,085. Nevertheless, the USA accounted for 40.6% of the stayover arrivals to the island last year.

Other figures recorded for stay-overs were as follows: Markets




United Kingdom Germany France Rest of Europe Canada Caribbean Rest of the World TOTAL

71,635 3,063 7,002 7,074 35,359 52,279 4,628

67,417 4,142 5,842 8,314 32,154 53,998 5,005

4,218 (1,079) 1,180 (1,240) 3,205 (1,719) (377)

% Loss/ Gain 6 -26 20 -15 10 -3 -8

Market % 23.5 1.0 2.3 2.3 11.6 17.2 1.5 59.4

The yachting sector recorded a significant increase during 2011. According to figures from the SLTB, more than 42,000 yachties dropped anchor here during the period under review. That sector, they indicated, is poised for better things – and growth – in the years ahead. A deeper focus on an efficient and enhanced infrastructural and entry requirements processing system is expected in that regard. SLTB officials seem confident that 2012 can be the year to turn the tide and produce positive results the island has recorded in years past At a March 1 press briefing held at the SLTB’s offices, Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis said a 5% increase in arrivals to the island this year is an achievable feat. Part of the Board’s new diversification strategy, he said, includes targeting other markets, including Latin and South America as well as Russia and Sweden. Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, Hon. Lorne Theophilus was also one of the speakers at that press briefing. The minister indicated that creativity and diversity would be key words for the tourism sector to live by in an age where competitiveness has become increasingly fierce. Increased airlift to the island, the minister said, remains a top priority. Between June 28 and September 4 of this year, Theophilus indicated JetBlue would be offering daily non-stop flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Hewanorra International Airport. Additionally increased number of flights into Saint Lucia by Air Caraibe, the French Caribbean carrier, during the winter season should redound to increased access to the local tourism market. Meanwhile, ongoing discussions with American Airlines and Continental Airlines continue as Saint Lucia endeavours to strengthen its US market share. Matthew Beaubrun, Chairman of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, also present at that March 1 press briefing, explained that Saint Lucia is poised to record a significant level of positive spin-offs this year. He cited a modest increased growth in the US market of late as reason for optimism in that regard. The SLTB, he said, will also be focusing on non-traditional markets within the US, such as the Midwest. With respect to the Saint Lucia Jazz, some minor tweaking has been done to the musical event this year in an effort to showcase the heritage BusinessFocus

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and creative industries. These new changes, officials say, will be implemented whenever necessary so as to add more flavour and appeal to the event to enable it to attract a wider audience. Meanwhile, the SLTB seems to have started off the year by sticking to its promise of positive growth in the industry. According to an April 3 press release from them, the island managed to record double-digit growth in stay-over arrivals from major source markets. The figures, which apply to the first two months of the year, indicate that Saint Lucia recorded a 20% increase in stay-overs totaling 63,868 visitors. The United States of America, the largest source market, increased by 13% compared to the same two-month period last year, recording 22,636 visitors.

Figures for other source markets are as follows: SOURCE MARKET United Kingdom Canada Caribbean Germany

January to February 2012 16,549 13,853 5,308 1,022

January to February 2011 12,036 10,611 5,007 902


% Increase

4,513 3,242 301 120

38 31 6 13

  Tourism Director, Louis Lewis, indicated that the increases in the above mentioned markets resulted from strategic plans designed to boost the island’s visibility in the major source markets despite the global competition. The French market, however, recorded a 27% decline in stay-overs. The absence of the direct service from France that was available during the same period last year, officials say, resulted in just 1,487 stay-overs from that market during January and February of this year, compared to 2,040 stay-overs in January and February of last year. Arrivals at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina totaled 5,736 visitors, representing 202 less visitors less than the same period last year. That 3% decline was recorded despite the similar number of calls for the similar period in 2011 and 2012. There was also a 19% decline in arrivals by yacht at Marigot Bay between January and February of this year; from 268 in 2011 to 199 in 2012. Officials noted that this decline may have been triggered by the 21% decline in yacht calls to the island. However, there was an increased number of cruise calls during January and February of this year. As at the end of February, there were 117 cruise calls to the island, representing an 11% increase over the 99 recorded for the same period last year.

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Set to Take to the Skies

What’s ahead

St. Lucia and Caribbean Tourism for rest of 2012? for

CTO Urges

‘Cautious Optimism’

Jamaica’s newest carrier, FlyJamaica, partially owned by Guyanese, Ronald Reece, is parked on the ramp at the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica. The airline’s 757-200 Boeing aircraft, which has the capacity to accommodate approximately 200 passengers, was ferried into the island at the end of March to undergo document and demonstration evaluation, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has confirmed. FlyJamaica will operate between Kingston, Jamaica and Georgetown, Guyana, New York’s JFK and Toronto, Canada, when it does commence operation. It is being viewed by many in the industry as another airline aimed at filling the void left by the demise of Air Jamaica. The airline is expected to give Caribbean Airlines (CAL) competition on the Jamaican and Guyana routes. FlyJamaica’s principals are Guyanese but the company is majority owned and controlled by Jamaicans. The carrier is expected to commence service in April 2012. “We are in the document evaluation stages, the flight crew and cabin crew are completing their training, and the next stage will include a demonstration flight by the carrier, a standard procedure for all new start up carriers,” JCAA’s director of flight operations, Nari William-Singh. Revealing that the airline’s application was far advanced, having completed Best Practices, William-Singh said all that is outstanding needs to be completed before the JCAA can issue an air operator certificate. There is also a process that FlyJamaica needs to complete with the FAA, before they can begin operation. Captain Lloyd Tai, a former senior captain of Air Jamaica, has been retained as a consultant during the certification stages, while Christene Steele, also of the former national carrier, has been named to the team. FlyJamaica is entering the market at a time when airlines such as REDjet, the Caribbean’s first low-cost carrier, has announced indefinite suspension of its flights, claiming its inability to compete with airlines in the region that are subsidised by governments. It is also coming in when the Trinidadian-based carrier, CAL, has made further cuts, after announcing that it would outsource its customer service areas, costing several jobs at both the Sangster International and Norman Manley International airports in Jamaica. ¤


May / June



St. Lucia and other Caribbean tourism destinations that suffered slumps in tourism arrivals last year are paying keen attention to cautious forecasts for 2012, following slow starts in the first quarter as curtains close on the annual industry “season”. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) says there was a rise in tourist arrivals in 2011 when compared to 2010, with further growth forecast this year. But it’s also urging caution. The CTO announced earlier this year that 23.8 million stayover visitors came to the region in 2011, an increase of 3.3% over 2010. Cruise passenger arrivals, however, were flat, rising marginally by 0.3% to 20.6 million. “The Caribbean tourism industry is holding its own, remaining afloat and resilient amidst turbulence in the marketplace. Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean region remained buoyant in 2011, continuing the recovery process which began in 2010,” says Sean Smith, the CTO’s statistical specialist. The rise in arrivals came on the back of a strong performance during the winter months, although there was less than anticipated growth during summer. “Tourist arrivals during the winter months (January to April 2011) were up 4.4% over the previous winter, which had grown by 3.9% over 2009. The summer period ending December 2011 recorded a lower than expected increase of 3%” Smith revealed. The Canadian market performed strongly with arrivals up 6.8% over 2010, but growth from the US was modest at 1.7%, while Europe was flat, recording a 0.6% rise. Smith warned, however, that the Caribbean was not yet out of the woods as the data revealed uneven growth among some destinations and that revenue continued to lag. High unemployment in the major source markets, pressure on the monetary and fiscal systems, as well as high oil prices continued to be of concern to the region, the CTO official said. “In light of these realities, arrivals to the Caribbean are not expected to exceed a 3% increase in 2012 and visitor expenditure is also not expected to grow meaningfully during this year,” Smith said. Cruise arrivals, he added, are likely to rise by only two to three percent in 2012. The St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) in March revealed the island had suffered in every major industry sector in 2011 - except yachting, which the SLTB says it will be targeting more heavily to boost flagging tourism earnings. ¤

Is UK Airport Tax Increase Hurting

Caribbean Travel and Tourism? Is Britain’s Airline Passenger Duty (APD) – increased yet again as of April 1st – hurting Caribbean tourism? Caribbean tourism officials and international airlines flying between Britain and the islands say the tax is hurting travel to the region from the UK. But one luxury UK tour operator says travel to the islands has actually increased despite the APD. So, who’s right? Well, it depends on who you believe…. Most industry operators say the APD will have a negative effect. Several airlines, including British Airways, Easy Jet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryan Air protested against the latest increase in the travel tax long before it was implemented. The Caribbean countries also received support from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which says that over the next 12 months following the implementation of the latest increase, the British government could collect £2.8 billion in extra tax from air travellers – far more than any country in the world. In contrast, the WTTC says, if the APD is removed, 91,000 British jobs could be created and £4.2 billion could be added to the economy within the same time frame. The Caribbean governments, tourism industry officials and the protesting airlines all called on London to suspend the April 1st increase, but to no avail. They argued that the 8% increase would reduce passenger numbers and hinder the UKs economic recovery, but London just wasn’t listening. The anti-APD lobby produced figures to show that with the latest increase, a family of four flying from the UK to the Caribbean will now have to fork out US$625.08 in taxes, compared with US$125.06 in 2005. The airlines warned that this could have a domino effect, as fewer families flying would also result in less jobs within the tourism, aviation and hospitality industries. They argued that the disproportionate tax on people’s holidays was also affecting business travel at a time when economies needed assistance. The British government confirmed that the APD would rise at double the rate of inflation on April 1st, adding between £4 - £28 to the cost of a holiday for a family of four. Richard Skerritt, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Minister of Tourism for St Kitts and Nevis, warned the latest increase will further damage the region’s economy, which is

particularly dependent on tourism. But the Caribbean’s arguments have been countered by a new study claiming that travel to the region has not been hurt by the rising costs. Research by British luxury tour operator, Hayes & Jarvis, suggests that APD is having little impact on visitor numbers to the region. The Sussex-based company said that bookings to the Caribbean have risen by 37% last year and its research is supported by the Post Office, which recently reported an increase in sales of the Barbados dollar by 12% since 2011 and the Trinidad and Tobago dollar by 22%. However, the CTO maintains its claims that APD has been a contributing factor to a decline in the number of British holidaymakers visiting the Caribbean in recent years. It adds that members of the Caribbean community living in Britain have had to reduce their travel to the region, to visit friends and family, by up to a fifth. “The news is a huge disappointment,” Skerritt said, adding, “The rate of APD to the Caribbean is already too high and discriminates against the Caribbean because of the way that it is structured.” Due to the way the tax is calculated – by measuring the distance from London to the destination’s capital city – those flying to the Caribbean currently contribute more in APD than those flying to California or Hawaii.Despite ongoing protests from Caribbean governments and months of discussions between representatives from the islands and the Treasury, the British government refused to yield over the issue. However, Skerritt saidadvert he and the CTO would continue - Business Focus.pdf 1 7/28/2011 12:50:01 to fight for APD to be reformed. ¤

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Businesses Urged Mark-Ups on Lifesaving Drugs Are Too High to Have AIDS Tests at Workplaces

Local AIDS campaigners and the Ministry of Health have been calling on local employers to introduce AIDS testing at the workplace. Chief among those making the call is Nahum Jn. Baptiste, the head of the local AIDS/HIV Secretariat, who says it will make it easier for workers to be tested and will redound to the benefit of the workplace generally. A similar call has been made by Caribbean Chief Medical Officers, who gathered here recently to discuss delivery of AIDS/HIV care services to various communities. The CMOs want AIDS testing and care to be decentralised from specialised agencies and provided at all health centres and community medical institutions. Workplaces have not yet been responding as positively as the AIDS/HIV lobby would like, as traditional fears and prejudices continue to dominate. However, the Employers Federation backs the Ministry’s call. The Ministry of Health earlier this year conducted pilot tests to offer AIDS/HIV care services at three northern health centres, after which it is now seeking to make decentralisation a policy. Local activists and health institutions say there have been successes in the local AIDS/HIV fight to date, with signs that rates of infection are decreasing. But they warn against complacency and urge that even more efforts be made to continue reducing the incidence of AIDS and HIV island-wide.


May / June



Medication costs are found to be too high in Barbados, so St. Lucia and other OECS member-states are watching closely at their own medicine price mark-ups. Barbados’ Minister of Commerce and Trade, Haynesley Benn, who made the disclosure about Barbados’ costs, called on retailers to revisit the cost of drugs, especially lifesaving pharmaceuticals, and bring the prices down. Drugs used to treat arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease were among those identified by the senator as attracting mark-ups as high as 132% and Mr. Benn urged the pharmacies across the island to reduce their costs as soon as possible. Among the drugs identified by the senator as being overcharged for are Cataflam, Baralgin, Metformin, Lipitor and Crestor. “The least mark-up that I have seen between wholesale and retail is 50% and I have seen some as high as 125%, 132.6%...” he said. The minister issued a stern warning to wholesalers and retailers within the sector that the Barbados Ministry of Commerce would be watching their prices over the next few months. “We are going to be watching. We are going to be publishing the information and if they don’t co-operate by giving us the information, we will get the information somehow,” he said, vowing to protect consumers. Mr. Benn suggested that retailers could easily cover their costs including wages, electricity and water with a 30 to 35 per cent mark-up. “It is not good. There are people who are depending on these drugs. They cannot do any better because they want to keep living, but it is exorbitant and it has to be addressed,” Mr. Benn stated. St. Lucian and other OECS nationals, following the Barbados minister’s disclosure, have been taking more time out to compare costs of medicines in the islands with those in Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. The increasing costs of such medicines are also driving patients to seek cheaper alternative drugs, a process which traps many into paying less for cheaper drugs that are either ineffective or fake.

Ministry of Agriculture

Establishes Southern Bureau


Up Consumer Product

The Ministry of Agriculture has opened a southern office to take the minister’s services to the farming and fishing communities of the south. The new office, located at Beausejour in Vieux Fort, is a renovated building at the old Beausejour Farm and was reconfigured to allow Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Moses Jn. Baptiste to ease the pressure on farmers and fishermen from the island’s south. “Up til now, every time they have had to try to see the minister, farmers and fishermen from the south have had to travel up to Castries and hope for the best, or make an appointment before leaving for Castries, but that has been a constant pressure on them and they were never even sure of seeing the minister.” “Not anymore,” the minister added, explaining that, “I will be making myself available to them by leaving Castries and meeting them in the south, closer to home and where they are sure they will find me, without competition, like they would have in Castries.” The new office has already been welcomed by farmers and fishermen, who are taking advantage of the availability of the minister to meet and discuss with him their various problems, old and new. Banana farmers, in particular, are already making use of the office to consult the minister and ministry officials regarding their fight against Black Sigatoka, as well as to seek information about agricultural extension services.

Warning System

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has introduced an online consumer-protection warning system in which 13 million consumers in 14 member states can alert authorities to dangerous products on the market, except food. Dubbed the CARICOM Rapid Exchange System for Dangerous Non-food Consumer Goods – CARREX – the system was created in response to calls by consumer groups for stronger regionwide market surveillance for unsafe consumer goods, CARICOM officials said. CARREX operates its Consumer Product Incident Reporting System through a website – – on which consumers in any CARICOM country can alert their national contact point about a product, which they have found to cause harm or poses a safety hazard. On the CARREX website, consumers and consumer organisations are advised that the information they supply will be treated as confidential and used only to process their report, enforce national laws or CARICOM treaty provisions or identify areas for improving laws and regulations currently in force. CARICOM officials said CARREX will alert on non-food consumer products, from motor vehicles and electrical items to toys and a range of other products CARICOM consumers use. The CARREX system does not cover food safety which is monitored by the Suriname-based Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA). National contact points have been created in all CARICOM member states except Bahamas which is not participating in the scheme. The Bahamas, while a member of the 15-nation Caribbean Community since 1983, has never signed on as a member of the regional bloc’s customs union and is not bound by the group’s economic decisions, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The consumer protection system was a decision of CARICOM trade ministers, who met under the banner of the powerful Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), last November. In the lead-up to the launch, officials from the national contact points were trained on the use of a “secure system”, which allows them to transmit notifications to each other through a regional secretariat located at the CARICOM’s CSME unit, based in Bridgetown, Barbados CARICOM said. BusinessFocus

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events 2012 ST. LUCIA JAZZ 5th – 13th May 2012, St. Lucia The island dances to the beat of music filling the air and tourism takes on a whole new meaning. The two main objectives for this truly Saint Lucian festival are to provide a platform to showcase Saint Lucia to a broad cross-section of potential visitors and to redress the traditional trough period in May, so that visitor arrivals and occupancy levels can be on par with that of the winter period. For further info: CARIBBEAN HOTEL & RESORT INVESTMENT SUMMIT (CHRIS) 7th – 8th May 2012 – JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Miami Over 300 hotel industry leaders attended last year’s summit. The groundbreaking conference is an efficient way for the hotel investment community interested in the Caribbean to conduct their business. For more info: TRADE & INVESTMENT CONVENTION (TIC) 16th – 19th May 2012 – Hyatt Regency Hotel, Trinidad Hosted by the Trinidad & Tobago Manufacture’s Association (TTMA), the Trade and Investment Convention is the region’s biggest business-to-business event, bringing together manufacturers, service providers, exporters, buyers, distributors, wholesalers and investors at a unique forum. For further info: CARAIFA - SALES CONGRESS 20th – 24th May - San Pedro, Belize This is an annual conference of the Life Underwriters/Financial Advisors throughout the region. Motivational and inspiring speakers from Caraifa member territories and internationally will be featured. The theme for 2012 is “Today’s Excellence… Tomorrow’s Legacy”. For further info: CARIBBEAN SHIPPING EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE 21st – 23rd May 2012 – Jacksonville, Florida This annual meeting is designed for senior executives, principals and key decisionmakers in the shipping industry. It provides a valuable forum for learning and gathering useful and current information about all aspects of shipping and is invaluable for networking and establishing new business contacts. For further info: CARILEC'S CEO'S SYMPOSIUM 28th – 30th May 2012, Grenada This event provides CEOs with an opportunity to further examine means to foster deeper integration amongst members, analyzing the benefits of sharing knowledge shared resources, and the collective strengthen of their bargaining power. It also provides a forum for networking with associate vendor companies. For further info:


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events 2012 32ND ANNUAL CARIBBEAN INSURANCE CONFERENCE 3rd – 5th June 2012 – St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands The Insurance Association of the Caribbean (IAC) Inc. hosts this conference for over 500 delegates from 38 countries from the insurance, financial and business sectors. The objective is to provide an information sharing and collaborative forum for Caribbean insurance regulatory authorities, insurance educational institutes, actuaries and other groups with interest in the Caribbean insurance industry. For further info: CARIBBEAN FASHION WEEK 7th – 11th June 2012 – National Indoor Sports Centre, Kingston, Jamaica Established by Pulse Investments Ltd. in 2001, Caribbean Fashion Week is the region’s largest, best produced, most recognized and internationally respected fashion event. The event features the Caribbean’s best designers, world famous supermodels & celebrities, important fashion press from around the world as well as local, regional and international fashion buyers. For further info: CARIBBEAN TOURISM SUMMIT 15th – 16th June 2012 – The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica CHTA, in conjunction with the Caribbean Tourism Organization and Jamaica, is hosting the Caribbean Tourism Summit. This event is open to all tourism and hospitality industry personnel in the Caribbean region and those involved with the region. CHTA’s 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee Gala Banquet will be held on 16th June 2012. For further info: TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN 20th – 24th June 2012 – Hyatt Regency, Miami Organised by the CHTA, this Caribbean food and beverage event and competition is not to be missed. Use the opportunity to network, polish professional skills and cheer on colleagues in competition, before a large audience of industry peers and consumer culinary enthusiasts. The event also provides education and inspiration through seminars, workshops, tastings and demonstrations, created to enhance performance, style and profitability in food and beverage operations. For further info: 30TH ICAC CARIBBEAN CONFERENCE OF ACCOUNTANTS 21st – 23rd June, 2012 – Grand Royal Beach Resort, Antigua The Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) continues to host their premier social event while at the same time ensuring the continued professional development of accountants in the region. The conference provides a forum for accountants in the region to network and to examine regulatory issues and other matters impacting the profession globally. For further info:


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MAJOR MOVES Mr. Greg Graves has been appointed to the position of Managing Director of Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd., effective February 15th, 2012. Mr. Graves takes over from Mr. Jonatha n Hall who has taken up the post of Managing D i re c to r of Brailirwa Ltd, a unit of Heineken International in Rawanda. An American citizen, Mr. Graves has 15 years of international beer industry experience holding senior management positions with Heineken International both in the USA and Europe. His most recent position was General Manager for Heineken’s Western European Export and Global Duty Free operation where he was responsible for driving the growth of the company’s global premium brands in key duty free and import channels. Mr. Graves, commenting on his appointment said: “I am very excited about the opportunity to join the Windward and Leeward Brewery. The company has great brands in Heineken, Piton and Guinness that consumers and customers love, and a professional staff that is passionate about what they do. I look forward to working with the team and continuing to grow the business.” Rudy Gurley Heads the New DCA Board The Development Control Authority (DCA) Board has been selected and appointed – and will be chaired by accountant, entrepreneur and former telecoms executive, Rudy Gurley. The new board has already had its first meeting, which was chaired by the Housing and Physical Development Minister Senator Stanley Felix, who outlined the government’s expectations and vision plan BusinessFocus

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for the new board. Under the Land Development Act, the DCA is charged with responsibility for directing and regulating the orderly development of land in Saint Lucia. Chairman Gurley says it is a charge which he “fully accepts” and assured that the DCA, under his leadership, “will aim to provide quality service in an efficient manner and to execute its mandate with integrity.” Gurley says the DCA board “is also mindful of the pivotal role the DCA plays in improving the ease of doing business in Saint Lucia.” Other DCA board members include representatives of the Ministry of Physical Development, LUCELEC, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and WASCO, among others. Senator Felix says the wide range of professionals selected for the current board was “deliberately chosen to inform debate and discussion about the approval of applications that come before the DCA.” Other members of the DCA Board are: Calixte George Jr., Jacqueline Charles, Albert Jn. Baptiste, Wenn Gabriel, Kenwell Jn. Baptiste, Matthew Alcide, Filan Nicholas, Augustin Poyotte, Hildreth Lewis, Leslie Mondesir, Kenny Hyacinth, Crispin d’Auvergne and Peter Albert. Local Surveyors Appointed to Royal Institute Two local surveyors have taken their place in the royalty of their trade. St. Lucia’s Commissioner of Crown Lands Celsus Baptiste, and Rufinus Baptiste, a private land surveyor, have both been awarded membership of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Membership in the RICS is confirmation of considerable professional experience, professionalism and ethical practice. A RICS designation is considered a badge of honour and achievement in surveying and its recipients are expected to show a commitment to the RICS Code of Ethics and serving public interest. Celsus Baptiste is the Commissioner of Crown Lands. He has more than 20 years in the field of Valuation Surveying and has worked on projects such as the Roseau Dam and the Beausejour Cricket Grounds. Rufinus Baptiste has more than 26 years in Land Surveying and has been upgraded to the designation of FRICS (Fellow of RICS)

– the highest prestigious international accreditation for surveying professionals. The two local surveyors have been congratulated by their peers for their achievement.

Zone Manager for Sandals La Toc, Golf Resort and Spa, Cyril Joseph Saltibus is re s p o n s i b l e for effectively managing the daily operations of his assigned rooming zone, with direct responsibility to create, implement and maintain procedures to ensure consistency and high quality. With his experience as Maintenance Manager for Le Sport Hotel, Aide-De-Camp to the Governor General of Saint Lucia and most recently the Night and Duty Manager at Sandals Grande he is certainly well placed to succeed in this current title. His off duty positions are as colourful as his on duty ones and include President of the Museums Association of the Caribbean; Secretary on the Council of St. Lucia National Trust; Technical Advisor to the Le Pavillion Royal Museum and is a member of the Army Cadet Force Association in the UK. Saltibus believes that this position will allow him to put into practice all the various skills that he has mastered over the years; however he has his eye on the Hotel Manager post in the future. Trinidad born, Clare Sharpe joined Unique Vacations, Ltd., part of the Sandals Resort International family right here in Saint Lucia in July 2011. She holds the position of E-Chat Manager for the Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple websites overseeing over 50 agents across





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Rosemary Deligny is the new Chairperson Her responsibilities include coming up for the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce’s with new and innovative ways to capture Youth Business Trust (YBT), which was online booking revenue through the chat established last year to coincide with forum. With the company's high levels of Global Entrepreneurial week observances excellence, evaluating agents' performance here. The Island Manager for the Duty Free is essential to maintaining those standards. She has earned a Bachelor's degree in Caribbean and Colombian Emeralds to Friday Hospitality Management from Florida branches in St. Lucia and Grenada, Mrs. International University and feels that her Deligny has served several terms on the to 4:30pm new position is challenging, exciting and Board of Directors of the Chamber of innovative. Clare has been with UVI since Commerce. She also served as Chairperson January 1999 and started as a reservation of the Chamber’s Membership Committee agent. She then moved to Supervisor of and more recently on the panel of judges Reservations and E-chat. Additionally for the Chamber’s 2012 St. Lucia Business she loves to travel; is an avid reader and Awards. The YBT was established on November spends her weekends soaking up the sun at the beach. She also has a passion for 15th 2011 to assist young entrepreneurs philanthropy which is evident by her to start and operate successful businesses enthusiastic involvement with the Sandals and Mrs. Deligny has pledged to do all she can to help ensure the YBT’s objectives are Foundation. achieved. In its first five months, the YBT has been making connections with young 4-3635 or 454-5545. Fax: 454-8734. entrepreneurs, corporate society and more recently with young inmates at the Bordelais Correctional Facility, where its Caribbean Airlines members have pledged to do all they can effective 14 March to assist former inmates start their own 2012 promoted businesses. Robert Corbie to Chief Operating Officer. Corbie, an 
 experienced Local businessman airline executive with 28 years of industry Roston Taylor is experience, started his career at BWIA as the new Chairman a customer service agent and has been of the St. Lucia CAL’s' acting CEO since 2010. A former Free Zone Regional Director of Sales, and recently Management Vice-President, his employers credit him Authority. for "driving the airline to surpass industry The authority is standards of on-time performance". a statutory body "Under his tenure, the airline has that regulates added new routes, upgraded its fleet, the island’s free boosted cargo and duty free operations, zones, including and has been voted the 'Best Caribbean Airline' by the World Travel Awards for two the St. Lucia Trade Zone in Vieux Fort, consecutive years." Corbie has also been where its management office is located. Taylor, Managing Director of North responsible for the integration of the Air American Assemblies (located at the Odsan Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines brands. "Congratulations to Mr. Corbie as we Free Zone in South East Castries) has been evolve into a globally renowned airline in the Free Zone business for as long as it’s with exceptional team members," said been operating here – since 2001; and his Caribbean Airlines Chairman, George business has been located in a free zone for the past 19 years. Nicholas III.



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The new Chairman previously served as an Investment Promotion Officer with the National Development Corporation (NDC) and is well acquainted with the workings of free zones and related matters. He says that in the context of the current and recent global changes, they will be need to re-think the concepts and strategies to ensure the country adjusts to current and Saturday future realities. 7:30am to 1pm “The concept of a free zone is good, but we need to make it attract more local and regional investors, rather than continuing to depend on international business,” he said. Taylor also proposes that a business entity be appointed to administer the Vieux Fort Trade Zone, so that the authority can concentrate more on regulatory matters.

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A member of the

rial Estate, Vieux Fort, St. Lucia

group of companies Edward Harris is back with the Gafsons Group of Companies which has operations in Guyana, B a r b a d o s , Grenada and St. Lucia. He is the General Manager of Essential Hardware Ltd. and New Frontier Industries Ltd. located in the Industrial Estate, Vieux Fort. The companies are involved in the distribution and manufacturing of building materials. Plans are in place for expansion in St. Lucia to include a bonded distribution of bulk building materials locally and throughout the OECS. Essential Hardware Ltd. is the distributor for ARAWAK Cement and manufactures galvanised roofing materials up to 40 ft in length. It is expected that with the appointment of Mr. Harris who served the membership of SLISBA for over 16 years and was a Rotarian for several years that the company’s support to business associations and clubs in the south will be greatly expanded.


May / June





GLAMMO (St.Lucia) Inc.

Retail of handmade Jewelry

Ville Ounapuu

Hyacinth Family Foundation Incorporated

To support the needs of the less fortunate and needy people in St.Lucia and to engage in charitable work

Francis Paul Hyacinth, Joan Hyacinth Linus Hyacinth, Adrian Hyacinth Aloysius Hyacinth,Carter Hyacinth Joanne Francois

Bonne Baguette Bakery Ltd.


Riquette Bonne – Smith Francoise – Stoll Lepercq

Xanadu House Ltd.

Property Holdings

Co. Direc.Ltd.

Landings Resort Employees Ltd.

Retail of handmade Jewelry

Evan Hermiston Craig Barnard Frank Heaps

Saint Lucia Institute of Architects

Architectural Services

Hildreth Lewis Claude Guillaume Kofi Dovor

Ad Agio Limited

Property Holding Company

Tony DuBoulay

Soldiers Around Me Inc.

Entertainment, Design and Manufacturing Casim James of Clothing, Production of Beverages Chadwick Lewis Jean Thomas Linus Rameau

Tenderoni Foods Inc.

Manufacturing, processing or packaging of food products

Rudy Gurly Susanna Gurley

Dizzi Creations Inc.

Baking of cakes and other related foods

Wendy Delmar Andy Delmar

Bounty Farm Inc.

To carry on the business of rearing and merchandising, in livestock and any commodity whatsoever that has to do with the rearing and growth of livestock

Troy Adams Marilyn Adams Joachim Henry

Delta Force Construction Limited

Construction work

Hyacinth Octave

Upwind Investments (St.Lucia) Ltd.

Property Holding Company

Mark Eban

Socrates Ltd

Property Holding Company

Michelle Bareggi

C&M Construction & Cabinetry Inc.

Construction and cabinetry and all related David Medard services. Plumbing and electrical, rental of Earl Charlery heavy equipment, earthmoving and other related services.

Solar Connections Inc.

Retail Supply of Solar Equipment and appliances.

Le Meilleur Inc.

Import and Export of Medical Supplies and Sulal P.Mathai Textiles Sibi Gopalakrishnan

Robren Estate Ltd.

Property Holding Company

Robert Bergen Elliott Renate Elliott

Penn Inc.

Property Holding Company

Peron Schouten


May / June



Julian Adjodha




Signlink Inc.

Signage, Roadmarking, Architectural Products.

Ian Simon

B and G 2012 Ltd.

Land Development

Ross Gardner Anthony Brooks

Master Properties Limited

Real Estate Development and Investments

Callistus Vern Gill

Caribbean Ocean Racing Association Limited

To market and organize yacht races and Ali Pascal Mahvi provide training for sailors for qualification Michael Bryant as representatives of the Caribbean in Christopher Barker those races.

Absolute Media Incorporated

To assist companies/businesses to explore, develop and enhance the media communications, product, project and brand development from concept to implementation.

Jemy Altenor Sonacia james Cecil Sylvester Alvin St. Clair Kurt Reynolds

Tarramore Limited

Property Acquisition and Development

Jeremy Rodney -Hudson

Window & Door Materials Ltd.

Manufacturer of doors, windows and awnings

Jiang Yun Fan Jiang Bo Fan

RMP Development Ltd.

Providing development and construction services

Robert Mark Pelda

National Air Condition and Refrigeration Association Inc.

A company not for profit engaging in activities involving establishing an umbrella association of persons involved in air condition and refrigeration work.

Edmund St. Mark Michael Harte Percival Beausoleil Verne Emmanuel Aaron Doxilly David Charles Edmund Glasgow, oseph Evans

Fanis Small Business Centre Limited

Rental of Premises

Richard Fanis

Home and Land Concepts Ltd.

Property Ownership

Glitz Corporate Services Ltd.

Mampa Agency Ltd.

Employment Agency

Jacqui Raveneau

Hamtrust Holdings Ltd.

Property Holdings

Peron Schouten

Trans Holdings Ltd.

Property Holdings

Peron Schouten

TTF Inc.

Property Holdings

Peron Schouten

Future Farm Company Limited

Rearing of pigs, broiler and layers and vegetable crops

Charline Sonnie Benedict Ochilly

Construction Brokerage, Trucking and Services Ltd.

Construction Trucking, Brokerage and related services

Justin Alfred

Insight Business Consultancy and Advisory Services Ltd. (IBCAS)

Consultancy and Business Advisory Services

Desmond Simon Sharon Hackett – Simon Dr. Peter Clement

Kyle Construction Limited

Construction Engineering

James Alexander Kyle


May / June






Washington Medical Science Institute (St.Lucia) Inc.

Medical supplies, services education training and related services

Dr. Umarani Natesan Dr. Weymouth Spence Dr. Subramanian Sasi Priya Weymouth Spence, Jr

Total Office (St.Lucia) Ltd.

Supplying Commercial Office Products

Ryan Proudfoot Troy Nieves Kris Nieves

Harbour 12 Limited

Residential Lettings

Richard Spalding Yvonne Spalding

Sugar–Loaves Ranch Ltd.

Horseback Riding

Hayley Shantelle Moses

Lambees Rentals and Events Management Incorporated

Motor vehicle rental, heavy equipment rental, food and beverage equipment rental

Paul Eugene Lambert

Trash Busters Limited

Management and disposal of waste materials

Denis Mauricette

Avance Inc.

Consulting and strategic planning advisory Wayne Auguste services Jodi Boodhoo Kendell Gill

Core Energy (St.Lucia) Ltd.

Development of Geothermal Energy

Stephen Baker Richard Johnson Eric Heilborn Neill Hines Neil Wieler

Michel Equipment Rentals & Construction Inc.

Equipment Rental & Construction Inc.

ohn Gualbert Michel Scholastica Michel John Gaulbert Michel Jr. Synadia Michel

Sunrise Landscaping Ltd.


Phillip Emmanuel

FAIRDEAL Construction Ltd.

Building Construction

Bonaventure Joseph

Caribbean Couriers Brokerage Services Ltd.

Courier Services

Paul Trevor Matthews Nea Greavis Louis


May / June



Award Winning

HARRIS PAINTS The Caribbean Champions of Colour St Lucia Manufacturers Association Award winning company and member of the International Organization of Standardization (ISO 9001:2008) for High Quality Management.

Manufacturer in: Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St.Lucia Available in: Anguilla, Antigua, Belize, Grenada & Carriacou, Montserrat, St.Kitts & Nevis, St.Maarten, St.Vincent & the Grenadines Suriname, The Cayman Islands.

St. Lucia Business Focus 63  

The Business of Manufacturing

St. Lucia Business Focus 63  

The Business of Manufacturing