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Issue No. 62

FICS is Business of the Year www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com

Mar/Apr 2012


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No. 62

BF

Mar/Apr 2012

Contents FEATURES Cover Story

69. The Chamber of Commerce’s St. Lucia Business Awards 2012 86. FICS – the award winner celebrates 20 years of business

REGULARS

Editor’s Focus 04. Happy Holidays

06. Business Briefs Business Tech 08. Watch List 10. Intranets and their benefits 11. Caribbean can take lead in fight against cybercrime 14. Money Matters 22. Talking Tax 66. Profile Focus 66. Sainsbury’s CEO holds master class session In The Know 42. Ethics, performance & excellence in business 44. Benefits of a CSR agenda 46: Business Excellence: When surviving is not enough 48. Detecting shoplifters 50. Eastern Caribbean gas pipeline back on stream 52. Absenteeism and what you can do to reduce it 53. The consumer’s recession mindset

EXTRAS

Business Spotlight 50. Automotive Art – Tips on replacing tyres Economy & Trading Focus 26. Regional growth slowing 28. Private sector trade note 32. Venezuelan Embassy eyes better business ties 33. CARICOM countries benefiting more from US trade pact Environmental Focus 24. Global catastrophes fail to drive up insurance premiums 25. Entrepreneurial solutions for a thirsty planet 58. Torism Focus 60. Record number of accolades in 2011 94. Bizz Buzz Health & Wellness 98. Fat profits embrace big people 99. Events 2011/12 101. Major Moves 104. New Company Registrations BusinessFocus

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EDITOR’S FOCUS

Celebrating Excellence &

Doing Business Better

BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh email: lokesh@amsstlucia.com Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - alex@amsstlucia.com Graphic Designer: Donald Brower Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - cennette@amsstlucia.com Hudson Myers - hudson@amsstlucia.com Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services Photography: Advertising & Marketing Services Ashley Anzie

This issue of BF comes at an interesting period in St. Lucia’s business calendar: just after a new government with a new Prime Minister and a new Chamber of Commerce President met and agreed to work together to make St. Lucia a better place for doing business. Changes of government result in changes of policies and priorities. However, one priority that cannot escape any government’s judgment is the economy – and, by extension, those aspects of economic development that reside in the domain of the private sector. The new government has promised to engage the private sector in the battle to regain national economic gravity. The private sector is willing to engage. It is to be hoped that the two sides – public and private sectors – will find the appropriate median. In this issue, BF appropriately features the Chamber of Commerce’s hosting of the 3rd Annual St. Lucia Business Awards and the 20th anniversary of the island’s best known non-bank financial institution, FICS. The former is worth encouraging and the latter is worth emulating. And both features seek to highlight the absolutely positive aspects of each of these milestones. This issue also contains the usual items that will prepare you and your business mind for a year that we like you, hope will be fruitful, beneficial and profitable. We always invest in your confidence in our ability, as a nation, to meet all challenges and come out on top. This will not be so for all, but we also know that those who don’t succeed the first time should always try again. That’s the spirit of business and enterprise. We have what it takes. All we need is the resolve – of which we have fathomless reserves, only waiting to be discovered and activated. Meanwhile, as we observe our 33rd Independence Anniversary this year, here’s hoping that we all rise to the challenging theme that reminds us that we are One Nation and One People with Endless Possibilities.

Happy Reading! Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor BusinessFocus

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Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop Andrew Crawford Bolton | Richard Branson Pilaiye Cenac | Betty Combie | CRNM First Citizens Investment Services ECFH | Faithaline Hippolyte | Rashid Jean-Baptiste Carol Kinsey Goman | Ricardo La Borde James Melik | Harvey Millar | Bevil Wooding Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email: ams@candw.lc www.amsstlucia.com, www.stluciafocus.com 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: Sharmaine Rosemond-Francois & the team at FICS


BUSINESS BRIEFS

ECCU still Negotiating with Trinidad for CLICO/BAICO Policyholders St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, says the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) is looking to redress from the Trinidad and Tobago government over the fallout from the collapses of CLICO and British-American Insurance Company (BAICO). Dr. Douglas revealed that the ECCU continues to seek financial relief from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, both in support of policyholders as well as in support of regional institutions whose investments in British-American Insurance Company (BAICO) now pose a risk to the member countries. He noted a Health Insurance Fund was in place for most of last year in order to assist affected BAICO health insurance policyholders. “Even as we continue to pursue the best possible outcomes for policyholders, however, it should be understood that final outcomes for BAICO and CLICO will not be the same - due to the assets held by CLICO,” said Prime Minister Douglas. Dr. Douglas, who is also the St. Kitts Minister of Finance, said the complex and highly technical undertaking of recapitalizing and selling BAICO is now underway. “Final negotiations with a preferred bidder should begin this quarter, due diligence being of absolute and utmost importance,” he disclosed. He said that at the end of this process, which could last until the third quarter of this year, regional Governments wish to see “policyholders having received some relief, and a significantly strengthened ECCU insurance marketplace.” The Prime Minister said it was anticipated that some 2 out of every 3 of BAICO’s remaining policy holders will be assisted as a result of the efforts of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. BusinessFocus

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Minister of Commerce, Business Development & Consumer Affairs – Emma Hippolyte, ECFH GMD – Robert Norstrom & SMA President – Paula Calderon

ECFH Endorses Manufacturers Association Quality Awards Programme East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited (ECFH) has lent its full support to the Saint Lucia Manufacturers Association (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. Paula Calderon, SMA President, lauded the ECFH Group for recognizing the importance of the manufacturing sector as an engine for the promotion of economic growth and development; and its impact on St. Lucia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). She indicated that the Quality Awards Programme would not have materialized without the endorsement and financial support of ECFH. The Minister of Commerce, Business Development & Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte, also commended the initiative, and pledged the full support of the Government of Saint Lucia. Group Managing Director, Robert Norstrom, applauded the SMA for the establishment of the Quality Awards Programme, to which the ECFH Group officially contributed $30,000 EC dollars. The support is a clear demonstration of ECFH’s commitment to the sustainable growth and development of this crucial sector. The awards will be presented in three categories - gold, platinum and diamond. The SMA Quality Awards event is scheduled for March 2012 and will form part of St. Lucia’s Independence celebrations.

Caribbean Airlines flies to St. Lucia Caribbean Airlines is happy to announce its non-stop daily flights from Port of Spain, Trinidad to George F. L. Charles, Castries, St. Lucia and also daily from St. Lucia to Trinidad. St Lucia Minister for Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, The Honorable Lorne Theophilus states, “This service certainly provides St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago greater air access into each other’s countries and paves the way for our peoples to deepen participation in events in our respective countries such as carnival, jazz and our Creole Heritage activities during the month of October.” The Minister goes on to state that, “Trinidad has traditionally been a very important Caribbean tourism source market for St. Lucia and this service by Caribbean Airlines into George F.L. Charles airport will make it extremely attractive for Trinidadians to not only come to St. Lucia for our big events but to make St. Lucia their weekend getaway destination of choice in the Eastern Caribbean. This will also provide greater travelling options for many St. Lucian students pursuing tertiary education at various educational institutions in Trinidad. We hope that this service succeeds as this will be one more bridge built in making the dream of Caribbean economic, social and cultural integration a reality.” Caribbean Airlines Acting CEO, Robert Corbie noted, “St. Lucia has been of strategic interest to us and we are excited to offer our CARICOM neighbours reliable scheduled airlift within the Caribbean.”


BUSINESS BRIEFS

Govt. and Chamber to Join Hands to Make St. Lucia Better for Doing Business

HOVENSA Oil Refinery to Close in St Croix

OECS Chairman Pushes Single Market Ideals

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has pledged his government’s cooperation with the local private sector to improve St. Lucia’s “Doing Business” standings with the World Bank. PM Anthony met with officials of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, to meet key social partners after the general elections. The Chamber identified the need to improve the environment for the Chamber of Commerce to accomplish the improvement of the ease of doing business in Saint Lucia as its number one priority in this year. The Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Brian Louisy, articulated the challenges faced by his members, while highlighting the Chamber’s commitment to partnering with Government and training institutions to achieve the common objective of a stronger economy. Dr. Anthony gave the government’s commitment to ensuring that the necessary environment is created through tax reform, trade facilitation and infrastructural development, in order to help the private sector recover from the debilitating economic conditions prevailing at this time. Dr. Anthony emphasized that, “Upon reflection it is imperative that we use this period of economic adjustment in a creative way to address and resolve our existing problems. That includes identifying the bottlenecks in the administrative and financial systems and coming up with ways to eliminate them so as to reduce transaction time and cost.” The parties agreed to the establishment of a three-member task force to review and assess the “Ease of Doing Business in Saint Lucia” and to make recommendations to the government to improve the business environment.

The giant HOVENSA oil refinery that has dominated the economy and part of the landscape of the island of St. Croix for decades – and where an inestimable number of St. Lucians are employed sending remittances to their families here – announced in January that it would cease operations in February, 2012. The refinery, the largest employer in the U.S. Virgin Islands and once one of the largest refiners in the Western Hemisphere, will shut down and be converted to an oil storage terminal, said Brian K. Lever, president and Chief Operating Officer of HOVENSA LLC. Losses at the refinery have totaled $1.3 billion in the past three years alone and were projected to continue. These losses have been caused primarily by weakness in demand for refined petroleum products due to the global economic slowdown and the addition of new refining capacity in emerging markets. “We deeply regret the closure of the HOVENSA refinery and the impact on our dedicated people,” Lever said, adding, “We explored all available options to avoid this outcome, but severe financial losses left us with no other choice.” After formal shutdown of the refinery, most people will continue working through a transition period over a number of months. Thereafter, approximately 100 people will remain to work at the oil storage terminal. In January, HOVENSA entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department in which the company agreed to invest $700 million on pollution controls after a series of chemical releases affected people living downwind from the refinery. HOVENSA also agreed to pay a $5.4 million penalty for violating the Clean Air Act.

New chairman of the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) authority, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, has called on his peers to recommit to free movement through the sub-region. “In respect of economic development, the creation of a free unified internal market cannot be realised unless the appropriate conditions are put in place that would allow the productive potential and capacity of the people of this region to flourish,” said Dr Anthony as he addressed the opening of the 54th meeting of the OECS authority in January in St Lucia. He called on OECS heads of government to urgently push strategic and legislative requirements to further advance the free movement of OECS nationals. Anthony noted that: “If OECS heads are to deliver on the long term development objectives of the region, realising acceptable rates of economic growth, creating new employment opportunities and ensuring social equity and improved standard of living - the free movement of persons and labour and the rights contingent to these must be secured within the economic union area. Dr. Anthony also challenged other OECS member states who have not yet allowed the free movement of nationals in their respective countries to put in place the required legislation and administrative arrangements to give effect to the right of free movement in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and to do so as a matter of urgent priority. He also encouraged those member states which have not yet brought the revised treaty into domestic law to do so expeditiously. He noted that without the enactment of the enabling legislation by all protocol member states, the operationalisation of the economic union simply could not proceed. Courtesy: Caribbean360.com BusinessFocus

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BUSINESS TECH

WatchList By Bevil Wooding

There are a variety of new technologies that businesses need to keep an eye on in 2012. These technologies are already being widely adopted and strategically deployed. They can provide productivity boosts and competitive advantages to organisations and individuals alike. 1. Tablets

computers and notebooks, providing access to information, wherever they are, in a way that was not previously possible. From a business perspective, replacing notebook computers with tablets can have the double benefit of reducing capital expenditures while improving the user experience. This can translate into increases in productivity and user satisfaction. Also, look out for tablets to begin invading the classroom and positively disrupting how teaching and learning takes place. Security can be an issue, both protecting company data and keeping other cyber threats out. Fortunately, as the tablet market grows, security vendors are busily creating business-focused products that can help protect your digital data. 2. Smart Phones

Tablets and tablet computing are radically changing how people interact with technology and how digital information is consumed. Characterised by swipe-pinch-touch, ease-of-use, instant-on availability, multi-media friendly screens, intuitive user interfaces, and a bevy of connectivity options, tablet devices are rapidly becoming the tool of choice for consuming and presenting content. More importantly, tablets are facilitating the liberation of staff from their personal BusinessFocus

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Years ago, you couldn’t leave for a business trip without your laptop. Now, you can hardly afford to go anywhere without your smartphone with you. As Blackberrymaker RIM’s rapidly declining market cap will attest, the smartphone business has come a long way from the days when secure email access was all that mattered. From the rise of Android-powered mobile phones and the global success of Apple’s iPhone to the up and coming Windows Phone 7 devices, the smartphone has evolved into an indispensable business tool. In 2012, three factors will result in an even greater uptake in smartphones for business. a) Lower cost of these powerful pocket computing devices; b) Increased investment in custom mobile software applications (more local mobile apps); and c) Faster, more affordable mobile broadband services. Undoubtedly, smartphones will continue to increase worker productivity and help keep business professionals connected. Smart businesses therefore need to think beyond mobile providers’ marketing when making decisions about which smartphones are best suited for business. Cost, security, mobile app developer backing, ease-of-use, ease-


of-OS-upgrades, handset features and integration with other business devices and back-office systems must all be factored into consideration. 3. Mobile Apps

said, “Increasingly, mobile applications will define the user experience on highend devices and device vendors that proactively integrate innovative apps and technologies at the platform layer will have the competitive edge.”

5. Network Virtualisation

4. Cloud Backups

Mobile apps, the software applications designed specifically to run on tablets and smartphones, are key to realising the economic and innovation potential of mobile computing. Years ago, business began catching on to the potential of the Internet and started investing in corporate websites, at first, with under-funded online excursions, disconnected from traditional corporate communications channels and systems. Then, as business execs and leaders recognised the strategic value, websites moved from being information technology (IT) projects to a corporate priority. The same is happening with mobile apps, and smart companies can learn from history to get ahead of the curve. Mobile apps can generate revenue as well as drive hardware sales, advertising spending and technology innovation. As mobile devices proliferate, forwardthinking companies will increasingly shift marketing budgets to the mobile channel. Innovators will experiment by building and deploying apps that provide locally-relevant services to capture marketing, brand enhancement and sales opportunities. Savvy developers will look to create mobile apps that target feature phones as well as smart phones. Sandy Shen, a research director at Gartner

Many IT systems administrators are justifiably wary about outsourcing mission critical applications. However, since the backups are a secondary or tertiary copy of your data, cloud backups can be an affordable and efficient way to meet archiving or disaster recovery needs. Cloud backup simply refers to off-site, electronicdata backup to a remote provider over a secure Internet connection. At one time, offsite backup was often expensive and considered a niche activity. Now, cloudcomputing and the increased availability of broadband Internet access, have brought a revolution in inexpensive storage, making online backups inexpensive and relatively hassle-free. Since the cloud services are typically disk-based, recovering data can be faster than finding, mounting, and reading tapes. In addition, storage capacity can grow on demand without requiring investment in new equipment. The attractiveness of cloud backups will be further enhanced as Internet Exchange Points are established locally and throughout the region. Local exchange points can greatly improve the time and cost benefits associated with providing and accessing online backup services.

Network virtualisation and support for server virtualisation within IT departments will continue to be a priority for IT managers. Network virtualisation isn’t just about managing the network in a virtual environment; it’s about the cost savings and efficiency derived from abstracting the physical network, such as switches, routers and firewalls, and its services, such as storage, mobility and VoIP. With network virtualisation, multiple physical networks and services can be grouped into one virtual network, or separate a single network provisioned into multiple logical networks for different tenants. This can allow network administrators to replicate complex services and server configurations with a few mouse clicks. Network virtualisation is not without its challenges. Securing competent administrators, and dealing with virtual device management, traffic monitoring, service delivery and various security issues remain concerns. Other issues will also be tugging at network administrators for attention. Networking professionals must also keep an eye on the growing number of Internet-connected devices, IPv6 readiness, and network security threats from within and without. ¤ 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: facebook.com/bevilwooding BusinessFocus

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BUSINESS TECH

Intranets and their Benefits By Rashid Jean-Baptiste

In this article I will define an Intranet and present a few of its many benefits to small businesses. You would be hard pressed to find any large or medium sized business which does not have an Intranet, but it is definitely not common in small businesses. Two reasons for the low level of adoption in small businesses are a lack of awareness of the tool and a lack of knowledge with regards to its benefits. For all intents and purposes, a small business is one which employs anywhere up to 50 individuals. In the simplest of terms, an Intranet is a business’ own private website. It is only accessible by staff, with the appropriate credentials, either at the office, or from a remote location which has Internet access. It uses the same protocols as the Internet which basically means that you can access it from any Internet Browser, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. Some types of data that you would find on an Intranet are: • Administrative - Company announcements and calendars. • Human Resource - Schedules, employee policies, expense forms, and vacation requests. • Projects - All project details, documents, schedule, tasks, and team member information. • Corporate - Customer lists, items in inventory, press coverage, staff newsletters, and document templates BusinessFocus

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The above types of data are primarily static, but one of the major benefits of Intranets is how they can assist with the flow of work in your office. As an example, purchase orders can be routed through an Intranet, from the requester, to the approvers, and then back to the requester. This will cut down on the amount of paper which needs to be printed, assist in better record keeping of these transactions, and the process itself should go even faster since it is all automatic. And purchase orders are just one of the many office workflows which can be better managed within the framework of an Intranet. Intranets can help improve internal communications. Companywide announcements can be placed on the home page of the Intranet so that it is visible to all staff, calendar information can be available so that staff can easily tell who is on vacation and when, for example. Discussions about various topics can be hosted on the Intranet with staff engaging and providing their feedback at any time. Documents can also be better managed within an Intranet. Team members can work together on documents while ensuring that changes made by one member are not inadvertently overwritten by another team member. This is accomplished by version and locking controls which are all part of document management systems that you would find on an Intranet.

Another benefit of Intranets is that they can easily enable staff remote access to corporate data. All the staff would need is a computer with Internet access, and depending on the security measures that are in place, their corporate credentials or light-weight access control program. This could mean that your employees can now work from home or anywhere else whenever they need to. But it must be pointed out that many companies restrict remote access because of the sensitivity of their corporate data or they only allow access to senior level employees. Three platforms on which a small business can have its Intranet built are SharePoint from Microsoft, Box (www.box.com), and Open Atrium (www.openatrium.com). The most popular option is Microsoft SharePoint, but another option may be ideal for your office environment. It would be best to discuss your specific needs with your Information Technology Consultant so that he or she can help in choosing the right solution for you. ¤ 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.


Caribbean Can Take Lead in Fight Against Cybercrime

The Caribbean, as a region, is in a unique position to become the global leader in combating cyber security threats. And it can all start before the end of 2012. That’s the view of Mr. Nuno Mantinhas, Director of Sales, Caribbean and Latin America with Fortinet Inc, a United-Statesbased leading network security provider and the worldwide leader of Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions. Speaking in an interview in Barbados following the 9th Annual Caribbean Ministerial Strategic ICT Seminar, Mr. Mantinhas said he was impressed by the demonstration of commitment by regional governments to collaborate in the area of security policy. “Indeed, I have not seen this urge for collaboration anywhere else in the world and if the governments of the Caribbean can come together to set security policies and enforce laws against cybercrime, the cost of and reliability on security will be much less to each member state.” Mr. Mantinhas made special note of the revelation at the Barbados Ministerial Meeting that the Caribbean, as a region, was the world’s fastest growing internet user, with a user growth rate of some 1,397% over the past 11 years, beating

Asia, for example, with a growth rate of only 700%. “This is definitely a wake-up call. The internet is literally boiling in the Caribbean and where there is a high level of internet usage, we’ll be faced with greater security risks,” said Mr. Mantinhas. “There is evidently an explosion of internet usage in the Caribbean, but if we do not take care of our network systems, we’ll have lots of problems. It’s like getting into a Formula One car with no brakes.” Mr. Mantinhas said it was in this context that the Caribbean was well poised to be the global pacesetters as a region in their expression of willingness to collaborate on strategies for combating cybercrime, and Fortinet was committed to facilitate this critical process. “We stand ready to work with the governments of the region to build capacity in the areas of improving and spreading best security architecture practices, and helping to design secure access and infrastructures, which would be vital to regional intelligence. We want to leverage public awareness of security and ensure that people understand the risk, where they are and where they should be in the future

with regard to security.” Mr. Mantinhas said his company was setting up a Caribbean office in Puerto Rico which would be providing training in best practices in network security, eliminating the necessity for such training to be sought outside the Caribbean. He said network security was a dynamic industry in which all players needed to be ahead of the curve. “At the Barbados Ministerial Conference, I saw people seeking to build a standard security policy,” he said. “We are hoping to invest in this region in 2012 and to assist in designing a solid road map for security development. This is a complex challenge which has not been addressed anywhere else in the world and I feel confident that the governments of the region will make history in coming together to meet the challenge.” Mr. Mantinhas’ comments come on the heels of a warning to regional governments by Bernadette Lewis, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, of the dangers of cyber crime as a potential threat to the national security of Caribbean states. ¤

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BUSINESS TECH

St Kitts Looking to Make Money from

Mobile Apps

An intelligent assistant which sends text messages by voice command, lifelike photographs and video footage that’s editable on the phone. These are just some of the features of the iPhone 4S experience that telecoms company, LIME is now offering to customers in all its markets in the Caribbean. Following its first-to-market introduction of the iPhone 4, last summer, the Telco provider is continuing its exclusive Apple deal with introduction of the most amazing iPhone yet. Highlighting the benefits of this phone to its customers, CEO, David Shaw says the iPhone 4S will again change the way people communicate. “This is another first from LIME. Bringing world-class technology is our way of building communities and families in the Caribbean. The iPhone 4S is best in class, innovative and the ultimate ‘every-thing device’ that will change the way we access and share information. It shows what advanced technology looks and feels like and that’s what our customers expect of us. We’re very proud to partner with Apple to make this happen for the Caribbean,” he said. Packed with incredible new features, including Apple’s dualcore A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics, the iPhone 4S is available in three models – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Other features of this masterful device include an all new camera with advanced optics and full 1080p HD resolution video recording; iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features; and iCloud, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. The LIME markets include: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands. ¤ BusinessFocus

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With mobile phone applications growing as a lucrative product across smart phone platforms, the St. Kitts and Nevis government wants to bring some of that business to its shores. Officials at the Department of Technology were earlier this year finalizing arrangements for the first mobile application development workshop which is expected to open a world of possibilities to locals. At a recent workshop, participants learned industry skills that demonstrate how to create applications, commonly referred to as apps, for smart phones and tablets that use Android, Apple and Blackberry platforms. Web apps for traditional personal computing devices such as a laptop were also covered. The minister responsible for youth and technology, Glenn Phillip, noted that the participants would be challenged to come up with solutions to fill existing gaps in society. That could be designing an app that informs about the availability of agricultural produce, or reminds parents and students about due school assignments. “It gives our people the ability to unleash their creativity,” Minister Phillip stated. The workshop was made possible through support from the BrightPath Foundation of Congress WBN of Trinidad and Tobago, Digicel and SK and attendees were limited to national boundaries. The workshop was open to the public, but there was also emphasis on attracting young people. Students from various high schools on both islands attended, in addition to a selection of marginalized youth. Social skill training in leadership, ethics, problem-solving and other areas also helped guide the participants in identifying social gaps and developing solution-oriented apps. The design functionality will allow users in various countries to make the use of the apps relevant to their reality. With the Apple App Store boasting some 500,000 applications and the Android Market not too far behind, the new creations will have to stand out. As such, information and technical mentors were on hand, guiding the usefulness of the design and defining the scope of the issues to be addressed. Director of Technology, Christopher Herbert, encouraged persons not to be intimidated by “techno babble.” He described the process of creating an app as “relatively simple” and encouraged interested individuals to give it a try. ¤


MONEY MATTERS

Need to Grow Your Business?

Need Access to a Broad Spectrum of Investment Opportunities? Are you seeking additional capital? Do you need greater access to credit? ECFH Global Investments can show you how. Whatever the business need may be – whether it is assistance in restructuring your balance sheet or investment advisory services, ECFH Global Investments is here to help. The team of experts has arranged a number of successful debt and equity issues on behalf of its clients both through exchange listed and private placements. Interested in fixed income instruments? In 2011, the firm raised and distributed over EC$266 million in capital for a number of regional governments and corporate clients. They also traded in excess of EC$141 million in secondary market regional and international bonds last year. The firm has a diverse client base that includes retail clients and institutional clients in most English-speaking Caribbean countries and they have partnerships with some of the largest and most respected entities across the Caribbean and internationally. These relationships and intimate knowledge and experience of the BusinessFocus

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financial and capital markets enable ECFH Global Investments to provide the right financial solutions for clients. The team is led by Joel Allen, Senior Manager – Registered Principal and is supported by two other Registered Principals, two full time Registered Representatives, a part time Registered Representative, Back Office Personnel and the full backing of the wider ECFH team. With access to bonds, treasury bills and equities on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE), ECFH Global Investments can source securities at great prices through its partners in other Caribbean and international markets. Through market analysis, the team stands ready to help you make your money work for you. They are client and service driven, and adequately equipped with cutting edge data, which provides the basis to provide you with customized financial and business solutions. ECFH Global Investment Solutions Limited (ECFH Global Investments) is a fully owned subsidiary company of the

East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd. The formation was a culmination of the ECFH Group’s vision, to continue its strategic role as leaders in providing specialized capital and financial market services. The range of services offered includes: 1. Capital Market Services (bond and equities dealing and trading); 2. Merchant Banking Services (debt and equity deal structuring, loan syndication and financial engineering); 3. Custody Services (asset administration, asset servicing and asset reporting); 4. Research and Advisory Services (mergers and acquisitions, government divestments and general market research services). “At ECFH Global Investments we work hard and smart on your behalf so that you can sleep well at night with the confidence of knowing that your finances and financial relationships are in capable and experienced hands. Call your ECFH Global Investment Registered Representative today!” ¤


MONEY MATTERS

Digicel’s Revenues Up

Digicel, the Caribbean’s largest mobile telephone service provider with operations also in Central America and the Pacific, reported strong financial performance for the six months ended September 30, 2011. Digicel Group Limited—which comprises the 30 markets of the Caribbean, El Salvador and the Pacific—reported revenues up 16 per cent year on year to US$1.24 billion for the first half of the fiscal year. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) was up 15% year on year to US$524 million for the six month period with the most recent quarter contributing US$270 million EBITDA. With subscribers up 14% year on year to 11.1 million across Digicel’s 30 markets worldwide, performance has been strong across the board with revenue growth in all of Digicel’s major markets including El Salvador, French West Indies, Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago. Haiti in particular experienced rapid growth adding 830,000 new subscribers in the first six months of the financial year. Revenue earned from valueadded-services like web browsing and messaging, was up 47 per cent year on year, helped by strong demand for smartphones. Digicel has also signed an agreement to extend and upsize its senior credit facility, which will see US$282 million in new funds committed. Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves said: “Our latest set of financial results reflect Digicel’s on-going strong growth and outperformance of our industry peers. I am pleased to report that we have seen growth across the board and are also continuing to diversify our revenue mix with significant increases in value added services. “The refinancing of our senior credit facility was well supported and provides us with further balance sheet flexibility. I would like to thank our customers and staff for their on-going commitment to Digicel and to assure them of our continued focus on delivering best value, best service and best network—and to giving back to our communities.” Delves further added that as at the end of September and before the receipt of new funds, Digicel had over US$400 million in cash on its balance sheet. ¤ BusinessFocus

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Sharp Decline in Neal & Massy’s Income

Neal & Massy Holding’s total comprehensive income for the year ended September 2011 plunged to TT$4.6 million from TT$379.6 million for the company’s 2010 financial year. The Port-of-Spainbased, publicly listed conglomerate saw its revenues increase by TT$528 million or by 6.6 per cent, from TT$7.9 billion to TT$8.5 billion. Its profit from continuing operations amounted dropped from TT$533 million in 2010 to TT$444 million in 2011, while its loss from discontinued operations increased from TT$227 million in 2010 to TT$473 million in 2011. This caused the conglomerate to declare a loss of TT$29.4 million in 2011, compared with a profit of TT$306 million in 2010. The losses on discontinued operations are related to the group’s decision to sell Almond Resorts Inc., its hotel operations in Barbados and St Lucia. In the director’s statement accompanying the Neal & Massy result, which were published last year, the company said that in anticipation of losses on the disposal of these assets, “The group has also made a TT$270 million provision against the carrying values of the Almond investment, which includes the TT$40 million general provision that was booked in the third quarter of 2011. As a result of these measures, losses from discontinued operations, including current losses from Almond hotels, reached TT$305 million.” The conglomerate owns 52 per cent of Almond Resorts and 49.9 per cent of Casuarina Holdings. According to the financial report: “For 2011, the results and financial position of the following investments are being presented as discontinued operations or held for sale: Almond Resorts Inc; Casuarina Holdings Inc; Nealco Datalink Ltd; Cool Petroleum Ltd; Lazy Lagoon Holdings Ltd. The financial report also stated: “The assets and liabilities related to our Almond Resorts Investments, have been presented as held for sale, following a decision by the Parent Company Board to significantly reduce its shareholding in Almond Resorts. “The restructuring is a series of three transactions where there would be an outright sale of properties in St Lucia and Almond Casuarina, while the shareholding in the public company, Almond Resorts Inc would reduce from a 51 per cent subsidiary to an available for sale investment. The group expects to complete these transactions in 2012.” The consolidated financial statements for the group were published on the local stock exchange’s website. The group also saw its non-current assets decline by nearly TT$1 billion as they slid from TT$4.3 billion in 2010 to TT3.3 billion in 2011. Its total assets amounted to TT$8.2 billion in 2011, down slightly from TT$8.3 billion the previous year. ¤ Courtesy: Trinidad Guardian


Government Injects

$100M to ‘Prime Economic Pump’

The Government has allocated EC $100 million for short-term employment to prime the national economic pump by stimulating short-term employment across the island. The intent was announced in the Throne Speech delivered in January by Governor General, Dame Pearlette Louisy and followedup later with an announcement by Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony as to where the money will come from. The Governor General had told parliament, “My Government has to take the lead at this time while the private sector is given some breathing space to recover from the debilitating conditions of recent years.” She also said the government “hopes to work closely with the private sector to bring this initiative to fruition.” “This investment is intended to bring some relief to the unemployed as my Government pursues more sustainable means of creating new permanent employment,” she added. A week later, PM Anthony, who is also the Finance Minister, told the local press that Cabinet had approved a proposal to raise the money through sale of Government bonds and indicated that legislation to that effect would be presented at the second sitting of the island’s Parliament in February. Dr. Anthony said the entire $100 million “will be raised through the borrowing and securing of assistance from friendly governments.” In the meantime, he said, projects were being identified for funding island-wide with a view to tackling the nation’s unemployment figure, which stood at 17,000 mainly young persons, according to the 2010 census. The second national governmental priority the Governor General identified was “the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the battered infrastructure of our island.” She advised that, “The initiatives of the former Government will be respected and consolidated where necessary, prudent and decidedly in the public interest.” But, she added, “My Government will add new impetus and urgency by attracting further assistance from friendly governments, streamlining the approach to the reconstruction process and in particular, directing more targeted relief to the people of Soufriere.” The $100 million package has seen a resumption of the popular Short Term Employment Program (STEP) around the country. Other short term employment programs expected to benefit from the $100 million package are those falling under the HOPE program, as well as other initiatives under the purview of the St. Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF). ¤ BusinessFocus

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MONEY MATTERS

CIBC FirstCaribbean CEO Announces Exciting Innovations during Country Visit

IMF Seeking US $500 Billion

Mr. Rik Parkhill, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank along with Executive Chairman, Michael Mansoor concluded a regionwide orientation visit to the territories where CIBC FirstCaribbean operates, with St. Lucia as the final leg. At the state level, the high power delegation paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hon. Kenny Anthony on Tuesday January 17th, to discuss economic prospects. In that regard, the Prime Minister was made aware by Parkhill, of the banks’ strong focus on ‘Government infrastructure lending, particularly clean energy financing,’ as areas of significant expansion. The visit served also to acquaint the new CEO with the bank’s operations and to personally engage staff in terms of the strategic vision for 2012, as well as gain their own perspectives on the challenges and opportunities they see. This exchange took the form of a town hall meeting with employees at the Bridge Street Branch. The visit included a courtesy meeting with the bank’s union partners in Saint Lucia. Other highlights included a luncheon during which discussions were held with key corporate clients; a tour of the northern part of the island and a visit to the Rodney Bay Branch, with its soon-to-be unveiled enhancements described at a culminating corporate cocktail by CEO Parkhill as “a new branch prototype that has become the envy of the industry.” “Here in Saint Lucia, you will soon begin to experience the new approach to CIBC FirstCaribbean branch banking in Rodney Bay. We will relocate to a spanking new branch which will be based on our upgraded model. It will feature a Retail Wealth Management Centre, with a queue-less banking system, cash counting machines, and a lounge-like setting.” This was but one among a number of new products and service innovations unveiled by the CEO during the cocktail event, the purpose of which was to enable corporate clients to meet with the delegation and discuss matters of mutual interest. During his remarks, Parkhill also cited the value placed on customer relationship management and the investment CIBC FirstCaribbean continues to make in that regard. “The enhancement of customer service and satisfaction will be a key focus area. We have recently advertised for the position of Managing Director of Customer Relationship Management who will lead this initiative at the executive level,” he told the gathering. Among those in attendance were Head of State, H.E. Dame Pearlette Louisy, members of the Saint Lucia Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps and managers and staff of the bank. ¤

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is seeking to increase its resources by US$500bn to help stabilize the global economy. The extra money could be used to help countries in the Eurozone struggling to pay their debts. But the fund said it may need up to $1tn “in the coming years.” The $500bn includes the recent European commitment to commit 150bn euros to the IMF, the 187-nation body said. “Based on staff’s estimate of global potential financing needs of about $1tn in the coming years, the fund would aim to raise up to $500bn in additional lending resources,” the IMF said. “At this preliminary stage, we are exploring options on funding and will have no further comment until the necessary consultations with the fund’s membership have been completed.” The IMF currently has a total borrowing capacity of about $590bn, and their lending commitments are at a record $250bn. With Europe pledging the bulk of the extra funding, the IMF will have to discuss with its other members how to get the remaining resources. At a summit in December, most of the European Union vowed to add about 200bn euros to the IMF’s resources – which in turn could be lent to stricken nations such as Greece or to the Eurozone bailout fund. But the UK decided not to take part in the scheme to support the Eurozone, so the EU failed to reach their target. Last year, UK MPs voted to increase the UK’s annual subscription to the IMF from £10.7bn to £20.1bn as part of an overall increase in the IMF’s funding base agreed in principle in 2009. Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said it is “in our interests” to support the IMF but has stressed that additional money would not support a Eurozone bailout. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has said: “The UK has always been willing to consider further resources for the IMF, but for its global role and as part of a global agreement.” IMF head, Christine Lagarde, welcomed the “commitment of European members to contribute to the fund’s resources.” She said, “To this end, fund management and staff will explore options for increasing the fund’s firepower, subject to adequate safeguards.” ¤

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Funding Boost


LUCELEC Spending $73M to Improve Overall Generation Capacity

St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) has taken major steps to improve its generation capacity. The company has commissioned two new mobile Caterpillar generators at the Union Power Station with a combined capacity of 2.5 megawatts (MW) to ensure it is able to provide electricity in the event of major disruptions to the network as experienced in 2010 with Hurricane Tomas, or in instances when other generators are unavailable due to planned maintenance or unplanned events. As such, the new generators will be run only if needed. The new equipment also provides the company with required spare generating capacity as mandated under the Electricity Supply Act (as amended). LUCELEC has finalised a contract for the delivery and installation of a new 10 MW

engine for Cul-De-Sac Power Station, which will be provided by Wärtsilä of Finland and will bring the number of generators installed at Cul-De-Sac to ten. It is expected this new engine will be commissioned by December 2012. These two investments totaling over EC$73.1M form part of the company’s three stage plan to meet the short, medium and long term generating capacity requirements for St. Lucia. They translate into improved reliability of the electricity supply, and demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustaining current, and facilitating new, economic and social development on the island. These projects and other on-going capital works in 2012 are being funded through a EC$100 million long-term loan from the National Insurance Corporation.

LUCELEC’s Managing Director, Trevor Louisy, says civil works associated with the installation of the new engine at CulDe-Sac began in January and will continue into December 2012, providing a welcome injection of capital into the local economy. The long term plan entails the construction and commissioning of a new power plant in the south of the island which will be required by the end of 2016 based on the latest load forecast estimates. This three-stage generation expansion plan ensures that LUCELEC will continue to meet the country’s energy requirements well into the future and minimize financial, reputational and economic risks for the company and country. ¤

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MONEY MATTERS

Enter the

Grandmaster The Ruy Lopez is a classical opening in chess and is sometimes called the opening of world champions. For a long time it was held that no chess player could become a titleholder without first mastering the Ruy Lopez debut – a strategic approach to the game. So too it is with investing your hard earned money and the need to develop a technical strategy and creating and following a series of steps that would help you achieve your goals and those of your family.

Formulate a strategy

We are all different, with differing backgrounds, experiences and views. The needs of one investor will be very different from another. Establishing investment objectives is the start to what may be a plan that can change the rest of your life. We hear of the objective of income, capital growth, or capital preservation. However, you may have something very simple in mind such as retirement age 52 with the ability to help those grandchildren through university. Another investor may be quite content with opening a rum shop at age 45 and calling that retirement at its best!

Know your offense – know your defense

This is perhaps the most technical aspect of goal setting and investing. You should know what will afford you that sweet slumber when the stars are in the night sky. Considerations such as time horizon, special needs, and legal constraints guide the construction of the portfolio, while the proportion of fixed income, equities and BusinessFocus

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cash govern the asset allocation concerns. Ever heard of a counterattacking defense? Well your portfolio ought to be constructed in such a way that you can quickly overweight some securities as conditions change and reduce exposure on others to minimize the risk of loss. The question of diversification within asset classes and by industry requires some thought and forecasting of future expected returns, among others – but there is always the option of hiring a professional investment manager to think about it for you. The risks associated with the proposed portfolio are not to be overlooked. We live in a tropical paradise and hang out clothes in the sun to dry, but there is always that eager September rain threatening to wash those clothes all over again.

Pawn combinations combinations

Rook

Determining the proper mix of assets also requires that you understand how the asset groups correlate with each other and how this in turn affects the performance and risk of the portfolio. In other words, consider you have all the ingredients to make a beautiful black cake but these still have to be combined in the correct order and in the right quantities to make it a reality. Asset allocation decisions i.e. the proportion of your portfolio invested in each type of security, should be specified in an investment policy. The asset allocation decision will then depend on the investment objectives as we spoke of above.

Check the time

Yes, it has been said the longer the term to maturity the greater the yield to maturity, however, the purpose of the portfolio may be jeopardized by investing in long-term fixed income securities when it is important that the funds remain liquid. The maturity of the investment and so once again the objective of the investment must be known from the onset. I have heard it referred to as ‘superfluous diversification’ and while this term may be apt in the context of overdiversification, there is merit nonetheless in diversification: optimum diversification. If there are too few individual investments, the risk-reduction benefits of diversification may not be fully realized. On the other hand diversification to the point where there are too many different assets in a portfolio, may only serve to pay management fees and associated costs.

Checkmate

Now that you have a classical opening it has become painfully apparent that this is going to be a competitive affair. Circumstances certainly change, as do reasons for doing the things you do and the people for whom you do those things. If you know your needs/wants, your first action is to formulate a strategy to achieve these goals. Thereafter the threats to achieving those goals need to be examined, noted and monitored. Have an assortment of artillery that you can use on your quest (but not too many, lest it becomes burdensome) and make your first move toward financial independence.


MONEY MATTERS

The issue of tax-efficient investment options was the focus when First Citizens Investment Services held its January 25 seminar. The objective of the seminar, held in the Bay Gardens Hotel Conference Room, company official Carole Jn. MarieEleuthere told BF, was to provide key advice on taxation. The timing of the taxthemed seminar, the company’s regional manager said, was spot on. “We chose the start of the year to host this seminar in the hope that we would give people all of the options and strategies to reduce their tax,” Jn. Marie-Eleuthere said. “This coincides with the time when people are about getting ready to file their tax returns.” Jn. Marie-Eleuthere believes that too many Saint Lucians tend to avoid understanding the tax system. The company’s regional manager contends that with just the right information, the process becomes less challenging. Sharing that very information, she told BF, is one of First Citizens’ hallmarks. “One of our roles over the past six plus years that we’ve been in Saint Lucia has been to educate people so that we actually change the mindset of the population and change the approach to investing and planning. The bulk of our population does not even plan for retirement. The reality is that people do retire. So we have always maintained that we allocate part of our budget to the education aspect to let people know that they need to take charge of their financial future,” the First Citizens executive said. Jn. Marie-Eleuthere is of the view that once people understand what tax benefits exist, they would be able to make sound financial decisions. One of the two presenters at the seminar, Sylvester Dickson, works in the Inland Revenue Department’s Audit Unit. Dickson, who has over thirty years of experience in taxation matters retired from the IRD recently but has now been contracted as a consultant at IRD. His presentation focused on investment options that individuals can buy into which, in one instance, can earn them revenue and assist them in reducing their monthly tax payable. Like Jn. Marie-Eleuthere, Dickson said having the right information makes for good investments. He pointed to an example where home ownership comes with solid tax benefits. BusinessFocus

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Talking Tax By Stan Bishop

“First-time home owners can buy into the Registered Home Ownership Savings Plan (RHOSP). We encourage young people to take advantage of this plan where they can save monies up to $6000 annually and claim that as a deduction. They can save that amount for a period of five years or more, then withdraw the contributions and either construct or purchase their own home,” Dickson told BF. Annuities and pension plans are also options Dickson believes that investors should take advantage of. He also addressed some of the misconceptions people have about taxation. Paying tax is inevitable, Dickson said. “There is a social side to paying taxes. Everyone should contribute towards the maintenance of the State. Taxes are deducted from citizens to fund capital projects, to meet social services such as the development of schools, construction of hospitals, and so on. These are some of the fundamental principles of taxation. However, for whatever reasons, some of us do not educate ourselves as to just what exactly a tax dollar is used for. I think that is why many people shy away from their responsibility with respect to paying taxes,” Dickson explained. Dickson is also encouraging individuals to ensure that they file their tax returns on time. He, therefore, advises individuals to log on to the IRD’s website, www. irdstlucia.gov.lc, and acquaint themselves with filing procedures in time for the March 31 deadline.

Priscilla Charles, Business Development Manager at First Citizens Investment Services, was the other presenter at the seminar. She spoke of the two tax-efficient products her company offers, Home Ownership Made Easy (HOME) and the Retirement Advantage Plan (RAP), both of which are registered with the Inland Revenue Department. “For the HOME initiative, people who deposit between $100 and $499 per month will earn a 4.5% rate of interest on an annual basis, Charles told BF. “However, if they are able to deposit $500 or more per month, then they will earn a 5% rate of interest per annum. For the RAP, the minimum monthly deposit is also $100 and is geared towards encouraging people to save for retirement. The earlier they start, they better off they are.” Charles said that unlike most commercial banks that pay about 3% on savings accounts, the HOME and RAP accounts are most cost-effective. The seminar forms part of the regular series that First Citizens has been hosting over the years. She believes that local investors have become more businesssavvy through the information that First Citizens offers at the seminars. “When we do these presentations, we recognize that people are becoming more and more interested in investing, which is basically what our aim is. Our aim is to educate the public, to let them know about the various options that are available,” Charles said. ¤


DERM-MED CLINIC LTD.

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ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS

Global Catastrophes Fail to Drive Up Caribbean Insurance Premiums Property owners in the Caribbean can breathe a sigh of relief as last year’s catastrophes are not expected to cause insurance premiums to surge. Reinsurance brokers say despite the fact 2011 was the most expensive year ever for natural disasters, the back-to-back series of catastrophes did not drive coverage prices higher across the Bermuda industry or other key players in the global market when policies were renewed on January 1. Reinsurers’ strong capital base meant only insurance policies covering nations the most affected by catastrophes, such as Japan, Thailand and New Zealand, faced significant increases, James Vickers of Willis Group Holdings Plc stated. Rates in many other lines of business “have hardly moved at all,” even as

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reinsurance companies lost money on their underwriting, Vickers, chairman of Willis Re’s international and specialty reinsurance unit is reported to have said. Last year was the priciest 12 months of natural disasters on record for reinsurers and the primary insurers whose risks they help bear, Munich Re said, the world’s biggest reinsurer. Earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and Australian and Thai floods helped cost the industry about $105 billion, surpassing the previous catastrophe record of $101 billion in 2005, when reinsurers were forced to raise capital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Reinsurers covered about half of those insured losses, according to Willis, the world’s third-biggest reinsurance broker. Vickers estimated that the industry’s

capital at the end of the third quarter was at the same level as the start of 2011, meaning more reinsurers were healthy enough to compete for business on price. About two-thirds of property-andcasualty reinsurance contracts were typically up for renewal in January. The remainder are renewed in April and July, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and the US. Brian Boornazian, head of reinsurance at Bermuda-based Aspen Insurance Holding Ltd, is on record as having said during a conference call hosted by Evercore Partners Inc that only catastropheexposed contracts and contracts affected by losses saw significant improvements in rates. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean360


Entrepreneurial Solutions for a Thirsty Planet By Richard Branson

When you can stroll over to a tap whenever you like and help yourself to a glass of clear, cool water, it is hard to believe that one of the biggest business opportunities of the 21st century, and one of the best opportunities for business to give back to society, lies in supplying fresh water. But global demand for water has grown six-fold over the past century, while the population has quadrupled. If this trend continues, our current resources and infrastructure will not be sufficient to supply enough water to meet demand. While the global water industry is diversified and, in terms of committed capital, ranks on par with the oil, gas and electricity industries, it has not attracted much private investment. It’s time for entrepreneurs and business leaders to get involved, because finding creative solutions to these challenges will require not just great political leadership and innovative research, but a transformation of business itself. The perception of plenty is only an illusion. Most of the earth’s fresh water is frozen in the polar ice caps, trapped in the soil or in deep, inaccessible underground lakes. Only 1% of all fresh water is available for people to drink and use. For the most part, the water sources we rely on lakes, rivers, reservoirs and underground - are renewed by rain and snowfall. Our use should be sustainable in theory but, in some cases, we have already crossed the line and are depleting these sources. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population will lack fresh water for drinking and cooking. Limitless possibilities If you are an entrepreneur hoping to make a difference in your community or society, this is a sector you should consider. With so many people in need, and different challenges facing every region, there are limitless possibilities for innovation: new

and better means of supply, delivery, recycling and treatment. The related area of water conservation touches on every aspect of life, from how people brew their morning tea to how companies manufacture goods. Entrants to the market can take the long view when planning their strategy; we can be confident that there will be demand for new, efficient water-delivery products for a long time to come. According to current industry estimates, the sector is currently worth about US$450 billion in revenue per year. With China a n d India

growing fast, worldwide expenditure on this resource is likely to rise over the next 25 years to around US$1 trillion per year, according to our analysis at Virgin. One of the challenges is finding a pay model that allows a company to deliver water at minimal cost or free. Fortunately, there is a long history of public-private partnerships in this sector. Consider the model set up by Vestergaard Frandsen (VF), the Swiss manufacturer of LifeStraw, an innovative filter that makes even the filthiest water drinkable. Working in collaboration with the Kenyan government, VF is providing four million people with free water filters large

enough for entire families to use, along with mosquito nets and AIDS tests. The company is also replacing the filters free of charge when they wear out; about every three years. Since the LifeStraw recipients would ordinarily boil their water, causing pollution and releasing carbon into the atmosphere, VF is receiving carbon credits, which it then sells to polluters. Virgin’s Green Fund At Virgin, we have dipped a toe in the water (excuse the pun) through our Green Fund, by backing Seven Seas Water, a desalination business that designs, constructs, installs and operates water plants across the Caribbean and the Americas. Our goal is to produce a low-cost, safe and reliable water supply. Desalination is just one niche of the water industry but, like many other areas, it offers limitless opportunities for innovation, since many technologies currently in use are outdated and inefficient. Not long ago, the energy costs of producing fresh water from salt water outweighed the benefits. While technological advances have changed this, desalination companies are still continually competing to develop more economical, energy-saving processes. This drive for efficiency is important for all businesses, in every industry. If our companies are going to continue to expand and thrive, we must also learn to live within our planet’s means. To get started, look at every process in your business and ask: how can we conserve, reuse and recycle? You will not only reduce your carbon and water footprints, but you will probably save money. It is time for us to find a new way to create wealth while preserving the planet. Economic growth should mean that there is enough clean air, fresh water and food for all. Change on this scale requires all of us to get involved. What’s your solution? ¤ About the Author Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He maintains a blog at www.virgin.com /richardbranson/blog. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/richardbranson. BusinessFocus

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ECONOMY & TRADING FOCUS

ECLAC Report Shows

REGIONAL SLOWING

Economic growth has slowed throughout the Caribbean region, with decreased private sector activity, creating an environment for meagre growth in output, employment and income despite eased monetary policy by central banks, an analysis by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has shown. Service-based economies like the Bahamas, St Lucia and Jamaica are performing worse than goods-producing economies like Belize, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. In a presentation at ECLAC’s offices in Port of Spain, entitled “The Caribbean in the World Economy - Context and Insights” Prof Dillo Alleyne, economics development officer and officer-in-charge of ECLAC’s subregional headquarters for the Caribbean, said the issues faced by Caribbean economies were only emphasised by the current global economic crisis, and will persist even when the crisis is over unless fiscal policies are put in place to deal with them. He said there were two important phenomena impacting on the Caribbean even if the world economy were to right itself: 1. An emerging fiscal crisis due to rising debt, deficits and reduced capacity by governments to undertake countercyclical policy and provide social protection, and; BusinessFocus

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2. Intense reliance on primary commodities, with all the fluctuations for demand and volatility of prices. The report estimates that average growth for the region will drop to 3.7 per cent in 2012, compared to 4.3 per cent in 2011. Although growth had already slowed down from 5.9 per cent in 2010, the report states that most of the region showed “a positive performance thanks to a favourable external situation.” However, an increase in volatility and uncertainty during the second half of the year significantly complicated the global economic environment. In particular, the report points to the current state of the Euro as a key factor that could contribute to economic uncertainty in the region. “There is a great possibility of a deep crisis in the Eurozone, which would significantly affect the global economy overall and would impact our region primarily through the real channel exports, prices, foreign investment, remittances and tourism and the financial channel, greater volatility, possible capital outflows and difficulties in accessing credit,” said Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, while presenting the report. The report also stresses that future growth will be intricately tied to the economic performance of developed

countries, and a drop in their level of activities would result in a fall in demand for goods, negatively affecting regional exports and the prices of principal export products. The region’s high level of reserves and low levels of public debt except for a few Caribbean countries are strengths that would enable it to better face the economic downturn, says the report. The reserves would allow countries to finance a deficit in the current account, and the relatively low debt would make room for countercyclical fiscal policies, allowing an expansionary monetary policy. However, not all countries face the same economic or political circumstances. In many states, there are fewer arenas for anti-crisis policies than before the crisis three years ago, and measures would not be as powerful as they were then, according to the report. ECLAC underscored that some of the principal challenges for Latin American and Caribbean economic policy include preparing for an eventual deterioration of the international situation as a whole, taking into account the possibility of sudden changes and the delay in the impact of macroeconomic policies, designing a fiscal policy package and ensuring it is financed for easy implementation, and protecting jobs and the most vulnerable social sectors. ¤


St. Lucia Seeking

Business Support

French Islands Seeking Closer Ties with Caribbean Neighbours

from Japan and Azerbaijan

St. Lucia is one of several Caribbean countries involved in an initiative to engage with Japan on a whole new range of business development issues. The Japan-CARICOM publicprivate business seminar was organized to expand trade, both for CARICOM and Japan, and to promote investments within CARICOM by Japanese companies. Nine CARICOM member-states made formal presentations to the Japanese delegation with St. Lucia focusing on identifying ICT opportunities in keeping with the National ICT Strategy of 2010, Waste-to-Energy opportunities and proposed Economic Infrastructure Developments outlined in the National Vision Plan. There were also discussions on the development of a business incubator and the potential for direct investments, especially in the area of tourism. Meanwhile, the island is also to benefit from a pledge by the Republic of Azerbaijan of US$100 million to finance international investment in Saint Lucia and other countries/regions of the world where “such investments do not traditionally flow”. The monies will be put in a fund managed by the International Finance Centre, a member of the World Bank Group. Mr. Asraf Shikhaliyen, Head of the Development Agency for the Republic of Azerbaijan, visited Saint Lucia in December 2011, to identify the country’s priority areas for investment and to explore areas for bilateral cooperation in accessing the fund for the mutual benefit of Saint Lucian and Azerbaijan investors. In the early part of 2011, the OPSR expanded its mandate to become St. Lucia’s Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA). The unit has grown in staff to take on its additional directive as the agency officially responsible for St. Lucia’s export agenda. The OPSR is in the process of conducting a number of consultations with key agencies, involving implementation of St. Lucia’s TEPA.

The French Departments of the Americas include French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique, while St. Barthélemy and St. Martin are considered territories.

The French Departments of the Americas include French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique, while St. Barthélemy and St. Martin are considered territories. France’s Caribbean Departments are seeking to develop closer ties with their non-French speaking neighbours. Representatives from the three French Antilles (Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana) attended a recent conference called Forum FDA (French Departments of the Americas) at which they sought to reach out across seas and skies. “Today it is necessary to redraw our borders and to engage with the American continents to the North and the South, by learning about our history and by investigating the future of this melting pot of civilization and development. Regional integration must be managed while protecting and favouring its rich diversity,” said Xavier d’Arthuys of the Forum FDA Secretariat. The French Caribbean has an important role to play, he added, and must find a way to work more closely with their Caribbean neighbours regardless of linguistic heritage. Other areas for cooperation and collaboration, he asserted, included research and development, ecological development, as well as artistic and cultural development. The French Departments of the Americas are also grouped with St. Barthélemy and St. Martin, which are considered ‘French territories’. Forum FDA delegates said they were hoping to position the French West Indies as the ‘Mediterranean of the Americas’. They also intended to position the French Caribbean as a center for training, professional development, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Numerous academics and professional experts from France, the French West Indies, Barbados, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico participated in the conference. BusinessFocus

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ECONOMY & TRADING FOCUS

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ECONOMY & TRADING FOCUS

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ECONOMY & TRADING FOCUS

Venezuelan Embassy Eyes

Better Business Ties Between Castries and Caracas in 2012 Venezuelan Embassy Eyes Better Business Ties Between Castries and Caracas in 2012 It has been a year since the Venezuelan Embassy hosted an exhibition here displaying the various projects and programs the Bolivarian Republic would like to share with St. Lucia – ranging from cheaper fuel to space-age possibilities. Now Caracas is looking forward to welcoming more St. Lucian business persons doing more business between the two countries, which have had over three decades of diplomatic relations. Last March, Venezuela’s Ambassador to St. Lucia, Hector Barranco, hosted an expo at the Auberge Seraphine Hotel that featured, among other things, the PetroCaribe facility offering fuel at subsidized prices, the ALBA integration process, dental and optical care, education, sports, transport and literacy. The exhibition was attended by Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy, memBusinessFocus

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bers of the local diplomatic and official community with business persons also present. Some in attendance were already involved in doing business with Venezuela, whether through tourism, health or trade. Historically, trade between the countries has been mainly anchored by small St. Lucian businesses serving the local tourism industry. However, Caracas is counting on improvements in trade relations in 2012 and beyond, following the first visit to Venezuela by St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony in December 2011. Prime Minister Anthony told the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce last year that a government led by him would seek to activate the PetroCaribe agreement to address the island’s fuel and energy needs. He said he was interested in reviving an earlier proposal that would involve cooperation with the local Hess Oil operation. Dr. Anthony’s visit to Venezuela was to attend the summit meeting of the Com-

munity of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). His government has indicated, through the Governor General’s Throne Speech on January 5th 2012, that it is interested in furthering cooperation with Latin American states also prepared to engage with it. Venezuela is already doing business with Antigua, Dominica, St. Vincent through the ALBA initiative, while several others are engaged in the PetroCaribe arrangement. Caracas wants to see more commercial, trade and other traditional business ties develop more rapidly, hence the St. Lucia exhibition and others like it in other territories with which Venezuela has diplomatic relations in CARICOM. Embassy sources in St. Lucia say there’s much optimism in Caracas that impending improvements in state-to-state relations could result in activation of more business ties between Castries and Caracas. ¤


CARICOM Countries

Benefiting More from US Trade Pact As more Central American countries opt out of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) trade pact with the United States, more Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are witnessing export surges. Trinidad and Tobago has become the leading source of United States imports entering under the CBI tariff preferences, displacing the Dominican Republic, according to the latest report issued by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. In the ‘Ninth Report to Congress on the operations of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act 2011’, the United States imported US$2.2 billion under CBI tariff preferences from Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, an increase of 43.8 per cent from 2009. “Imports under CBI tariff preferences from Trinidad and Tobago are dominated by petroleum and methanol and 75 per cent of imports of these two goods entered under CBI provisions in 2010. “U.S. imports of petroleum under CBI tariff preferences increased in value in 2010 because of both higher volume and higher prices. U.S. imports of methanol increased in value mainly because of higher prices.” The report noted that Haiti became the second leading source of U.S. imports entering under CBI tariff preferences in 2009 after Costa Rica left CBI. It said that apparel accounts for over 90 per cent of

U.S. imports from Haiti and almost all imports of apparel from Haiti enter under CBTPA or the two HOPE Acts. Imports of apparel from Haiti at preferential tariff rates increased nearly 26 per cent in 2009, as utilization of preferences under the HOPE Acts became established. The report noted that the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti slowed the growth of imports of apparel under preferential tariffs to 0.7 per cent in 2010, but such imports surged 46 per cent in the January–August 2011 period compared to same period in 2010. Since Costa Rica left the CBI in 2009, Haiti has become the source of virtually all imports of apparel from CBI countries. The Bahamas replaced Jamaica as the third leading source of U.S. imports entering under CBI tariff preferences in 2010 as imports of fuel ethanol from Jamaica plummeted and imports of apparel from Jamaica declined. “Jamaica had been the major U.S. source of fuel ethanol in past years, but market conditions in 2009 and 2010 radically changed the profitability of fuel ethanol production in Jamaica, and there were no imports of fuel ethanol from Jamaica from March 2010 to June 2011,” the report noted. It said that after several years of decline, there were no U.S. imports of apparel from Jamaica under CBI tariff preferences in 2010. The United States continues to have a small amount of bilateral trade with many

of the Caribbean economies. “While the overall value of imports is small, imports under CBI tariff preferences account for relatively significant proportions of total U.S. imports from these countries. Cane sugar, non-monetary gold, orange juice, papayas, and electrical machinery were some of the leading categories of CBI imports from the smaller Caribbean economies,” the report noted. The Office of the United States Trade Representative said that although the CBI was initially envisioned as a programme to facilitate the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies, U.S. export growth to the region has been a “welcome corollary benefit”. It said that the value of total U.S. exports to CBI countries fell 38.4 per cent in 2009, but rose 27.6 per cent in 2010. When only 2010 beneficiaries are considered, U.S. exports decreased 21.5 per cent in 2010. Collectively, at US$18.5 billion, the CBI region ranked 16th among U.S. export destinations in 2010 and absorbed 1.7 per cent of total U.S. exports to the world. “Panama, The Bahamas, the Netherlands Antilles, and Trinidad and Tobago were the principal markets for U.S. products in 2010, accounting for 72 per cent of U.S. exports to the CBI region in 2010,” the report said, noting that the United States exports a broad range of products to the Courtesy: Caribbean360 CBI region.¤ BusinessFocus

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Going The Superior Route Since setting up business in 1999, Superior Shipping Services Ltd. (SSSL) has been at the forefront of the import/export business in Saint Lucia. Over the course of thirteen years, this reputable company has proven its superiority in the air and sea freight industry by offering a wide range of services to many customers. Freight forwarding, import/export, cargo consolidation, custom brokerage, air/ ocean cargo, door to door delivery, Ship Agents, packing and loading, crating and trucking delivery services are just some of the operations handled by the company. Extended services include storage and warehousing (upon request), insurance, documentation, full container load (FCL), less than container load (LCL) and customs clearance at embarkation/destination ports. SSSL also ensures that all necessary consignments reach their final destination. Information pertaining to tariff schedules, customs regulations and/or any other enquiries relevant to shipping logistics can be provided promptly upon request. Another aspect of SSSL’s custom brokerage service includes preparing/ processing/completing cargo clearance documentation within minutes affording customers a more expeditious service. All these services are offered at competitive prices. Recently, SSSL was awarded the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Caribbean Line, a shipping vessel handling cargo shipped

between the numerous destinations including Belgium (Antwerp), England (Ipswich), Dominican Republic (Rio Haina), Saint Martin/Saint Maarten, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, French Guiana, Haiti (Jacmel), Liberty Terminal Savannah USA, West Palm Beach Terminal (Florida) USA, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Martinique. For services and schedules, visit www.soreidom.com. SSSL is also a member of the Shipping Association of St. Lucia Inc. Managing Director, Glenn Charlemagne, told BF, “In an effort to respond to and satisfy customers’ growing needs and demands, we started an export service with Trinidad being the hub. We consolidate all cargo and load a container which is sent to our agent in Trinidad. There, the agent deconsolidates the container, re-packs and forwards the cargo to its final destination.” About eight years ago, the company added another component to its operation: Freight Services and Distributors Ltd (FSDL). FSDL’s operations are similar to SSSL’s. Netshop (St. Lucia), established in 2010, is the third component of the company’s overall operations – an Internet-based shopping company that provides customers with an exceptional online shopping experience. Since its inception this company has burgeoned rapidly as shoppers enjoy the advantages of excellent rates, free registration, a varied choice

of online shopping website sources and access to a free US Mailbox. Customers also enjoy the comfort of having their packages cleared at customs at no extra cost. Founder and Managing Director, Glenn Charlemagne along with a very capable staff of twelve have certainly created an allinclusive, “superior” experience for their patrons. The company’s ability to secure a reliable network of global relationships has contributed to it being at the cutting edge in such a competitive industry. So when patrons make SSSL, FSDL and Netshop (St. Lucia) their primary choice to handle their cargo needs, they are assured of nothing short of superior customer service. • For more information about SSSL visit the Castries office on Hospital Road, call 1 758 458 1590, or fax 1 758 453 7100. Visit the Vieux Fort office on #46 Clarke Street or call 1 758 454 5213 or fax to 1 758 454 7467. Contact us online at www.superiorshipping.com. • For more information on FSDL please call the Castries office at 1 758 452 4931 or fax to 1 758 453 7100. For the Vieux Fort office call 1 758 454 5213 or fax to 1 758 454 7467. Email to info@fsdl-int.com or simply visit the website at www.fsdl-int.com. • Contact Netshop (St. Lucia) at 1 758 456 0042; email to info@netshop.lc or visit the website at www.netshop.lc

Worldwide Import and Export Services Available BusinessFocus

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“Excellence In Shipping Services”

W O R L D W I D E    I M P O R T    A N D    E X P O R T    SERVICES

Air/Ocean Custom Brokers Freight Forwarders Ship Agent Import/Export

Castries Office, Hospital Road, P.O. Box CP 5333, Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies Tel: 1 758 458 1590     Fax: 1 758 453 7100   Vieux-fort Office, No. 46 Clarke Street, Tel 1758 454 5213    Fax: 1758 454-7467 Email:superiorshipping@slucia.com     Website: http://www.superiorshipping.com BusinessFocus

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Who Is Blueprint Constrution Ltd? Blueprint Construction Ltd is a legal LLC founded by Mr. Kurt Elibox in 2011. The company comprises of a group of young, creative, enthusiastic and hard working and honest St. Lucians. Blueprint Construction Ltd. can best be described as the “greenest”, most reliable, convenient, innovative and modern construction company that you can find in the Caribbean right now. The company aims to meet and exceed all its clients’ expectations and to explore all avenues as it relates to minimizing on any costs associated with projects that the client intends to undertake. The company boasts being able to materialize “any dream” that a client can have as it relates to construction in the most timely, cost effective and magnificent manner in St. Lucia. Purpose Of The Business Blueprint was formed with the intention of providing all of its clients with top quality construction services at an affordable price and in a manner that is also environmentally friendly. Why Use Blueprint? • Blueprint provides clients with fast and accurate business orientated construction, commercial and operational management services on all types of projects. • Blueprint Constrution Ltd. prides itself as being the only construction company in St. Lucia to promote and practice “Green Building” habits. • We robustly defend our client's financial interests whilst at the same time making sure that payments are accurately processed. • As a Blueprint client, you are guaranteed to receive value for money, specialized and personal service that will meet all of your specific needs. • We pledge to discharge our duties in a competent and efficient manner and with complete integrity and without prejudice to our clients’ interests and our professional responsibilities. Benefits Of “Green Building” We are living in the 21st Century, its time to modernize and help our small world to become a better place. These are only a few of the many benefits of “Green Building”: • Lower utility demands • A much higher market/resale value • Green Buildings house healthier occupants • It reduces the cost of your utility bills • Its helps protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystems • They have a greater lifespan to that of conventional buildings • Economic benefits to our country. 3D Concept Renderings In keeping with our commitment of being the most modern and customer friendly construction company on the market at present, we have invested thousands of dollars in acquiring up-to date software to provide our clients with full 3D renderings of what their dream project is going to look like before the actual construction even starts.

High End Custom Millwork Installation Whether it may be custom cabinets, custom doors, custom mouldings or just anything that you as the client may want customized to your specific needs, we at Blueprint can build and install anything you want… just the way you want! BusinessFocus

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High End Construction Are you a chic, classy individual who wants nothing but the best and have a fetish for very high end ďŹ nishes? Then look no further, Blueprint will give you the look you want; from Italian marble oor tiles to Asian claw-foot bath tubs, we will do what it takes to make your piece of real estate look like a masterpiece.

Major Renovations If your property is run down and looks tired, or perhaps if you are looking to revive your property to attract buyers or renters, then you need a renovation. And no one, and I mean NO ONE, can transform a property like Blueprint can. Core Company Values and Work Ethics At Blueprint, we pride ourselves on delivering unique customer experiences, creating partnerships with substance and building win-win relationships by employing the following characteristics in our every-day work habits: - Honesty - Accountability - Reliability - Fairness - Quality - Cleanliness We, at Blueprint vow to provide all our clients with the best and most reliable quality workmanship in any project that we do, all whilst delivering the job in the quickest possible timeframe. The key to such delivery is: - Employing highly skilled workers in all aspects of work - Using the latest possible technology wherever applicable - Highly skilled and knowledgeable supervisors - Ability to source materials from abroad

Quality from the ground up!

Office Phone: 1-758-453-BLUE (2583)

Professional Services That We Offer

* Full Design & Build Services * New Construction * Renovations * Repairs * Project Management Services * Troubleshooting Of Problems * Civil Works Construction (roads, bridges, jetties) * Property Development

Office Fax:

1-758-453-2523

Office Cell:

1-758-715-2400

E-Mail:

info@blueprintslu.com

Website:

www.blueprintslu.com

Social Media:www.facebook.com/blueprintslu

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Car Care Tips Volume 7

In this issue, we will continue our under the hood tour looking at some more basics of car maintenance. We examine your brakes, steering and suspension, lighting and wipers. Educate yourself on these basics. Basic knowledge not only makes you safer, but it also saves you money.

Brake Service

Perhaps the most important safety system on your car is the brake system. Brake inspections and service should never be postponed because your brakes eventually will have to be replaced for both safety and performance reasons. In fact, by delaying the scheduled service of your brakes, you risk not only your safety, but the potential to save money by maintaining expensive parts like rotors and drums on the brake system. Typical warning signs include: • Brake warning light comes on • Your car pulls to one side when braking instead of stopping in a straight line • When applied, your brakes create a jerky motion when stopping • Brakes grind and squeal when applied • Brake pedal is either soft or very hard to depress • Brakes must be pumped to work properly • Wheel(s) are excessively hot after short drives • Brake fluid leaks are seen around any wheel or in engine compartment, near master cylinder location • Brake fluid very low or very dirty looking BusinessFocus

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Steering & Suspension

Your car’s steering and suspension system determine your car’s ride and handling, and is a key safety related system on your car. It should be checked at least once per year, or every 12,000 miles. It is convenient to do when getting your car’s wheels aligned. The very important job of a suspension system is to smooth out the ride while maintaining excellent control. When working properly, the suspension system helps absorb the energy from irregularities such as potholes, and helps maintain vehicle stability. Typical warning signs would include: • Fluid leaking out of the shock or strut body • Dented or damaged shock or strut bodies • The vehicle ‘nose dives’ when you apply the brakes • The vehicle bounces excessively after hitting a road bump • Mounts or bushings are broken or worn • Tyre wear appears uneven • The ride is harsh, bumpy or shaky • Steering is stiff or makes noises • Your vehicle sways or leans on turns Factors that affect wear and tear on the suspension system include: • Driving habits • Operating conditions • Vehicle type • Type of steering and suspension system

Lighting and Wipers

Lighting and wipers significantly affect the visibility of your car, and the driver’s ability to maintain visibility. These elements therefore, play a major role in the safety of your car on the road. The wiper system removes excessive water from the windscreen and maintains clear visibility, while the lighting system provides night-time visibility, signals and alerts other drivers and supplies light to the vehicle’s interior instruments. Typical wear and tear factors that affect replacement intervals include: • Frequency of use • Operating conditions (i.e. the very hot, sunny and salty conditions in the Caribbean can be very harsh on the wiper blade rubber) • Material and type of lights and wipers In the case of wiper blades, “squeaking” of the wiper, streaking on the windshield, or a torn blade rubber are indications that the wiper may need changing. Dim lights or rapid signal blinking are indicators that the bulbs could be reaching the end of their useful life. Drivers should also periodically check that all external lights are functioning properly by placing someone outside the car to observe if the vehicle’s indicators, brake and headlights are working properly. Visit your Automotive Art store at Vide Boutielle or New Dock Road, Vieux Fort, anytime between now and the end of April 2012 and mention “Business Focus” to save 50% on your next purchase of Vexx Wiper Blades.


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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

ABOVE & BEYOND!

Prestige Auto Holdings Limited

The Hunter Road Force GSP 9700 – • Considered by professionals to be The World’s #1 Diagnostic Wheel Balancer • Provides a tire assembly road test while mounted on the unit • Can locate/eliminate virtually every cause of wheel vibration relating to the tire and rim We’ve got that. ISIS (Integrated Service Information Server)• Intelligent server system for the workshop of the future • Integration platform forms the basis of modern processes in the dealership • Indispensable to the new systems designed to further optimise the workshop area We’ve got that too. Most importantly, we’ve got George, Evelio, Gustavo, Rael, Linnel, Cletus, Denard, and Mikey led by Temu and Shervon. • A Service Department with over 100 years of experience among them • Training second to none • A commitment to quality, Hassle Free customer care • Specialists in all the brands we sell • ISO 9001: 2008 certified organisation Prestige Auto Holdings Limited. Trust us with your Suzuki, Subaru, Land Rover, BMW, Mini or Porsche. At Prestige our customers have made us the automotive leader in St. Lucia! We thank you for your business, and continue to work to retain your trust.

Prestige Auto Holdings Limited: Above and Beyond!


ABOVE & BEYOND!

Prestige Auto Holdings Limited

Prestige Auto Holdings Ltd. dealers for Land Rover, Porsche, Subaru and Suzuki vehicles in St lucia.

Confidence in Motion

Call Now: 758-455-5000 Website: www.pahlslu.com

Facsimile: 758-451-3044 Email: sales@pahlslu.com

http://www.facebook.com/PAHL.StLucia BusinessFocus

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IN THE KNOW

Ethics, Performance Excellence in Business By Andrew Crawford Bolton

During the last decades of our history, particularly after World War II, ethics has taken a very important role in the management of organisations. Therefore, persons, governments and stakeholders in general are trying to conduct their actions and address their issues under an appropriate scheme of behaviours associated with the most general concept of ethics. Ethical performance requires on-going monitoring and revision of the business practices across organisations in order to determine whether the current relationships, operations and behaviours in and among organisations are ethical or unethical. These are elements that can be included within the concept of systems approach, thus, incorporating business ethics across organisations should be supported by a comprehensive organisational structure that interacts together and has a common goal, which is constant improvement under measurable standards. According to many theorists, ethical behaviour is related to good family values, education, integrity, equality, values, communication, sharing beliefs and education. These factors can provide a more comfortable path to conduct properly within societal groups and any other type of human organisations. BusinessFocus

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Unethical behaviour is related to personal interests against individuals, groups or organisations; internal and external pressures, financial problems, management policies, that affect morale, level of commitment with the firm and greed, among others.

Monitoring ethical behaviour

On the other hand, performance serves the purpose of evaluation and maintenance of ethical business practices across organisations and determines whether they are ethical or not. Performance has to be measured, as what is not measured cannot be improved. Hence this concept will help monitoring and control of the existing ethical structures and processes within the organisation. As for the future of ethics in the pursuit of excellence in business, employees and companies need to focus on long-term benefits and profits, factors that would avoid many of the ethical dilemmas that companies constantly face as the short-term results are a constant mental pressure in the functioning of several organisations in our societies. The majority of firms use the measuring index of profitability, a factor that directly affects performance appraisal systems and appropriate employee and management

behaviour, which can lead to unethical conduct. It is clear that once companies seek for a balance between profits and ethics in order to weigh business decisions, it is possible for every company to examine its practices as well as the attitude of its employees. In so doing, they could find ways and mechanisms within the organisation that may increase the level of commitment among stakeholders at any level. With that said, there will be companies working under integrated communications systems that will not only allow to constantly feedback their employees about the code of ethics the firm works with, but also evaluate and track that moral values are also part of their conduct in and out of the organisation. If organisations are to evolve into real ethical entities with ethical business practices, individuals must take both individual and collective action to change those business practices that may not be in accordance to the ethical health of the organisation.

Exposing ethical violations

Based on the aforementioned, any individual or collective action within organisations need to have in place the appropriate mechanisms to discover and


expose violations or infractions of the organisation’s ethical principles, which is completely related to the existence of a comprehensive quality control system. Formal guidelines to support responsible reporting of these violations should be known and understood by every single employee, otherwise a real level of commitment to follow up expected standards of behaviour would not work in the long run. Since the concept and application of the word “ethics” may slightly vary from one organisation to the other, particularly due to uses, customs, religion and politics, among others, organisations should consider and review their strategic plans in accordance with the ethical principles that the organisation believes should be put in practice, and upon which it has stated the role they want to have in the market place as a contributing member of society.

Socially responsible standards

In the current condition of the economy, customers are demanding high quality and competitive goods and services to be delivered under social accountability

standards, respecting the environment and nature as well. Moreover, professionals today must make rational choices that were not part of their daily duties in the past. They have to balance the impact of science and technology in many different levels and scales on humanity. Such types of decisions cannot be improvised by these professionals, and most of them are currently integrated in managerial decisions systems, connected to responsible practices, which, at the end, are tied up to processes and internal controls. It is not an easy task to determine what might be entrenched as ethical or unethical business practices across organisations as a whole. An essential factor is that there are expectations and perceptions that may vary between organisations, which are related to corporate culture; a concept that once it is tied up with internal and societal controls, will help individuals and organisations to understand where ethical and unethical behaviour should stand. Therefore, the definition of performing with excellence and ethics might be influenced by several situations that can contribute to create variable

YOUR STYLE

interpretations. With that said, there is a need for ethical structures that surround the modes in which organisations strive to inculcate corporate and business ethics. Without them, there are no supports in place to create ethical standards and evaluate ethical performance. In conclusion, we can affirm that an ethical structure will serve as the foundation in which the organisation and its staff should be able to relate to the strategic, tactical and operational levels of excellence in business practices. Basically, it becomes a point of reference to other stakeholders in the marketplace and society. Hence, ethical structures, like the existence of a code of ethics integrated in an appraisal system, along with the support of the ethics committee should be the minimum standard that can guide a company to perform under expected levels of ethical and qualified business performance. ¤ About the Author Andrew Crawford Bolton is the Caribbean Regional Director of export promotion agency of Costa Rica, Procomer.

YOUR COVERAGE

YOUR FEATURES

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IN THE KNOW

Benefits of a CSR Agenda for Small Business

The term “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) is nowhere near as old as the practice of corporate social responsibility. Though CSR has been one of the last decade’s most dynamic buzzwords, it has existed in one form or another from the dawn of business. CSR is the manifestation of the recognition that an enterprise exists not alone, but within larger networks and that there is a constant push-and-pull between the activities of the enterprise and the developments within these networks, which requires proactive management to ensure that business is only positively affected. The micro and small-business owners who believe that size matters and that they are thus exempt from the calls for ‘corporate’ initiatives, must look beyond the terminology and focus on the concept that whether sole trader or conglomerate, there is benefit to be gained by placing a spotlight outside the remit of the financial bottom line. That said, though, size does not provide an exemption. It is a real consideration for an enterprise facing the constraints of time, labour and money. Justifying the allocation of these limited resources to activities beyond the daily operations of a business is the greatest obstacle for the implementation of a dedicated CSR agenda. Justification can be found for a business case for CSR, however, if business responsibility is linked to improved business reputation, staff motivation and customer loyalty. These are some of the advantages, which, though hard to value in dollars and cents, positively affect the overall competitiveness of BusinessFocus

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the business and lead to the long-term sustainability of the business. Get-profit-quick strategies CSR agendas are not “get-profitquick” strategies. Though it has been shown by various research reports that their implementation results in better business, there is no formula to adhere to, no guarantee of expense reduction, no promise for profit increase, and no way to express their end result in figures. However, business responsibility initiatives influence competitiveness in several ways. Improved reputation A corner shop convenience store owner may be unconcerned about any risk to their image or reputation through the nonperformance of a CSR agenda, but it only takes a switch in perspective to focus on not the risk due to inaction, but the benefit based on performance. The reason that corner shop owner is rightly unconcerned with what customers may think is that for all intents and purposes, beyond being the purveyor of foodstuff, that corner shop lacks visibility and any greater importance to its direct milieu. Should the owner continue to provide basic foodstuff and no more, it will be business as usual. Should they, by way of example, however, allow young craftspeople in the community space to exhibit their products, it will be business magnified. Innovation opportunities Necessity being the mother of invention, when a business already strapped for cash and time decides to engage in a business responsibility initiative, it looks for ways outside the established norm and, in so

doing, sometimes strikes on a profitable business model. A micro-sized toy company in Norway decided to minimise its waste by using its by-products to create toys for a local orphanage. Those toys, which were made from material normally headed for the dump, became popular beyond the walls of the orphanage and commercially viable in their own right. Staff motivation An employee who is proud of his company’s environmental initiative and, in particular, the part he played in it, perhaps during the decision-making or operational stage, is likely to be more motivated and loyal, which results in higher creativity and innovativeness, longer staff retention and increased recruitment desirability. As the frontline to every business, employees form that first spark to a word-of-mouth blaze. The more there is to talk about and the more they feel integral to the process, the more positivity there will be. Network expansion Joining business sector organisations or partnering with like-minded organisations for shared causes increases an enterprise’s visibility with no need for an advertising fee. In addition, acting in concert with others can result in more advantages for less cost. For example, a varied collection of businesses could team up to beautify their street and, in so doing, the benefit to their trade is delivered at a fraction of the cost. ¤ Courtesy: T&T Chamber of Industry & Commerce www.chamber.org.tt


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IN THE KNOW

Business Excellence:

When Surviving is Simply not Enough By Harvey Millar

on). Recognising that the operating environment for an organization is not static, a particular state of excellence has a life span. As the operating environment changes, stakeholder expectations often change with it, and consequently, the requirements for excellence also change. That is to say, that what was great yesterday might very well be mediocre tomorrow. Both RIM and Kodak are testaments to that truth. So how do business leaders develop a focus on excellence?

Five Requisites for Business Excellence

There are several factors that impact an organization’s ability to achieve excellence. I would like to highlight what I think are five imperatives: 1) Establishment of a shared strategic vision and nurturing of a burning passion for the vision and for success; 2) Development of talented people with a balance of leadership and followership skills and a commitment to performance; 3) Development of the capacity to rapidly create and acquire new knowledge; 4) The existence of a critical mass of creative capacity within the organization to drive innovation, innovation being about the transformation of knowledge and inventions into strategic value; and 5) Productivity and effectiveness.

Today’s business environment is not for the faint-hearted. Rapid changes in customer demographics and their corresponding needs; the pace of technological change; the unpredictability of the local economic climate; the impact of globalization on the intensity of competition; and the impact of extraneous phenomenon such as the financial crisis of 2008; and global recession are all critical factors that make business leaders stay up at night pondering their next strategic move. Managing for business excellence has become an enormous challenge to which bsuiness leaders must rise. Many well-known businesses such as Air Canada, Nortel, American Airlines, IBM, Research in Motion (RIM), Motorola, Microsoft, are all struggling to keep their BusinessFocus

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pocket books “in the black” against this volatile backdrop. Kodak, once a giant of the photography industry has now filed for bankruptcy. To survive, business leaders must hold steadfast to the principle that survival requires “a commitment to managing for excellence”. It is important to keep in mind that organizational excellence has contextual and temporal dimensions among others. By that I mean the critical context for excellence is expectations. Excellence requires meeting and exceeding internal and external stakeholder expectations (shareholders profit expectations, customers quality/value expectations, employees expectations around salary and benefits, job enrichment, and so

The Vision and a Burning Passion for the Vision: I don’t know of an organization, private or public, that can truly claim it is successful without a strategic vision. A shared strategic vision provides the rallying image of success for the organization. It is necessary in order to provide meaning to the organization’s purpose (its mission). Realizing an organization’s vision requires visionary and actionary leadership. For success, it is crucial for the vision to reflect a commitment to social responsibility, innovation, employees and strategic partners. Visionary leadership must create and communicate the image of success. Actionary leadership must move the entire organization toward that image.


It is not uncommon to find vision statements in modern organizations. But is there sufficient passion to drive the organization towards that vision? Commitment and passion cannot be created in 3-day business retreats. It comes from passionate leadership inspiring the flock to follow the vision. To use a Christian analogy, the passion for Jesus Christ is nurtured by a passionate preacher delivering fiery sermons on how great Jesus is. Find a boring preacher and you will find a dispassionate church with a wandering flock. Business organizations have little chance at success without passionate leadership. Talented People with a Commitment to Performance: Having committed people with no talent or talented people with no commitment is a recipe for disaster. People must have talent and commitment. Talent can be developed through many of the great tools of human resource management such as employee development, empowerment, training and so on. Commitment, on the other hand, must be driven by providing opportunities for employees to develop a stake in the organization. In the past, job security drove commitment to organizations. Job security is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and as such, business organizations must search for new ways to inspire commitment. Employee engagement offers greater promise. As such, identifying and removing barriers to employee engagement is an organizational imperative. Another crucial element of the people dimension of excellence is having a balance between leadership capacity and followership capacity. All leaders and no followers, or all followers and no leaders will cripple an organization. The organization will become immobile or directionless both of which are failures. As such, business leaders must demonstrate the value of followership. The Capacity to Create and Acquire Knowledge: There is a saying that “what is important gets measured, and what gets measured gets improved”. Any organization focused on excellence must invest in measuring what is important. Excellence requires continuous improvement and continuous improvement requires knowledge. A business must provide itself

with transformative opportunity. Such opportunity comes with the proactive acquisition and interpretation of data to create knowledge. I am reminded of the adage “one who knows not, and know not that that they know not, is a fool, shun them”. It is worth noting however, that just as important as the creation of knowledge is the timeliness with which it is created. The right knowledge at the wrong time bears no fruit. There are too many organizations willingly managed by speculation and not by fact. For excellence, organizations must adopt a management by fact philosophy, and become active in the acquisition and interpretation of data. Creativity and Innovation Capacity: An organization with vision, passion, commitment, and knowledge with no capacity to create meaningful solutions out of its “messes” cannot achieve excellence. Creative capacity goes beyond the capacity that science and technology give us. Science and technology provide consistency, repeatability, reliability, but they do not create the solutions - they support them. Art and creativity in management is about the unique deployment of talent, resources, and knowledge, blended with a passion for excellence to create innovative and sustainable solutions in unstructured environments. Organizations are often faced with a myriad of issues that create unstructured messes. Without creative capacity, excellence is not achievable. Organization’s can maximize their creative capacity by leveraging diversity among customers, stakeholders, employees, suppliers and technologies. Creative capacity can yield inventions, but these inventions on their own do not reflect innovation. Innovation happens when creative ideas are transformed into strategic value that enables the business to compete. Self-booking and online self check-in or at kiosks at airports are examples of great innovations that allow airlines to lower transaction costs and achieve greater profits per passenger. The software that enables the new procedures came through a creative process, but it is the application of the software that represents the innovation. Productivity and Effectiveness: The desire to produce greater output for the

same level of input indicates a need to enhance productivity. Businesses are expected to do more with less as markets and subsequently revenues shrink, competitors emerge, or operating costs increase. Labour productivity, equipment productivity, capital productivity and managerial producitivty must all be enhanced. Business leaders must resist the temptation to lay-off workers as a “first go to” for solutions. Analysing the organizations productivity profile and making strategic improvements will yield longer lasting benefits. It is worth noting that productivity is inextricably linked to innovation, but it is not a proxy or substitute for innovation. Employee development, process redesign, service redesign, systems optimization, supply chain optimization, and so on, can all contribute to improved productivity. An effective technique is to envision starting over and asking, “what is the best operating structure for the times we live in and the future we anticipate?” Then figure out how to transform the current system into a reasonable approximation of that ideal. Whilst I have identified five requisites for business excellence, this list is by no means exhaustive. However, it is a crucial list which suggests that if any one element is lacking, chances for business excellence are seriously compromised. There is no simple recipe that I can provide that will lead to automatic success. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be writing this article! In today’s business landscape, simply surviving is not an option. It dos not allow for innovation and growth. The focus must be on excellence beyond mere survival. What I have identified are some key tools for the “business painter” who wants to make that image of success a reality. Now it is time to take each of these elements (the brushes), spread out the canvas (your business landscape) and begin to create your masterpiece. ¤ About the Author Dr. Harvey Millar is President of Management Technologies and a senior consultant with Logix Consultant Limited in Canada, and a full professor in the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can read more of his articles at http://www.harveymillar. com/. BusinessFocus

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IN THE KNOW

All about Detecting

Shoplifters By Ricardo La Borde, CPP

Every year, billions of dollars are lost around the world to shoplifting and it has been estimated that retailers lose an average of 1.7% of their annual sales to shoplifters. The problem affects every type of business that has goods on display for customers to browse and examine. In this article we present some tips and reminders to help you maintain the edge on potential shoplifters. This article focuses on understanding the methods used by shoplifters as part of retail business owners’ loss prevention strategy against shoplifting. Who Shoplifts? Shoplifters appear in any possible form, any age, sex or size, but for the purpose of this article we can break them down into four types - professional, amateur, drug users, and thrill seekers. Statistics show that the amateur is by far the largest in number. Amateurs come from every economic group and represent every level of education. Their thefts are generally impulsive, although a significant number of them find some kind of economic or more often emotional satisfaction in their action, and as the frequency of theft by a particular individual increases they become virtually indistinguishable from the professionals. The rest of the amateurs have no particular pattern of theft and may only steal once or at most, a handful of times. Professional shoplifters can wreak havoc on retailers all over the world. Their methods are well planned and practical and most times they work in groups or with BusinessFocus

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a partner. One author described it as: “The professional approaches shoplifting just as a dancer studies dance or a ballplayer plays ball.” They appear to be ordinary shoppers in every way; after all, fitting in to their environment plays a critical role in the success of their operation. The really clever ones actually purchase items from the retailer they single out. Detecting the Shoplifter Professional shoplifters will not be deterred by normal means, nor would they be discouraged by measures that would discourage the great bulk of amateurs from stealing. In today’s world you need a combination of effective electronic surveillance equipment working together with well-trained security personnel or

store detectives to have the best chance at apprehending them. Other than being familiar with the routine and operations of your outlet, the floor staff, store managers and surveillance team must make it their business to understand and learn the different patterns that shoppers use, for instance: • A secretary on lunch hour, or any other person who shops to kill time. • The energetic early morning customer with a specific mission in mind. • The after work rush hour. • Understanding the difference in the pace of customers in the 10:00 am crowd from that of the 4:30 pm crowd. • Shoppers who are in a hurry to get home.


Once we become familiar with these patterns, then we must learn how to spot a potential shoplifter. As some of us may be aware, shoplifting is conducted in every imaginable way. Robert J. Fisher once wrote, “The ingenuity of the shoplifter is legendary.” Although the great majority of thefts are simple and direct, involving nothing more sophisticated than putting the stolen items into a handbag or a pocket, we must be cognizant that there are certain methods that are beyond the simple taking of merchandise if we are to be successful in protecting our commodities. Some shoplifting methods include: 1. Using large baggy clothes like bloomers or pantyhose that can be fitted like shopping bags. 2. Slitting pockets in coats or jackets, or hiding merchandise inside a jacket or upper sleeve. 3. Wearing stolen clothes under the thief’s own clothing. 4. Hiding items in purses or umbrellas. 5. Placing small items in the palm of the hand.

6. Using shopping bags, sometimes even using a store’s own bag. 7. Hiding items within other packaged items, for instance, placing jewelry into soap, toothpaste or cotton boxes. 8. Wearing the item in plain view and walking out with large items. 9. Snatch and run - grabbing Items placed close to the door and running out of the store. 10. Cages - these are specially designed to be worn by women to make them appear pregnant. 11. Hiding items in books, newspapers and magazines. 12. Holding an item in place by the thighs under a skirt or dress - a technique usually used by females. 13. Using a baby pram or stroller to hide the items. 14. Using a baggy jacket to hide items under. Learning the methods used by shoplifters is one of the keys to reducing this theft problem. Understanding the methods enables store personnel to determine who the potential shoplifter is and so focus

their attention on that particular individual which would increase the chances of detecting the individual before they are able to leave with the goods, thus reducing the possible loss. There are several anti-shoplifting options available to retailers which include: Closed Circuit Television, Uniformed Guards, Electronic Article Surveillance, Close Customer Service, Exit Inspections, No Package Inside policy and In-Swinging Doors. When these anti-shoplifting options are combined with knowledge of shoplifting methods the deterring and apprehending of shoplifters is increased. ¤ About the Author Mr. Ricardo La Borde is a Certified Protection Professional with over 25 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Chief Firearms and Courier Officer for Amalgamated Security Services Ltd which is the parent company of Alternative Security Services St. Lucia Ltd. Amalgamated Security operates in Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

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IN THE KNOW

Eastern Caribbean

Gas Pipeline Back on Stream

After a close to five-year hiatus, the much anticipated Eastern Caribbean gas pipeline has found new backers and a new lease on life. In an announcement earlier this year, the Trinidadian company announced that Beowulf Energy LLC of New York and First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Fund, with offices in Greenwich, Houston, Hong Kong and London, have acquired a majority ownership interest in the company. It is expected that with these two new entities on board the long mooted natural gas export pipeline from Trinidad and Tobago to islands in the Eastern Caribbean will soon get underway. Prior to this transaction, the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline Company Limited shareholders were Guardian Holdings Limited, Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited and IntraCaribbean Gas Pipeline Company Limited. Although no new start date was announced, it was stated that Phase I of the project will feature the construction and operation of a 300 km natural gas pipeline from the Cove Point Estate in Tobago to Barbados. The national electricity company, BusinessFocus

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Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd, had previously stated that the pipeline would allow them to bring down their generation costs considerably as they currently use bulk fuel, whose price has continued to escalate on the world market. A joint project between the Barbados government and a local car dealership had also seen the pilot of natural gas-fuelled cars, which currently run on small scale off the island’s own scarce natural gas resources but could be expanded to the general populace once the pipeline comes on stream. Phase II of the project will involve extending the pipeline from Barbados to other Eastern Caribbean islands and the principals stated that the pipeline is expected to significantly lower the cost of producing electricity in countries such as Barbados which rely primarily on fuel oil to produce electricity. The pioneering project will help reshape the regional energy market and reduce dependence on oil based products. Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline spokesman, R. Gregory Rich said of the new development, “The extensive energy infrastructure experience and substantial financial resources of Beowulf and FREIF

will accelerate the implementation of this regionally important project thereby creating long term value for the company’s investors while delivering tangible financial and environmental benefits to the islands served by the pipeline.” Beowulf Energy CEO, Paul Prager noted, “We are grateful to our new fellow partners for the vision and foresight in identifying and developing a long term solution for lower priced energy in the Eastern Caribbean region.” In addition to operations in the US, Beowulf Energy operates and manages Trinity Power a 225 MW contracted natural gas fired power generation facility in Pt. Lisas, Trinidad. Apart from its new joint venture with First Reserve Corporation in the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline, Beowulf is selling to First Reserve a substantial equity stake in Trinity Power. With over US$23 billion of raised capital since inception dedicated exclusively to the energy and natural resources industries, First Reserve is a premier private investment firm, making both private equity and infrastructure investments throughout the energy value chain. ¤


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IN THE KNOW

Absenteeism and how you can reduce it By Faithaline Hippolyte

If you own or manage a business, how many ‘missing persons’ do you have on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis? Are you concerned about the number of ‘missing persons’? If you’re not, then you should be, because it can cost you - a lot. Absenteeism is the failure of employees to report for work when they are scheduled to work. Employees who are away from work on recognized holidays, vacations, or approved leaves of absence would not be included. Absenteeism leads to lower productivity and efficiency, due to having to orient or train new/replacement staff; or having extra workload on present staff due to absent employees. Customer service would also suffer since there are not enough staff to attend to customers and the staff who are there are overworked due to staff shortage. Costs would increase since you may have to pay temporary replacement workers, or pay more overtime to the staff who are there, as they work longer hours to try to accomplish the tasks of the missing workers. It is very important that you track absenteeism to see how severe it is and also to see trends. Once you are aware of the level of absenteeism and the persons who are frequently absent, and the reasons why persons are absent, then it is imperative that you deal with the problem of absenteeism and not ignore it.

Let’s consider some of reasons for absenteeism:

the

• Poor morale. E.g. unhappiness with job, working conditions, supervisor/ manager or company. Employees may also call in sick due to entitlement mentality. • Work schedule flexibility. Employees can’t get the time off for personal business so they take it. • Presenteeism. Employees come to work although they are sick. Depending

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on the illness these employees risk infecting other workers. The cost is not directly in lost days but the potential cost if other workers are infected. Presenteeism is an indication of low morale (employees f e e l forced to come to work, and are worried they’ll get into trouble if they don’t). • Stress – which

give employees a sense of loyalty and commitment towards the organisation. Also provide training and development opportunities to employees. • Work schedule flexibility – Encourage flexible scheduling of employees when possible. • Presenteeism – Use the same solutions for poor morale. • Stress – Consider providing workshops or teaching materials so employees can learn how to manage stress. Also get their feedback to see if there are ways you can alleviate some of their stress. • Accidents & illness – Implement preventative health and safety measures to prevent job injury and reduce illness. • Availability of income protection plans – Explain to employees that this is for their protection, so that they can earn an income if unavoidably absent due to illness, but this should not be taken advantage of, and abuse of sick leave will not be tolerated. Supervisors must follow a disciplinary procedure and deal with cases of excessive absenteeism effectively and fairly. The company should also promote a culture of commitment and good work ethics. Also, reward persons for being present at work.

can lead to mental and physical health issues. • Accidents & illness • Availability of income protection plans. Employees know they’ll get paid although absent.

In conclusion, when dealing with the issue of absenteeism, please keep in mind that employees are absent for different reasons. While the issue needs to be addressed as a whole, there is a need to work with problem employees on an individual basis to try to get them to move from where they are, to a lower level of absenteeism. ¤

Let’s look at some possible solutions to absenteeism:

• Poor morale – Address the physical and emotional needs of employees. Leadership training for supervisors and managers is vital; employees need to feel comfortable enough with the supervisors/managers to discuss work problems. Creating an environment in which employees are empowered to make decisions, and where their ideas and opinions are valued, will

About the Author Faithaline Hippolyte is a freelance writer. She holds a BSc in Management Studies, and is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Find some of her other writings at www.amazon. com, including Kindle books for instant download


s ’ r e nsum

o C e h T

t e s d n i M n o i s s Rece

By Pilaiye Cenac

Understanding consumers’ thinking during a downturn can help companies decide how to adapt their approaches accordingly. Discontinuing marketing efforts during a recession is not generally the best option. Here are some examples of recession-hit consumers’ points of view, based on research. How does this speak to your marketing strategy? • “I can no longer spend as I used to – know you’ve noticed that much. I’ve had to cut back as I imagine many people have had to. But I must keep buying during the recession; I just buy differently. Unfortunately, fear and uncertainty are now part of my psyche, and I shop under those influences.” • “It’s true, I’m not as impulsive as I used to be. I do a lot of research (online, shopping around, asking people I know) before making certain purchases. I want to make sure I spend the little I have wisely. I now have to go according to priorities, needs. I’m not ashamed to say – I’m a bargain hunter! I‘m seeking better prices but also the best value for my money.” • “I prefer more immediate savings through price cuts, cash backs, and free gifts over sweepstakes and contests. I don’t want to wait for savings. I NEED them now!” • “If I can do something myself I will, more often than not. Therefore, I cook at home more so that we don’t have to spend so much on eating out. I’ve started walking to save what I used to spend on the gym. The whole family helps with housework so we don’t need to have a cleaner over as often.”

• “I need some distraction from this depressing situation; I need to keep the rest of the family occupied as well. We’re not able to go on trips or spend as we used to on entertainment. My family spends a lot more time together; therefore, we go for products offering home entertainment at a good price. We continue to spend on online gaming, liquor for the adults, snacks for kids, DVD/online movies, cable and phone/mobile service.” • “I rely on the brands I know so as to reduce risk. I’ve generally kept using the ones I know and trust – the ones I’m loyal to. But I am open to re-evaluating brands and trying new ones. I have switched to cheaper brands when dissatisfied with those that I feel don’t give enough value for the high prices they demand. If other brands can do what they promise and can offer guarantees, I may give them a try. I want my dollar to stretch as far as possible and I evaluate brands on that basis.” • “Now more than ever, I seek out and pay attention to feedback from other users. Word of mouth is more important because it is more believable and therefore reduces my risk. When I connect with friends and family, be it on social media or in person, the recession comes up, and I make mental notes of companies/products/brands they recommend to help alleviate my situation.” • “I’ve noticed that companies that have continued to communicate with customers; some have extended their reach online. Now that I am so aggressively searching for information when purchasing, this is handy. Those companies provide answers to my question, “Why should I give my

hard-earned, hard-to-come-by dollar to you?” Those companies that have stopped speaking to me during this time, risk falling off my radar – out of sight, out of mind!” • “It takes two hands to clap, so I show more favour to a company proving it cared about me at this crossroad. A company deserving of my hard-earned dollar should provide good customer service and marketing activities considering my situation. If a new company reached out to me, I would be willing to listen to hear what they could do for me at this difficult time. Companies that decide to stop marketing during this slump are basically saying that they are not concerned about going through this with me. As I said, it takes two hands to clap…” • “Even after this recession, I will probably keep to some of the skills/ approaches I’ve adopted. In many ways, this recession has empowered me as a consumer and I will be more willing/able to challenge the value propositions put forward by companies in the future.” Have you been operating with the above in mind? ¤ 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. BusinessFocus

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IN THE KNOW

Realising the By Betty Combie

Whether your company’s vision is maximizing profits, excellence or sustainability, the underlying thread must be an effective management system. Effective management systems have become even more relevant in this era of globalisation, as businesses face increased competition and venture into international markets. An effective management system ensures that the goals set by an organisation are systematically achieved. A universally recognised tool which provides the framework for such a system is the international standard known as the ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements. It has been referred to as business common sense. The operating principle promoted in this standard is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) methodology. PDCA is an integrative fourstep continuous improvement process. Businesses keen on implementing an effective management system are therefore required to:

Plan

Planning is continual and should take place at least at two levels: long-term (strategic) and short-term (operational). BusinessFocus

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A key point to be made here is that of alignment. The short-term objectives must be aligned to the long-term goals. These goals must be linked to the company’s mission and vision. In that way as the company achieves its objectives, it is also moving closer to the realisation of its vision. Planning at the operational level must take into consideration the needs of the customer, measurable objectives, processes involved and their interactions, resources, acceptance criteria and the responsible personnel.

Do

Doing is working according to the plan. It is about staff at different levels with different skill sets controlling processes while guided by policies and procedures. It includes checks of the processes and their outputs against the acceptance criteria.

Check

Checking should capture information in at least four areas: (1) performance of processes; (2) suitability of products/ services; (3) satisfaction of customers; and (4) the effectiveness of the management system.

Act

Acting involves taking actions to improve. Actions include analyzing data to determine trends, reviewing the status of objectives, taking corrective action to avoid recurrence of errors and taking preventive action to avoid occurrence of errors in the first place. So how effective is your company’s management system? Indicators of an effective management system include the achievement of company objectives; increased satisfaction of internal and external customers; and improved operational effectiveness and efficiency. Can your company attest to these indicators? If not, then it is time to familiarize yourself with requirements of this management system standard if you are to realise your company’s vision. 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.


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IN THE KNOW

Leadership: What Men can Learn By Carol Kinsey Goman, Phd

A new university meta-analysis, an integration of a large number of studies addressing the same question, shows that leadership continues to be viewed as culturally masculine. The studies found that women experience two primary forms of prejudice: They are viewed as less qualified or natural than men in most leadership roles, and when women do adopt culturally masculine behaviors often required by these roles, they may be viewed as inappropriate or presumptuous. When generalising about any population segment, especially such large and diverse segments as male and female leaders, there is bound to be a degree of inaccuracy and stereotyping. Still, research finds that predominantly communal qualities, such as being nice or compassionate, are associated with women, and predominantly agentic qualities, such as being assertive or competitive, are associated with men. It is these agentic qualities that are believed to be essential to successful BusinessFocus

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from Women

leadership. Given that men fit the cultural stereotype of leadership better than women, they have better access to leadership roles and face fewer challenges in becoming successful in them. But that’s about to change. The 21st century is seeing the combination of new employees, new technologies and new global business realities that add up to one word: collaboration. New workers are demanding it, advances in technology are enabling it, and in addition, the ‘borderless organisation’ of the future is dictating that future productivity gains can only be achieved by creating collaborative teams that are networked to span corporate and national boundaries. Transparency and inclusion With these new business realities comes a new leadership model - one that replaces command and control with transparency and inclusion. The leader’s new role is to encourage employees to see themselves as empowered and valued contributors

and to help them build their knowledge base, expand their personal networks, and contribute to a common goal. To fulfil this role, leaders can no longer permit themselves the luxury of issuing orders from ivory towers. They must descend to the front line, become coaches and team players willing to get in the trenches and work side by side with other team members. They must demonstrate a greater degree of emotional intelligence and be able to show they understand, support, and care about the people in their charge. It is this collaborative approach to leadership that will increasingly highlight the value of a more ‘feminine’ approach. In the past, these very behaviours may have been obstacles to leadership success, but here’s what many women leaders do that gives them the edge in a collaborative future: 1. Focus on accommodating interpersonal needs. Women employ a more participative leadership style, they are more likely to


share information and power and to foster collaborative environments, and they have strong relational skills that make them seem empathic to their staff. Many men don’t admire ‘people skills’ as much as they do authority and control. Male leaders tend to be more transactional in their approach to business dealings, and once the transaction has been completed, they tend to move away from the interaction and back to solitary tasks. Men tend to favour a more hierarchical leadership style and to take a directive approach. Males are viewed as formal authorities and stronger leaders in roles that require more ‘command and control.’ This difference has appeared in both laboratory studies and observations of real leaders. 2. Read body language better. Robert Rosenthal at Harvard University developed a test called the Profile of NonVerbal Sensitivity (PONS) to analyse gender differences in decoding body language signals. The results showed that the ability to pick up and read body language is greater in females. With the exception of men who held jobs involving ‘nurturing, artistic, or expressive’ work, females (from fifth grade to adulthood) had superior scores in accurately judging messages communicated by facial expressions, body movement, and voice quality. This gives women a ‘non-verbal advantage’ in analysing interpersonal issues. 3. Express more emotion. Not only are women more adept at identifying non-verbal cues, they are better at expressing them - employing more animation, gestures, vocal variety, and emotion in their communication behaviour. A man’s ability to hold his emotions in check is viewed as an advantage in business negotiations, but that doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t allow their feelings to show

in other professional situations. Whether promoting collaboration, building employee enthusiasm for a new corporate direction, or addressing the negative consequences of a major change, showing emotion is not only a good thing - it is a powerful leadership strategy. 4. Show greater empathy. Generally speaking, women leaders tend to be more interactive, wanting to keep an encounter going until the emotional content has been played out. Conversely, men’s discomfort dealing with emotion leads them to immediately search for solutions, rather than understanding that sometimes people just need to be heard. Researchers at the University of Southern California found a striking gender difference in brain function and how people evaluate emotions when under stress. The gender difference appeared in the brain regions that enable people to simulate and understand the emotions of others. According to the research, stress seemed to increase the capacity for empathy in women, while in males, stress reduced it. 5. Send non-verbal signals of warmth and inclusion. Women leaders use more ‘warm’ body language signals that in turn build trust and encourage collaboration. They are more likely to focus on those who are speaking by orienting head and torso to face participants. They lean forward, smile, synchronise their movements with others, nod and tilt their heads (the universal signal of listening, literally ‘giving someone your ear’). To a woman, good listening skills include making eye contact and reacting visually to the speaker. To a man, listening can take place with a minimum of eye contact and almost no non-verbal feedback. (Women often cite a lack of eye

contact as evidence that their male boss “doesn’t value my input.”) Male leaders send more non-verbal ‘status’ signals. Men expand into available space. They stand tall or they sprawl, sitting with their legs spread or widely crossed, their materials spread out on a conference table, and their arms stretched out on the back of a chair. In a business meeting, they smile less than women, but employ more facial expressions that may come across as intimidating, overpowering, or disinterested. They speak more and gesture less when they do. Status and power cues make male executives look like leaders. Or at least they do in a hierarchical, command and control setting. But when it comes to leading collaborative teams or organisations, status cues can undermine your efforts. If you behave like ‘the boss who has all the answers,’ why would anyone else need - or dare - to contribute? The organisation of the future will be more collaborative, and that will change the definition and look of leadership. Collaborative leaders take the time and effort necessary to make people feel safe and valued. They emphasise team cohesiveness while encouraging candid and constructive conflict. They set clear expectations for outcomes and clarify individual roles. They help all members recognise what each of them brings to the team. They tell stories of group successes and the lessons learned in failures. They share the credit and the reward or recognition. And, most of all, they encourage everyone’s input, using warm and empathetic body language, that projects openness, inclusiveness and respect. Any leader, male or female, can do that. Women leaders just do it naturally! ¤ Carol kinsey Goman, PHD. is President of Kinsey Consulting Services. www.ckg.com

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TOURISM FOCUS

Minister and Tourism Director Herald New Changes

The two men at the top of St. Lucia’s tourism development structure say things will be different in a new dispensation, with a new tourism development agency to be developed, new strategies to build on previous successes and new attractive features to boost arrivals. First words came from Saint Lucia’s new Tourism Minister, who says renewed emphasis will be placed on the island’s top foreign exchange-earning sector, so that the industry can continue to lead economic development and employment in the nation in 2012 and beyond. In his first New Year message, Lorne Theophilus, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, assured travel partners at home and abroad that his intent was “to build on our successes as a premier Caribbean tourism destination, with sharp focus on marketing, product development, linkages as well as investment in its people.” “We have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said, calling for “all hands on deck” in both public and private sectors “to move Saint Lucia forward in today’s highly competitive travel and tourism environment.” Theophilus, an attorney-at-law, held early meetings with the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association and assured it of the continuity of its partnership with the Tourism Ministry and the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. He says his administration plans to fully integrate creative industries and heritage with tourism, “because you can have all the fancy hotels and restaurants you like, but visitors will return to Saint Lucia and the Caribbean because of the people they meet, and that reflects our creativity and our heritage.” St. Lucia Tourist Board Director Louis Lewis, also painted a new picture, forecasting new trends to attract visitors, including a wider embrace of yachting and new marketing strategies like the Health and Wellness theme promoted and started last year in Soufriere. Lewis said the new minister had seamlessly settled into his new position, and the Tourist Board looked forward to working with him to build on the island’s successes over the past several years. But he warned things wouldn’t be the same, “It will not be business as usual in 2012, but we are resolved to continue positioning our island as an ideal spot for romance, rejuvenation and adventure in the Caribbean,” he said. ¤ BusinessFocus

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Castries Named “Best Caribbean Port”

Port Castries has captured another prestigious award: the 2012 Porthole Editor-In-Chief Award for “Best Caribbean Port” from Porthole Cruise Magazine. Port Castries, which is managed and operated by the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), welcomes over 300 cruise ships and handles approximately 600,000 cruise passengers per year. “We are extremely pleased to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. Over the years SLASPA has made the necessary investments in berthing infrastructure and portside facilities to ensure the safe and efficient facilitation of cruise vessels. Recognising the growth potential of the cruise industry both regionally and globally, SLASPA developed a growth strategy as it relates to cruise port development,” said Dona Regis, Director of Marketing and Product Development. “SLASPA continues to play a great role in the development of the cruise industry and winning this award reaffirms that we are doing something remarkable in Saint Lucia. We know that the port is only the front door to delivering a high quality cruise product. In this regard, we are working very closely with various public and private cruise stakeholders who are central to developing our cruise product,” continued Ms. Regis. Port Castries has won other awards in the past including the prestigious Novaport Cup (awarded by the Port Management Association of the OECS) a record seven times and is also the recipient of three awards from the Caribbean Shipping Association. In 2000, Port Castries was named Port of the Year by the Caribbean Shipping Association. Also, in 2001 Port Castries won the Most Improved Port Facilities Award and Best Destination Experience in 2008 by Dream World Cruises. Porthole Cruise Magazine is published bimonthly and offers cruise and destination related feature stories, as well as information on industry trends, ship reviews, destination features, and onboard cuisine, entertainment, amenities, innovations, spas, and more. It is owned by the PPI Group, which publishes more than 40 travel-related titles. ¤


World’s Largest Cruise Ship

Cruises Caribbean Waters

Caribbean Tops Cruise

Passenger Destination Survey The world’s largest cruise ship, “Allure of the Seas”

The Caribbean continues to be the destination of choice for most cruise passengers, according to a new survey. The region topped the Cruise Holidays 2012 Cruise Trends ranking with 59.88 per cent bookings, leaving Europe (including Mediterranean, Baltic, Scandinavia & Greek Isles) a far second at 11.47 per cent. Western Caribbean cruises were the most popular overall, followed by the Eastern Caribbean and Southern Caribbean. Cruise Holidays experts predict the best cruise values will remain in the Caribbean and Europe. “These two regions are the clearcut leaders when it comes to the bang for the buck that a cruise vacation can provide,” stated Mark Schiffner, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Cruise Holidays. “On the flip side, with fewer cruisers turning to the Mexican Riviera as a top vacation choice, its value proposition is increasing. Mexico’s famed Gold Coast is pulling out all the stops to showcase its world-class beach communities, which depend on tourism for their livelihood.” Prices to the region and the Mediterranean are still averaging lower than 2008-10, the survey said, though there has been a slight increase since 2011 because of increased demand for travel. Additionally, it appears that cruisers’ tastes are becoming more sophisticated since Celebrity Cruises – a ‘premium’ cruise line – boasts the most popular new ships for both 2011 and 2012, according to Cruise Holidays experts across North America. The Celebrity Silhouette was selected as the favorite ship to debut in the past calendar year, while the fifth and final Solsticeclass ship, Celebrity Reflection, was voted as the most anticipated ship for 2012. The first three months of 2012, known in the cruise industry as the ‘Wave Season’, the level of optimism is at a three-year high for Cruise Holidays experts. More than 73 per cent of the 118 consultants surveyed between December 21, 2011 and January 4, 2012 said they are very optimistic or somewhat optimistic. The survey is based on actual bookings from Cruise Holidays’ proprietary booking system and a supplementary opinion survey taken by top Cruise Holidays owners and agents. ¤

The world’s largest cruise ship, “Allure of the Seas”, opened 2012 in Caribbean waters with visits to St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean islands. Tourism industry officials in St. Kitts said the visit was “a strong indicator of the continuing appeal of St. Kitts as a vibrant, authentic Caribbean cruise destination and glowing testament to the versatility of the cruise pier for accommodating all ship sizes.” The Royal Caribbean International’s newest and largest ship boasts 16 decks and 2,700 staterooms. It carries 5,400 guests and 3,000 crew members. Royal Caribbean-owned ships are currently scheduled to make a total of 42 port calls to St. Kitts in the 2011-2012 season, up from 20 calls last season. Royal Caribbean’s other ships, “Adventure of the Seas, “Explorer of the Seas”, “Jewel of the Seas”, “Navigator of the Seas” and “Serenade of the Seas” also visit St. Kitts and other Caribbean ports. ¤

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TOURISM FOCUS

St. Lucia Awarded

Record Number of Prestigious Accolades in 2011

The Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) announced multiple accolades and awards received by the island and its hotel partners in 2011, many of which highlight the island’s romantic nature. “We are very proud of the awards and accolades and do not take them for granted. Each award and special recognition is a testament of the hard work and commitment the government and our tourism partners put into planning Saint Lucia’s marketing and creating products that offer visitors exemplary vacation experiences. We look forward to receiving more awards in 2012,” said Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.

Destination – Caribbean” for the seventh consecutive year at the 15th Annual Recommended Readers’ Choice. •Top Ten Islands in the Caribbean (ranked #7) in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards.

St. Lucia Visitor Attractions & Tours Awards went to:

• Mamiku Gardens - the only Caribbean garden ranked (#4) among Headwater’s Top 10 Spring Gardens. • Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours was named “World’s Leading Caribbean Attraction Company” at the 2011 World Travel Awards.

Saint Lucia Won Destination Noted Property Awards: Awards for: Anse Chastanet: •“Readers Choice Award for Best Caribbean Destination” for the 2011 Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards Gala •“Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” at the 2011 World Travel Awards Caribbean & The America’s Ceremony in October, hosted in Jamaica. This is the island’s ninth win since 2002. The event, now in its 18th year, was established for the purpose of recognizing and celebrating achievements in all areas of the world’s travel and tourism industry. •“Sexiest Romance/Honeymoon

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• Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2011 • Condé Nast Traveler 2011 Top 25 Caribbean Resorts • Travel + Leisure 2011 Top 500 • Ranked among one of the Top 25 Caribbean Hotels by Travel + Leisure • Caribbean Travel & Life Readers’ Choice Awards “Resort with the Best View” • Fodor’s forum named Anse Chastanet “One of the Best Hotels for Views”

The BodyHoliday:

• London Sunday Times - Travel Reader’s Awards, 2011: Voted one of the top three International Spa’s Worldwide.

• Spa Finder - Reader’s Choice Awards, 2011: Winner of “Favorite Spa in the Caribbean” and “Top 10 Best for Water Sports”. • Condé Nast Traveler - Readers’ Travel Awards, 2011: Winner of “Best Destination Spa in the World” Award. • TripAdvisor - Certificate of Excellence Award, 2011 • Condé Nast Traveler - The Reader’s Spa Awards, 2011: Winner “Best Spa Worldwide”. • TripAdvisor - Traveler’s Choice Awards, 2011: Top 10 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the Caribbean & Mexico

Coco Palm:

• Recognized as a 2011 Fodor’s 100 Hotels selection

Crystals:

• Award of Excellence from TripAdvisor 2011 East Winds Inn: • Ranked #6 on TripAdvisor’s “Top 10 AllInclusive Hotels in the World 2011” • Virgin Holidays: World Travel Market 2011, Virgin Holidays Gold award for Best Small Hotel in The Caribbean (for the second time).

Jade Mountain:

• Saint Lucia’s only AAA 5 Diamond Resort property


• Travel + Leisure 2011 Top 500 • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2011 • Caribbean Travel & Life magazine awarded Jade Mountain “Resort with the Best View” • Readers of Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine voted Jade Mountain as the “Resort with the Best View” and Jade Mountain’s sister property Anse Chastanet as the runner-up. • Healing Lifestyles and Spa magazine named Jade Mountain as having “The Most Romantic Spa Treatments”. • The Knot named Jade Mountain as #1 in “Sexiest Suites in the World”.

Jalousie Beach:

Plantation,

Sugar

• Condé Nast Traveler, Best in the World 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards, Caribbean • Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2011 - featured in Caribbean’s World’s Best Debut • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2011 Readers’ Selection of “Best Places to Stay in the World” • London Sunday Times Travel Magazine, World’s Best Hotels 2011

Sandals:

• The Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa was awarded “Saint Lucia’s

Leading Spa Resort” at the World Travel Awards Caribbean & The America’s Ceremony. • Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Spa & Beach Resort was awarded “Saint Lucia’s Leading Resort” (second year) at the World Travel Awards Caribbean & The America’s Ceremony.

Ti Kaye Village Resort:

• Expedia Insiders Select for 2011.

The Inn on the Bay

• Ranked #1 for the “Top 25 Hotels for Service in the Caribbean 2012” and #20 in the World

Jade Mountain:

• Ranked #22 in the “Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean 2012” • Ranked #16 in the “Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean 2012” • Ranked #22 in the “Top Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the Caribbean 2012”

And so far for 2012, St. Lucia hotels have already Jalousie Plantation: scored high with TripAdvisor's • Ranked #21 in the “Top 25 Luxury Traveler’s Choice Awards: Hotels in the Caribbean” Cap Maison:

• Ranked #18 in the “Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean 2012” • Ranked #14 in the “Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean 2012” • Ranked #8 in the “Top 25 Relaxation/ Spa Hotels in the Caribbean 2012” Cotton Bay Village • Ranked #25 in the “Top 25 Relaxation/ Spa Hotels in the Caribbean 2012”

East Winds Inn:

The Landings

• Ranked #5 in the “ Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean 2012” Ti Kaye Village Resort: • Ranked #24 in the “Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean” 2012 • Ranked #3 in the “Top 25 Relaxation/ Spa Hotels in the Caribbean” Villa Beach Cottages • Ranked #7 in the “Top 25 Best Hotels for Service in the Caribbean 2012” ¤

• Ranked #1 for “All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean 2012” and #3 in the World

Butch Stewart Does it Again Sandals Resorts and the company’s Founder and Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, have been honored with top awards at the 2012 Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards. Stewart was presented with the prestigious ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ during a glittering ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in January in recognition of his contribution to the travel industry and to the communities in which his company operates. Collecting the award, Stewart said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the 10,000 people that work within the Sandals family.” In addition, Sandals Resorts won the prestigious ‘Best All Inclusive Resort Operator’ award and the company’s UK & European Managing Director, Karl Thompson was on hand to receive it. “We are honored that Sandals has been awarded ‘Best All Inclusive Resort Operator’ and this accolade is very important to us because it is voted for by the industry,” said Thompson. “We always strive for excellence and continue to invest enormous amounts of money to elevate and modernize the product.” These fantastic accolades build on previous successes for the Sandals brands at the Globe Travel Awards. Sandals Resorts was awarded ‘Best All-Inclusive Resort’ for 16 consecutive years, and was voted ‘Best Caribbean Hotel Group’ for ten consecutive years. At this year’s awards ceremony, Sandals was also nominated for ‘Best Trade Sales Team’ and ‘Best Trade Friendly Brand’. ¤ BusinessFocus

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TOURISM FOCUS

Banking on the Cutting Edge of

Adventure Tourism

Doing the same thing over and over, year after year, decade after decade, inevitably leads to an eventual urge to do something different, more exciting – and certainly more profitable. Trevor Hinkson gave almost four decades of his life to the banking sector before getting that feeling, that urge to do something different. He decided to make a new break and set his sights on the tourism sector. He finally zeroed-in on a tourism project in the Chassin/Babonneau area, which is now one of two new private businesses he has established since breaking with banking. Trevor’s tourism project is indeed adventurous. Called AANANSI ATV Tours, it offers a guided bike tour, starting just outside the famous northeastern Rainforest Sky Rides and takes riders through estates in the shadow of the lush and legendary La Sourciere Mountain. Indeed, AANANSI offers ATV rides through St. Lucia’s most beautiful, lush and mountainous banana, coconut and citrus plantations, each ride ending with a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean – all of which can be completed in two hours. AANANSI uses 9 ATVs, and Trevor says the number is expected to increase significantly as business grows. He also expects to increase staff with time and growth. AANANSI ATV Tours opened throughout the Christmas season and many St. Lucians discovered that part of the island for the very first time in their lives, promising to return in 2012 – again and again. However, Trevor’s business focus isn’t solely on adventure tourism. Equally adventurous has been his other venture - the parent company of AANANSI ATV Tours. Cutting Edge Tech offers the latest in computers and stereo equipment to customers seeking top-of-the line products at very affordable prices. Cutting Edge Tech’s home theatre demonstration room is designed as a living room where customers can sit and experience sound and vision not normally available in St. Lucia. Naturally, he has no regrets moving on as his stint in banking was a fulfilling one, which saw him work in the majority of the islands in the Caribbean, from the Bahamas in the north, to Guyana in the south. He is now buoyed by the seeing the excitement of his clients, whether on the ATV’s or at Cutting Edge. This has assured him that it was a right move that has opened the way for him to be on the cutting edge of local business.

Become a modern day Columbus; come discover the North East of St Lucia!

Experience the sights and sounds of St. Lucia’s truly magnificent North East coast and the ride through the plantations and forest to get there. Our guided tour on mint condition automatic ATVs will make it easy for you to maneuver throughout the ride. You will experience a ride in St Lucia as never before… See the wide open spaces, spectacular vistas and to top it all off, that fantastic view of the Grande Anse coast. Please come join us for this two hour guided tour.

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PROFILE FOCUS

What Future for

St. Lucia’s Bananas? Banana Exports From Saint Lucia Year Total Tonnage (metric) The future of St. Lucia’s banana industry is under review and may be poised for a comeback. That’s the word from the Ministry of Agriculture, where efforts are centralized into saving what’s left from disease and possibly revitalizing an industry once described here as “green gold”. The red flag to save what’s left of the industry was raised by Governor General, Dame Pearlette Louisy in her January Throne Speech, when she said the new Labour administration’s second immediate national priority is, “the fight to save our banana industry from the ravages of the dreaded Black Sigatoka disease.” “This is now a national epidemic,” she said, adding, “This is a fight that can no longer be left to our farmers, acting on their own with the limited financial resources at their disposal. It is a responsibility that falls to the state.” But the fight against Black Sigatoka isn’t all. The industry itself will also have to be revived rigorously if it is to return anywhere near to its former glory. The recent bankruptcy of the St. Lucia Banana Corporation (SLBC) and the disposal of most of its major assets, which followed the drop in banana earnings due to competition from cheaper Latin American bananas, have served to dampen expectations among local banana farmers. The SLBC was once the largest private shareholder in the Windward Islands Banana Development Company (WIBDECO), which has now become WINFRESH. But the SLBC’s shares have been sold and a portion paid to farmers after debts were extracted. The island continues to export bananas to the UK on a much lower scale than ever and even while planners are optimistic, farmers say weather conditions continue to play havoc with their fields, which are prone to wind, sun and rain – three natural elements the Caribbean has excess of. ¤ BusinessFocus

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YEAR

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 (as at week 6) Courtesy: Winfresh

TONNES

65,144.00 70,226.00 34,350.64 48,035.47 34,421.72 43,199.34 30,958.39 34,242.52 30,091.47 38,359.00 33,834.00 21,288.00 6,520.00 1,131.40


What Is The Fairtrade Association? By Stan Bishop

The Saint Lucia Fairtrade Association comprises the thirteen Fairtrade groups that can be found across the island. The idea of Fairtrade came about as a response to protect the bananaproducing economies of the Windward Islands, namely Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Lucia. In the past, special trade arrangements ensured that banana exports from the region enjoyed preferential treatment. However, radical changes in the European Union’s banana regime in 1993 increasingly diminished that system of protectionism the region’s banana industry enjoyed previously. As a result, the once lucrative business of growing and exporting bananas began to realize a sharp decrease in profits. The situation was further exacerbated by the global market saturation and meager retail prices in the United Kingdom, especially for the region’s bananas. Large-scale, cost-efficient banana production in Latin American and African countries proved too competitive for the Windward Islands’ market share. High levels of unemployment, a decline in production levels, and decreased income from bananas were some of the crippling problems that ensued. With banana production accounting for a major part of Saint Lucia’s agricultural sector, the picture became grimmer by the day.

In fact, between the period spanning 1992 and 2004, total annual banana exports in Saint Lucia fell from 135,000 tonnes to about 42,000 tonnes. That 93,000 tonnes drop in banana production represented a revenue drop of US$40 million (from US$71 million in 1992 to US$31 million in 2004). Meanwhile, the number of banana farmers fell drastically. In the 1990s, there were about 10,000 farmers; that number slipped to 1,800 in 2005. Industry analysts claim that since the Fairtrade initiative came into being about five years ago, the region’s banana industry was able to stay above water. In fact, Julius Polius, president of the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) told BF recently that despite the many challenges the industry still faces, Fairtrade remains a good idea. Statistics show that the average proportion of bananas shipped from the Windward Islands under the Fairtrade banner increased from 29% in 2005 to 72% just one year later. The mantra of Fairtrade is to guarantee a fair price to farmers for their bananas. That modus operandi, stakeholders contend, appeals to socially-conscious consumers. As such, bananas marketed under the Fairtrade label have its inherent advantages over those that are not. At the moment, Saint Lucia exports 100% Fairtrade bananas to Sainsbury’s Supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. ¤

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PROFILE FOCUS

CEO

By Stan Bishop

Holds Master Class Session

Keeping abreast with the dynamics involved in running the United Kingdom’s third-largest supermarket chain is no easy task. Just ask Justin King, Chief Executive Officer of J. Sainsbury, parent company of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. King was in Saint Lucia this January to, among other things, meet with government officials to discuss the way forward for the island’s banana supply to the English supermarket chain. Another key item on his hectic itinerary was the hosting of a Master Class session with key stakeholders in the banana industry. That Master Class session, held on Friday, January 20, in the Conference Room of the Orchid Garden at the Union Agricultural Station, sowed some seeds of hope. The session was organised jointly by the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA), Winfresh and the region’s National Fair Trade Organisation (NFTO) bodies. Sainsbury’s is the largest distributor of Windward Islands bananas in the United Kingdom. In fact, five years ago, Sainsbury’s launched the Fair Trade banana initiative. King’s visit to Saint Lucia was in an effort to BusinessFocus

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get a sense of what have been the results at the ground level so far, and to discuss the way forward for an industry currently beleaguered with uncertainties. Among the challenges King discussed at the Master Class session was the crucial issue of low banana productivity that regional farmers currently face. He acknowledged the debilitating effects of the dreaded Black Sigatoka disease and said that adequate measures needed to be taken to stem the disease’s threat. BF sat down with the Sainsbury’s CEO moments before his Master Class session to gain some insight into his company’s perspective on just what the future holds for bananas. “The main reason we’re here is that we’re coming up to the fifth anniversary of the commitment that we made to move our business to 100% Fair Trade bananas,” King told BF. “We made that commitment in tandem with Winfresh and Windward Islands Banana Development Company because pretty much the whole production system here in Saint Lucia and, indeed, the Windward Islands generally, changed to Fair Trade at that time. As you know,

it’s been a very torrid few years, most notably the last couple, with the drought, Hurricane Tomas and now the challenges of Black Sigatoka.” King added that the future ambition of Winfresh is to diversify. This move, he believes, will place Winfresh in a better position where it is less exposed to the limitations associated with depending solely on bananas. Nevertheless, King believes that bananas will remain the backbone of Winfresh’s future. The Sainsbury’s top executive explained that while Fair Trade remains its mantra, a significant amount of its banana supply emanates from the Windward Islands, which have unfortunately, seen declines in levels of production. “At its peak, the Windward Islands would have accounted for maybe around half the bananas that we’ve sold,” King told BF. “It’s now only about 10% of the bananas that we’re selling. But that’s a direct reflection of the shrinking production. Over half the bananas produced by the Windward Islands are bought by Sainsbury’s.” He remains optimistic that as the banana industry’s major woes subside within the


CEO Justin king making his presentation

coming months, that Sainsbury’s will be able to accommodate the anticipated increased levels of production. While here, he had discussions with Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, and the Minister of Agriculture and Food Production, Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste. During those discussions, King said he reaffirmed his company’s commitment to remain a key customer of Windward Islands ‘sweet bananas’. Sainsbury’s has been purchasing bananas from the Windward Islands for the past fifty-two years, he said, and the rewards have been fruitful thus far. “Obviously, the Government has got some challenging decisions to make about how much of an investment they will make to eradicate or control Black Sigatoka. Also, they would have to encourage some of those farmers who haven’t yet replanted to replant. The market is there for the bananas if they produce,” King said. And just what mechanism does Sainsbury’s have in place to make up for the shortfall in Windward Islands’ banana production? BF asked. King said that other market producers are capitalizing on the Windward Islands’ low output levels.

After all, Sainsbury’s needs to maintain its supply and demand flow that amounts to an estimated sale of 650 million individual bananas annually. “Because our commitment is 100% Fair Trade, we can only balance across those markets, those plantations that are also approved for Fair Trade bananas, such as the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Ghana,” King explained. “The competition for Windward Islands bananas is increasing. Obviously, we have to balance our supply because our customers expect us to have bananas on sale every day of the week. They won’t wait while the Windward Islands production recovers from the negative impact of the hurricane and other factors.” So how does a CEO in charge of 150,000 employees of a supermarket chain that enjoys a 16.5% share of the grocery market in the United Kingdom manage? How does a company executive who oversees the operations of 1,011 stores and revenues totaling £19 billion keep it all together? King, who admits to responding to some of his customers’ emails regarding customer service issues, has devised a plan. During

the Master Class session, King shared his top ten secrets to running a successful business. They are:

1. Listen to your customers 2. Listen to your colleagues 3. Hire the right people 4. Learn from the past 5. No change is not an option 6. Agree where you’re starting from 7. Stand for something 8. Good leadership 9. Trust your intuition 10. Have fun During his informal presentation, which was followed by a question and answer session, King urged those present to never lose focus of the ten secrets to managing a successful business. Referencing his personal experience as a company executive, he explained how Sainsbury’s was able to turn things around eight years ago to regain a sound market footing. It is a focus he urged all stakeholders to bear in mind as they contemplate the journey ahead for a business relationship already fifty-two years strong. ¤

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Business Awards 2012 The St. Lucia

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Oh, What A Night! CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

Celebrating Excellence and Achievement!

Winners of St. Lucia Business 2012 Awards

T’was another night of glitz and glamour in the William Jefferson Clinton Ballroom when the Who’s Who of the business community gathered at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort on January 28th for the Chamber of Commerce’s 3rd Annual St. Lucia Business Awards. CEOs, Group Chairpersons, Directors and selected staff from sponsoring and participating companies and groups of companies, associations and other private sector entities were very timely, bedecked and outfitted for the cameras on the red carpet. Flashes dazzled on each arrival at the Digicel-sponsored welcome reception (a sort of “party before the party”) as corporate chieftains and political decisionmakers clinked glasses and exchanged words and smiles with managers and supervisors, all keeping bartenders and waiters on their toes as the clock ticked toward the 9pm start, also to be aired live on TV. It was a Saturday that hundreds, from BusinessFocus

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scores of companies had waited long and anxiously for, when, in dazzling splendor, the Chamber would be “Celebrating Excellence and Achievement”. The event was also on the official calendar for this year’s Nobel Laureates Week. The 2012 awards competition was well subscribed, attracting more competitors seeking more awards than ever before. It also attracted a longer list of Corporate and Elite Sponsors, most of the evening’s competitors among them. But most of all, it continued to attract new participating companies making their first entries. New Chamber President, Gerard Bergasse, was absolutely clear what the event represented. He said he was “extremely pleased” with the growth and development of the “re-branded” awards which “celebrated excellence and achievement in the business community.” “It’s about our nation’s ability to achieve and perform at a high level,” he noted, adding that it also reflected the theme of Nobel Laureates Week, “Celebrating

Excellence – Appreciating Our Past, Charting Our Future.” This year’s scripted event was hosted by PR pro, Barbara Jacobs, and economics guru, Richard Peterkin, the latter evoking spontaneous wall-to-wall laughter with unscripted humor that was simply funny, politically correct, partisan neutral and equally allotted. Like the two previous years, eleven categories of awards were contested, including: Idea of the Year, the Green Award, Marketing and Service Excellence, Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resource Development. Also in line were: The Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation, the Corporate Leadership Award, Exporter of the Year, Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year. The coveted awards were contested by several dozen companies – banks, financial agencies, breweries, distillers, supermarkets, public utilities, PR agencies and construction firms, among them. Also very much anticipated was this


year’s announcement of the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award, normally given to one of its longest-serving directors or presidents. This year the Chamber elected to award low-keyed former President, Ornan Monplaisir, who was present for the accolades, including a video presentation featuring comments from his more flamboyant brother, Kenneth, as well as by Ferrel “Bam” Charles, a previous recipient of the same award. The judges had judged and the announcements of their decisions were met with applauds of approval. History was indeed made this year: Three companies had won top prizes on their first try – Consolidated Foods (CFL), LUCELEC and Financial and Investment Consultancy Services (FICS); three went to FICS, all on its first night out; CFL won two prizes (including Entrepreneur of the Year); and 1st National Bank (which won the most prizes last year) also received two this year. The island’s two top distillers of alcoholic beverages, Windward and Leeward Breweries (WLBL) and St. Lucia Distillers were also winners; but it was FICS that emerged as the overall winner, with its new, young and dynamic Managing Director, Sharmaine Rosemond-Francois, emerging as the real lady of the night, copping the Corporate Leadership Award! This year’s presentation had all the features of a special awards night: the announcement of each winner was preceded by silence, broken by approving applause; each nominated company was presented through a brief video about its submission and competitors were equally highlighted. The nominees were all applauded; the winners were fully heralded; and none of the companies that didn’t win said they felt cheated. The loud cheers and screams from the tables of the winning companies reverberated across the ballroom. The winners were visibly excited - some shocked, some rocked; and every winner’s expressed onstage “Thank you” came across as sincere. The evening’s cultural program also drew rave reviews. It offered simply superb performances by three sets of young St. Lucians who delivered hitherto unseen glimpses of the mere tips of the icebergs of young talent hidden beneath the surface of the national artistic and creative landscape. A young violinist and supporting guitarist offered sounds never heard from the hands of a youthful local

player; another young man delivered a powerful post-Tomas ‘Keep the Faith’ rendition; a young woman weaved her silky voice through ears and into hearts; and the Blaize Pascal Project amazed all who didn’t believe an opera-style choir could have been created in St. Lucia - far less one able to combine English and Kewyol with Italian lingo, under the fingering baton of an unmistakable local Pavarotti. Her Excellency the Governor General, Dame Pearlette Louisy - the Nobel Laureate Week Patron and a lady knowledgeable and appreciative of the best multilingual and multicultural traditions and tastes - was visibly pleased as the young performers served-up their varied pieces of melodic excellence. Indeed, the 3rd Annual St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Business Awards bore all the hallmarks of the theme of St. Lucia’s 33rd Anniversary of Independence: “One People, One Nation, Endless Possibilities”. The formal presentation ceremony over, it was time for another relaxed slice of Saturday Night Fever – the “after-party”. The red carpet had been rolled back and the photo shoot galleries had given way to endless tables of select edibles and thirst-quenchers to garner the palates of the gathered. Stomachs expanded and Adam’s apples danced as judges mingled with competitors and competing interests communed, while talk ranged from chatter to congrats - and even predictions for 2013. The fingerprints of master choreographer and creative industries advocate, Adrian Augier (the Chamber’s first Entrepreneur of the Year), was clearly evident throughout the evening’s production. There was a smooth flow from item to item with “Made-For-TV” props that propelled the event beyond the ballroom. Indeed, the combination of information technology, culture and entertainment made the night more memorable. But it was also a night of reviews and even previews of the event itself. Never mind the Chamber’s repeated invitation to small and medium enterprises to participate in the annual event, they still didn’t feature highly among the nominees. Some execs of smaller firms pointed to larger manufacturing, financial and retail enterprises dominating the entries and judges’ selections. It was probably with this in mind that Chamber President Bergasse pledged on stage, “We will continue to promote the awards to all sectors, big and

small, as we know that excellence has little to do with size, but everything to do with attitude.” One non-competitor suggested the Chamber “may wish to consider widening the net to level the field by undertaking an approach that ensures enterprises of all sizes, across the island, are considered by an independent panel, rather than companies being invited to nominate themselves.” But another favouring the status quo argued that “If they are not invited to submit their entries and sell themselves, firms uncertain of being nominated may be less inclined to sponsor the event.” A few firms have almost become permanent fixtures, submitting entries for nearly all categories and therefore receiving more nominations than others. However, the night’s results showed that first-timers could indeed strike gold on their first awards night. The Chamber was quite pleased with its performance that glittering evening. Executive Director Brian Louisy said afterwards, “Overall, the 2012 Awards was a resounding success with live coverage, exceptional glitz and glamour on the red carpet and superb entertainment celebrating corporate St. Lucia’s success, culminating in a high-spirited afterparty where all nominees and winners celebrated their successes.” Looking both back and forward, he said the Chamber was achieving its objective with the annual awards event. Louisy explained, “The intention is to get 150 nominations annually, which would represent participation by some 50 to 60 companies. We got over 60 entries this year and among them were three first-time companies that all ended up as winners.” “We also had this year our longest list of Corporate and Elite Sponsors so far, so we’re getting there,” he concluded. Indeed, this year’s ceremony was almost flawless, delivered with a touch of St. Lucian class that will be long remembered and much spoken of by those who were there, and also by the countless numbers who watched on TV island-wide, regionally and internationally. It featured the excellence of achievement each step of the way and turned out to be the best final curtain for this year’s tributes to the nation’s twin peaks of excellence and achievement, St. Lucia’s Nobel Laureates. ¤ Earl Bousquet BusinessFocus

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CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

Welcome

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Welcome


Chamber President Heralds a

CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

New Era of Doing Business Better!

St. Lucians elected a new government and the nation got a new Prime Minister at just about the same time that the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce held its own general election for a new President and Board of Directors. Coincidence? Maybe… But as far as newly-elected Chamber President Gerard Bergasse is concerned, there must be a reason – and it’s this: to give the new Government and the new Chamber leadership a new opportunity to work together - to re-set the clock, as it were, for a fresh start to a new beginning. Bergasse said that much when he addressed the 3rd St. Lucia Business Awards ceremony at the Sandals Grande on January 28th, when and where he invited the Chamber to “re-set” its course in anticipation of a greater role in national development under his presidency. Noting that the 126-year-old Chamber had “stood the test of time and weathered many a social and economic crisis”, Bergasse said the age-old business body needed to once again set out to achieve its historical objective: “To promote and sustain a healthy political, social and economic environment, in which free enterprise and ethical business practices can flourish in harmony with the development of the St. Lucian economy.” BusinessFocus

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The new president said he will dedicate his presidency to improving St. Lucia’s international ranking as an easy place to do business. He said the entire community had a stake. “With an easier business environment, members and the wider economy can operate and be more profitable,” Bergasse said, adding, “When businesses are more profitable they pay more taxes; when governments have more revenue they provide better services and those better services lead to better quality of life for everyone.” Over the past five years St. Lucia slipped from #27 to #52 and Bergasse said he would very much like to see the island move back up the ranks. He noted that countries which improved the business environment saw an average 2% growth in Gross Domestic Product and he invited the government “to work with the Chamber to improve St. Lucia’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report.” The Chamber President said his new Board of Directors has already agreed that “our every action, our every intervention, and most important our relationship and conversation with government, will be held under the theme of Improving the Ease of Doing Business.” Under his watch, Bergasse assured, the Chamber will tailor its Secretariat to better help members by talking to and working with government on facilitation of the World Bank’s independent assessment of everything from “legislation and policy” to “investment and trade facilitation”. Improvements in the ease of doing business in St. Lucia, Bergasse said, would also result in business persons “spending less time and money on administrative processes and activities” and having more time to run their businesses and satisfy customers at lower cost. “We urge Government to join us on this journey and be our partners in this initiative,” said Bergasse, adding that he was also “confident that the government and the private sector are on the same side on this issue.” “I know that if we act now, not only will businesses benefit, but all of St. Lucia will as well,” he concluded. ¤


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CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

And t he 2012 Winners Were... Seven companies walked away with the eleven awards up for grabs at the Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 St. Lucia Business Awards

FICS Wins the Big One

Business of the Year: For its overall performance locally and its phenomenal regional accomplishments during a year when most businesses suffered; gaining its brokerage license in April 2011 and being able, in less than one year, to trade in government and corporate securities on behalf of investors across the region; and posting a financial performance for 2011 that has in most areas exceeded growth targets. Exporter of the Year: For leading the raising of government and corporate securities on the Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange (ECSE) and seizing a market share of 73% amongst the 11 Licensed Brokers within the OECS and now servicing clients in five out of eight OECS countries, including brand presence in Barbados. Corporate Leadership Award: To Managing Director, Sharmaine Francois for changing the landscape of FICS, building on the legacy of the founder, Mr. George Theophilus, and leading its new brokerage and capital market services, as well as including the revamped marketing and advertising with sponsorship of daily financial tips on radio and TV as well as a new Financial Ticker on TV. BusinessFocus

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And t he 2012 Winners Were....

Ist National Bank t akes home t wo

Excellence in Human Resource Development: For promotion of junior employees to supervisory grades; reviewing salary grade structures in alignment with comparable ranges; granting annual performancebased salary increments; sharing profits with eligible staff; creating a working environment conducive to growth and providing study loans at special interest rates for professional staff development. Service Excellence: For use of cutting edge technology to improve service delivery by providing real-time service to customers and showing success in customer retention and loyalty as a result of the systems established to deliver excellent service. Projects & Sevices Manager, Joseph Fevrier

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won t wo t op awards

Consolidated Foods Limited (CFL) CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

Idea of the Year: For its injection of an investment into the Agricultural sector through two programmes designed to groom future farmers and grow existing ones. The Farmer Loans Programme supports farmers through interest-free soft loans to registered farmers, while its Sponsorship of Schools Agriculture is an initiative developed by the St. Lucia Agricultural Youth Forum to encourage youth participation in agriculture. The 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Managing Director Andre Chastanet (See special report also in this section).

Perishables Manager, Dunstan Demille & Deputy M. D., Martin Dorville

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Accela Marketing

And t he 2012 Winners Were....

Marketing Excellence: For being the only agency with the in-house capability to offer full-service marketing and PR solutions; the only corporate business to do web and social media according to the acclaimed SICK model, winning 4 CAF/Addy awards and being showcased at the Forum Intercarbeen De La Communication in Guadeloupe as a model for the French-speaking Caribbean.

LUCELEC Corporate Social Responsibility: For investing over $1 million in improving youth, educational, sports, infrastructure and opportunities; supporting arts and culture; crime-fighting efforts; court diversion and community policing programmes; after-school programmes to improve educational performance and reduce juvenile delinquency and activities that generate increased economic activity.

Managing Director, Trevor Louisy & Corporate Communications Director, Roger Joseph

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CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

Windward and Leeward Brewery Limited Green Award: For their many initiatives towards recycling, such as bottle recycling with a 99% bottle return rate and carton and wood recycling at their Vieux Fort Plant. WLBL also participates in Heineken’s worldwide energy saving program and has implemented a number of conservation initiatives and waste reduction practices.

Chairman, Lisle Chase

St. Lucia Distillers Group of Companies Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation: For innovation in rum making and packaging for its ‘Spiced’ version of the popular Chairman’s Reserve brand and building its reputation as the finest ‘boutique’ rum distillery in the world, to date winning 165 medals and commendations globally.

Production Manager, Lennox Wilson

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Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner says: “It’s all about my team!”

CFL's Deputy MD, Martin Dorville, accepted the award on the behalf of Andre Chastanet (Inset).

Managing Director of CFL, Andre Chastanet, was awarded by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce as “The 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year.” BF sat with him to talk about his enviable honour. How does he feel about the award? “It’s not about me,” he says, “but about the CFL team which operates under my guidance and leadership - a team that is highly competitive, flexible and open to change at short notice. Many of the successes and gains which we have achieved are directly attributed to this factor.” The accolade which the Chamber bestowed on him can be tied to the company also winning the Idea of the Year Award. “Food is our business and local sourcing is important, so we actively support the local agricultural sector through two special programs, one which caters to current CFL farmers and the other which seeks to develop a cadre of future agricultural professionals. It’s also part of a deliberate CFL strategy to help ‘grow and groom’ the agricultural sector.” “But,” he adds, “More important than this award are the success stories that have resulted from the initiation of the two programmes.” His stewardship at CFL stands out, so, to what does he attribute the difference

between him and others? “Having a team that is committed to the success and sustainability of the business,” he replied. Others fear it, but the CFL MD never seems afraid of competition. Chastanet thanks his highly adaptable and flexible team that is not afraid to embrace change that is solution-oriented, and the fact that they have always operated from a very customer focused position. “Despite the fact that we are the largest supermarket chain, we have gone to great lengths to give customers choice, quality and rewards and to maintain our strong employee base.” CFL has grown tentacles - Super J IGA supermarkets, Mega J and now Ti J’s, a franchise offering of the company. What next? “As new opportunities present themselves,” he replied, “we will certainly review to determine suitability for our market.” He continued, “We are now heavily focussed on cost reductions, innovation and productivity as a means of enhancing our overall competitiveness and ability to deliver our retail and distribution services, in more cost-effective and efficient ways to the customer.” CFL has gone regional with three supermarkets in St. Vincent and Chastanet

says it has been “quite encouraging so far.” He notes, however, that there’s “a slightly different market there than here, but it’s still early days…” The CFL MD is the outgoing Chairman of IGA Caribbean - a regional grouping of IGA supermarkets in the Caribbean. So, what is IGA bringing to the table at CFL and to St. Lucia? “Our Super J IGA stores,” he added, “are able to differentiate locally through our competitive advantage, brand equity and training opportunities.” “Our goal as IGA supermarkets in the Caribbean is to be a model for supermarket retailing in the region, we discuss issues of commonality, focus on how we can consolidate gains through product sourcing and how best to implement international standards/guidelines set by IGA.” CFL’s annual profit-sharing ceremonies show the company has a reservoir of longstanding staff. What's keeping them at CFL? According to Chastanet, “Our values – commitment, competitive spirit and being good with people; as well as our focus on growth and helping to chart career paths through our Supermarket Career Institute located within CFL.” Is he satisfied with the returns on CFL’s investment in corporate social responsibility? Says Chastanet, “As a local company, we actively support community and country. We do this, not because we have to, but because we want to. It’s actually embedded in our mission.” “For us,” he concluded, “the return is in the results that come about as a result of our active investment in the community. Our support for cancer and diabetes awareness programmes in St. Lucia is just one of many that CFL and by extension the team proudly support, not just financially but in other ways such as through volunteerism.” In wrapping up the interview Andre points to the Super J IGA slogan which reads “Better Everyday”. “I am very proud to have a CFL team who live this slogan and so if anyone deserves the accolades it really is them and not me.” .

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Ornan Monplaisir Awarded for CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

Lifet ime Achievement

Mr. & Mrs Monplaisir at the Awards night

The Chamber of Commerce this year awarded the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award to eight-term Chamber President, Ornan Monplaisir, for his long-standing contribution to the private sector of St. Lucia. The former President was cited for his leadership of the Chamber at various crucial points in the island’s development. Of particular mention was his role as Chamber President, intervening in the political dispute that followed the 1979 general elections in the so-called ‘power struggle’ between the leaders of the then government. The Chamber had to tread carefully, tip-toeing along a political tightrope between a government under pressure and an opposition determined to return to office. BusinessFocus

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The Chamber and the island’s Council of Churches eventually negotiated a political settlement that resulted in an Interim Government led by businessman Michael “Mickey” Pilgrim, leading to fresh general elections. Such were the times and so was the task that it required tough words and actions, which resulted in the then President being re-christened “The Heavy Roller”. But it wasn’t only for his leadership of the Chamber at that time that Mr Monplaisir was recognized. His long and valuable service to the local private sector also involved his role as a surveyor, as well as his establishment of his own business, Monplaisir Supplies. Mr. Monplaisir was on hand to receive his recognition and the standing ovation that followed the announcement of his award.


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2012

Chamber Awards CHAMBER AWARDS 2012

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20t h Anniversary

FICS Turns 20

From Local Roots to Regional Fruits in the Age of 21st Century Banking Financial and Consultancy Services (FICS) Ltd was incorporated by George and Lusca Theophilus in 1991 with an investment of only EC $140,000. Its doors were flung open on February 24th, 1992 – the first working day after that year’s Independence Day celebrations. As if they planned to give the island a unique 13th Independence celebration gift, a local family from the village of Choiseul had established a non-bank company that provided credit facilities, investment, brokerage and consultancy services to individuals, companies and corporations. A private company governed by the Banking Act and regulated by two authorities - the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC), FICS has over the years provided the widest range of financial services offered here - all under one roof - by a non-banking entity. Originally established as a family-owned business by a husband-and-wife team that married their banking and educational BusinessFocus

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skills to produce a home-grown company offering services no other did, the company became the veritable Mecca for persons seeking sound professional person-toperson advice on money matters. Managing Director, Theophilus, with decades of experience serving at top levels in banks locally and regionally, was always able to offer a bright light in the darkness and show the way to the end of the tunnel. The company’s reputation grew around his personal interest in his clients’ interests, his man-to-man approach to their concerns and his way of offering advice one could count on. Countless clients who have benefitted from FICS’ advice have endless stories and accounts of the difference it made to their lives of their businesses. From students seeking to pay for overseas studies to taxi drivers wanting new vehicles, civil servants building homes, farmers buying land, restaurateurs seeking supplies and hoteliers seeking to extend, they all recount how FICS’ services have benefitted their plans and enterprises. FICS has weathered all the financial and

economic storms that have come its way. It never made a loss after its first year. It has grown an asset base of over $100 Million – and an unbroken 17-year profitmargin record. But the global changes in the industry in the past two decades necessitated adjustments to what FICS does and how it does it all. The company had grown and its services had expanded, but the local market was also growing, as was the competition. The local banking sector was going through its own changes. The only local privately owned commercial bank was making its own adjustments to the new reality. The state-owned commercial and development banks had merged into a single new entity that eventually metamorphosed out of its original character. In addition, the development bank, which had been earlier subsumed into a merged entity, was re-established, while a whole new regional picture emerged locally with the establishment here of financial holdings that crossed the OECS and CARICOM borders. The larger foreign-owned established


commercial banks were also forging alliances to join synergies to remain afloat. FICS emerged and survived the end of the 20th century and grew into an established national institution by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. It was growing stronger too, but also had to adjust to the new global, regional and national banking and finance realities. Enter Sharmaine Rosemond-Francois, a 10-year veteran in 21st century banking and finance, specializing in banking, brokerage, capital markets and investment banking, who was appointed as the new FICS Managing Director in 2011. A former FICS student loan client before she achieved her Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Accounting and Statistics after post-graduate studies at universities in the UK, Canada and the Caribbean (UWI), Mrs. Francois had amassed a decade of collective experience from earlier stints at the Bank of St. Lucia (BOSL), the Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings (ECFH) and the Caribbean Money Market Bureau (CMMB). She had also already mobilized arrangement of over $600 million in corporate and government bond issues on the Regional Government Securities

Market (RGSM) and as the new Managing Director, brought to the FICS table all her experience in re-purchasing agreements – buying and re-selling government bonds to investors and translating them into manageable business and financial proposals. Her appointment coinciding with FICS’ 19th anniversary, the new, young MD set out to establish FICS as a leader in the capital market. The company went bullish on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and set sights on becoming the leading non-bank financial institution in the OECS – a goal it achieved just one year later. FICS has in the past year expanded its services to include, among others, brokerage and securities services in the OECS and CARICOM regions. It has already secured hundreds of millions of dollars worth of government and other securities bonds sales for the Government of Grenada, as well as for other major clients in St. Kitts-Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. The local establishment has started 2012 on a good foot. On January 30th FICS closed a $28 million 4-year bond deal for the Eastern Caribbean Home

Mortgage Bank (ECHMB) of St. Kitts and Nevis - raising over $54 million, of which FICS alone raised $48 million as the lead broker. That was its second such venture for ECHMB, for which it had also already raised $85 million in 2011. Last year FICS also raised $142 million in bonds sales for the Government of Grenada. FICS’ achievements over the past year were recognized and honoured through the record-breaking three awards it deservingly won at the 2012 Chamber of Commerce St. Lucia Business Awards – its first time participating in the annual event. The company celebrated 20 years in February and the new MD is already creating waves, but Mr. Theophilus has in no way stepped off the stage. He’s still very much the Chairman of the Board, making available, daily and directly, his wealth of lifetime experience in the business of banking and finance. His company has for the past 20 years built a capacity to serve its clientele well. Now it’s set to build a reputation for breaking barriers and going beyond borders and boundaries, at home and abroad.

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20t h Anniversary

George Theophilus has successfully steered the ship of family finance through the uncharted waters of a changing ocean of global finance.

Hail The Man! By Earl Bousquet

George Theophilus is your quintessential banker – the type you can really bank on for the soundest advice. His vast experience spans a period between two centuries that has seen local and Caribbean banking transition from pennies and passbooks to credit and debit cards – and now telebanking. A veteran of the region’s financial and investment world from way back before even the EC dollar was born and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) came into being, this son of Choiseul has identified with several achievements in his field, at home and abroad. He served as Deputy Managing Director of the ECCA (now ECCB) from 1973 to 1981. After the Government of Saint Lucia decided to launch the first two state-owned national banks, Mr. Theophilus assumed duty as Managing Director/Chairman of St Lucia Development Bank, Chairman of the Board of the National Commercial Bank and Financial and Economic Advisor to the St Lucia Government. This local financial luminary has as much praise for his God as he is proud of his legacy and his contribution to the BusinessFocus

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development of the local financial sector – and he has been acknowledged, at home and abroad, for both. For his services to the church and state he was knighted by the Pope; for his services to the state he was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty the Queen; and for his all-round contribution to St. Lucia he was awarded the St Lucia Cross by the Government of St Lucia. Mr. Theophilus to date is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at FICS, a familyrun company he and his wife Lusca established two decades ago. Back then, sound financial advice was much lacking, resulting in many St. Lucians losing valuable earnings through bad investments. FICS turned out to be a valuable entity that offered an increasing range of banking and other financial services under one roof. The family business was started with a deposit of EC$140,000 and thanks to Theophilus’ sound business and financial acumen, it has registered a profit every year for the past 19 years. It now has an asset base of well over $100 million. FICS traditionally offered such services as educational and pension plans, fixed deposits, personal loans, mortgages, refinancing, repairs and renovation loans, with periodic adjustments made to keep up with the changing times. Always one to give sound financial and investment advice to clients of all walks of

life, George Theophilus is also associated with many a worthy investment - from helping students choose careers to be funded by loans, to offering mechanisms of money management to build a home before buying a car, to advising investors on how to get the best rate of return on their investments. But the Chairman of the Board - who also served as Managing Director - was never alone. He’ll tell you the rest of the family was always on board. Mrs. Theophilus, a former Dean of the Division of Teacher Education and Educational Administration of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, served as Company Secretary until 2002. She has since been replaced by her daughter Wendy, who serves as Deputy Managing Director. The Theophilus family has etched its name into the annals of the history of the development of the local financial sector. FICS has for 19 years grown and expanded its customer base as more and more St. Lucians banked on Mr. Theophilis’ expertise. Approaching 75, the visionary man of figures saw that banking and finance was now in the fast lane and he needed to change gear and accelerate the pace if he was to take FICS to the next level. How easy would it be to find the right candidate for the job? He’d built this company from scratch, with dedicated


family support. Would anyone else suffice? Mr. Theophilus turned on his search engine, starting the process of identifying a suitable successor - and he found one, a young graduate with a decade of experience growing and growing with other companies. With Sharmaine Francois in the Managing Director’s seat, FICS added vital services to its portfolio and vital statistics to its bottom line. It added a regional dimension to its operations, entering the regional securities market and seizing the lion’s share of the local securities market. It has indeed been a remarkable period this past year with Mr. Theophilus and Mrs. Francois manning the wheel and the chartroom, successfully navigating the company into uncharted waters. FICS today, with Mr. Theophilus still on the bridge of his family ship, is an entirely different place than it was 20 years ago. Targets set for three years have been achieved and the company has sealed its name on the regional securities market as it contemplates what’s next. But none of the worthy and worldly achievements would have been possible at FICS without the reliable quality leadership offered by George Theophilus, who turns 75 in the same year that his company celebrates its 20th anniversary, proud of his legacy and still building on it.

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20t h Anniversary

FICS

is Business of t he Year & it’s their time to

When St. Lucia’s legendary banker and finance guru, George Theophilus, stood up from his desk and stepped aside to hand the Managing Directorship of his firm to someone hardly known to have led any financial institution in the private or public sector, eyebrows were raised across the local banking spectrum. But he’d already seen what St. Lucia hadn’t. His firm was approaching its 20th year, the world of banking had gone beyond banking and the finance market had changed considerably. Seeking a successor at the helm of the firm that he and his wife had founded and led for over almost two decades was no easy task. His search engine eventually pointed to Sharmaine Francois, a young and certified local finance executive with over ten years of diversified senior level experience in banking, brokerage, capital markets and investment banking. The young, new MD has worked wonders BusinessFocus

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at FICS. Within one year on the job, she’s taken the firm through the region’s growing and expanding capital and money markets, stock exchanges and bond brokerages, at both OECS and CARICOM levels, achieving and setting records along the way. Since leaving a regional money market firm’s local operation to take the driver’s seat at St. Lucia’s oldest and best-known non-bank financial institution, the FICS MD has already carved her name into the annals of the local money market, as well as the regional finance and securities markets, buying and selling, moving shares between markets and bonds between borders. Now she’s made another mark carving her initials into the annals of local business history, leading FICS to the top of the winners list with the most awards at the Chamber of Commerce’s 3rd St. Lucia Business Awards on January 28th 2012. It was their first night out at the local

Shine! awards ceremony and they won all the prizes they were nominated for, a signal achievement for a first-timer. Leading from in front, the FICS MD won the coveted Corporate Leadership Award. The firm also won two other very important awards Business of the Year and Exporter of the Year. Sharmaine Francois obviously knows her business. St. Lucians got to see her and hear her thank everyone else for FICS winning the three awards. But not many in the Sandals ballroom audience or viewing on TV knew just who she was, what she does, or why she’s turned out to be who she is. On her night of nights, Earl Bousquet seized the moment for an interview with the proud lady. THE INTERVIEW Q. You and FICS just won three awards on your first outing at the Annual St. Lucia Business Awards. You must be feeling good… A. Very good… It shows that hard work brings rewards and efforts will not always go unrecognized. Indeed, in the past year we’ve been able to brand FICS as a household name. Since the awards, people have also been calling to find out who we are and what we do. We feel that all our work over the last 20 years was well worth it and is being recognized. These awards are the best tribute to our 20th anniversary. They really mean a lot.


Q. What does each award mean to

you? A. The Exporter of the Year award recognizes our leadership in brokerage services. We have taken 73% of the market share in the past year and we’ve developed a name in this product service regionally. For me, our Corporate Leadership award follows a long period of work beyond the call of duty that sometimes went unrecognized. This is the first institution I’ve led and I gave myself a three-year target that we achieved in less than one year. Our market growth has multiplied in the past year. My leadership style is one of empowering my team with opportunities instead of titles. I’m extremely targetdriven, but the achievements are ours as a team. I think we won the Business of the Year award because the judges were convinced that we focus on the bottom line and we exceeded growth in all areas. Our client and asset base is being diversified and we’re gaining market share. We invest in public education because knowledge is important, so we offer financial information through the media. We’ve moved into our own building and

have been branding our product. We have exceeded our expectations at FICS. I think we impressed the judges most because of what we’ve done in such a short space of time backed by our 20 years experience. We applied for only three awards and we won all. Yes. We’re proud of all three achievements.

Q. Where does this take FICS?

A. Further up the ladder of success, I guess. We’re already seeing the immediate results as potential clients are calling in to see what it is we’re doing differently or offering better. Internally, we’re also continuing to look ahead. We’re planning to continue to grow our brand, so we’re looking at all options, like starting off in another territory, or starting a second local outlet, or both.

Q. Take us back… What did you do and

what have you done differently at FICS? A. I found a very good base, a proper foundation and an integrated entity under wise leadership catering for a dedicated local market. We’re now fully computerized; we’ve expanded our product line; we

offer more services; there’s more and wider staff involvement; improved broker services; more public education; more staff seminars; more institutionalization and more concentration on branding.

Q. How has the competition reacted to

your success? A. We are part of the Bankers Association as Associate Members. We’re all after the same market so we all know what each other offers. There’s advantage in our small size because we can flex easier to offer better packages. Basically, we’ve become a one-stop-shop for all your financial needs. I guess people know they can bank better on us for certain things.

Q. Where does FICS stand in the regional

bonds sale market? A. Judge for yourself. At the end of January (2012) we closed a $28 million bond for the St. Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank (ECHMB), raising $54 million, of which we alone rose $48 million as the lead broker. We had also already raised $85 million for the ECHMB in 2011; and we also raised $142 million for

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20t h Anniversary

the Government of Grenada last year. We also have clients in Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago...

Q. FICS is now 20 years old. What’s its

greatest accomplishment? A. I’ve mentioned a few: Our building is ours, we’ve been re-branding, we’ve developed a leading regional presence – and we’ve won three awards in one year.

Q. You mentioned George Theophilus

being one of your mentors. Tell us about that… A. He is simply a remarkable man. Ten years ago I walked in to discuss a loan from FICS and he showed interest in my future. We ended up talking about career options and he showed me many avenues based

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on my qualifications and studies. We remained in touch and one day he gave me a call while I was at my last job offering me this chance of a lifetime. He’s a man of the people. He established and led two banks at the same time – National Commercial Bank and St. Lucia Development Bank and he showed interest in clients at both places. He has the experience and the stature. He is trusted by all. He is a fullblooded St. Lucian who committed his life service and savings to the creation of this institution that I have the honour of leading today. He’s always been one of my biggest mentors. There are others, but he’s the biggest.

Q. How does St. Lucia’s biggest non-bank

financial institution see the future of the finance sector?

A. There’s a new regional banking reality emerging. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is advocating the amalgamation of indigenous banks. The Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks is now the Caribbean Association of Banks as indigenous banks are undergoing some redefinitions called by reality checks and changes in the region within the ECCB area. We’ve gone hi-tech and we’re catching up with things like mobile banking, but working together can give us economies of scale. The credit unions need to catch up some more here like they’ve done in Dominica, but the financial sector here is moving up.

Q.

What and where next for FICS? A. Looking at the feasibility of expanding locally and regionally; broadening the branding of our brokerage; diversifying our income stream; continuing to gain market share; expanding our educational drive and ensuring we grow our culture of involvement to ensure we do more. ¤


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BIZZ BUZZ

CLICO

Policyholders Challenging TT Government while Agent is Chopped to Death

A group of CLICO policyholders went before the Port-of-Spain High Court, Trinidad & Tobago recently, and were granted a judicial review application to challenge the state’s refusal to act on a promise to pay CLICO Executive Flexible Premium Annuities (EFPA) holders’ the full amount, expected to be heard on February 1. The policyholders, represented by attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Peter Knob, had held a meeting at Centre Pointe Mall in Chaguanas before the hearing, at which Maharaj said he was optimistic that ruling would be made in the policyholders’ favour. They were seeking an interim court order that Government give details of the assets of CLICO which have been sold and how the proceeds of the sales were applied. Maharaj said the lawsuit also sought to compel Government to give details of the EFPA policyholders who have been paid in full since January 2009. Maharaj said he hoped the matter should be resolved by March 2012. “The EFPA policyholders are very upbeat. They want to get their full compensation but they have indicated if the government decides to enter into discussions to resolve the matter, they are prepared to give and take, so the government can get some concessions from the EFPA policyholders.” Allan Newman has been retained to appear on behalf of the Government, alongside Deborah Peake and Kelvin Ramkissoon

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Regional Governments Thrashing out Details of Inter-Island Ferry Service

The Grenada-Trinidad ferry journey is expected to take just over two hours, and cost a fraction of the cost of air travel between the two countries

The five countries that are slated to benefit directly from a Trinidad-based inter-island ferry service – Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Barbados – have moved a step closer to thrashing out the details of the proposed arrangement. Grenadian Trade Minister, Joseph Gilbert, said his Trinidad counterpart Stephen Cadiz disclosed that project representatives were “very optimistic” the service could come on stream as early as the middle of next year. It is anticipated that the ferry would service all the countries within one day. It would overnight in Barbados before making the ‘island-hopping’ return trip to Trinidad. “Request for proposals regarding the procurement of the specific type and design of the ferry required has already been issued by the investor,” Cadiz said. Gilbert explained that the privately-operated service would not require subsidy from his government to ensure its viability and sustainability. Instead, he said, Grenada and other participating states would be required to guarantee certain logistical arrangements to ensure minimum delay in the turn-around time in and out of port. “The proposed ferry would have a capacity for about 300 passengers and would be able to carry ‘roll-on, roll-off’ containerized cargo as well as motor vehicles,” he stated. The Grenada-Trinidad ferry journey is expected to take just over two hours and cost a fraction of the cost of air travel between the two countries. The ferry service was approved in late September by the Trinidad and Tobago government. It will be financed through a public/private arrangement, with the majority of capital coming from the private sector.


Better Days for

LIAT in 2012?

LIAT, the regional airline, seems set for better days in 2012, with two new developments that will increase its chances of survival in the Caribbean’s crowded skies. For the first time since the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, LIAT is able to move cargo into the United States territories within its network. Now the airline may soon benefit from increased government share ownership. “We were waiting for this for a long time and we have worked many hours to make sure that the service to our clients will be second to none,” said LIAT’s Country Manager, Sadie BonetaRittenhouse, in San Juan about the new green light to the US territories within its flight path. This development allowed LIAT to expand its service offerings in time for the lucrative holiday season. The airline launched its inaugural dedicated all-cargo freighter service into San Juan, Puerto Rico recently in what has been described as a “significant milestone” in its 56-year history. “We expect brisk business throughout the year as our rates are significantly cheaper than our competitors and more than 50 per cent cheaper at some break points. We invite the business community to make use of our service to ship car parts, food stuff, clothing, and even moderately sized building materials,” said director of Cargo and Quikpak, Wilbur Edwards. Edwards said that LIAT prepared meticulously for the service; and in addition to meeting all of the government’s requirements, had forged strategic relationships with several local companies who handle cargo, sales, and pick-up and delivery. LIAT launched its dedicated freighter service in February 2011 and has a dedicated freighter aircraft with a capacity of 7,500 pounds. LIAT, the Caribbean’s main intra-regional carrier, is owned by regional shareholders, with major shareholders being the governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Now, there is every chance the airline will benefit from additional government share ownership, with recent indications that the governments of St. Lucia and Dominica are planning to buy shares to help better capitalize the region’s oldest serving airline.

Under New Ownership

Management and staff at Almond Morgan Bay Hotel started 2012 on a happy note. Their future is secure once again, with the troubled hotel now under new ownership. The Almond Group, which owns hotels in Barbados and St. Lucia, had long put its assets on the two islands up for sale by the majority Trinidad-based shareholders, Neal & Massy. But it was, for a long time, unable to get a buyer. Now the St. Lucia property has been sold and BF is reliably informed that an agreement has been breached which has seen the hotel change hands, returning to an original owner. Earlier this year, the Prime Minister assured members of the St. Lucia Hotels & Tourism Association (SLHTA) that the local Almond properties’ woes may soon be over – and that his administration was also looking at reviving at least two other major properties on the East and West coasts that went bust with the burst of the recent credit bubble. The Caribbean conglomerate Neal & Massy, an original major shareholder in the Almost Group, walked away from its Almond holdings at the end of 2011 as the group registered massive losses on that particular investment. Its losses from Almond hotels, in which the regional conglomerate owned 52%, had reached TT$305 million. The new owners have been identified as the proprietors of Fairweather Holding Company, operated by Rob Barrett of Antigua. According to the agreement, the hotel is under new ownership, but will maintain the same name. The property will be managed by another Rob Barrett company – Elite Island Resorts, headed by President Steve Heydt.

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BIZZ BUZZ

Biggest Latin

American Airline

Approved

The merger of two major Latin American airlines has been approved, creating the largest carrier in the region. Brazil’s anti-trust authorities said they have approved the merger of the Brazilian airline TAM with Chile’s LAN, first proposed in 2010. The new airline, LATAM, is valued at about $14.5bn (£9.4bn) and will represent 6% of global air transport. Last year, TAM and LAN flew more than 45 million passengers and 754,777 tonnes of cargo. The combined airline will fly to 115 destinations in 23 countries, with a 40,000-strong workforce. TAM is a member of the Star Alliance group of airlines, which includes BMI, Lufthansa, SAS and Air China. Meanwhile LAN is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which includes Iberia, British Airways, Qantas and JAL. But the airlines have not yet said which one they will join.

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SLISBA Ready for a Robust 2012

The St. Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA) has been gearing up for a robust 2012, starting with a request for an early meeting with the new Minister for Commerce, then calling on the government to do more to help small businesses and also imploring the Labour administration to do business with Taiwan instead of China in its consideration of future relations between the two countries. Flavia Cherry, President of SLISBA, expressed pleasure at the appointment of Emma Hippolyte as Commerce Minister and said that, based on feedback from her members, they appeared confident the minister “will give effective stewardship and leadership”. The SLISBA wanted attention paid to the general condition of the economy and an examination of the proposals contained within the ruling SLP’s Election Manifesto. Of particular importance to the small business association were the incentives and outstanding tax payment interest waivers promised by the Labour Party and the measures outlined to make the small business sector export-ready and competitive in light of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe. SLISBA, which never misses an opportunity to promote its members’ interests, also weighed in on the discussion over whether St. Lucia will or should have better relations with China or Taiwan. The government was still considering its options and the SLISBA called on it to maintain relations with Taiwan feeling that they were better for the local private sector than with China, and called on the government to choose to maintain relations with Taiwan rather than exercise any option that would switch to China.


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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Fat Profits for Business that

Embrace Big People

By James Melik • BBC World Service

Obesity is a relatively modern epidemic which demands different approaches and there are many companies which have realised that profits can be gained by catering for overweight people.

Pharmaceutical companies have raced to develop products to help weight loss while bariatric surgery, which reduces or bypasses the stomach, has developed rapidly as a medical way of helping people lose fat. In the UK, hospitals have imported supersize operating tables from the US. Special hoists, stretchers and ambulances have been bought to ferry the largest patients to hospital. US businessman, Scott Kramer, spotted the potential for profit in the growing new market for products for larger people. “The first product that we manufactured was the Big John toilet seat,” he says. The seat is 19in (48.3cm) wide while a regular toilet seat is about 14in wide, which provides 75% more sitting area. “Our toilet seats have either an 800lb (363kg) or a 1,200lb capacity, so they will not bend or break,” says Mr. Kramer. “There are companies that make larger chairs and larger beds. So there are loads of products currently on the market, but we are always looking for another item that we can come out with or acquire,” he adds. From the cradle to the grave, companies are looking at obesity not just as a health problem, but also as an opportunity. “It is an epidemic,” says Keith Davis of Goliath Caskets, a company making extralarge coffins. But he adds, “It is important that we alleviate embarrassment felt by the families of the overweight. Hospital and morgue equipment often can’t handle bodies weighing over 500lb, so the fire department has to be called in to move the body. It is particularly important at that time to maintain dignity.” Crematoria have also been struggling to deal with spiraling rates of obesity. In some cases, grieving relatives have to travel hundreds of miles to find crematoria that can accommodate over-sized coffins. Big John and Goliath Caskets may have BusinessFocus

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The World Health Organization says at least 1.5 billion adults globally are overweight or obese

found ways to profit from widening girths, but for other businesses it creates a problem. For example, the increasing size and weight of the average theatre-goer has had a dramatic impact on how auditoriums are designed. According to Gene Leitermann, a theatre projects consultant, theatres have actually become twice as big, but people are taking up twice as much space as they were before. Apart from the width of the seat and the amount of leg room, he has to factor in the aisles and other circulation elements such as egress codes and accessibility. Having to provide more space for people means fitting fewer seats into the same area. Catherine Schrodetzki is an activist for the rights of larger people, and she believes there are plenty of unexplored business opportunities. “Larger people basically don’t fit. Anything that you would assume that you would fit in, like a seat in a cinema, or a seat in a different place, an airline or whatever, we don’t fit. We don’t fit clothing, we don’t

fit in the shower,” she explains. She maintains that some suitable products exist simply in the luxury end of the market but in general, at the average end of the market, there is not much going on. She says that retailers should give larger people products they can relate to. “It’s about giving us ideas and styles that we can work with and not just in the fat people’s corner at the back,” she says, “Bring us into the mainstream, we are mainstream, we are talking about 47% of the population being over a size 16.” Larger people might shop more if they earned more money. According to Ms. Schrodetzki however, it is harder for large people to get promotions, to get to the top of their field, to get into managerial positions. “We are at the bottom of the heap economically, and you want us to pay more for our clothing?” she asks. She has a simple message for firms looking to improve their profit margins: “Take a look at us, do some research, talk to us, see why we are not shopping in your shop.”


events 2012

REGIONAL TRADE SHOWS AND CONFERENCES IF YOU HAVE MISSED THIS YEAR’S EVENTS, ENSURE TO PENCIL PLANS FOR ATTENDING NEXT YEAR. LOOK OUT FOR NEW DATES.

CARIBBEAN HARDWARE & CONSTRUCTION TRADE SHOW 2nd – 4th March 2012 - Puerto Rico Convention Centre, San Juan This expo attracts over 3000 buyers that are searching for new suppliers and products in order to increase profits. For further info: www.hardwareshowpr.com

2ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GOVERNANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF CARIBBEAN SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES 7th – 9th March 2012, Curacao The Caribbean SIDS conference is organized by the University of the Netherlands Antilles (UNA) as part of the UNESCO academic chair on Caribbean Small Island Developing States. The theme of this year’s conference is Sustainable Development, an integration of People, Planet & Profit. For further info:

CARIBBEAN ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL 2012 9th – 14th March 2012, British Virgin Islands At the last festival in 2010, over 50 artisans from 15 Caribbean nations participated and more than 1,000 visitors enjoyed the activities and crafts on offer. The 2012 festival is shaping up to be even bigger, with support from across the entire region. The festival brings together every interest in the Caribbean Arts & Crafts scene. For further info: www.caribbeanartisan.net

CARILEC’S OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY CONFERENCE 22nd – 23rd March 2012, Nevis This conference and exhibition is planned to meet the demand and interest shown by HR Managers and Health & Safety Officers from its member utilities. The conference seeks to address the new perspective of health and safety as a feature of corporate responsibility; major issues of Occupational Health and Safety such as the: adoption of international standards and the associated benefits. For further info: www.carilec.com

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE 15th – 18th April 2012, Guyana This is the 13th annual Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC) staged by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO). It looks at how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programs, offering a regional forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls of national, regional and international initiatives. This is a conference from which everyone involved in doing business in and with the Caribbean can benefit. For further info: www.caribbeanstc.com

CHTA INVESTMENT CONFERENCE (CHTIC) 24th – 26th April 2012 - Sheraton, Puerto Rico The 2012 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) will be the sixteenth year of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization managing the region’s most successful and longest-standing tourism investment event. It is anticipated to be a very well attended and supported conference. With 400 delegates and representatives from over 23 Caribbean countries, United States and United Kingdom, there are great networking opportunities. For further info: www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com BusinessFocus

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events 2012 CARIBBEAN HEALTH TOURISM & WELLNESS CONFERENCE 28th – 29th April 2012 – Montego Bay Convention Centre, Jamaica The conference theme is “Integrating the Caribbean as the Premier Wellness Destination” and will be interspersed throughout the keynote presentations and symposium panel discussions.

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: www.stluciajazz.org

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: www.chrisconference.com

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: www.caraifa.com

CARIBBEAN SHIPPING EXECUTIVES CONFERENCE 21st – 23rd May 2012 – Jacksonville, Florida This annual meeting is designed for senior executives, principals and key decision-makers 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: www.caribbeanshipping.org

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: www.carilec.com

ISLANDS OF THE WORLD XII CONFERENCE 2012 29th May – 1st June 2012, British Virgin Islands The theme of this bi-annual conference is “Globalisation: Adapting to Change.” It aims to stimulate discourse on how islands across the globe are adapting to the changes that globalisation has ushered into the 21st century. Key areas include: agriculture, tourism, financial services, culture, education, alternative energy, sustainable development, climate change, government, business, and society. The desired outcome is to be in a better strategic position to empower island nations to become more in touch with pressing issues on the global stage. For further info: www.hlscc.edu.vg/islandsxii BusinessFocus

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MAJOR MOVES

Ms. Daly J Mariatte is the new Operations Manager at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, with specific responsibility for Front Office, Concierge, Housekeeping and the Butler Service. Ms. Mariatte joined the Sandals family as Resort Sales Manager in June 2007, at which time she managed the operations and revenues of five key departments within the resort. She previously worked with the international company Virgin Atlantic Airlines for nine years in various capacities, including at London Heathrow Airport and their corporate office in West Sussex England for three years. She holds Human Resource, Business and Management diplomas from Cambridge College and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business. Her outside interests include travelling, reading and writing, aspiring to be a novelist one day. Ms. Mariatte’s extensive airline experience coupled with her hotel experience with such a super-brand makes her a formidable professional in the hospitality field with a firm management style. Recently appointed Assistance Call Center Manager, Sandals Unique Vacation Inc., Steve De Launey is certainly making name for himself with this move having only been with the company for eighteen months. Steve holds a UWI Executive Diploma in Business Management and is currently experiencing the front-line aspect of

operations which sells Sandals, Beaches and Grande Pineapple resorts. He endeavors to foster a platinum level of sales and service to specific segments of our travel partner’s trade through a dedicated team of sales specialists. He also assists with the day to day tasks of the office based in St. Lucia. The former Resort Sales Manager at Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa in St Lucia has an insatiable yearning for knowledge on all aspects of life. He is an avid reader of life wellness theories, and healthy lifestyles. His love for travel makes this new position very exciting as it allows him to continue to foster a professional working relationship with his many worldwide travel partners. The former scuba manager, Terroll Compton joined the Sandals Grande Beach Resort and Spa Resort team in 2011 as Water Sports Manager bringing with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and certification. He has been actively involved in sports administration with many groups and was previously a marine ranger. Being a CPR, Red Cross and Emergency First Response Instructor, he finds himself well placed to succeed in this new challenge. He is responsible for all swimmers, water sports activities as well as the pools, jacuzzis, beach chairs, beach cabanas and beach towels for the large 331 room luxury resort. This new move in September 2011 represented just what the ambitious man needed – change! He is clearly well poised for great accomplishment. Julianne Jn. Pierre is evidence that hard work and ambition are worth the effort. Having worked her way through the ranks of the Sandals chain from Room Service Co-coordinator to

Duty Manager, at Sandals Halcyon Beach St. Lucia, she has faced and overcome many arduous challenges. In the absence of the General Manager/ Hotel Manager she is to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the resort during the period of 3:00PM to 11:00PM, maintaining the high Sandals standards of quality and luxury service. She is a lover of nature, family and the youth which explains her involvement in the Sandals Foundation. Julianne is a major supporter of the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International and its many charitable activities. This new job opportunity affords her an exciting new perspective of the resort from an overall operational vantage point as opposed to a focused departmental one – and she is enjoying the experience. The recent winner of the ‘Sandals Rising Star’ Award, Ms. Dayna Hippolyte has paid her dues starting as a Sir Arthur Lewis Community College intern at Sandals Grande. She went on to UWI where she obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management. Within two weeks of her return she was offered the position of Trainee Manager at Sandals Grande. Having previously worked in Accounting & Cost Control, Sales, Weddings, Concierge and Front Office, she quickly moved to Duty Manager. All of experience served her well for her most recent promotion to Resort Sales & Weddings Manager at Sandals Halcyon Beach St. Lucia. Her immediate team and general management bring her the greatest satisfaction on the job. The cohesiveness and energy that they possess feeds and encourages her to strive for more. She holds firm to the philosophy that an effective manager is only as effective as his/her team. Keep an eye out for this rising star.

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MAJOR MOVES

Food has always been deeply rooted in the bones of Chef Deonarine Paul of Sandals Halcyon’s, whose craving for culinary arts dates back to his boyhood. From his g r a n d m o t h e r ’s kitchen to employment in several restaurants and small hotels, from the tender age of 17 he joined Sandals Halcyon as a part time cook. Like all geniuses, the culinary guru has never had to say how good he is, he was several times promoted up the hierarchy. While his diligence is easy to spot, his passion for the field, like irresistible food, is infectious. After sixteen years of dazzling guests at Sandals Halcyon fusing 18th century East Indian cooking with 21st century appetites, Paul’s latest mystery basket is Food and Beverage Director, landing him in charge of not only four restaurants, but also seven bars. He never thought he had it in him but having been asked many times over the years he decided to give it a shot this. It has opened up a new light in his future - one which has caused great excitement.

J. Q. Charles Group of Companies is pleased to announce the appointment of Paulina St. Claire as Agency Administrator for its newly formed subsidiary J.Q. Insurance Inc., agents for NAGICO. Paulina brings with her a wealth of knowledge and 20 years of experience in the St. Lucia insurance BusinessFocus

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industry. She is also an elected member of the Insurance Council of St. Lucia in the capacity of Chairperson Public Relations and Education Sub-Committee. Paulina prides herself on being a professional individual, dedicated to hard work and excellence. The J.Q. Charles Group of Companies is pleased to have her on the team.

Matthew Beaubrun has been appointed Chairman of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. He is a veteran local tourism operator from a longstanding family business revolving around tourism. The CEO of Cox & Company has long years of experience in the business, at home and abroad. He spent many years in Jamaica, where he grew to understand the comings and goings of tourism in one of the best known and most visited Caribbean islands. A private sector operator all his life, Beaubrun has now been thrust into the forefront of the national tourism limelight as Chairman of the St. Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB). The appointment to head the island’s tourism body has been welcomed far and wide, by friends and critics alike. Rick Wayne, publisher of the local Star newspaper, used the island’s best known tourism tagline to describe Beaubrun’s pick for the job as “Simply beautiful.” The Saint Lucia Tourist Board, the island’s lead agency charged with marketing and promoting the destination, has announced the appointment of veteran events and marketing consultant, Tracey Warner-Arnold to the position of Deputy

Director of Tourism. With a BA and Masters in hospitality and tourism management, Tracey WarnerArnold is no stranger to the travel and hospitality industry, having worked previously with the Tourist Board as the Marketing Director. In between the Tourist Board stints, Mrs. Warner-Arnold has consulted on numerous marketing initiatives and mega events in Saint Lucia and throughout the region. Commenting on Warner-Arnold’s appointment, Director of Tourism Louis Lewis said her addition to the team complements the SLTB’s efforts at capacity building and institutional strengthening. “We are more than delighted to welcome into our ranks an experienced, tried and tested professional like Warner- Arnold. Her in-depth knowledge of tourism, marketing and special events will assist in positioning the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to keep pace with future developments and growth trends within the tourism industry,” said Lewis. Warner-Arnold has also received overwhelming endorsement from newly appointed Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries Minister, Lorne Theophilus. Minister Theophilus noted the appointment of Warner-Arnold to the post of Deputy Director of Tourism, is one additional step towards seamlessly marrying the portfolios of tourism and creative industries, in order to develop the tourism industry whilst gaining exposure for the island’s burgeoning cultural industry.

The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) has appointed Mr. Noorani Azeez as its new Executive Vice President. Mr. Azeez joined the SLHTA in 2009 and prior to his appointment as EVP served as its Deputy Executive Vice-President and Manager for Finance and Administration.


MAJOR MOVES Mr. Azeez has had over a decade of involvement with the hospitality industry, particularly as a Human Resource Development Executive and has served as a former Training and Development Manager with Sandals Resorts International and General Manager of the National Skills Development Centre Inc. Says Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of SLHTA: “The SLHTA’s Board of Directors is confident that Mr. Azeez’s experience in Business Administration, Project Management, Human Capital Development and accessing grant funding will complement the SLHTA’s initiatives to further strengthen its Secretariat. It is our goal to provide more value for membership, with greater emphasis on advocacy on behalf of the members in addressing the many challenges facing our tourism industry at this time.“ High on the agenda of priorities for Mr. Azeez and the SLHTA are issues of human resource development of the association’s workforce, greater engagement of industry partners in crafting strategies for aggressively marketing the destination, reducing the high cost of production and creation and implementation of standards for operators in the industry. The SLHTA Secretariat was pleased to welcome on board Ms. Yola St. Jour, as the new Finance and Administration Officer. Ms. Yola V. St. Jour is truly not new to the world of Hotel and Tourism as her parents, Gregory and Leotha St. Jour, are ex-hoteliers who she gained much experience from within the industry, from a tender age. Graduating from the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, she then completed an Associates of Arts degree in Hospitality Management at the Broward Community College in the State of Florida. She then moved on to acquiring a Bachelors Degree in Hotel Management from Florida International University. Ms. St. Jour has gained immense

professional experience over a six year period within the hotel industry, working at four plus star resorts in key departments, with her main focus on the position of the Reservations Manager and gaining most of her experience during her tenure at Cotton Bay. Her key strengths are administration and management, being exceptional in organisation and human resource capacity roles. Ms. St. Jour’s key role at the SLHTA is to assist the Executive Vice President in managing the personnel and administrative functions, implementing specific projects designed to advance the goals of the association and also cooperate with subcommittees of SLHTA.

Singapore has appointed its first Plenipotentiary Representative to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), boosting expectations for improved trade, economic and business relations between the Caribbean and the Asian business powerhouse in 2012 and beyond. He is Kemal Siddique, the Executive Director of Tony K. Siddique & Associates Pte Ltd and will be resident in Singapore. Siddique currently serves as Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Denmark and Special Envoy of Asia-Middle East Dialogue for Economic/Business Issues. He is also a Special Envoy to Ukraine. Before his current appointment as Non-Resident Ambassador to Denmark, he served as Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Norway, Sweden and Finland. In 1996, he retired from the civil service and moved to the private sector. Siddique was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) and the Public Service Star by the Singapore government. The German government conferred the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit for his contribution in promoting Singapore-German Relations.

St. Lucia gets newest Arbitrator Teddy Theobalds, a well-known a p p ra i s e r, v a l u a t i o n surveyor and agricultural consultant, has been accepted and admitted as an Associate of the internationally renowned Charted Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) as of November 2011. Mr. Theobalds is a graduate of the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF), Centeno, Trinidad and the University of the West Indies (UWI) where he majored in Agricultural Extension, Mass Communication and Business Administration, respectively. He also held management positions in both the public and private sectors. He is at present a Director/PRO of the St. Lucia Institute of Surveyors and is a past Chairman of the Bureau of Standards. The CIArb has a worldwide membership of over 12,000 persons and Mr. Theobalds is now also a full member of the Caribbean branch of the Charted Institute of Arbitrators, with headquarters in Jamaica. The St. Lucia chapter of this branch recently held a very successful seminar on Alternative Disputes Methods (ATM) in the construction sector. The event was organised by Attorney at Law, Shan Greer, ably assisted by Mr. Egbert Louis and Mr. Mandish Singh both of whom are professional engineers and members of the CIArb. More than 50 persons attended the seminar held at the Bay Gardens Conference Centre, Rodney Bay, Gros Islet.

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NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY

NATURE OF BUSINESS DIRECTORS

Auto Domain Inc.

Selling car parts, mechanic shop, renting cars

Cobham Cooper, Cindy Cooper

Computer Networking & Security Systems

Technical consultants financial systems

Keri J. Dantes. Linus Charles

Pheasants Hill Limited Property ownership

Hambleden Investments Limited Glitz Corporate Services Limited

Olympia Golf Holdings Limited

Import, export, market investment

Trevor Cozier

Dairy Delights Inc.

Import ice cream and frozen food products

Stephen Joseph Bostic, Bernard Malcolm Louis Stefan Monteil, Keenon Andre Roper

Control Technologies and Certified Electrical Services Ltd.

Providing technological, electrical, construction, designs, plumbing and consultancy services.

Vibert Smith, Meloney Smith

Weyom Enterprise Development Inc.

Medical education, construction services, consultancy, import and export.

Urias Darwin Compton

Unique Sunset Inc.

Tours & tourist related activities

Shan Greer

Lucian Produce Inc.

Importing & exporting agricultural products and produce

Shan Greer

Axcel Finance(Saint Lucia) Ltd.

To offer microfinance services by giving out short term loans

Samuel Rosenberg

Cyril’s Trimming and Trucking

Tree trimming and trucking away of tree waste and any other material which requires the use of a truck

Cyril Terrence, Hippolite Terrence

The Electrical Engineering Experts

Electrical contractor

Clive Antoine

Excel Business Management Inc.

Business consultancy, accounts and finance management training

Kerlene Nicholas

Combined Insurance Serv. (St.Lucia) Ltd.

Insurance, commission agents & claims services

Philip Ian Louis, Crystal Louis

The Gwangout Food Company Inc. Food production processing

Ian Augustin Lubin, Luanne Karyl Lindy Serieux-Lubin

Harlequin BlueSky (St.Lucia) Limited

David Edward Ames

Aircraft operations & leasing of aircrafts

Pitton Vacation Villas Limited Property planning, design & management

Ethelbert Peter Matthew Elizabeth Marcellin Schmitt

Price Bailey (St.Lucia) Inc.

Accounting & financial services

Omar L. Davis

Caribbean Tyres Inc.

Purchasing and selling of tires and motor vehicles spare parts & accessories

Gabrielle John Pierre

Cornerstone Security Services Professional security services Incorporated

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Donna Marika Forbes Andre Christopher Forbes


NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY

NATURE OF BUSINESS

DIRECTORS

Fellowship Baptist Church

Conduct of religious practices under the Baptist faith including all philanthropic, charitable, educational, literary, historical, artistic, social, professional, fraternal, sporting and any other means of promoting and promulgating the Baptist faith.

Anthony Andrew Griffith Conrad James, Boniface Emmanuel

Gold Kings Limited

Purchasing of jewelery, precious metals, including gold silver & diamonds

Cornelius Trevor Charles, Jhonly Ferrer

Al-Dee’s Limited

Wholesale and retail of sprites, wines, groceries, and there are no restrictions on the business the company may carry

Allison Boriel, Delia Boriel, Mildred Thomas Sonia Callendar

IETV Inc Educational Television

Evan Hermiston, Michael B. G.Gordon Judy Deterville, Michael Walker

Tobierre’s Breeders & Growers (T.Bag) Ltd. Planting and selling agricultural produce an livestock

Paul Tobierre

F &T Upscale Furnishing Inc.

Manufacturing Inc.

Francis Flavius, Tracey Flavius

Guerntrust Holdings Ltd

Property holding

Peron Schouten

Metropolitan Delivery Caribbean Ltd.

Pick up and delivery / import & export

Jose L. Galo, Maria A. Galo

Foundation Early Childhood

Education Development Centre Early childhood education services

Patrice Beatrice Morgan, Hilary Morgan Miguel Malcolm Morgan, Talisa Ashline Morgan

Profiles St.Lucia Ltd.

Training courses design & delivery

John Quail

The Food of 7 Inc.

Restaurant

Kay Kailash Leonce

Hummingbird Beach Resort Small hotel operation

Joan Stowe (Nee Alexander), Felix Alexander David Simmonds

Thomas Ambrose Group of Companies

To undertake management and ownership and subsidiary companies trading in the importation & distribution of grocery and household products

Thomas Ambrose, Thomas Ambrose Jr. Marietta Ambrose

Kenty’s Discount Depot Incorporated

Discounted goods

Kent Marcus Joseph, Edith Joseph

Prestige Fish Processing Inc.

Fish processing plant

Gregory Charles

JC Williams Group Company

To deal with real estate matters

John Cohen Williams, Esther Clifford Williams

Precision Buildings Inc.

Construction & development of land

Mary Sibyl Neptune, Auguste Neptune

KGT Holdings Inc. Property holding

Karolin Troubetzkoy, Nikolai Troubetzkoy Yasha Troubetzkoy

Beyond Limits Designs Construction

Construction & design

Junior Ricardo Joseph

Twinkle Stories Inc.

The publication of children’s stories and activities

Dainea Augier- Stevens, Sean Stevens BusinessFocus

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NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY

DIRECTORS NATURE OF BUSINESS

Wailea Breeze Limited

Buying & selling real estate

Norman Duplesis, Vanya Edwin Magras

Canadian Global Investments Investments (St.Lucia) Ltd.

Stephen Alexander Cooper, Willam Powdar Andre Joseph Reid, Michael Joseph

Dragon JQ Inc.

Construction of PVC windows and doors

Li Zhang, Qing Fa Han

CSS (St.Lucia) Limited

Telecommunications

Kelly Glass, John Grey,Tansal Akcayli, Neil Owen

Signature Homes Limited

Land development, construction of homes, buildings, roads and other construction work.

Rhone Neil Kelly, Alvin St. Clair

Valley Market Inc.

To undertake wholesale and retail of grocery items in packaged discount quantities

Thomas Ambrose, Thomas Ambrose Jr. Marietta Ambrose

Valley Wholesale Inc. Importation and a wholesale distribution of grocery and related household items

Bishop Emmanuel Mc Lorren, Pastor Francis Shorn Jules, Minister Natasha Sifflet Co-Pastor Martha Tara Mc.Lorren

SCJ International Incorporated

Uriah Small

Contracting firm

Banana Industry Trust Corporation To receive and distribute STABEX funds from GOSL

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Brian Bartholomew Louisy Ananias Dunley Auguste, Eden Anthony Emmanuel Compton Hilary Regis, Parick Hazel Joseph Gregory Avril, Cointha Sabina Thomas


St. Lucia Business Focus 62  

Fics is Business of the Year

St. Lucia Business Focus 62  

Fics is Business of the Year

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