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BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Sept / Oct 2012
55. The The Business of Tourism 58. SLHTA's Karolin Troubetzkoy Shares her Views 68. American Airlines shows signs of turnaround 70. Port Castries: The redevelopment issue 82. SMEs & the Tourism Sector 94 . Destination Weddings Are On The Rise
04. Editor’s Focus
32. Environmental Focus
06. Business Briefs
36. Business Spotlight
Business Tech 08. More enabling policies neededfor Caribbean to go digital 09. LIME techs get Avaya training 10. Theusefulness of an IT Professional in the workplace 12.10 smartphone & tablet travel apps for business or pleasure Money Matters 14. A call for debt relief 15. PM urges banks to expand services to rural communities and non-traditional sectors 16. Sagicor & British American traditional life insurance business 18. First Citizens the secret to equity investing 20. JMMB - budding Caribbean Financial Force?
In The Know 44. Caribbean identity theft 46. Wanted dead or alive 47. Exceed expectations 48. The situation analysis 50. Communication: A major key to managing change in organisations 52 Growing caribbean small & medium enterprises through strategic alliances
Economy & Trading Focus 22. CARICOM summit 2012 the impact on Caribbean business 26. Foreign investment flows into Caribbean 28. ACS to bring E-Regulations to greater Caribbean
98. Bizz Buzz Health & Wellness 102. Menopause: Hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, sleeplessness... the list goes on 104. St. Jude Hospital Increased Reconstruction Costs Will Be ‘Money Well Spent’ 105. Events 2012 106. Major Moves 108. New Company Registrations
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Our World in Your Hands!
BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh firstname.lastname@example.org Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - email@example.com Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - firstname.lastname@example.org Hudson Myers - email@example.com Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services Photography: Advertising & Marketing Services Ashley Anzie | MASL
Tourism is as changeable as climate change. It may still have its ‘season’, but everything else has changed in recent times. Everywhere people and planners face challenges to keep visitors coming, and the Caribbean no less so. As with the rest of the world, St. Lucia’s tourism product is greatly affected by global and regional concerns with our challenges and performance levels see-sawing both at home and abroad. Government is coming to grips with the industry’s problems, but in the meantime developments continue apace, both positive and negative. On the positive side, three local hotels are among the Top 20 Caribbean Resorts and one local hotelier is the 2012 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year. And St. Lucia’s team to the 2012 CHTA “Taste the Caribbean” culinary contest returned home with eight medals. At the same time, on the other hand, the island and the region continue to grapple with airlift challenges, growing competition and the effects of the global economic meltdown on the economies of traditional source markets. Given that the island’s economy still substantially runs on tourism, this issue of BF offers several insights into the industry’s local reality. Both the President of the SLHTA and the Director of Tourism at the SLTB give us their valuable time and thoughts about the island’s tourism industry today. We feature everything from our main sea port as a destination to training needs and changes; from tourism career personalities, marketing, arrivals, awards and opportunities, to challenges, expansions, renovations, niche marketing and ecotourism. But that’s not all. As usual, our other regular features are aimed at providing you with all the information you need to know, in the best possible way we can, to better inform your deliberations on decision-making - whether your business is tourism or travel, trade or commerce, big medium or small. We have scanned the region to keep you abreast with what’s happening in the world of business and how it affects you in St. Lucia, the Caribbean and the world.
Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop Richard Branson | Pilaiye Cenac | CIBC Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun | ECFH Keitha Glace | Faithaline Hippolyte | Rashid Jean-Baptiste First Citizens Investment Services | Rashid Jean-Baptiste Harvey Millar | Brian Ramsey | Sandals Resorts Fern Smith | SLHTA | St. Lucia Tourist Board | World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) | 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Issue No. 65
We’ve put our world in your hands, now it’s over to you.
Happy Reading! Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor
On The Cover: Karolin & Nick Troubetzkoy at the 2012 CHTA Awards
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
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ECCO Pays Out Twice More Royalties To OECS Musicians ‘Monetising the Musical Experience with Accelerated Growth.’ That was the theme of a brief statement issued by Steve Etienne, General Manager of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc. ahead of the sub-regional organisation’s 3rd AGM held at the headquarters in Castries on June 23 earlier this year. The title of the statement underlined the substantive role of the ECCO, which has over the years grown into the OECS sub-region’s main organisation seeking to demand, collect and distribute royalties to musicians across the islands of the Eastern Caribbean. The meeting allowed non-resident members in other islands to follow and participate via video conferencing. The chairman reported accelerated growth in the monetisation of the musical experience for singers and players of instruments. Chairman McCarthy Marie of Dominica reported a 27% growth in licensing revenue, which enabled ECCO to make royalty payouts worth over $400,000 for the 2011 financial year – double its earlier payout amount. Most of the money was collected in St. Lucia and Dominica, but several entities in the sub-region collectively owe the ECCO over one million EC dollars in outstanding royalties, which members told their directors they wished the organisation to start pursuing legally. Consistent with ECCO’s objective of ensuring artistes’ intellectual property rights are respected, honoured and rewarded, the meeting again expressed concern about the legal, financial and economic consequences of the high levels of musical piracy across the Caribbean. The members called on ECCO to pursue legal action against unlicensed music users, especially in the electronic media. They also called on local electronic media outlets in the member-states and across the Caribbean to play more local music on the region’s airwaves. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Small Businesses Want Firearm Protection Against Thieves
Government Is Helping Small Businesses Prepare For VAT
St. Lucian small businesses want easier access to firearm licenses to improve their security, especially against armed robbers. That view has been expressed by President of the St. Lucia Small Business Association, Flavia Cherry, following the recent brutal attack on a gas station owner. Kenneth Cox, proprietor of the new SOL gas station on the Millennium Highway was hospitalised in a critical condition after he was attacked early one morning by a band of robbers who slashed him several times in the process. It was a gruesome attack that sent shivers up the spines of all decent St. Lucians, and sent business persons scurrying to beef-up their own company and personal security. Mrs. Cherry’s appeal was supported by many other small business owners who feel exposed to thieves, some of whom have already suffered attacks, even though not as bad as Mr. Cox’s experience. The authorities haven’t responded to Mrs. Cherry’s appeal as yet, with no word from the police regarding the possibilities of realizing the small business leader’s appeal. However, the prognosis doesn’t look good – at least not in the short term. A well-placed police source revealed to BF: “The force is concerned about the still high number of illegal weapons on the streets. Besides, recent irresponsible public actions by prominent citizens bearing legal firearms may make it very difficult for the Commissioner to encourage or entertain requests for speeding up the issuing of licenses for more firearms.”
The Government of St. Lucia has made available over $778,000 for a Small Business Sector VAT Preparedness Project, which is under way. A number of key stakeholders partnered to design and develop the programme aimed at providing much needed assistance to the medium, small and micro enterprise sector in transitioning to the VAT readiness, thus enhancing the successful implementation of the new system of taxation. The Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, in collaboration with the VAT Implementation Unit, the Small Enterprise Development Unit and the Office of Private Sector Relations have forged an alliance to develop this package of assistance to the small business sector in order to ensure that small businesses face minimal difficulties during the implementation period of VAT. The components of the ten-week programme include provision of VAT ready accounting software to businesses at no charge; provision of training to business development officers of the Ministry of Commerce; provision of training to staff of businesses on the use of accounting software at no charge; and provision of technical assistance on software usage to small businesses after training at no charge. It is anticipated that approximately 1,500 participants will benefit from the project which will be made available throughout the island by using venues in Gros-Islet, Castries, Dennery, Vieux-Fort and Soufriere.
Signing: Grenada PM Tillman Thomas, left, and UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Harris (OPM Grenada)
Region Faces Heightened Economic Risks The Caribbean is facing heightened economic risks, regional financial institution RBC (Caribbean) Financial Ltd. has advised. In its June 2012 Caribbean Economic Report, the bank highlighted latest reports from the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects, which projected downward growth outlooks for across the region. This projection was based on the region's heavy dependence on Europe and North America for tourism revenues, inbound remittances, foreign direct investment and aid. The UN report gave a 2012 regional growth outlook of 2.4 per cent, and a 2013 projection of 4 per cent - a 0.2 per cent reduction of the previous forecasts. The report stressed that tourism-dependent countries will likely see subdued activity due to persistently high unemployment levels in developed nations. Development assistance to the region is also likely to decline in the coming years because of fiscal constraints in donor countries.
85 Acres For UWI Campus In Grenada Grenada has formally transferred 85 acres of land to the University of the West Indies for a campus on the island, following a ceremony on Friday. The transfer of the land at Hope in St. Andrew makes Grenada the contributor of the third-largest parcel of land to the university. Grenada Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas, called the move for a UWI campus in Grenada a "significant investment in the future of the people of Grenada," particularly the island's northeastern section. "This project will afford both a short-term and long-term progress to Hope and surrounding areas, similar to the changes and enhancements that came with campus locations in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica," said Thomas. Work on the clearing of the land will begin soon, with construction to be done on a phased basis, according to UWI Vice Chancellor, Nigel Harris. Construction is expected to begin in a few months, Harris said.
Fuel Prices Decrease Saint Lucians in August welcomed news of marginal reductions in the prices of petroleum products, based on the new method of assessing fuel prices. The price of gasoline moved from $3.42 per litre to $3.25 per litre, and diesel from $3.37 per litre to $3.25 per litre. This reduction is in accordance with the modified Pass Through Policy on fuel. Government said local consumers were also benefiting from these reductions due to changes on the international oil market. They reflect a downward trend in international oil prices in the last three months, due to concerns over the prospects of recovery for the global economy. As a result of the fall in international oil prices, the import prices of gasoline and diesel during the period April 30th to July 20th 2012 have been reduced by 12.5% and 9.7%, respectively. The 20 pound cylinder (9.07 kg) of Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) saw the greatest price reduction, the price reducing from $35.99 to $34.20 per cylinder. But there was no reduction in the retail price for the 100 pound cylinder of LPG, which was already being subsidized. The retail prices for LPG - 100 pound cylinder (45.36kg) and kerosene remain unchanged at $254.93 and $1.32 per litre, respectively. The retail prices of fuel products will be next adjusted on October 29.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
More Enabling Policies Needed For Caribbean To Go Digital Caribbean still lags in broadband coverage and access Broadband is less accessible, more expensive and less used in most Latin American and Caribbean countries than the average for countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). However, a 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration in the region could boost Gross Domestic Product by an average 3.2 percent and raise productivity by 2.6 percent. This assessment of the current Internet environment in the Caribbean has been offered up by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in a release marking the recent publication of its new report: “Bridging Gaps, Building Opportunities: Broadband as a Catalyst for Economic Growth and Social Progress in Latin America and the Caribbean.” According to the new report, broadband is expanding rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the region still lags behind the world’s most advanced nations in terms of coverage, access and adoption of information and communication technology services delivered through fast networks. At present, in terms of fixed broadband penetration, European nations have an average of 30 installed lines per 100 people, nearly triple the average in this region. Regarding mobile broadband, countries such as Korea, Sweden and Japan have about one line per person. The average penetraBusinessFocus BusinessFocus Sept Sept//Oct Oct
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tion for Latin America and the Caribbean is about 15 lines per 100 people. The report draws on the perspectives of IDB and a wide array of stakeholders, including technology companies, multinational and national telecommunications operators, academic institutions and international agencies. It found that the digital divide is even starker among and within countries of this region, particularly when comparing coverage in urban and rural areas. In some countries, broadband penetration rates in major cities are more than 10 times higher than in the countryside. However, it also suggested that by improving broadband connectivity and making services more widely available and affordable, countries could help businesses – particularly small and medium-sized ones – become more competitive as well as provide their citizens access to more efficient government services, educational opportunities and healthcare, especially for people in remote areas or in underserved segments of the population. And, it noted that although prices have been falling in recent years, cost is another major hurdle: broadband users in Latin America and the Caribbean pay far more for slower service than consumers in OECD countries, where households have more disposable income. In some cases, high trade tariffs make imported computers, smartphones
and wireless devices more expensive for businesses and individuals, limiting the expansion of broadband usage. The report offered a range of policy recommendations to overcome obstacles to expanding broadband in Latin America and the Caribbean including improving digital literacy by expanding current efforts to wire schools, train teachers in IT and provide computers to students, encouraging small businesses to adopt broadband and train their employees in ICTs, and adopting government policies to foster investment in broadband ‘backbone’ infrastructure within and between countries in the region. The report also suggested that Latin American and Caribbean countries needed to modernise their IT legislations, ranging from protection of personal data to licensing of service providers and regulatory frameworks that treat telecommunications and broadcasting as unrelated industries. In its conclusions, the report states: “The challenges of developing broadband are so formidable that the private sector will not be able to face them alone. Indeed, there is a need for governments to join with the private sector and to provide leadership in initiatives to reduce not only the digital divide but also to use digital means to narrow the social divide.”
LIME Techs Get Avaya Training Canice Pierre, LIME Saint Lucia Head of Service Support & Delivery Following the announcement last year that LIME had achieved Platinum Partner Status from Avaya – a global leader in business communications systems, software and services – the company embarked on a range of initiatives designed to help it better serve the needs of small and medium businesses. LIME has since moved to strengthen its capacity to satisfy the needs of its SME customers. To this end, six LIME technicians have been awarded Avaya IP Office Profes-
sional status after successfully completing Avaya IP Office Professional Certification Implementation Training. Ricardo Rameau, Derek Dorius, Dennis Boodha, Brian Inglis, Marcus Blanchard and Gregory Jules all took courses that provided them with state-of-the-art training in a wide range of Avaya IP Office solutions. Avaya IP Office is a cost-effective, easyto-use converged voice and data communications system designed for small and mid-sized companies and is used by more than two million organisations worldwide. Boodha said he found the course to be very worthwhile and a great experience. He said, “The training we received will take us to the next level and enable us to provide our SME customers with the quality service they deserve. More and more, we’re working with companies that have more sophisticated requirements, and
there’s a real need for tailoring solutions to our small and medium sized business customers." LIME Head of Service & Support Delivery, Canice Pierre said, “We understand that small and medium businesses have special needs. Where LIME has the competitive edge is that we offer our SME and corporate customers the added benefit of both a technical inside sales team and a seasoned field team experienced in IP telephony and converged solutions. “Our Avaya IP Office solutions are a perfect fit for small and medium businesses. They deliver just what you need to win in today's challenging economic environment where customer satisfaction is crucial and it’s the experience you are delivering across every channel and touch point that really matters.”
Digicel Poised To Expand Mobile Banking To The Caribbean Already the fastest growing telecommunications major in the Caribbean, Digicel has recently entered into a financing deal that could see it well positioned to expand mobile banking technology across this region. In an announcement released by the Silicon Valley based, m-Via, a mobile banking firm which touts itself as the company that revolutionised how immigrant and unbanked families save and share their wealth, the Digicel Group was identified as the leader of a US$17 million financing round initiated by m-Via. Following this successful fund raising, m-Via changed its name to Boom Financial and stated that this financing round now took its takings to more than US$30 million to-date, which would be used to expand its product team in the United States, as well as to increase sales channels and distribution in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean. In commenting on the latest investment by the Bermuda-based telecommu-
nications giant, Colm Delves, Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Group said: “Digicel believes in providing the best value to our customers. Our investment in Boom Financial is a reflection of the strong value of the Boom service and the high-quality company that the team has built. Digicel’s customers in the Caribbean and Central America receive more than $5 billion a year in cash remittances from the U.S. Working with the Boom Financial team, we will seed a mobile banking ecosystem in these markets that eliminates the high fees and safety issues associated with cash remittances.” The Digicel Group operates across 31 markets, including the Caribbean, Central America and the South Pacific. The Boom™ mobile money service is the first to completely eliminate the need for traditional cash wire-transfer services, providing a safe, economical and easy way to send money. Boom members can use their mobile phones to make low-cost, bank-grade domestic and international
money transfers and payments via a simple text message. Members can also make purchases and withdrawals at thousands of participating Boom merchants and at over 100,000 Boom ATMs in more than 150 countries. “Our partnership with Digicel further validates Boom as the premier U.S. brand for mobile financial services for immigrants and their extended families across the Americas,” said Bill Barhydt, CEO of Boom Financial. “Digicel’s extensive coverage in key Boom markets such as Haiti and Jamaica will accelerate our reach into these markets.” Courtesy: Caribbean360 BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
The Usefulness of an IT Professional in the Workplace By Rashid Jean-Baptiste
Information Technology (IT) is a lot more than just computer repairs. But sadly, a lot of business owners only think of IT when there is an issue with their computer and it needs to be repaired. IT should be seen as a strategic business tool to help take your business to the next level. That is why if you are a business owner, with any number of computers in your office, it would be to your benefit to have a business relationship with an IT professional. I think it is important to either have that professional as a full time member of your staff or on a retainer basis so that you can have quality discussions with that professional without having to worry about the cost of each visit or conversation. These discussions should lead to the IT professional getting a better understanding of your business; and you as the business owner, getting a better understanding of how IT can help improve your business. Unfortunately, there are a lot of individuals out there who pretend to be IT professionals and they may be able to fix your computer if it breaks down, but their expertise in the IT field is very limited. Many business owners deal with these individuals and based on these dealings the business owners will come away with a limited understanding of the benefits of IT. In addition, what makes matters worse, is that a lot of these so called IT professionals always try to sell you IT products that you may not need and products that do not add any significant value to your business. They obviously do that because BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
of the profit potential for themselves, but this profit is always short term, because no business can continue to keep throwing money down the drain. This negatively impacts all individuals in the IT field, no matter how much value you can bring to the table, because certain business owners just have the wrong impression of IT professionals, and you really cannot blame them. One way in which an IT professional can help take your business to the next level is automating your key business workflows. This should only be attempted after the they get a good understanding of your business; you should always be wary of anyone who talks a lot more than they listen in your early discussions. After the IT professional gets a good understanding of your business the high priority areas in which IT can have a positive impact should be clear to them. I have been involved in instances where IT can help cut down tasks from many days in duration to a few hours and even decrease on the number of employees needed to perform various tasks. Information you need to effectively manage your business and make the right decisions can be at your fingertips whenever you need it instead of either being blind to the key metrics of your business or having to wait days before you get these metrics. Another significant way in which an IT professional can help is in actually decreasing on the amount of money you spend on your IT infrastructure. For example, they
could eliminate the need for many personal/private printers in your environment and just have one decent printer where individuals can print confidential documents by imputing a code, which only they know, to release their prints. Another example is decreasing on the cost of desktops for your staff and running virtual machines on a server, which could also make your computing environment easier to manage. There are many ways that the operating costs of a company could be decreased by the efficient use of IT but it would take a very competent IT professional who is interested in partnering with your business for the long term to identify and implement these ways. If you are a business owner who is looking to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with an IT professional or a team of professionals, some companies to take a look at in St. Lucia are Mainlan Information Technology Solutions, Converge Solutions Inc, Innovative Business Solutions Inc, and West Technology Group Inc. 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.
Beausejour, Gros Islet, St. Lucia TEL: (758)-452-TILE (8453)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:www.islandstyleinteriors.com
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
10 Smartphone &
Tablet Travel Apps for Business or Pleasure By Bevil Wooding A smartphone or tablet can be an indispensable travel companion for the business or leisure traveller. With the right apps, you can transform your mobile device into a virtual electronic Swiss Army knife, performing the functions once reserved for dedicated devices. But with more than a million apps on offer across the Apple, Google, BlackBerry and Microsoft app stores, where do you start? The apps below should be more than enough to get you through your business or vacation travel.
Getting There These apps will help you plan your trip and make the most of your in-transit experience:
Free flight tracking app provides realtime flight information. Track upcoming and in-air flights. Check gate assignments, delays and cancellations and use the attractive in-air map to see a flight’s progress. You can also save flight itineraries and add your own notes.
There’s nothing worse than being lost, hungry and bored in a terminal. GateGuru offers airport advice and covers more than 180 airports across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia providing maps detailing airport amenities, gate locations, check points and tips on how to get around or what to look for.
Share The Moments
Kayak is a popular search engine for hunting down cheap tickets. The free mobile app includes flight, car and hotel search and bookings. Kayak’s flight tracker and MyTrips feature keep your itinerary at your fingertips and provides e-mail alerts of flight delays or gate changes.
A good hotel can make or break your travel experience. The popular travel review site TripAdvisor has a free mobile app that allows you to search the same ratings directly from your smartphone or tablet. From the app, search cheap flights, along with restaurant, hotel, and attraction recommendations.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
5. 360 Panorama
Sometime you may want to capture a beautiful scene, but the frame is too big for your camera. 360 Panorama allows you to get the full picture. Using a collection of snapshots that capture every part of a scene, 360 Panorama stitches the pictures together for a seamless and beautiful panoramic view.
No matter where you travel, it’s important to stay in touch. When moving out of your service providers’ coverage areas switch to apps like Skype to make video and voice calls over WiFi to loved ones and friends. Viber, Tango and Line are other options on the go.
On The Ground 7.
City Maps 2Go
When data connectivity is limited during travels, it’s handy to have a road map for the journey. City Maps 2Go has more than 700 maps worldwide for offline viewing. From street names to points of interests, the app makes it easy to find your way around a new city.
8. Lonely Planet Travel Guides
Take the BBC’s popular Lonely Planet Travel Guides (Free) with you wherever you go. You can also try out Triposo for up to date travel guides for more than 8,000 destinations.
9. Google Translate
If you need a multilingual mobile translation tool, Google Translate can give you access to thousands of conversational phrases and verb conjugations, among other things, for more than 60 languages.
10. OANDA Currency Converter
Currency Converter by OANDA is one of the quickest and easiest to use currency converters. With the ability to keep seven of your most commonly-used currencies on the screen, it is ideal for frequent flyers. • If you’re the literary type, Kindle, Kobo and Nook all have smartphone and table
apps for your e-book reading pleasure. • If shopping or dining out is on your agenda, you’ll want to try out Yelp!, Urbanspoon. • Of course, be sure to have your calorie counting, fitness app with you; try Nike Training Club. • News aggregation apps, like Pulse, Flip board and Google Currents help you stay on top of news events at home and around the world. • File sharing apps, like Box.net, DropBox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive help you back up and sync your documents on the go. Even if you can’t find dedicated mobile apps for your phone or tablet, fear not. A growing number of websites are designed especially for mobile devices. Chances are, if you have a WiFi connection, you can browse to the web version of many of the mobile services above.
phones and tablets, planning a vacation without mobile travel apps is equivalent to leaving home without your toothbrush. The best travel apps for business or vacation trips help you find what you need, get where you’re going and have fun along the way. 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.com/bevilwooding.
Enjoy Your Travels Of course, there are tonnes more apps out there to help make your trip productive and memorable. In this era of smart-
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
A Call For
Debt Relief Guyana’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh Guyana’s Minister of Finance has called on the international community to take a special interest in offering debt relief to the Caribbean. Dr. Ashni Singh made this call as he addressed the second meeting of the Caribbean Development Roundtable (CDR) hosted by the Government of Guyana under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Dr. Singh charged that ECLAC had an important role to play “in helping us to move from the emotional aspect about our vulnerability and our peculiar challenges, to a more credible case being made to the international community about the circumstances of the small states of the Caribbean.” He also encouraged closer regional integration with a view to embracing hemispheric opportunities. The forum centred on discussions about policies and strategies intended to encourage modern thinking in the search for solutions to current development challenges within the Caribbean and Latin America. Under the theme, “Macroeconomic Policy for Structural Transformation and Social Protection in Small States” participants examined how development in small states may be pursued in the post-crisis global economy through greater economic diversification, improved access to finance and BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
strengthened social protection, despite fiscal constraints. Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Barcena, commended Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar’s vision, “which is very much in line with the mandate of ECLAC, and that mandate is basically how to reduce inequality – how to address poverty, gender equality and advancing sustainable development.” Discussions at the forum also focused on the fiscal crisis among several Caribbean countries. The forum focused on the many challenges faced by small states, including limited fiscal space and lower growth. The panelists sought to identify new approaches to limit the impact of internal and external shocks on the economies. Focus was given to creating a macroeconomic policy to reduce the impact of external shocks on Caribbean economies; Macro-economics for development; and diversifying productive structures and improving access to finance in the Caribbean sub-region. The challenges in financing new service activities in small states were also explored in the context of the decline in access to international finance. Attention was given to identifying alternate sources of finance including funding from Diaspora communities, and developing and financing new activities in the Caribbean.
One discussion moderated by Dr. Singh focused on the challenges to maintain social safety nets in an era of reduced government resources and limited fiscal space in the Caribbean. It also examined ways of improving labour productivity while creating the conditions for labour protection and security in the Caribbean. In addition, this agenda item also considered the importance of child-sensitive protection policies in the Caribbean sub-region.
PM Urges Banks to Expand Services to Rural Communities and Non-Traditional Sectors
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Dr. Kenny Anthony has challenged the banking sector to provide much needed services like Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) along the island`s east and west coasts. Speaking at the opening of the CIBC First Caribbean – Rodney Bay Branch, Dr. Anthony gave the assurance that his administration would support this initiative
by considering favourable requests for concessions to expand services to all villages and communities. This, he says is “an important pillar in ensuring that there is equity in efforts to develop Saint Lucia.” According to him, “No community should be made to feel remote, neglected and abandoned.” While Dr. Anthony acknowledged steps taken to decentralise the services of the bank by placing ATMs in supermarkets and credit unions, he believes that more can be done with government assistance and partnerships with established community organisations. Lamenting the absence of important banking services on the east and west coasts, Dr. Anthony issued a challenge to CIBC-FCIB and the entire banking sector to consider partnerships with existing institutions to provide such services. “I wish to challenge the banking sector to begin considering the expansion of banking services such as ATM machines into smaller but growing economic centres.
For instance, after one heads south from Cul de Sac, whether along the east coast or the west coast, the next available banking services are an hour away. Yet, the communities of Anse la Raye and Dennery are both growing centres with the likelihood of expanding economic activities from eco-tourism tours, restaurants, festivals and small touristic properties.” “The benefits,” he said, “would go a long way in stirring up economic activity which would not only benefit the local community, but other citizens and tourists, given the strategic location of these communities, who serve as a passage between the north and south of St. Lucia.” The PM also expressed concern about the cost of inter-bank transactions, which he believes negatively affects the competitiveness of the region in this sector. However, the role of the banking sector in the development of non-traditional sectors and rural/small communities was the highlight of the address.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Traditional Life Insurance Business About 17,500 policyholders are expected to benefit following an agreement signed by the judicial managers of British American Insurance Company (BAICO), together with the governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), to sell the traditional life insurance business of BAICO to Sagicor Life Inc. (Sagicor), a whollyowned subsidiary of Sagicor Financial Corporation. Sagicor is a respected insurance provider operating across 19 countries in the Caribbean as well as in the United Kingdom and United States. Its parent Sagicor Financial Corporation is a listed entity in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom. Sagicor has a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best. Group revenue reached US$1.4 billion for the financial year 2011 and shareholdersâ€™ equity and assets stood at US$578 million and US $5.4 billion at December 31, 2011. The ECCU governments have undertaken to provide funding of up to US$38 million to assist in restoring value to the transferring policies. A statement issued by the Eastern Caribbean governments and the BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
judicial managers said the sale was agreed after a formal sale process, which resulted in strong interest from seven parties with four final bids being considered. The business being sold is made up of group pensions and the following traditional life policies issued by BAICO in Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Universal Life policies, Term Life, Whole Life, Endowment and Home Service Life. The sale is expected to restore the policy values for nearly two in every three BAICO policyholders. Under the terms of the sale, all valid and in-force life policies as at the scheme effective transfer date will be transferred to Sagicor without any amendment or change to the respective policy, allowing policyholders to benefit from the terms they historically agreed with BAICO. The life insurance business will be transferred to Sagicor once all necessary approvals for the scheme of transfer from the relevant courts and insurance regulators in The Bahamas (where BAICO is incorporated) and throughout the ECCU countries are received.
It is expected that the approvals for all countries will take a further 3-6 months, at which point the transfer of the business can be finalised. The governments will work with Sagicor and BAICO to finalise this as soon as possible. It is intended that the entire business described above will be transferred at the same time. However, as a precaution, if any approvals are delayed or not received within the next four months, the parties can agree to transfer the business in stages. Sagicor Life Inc. is already a regulated entity in all of the ECCU countries involved in the transaction. Sagicor has demonstrated its commitment to the ECCU region by: â€˘ Agreeing to set up an ECCU Consultative Committee, to play an oversight role (including compliance, anti-money laundering, capital adequacy and corporate governance) in relation to the performance of the business; â€˘ Placing its ECCU business into a separate ECCU-based entity within 12 months of completion of the transaction; and
• Committing to listing at least 25% of the shares of the ECCU entity on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange within two years of its commencement of operations. Policyholders whose policies are proposed to be transferred need not take any action at this point. However, prior to the completion of the sale, policyholders are encouraged to continue to pay, and if necessary bring up to date their life policy premiums, to representatives at existing BAICO branches within the ECCU in order to maintain their policies. Policyholders will be provided with further information (either directly or by local advertising) about the proposed transfer of the business in the coming months as Sagicor and the judicial managers of BAICO seek the necessary court and regulatory approvals. Once the transfer is completed, Sagicor will contact affected policyholders to inform them of the change in ownership of this business. On completion, Sagicor will assume BAICO’s place as the legal issuer of the transferring policies, and policyholders will be able to once again operate their policies in accordance with the contract terms.
The obligation to pay certain unpaid amounts to policyholders under these policies (being claims, maturities, surrenders and bonuses) will transfer to Sagicor with the business, and the ECCU governments have arranged funding for the payment of these in accordance with the terms of the policies. The payment of claims will be subject to the claimant meeting the requirements of the policy terms, and signing an appropriate release. The ECCU governments are mindful that during the past three years, due to the uncertainty about BAICO’s future, many policyholders may have stopped paying their premiums. In many cases, this will have resulted in them allowing their policies to lapse. The governments, Sagicor and the judicial managers of BAICO are currently considering whether it will be possible to offer to reinstate policies that have lapsed in this period and further information regarding this issue will be communicated to affected policyholders prior to the completion of the transfer. Many policyholders may not be aware if their policy is current (for example, they may have ceased paying premiums some time ago, but the automatic loan feature
of their policy may have been triggered, meaning essentially that the accumulated value of their policy was used to pay their premiums). If policyholders have queries, they can contact their local BAICO branch to find out the status of their policy. In conclusion, the sale reflects the ECCU governments and judicial managers’ continued efforts to work to identify solutions for individuals and institutions affected by the BAICO collapse. Although the sale is structured specifically to transfer the ECCU traditional life policyholders to Sagicor, the sale is also beneficial to all other policyholders and creditors of BAICO who are not covered by the terms of the sale by reducing the remaining liabilities of BAICO. The judicial managers and the ECCU governments continue to work on solutions to recover assets of BAICO as well as to pursue those responsible for the collapse. The judicial managers and the ECCU governments reiterated their appreciation to all those affected by the BAICO situation in the region for their patience as this work progresses.
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The Secret to Equity Investing The idea of equity investing could be somewhat daunting to the average investor. This particular asset class tends to be more risky in nature than most other investments but undoubtedly far more rewarding with time. This is why stock market investments require patience, fortitude and wisdom or at least that of your trusted investment advisor. The most successful stock investing techniques are not nearly a secret but more like a series of disciplinary actions. Claude Rosenberg Jr. in his book Stock Market Primer outlined some foolproof ‘commandments’ for stock investing. Similar to the ‘law of attraction’ you get what you pay for in the stock market. You usually receive higher dividends and earnings per share with high priced stocks which are usually held by investors with a longer term outlook. We could also apply the author’s advice to current weak market conditions. Rosenberg suggested the purchase of stocks in this period and sell when stock prices seem to be too good to be true, similar to the contrarian investment approach. This is because stocks usually look their worst at the bottom of a bear market (when stock prices are falling as in current market conditions) and best at the top of a bull market (upbeat market with exceptional returns similar to the 2002 to 2004 period). Hasty, emotional buy/sell decisions could harm your portfolio performance. In this regard also guard against the voice of the public which is usually fuelled by emotion and unjustified rumours. Ensure that your advisor is trustworthy and has your best interest at heart. You should not BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
be made to feel obligated to purchase or liquidate a stock. Emotive decision making can lead to panic selling. Remember, the nature of a market is a cyclical one; if stock prices start tanking or plunging they are likely to reverse this trend in the future. With the help of your broker assume a hands-off approach and request more information on the fundamental performance of the stock. In the interim, however, avoid taking drastic actions. This leads to the next point. Be very wary of accepting stock tips from strangers. Remember the tech company bubble? When investors rushed to purchase these stocks, heavy demand caused prices to escalate and drove the price to earnings multiples (P/E) to unsustainable levels which were mostly above the stocks intrinsic value. Most of these stocks eventually crashed along with investors’ life savings and confidence in stock markets. It is always wiser to refrain from speculation than be sorry. This is the reason that previous recorded stock prices could have little bearing on future stock prices. Historic highs could have been driven by the rumour mill and subsequently, emotions. Investors should always invest in value rather than focus on the performance of the overall market. It is more advisable to seek out the bargain prices in value stocks. For instance we could find a reasonable amount of these on the local market even as the overall market is down about 5% year to date. With more attractive price to earnings multiples, it may be wise to invest in these stocks while they are available. In these bear conditions however, in-
vestors usually adhere to a ‘wait and see’ approach to obtain stocks at the lowest possible price. However, there is no guaranteed low price. According to Rosenberg, an investor seldom buys stocks at the bottom or sells at the top. In our present market conditions stocks tend to move lower than the fair value based on fundamentals, or above the actual market value in a bull run. Avoid selling a growth stock even if it seems that the P/E or price is too high. If the price continues to climb, you may never have the chance to repurchase at a lower price. This, the author cited as one of the gravest investment errors. Instead, adopt a dollar cost averaging approach which would work to reduce the risk of investing a large amount in a single investment at the wrong time. With this approach investments are made on a regular schedule especially when the price is lower, and helps to reduce the average cost per share. And finally there is no rule demanding that you hold on to stocks to infinity. It is wise to take profits after a considerable stock price appreciation. However remember to identify a sound re-investment instrument after liquidating. Overall, equity investments usually outperform most other investment instruments in the long term. With the right mix of solid investment advice to ascertain your portfolio needs, discipline and patience, your equity portfolio may easily generate double digit returns or above.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
JMMB - Budding Caribbean Financial Force? By: Felix Pereira Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd (JMMB) owns 50 per cent of Intercommercial Bank Ltd, which offers commercial and merchant banking services in Trinidad &Tobago. For 2011/2012, this associated company contributed TT$2.24 million to JMMB’s pre-tax results. The other T&T operating subsidiary of JMMB is JMMB Investments (T&T) Ltd, which is engaged in securities brokering. Via its St Lucian-based investment holding and management company, JMMB also owns two subsidiaries in the Dominican Republic; the 100 per cent-owned subsidiary, JMMB Dominicana, SRL is described as an investment holding and management company, while its 80 per centowned subsidiary, JMMB Puesto de Bolsa, SA provides securities brokering services in that market. In its home market, JMMB provides stock brokering, insurance brokering and real estate brokering services through its three appropriately-named subsidiaries. Geographically, 78 per cent of its revenue or J$9.1 billion is generated in the Jamaican market and 22 per cent or J$2.5 billion from St Lucian-based entities. Similarly, Jamaica accounts for almost 75 per cent pretax income or J$2.08 billion while J$709 million or 25 per cent was garnered from the St Lucian-based entities.
JMMB’s Income Streams For its 12-month period ending March 31, 2012, JMMB earnings per share rose a dramatic 100 per cent, or from J$0.76 in 2011 to J$1.51. Consistent with these results, dividends paid improved from J$0.14 to J$0.30. In absolute terms, these results show profit attributable to shareholders increasing from J$1.1 billion in 2011 to J$2.2 billion for fiscal 2012. BusinessFocus BusinessFocus Sept Sept//Oct Oct
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The company derives its income from five streams: net interest income, fee and commission income, gains on securities trading, fees from managing funds for clients and foreign exchange margins from cambio trading. Each of these areas has their own unique profiles and challenges. For the 2012 period, net interest income improved by almost 41 per cent, or from J$2.5 billion to J$3.5 billion. To generate this type of income very little is derived from loans interest; instead, the bulk of its income involves trading in investment securities and repurchase agreements. In fiscal 2012, this type of activity accounted for J$2.85 billion of the J$3.5 billion reportedly earned from this source. Though not as large as net interest income, revenues from fee and commission income rose by a healthy 97 per cent to J$225.3 million from a much lower base of J$114.5 million in the previous period. Perhaps the most unpredictable and variable source of revenue is gains on securities trading; in 2011, this figure was J$1.23 billion and for 2012 it improved by 66 per cent to a robust J$2.04 billion. One would think that fees earned for managing funds on behalf of clients would slowly and steadily increase on a year on year basis. In JMMB’s case, the J$50.4 million earned from this source in 2011 fell by 21.6 per cent to a more modest J$39.5 million for 2012. The reason for this decline may be a one-off event or involves a reorientation of its emphasis. Hopefully, it was not due to neglect!
Cambio Trading Almost as volatile as gains on securities trading is foreign exchange margins from cambio trading; for 2012, this source of income fell by almost ten per cent to J$141
million from nearly J$157 million last year. Total assets grew from J$113 billion in 2011 to J$124.7 billion this year. The company’s largest asset is J$108.1 billion in investment securities, which comprises 86.7 per cent of its total. This line item increased by almost J$10 billion from its 2011 base of J$98.2 billion. The composition of these investments shows that J$72.58 billion comprises Government of Jamaica securities with a further J$8.54 billion described as corporate receivables guaranteed by the Government of Jamaica. In terms of their maturity profile, J$60.4 billion mature beyond five years of JMMB’s balance sheet date. Cash and cash equivalents comprise a further J$4.16 billion of its assets. Another significant line item is loans and notes receivable, which had a balance of J$3.38 billion; this was J$70 million lower than last year’s balance of J$3.45 billion. During the year the amounts of J$denominated promissory notes increased by J$294 million to J$2.89 billion. Counteracting this, was the elimination of its TT$-denominated promissory notes from J$261 million in the previous year and a reduction of its US$ denominated promissory notes to J$597 million. Almost exactly offsetting its investment assets of J$108.1 billion, the company has liabilities of J$107.6 billion comprising of securities sold under agreements to repurchase. Of this total J$42.5 billion is denominated in Jamaican dollars while J$56.9 billion is denominated in US currency. The remainder of J$8.2 billion is denominated in Dominican Republic pesos, pounds sterling, euros and Canadian dollars. The company has both ordinary and preference shares outstanding. The preference shares were issued pursuant to a public offering in January 2011; 889,073,000 of
the 8.75 per cent fixed rate cumulative redeemable preference shares were issued at J$3.00 each and 26,322,000 of the 8.50 per cent fixed rate cumulative redeemable preference shares were issued at J$3.50 each. Both issues of preference shares mature in January 2016 at which time they would be converted into ordinary shares.
CCFG Acquisition: A Done Deal In anticipation of its intended purchase of Credit and Capital Financial Group (CCFG), the company, in September 2011, increased its authorised ordinary share capital by 250 million to 1.816 billion shares. With a healthy retained earnings reserve and retained earnings totalling J$10 billion, the company has total equity of J$10.77 billion. The total number of ordinary shares outstanding is 1,463,386,752, each having a book value of J$7.37. In July 2011 and on the Jamaican Stock Exchange, JMMB was trading as low as J$5.72 before beginning its steady rise to J$12.50. For the first six months of 2012 its share price has progressively declined with some trades being executed at J$9.80.
On the T&T Stock Exchange, its share price has fluctuated within a narrower range; in January, it was TT$0.84 and it closed on June 29 at TT$0.82. Its lowest price on the TTSE for the last six months was recorded on May 18, when it closed at TT$0.73. Using a conversion rate of J$13.5 to TT$1, the current price on the JSE of J$9.80 is equivalent to TT$0.73. This differential suggests that an arbitration opportunity may exist on the Jamaican exchange; alternatively, it might imply that the price on the TTSE of TT$0.82 is overvalued. As at June 29, 2012, there was outstanding demand for 10,000 shares at TT$0.73 and suppliers were offering to sell 13,110 shares at TT$0.81. One factor that may account for the share price decline on the Jamaican exchange is that JMMB is using its own shares to pay for 30 per cent of the purchase price of its acquisition of CCFG. This would necessitate it having to issue an additional 167,167,456 new shares. At this time JMMB has already secured acceptances from more than 93 per cent of CCFG’s shareholders. With 82.7 per cent of CCFG’s share capital held by only ten shareholders and the directors giving their
full endorsement to the acquisition, it is now only a matter of formality before the full purchase is completed. As at March 2012, the group had total assets of J$32.2 billion and was about one-quarter the size of JMMB. Despite a fall in the company’s asset base of about J$732 million from last December’s J$32.9 billion in the first quarter, CCFG produced improved earnings per share of J$0.10 (Last year: J$0.09). A significant factor in achieving this result was the 176 per cent increase in foreign exchange gains, which improved from J$17.76 million to J$49.11 million in this quarter. Both JMMB and CCFG offer a similar range of financial and brokerage services. Over time, the new enlarged and integrated group will benefit from synergies and efficiencies inherent in their merger; thus, the new JMMB would be better poised to become a more dynamic financial institution in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and in Trinidad & Tobago. Courtesy: Business Guardian
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
CARICOM Summit 2012 The Impact on Caribbean Business A communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 33rd CARICOM Summit held in Saint Lucia from July 4 to 6 stated that the Caribbean leaders had “re-committed to achieving the original objectives of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) – including free movement of skilled Community nationals, access to the region’s resources and creating the environment for competitive production.” Following an assessment of the status of the CSME, the government heads agreed to focus strategically on the expansion of the categories of skilled CARICOM
nationals who could then move freely for the purpose of working in other member states. They also agreed that citizens of all CARICOM nations would be automatically granted a six-month stay upon entering a member state, provided there were no security problems, in order to ensure that CARICOM nationals were made welcome in all member states. It was also agreed that if any member states were able to proceed with integration at a faster rate they should be allowed to do so, provided that the door is always left open for other member states to join when they are able.
Other commitments made to the strategic focus were: creating the environment for competitive production and making key institutions more effective. With regard to the Single Economy element of the CSME, the heads agreed on specific, but as yet undisclosed, elements of the Work Programme and Timetable for implementation in the short to medium term. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony. This section details some of the issues discussed at the Summit.
Secretary General Urges Quicker Steps to Free Movement of CARICOM People “We must stop seeing each other as foreigners”
LAROCQUE...We have to tackle the attitudes at the borders
The difficulties being experienced by CARICOM nationals in moving freely across borders in the region is one of the challenges that Secretary General Irwin LaRocque acknowledges must be resolved if the ideal of integration is to be achieved. It is also an issue that will significantly influence public response to LaRocque's drive to reform the regional bloc in order to make it more relevant to the needs of citizens, particularly the youth. "There's a phobia, and I think we have to stop seeing each other as foreigners," LaRocque declared during a discussion in Jamaica. Admitting that the sense of reBusinessFocus Sept / Oct
gionalism that existed in the 1960s among the people of the Caribbean had waned significantly, LaRocque said, "The construct we have has probably lost sight of the people of the region... the people have changed." Speaking directly to complaints by CARICOM nationals of border control harassment, LaRocque said, "If we don't address this issue we're going to have a problem; and it's not just how you treat people when they go across the border, or the fact that the hassle makes you feel like a non-belonger, it's a reality. It's a political issue in and of itself, you know. It's one of attitude, it's almost a phobia. I don't know why we're afraid of ourselves." According to LaRocque, immigration laws in the region inhibit rather than encourage movement. "We have to tackle the attitudes at the borders," he insisted. "Our immigration officers wield a lot of authority and discretion and it's going to take a lot to change that mindset." But that, he argued, must be pushed by the region's governments who need to recognise that the movement of people is vital to CARICOM's survival.
"There is a view, particularly among the youth, that CARICOM is too much about business and businessmen and women," he said. "All they hear about is trade and not enough about people. I hear that when I go on the ground among the youth, who are the future of this region. So, to some extent, we need to be aware of that as well." With that in mind, LaRocque said he will give a lot of focus to communication and will utilise social media to get the attention of young people in the region. "What the youth have said to me is: All the fancy brochures that you have prepared, they don't read them; they have no time to read them. The [CARICOM] website is a curiosity they might go on once in a blue moon. They've been very frank and critical in the way we're communicating," said the Secretary General. He said a fear expressed to him by youngsters in one Eastern Caribbean state is that of losing jobs to nationals from other countries. "People want to move, but they're afraid of moving," LaRocque said, but argued that any such movement would balance out because not everybody would move to another country.
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CARICOM Official Warns About Duty Free Access For EU Goods Despite recent assurances by Alexander Walford, policy officer in charge of Caribbean-European Union trade relations, that fears about revenue loss were misguided; Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, has raised concerns about Europe's demand to reduce customs duties on their goods coming in to this region. Speaking to the media during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New Kingston, the Guyana-based Secretary General said Caribbean Forum countries (members of CARICOM plus the Dominican Republic) should not sit back and allow the European Union (EU) to push countries into honouring their obligations under the European Partnership Agreement (EPA). Under the agreement, signed in 2008 between the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and the EU, CARIFORUM countries agreed to start the reduction of customs duties on a number of categories of European goods by January 2011. However, according to a report out of Belgium last week, the EU has been growing impatient with the pace at which this is progressing. LaRocque told the media that the CARICOM secretariat was assisting member states in "getting the correct legislation drafted" but noted that the bigger problem was that member states feared loss of revenue from lowering the tariffs. "But the EU has sounded out and it is an international obligation," said LaRocque. "It's an obligation that was entered into by the community by the member states who signed on to the EPA. And the EU has raised it. They have heard of the (fiscal) challenges that are being faced by members. They have not taken any action on it. I think they are making some soundings which we must listen to and be a little more certain in trying to do what we are supposed to do," he added. He said the secretariat, which has an EPA unit comprised of four highly skilled persons, was "very much involved" in discussions on the reduction in duties and working constantly with member states. "It is an issue that all the member states derive a substantial amount of revenue from their tariffs. That is why in the EPA there is a provision that talks about restructuring your internal taxes, but they are not in tandem with each other. There is a horizon of some longer period to do that," said LaRocque.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
CARICOM Leaders Defend Caribbean Rum The Caribbean Community are upset that Caribbean rum exports to the USA are being threatened by a global rum producer based in the US Virgin Islands. They seek to hold talks with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on unfair trading matters. CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque told reporters the regional leaders had been briefed on the rum situation in a report submitted by the Prime Ministerial Sub Committee on External Negotiations headed by the Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller. He said that the issue, involving Diageo, the global rum producer, continues to “threaten Caribbean rum into the US market,” and the leaders agreed that “strong and urgent political intervention” was needed to address that issue. “There is a concern with regards to some subsidy that is being provided for Diageo, the multi-lateral and one of the largest rum producers which is currently
located in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. There is an arrangement in the US government that allows for resources to be provided based on the exports of rum from the Virgin Islands, but more than that the resources are being used to provide a direct subsidy for a modern rum factory that is being constructed in St. Croix. That has the potential for damaging the market of our rum producers in the region – a market that we have been cultivating over the years, a market which they are seeking to upgrade by exporting brand rum rather than bulk rum,” LaRocque said. He added, “This is a matter of grave concern and it is agreed there needs to be some intervention of some sorts to inform the United States of our concerns.” LaRocque said that any subsidy provided to any competitor “puts you at a disadvantage and that’s why it is of critical interest to us. It could cause some damage to our exports and our export earnings and it was brought to our attention late last year and
we have been working on it quietly with the USTR and we have now updated the heads and seeking to engage further on the matter.”
CARICOM Heads To Decide On Future For CLICO Policyholders The financial fate of thousands of CLICO policyholders across the region hinges on a CARICOM finance ministers’ meeting at which proposals by the judicial managers are to be presented and discussed. And Barbados’ Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, is predicting that unless a collective agreement can be reached on a way forward for the failed insurance company by him and his regional counterparts, devastation could ensue. This was strongly expressed by Minister Sinckler as he updated the nation on the government’s position on CLICO during a near four-hour delivery of this year’s financial statement and budgetary proposals. The deficit between the fair market value of the total assets of CLICO and its liabilities to policyholders is just over US$200 million, with St. Kitts and Nevis being the only territory where the assets exceeded liabilities - US$6.59 million in assets owned versus US$4.49 million owed to policyholders; while St. Vincent and Grenada showed the deepest deficits of $US42 million and US$43 million, respectively. BusinessFocus July Sept///Aug Oct BusinessFocus Sept Oct
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Sinckler boldly stated to the House of Assembly and general public, “It is important to appreciate Sir that, should this effort at a resolution fail, the likelihood of a disorderly and separated resolution on a country-by-country basis will ensue with likely devastating consequences for thousands of policyholders including those in Barbados, as the company will be forced into liquidation and become entangled in myriad legal suits.” The finance minister said therefore that it was hoped that when he and a team from his ministry participated in the regional meeting on July 3, that “at the end of those deliberations these proposals or some amended version of them will be given broad support and receive the general endorsement of all of the affected regional governments, with each accepting an agreed share of the responsibility for the execution of the proposal.” Sinckler stated that, “a shared responsibility” was critical, since it would ensure that “policy holders in each country will be given the only reasonable solution to their
predicament, and regional governments a responsible and palatable burden to carry. A regional technical committee made up of officials and regulators from all of the affected countries together with the judicial managers in the different jurisdictions who have been working assiduously on examining options for a resolution of this matter have also surmised that this proposal seems at a broad level to be the most orderly option for a resolution of this very sad and unfortunate debacle,” he said. Sinckler added that he and his team would seek to secure the best interests of all Barbadian policyholders and investors affected by this matter and will not give a final commitment to any solution unless and until an appropriate consultation is held with them to present and discuss such so that their views might be incorporated. He also assured the opposition members across the floor, that the House would also be given an opportunity to examine the proposed solution before in is fully implemented so that they too may input into the crafting of the final solution.
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Foreign Investment Flows Into Caribbean The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) annual survey of investment trends indicates that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Latin America and the Caribbean climbed by 16 per cent in 2011, driven mainly by higher investment in South America. FDI entering South America rose by 34 per cent, while inflows to Central America and the Caribbean, excluding those to offshore financial centres, increased by 4 per cent. FDI to offshore financial centres fell by 4 per cent, the World Investment Report 2012 notes. The report, subtitled "Towards a New Generation of Investment Policies" was released in June 2012. According to the publication, high FDI growth in South America was mainly due to its expanding consumer markets, relatively high growth rates and natural-resources endowment. In Central America and the Caribbean, excluding offshore financial centres, a more positive outlook in 2011 for the United States of America - with which these countries have deep economic ties offset the impact of the weakening global economy on FDI. In 2011, FDI to offshore financial centres remained significant, representing 31 per cent of the regionâ€™s total. Although investors from developed countries increased their investment in greenfield FDI projects in 2011 (up 19 per cent), they have also divested more assets than they have purchased in the region's cross-border merger and acquisition market during the last three years, particularly in the case of European and North American transnational corporations (TNCs). This is occurring at the same time as the advance of TNCs from Japan and from BusinessFocus Sept Sept//Oct Oct BusinessFocus
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developing economies. Examples include the acquisition by Mitsubishi (Japan) of copper assets in Chile from Anglo American (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) for US$5.4 billion; and the acquisition by a Japanese investor group of Quadra FNX Mining Ltd (Canada) for US$724 million. Other examples are the purchase by two Chinese companies (Sinopec and Sinochem) of petroleum assets in Argentina and Brazil from Occidental Petroleum (United States) and Statoil (Norway) for the respective amounts of US$2.4 billion and US$3.1 billion. The report says this trend is likely to continue in 2012 with the announced retreat of some major European financial institutions as they respond to pressure to bolster their balance sheets. The gap will likely be filled by local or regional institutions looking to become international in scope, the World Investment Report 2012 contends. Banco Santander (Spain), for example, announced the sale of assets in Colombia to Chile's Corpbanca for US$1.2 billion, and ING (Netherlands) announced that it would sell its insurance and pensions businesses across much of Latin America to the Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana (Colombia) for US$3.85 billion. Outward FDI flows from Latin America and the Caribbean have become highly volatile since the global financial crisis, the report notes. They decreased by 17 per cent in 2011 after a 121 per cent increase in 2010. That increase, in turn, followed a 44 per cent decline in 2009. This volatility is due to the growing importance of flows that are not necessarily related to investment in productive activity abroad, as reflected by the high share of offshore
financial centres in total FDI flows from the region, and the increasing repatriation of intra-company loans by Brazilian outward investors, which reached a record US$21 billion in 2011. A shift towards a greater use of industrial policy is occurring in some countries in the region, with a series of measures designed to build productive capacities and boost the manufacturing sector. These measures include higher tariff barriers, more stringent criteria for licences and increased preference for domestic production in public procurement. These policies may induce "barrier-hopping" FDI into the region; and appear to have had an effect on firms' investment plans. TNCs in the automobile, computer and agriculturemachinery industries have announced investment plans in the region. These investments are by traditional European and North American investors to the region, as well as TNCs from developing countries and Japan. Short-term prospects of FDI to Latin America and the Caribbean are muted, the report says. The region is likely to remain attractive to foreign direct investors given its natural resources and its relatively higher growth prospects at a time of overall global uncertainty. In addition, the shift towards a greater use of industrial policy may induce "barrier-hopping" FDI into the region, and appear to have already had an effect on firms' investment plans. However, the uncertainty created at the global level by the European debt crisis is affecting the region's short-term prospects as well as FDI, which is likely to register, at the best, a slight growth in 2012.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
ACS to Bring E-Regulations to Greater Caribbean
ACS Secretary General, Alfonso Munera In pursuit of a “gradual reduction and elimination of obstacles to trade and investment in the greater Caribbean,” the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) will introduce UNCTAD’s e-regulations programme to its 28 member countries, said ACS Secretary General, Alfonso Munera. UNCTAD stands for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The two-day annual meeting of the ACS trade committee was chaired by Haiti’s Minister of Trade, Wilson Laleau. UNCTAD, the OECS, the Latin American Economic System, the Central American Integration System, CARICOM and the International Trade Centre were represented at the meeting. In countries where the e-regulations programme has been implemented, the programme has led to “expedited visas, simplification of import procedures, and the establishment of an electronic consultation system for accessing information and import requirements.” In her report to the committee, ACS Trade Director, Ariadna Perez said, “Among the most fundamental obstacles to trade experienced by economic entities of member states is the lack of knowledge regarding regulations and processes to achieve their commercial purposes. The access or non-access to information determines their effective participation in the trade environment. “In the long run, everything hinges on the level of transparency BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
offered by each country to facilitate and/ or promote economic activities linked to international trade. The lack of, or limited information, then makes simple activities sluggish, and therefore costly, increasing transaction costs for those who conduct the transactions, for the end consumers, and for the economy in general.” E-regulations are very important, Perez said. “You can put all your steps and all the requirements that need to be met for doing business in each country. So it will promote the transparency and give the information to people outside. If you are from China or Japan, you can go to the Internet to see what it is you have to do in order to come to or open a business, for example, in Guatemala.” She said only six ACS countries have this facility promoted by UNCTAD and, “what will be great is if countries from CARICOM are a part of this.”
Greater Business Forum Also in its action plan, the ACS trade committee intends to “promote trade relations in the region, through forums in which the business community could explore new opportunities for business.” This is why, Munera said, the ACS plans to revive its annual business forum. The last business forum was held in 2010 in Cartagena, Colombia. The ‘Business Forum of the Greater Caribbean,’ as it was known, brings together the private and public sectors of the region, at a forum mixing trade facilitation and direct business development. “The first business forum was held in 2000,” Perez said, “and it was a mandate of the heads of state, and this business forum is very important because it was a tool for the small and medium enterprises. Because if you have an entrepreneur from Trinidad, and you bring here a forum with other people, from other countries - Latin America or any other country from CARICOM - they can have matchmaking.” Although a member country has not yet offered to host the business forum, the Secretary General was confident the event will take place in the second half of 2013. “We are going to
make a major effort for there to be real representation of the whole Caribbean at this forum, not only of the big countries,” he said.
Women-Led SMEs The ACS also intends to, “support the growth and potential of micro and small enterprises in the greater Caribbean, improve knowledge of their functioning in different settings, and the constraints they face,” Perez said in her report. The Trade Director said the ACS conducted preliminary research, which made a case for helping women in the region because of “the impact of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector on women in society, especially as it relates to access to finance, and their overall contribution to economic development in the region. “As Secretary General, I want to propose a macro project dealing with women in small business, talking about micro credits, talking about capacitation, talking about structuring the organisations, and also thinking about the macro project in which we can promote small businesses throughout the region dealing with women in different activities: tourism, service in general, prevention of disasters, small industries. It is a very ambitious idea and we have started working and we are going to put a lot of effort to do that,” Munera said. “Gender is not only a fight to get empowered or not, it is also an economic problem for the countries because some 35-40 per cent of small and medium enterprises are run by women, who are very often the heads of households and have to provide for their families,” Perez said. “With respect to tourism, which is the main activity of probably 80 per cent of Caribbean countries, women have a very important presence in terms of small business. “For example, they are the ones dealing with handicraft and selling small souvenirs, and I think if we are able to improve the conditions of women doing small business, it will have a very important social impact because at the end of the day, we
are talking about fighting poverty and we are talking about raising the condition of women,” Munera said.
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Expert Support Perez said according to the ACS research, most women-owned businesses in the Caribbean are either micro or small and very rarely medium-sized because women’s focus is on the education of their children and on the health of their families. “A few women go beyond that, but the majority are small. We are already getting the support of one of the important partners,” Munera said. “I have already spoken with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. Also, I have spoken to the Prime Minister of Haiti about this idea, and we are now at the point of getting, from Colombia, the support to pay an expert who is going to help us to frame the project in a way in which we can present it. “Also, we are talking with some international organisations. I don’t want to mention which ones specifically because we are still in the informal talk, but we are sure we are going to get support for having this project developed. “My feeling is that we are working in such a way that by the end of the year, or by the beginning of next year, we will have the project ready, and we have two or three different countries supporting the presentation of this project.”
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BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
World Bank Continues Latin America and Caribbean Support The World Bank says it will continue to support Caribbean and Latin America’s resilience to the ongoing global economic turmoil. The Washington-based financial institution said that it has committed US$11.8 billion in fiscal year 2012 to support the initiative that includes resources from its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). It said the IBRD and IDA maintained its “strong support for the region,” approving US$6.6 billion in new loans in fiscal 2012, nearly US$6.2 billion from IBRD - the window for middle income countries - and US$448 million from IDA, the fund for poor countries. The World Bank said the support was aimed at “generating opportunities for all, through programs that increase productivity, create new good-quality jobs, and as-
sist those most in need, while promoting environmental responsibility.” It said Latin America and the Caribbean received the largest share of IBRD’ total new lending at 31 per cent, and more than 19 per cent of total IBRD/IDA lending. The IFC, which supports sustainable private sector development through financing and advisory services, committed US$4.9 billion to 134 private sector projects in Latin American and the Caribbean, including US$1.3 billion mobilised from other financial sources, the World Bank said. It said IFC’s investments spanned 25 countries in the region with a focus on inclusive growth (49 projects, totalling US$1.6 billion in microfinance, health, education, housing, and regional and global integration amounting to 68 projects totalling US$2.4 billion for South-South investments, regional expansion of companies, trade finance, infrastructure). The bank said the IFC also focused on
innovation, which is essential to increase productivity and competitiveness in the region, with 18 investment projects for US$919 million. During fiscal year 2012, the World Bank said MIGA provided support for three projects in Latin America and the Caribbean with US$353.6 million in political risk insurance coverage. The bank said resilience to recent global turmoil allowed Latin America and the Caribbean to grow 4.3 per cent in 2011. It said the region is expected to continue to grow but at a lower level (3.5 per cent) mainly due to the eurozone debt crisis, the-slower-than-expected recovery in the US and the planned slowdown in China, a key trade partner and the engine behind the solid growth and market diversification of the past few years. “Unprecedented growth and economic stability over the past decade pulled some 73 million people in the region out of poverty,” the World Bank said.
ECLAC Advises on Plans for Development The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says planning for development in the region is back with “renewed strength and complex challenges.” ECLAC Deputy Executive Secretary, Antonio Prado, addressing the commemorative seminar to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning (ILPES) said, “Closing the multiple gaps in the region takes a long-term vision, strategic planning and long-lasting persistence.” ECLAC said it created ILPES in 1962 with the aim of supporting Latin American and Caribbean governments in the field of planning and public administration by providing training, consultancy and research BusinessFocus BusinessFocus Sept Sept // Oct Oct
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services. “The State must be capable of providing strategic management for the long run, looking ahead, and being involved in the design of strategies for guiding national development,” Prado urged. In this context, the high-level official announced that during ECLAC’s 34th Session, held at the end of August in El Salvador, the document, “Structural Change for Equality” an integrated vision of development, would be presented. It will elaborate on the concepts set forth in the document, “Time for Equality” specifically proposing to strengthen the role of the State. Former ECLAC Executive Secretary, José Antonio Ocampo, said that the most successful period for Latin America and the Caribbean, from the economic develop-
ment perspective, was from 1945 to 1980, when industrialisation took place, as the region showed a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annual growth of 5.5 per cent. He, however, said the region has advanced in the last years in achieving a welfare state focused on assistance rather than universality, which is exactly what ECLAC has set as one of its current goals. But the Colombia, New York, university professor in Economics, warned that “a possible breakdown of the euro would trigger an unprecedented crisis” and called on regional countries to support regional integration and a more technology-based exports development, referring to the region’s relationship with China as “highly unbalanced.”
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Caribbean Risk Insurers Get Welcome Rebate
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) has paid out just over US$32 million in claims since its inception in 2007, and in the recent 2011-12 year, took in $20 million in annual premiums and offers total coverage of over $600 million. This was revealed by the CCRIF in a release issued recently to announce that it has renewed its contract with Sagicor Insurance Managers Ltd. (Sagicor) for another three years. The insurance manager provides the corporate secretariat, accounting functions, board management and other related ‘back-office’ tasks. CCRIF was launched in June 2007 as a regional insurance fund with 16 Caribbean countries as members and policy holders. It is the world’s first and, to date, only regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. Meanwhile, all 16 member-governments of the CCRIF have earned themselves a 25% premium rebate off their hurricane and earthquake insurance for 2012-2013. This is according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s regional office for the Americas (UNISDR The America). The 16 countries and territories - Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint VinBusinessFocus Sept / Oct
cent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks & Caicos Islands - have reportedly re-committed for the sixth year in a row to renew their insurance. In exchange, CCRIF provided its member countries with a premium rebate – 25% of the premium paid in the previous year for the 2012-2013 year, which began on 1st June, and it encouraged the governments to use these savings to either purchase additional coverage, or implement programmes to improve disaster resilience as well as climate change adaptation. Since 2007, CCRIF has made eight payouts – on three earthquake and five hurricane policies – totalling US$32,179,470 to seven member governments. These funds have been used to capitalise special recovery funds, restore services and clear affected areas as well as to generally ‘keep the wheels of government turning’ following a disaster. According to the UNISDR's 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, while the mortality risk from cyclones has decreased globally, in 2010, that risk was still higher in Latin America, the Caribbean and South Asia than 1990 levels. The GAR further finds that the proportion of the world's GDP exposed to tropical cyclones increased by 3.6% in the 1970s to 4.3% in the first decade of the 2000s. During that time, the absolute value of the global GDP exposed to tropical cyclones tripled, from US$525.7 billion to US$1.6 trillion.
GDP exposure also increased rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean from 2000-2009. The UN report warns that the risk of losing wealth in disasters associated with tropical cyclones is increasing faster than wealth itself is increasing. Three CCRIF members have local governments which have joined the UNISDR's World Disaster Reduction Campaign – Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready. Caribbean districts participating in this programme are Portmore in Jamaica, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, and Bridgetown and Christ Church in Barbados. Over 1,047 cities around the globe have signed up to it and the campaign advocates, among other things, widespread commitment by local governments to build resilience to disasters. The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season officially started on June 1st, but tropical storms Alberto and Beryl marked the first time in over a century that two named tropical depressions have materialized before the official start. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts that the 2012 season would have reduced activity, compared with the 1981-2010 average. Its Climate Prediction Center estimates that 2012 will have nine to fifteen named storms and one to three will become major hurricanes with peak winds of 111 mph (178.6kmh).
LUCELEC Supports Environmental Awareness Training St. Lucia’s lone power company, LUCELEC, has thrown its support behind a St. Lucia National Trust initiative to promote sustainable environmental practices among the nation’s youth. LUCELEC donated fifteen thousand dollars towards the National Trust’s annual Youth Environment Forum (YEF) during a press launch for this year’s programme, making the company the biggest corporate supporter of the initiative. YEF aims to empower young St. Lucians to be advocates for the environment and heritage conservation. Its target is to engage approximately 100 students from throughout the country to join the fight against environmental degradation. Speaking at the press launch, LUCELEC Corporate Communications Manager, Roger Joseph stated that LUCELEC has made a 3-year commitment to provide fifteen
thousand dollars annually towards the initiative. “We see this as helping to encourage young minds to think about sustainability; to think about respect and appreciation for the environment,” he said. The YEF is one of many ways through which LUCELEC demonstrates its commitment to environmental protection in St. Lucia. The power company has taken a number of steps to monitor and minimize its carbon footprint, including the use of emission monitoring equipment to ensure that emissions from its Cul de Sac power station remain within acceptable international limits. “It’s not often that a power company is associated with the green economy or environmental preservation. But at LUCELEC what we’ve been doing since we began operations is actually balancing the country’s economic and social needs for power with
minimising our negative impacts on the environment. And we’ve been doing so in various ways,” Mr. Joseph added. He cited the use of insulated conductors in heavily wooded areas to minimise the need for tree trimming, replacing 3- and 2-pole structures for its 66kV transmission lines with single pole structures to reduce tree cutting and the land space required, and seeking to develop an Environmental Management System that can be ISO 14001 certified, as examples of initiatives being pursued by the company. St. Lucia National Trust Communications and Advocacy Officer, Karetta CrooksCharles says the increased sponsorship has allowed the Trust to prepare a more robust programme to engage the participants in the YEF.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Flying Fish Management Plan Coming for the Eastern Caribbean A management plan for the sustainable harvesting of flying fish among the islands of the Eastern Caribbean has been developed for implementation by the middle of next year according to the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). In a release issued to report on the eighth CRFM Scientific Meeting, which took place in Kingstown in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the regional fisheries organisation revealed that it had developed this plan in collaboration with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission. The CRFM said once implemented, this management plan would “represent a landmark achievement for formal regional cooperation in the management of a shared fishery resource among countries of the Eastern Caribbean.” Every year, the CRFM scientific meeting completes evaluations of a number of major fisheries in the region to determine if the natural fish populations remain healthy, and also if and what management controls are required for continued and improved performance of the dependent fishing industries. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
At this year’s meeting were fisheries scientists from 12 CRFM member states: Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Turks and Caicos Islands. They completed evaluations of the health and economic performance of Jamaica’s queen conch fishery, as well as the seabob (shrimp) fisheries of Guyana and Suriname. The first steps towards evaluating the health and performance of the reef fisheries of Montserrat and Jamaica, and the Eastern Caribbean blackfin tuna (bonito) fishery, were also completed. The scientists also tested new data analysis and decision-making tools that could include a broader range of data, ranging from the physical aspects of the marine ecosystem and fish biology to data on social and economic development performance. CRFM stated that these new tools would allow its member states to meet the challenge of providing more holistic and hence practical fisheries management advice, with a central focus on protection of human well-being and livelihoods, and
also with the ability to include consideration of risks such as those posed by climate change. Along with national fisheries scientists from CRFM States, fisheries scientists from neighbouring non-CRFM States and several international fisheries experts were in attendance to contribute their expertise to the analyses, the debates and the management advisory reports, prior to their formal release to the governments and industries concerned. Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, delivered remarks on behalf of his government during the opening ceremony of the final formal plenary sessions at which point he reminded the regional gathering of the immense contribution made by the fisheries sector towards food security, and the provision of employment opportunities, and noted the importance of ensuring that fishery resources are sustainably managed. Courtesy: Caribbean360.com
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Campari Orange Passion Ingredients 1 part Campari 1 teaspoon brown sugar 3 parts light orange juice Some crushed ice Prepare the drink in a tall glass. Place orange and brown sugar in the glass and crush to a pulp. Add crushed ice. Add the Campari and orange juice, and gently stir. Garnish with a red cherry.
Distributed by Brydens & Partners Ltd.BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Hosts Audi Drive Experience for Journalists and Customers JQ Motors the automotive division of the JQ Charles Group of Companies hosted an Audi Drive Experience for local journalists, current and potential customers. The activity resulted in a tour from Pigeon Island through Castries and back to JQ Motors. Audi tops the range of automotive product options available to local and soon regional customers from JQ Motors. The company added the premium brand to its stable of vehicle offerings through acquisition of the rights to import and distribute Audi in the third quarter of 2008. Since then the brand’s presence on the road has increased considerably. The Audi Drive Experience is a move to give customers more. “The whole idea of owning an Audi is the experience and that is exactly what we wanted to convey to the guests we have invited to this activity. It is highly interactive and will allow all of them to really feel BusinessFocus BusinessFocus Sept Sept//Oct Oct
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what it is like to drive an Audi vehicle,” said Jason Claremont, General Manager, JQ Motors. And what an experience it was – following a brief introduction and familiarisation with the vehicles, journalists and customers set out on the Audi tour. Each invited guest had an opportunity to not only be a passenger but a driver as well. The various models in the Audi line were exchanged at planned intervals along the route. Participants say the experience was thrilling. “I’m big on gadgets and these vehicles have a lot. They are very well appointed from the A1 right up to the A6. The Q3 is a very good entry SUV and to be quite honest it is very tempting to own one,” said Micah George, one of the journalists invited to test drive the Audi line.
The newest offerings were the A1 and Q3 which join the Q7, Q5, A4, A5, A6 and Audi TT. JQ Motors has big plans for the Audi brand, the most significant being the showroom currently under construction. Without revealing too much, Group CEO, Gordon Charles says there are big future plans for JQ Motors. “Our strategic separate management of the various divisions within the group allows for greater opportunities for personnel advancement as well as more efficient decision-making. That is how we have been able to establish a great relationship with Audi as we look to supplying not just St. Lucia, but the region with the premium Audi brand,” he said. The JQ Group of Companies is made up of several independently managed divisions, including horticultural, manufacturing, insurance, financing and real estate.
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CIBC FirstCaribbean Formally Opens State-of-the-Art Wealth Management Centre & RBM Branch
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony & ECCB Governer Sir K. Dwight Venner cut the ribbon declaring the new CIBC FirstCaribbean Rodney Bay Branch open
Sunday July 8th marked the formal opening of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s cutting edge new banking hall – CIBC FirstCaribbean Mardini. The new branch, which ushers in a new service model for the bank, is characterised by ticketed queuing to group customers according to the services they require; queue-less services delivery with ultra comfortable seating; touch screen tablets for accessing the bank’s internet banking portal; multiple instant tellers for making deposits and transfers and a priority access queue for over-the-counter transactions. Ultra modern private meeting spaces for wealth management counselling, is yet another differentiating feature of the branch. The official opening was attended by a number of distinguished guests representing the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and Government of St. Lucia, namely Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony; Sir Dwight Venner - Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank; the Honourable Emma Hippolyte, Parliamentary Representative for Gros Islet and Minister for Investment, Commerce, Business Development and Consumer Affairs and Hon. Stephenson King representing the Political BusinessFocus Sept Sept//Oct Oct BusinessFocus
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Opposition. Also attending were members of the diplomatic corps., a number of corporate and small business clients, personal banking customers and service providers who were involved in the design and commissioning of the new branch. CIBC FirstCaribbean Managing Director of Retail Banking and Small Business, Mr. Rolf Phillips, joined the St. Lucia Country Manager, Mrs. Mauricia Thomas-Francis, at the opening of what he described as CIBC FirstCaribbean’s flagship branch in St. Lucia, which reinforces the bank’s leadership in modern and contemporary banking in the Caribbean. “I say “reinforce” because, from our very first day of operation nearly ten years ago, we set out to establish ourselves as a leader in the financial services sector in the Caribbean – and set new standards for the provision of financial services to our clients. And we have largely achieved that goal, setting new standards in the provision of electronic banking services such as Internet and mobile banking.” Mr. Phillips said that the decision to roll out this new branch banking model in Rodney Bay was informed by the bank’s awareness of the importance of the area
in terms of development and investment. “This new experience in banking keeps pace with the technological environment, changing customer tastes, habits and expectations of their service providers. Technology is synonymous with innovation and in an interesting way, so is investment. Thus we have made an investment in a cutting-edge facility that charts the way in banking innovation.” In her opening remarks, Mauricia Thomas-Francis highlighted what it takes to be successful during difficult economic times, stating that, “It is a difficult environment in which to be dynamic, to step out with boldness, to set a new trend that laughs in the face of unyielding recession. But that same experience has schooled me in the knowledge that success is made of sterner stuff, and that all successful outcomes begin with visionary leadership, innovation in strategy and the flexibility to modify when the wind changes. Through its investments, CIBC FirstCaribbean has signalled its intention to be a leader in the provision of financial services in the Caribbean.” Mrs. Francis highlighted the bank’s focus on Wealth Management services as
one of the engines of growth and competitive differentiation in the provision of special services to clients, noting, “The CIBC FirstCaribbean Mardini branch is an ultramodern facility that makes it easier for our clients to do business with us. Under one roof we house the best that any financial services company has to offer anywhere in our region, and we daresay that our facilities here can rival those to be found any anywhere in the world.” Dr. Kenny Anthony, in his address highlighted the way forward for the banking sector urging commercial banks to support initiatives that catalyse activity in the economy by making borrowing more affordable, specifically through encouraging investment in construction related
enterprises. Dr. Anthony also stressed the expansion of banking services such as ATM machines into smaller but growing economic centres, namely Anse La Raye, Dennery and Micoud. With regards to business competitiveness, Dr. Anthony suggested that with the assistance of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, “strides must be made to reduce the costs of inter-bank transactions and encourage the growth of e-commerce offerings, so as to expand the reach of our local companies and entrepreneurs, particularly those beyond our shores.” Highlighting the facilities and unique services offered by the Rodney Bay Branch, Dr. Anthony concluded by stating, “I applaud the bank for being willing to invest
in better customer care and services, from your new branch model, which places an emphasis on automated service and comfort in banking, to your careful consideration in ensuring that your services are sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities. This world class facility will enhance the value of Rodney Bay as an investment area. No doubt this augurs well for investment prospects both in the private and national context.” Sir Dwight Venner’s address to the gathering gave a review of the global financial sector in the recent past, noting that this period is an “existential moment” for the sector globally, and one in which lessons can be learnt for more effective oversight and regulation. The ceremony culminated in an official ribbon cutting by the ECCB Governor and the Prime Minister, followed by group tours of the facility and a cocktail reception. CIBC FirstCaribbean Mardini, is the third such ultra-modern facility rolled out by the Bank within the Caribbean to date, and follows others in the Bahamas and Barbados. CIBC FirstCaribbean also recently opened a new office in Trinidad, catering specifically to its Wealth Management customers.
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The “Caribbean Champions of Colour” Still Committed After 40 Years Harris Paints was first established in Barbados in 1972, an organisation founded on principles of excellence with a goal of manufacturing the best quality paint products, in the most beautiful colours, and delivered with unmatched service. Today, the passage of time bears testament to the enduring quality and character of the Harris brand, which under the banner of the Harris Group of Companies has for the past 40 years delivered on its promise to colour, beautify, and in the process unify Caribbean communities. The company’s record speaks for itself, and demonstrates that the Harris Group is truly deserving of the title: “The Caribbean Champions of Colour”. The Harris Group of Companies, still commonly known to customers and associates across the Caribbean as Harris Paints, is one of the Caribbean’s leading manufacturers of architectural finishes, building products and industrial coatings. The group has grown dramatically over the years, including the acquisition of Brandram-Henderson (B-H Paints), a leading Jamaican paint manufacturer. Harris is also the region’s exclusive technical partner of Akzo Nobel, the leading paint company in the world. The company holds an International Standard of Organisation (ISO 9001 – 2008) certification for its high level of quality management. Today, Harris employs over 250 people across the region, and manufactures paint in Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guyana, and Jamaica, while also distributing paints and related products to over 15 other countries throughout the region. The official acknowledgement and celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary in September 2012 will no doubt be an occasion to remember. A Caribbean wide celebration is planned as management, staff, customers and associates join with regional governments and other entities to pay tribute to the achievements and contribution of the Harris Group. Over the years, the Harris Group has striven to live up to its stated mission: “To enrich the lives of people wherever Harris BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
chooses to market its products and services. We will achieve this by producing ideas and inspiration that enable our customers to decorate, enhance and protect their living and working environments with outstanding products and solutions that bring superior visual delight and longer lasting care to their surroundings.” The execution of this mission can be seen in the many contributions that Harris as a corporate citizen and sponsor has made to worthy causes such as schools and community projects, sports, and in the company’s commitment to the preservation of the environment. In fact, Harris Paints Barbados (2003) Ltd. has been a Green Business with Green Business Barbados since September 2010 and has played a crucial role in the development of the programme over the years. In 2012, Harris Paints broke a new record within the programme becoming the first business to achieve tier two of the Footprint Rating System. This set a new standard for the programme and raised the bar for a new level of achievement for the other businesses in the programme to follow. Marguerite Desir, Senior VP Human Resources and Head of Business Units for St. Lucia and Dominica said the company was pleased with its record of performance, particularly in this 40th year, which had turned out to be an award winning year for the Group. “Here in St. Lucia we were big winners in our inaugural St. Lucia Manufacturers Association Quality Awards; and now we are already preparing for the 2014 edition, as we target bringing home only Diamond awards from each category along with winning the Minister’s Award for Innovation,” Ms. Desir said. The recent performance in Barbados’ National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) awards has also been good for the Group, Harris won four of the five top prizes for customer service including the Prime Minister’s Award and thus became the best performer in the awards. Harris Paints’ Chairman, Ralph “Bruggadung” Johnson reflected that nothing could re-
place the magic and the awesome power of engaged employees as “they can move mountains.” “The big win for Harris is that over two-thirds of the staff got involved in the initiative and we and our customers have seen improvements in many areas varying from health and safety to product information and process improvement. We have also improved our supply chain efficiency. Many of our staff have also made personal improvements - gaining more skills on the computer, improving their public speaking - and all of this directly or indirectly impacts on our customer value propositions for the better. So our commitment to continuous improvement at Harris will continue as it did over 40 years ago,” said Mr. Johnson. Award winning performances are nothing new to the Harris Group, which over 40 years has earned its fair share of accolades. The company’s products have received regional and worldwide recognition through their diverse uses in all sectors. Some of their renowned projects include being featured on “Design Style” in St Lucia, where their paints adorn the island’s Government House. Harris Paints has also been the product of choice for “Design Style” in home renovation projects in neighbouring Martinique. Its guarantee of a quality product has afforded the company opportunities to embark on many other projects including the newly built St Lucia National Hospital, the beautification of the car park at Baywalk Mall, Serenity Park in Castries, through the use of its Troweltex coatings, and the application of their high performance coatings on the roof of the Sandals Grande hotel. As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, the Harris Group’s commitment to quality remains unquestionable. The company is focused on continuing to satisfy the needs of its customers through product evolutions and a guaranteed high standard of service. For further info, visit www.championsofcolour.com, and Facebook at “Caribbean Champions of Colour”.
facebook.com/brydenandpartners BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Computer Networking and Security Services Inc. Helping You Earn Your IT Credentials
Linus Charles & Kerie J. Dantes
Two technicians on the information technology scene are intent on putting their stamp on the computer world. Kerie J. Dantes and Linus Charles, joint Managing Directors of Computer Networking and Security Services Inc., believe they have found just the right solution in helping you earn your IT credentials. BF recently sat down with the tech-savvy duo in their American Drywall Building office to glean some info regarding their newly-formed business venture. “Basically, the company is the product of an idea I had some time ago,” Charles explained. “I had it all drafted in business form and collaborated with Kerie. The two of us saw it as a lucrative venture, so we decided to invest in the company to get it up and running.” In fact, Computer Networking and Security Services Inc. was preceded by a previous company – Computer Networking and Security Solutions, owned by Charles – which was set up in December of 2009. But last October when the brilliant idea was agreed upon by Dantes and Charles, they decided to consolidate their energies and resources and adopt a name change. Computer Networking and Security Services was incorporated a month later. According to Dantes and Charles, offering quality and a recognized IT education to their enrollees is just a part of the invaluable equation of their new company. They offer training, IT services and examinations that give you the competitive edge. BusinessFocus Sept Sept / / Oct Oct BusinessFocus
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“A principal focus is that of providing professional training and certification in the computer field,” Charles told us. “Those certifications are accredited by such companies as Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Certified Internet Web, and the like. Basically, those major technological giants that have their own certification programmes.” Charles and Dantes say that the company also has close affiliations with Microsoft, Cisco, Prometric, Pearson VUE, and on the local scene, they are accredited by the Ministry of Education. So just what services does the lessthan-a-year-old company offer? It turns out that Computer Networking and Security Services Inc. has a great deal to offer.
Courses include: • Microsoft Office • Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator 2008 • Quickbooks Basic Course • CompTIA A+ • CompTIA Network + • CompTIA Server + • CompTIA Security + • Customer Service Human Resource Management Leadership • Computer Literacy Course • Computer Maintenance • Graphic Designs • Web Designs • Cisco
Other services offered by the company include: • CCTV Installations • IT Policy Development
• Data Recovery • Hardware Repairs • Networking Solutions Candidates taking some of the courses offered receive in-house certificates. Such courses are customer service, human resource management and basic computer repair. Here’s how it works: “Some of the things we do here are business assessments that link to training,” Charles said. “For instance, if a company requires specific training in a particular subject area, we do an assessment, and based on the findings of what they need we tailor a training programme to suit them. At the end of the course, we issue a certificate indicating that the candidate/s spent X amount of time doing whatever course they might have taken.” The company’s four full-time staff members are on-hand to oversee the operations that take place in its training centre that seats twelve and an examination centre that accommodates five. Both Dantes and Charles believe that the internationally recognized full-package courses they offer are an invaluable asset to anyone seeking to enter the workforce or those contemplating brushing up on their resumés. Computer Networking and Security Services Inc. offers very competitive rates for their courses and candidates can also take advantage of their flexible payment plans. The full-package bundle the company offers covers the costs associated with the required text books, tuition, exams preps and registration. All study materials used are authentic – no bootlegs! According to Dantes, the company also assists successful candidates in finding job placements subsequent to completing their courses. Give the guys at Computer Networking and Security Services Inc. a call today!
Computer Networking and Security Services Inc.
Services • IT Policy development and security implementation • Network Planning and Design • CCTV Installation • Security Assessments • Data Recovery
Courses CISCO Certification Training Courses • CCENT, CCNA CompTIA Certification Courses • A +, Network +, Server+, Security+ Microsoft Certification Training Course • MCITP Microsoft Office User Specialist • Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook
EC-Council Training Courses • CEH, CHFI Accounting Related Courses • QuickBooks Short Training Courses • Basic Computer repairs, HRM, Customer Service Training Room Rental
Suite 26, American Drywall Building, Vide Boutielle, Castries Office Tel: 1(758) 452-7999/721-8999 Fax: 1(758) 451-2701 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cnssinc.com
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
IN THE KNOW
Caribbean Identity Theft By Brian Ramsey
Caribbean people are generally very up to date with world affairs. Newspapers in the region have always carried articles about events in different parts of the world and in the past many people almost religiously listen to the BBC World Service on a daily basis. With the spread of the Internet, the ability to learn about events in various parts of the world has widened and many individuals avail themselves of this tool to broaden their knowledge. One of the crimes that is frequently encountered on the Internet is identity theft but many persons think of this as a non-Caribbean problem, something that happens in the â€˜developedâ€™ countries, not in our islands. When Caribbean people do think about identity theft they tend to only associate it with using their credit card on the Internet and someone getting their credit card information and then using it to make purchases. Identity theft however does happen and often in more basic ways that have nothing to do with the Internet. The situation of persons, particularly those from economically disadvantaged countries, travelling on false passports is known and yet the average individual does not associate this with the identity theft crime, although it is a clear case of identity theft. A recent case in Trinidad illustrates how the identity theft sometimes occurs and how the false identity is sometimes used. Six years ago a house was burglarised and the thieves stole money, jewels, a driver's permit, national identity card and passport. The thieves sold the driver's permit, national identity card and passport to another individual who wanted to change his identity. That second individual then used the new identity to travel abroad on two occasions. When the driver's permit expired he renewed it as he had two other BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
valid forms of identification. He opened an account in a bank, he obtained telephone services, he got a job in the petrochemical sector; in short he built a new life. In this particular case the individual simply wanted a new life and many times those persons from economically disadvantaged countries who travel on false passports also simply want a new life in a new place, however many others who engage in identity theft do so for more nefarious reasons. They often use these false identities to take out loans or run up large credit card bills which the victim is then held accountable for or to trick others and defraud them of their money. The question therefore facing the average law-abiding citizen is: How can you protect yourself against identity theft? One of the first steps that everyone should practice is to lock their passport away in a safe. A bedside drawer or clothes drawer is not a safe place and often one of the first places that thieves check when committing a burglary. The location of the safe is also an important part of the protection. Most people place their safe in the master bedroom, clothes closet or home office and because of that burglars look in those places to see if you have a safe. Instead you should place the safe in some other part of the house where it will not be easily seen and is secure. Combination or biometric safes are now popular but many individuals have older model safes that use keys and unfor-
tunately some persons keep the key in the lock, which completely defeats the purpose of having a safe. Instead, one should have the key somewhere separate that you can remember but not on a key rack with your car keys and other keys. In addition to your passport, all other sensitive documents such as birth certificates should be placed in the safe. The majority of persons are very careful with their passport when they travel, making sure to have it close at hand when at the airline check-in counter, at the departure concourse and at immigration. Unfortunately when they get to the hotel they tend to place it on the bedside table or leave it in their suitcase, only looking for it when it is time to return home. Although most hotels make some attempt at screening their staff one never knows which hotel employee will succumb to the temptation of seeing a passport left unattended. Upon checking into a hotel your passport should be immediately locked in the room safe and the safe kept locked when you are not using it. Another part of the protection for persons with multiple credit cards is to ask the question, do you really need to have all your credit cards with you in your wallet or purse? Most persons have a main credit card that they use for the majority of their purchases and the other credit cards are either emergency cards or for special purposes. If you get robbed and all your credit cards are in your purse or wallet then all
your credit cards are gone and now begins the tiresome process of notifying each credit card issuer and hoping that you have notified them faster than the thief can spend your money. In addition, once the thief takes your wallet he has your driver’s permit and identification card along with your credit card. If you have multiple credit cards that are not used frequently then the extra cards should also be placed in the safe. People who are shopping or at dinner often get a small psychological moment of pleasure when they hand over their credit card to pay. There is a feeling of “I have done well, I can afford this,” as they hand over the card. Repeated advertisements in the media have conditioned our minds to reflexively hand the card to a waiter or store clerk who will go away and return with the credit card authorisation slip for us to sign. It is that reflexive action that is being used by fraudsters to obtain credit card information. Waiters or store clerks armed with small skimmers, often smaller than a packet of cigarettes, when out of sight quickly swipe the card capturing all the information on the card and then return with the customer’s slip for signing. At the end of the day, the dishonest employee sells the information in the skimmer to a fraudster who then makes a duplicate card armed with all the correct info. When paying for an item you should never let the credit card out of your sight, either have the waiter bring the credit card machine to your table or accompany the clerk to the machine. You should always shred your expired credit cards. Many identity thieves are experts at dumpster diving in order to obtain sensitive information about you. Sometimes the thieves do not have to go looking in your garbage; the individuals who make a living recycling items from the city trash know the value to a fraudster of an intact credit card and if they find one they will certainly sell it. All individuals should therefore make a habit of cutting their expired credit cards into small pieces. One of the techniques that has been used in Europe and now is being seen in the Caribbean is fraudsters placing minicameras near ATMs and skimmers either on the ATM door or the actual ATM. Unsuspecting individuals use the ATM and the camera records their PIN number while the skimmer collects their card information. To protect against this type of crime all persons should adopt the habit of using one hand to cover the other while entering their PIN. The covering hand should be so positioned to block the view of any cameras that may be trying to capture their PIN. This article has looked at identity theft in the Caribbean and physical measures that can be used for protection. In another article we will examine identity theft protection when using the Internet.
“We Service What We Sell” P. O. Box RB 2484, Massade Gros Islet Highway, Saint. Lucia, West Indies Store Tel: (758) 452 0763 Office Tel: (758) 452 9914 Fax: (758) 452 9915 Service Dept. Cell: (758) 486 3876 Wholesale Dept. Cell: (758) 487 3876 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author Brian Ramsey has a B.A. in Accounting & Management, along with an M.B.A. in Finance and over 25 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Limited which is the parent company of Alternative Security Services St. Lucia Limited. Amalgamated Security operates in Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
IN THE KNOW
By Pilaiye Cenac
Wanted: Dead or Alive
1. When was the last time you (a) Bought more websites are making recommena newspaper? (b) Paid attention to an ad therein? (c) Took action based on that ad? 2. What do you usually do during a commercial break? 3. Do you know which billboard is located opposite Volney’s Gas Station? Some local CEOs and top executives are beginning to fret because of the responses to questions such as the ones above; they’re concerned about the health of traditional media here in St. Lucia. Symptoms include ad avoidance: we don’t yet have the DVR to provide ‘commercial free’ programming, but commercial breaks present convenient stir-the-pot breaks, surf-the-net breaks and bathroom breaks. Our newspapers seem to be struggling – a condition prevalent throughout our global neighborhood. At this rate, does it make sense to spend on promotion through traditional methods? Is traditional media ailing? If yes, what is the prognosis for recovery? Or is it already dead? Traditional media includes the Yellow pages, newspapers/magazines, TV, radio, billboards and direct mail. Digital media is the supposed assassin, and its hype surrounds the Internet, social media and mobile devices. Those who accept the defeat of traditional media argue the following:
1. Traditional media is seen as disruptive. It does not foster the kind of customer relationship needed for survival in this era. The interactive nature of new forms encourages relationships in a way that the traditional forms’ one-way communication cannot. While traditional methods forcefeed messages, new media forms allow consumers to pursue necessary information in their own time. Through digital, organisations attempt to ‘touch’ consumers rather than just ‘reach’ them. For example, BusinessFocus Sept Sept / / Oct Oct BusinessFocus
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dations and letting targets know which ‘friends’ have shown interests in what is being viewed. 2. People continue to be wary of traditional media: the messages are too contrived. On the other hand, new media allows the spread of word of mouth from friends and more trusted sources. 3. The cost of digital media is a nail in the tradition’s coffin; the former is generally cheaper and therefore more accessible to organisations of all sizes. Traditional media consumes a great chunk of the marketing budget, and also takes up more of other resources (e.g. time and effort) than the digital options. 4. Measurability has always been a major pain for the traditional approach. Digital forms seem to perform better and faster in this area. 5. Digital options offer targets the opportunity to ‘seal the deal’ with one click. Traditional methods do not always offer such seamless integration, and so the ‘call to action’ may not facilitate quick action, thereby reducing the probability of the action. Those who argue that traditional media has not been defeated say:
1. There is no need to choose one over the other as one complements the other. “Tradigital” or an integrated approach can produce a more powerful message e.g. TV/ radio ads direct targets to the website or Facebook page to continue the experience. 2. Traditional media is still alive; it’s just in a different form. People may not be buying newspapers as before, but they are reading those same papers online and watching the same ads on YouTube. Consumers have undergone lifestyle changes and companies need to shift their communication accordingly. So why choose death
when modification is a viable option? 3. Some traditional forms may be dying, but that does not signify the demise of the whole. Studies show that billboards are still effective, and so is radio. People are still watching TV, even though Internet has reduced their time spent in front of the tube. They are also watching TV online. Snail mail has taken a hit though. 4. Traditional media retains greater control over its brand message than digital media. Consumers yield more power with the newer media and this may harm the brand. For example, recently Facebook ‘fans’ who took offence to the euphemistic terms Femfresh used for the word vagina, attacked the company. Therefore companies may choose to utilize both forms for the sake of control. 5. Consumers are describing digital ads as “annoying”, so ad avoidance extends to this new media as well. Internet security software companies keep developing tools for online users who complain about pop up windows, spam and online stalking. Digital media is not perfect; it’s trying to overcome some of the same hurdles as traditional media. Before choosing a side, examine the characteristics of your target audience, the message you want to spread, and your current rate of success in reaching that audience. So what do you think? Dead? Dying? Or Evolving? Email: email@example.com 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.
Exceed Expectations Question: How does Virgin manage to deliver impeccable customer service that at times seems to be above and beyond the norm while keeping prices competitive? And why is it that so many other businesses only seem to be able to deliver either low prices with no service, or high prices for good service? - Ryan Morphett, Entrepreneur Magazine Answer: When you are making a decision about how best to serve your customers, your own experience is often a better guide than a more sophisticated analysis of the market. I find that I am often more disappointed by expensive goods and services than I am by lower-priced ones because my expectations are often overinflated when I pay a high price, but I have few expectations when I pay a low price. If a top-of-the-line product or service doesn’t work as I had hoped, I might think: “At that price, I really expected something better.” But if something is disappointing at the other end of the scale, I’m likely to think: “I’ve only got myself to blame,” and “Oh well, I guess you get what you pay for!” A question that often appears on customer surveys is: Did we meet your expectations? If the response is in the affirmative, the company may conclude they must have done a good job; which may not necessarily be the case. Consider a situation where a customer who has had a bad prior experience comes in with very low expectations. When a client anticipates that service will be lousy and that’s precisely what they get, then technically their expectations have been met! The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them; preferably in unexpected and helpful ways. Setting customer expectations at a level that is aligned with consistently deliverable levels of customer service requires that your whole staff, from product development to marketing, works in harmony with your brand image. Because when there is no alignment, chaos can ensue.
In commercial aviation, the big, long-established carriers, often still referred to as full-service airlines, set themselves up for failure by continuing to oversell their services, even though they ceased to provide great service long ago. Their passengers have higher expectations than when they pay an identical fare for the same trip on a low-cost carrier. Meanwhile, the low-cost carriers have done a very good job of setting expectations as they reinvent shorthaul flying. Ryanair Chief Executive Officer, Michael O’Leary, and his team are unapologetic about their decision not to provide a great many traditional perks. What their customers do get in exchange for consistently low fares is flights on clean, wellmaintained aircraft that usually leave on time. At Virgin America, we try for a different model. We offer great value, providing clean, stylish, comfortable planes for our passengers, and in terms of service, we try to surpass travellers’ expectations by offering better entertainment, good food and more comfortable seats. For the last five years, the airline has consistently won customer service awards. Pricing your product or service is only one way to exceed expectations, however. The other is through your frontline employees, i.e. everyone who works with customers. Surpassing expectations on the service side means that your people understand what your brand stands for, that they are proud of it and will go the extra mile to make sure that your customers are happy. Doing things better doesn’t have to cost more. All it takes is a little creativity
and attention to hiring, training and management. To achieve consistently terrific customer service, you must hire wonderful people who believe in your company’s goals, habitually do better than the norm and who will love their jobs. Make sure that their ideas and opinions are heard and respected, then give them the freedom to help and solve problems for your customers. Rather than providing rules or scripts, you should ask them to treat the customer as they themselves would like to be treated which is surely the highest standard! Your managers will have to be sure to provide in-depth training for new front-line employees. At the most basic level, you’ll need to be sure that new hires use the product or service and then have the experience of asking for help from your staff. Understanding the customer’s experience will give them great insight into their new jobs and sometimes longtime employees might like a refresher. If you are seizing on a new business opportunity, deliberately move your customers’ expectations up a few notches and consistently over-deliver on your promises. You will leave your competitors struggling to catch up. 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/richard-branson/blog. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/richardbranson. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
IN THE KNOW
The Situation Analysis
By Fern Smith
A Necessary Requirement For Business Success The situation analysis as it relates to marketing, is a very important component of your company's marketing plan. It is the means by which marketing managers assess the internal and external environments to help determine the firm's position in the market place, and to help find solutions to problems that exist and maximize strengths. A situation analysis seeks to answer questions such as: • What are your competitors doing? • What are the emerging trends? • Is the product offering the right combination for your target market? • Does the company have a budget to carry out marketing and advertising activities? A situation analysis can help to identify processes within an organisation that are inefficient. By identifying what is not working, a company can help improve their marketing efforts, cut financial losses and improve employee morale, to name a few. Business success is dependent on the action a company takes to resolve problems. Just imagine for a moment, that an organisation continues to lose money in a particular area. The organisation would do well to investigate why this is occurring. They could be losing money due to some of the reasons listed below: • The product offered might not be what customers want. • Systems and procedures implemented do not encourage efficiency. • The organisation has no ‘core competencies’ to distinguish it from the competition. • The organisation is not progressive so there is a failure to change with the times. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
• Poor business and marketing plans which do not foster strategic vision for the company. • Underestimating the competition. Many companies tend to be reactive to competition. In a hyper-competitive environment, a situation analysis should be compulsory. It helps to plan the way forward. Below are listed two common methods a business can use to carry out a situation analysis: A SWOT Analysis is a good place to start. It is an analytical tool which can help marketing managers to focus on key issues affecting the business. A business can identify the strengths and weaknesses which deal with the internal environment and the opportunities and threats which deal with the external environment, to chart the way forward. The list need not be complicated, as marketing managers may already be aware of the issues that need to be addressed. The business should aim to find realistic solutions and write out the plan of action to accomplish the desired objectives. A strength of your business may be its excellent location, therefore you should maximize this potential by devising a strategy to encourage customer traffic and sales. Volume drives sales. A weakness could be a demotivated workforce which does not embrace company objectives. One solution would be to address employee concerns. This will directly affect the operations of your business, as negative staff will drive customers away. An opportunity could be to diversify into a ‘niche’ market. What would the company have to put in place to accommodate this change? A threat could be that your competition has a new and innovative product which is dominating the market. What will be your
company's ‘comeback’ strategy? The answers to these questions are important to know. Therefore, perform the analysis pertaining to your specific market situation. Think about your own organisation. Are there areas that can be improved upon? Another popular strategic business tool is Michael Porter's Five Forces Analysis, which can be used to help your organisation determine the level of competitive activity in your industry and the attractiveness of a particular market. Porter lists five forces: 1. Bargaining Power of Suppliers (large suppliers may dominate your market and will most likely influence prices in their favor). 2. Bargaining Power of Customers (customers can substitute products and services with ease and may not be very loyal to any one brand). 3. Threat of New Entrants (there are not many barriers to entry, there are many players in the market). 4. Threat of Substitutes (the ease with which the company's product or service can be replaced). 5. Competitive Rivalry (there are many firms with similar product offerings and strategies in the existing market). With the five forces listed above an organisation can list the factors in each category that is relevant to the market situation it is facing. This helps to critically assess and reduce or eliminate areas of weakness and map out a plan for improvement. For example, if there are many substitutes in the market for a particular product, it might not make sense to import it. This is why it’s important to gather the necessary information beforehand, to advise the marketer that it would not be profitable to do so.
Sometimes a business may make the mistake that because there are many brands of similar products in the market, that this is the â€˜green lightâ€™ to import. There will be a cost in the long run when the product does not bring in the desired profits. An organisation should know whether they can undertake new business ventures or diversify into a new industry altogether and be profitable. It is not enough to just go with the flow and react to changes in the marketplace. The success of your organisation will be as a result of clearly defined strategies, based upon information gathered from your environment. Once this is done, the organisation can make headway from its current position to the desired position. In conclusion, the above business tools provide a useful framework for looking at the internal and external environments of the organisation. The organisation will be able to identify the factors which may in fact be hindering improvement and progression. Weaknesses can be eliminated altogether or at least minimized, while strengths can be maximized. Efficiency in business operations will be more forthcoming, putting the organisation on its path to attaining desired objectives such as increased profitability, efficient marketing strategies and better procedures. About the Author: Fern Smith holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management with a Minor in Marketing. Her work experience spans over a decade in the hospitality industry and the distribution and retail sector in St. Lucia. She is an avid reader of diverse topics, some of which include management, marketing and inspirational literature.
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BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
IN THE KNOW
Communication: A Major Key To Managing Change In Organisations
By Faithaline Hippolyte
A popular business book published several years ago, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, talks about the fact that change is inevitable, and that people react differently to change. The reality of change is prevalent in all organisations. In this fastpaced, technology-driven, global village in which we operate, companies which do not adapt quickly to change may find themselves swallowed up by the competition. It is imperative that business leaders realise that most people don’t react positively to change - at least not initially - and it’s important that they help their team members to adapt to change. Change occurs in a myriad number of ways; it can happen on a large scale such as a merger or acquisition, or on a smaller scale such as a new government regulation (for example the implementation of VAT). The change may affect everyone in the organisation, or it may affect the employees in certain departments more than others. Change affects products, processes and people. The focus of this article is on how change affects people. Members of your team will fall into one of the following categories of change readiness: indifference, rejection, doubt, neutrality, experimentation and commitment. There will need to be dialogue with team members to find out where they BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
stand, and then steps will have to be taken to move them to the desired state of commitment. While some persons will embrace the change immediately, some may be doubtful, while others may be outright resistant. A great danger is that those who are resistant may influence others into not accepting the change. In order to have a successful change initiative, leaders must gain staff acceptance and support, and a major key to achieving this support is through effective communication. Leaders should clearly articulate to their subordinates the change that is to take place and the reasons for that change. Note that the communication has to be two-way. Feedback from team members should be sought, and responses to their queries and concerns should be given. Also besides speaking with staff in groups, depending on the nature of the change, and to what extent team members are affected by it, they should also be met with individually; as the change may affect them in diverse ways, and also individuals may be at different stages of readiness for change. Leaders should also make use of various forms of communication besides group meetings and one-on-one meetings, such as emails, letters, and communication via the company’s intranet or website, to keep team members updated.
The timing of the communication is also essential. As much as possible you will want to avoid team members hearing about the change from outside sources. Timely, relevant information from those in leadership is the best way to give an impression of transparency, elicit trust, and to squelch damaging rumours. While change is said to be the only constant, this fact does not seem to stop individuals from rejecting or resisting it. Any change initiative will likely be unsuccessful, and resisted by team members without effective dialogue with persons affected, with an aim to addressing their needs and concerns. The sooner you can coach your team members into adapting to the change, is the sooner they can get back to being engaged, productive workers, and get on with the business of the day. About the Author: Faithaline Hippolyte is a freelance writer. She holds a BSc. degree 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.
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IN THE KNOW
Growing Caribbean Small & Medium Enterprises Through Strategic Alliances
By Dr. Harvey Millar
In today's dynamic and complex business environment, companies are always looking for ways to financially survive, outcompete the competition, stay ahead of their customers, and to stay abreast of technology. Over the last several decades, we've seen shifts in the primary basis of competition, from productivity to quality to service to speed, and today, much of the focus is on knowledge and information. The fortunes of companies, large and small alike have risen and fallen with these changes. Kodak for example, is a company that built its reputation by being ahead of the game on quality and service, but fell behind when the emphasis changed to speed, delivery, and innovation. Caribbean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not immune to these forces, although being small in size may actually soften the blow to the extent that smaller businesses tend to be less capitalized, and hence, the loss from a failed business may not be very catastrophic. Nonetheless, everything is relative and a $100,000 loss to a small business could be equivalent to a $10 million loss to a large corporation. What do companies do to survive? One of the strategies used by successful businesses is to create agile, responsive organisations that have the ability to respond quickly to changes in the structure of competition. One of the most effective ways to create flexible organisations is through the use of strategic alliances. An alliance is a relationship that is strategic or tactical, and that is entered into for mutual benefit by two or more parties having compatible or complementary business interests. Some of the benefits of a successful alliance may include: 1) access to new markets for existing products; 2) access to new products to serve existing customers; 3) added financial leverage; 4) the sharing of risk; 5) improvement in research, marketing, and manufacturing capabilities; 6) access to new distribution channels; and 7) reduced time to market. Today, it is near impossible to find BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
world-class producers that do not have a network of strategic partners. For example, several American car manufacturers have alliances with Japanese engine manufacturers. In case you are wondering whether strategic alliances are only for big firms, hold that thought! Alliances can work equally well among SMEs and between SMEs and large enterprises. One of the most successful big firm/small firm alliances occurs in the music industry. Large companies like Sony, Capitol, Universal, recognized that they could not produce Hip Hop and Rap music like the underground independent studios in New York and Los Angeles. So they decided to team up. These studios discover the artists, compose and produce the music and the large labels market and distribute the end product. Puff Daddy, Jerry Lewis and Jimmy Jam are examples of what successful alliances can do. Next time you watch a music video, check the record label, you may see something like Universal/Bad Boy Sounds. That is an example of a strategic alliance. Setting up an alliance requires much work. It is akin to a marriage. There are good times and bad times. Like some marriages, alliances are successful and last a long time (till death do us part), while others may breakup prematurely. In a nutshell, the relationships have to be managed and nurtured carefully. Benchmarking research has identified the following as some key success factors for strategic alliances: 1) companies in the alliance must have a strong sense of self; 2) the alliance strategy must be supported by rigorous processes and systems; 3) alliance companies seek to combine their strengths and are not focused on compensating for their weaknesses; 4) careful front-end planning is needed to establish the goals and objectives of the alliance; 5) the existence of an alliance vision, "agreements in principle", and "good faith efforts"; 6) establishment of key criteria for selecting alliance partners; 7) the existence of clearly
defined business strategies, management systems, communication systems, and roles and responsibilities tailored to the alliance; 8) the existence of clearly stated outcomes and performance measuring systems; 9) a focus on long-term, not short-term relationships; 10) the existence of learning opportunities for alliance partners, and an adaptive and flexible alliance process for responding to new knowledge. For Caribbean SMEs, alliances can mean the difference between growth and stagnation. As SMEs seek to grow, an effective way to expand business reach is through alliances with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retail outlets depending on the nature of a companyâ€™s business. Care must be taken to ensure that all those engaged in the alliance add value, and that unnecessary layers that impede agility are not created. The advent of technology has made it relatively easy to effectively manage alliance relationships. Faxes, phones, computer networks, Internet, and e-business are all tools that are accessible at low cost. One last word, in seeking out alliance partners, full consideration should be given to the formation of alliances with other Caribbean businesses. In so doing we keep the money in the region a lot longer. That way, capital becomes more readily available for local businesses to expand and reach out to regional and extra-regional markets and in the process, make a significant contribution to regional economic development. About the Author: Dr. Harvey Millar is President of Management Technologies and a senior consultant with Logix Consultant Limited, and a full professor in the Sobey School of Business at Saint Maryâ€™s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can read more of his articles at www.harveymillar.com or reach him at email@example.com
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Business of Tourism BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Minister Highlights Product Changes Ahead For St. Lucia Tourism
Caribbean Journal recently conducted an interview with Mr. Lorne Theophilus, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, in which he explained that, “over the years, St. Lucia's tourism industry has been a continually growing entity.“ St. Lucia is known primarily as a destination for romance and honeymoons, but the minister is looking into enhancing and developing the product and also having it established as a destination for health and wellness. According to him, “Product
is what sells, what drives this engine that we call tourism, so we want to establish a product that is of a very high standard and includes standards for the industry as well. Hence, keeping it at its present level, with a high reputation and moving it further, will help it regenerate itself.” The discussion then continued into entering into the Latin American market and Mr. Theophilus shared some insight on discussions dealing with airlift and cost. He optimistically expressed the possibility of “a blossoming market coming out of Latin America in the next few years, unlike Asia, which proves to be a lot more problematic because of time and the proximity of getting to our destination.” The minister says he is “seriously looking into” the development of such a relationship, “especially
from an investment standpoint.” He continued, “Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) is a growing market and beneficial to many of our destination marketers and travel agents.” Coming out of the Budget, the Tourism Minister indicated that this market was mentioned during the presentation and debate of the estimates of revenue and expenditure, and said that, “Government plans on actively pursuing this new global trend for the benefit of our destination.” In conclusion, Mr. Theophilus emphasized on the diverse culture of Saint Lucia – “a culture which includes our people, scenery and now internationally awarded cuisine, one that is best known for romance, which has made Saint Lucia a marquee destination.”
St. Lucia Travel and Tourism Estimates and Forecast 2022 % of total
St Lucia Direct Contribution to GDP Total Contribution to GDP Direct Contribution to Employment Total Contribution to Employment
2011 1 XCDmn
2011 % of total
2012 1 Growth
2011 constant prices & exchange rates; 2012 real growth adjusted for inflation (%); 2012-2022 annualised real growth adjusted for inflation (%); '000 jobs
Courtesy: World Travel & Tourism Council
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Three Soufriere Resorts In Caribbean Top 20
Three of St. Lucia’s top resorts – Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet and Ladera, all located in the west coast town of Soufriere, considered ‘St. Lucia’s Tourism Capital’ – have been voted amongst the 20 Top Caribbean Resorts by readers of Travel+Leisure magazine. Jade Mountain placed Number 4, with a score of 91.52 points (out of 100). To get there, the world class St. Lucia hotel beat others from The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Is-
lands, Jamaica, Nevis, Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands. Anse Chastanet and Ladera – also both in Soufriere – tied each with 87.20 points, sharing the 19th place out of the Top 20 Caribbean Resorts voted for 2012. They successfully beat off competition from Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the USVI. The awards were announced by Travel+Leisure Magazine 2012 World Best Awards.
President of the SLHTA, Karolin Troubetzkoy, says these placements “are the results of constant hard work, commitment and dedication on the part of management and staff at these resorts.” She said she was heartened to see a total of three St. Lucian resorts in the listing and particularly noted her gratification that they were all from the scenic town, also home to the island’s universally famous Pitons, a World Heritage Site protected by UNESCO.
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Talking Tourism: SLHTA's Karolin Troubetzkoy Shares her Views Karolin Troubetzkoy is a longtime St. Lucia resident who along with her husband has pioneered tourism development in St. Lucia’s picturesque region of Soufriere. Karolin holds a German MBA in Business Administration with majors in tourism marketing and hotel and restaurant management. She also speaks four languages: German, French, English and Italian. Karolin and Nick Troubetzkoy are the owners of two award-winning hotel properties - Jade Mountain & Anse Chastanet resorts. As Executive Director of Marketing and Operations, Karolin is involved in all aspects of the business, not only marketing and public relations, but also management of the resort and development of facilities and services to the highest levels achievable. Both hotels are currently rated amongst the top ten in the Caribbean according to Travel+Leisure Magazine. Most recently, Karolin was presented with what is considered the highest industry accolade in the region, chosen by her peers as “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year 2011” by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), receiving the Golden Conch award. This award recognizes excellence in all areas of operations, as well as a commitment to the training and development of staff, contributions to the community, and a demonstrated commitment to sound environmental practices. It also acknowledges her active role in both national and regional issues affecting Caribbean tourism. Karolin currently serves as President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and as 3rd Vice President of the CHTA from 2012-2014. Her passion for customer service, sustainable practices and charitable work combined with her natural leadership and marketing savvy is sure to inspire others seeking to further their own career in St. Lucia’s tourism industry. BF therefore spoke to Karolin about her achievements and the tourism issues facing St. Lucia. BF: Firstly, congratulations on being named, “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year 2011”. You must be so proud. You’re the third St. Lucian hotelier and 2nd woman to win this top Caribbean prize. How does it feel having won ‘The Big One’? KT: It was a big surprise and after the initial shock, especially seeing baby pictures of myself on a gigantic screen without any forewarning, I was very elated. Having dedicated the majority of my life and my career to the Caribbean and in particular, the St. Lucia hospitality industry, it feels very good to have this recognized. Also, I am very honored and humbled to have become part of the group of prestigious hoteliers who have received this award before me over the past 33 years. And, as a woman, I am of course thrilled to have been able to add another female face to this group, but it seems we have a long way to go to balance the scales! BF: This accolade recognizes your work as a hotelier and as a hotel administrator, as well as a stakeholder in St. Lucia’s and the Caribbean’s tourism industry. To what do you attribute it? BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
KT: I am not one to sing my own praises. To the contrary, I am probably my own harshest critic. I have always set very high goals for myself, and have never been happy with mid-level results. I approach everything I do with dedication and enthusiasm and some might add with a competitive spirit. To some extent, I feel that I have been able to pass this approach on to our resort teams at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain who are definitely always striving to be at the top of everything they do. I have also always believed greatly in the amazing human resources we have available here on Saint Lucia and cannot stress the importance of making educational opportunities and training available. We cannot allow so much talent to be stagnant, and as the current President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, we have made human resource development and training a priority. BF: Your award must also mean a lot for Soufriere. Two of your hotels, plus Ladera are in the top twenty Caribbean resorts and all three are from your west coast town. How do you see all this helping Soufriere, the island’s ‘tourism capital’?
KT: Soufriere is a very special place and has the potential to become the Number1-Must-See location in the Caribbean. We have amazing scenery and great natural attractions, some of which could be further developed. Having the international spotlight on our hotels based in Soufriere is the first step in the right direction. What is required now is that all stakeholders come together and take Soufriere to the next level. BF: As a Marketing Director for your hotel group, what are some of the initiatives that have proved particularly successful for positioning your hotels as award-winning properties? KT: My focus has always been on the product and the experience. If your hotel product and the experience you create for your visitors are above their expectations, then the battle is half won. Small resorts like Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain cannot compete on price and they do not have a large marketing budget. Therefore, guest feedback and word of mouth are the most important forms of advertising for us. To have been able to exceed guest ex-
pectations for so many years and to have created a unique product, especially with Jade Mountain, is an achievement I must share with our resort teams and of course, my husband, Nick Troubetzkoy who created, designed and built Jade Mountain and who has owned Anse Chastanet for over 30 years. BF: What advice can you give to smaller hotels and hoteliers dreaming big and wanting to emulate your success in the industry?
world, has to offer. But this sadly will not be enough to remain competitive. First of all, there is the airlift issue. Without the right amount of airlift into St. Lucia, we will not be able to succeed. We need more airlift out of the United States, and we need to get a foot in the door of emerging destinations, be it Brazil or Panama, to just name a couple. On an international scale, there is an opinion that many Caribbean hotels are no longer ‘cutting edge’ and that many re-
dressed with urgency. When you have an amazing platform like St. Lucia to operate from, you are assured of a consistent demand for the destination as long as your hotel sector is as desirable. It can be a win-win as long as all stakeholders remain committed to the future. BF: How does the SLHTA interface with their hotels and the local business community to promote greater consumption of lo-
Pictured (left to right): Alec Sanguinetti, Director General and CEO, CHTA; Peter C. Yesawich, Vice Chairman, MMGY Global; Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Karolin Troubetzkoy, Owner, Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain Resort; and Richard Doumeng, President, CHTA. KT: It does not matter whether you run a top luxury resort or a guesthouse - take a good look at what you are offering, optimize it in whatever way you can and ensure that your guests depart satisfied. Don ‘t ignore guests who have issues. Engage your resort team to share your goals. Running a successful resort is a team effort. BF: There is heightened competition in the tourism industry today. How can our hotels play their part to ensure St. Lucia stays ahead? KT: I wish there was a simple answer to that question. There is no doubt that St. Lucia as an island is one of the most scenic destinations the Caribbean, if not the
quire updating, and that therefore, they no longer present ‘value for money’. 5 and 6 star hotels have sprung up all over the world, especially in the Far East with comparatively low room rates. The high cost of operations that hotels experience in St. Lucia makes it extremely difficult for our hotels to remain competitive. Lowering our room rates is not the answer as our cost of operations will remain just as high, and we will not be able to create a margin for re-investment. Enhancing our product is the answer, but for this, finance needs to be available. It appears to me that the finance sector has lost confidence in their tourism portfolio, not only on St. Lucia but the entire Caribbean, and this needs to be ad-
cally produced goods and services? KT: We at SLHTA are in the process of developing a new website that will allow us to showcase the locally available products more effectively. Also, we use our weekly newsletter to promote local enterprises and we have forged a closer relationship with the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce and the St. Lucia Manufacturing Association. BF: As you’re aware, delivery of customer service in this industry is critical. What steps have the SLHTA taken to increase training opportunities for hotel and tourism industry related staff? KT: Technical skill sets are an important BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
foundation for the delivery of service and attending to the needs of guests. In this regard the SLHTA has placed much emphasis on the facilitation of training in food and beverage and ensuring young local chefs attend international forums such as the annual â€˜Taste of the Caribbeanâ€™ to access further training and awareness. Over the past year, we have also worked closely with human resource managers and facilitated their contact with training professionals who can conduct more onsite training and development. Our upcoming Rhythm and Spice event this year will place a strong emphasis on careers in the industry and will set the foundation for the establishment of an SLHTA database of job seekers for access by our membership to staff employment opportunities. We are also working closely with secondary schools and the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to strengthen their student internship programs to sensitize students about the potential of tourism. We also have a strong relationship with Monroe College to offer scholarships and training programs for supervisory and senior level managers.
BF: As the President of the SLHTA, what are some of the issues which need to be addressed and why? KT: Based on recent events, it has become obvious that we need to finalize a licensing scheme for tourism enterprises and also monitor and upkeep minimum standards. The SLHTA should be allowed to play an integral part in this scheme and we have reached out to the relevant ministries in this regard. We need to develop a code of conduct and procedures we all adhere to when incidents happen. SLHTA would like to develop and carry through workshops with our police staBusinessFocus Sept / Oct
heighten tourism awareness. We need to take a long and hard look at how we run tourism in St. Lucia and ensure that the framework we adhere to does not stifle the operations of our multi-million dollar industry. BF: What are some of the key issues affecting hoteliers and hotel operations in the current economic climate?
tions with a focus on customer service and communication skills. We have begun a dialogue with the relevant ministry in this regard. Crime, even when not directed at tourists, can have an extremely detrimental effect on tourism. With all the online channels available for immediate news distribution, all stories find their way into the press. From a membership perspective, one of the biggest challenges so far has been to engage our members in a more active dialogue. The SLHTA would most certainly wish to see a lot more engagement and communication from our own members, especially hotel chains with key decision makers off island.
KT: At this stage, the industry is very concerned about the VAT. We fear that the timing of the introduction of VAT will negatively impact on our competitiveness and therefore on our hotel occupancy. Some other key issues are the lack of airlift from key originating destinations such as the United States, high cost of operations, lack of finance for renovations, lack of investors and last not least, crime. BF: What are the relations with the SLHTA and the SLTB with regard to joint marketing of St. Lucia as a destination? KT: We have come a long way and are now operating a joint destination marketing committee. Both SLHTA and SLTB share the same goals when it comes to marketing the destination. Both SLTB and SLHTA would like to see more involvement of and feedback from the individual hotels in our efforts to develop an efficient marketing and advertising plan .
BF: Briefly tell us three main things you would like to see done differently in tourism for St. Lucia. KT: We need to create consistent and effective dialogue between all public and private sector organisations that are invested in tourism. Tourism reaches into many areas that are not directly related to tourism. A poorly performing tourism industry will affect printing/publishing, investment services, furnishings and equipment supply industries, building supplies, transportation, food and beverage suppliers, to name just a few. In a recent meeting with my counterparts at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, we all agreed that both the private and public sector needs to find new creative ways to
BF: Any final words from you? KT: I am not resting on my laurels. There is work to be done. Carpe Diem!
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Financial Services International Transport Services Residential Rent Electricity Water Educational Services Medical, Dental, Optical and Veterinary Services Sale of unimproved land and land for agricultural purposes Religious services Trade union services Local transportation Postal services provided by the state (excluding courier services) Services by a facility directly to aged, indigent or disabled persons
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Major Source Markets Report Increases for First Half of 2012 The Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) is reporting well over 150,000 stay-over arrivals on Saint Lucia for the first half of 2012. For the period January to June, visitor arrivals reached 158,244, a half a percentage point drop from the same period last year. Canada recorded the highest increase in all major source markets for 2012. That market recorded a 10% increase over the same period last year. Arrivals from Canada reached 23,137 coinciding with a 10% increase in seats from that market. The United Kingdom, the island’s second largest source market which commands 24% of overall market share, recorded a 6.3% increase from the same period in 2011. From January to June, stay over arrivals from the UK totaled 37,698
arrivals. Tourism Director Louis Lewis says, “British Airways’ shift to once daily flights has definitely proven to be of tremendous benefit to the island.” The Caribbean market was next in line with a 1.5% increase from the same period last year. Stay over arrivals numbered 23,995. Growth in that market is attributed to additional airlift, coupled with numerous business meetings and conventions taking place on St. Lucia. Meantime the United States, the island’s largest source market, totaled 61,336 arrivals for the first half of the year. Owing largely to a reduction in airlift, the US market recorded a 7% decline from the same period last year.
Lewis says, “All avenues will continue to be explored at generating additional airlift for the island from all major gateways and source markets.” He says in addition to targeted marketing initiatives, high level discussions continue with the airlines to increase capacity to the island. According to the figures recorded todate, arrivals by yachts totaled 22,494 representing a 10% decline from 2011, which was impacted by a corresponding 10% decrease in the number of yacht calls; 4,538 recorded at the two major marinas. A 6% decline was reported in the cruise sector with 352,771 passengers arriving for the January to June period of 2012.
Tourist Arrivals By Month 35000
No. of persons
30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 APRIL
Cruise Passenger Arrivals
Courtesy: World Travel & Tourism Council
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
MONTHS Jan Feb Mar Apr May June TOTAL
2012 94,070 90,844 84,637 52,281 17,419 13,520 352,771
2011 ACT. CHG. % CHANGE 88,371 5,699 6% 78,393 12,451 15.9% 94,581 (9,944) -10.5% 72,861 (20,580) -28.2% 19,506 (2,087) -10.7% 21,659 (8,139) -37.6% 375,371 (22,600) -6.0%
Markets USA UK Caribbean Canada Rest of Europe Germany France Rest of World Total
2012 61,336 37,698 23,995 23,137 4,516 1,708 3,390 2,464 158,244
2011 66,095 35,467 23,650 21,102 4,094 2,142 4,384 2,049 158,983
ACT.CHG. % CHANGE -4,759 -7.2% 2,231 6.3% 345 1.5% 2,035 9.6% 422 10.3% -434 -20.3% -994 -22.7% 415 20.3% -739 -0.5%
Yacht Arrivals into Rodney Bay Marina & Marigot Bay Months 2012 2011 ACT. CHG. % CHANGE Jan 3809 4582 -773 -16.9% Feb 4191 4145 46 1.1% Mar 4430 5194 -764 -14.7% Apr 4178 4275 -97 -2.3% May 3417 3957 -540 -13.6% Jun 2419 2788 -369 -13.2% TOTAL 22444 24941 -2497 -10.0% Courtesy: World Travel & Tourism Council
Jardin Cocao Restaurnat & Bar
Open Daily from 11am - 10pm
P.O. Box 250 Soufriere, St. Lucia Tel: 1(758) 459-7545/48 Fax: 1(758) 459-7790 Web: www.fonddouxestate.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org A colonial estate set against the backdrop of a St. Lucia World Heritage Site BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
LIAT Gets Official Go-Ahead To Buy New Aircraft The twin-engine turboprop Dash-8 aircraft that has become synonymous with LIAT for more than 20 years could soon no longer be the signature mode of transport for the Antigua-based airline. That is because a meeting of the majority shareholders of LIAT in Barbados on July 20 came to a unanimous decision on one aircraft type to renew LIAT’s ageing fleet. “The company will now proceed to discussions with the manufacturer of the first type selected. The discussions are intended to consummate in an agreement for the acquisition of new aircraft for the airline. For a number of reasons, we do not wish to declare just which aircraft type has been chosen. It would also be inappropriate at this stage before discussion with the manufacturers to give an indication of the decision of the company in the selection of an aircraft type,” said Dr Ralph Gon-
salves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in a prepared statement at the end of the meeting. While Gonsalves, his counterparts Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Dr. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and the company shareholders are keeping the decision close to their chests, speculation floating about on the Internet is that it might be some type of regional jet that has a greater capacity to allow the airline to expand beyond its current route network of 21 destinations. Airline officials met with representatives from Bombardier, Embraer and ATR last year to review possible aircraft options. Following the meeting, Chairman of the airline Dr. Jean Holder said the fleet renewal would begin with the replacement of seven aircraft. LIAT currently has about
18 Dash-8 aircraft that are reportedly an average age of 24 years old. The cost of this fleet renewal is said to be around US$50 million. Regarding changing of the rest of the aircraft in the fleet, according to a release, following recommendations from the company’s board of directors and management the three prime ministers decided to defer the decision on other aircraft types to allow certain matters to be explored. It is anticipated that these decisions will be made in the short term. LIAT further stated that it anticipates that negotiations would commence immediately and proceed swiftly and soon thereafter a formal announcement would be made regarding the new aircraft selected.
The Board of Directors of LIAT Airline appointed Captain Ian Arthur Brunton as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from August 1, 2012. Captain Brunton has had a long and distinguished career in aviation, serving in almost every aspect of the business. He began his career as a pilot in the Royal Air Force and flew a wide range of jets from military types to those operated by BWIA and Caribbean Airlines. As a pilot he was the Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Pilots’ Association. Captain Brunton also held positions in the State’s Safety Oversight System, serving as the first chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority.
In 2006 he became Vice President Operations in BWIA West Indies Airways Limited and in 2007 Executive Vice President of Caribbean Airlines Limited. In 2009 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Airlines Limited. Captain Brunton is a qualified Attorneyat-Law and holds both Bachelor and Master of Laws degrees from the University of London. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Certified Mediator. Captain Brunton takes over from Mrs. Julie Reifer-Jones who has been Acting CEO since the departure of Mr. Brian Challenger who resigned from the post on June 30, 2012.
Courtesy: Caribbean 360
Captain Ian Arthur Brunton BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Regional Business Travel Can Better Boost Caribbean Trade and Integration By Earl Bousquet At a time when the Caribbean is grappling with airlift challenges and shipping by sea is becoming more problematic, some CARICOM and OECS officials are recommending that intra-Caribbean travel can be boosted by increasing business travel – by whatever means of transport. St Lucia Travel & Tourism's Contribution to GDP: Business vs Leisure, 2011 Leisure spending
96.0% Leisure spending
Leisure travel spending is expected to grow by 6.4% in 2012 to XCD973.5mn, and rise by 5.0% pa to XCD1,582.9mn in 2022. Business travel spending is expected to grow by 6.5% in 2012 to XCD41.0mn, and rise by 5.3% pa to XCD68.5mn in 2022.
Courtesy: World Travel & Tourism Council
It has been found that historically, the Caribbean has tended to only or mostly compute holiday travel by tourists to the Caribbean from traditional (and non-traditional) source destinations. Caribbean travellers have traditionally been categorised under a separate section, which is also treated secondary to the vaunted visitor from beyond. However, there’s been an increasing recognition that travel through the Caribbean by Caribbean travellers is an important element of the movement to build regional integration. Indeed, Caribbean business travel is a growing big thing. As Caribbean trade increases between islands and territories, more business persons have to travel to keep business going. Like the visitor from beyond, they too stay at hotels, rent cars and eat out, choosing more Caribbean businesses to do business with, eating Caribbean food and having Caribbean nights out. More Caribbean tourism and trade statisticians are noting the increased flow
of Caribbean business travel and recommending that this nearly hidden aspect of Caribbean tourism be given more notice. Up to 15 years ago, some Caribbean states only categorized tourism travel on the basis of the number of visitors arriving from the traditional destinations. Caribbean visitors were categorised as arriving from “other” (sources). But it soon became evident that more Caribbean people were travelling – and more Caribbean people were visiting too from abroad. In the early 1990s, when Guyana started thinking of building a tourism industry, the country changed the computing of its visitor arrival statistics. It found that the number of Caribbean people visiting Guyana was more significant when computed alone than included in the general figure of visitor arrivals. Guyana (like Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados) also separately categorised the vast number of overseasbased Guyanese (particularly from the USA, UK and Canada) who visited the land of their birth every year, mostly with their families, staying at local hotels and other rented accommodations. In every case, the larger CARICOM territories (Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago) have found that the annual contribution to tourism earnings by nationals residing abroad and visits by other Caribbean nationals are greater than earlier considered. Not much has been done to better harness Caribbean travel, but some hotels have long realised the need to offer a ‘CARICOM rate’ to accommodate regional travellers – for business or pleasure. The
proponents of promoting and boosting intra-CARICOM trade through business travel are recommending that Caribbean governments, regional institutions and tourism bodies engage with the private sector on how best to boost intra-CARICOM business travel as a contribution to the development of intra-Caribbean trade – which is much more when the CARICOM and OECS borders are erased and replaced by the geographic acceptance that all countries washed by the Caribbean Sea fall into the referred bracket. The Caribbean’s regional travel calendar has of late included hosting of conventions of Diaspora organisations in member-states, as was the case of the Union of St. Lucia Overseas Association (USLOA), which held its 15th Biennial Convention at Rodney Bay in July. Not only were the overseas-based St. Lucians hosted and addressed by the island’s Prime Minister, but they were also encouraged to start thinking of and acting to establish business links between their current homes and the land that gave them birth. Here again, some are already watching the business benefits of that aspect of Caribbean travel, even while encouraging nationals of the CARIOM and OECS regions to actively use the Freedom of Movement mechanisms inherent in such statutes as the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the OECS Economic Union. The successes of both the CSME and the OECS Economic Union depend heavily on movement of people through the islands and territories – from Guyana and Suriname to Jamaica and The Bahamas – not just to live or visit, but also to establish businesses across national borders. In essence, if better managed, intra-Caribbean travel can be a greater boost to regional trade and integration at not only the CARICOM and OECS levels but also at the wider level of the borderless region washed by the Caribbean Sea.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Caribbean Grapples With Airlift Challenges St. Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean’s tourism industry depends heavily on its aviation component – air travel – which is both from within and from outside the region. Regional airlines are tumbling and undergoing both burials and rebirths as they compete over a growing domestic regional market, while international airlines are groaning about the increased taxation Britain is imposing on those that fly the Caribbean route. Airlines, like the disgraced and jailed American Ponzi-Schemer Allen Stanford’s Caribbean Star, have proven very shortlived, as has the more recent low-fare REDjet. BWIA and Air Jamaica have given way to the likes of Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL). And while they struggle over the same turf, the competition from outside has also grown with the arrival of the likes of Jet Blue and others. LIAT, the oldest Caribbean airline still alive, has been able to stay airborne for all of its 55 years, not always posting a profit but being kept aloft by the state sponsorship of limited but significant government ownership. The governments with shares in LIAT (St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua, Dominica and to a lesser extent Barbados) are paying the cost of keeping it flying, but are also concerned that important passenger traffic by longhaul trans-Atlantic carriers such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic could be affected by Britain’s Air Passenger Duty (APD), which was introduced under the previous UK Labour Government and implemented by the current Conservative regime. So concerned are the Caribbean’s governments that the Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, has written UK Chancellor, George Osborne, raising the concerns of what he has described as “the deleterious effect that UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) continues to BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
have on the economies of the Caribbean.” The Prime Minister reminded the Chancellor that, “Caribbean leaders have raised this matter on several occasions, and have discussed the negative impact it is having, with Prime Minister Cameron, with William Hague the Foreign Secretary when he was in Grenada earlier this year for the UK Caribbean Forum, and with other British Ministers and the UK Parliament.” According to Dr. Anthony, “The Caribbean understands the fiscal challenge faced by the UK in respect of raising revenue, but we do not believe that APD should be imposed unfairly, or at the expense of the Caribbean economy and our community in the UK.” The Prime Minister pointed out that, “The Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region of the world. The industry, as Prime Minister Cameron himself has acknowledged, is developmental and should be contributing to growth at a time of economic difficulty. Our data shows the negative effect that APD is having in this respect and hampers our ability to obtain the greatest benefit from our most valuable export industry. It also has a significant financial impact on the UK companies, large and small, with which we partner and for whom the Caribbean has been a major market. It is also hurting our sizeable Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom.” Citing the case of Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Anthony explained that, “Visitor arrivals from the UK declined every year for the past three years. “In 2010,” he explained, “arrivals fell 19.4% below the 2008 level and 2011 registered 14.4% less compared to 2008.” Dr. Anthony explained, “This decline in arrivals is exacerbated by a further reduction in on-island expenditure as the tax has had a negative impact on travellers’ budgets, resulting in reduced economic benefit to the country. “Indications are that tourism receipts as-
sociated with these declining numbers in the last three years have fallen on average more than 25% below the 2008 level.” Prime Minister Anthony told the Chancellor that Caribbean governments “remain committed to pursuing a positive dialogue with you and your government about alternative, revenue neutral solutions that could address the discriminatory aspect of the current banding system by having the Caribbean and the USA placed in the same lower band.” Prime Minister Anthony ended his letter by expressing the hope that this issue “can still be resolved amicably.” But even while he is carrying the fight for the Caribbean at the international level regarding the APD, the St. Lucia PM is also confronted by his own domestic issues regarding airlift. The number of visitors from Britain increased in the first quarter of 2012, but the competition from other islands, near and not-so-far, is also likely to increase as more islands improve their tourism facilities. St. Lucia’s government is yet to decide on the future of Hewanorra International Airport, even though it has said it will not pursue the expensive expansion and renovation plans it inherited from the previous administration. But it cannot ignore that Barbados continues its apparently neverending upgrade of its Grantley Adams International Airport, while neighbouring Dominica is upgrading its own and St. Vincent is finally building its own international airport not too far away from Hewanorra. St. Vincent’s Argyle International Airport is being built on about 290 acres of land, with a paved runway 2,743 metres (9,000 feet) long, and 45 metres (150 feet) wide. Its runway length will allow for direct flights to St Vincent and the Grenadines from USA, Canada, Europe and Central and South America.
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A member of The Julian R. Hunte Group of Companies BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
American Airlines Shows Signs Of Turnaround
From left: Captain David Bates, APA President, John Conley, International Vice President, Assistant to the International President, Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, Doug Parker, US Airways Chairman and CEO, and Laura Glading, APFA President attend the US Airways’ Shareholder Meeting in support of a merger between US Airways and American Airlines. AP Photo Eight months into a bankruptcy that was years in the making, American Airlines is showing signs of finally turning itself around and regaining its lost glory. American’s parent company, AMR Corp, reported yesterday that revenue set a record in the second quarter as fares rose and more passengers filled its planes. It turned an operating profit, minus the millions it spent on bankruptcy lawyers and severance pay. The airline is cutting costs and making progress in labour negotiations. It’s even losing fewer bags. But the nation’s thirdbiggest airline still faces huge challenges to succeed against United and Delta, which are similar to American in structure but much bigger. They’re also profitable. Analysts say American must expand and improve its route network to attract high-paying business travellers - it is weak on both the east and west coasts. It ranks below average in government ratings for on-time flights and consumer complaints. US Airways CEO, Doug Parker, says the best way for American to grow its network is by merging with his airline. Many Wall Street analysts agree. American’s unions support a potential US Airways takeover because they believe it will mean fewer layoffs and other concessions. AMR CEO, Thomas Horton, has preferred a go-it-alone strategy, although BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
he said last week that AMR will examine merger possibilities. Bankruptcy creditors will decide between Parker’s proposal, Horton’s independent path and any other plans that pop up. To control its own fate, AMR will have to prove to creditors that it can do better on its own than it would if paired with US Airways. Its report on second-quarter financial results might bolster its case. AMR narrowed its second-quarter loss to $241 million from US$286 million a year ago. But excluding bankruptcy-related costs ranging from employee severance obligations to legal fees, AMR said it would have earned US$95 million - its first operating profit for the early-summer quarter since 2007. Revenue rose 5.5 per cent to an all-time high of US$6.46 billion. The company credited an increase in corporate travel accounts and its revenue sharing ventures with British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines. Average fares increased 7 per cent over last summer. But even while they charged more for tickets, American and regional affiliate American Eagle sold 85.1 per cent of their seats, another company record. And by a closely watched measure of revenue per seat, American is improving faster than its rivals. Horton called the quarter “exceptional improvement.” He said the restructuring
was just beginning to take hold, and that momentum would build until “American re-emerges as an industry leader.” AMR’s case to creditors will also be stronger if it can show the ability to control costs. The company wants to cut annual spending by US$2 billion a year (it was US$25 billion last year) with more than half coming from labour. American employees are not the highest paid in the industry, but AMR argues that inefficiency and cumbersome work rules result in labour costs that are hundreds of millions too high. In late June, American was struggling to get its union on board with the cost-cutting plan. It had agreements only with a few groups of ground workers. Then it scored a breakthrough: Directors of the pilots’ union narrowly approved an American contract proposal and sent it to the airline’s 7,500 pilots for a ratification vote. American says the deal would cut spending on pilots by 17 per cent or about US$315 million a year even with pay raises. Union President, David Bates, said the union’s financial and legal advisers recommended the offer largely because the pilots would own 13.5 per cent of the new AMR that emerges from bankruptcy. The tentative contract would also let American expand its use of smaller regional jets and
boost revenue through closer partnerships with other US airlines. American wants to “code-share” with JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines, in which it would sell seats on the other airlines as if they were American flights and share in the revenue. “It was an important milestone in our restructuring,” AMR chief commercial officer Virasb Vahidi says of the deal. “It accelerated the momentum of our labour negotiations.” A few days after the agreement with pilots, American had a similar deal with mechanics. Long-stalled negotiations with the flight attendants’ union resumed. The unions have a powerful incentive to bargain. If they don’t, a federal bankruptcy judge in New York could rule next month that American can simply throw out its labour contracts and impose pay and other terms on workers. American has used bankruptcy to get rid of some leased aircraft and is negotiating with aircraft lessors and suppliers for more savings. It has taken a sharper pencil to money-losing flights, dropping service between Chicago and New Delhi and closing operations at Burbank, California. To reduce empty seats, it put smaller planes on some routes where it couldn’t fill 140-seat MD-80s, including new service between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Atlanta and many flights between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Newark, New Jersey, San Antonio, Texas, and Denver. Since bankruptcy, American is operating better by some measures. Courtesy: AP
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www.saintluciarums.com BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Port Castries: The Redevelopment Issue
Port Castries has grown in leaps and bounds since the Queen Elizabeth II berth was commissioned on Independence Day in 1979, heralding the introduction of containerization and a total change in shipping operations at the island’s main sea port. Cranes and forklifts gradually replaced stevedores, containerized vessels replaced multi-decked cargo ships and the whole concept and method of shipping changed. It has been the same with cruise tourism, which has seen Port Castries improved with the Pointe Seraphine Duty Free Complex alongside two major berths dedicated exclusively to cruise liners, the transformation of the former banana wharf into a ferry port, realignment of the Castries waterfront from Sans Souci to the northern wharf and construction of the La Place Carenage establishment on Jeremie Street. Driving the island’s port development has been the St. Lucia Air and Sea ports Authority (SLASPA), which has over the past three decades done much to make calling at Port Castries a pleasure for seafarers and visitors alike, whether on ships delivering cargo or on today’s modern luxury cruise liners. Every season, the number of ships calling doesn’t seem to diminish, even though the number of landed visitors can vary up and down. Seen from the distance of Morne Fortune or Morne Du Don, the port looks busy and picturesque when there are three or four cruise liners in the harbour, with a couple anchored outside. However, it can be a logistical nightmare for port operators, as well as for coordination of transport services. The pace of change has come much faster than the port can keep up with, resulting in several recommendations and BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
initiatives from sectors and entrepreneurs, all making the common point that Port Castries can be better utilized to prevent the growing congestion that comes with every annual tourist season. SLASPA had a set of plans for the future of cruise ship and tourism facilities in Port Castries and the many proposals for the port redevelopment include one from Royal Caribbean cruise line, but the present administration is pondering on the best way forward. Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus told BF, “There are several proposals before the government for redevelopment of Port Castries, whether for tourism or generally, and Royal Caribbean is one of them.” Other recommendations have been thrown SLASPA’s way by promoters of a ship’s registry operation that will make Port Castries a port where new ships can be registered, with ‘Castries’ appearing below their names at the stern. There are also proposals that SLASPA encourage the cruise lines calling here regularly to make St. Lucia a pick-up and drop-off port for Caribbean persons going on cruises, instead of having to travel to and from Puerto Rico. Local entrepreneur Michael Chastanet, with marine and port experience from his days as a merchant seaman, earlier this year publicly offered recommendations for redevelopment of the Castries Port. He took the media on a tour of the port to areas he felt needed to be developed and advocated construction of new tourism berth facilities along the barren and eroded waterfront from the old banana wharf all the way down to Bannanes Bay. He also advocates construction of similar tourism berths on the opposite side of the harbour, from the location of the coastguard wharf
all the way to the Ganter’s Bay/Lunar Park areas across from the Pointe Seraphine Duty Free Complex. There are of course many pros and cons of each proposal to consider. On the bright side, Castries is one of the most sheltered harbours in the region and its berthing, cargo and cruise line operations are better than in other Windward islands (and among the best in the OECS), customs operations have been greatly improved, duty free shopping and banking and internet facilities are available, cargo haulage and storage facilities are fine-tuned and adequate, ports police are effective and overall port security is commendable. On the darker side, inadequate berthing space for cruise liners is accompanied by the existence of a single heavy duty crane with limited movement, impeding the speed of landing cargo and causing unnecessary delays for ships forced to wait until delayed operations on earlier arrivals are completed. There is also the problem of the remains of the dead fire station and the two verily empty customs cargo sheds next to the giant crane, all of which are carded or expected to be demolished. There is also some discussion about what to do with the age old Customs & Excise building on Jeremie Street, as well as the future of the tourism vendors’ arcade aback of the abandoned fire station. The port is also in dire need of dredging, which used to occur regularly when Castries had its own dredge and pontoon. With plans, proposals and recommendations abound, everybody is in agreement that more and better definitely needs to be done at Port Castries. It’s just that no firm decision has been made yet.
Meet The Board Saint Lucia Tourist Board Members
Chairman, SLTB & Managing Director Cox & Co.
Deputy Chairman SLTB
President SLHTA & Hotelier
Marketing Executive ECFH Group
Director of Marketing & Product Development SLASPA
Dr Alphonsus St. Rose
Managing Director Rhythm FM Inc.
President National Taxi Union & Holiday Tax Co Op Society
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism Heritage & Creative Industries
Chairman Soufriere Regional Development Foundation
Director of Tourism SLTB
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
In Conversation with Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis
With the many changes on the global scene impacting on Saint Lucia’s tourism industry, there is simply no denying that the best efforts need to be employed to ensure the sustainability of our island’s chief income earner. Recently, BF sat down with St. Lucia’s Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis, and engaged in an enlightening conversation with the man responsible for the direction in which the island’s tourism product points. BF: A new tourist board has been recently appointed. What is SLTB’s new strategic marketing approach to sell St. Lucia to the world? LL: The new board has recognized the important role the lead marketing agency of our destination has to play. And what the board has done is to initiate the development of a strategic plan for promoting the destination. So that was one of the first orders of business. In doing so, we undertook a competitive analysis of the industry. We started by looking at what tourism means to St. Lucia in terms of economic development. We then examined, in great detail, the elements of the competitive environment in which we operate. Based on the importance of the industry and the competitive market, we looked to see what SLTB has to do as a tourism-promoting agency to be able to deliver to the expectations of the industry. It has been a very interactive discussion among all the staff members and board members and we now have a consensus as to the direction in which we need to promote Saint Lucia BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
focusing on the country’s strengths and unique attributes. BF: With the challenges and demand for aggressive marketing, how practical is the 2012 budget allocation in realising the SLTB’s goals? LL: The budget that we have been allocated by the government is a budget that we can work with. We cannot pretend that the State has unlimited resources and we will never be absolutely satisfied with the level of resources that we have. There is always more that we can do with more. However, within that framework, the budget allocation of $45 million that we’ve received can definitely work and we are committed to making it work. We have to be very strategic and efficient in the allocation of our resources and very targeted in our approach to promoting St. Lucia. The constraint of financial resources has forced us to become creative and innovative; and based on the foundation of the past few years and what we continue to see this year, we are absolutely
sure that we can make it function. BF: There was an increase in arrivals in the first quarter of 2012. To what would you attribute this increase and can we expect this trend to continue? LL: Fortunately for us, the performance in the first quarter and even up to the first half of this year is really a reflection on the work that transpired in the past. It’s part of a whole genesis of initiatives that started as far back as 2008 as we sought to grapple with the world economic recession. At that time, we did not have sufficient air-lift servicing the destination. So we addressed that by engaging a number of airlines in servicing St. Lucia. But shortly after that, we had the fallout of the economic crisis whereby there was a world-wide reduction in the demand for travel and the fact that the price of oil was rising, people were not willing to travel. What that forced us to do was to get very strategic in terms of how we attract visitors to St. Lucia. What we did was to move away from the large expensive net-
works and focus on the geographic areas in our major source markets in which St. Lucia was already known. We sensitized the travel trade and in many cases made them the “call to action” in our promotions. Simultaneously we sensitized the consumers in key locals in our major markets on spot TV, reinforcing those messages in travel trade publications and on radio. So we’re on print, radio and television in a number of geographic areas in some key markets. That translated to increases in arrivals.
posed to a per capita basis. For us, there are always going to be challenges, and in this case we are working against an economic recession. But we don’t throw our hands up in the air. There are still a large number of people who are travelling to a large number of countries around the world. We have the good fortune of being strategically located in close proximity to our major source market, namely the US. We have to remain very strategic and ensure that those people who are still travelling – and there are millions of them – that we can still at-
clearly has diminished as a result of the high cost of intra-regional travel. We also recognize that there’s an important segment in that market that travels for events and activities on both short stays and business. Our strategy is to promote St. Lucia in those areas. The cost of access to the destination is one that’s beyond our marketing effort and so we’ll continue to pursue as many promotional activities as possible. We’re also piggybacking and working very closely with the organisers of special events such as St. Lucia Carnival, Jazz, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the Annual
BF: With the two major source markets – the US and UK – in recession and with American Airlines/American Eagle having reduced flights and a higher APD in the UK, what are the options and marketing approaches for increased arrivals from these countries?
tract them to St. Lucia because we have a unique product. It’s about positioning Saint Lucia to those travelers. With regard to the UK, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. The challenge for us is that the Air Passenger Duty (APD) has to some extent dampened demand. Moreover where it hits us worst is that it reduces the on-island expenditure from that market. So we are seeing the volumes sustain themselves and even increase, but the on-island benefit has been reduced significantly with lower spending as the ADP eats into the travel budgets of UK based visitors. That is why we have strongly objected to that APD. Its computation is unfair and it disrupts the market benefits.
Gommier Race between Martinique and St. Lucia and the regular cricket season. We’ve been able to attract a healthy number of arrivals but at a reducing rate.
LL: Our thrust for promoting St. Lucia is built on the natural product that we have. We have an accommodation sector that is configured for the romance market, so that is our major theme. It’s not by accident that we’ve been able to win the accolade of “World’s Best Honeymoon Destination” for seven out of nine years. That is a feature on the service delivery that we have on the island, so we’ve chosen that as our principal theme. But we also have the unique advantage of having a wide array of on-island adventure. So that is a secondary market for us. And thirdly, based on our research, we’ve come to realize that St. Lucia has the second-highest concentration of health and wellness products in the Caribbean, outside of the Dominican Republic. I say that in the context of absolute numbers as op-
BF: Inter-island travel has been on the decline, mainly due to high airfares. What is the strategy for regeneration of this important market segment, having previously been our third most important source of arrivals? LL: The Caribbean market is a very important one for us and we continue to mourn the loss of some of that market which
BF: With overload at Hewanorra International Airport being a critical factor, what are the agreed approaches for the expansion/redevelopment project and when is this expected to begin? LL: I cannot speak directly to where we’re at with that project, but I can speak to general things that need to happen. We have some structural issues within the physical infrastructure on the island that we have to address. The airport in the south of the island is in dire need of renovation, redesign, re-incorporation, and so on. That has to happen at some point in time because the infrastructure is not delivering the results expected of it. The second issue is that the road network has certain levels of vulnerability whenever there is adverse weather or heavy rains. The cost of travel increases for the destination and for the visitors whenever flights are delayed because of the BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
challenge of getting from the north to the south of the island. So the road connecting the north of the island, where the tourism plant is based, to the airport in the south that can accommodate the international flight has to be addressed. There is also the issue that the northern airport cannot adequately cater for the growth to drive the industry. So some economic decisions have to be made about that airport, too. BF: Cruise passenger arrivals are on the rise and the increase this year is projected to be a double-digit percentage. Cruise calls are also expected to increase during the next year. Would you like to speak on what are some of the accommodations being made to meet that need? LL: The cruise sector is one that is very important for St. Lucia and sometimes I feel that its importance is not fully embraced. There is a direct connection between cruise business and the residents on the island. To a large extent, it escapes the middleman and it is a direct transaction between the cruise passengers and the on-island service providers. It’s a very large volume of business - upwards of 650,000 people annually - and provides a lot of jobs to people who work directly with the industry and it also provides quite a bit of regeneration to both the rural and urban areas. The potential for growth in St. Lucia is very strong and we have to take a look at a number of things. Firstly, we need to ensure that we have the adequate infrastructure to accommodate the increased volume. Barring the seasonal fluctuation, we’re almost at the point where we’re operating at maximum capacity during our high season. So there’s a shift of focus that has to be designed to encourage more vessels to come to St. Lucia during the summer months, including expansion of the seaports. BF: Yachting has received legislative and other boost support from the government. What are the prospects for development of this growing sector? LL: A number of initiatives are being embarked upon with respect to growing the yacht sector. Most of them have focused on the ease of access to the destination BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
and that has been very important. We need to get to the next step, that being strengthening the linkage between the economic opportunities that exist from the arrival of yachts and the wider country such as provision of supplies for these yachts, storage and the like. BF: We rate highly on the Caribbean’s tourism charts in such areas as weddings and honeymoons, all-inclusive and luxury resorts. How do we sustain this dominant position? LL: I think the key to maintaining that dominance is to keep delivering good value for money. So there has to be service delivery at high quality and consistent standards. That is the only way I know that you can continue to maintain your market dominance in a very competitive global market. We have to set high standards of delivery for all the services we offer as a destination, hence the need for appropriate regulation. In recent times we have seen instances where self regulation has failed. This industry is too important to the country to be allowed to be self regulated. BF: Annual events such as St. Lucia Jazz, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and Saint Lucia Carnival are all tourism-driven. Are there any new events in the making? LL: We’re in the process of redesigning St. Lucia Jazz and you will see a new Jazz product as of next year. That will remain one of the strongest events promoting Saint Lucia. We’re also working closely with the Carnival organisors to develop an attractive product. In recent times, we have hosted both the US and UK versions of “The Bachelor” and this year we are doing a completely new event based on health and wellness. We are working closely with certain sports initiatives and will also be featured on other UK and USA based reality shows. BF: St. Lucia needs to develop new source markets and carve additional niche opportunities for on-island business. Can you elaborate on the options being considered? LL: The SLTB has recognised that part of the sustainability of the industry is to reduce
the level of seasonality and also to focus on source markets that have less variability in and of themselves. We gain more than 60% of our arrivals from the US and the UK. We have now designed a new initiative focusing on the Latin American market and Brazil is the first market that we are actively pursuing. We are spearheading this initiative in collaboration and in consultation with the NDC, the OPSR, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce and SLASPA. BF: The “Staycation” experience was launched in 2009 and repeated annually ever since. How successful has it been? LL: The feedback has been positive and we’ve seen some increases. This year’s season hasn’t ended as yet but we’ve been very encouraged by the level of participation from the locals that we’re seeing in some of the restaurants and hotels. In the first year, it was more of a public awareness initiative. In the second year, we started to see the numbers climb. Last year, we realised some success and this year we’re seeing a further increase in participation. It’s something that will take a few years to grow. The whole idea is to really keep some of those businesses that would have had reduced numbers during the traditional slow summer months active. We really need to get the general population to embrace tourism in a better and bigger way. BF: How can St. Lucia educate the youth about the importance of tourism and identify career opportunities in the industry? LL: We need an island-wide public awareness campaign to break down the “them versus us” mentality as it relates to the industry. The concept of servitude has to be dispelled and replaced with the concept of service. We have a long history of providing excellent service to an inanimate matter like the banana fruit. We grow the bananas, then wash and pack them tenderly into boxes for export. That level of service is no different from that of providing service to a guest at a hotel. It’s just in a different form. Unless we can get our minds beyond the concept of being subservient, then we’ll always be distanced from the true purpose of the tourism industry.
Don't Miss These Saint Lucian Tourism Events This October 2012 St. Lucia to Host its 2nd annual Health & Wellness Retreat Saint Lucia will host “Elevate Yourself” the 2nd Annual Health & Wellness Retreat, October 4 - 7, 2012. Leading experts, including actress and best-selling author, Lindsay Wagner, and Today Show nutrition and health expert, Joy Bauer, will offer tips and advice during wellness seminars, beachside fitness clinics, healthy cooking demonstrations and even sunrise mediations. The rationale for hosting the retreat is to increase awareness of St. Lucia as an ideal health and wellness destination and to generate year round visitation from the rapidly growing Health and Wellness niche market in key source markets like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. With ample time built-in for relaxation, the four-day retreat will take place in locales across the island with Pigeon Island serving as the main stage area for the retreat. Priced at US $750 per person, daily spa treatments, classes, receptions and transportation from select hotels are included. Several resorts are offering spe-
cially priced packages starting at US $75 per night. “St. Lucia has a reputation as a tranquil, rejuvenating and even spiritual destination, with a number of resorts widely recognized for their world-class spa and wellness programs,” said Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “The Health & Wellness Retreat is a natural fit and the quality of this year’s expert guests speaks to the growing stature of the event. We’re truly honored to welcome such a renowned group to St. Lucia.” The diverse program will be led by renowned experts in the wellness field including: • Joy Bauer will present her top ten tips for “Losing weight and keeping it off’” and share information on how to find the fountain of youth in your grocery cart. • Lindsay Wagner will lead a sunrise group meditation and teach how to “Quiet the Mind & Open the Heart” by releasing thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs of negative emotions.
• John Schumacher, founder and director of Unity Woods Yoga Center and one of only 13 certified advanced lyengar yoga teachers in the U.S., will lead daily yoga sessions on the basic postures and breathing exercises that energize and center the body. • Dr. Stephen Brewer, Medical Director at Canyon Ranch Health Resorts in Tucson, AZ, will speak about “Optimal Wellness” - achieving health through exercise, nutrition, behavioral modification and mental awareness. • Dani Devaux, creator of ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ fitness program, will lead multiple sunset beach boot camps based on her high intensity interval training program, designed for all fitness levels. For a complete schedule and more information visit www.stlucianow.com/hw
Attention! Tourism Week is approaching! The last full week of October is observed annually as ‘Tourism Week’ in St. Lucia. The objectives of observing Tourism Week are to enhance public awareness of the industry’s value as an economic force, as well as to recognise the achievements of industry partners. To achieve this goal, the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, along with its partners the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, establishes a strategic partnership with a specific community each year and executes activities to address the disparities that exist between the tourism industry and local communities.
The activities seek to encourage the public to experience the local tourism product, engage officials on issues impacting the industry and engender greater participation in the industry by locals. This year Tourism Week runs from October 21st – 28th. The strategic partnership has been established with the Laborie Development Foundation to develop a unique product offering from that community.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Could You Run Your Own
Six questions to help you decide: Tourism continues to grow despite shrinkages in some sectors and more and more St. Lucians are seeking ways and means of entering and making a living in the all-important industry. Many still see tourism as being meant for non-St. Lucians – particularly the visitors. Many too, have tried their hands at various projects or tourism businesses they thought would have turned into profitable enterprises, but which didn’t. Many are realizing, too late, that they needed to be more organised and structured in their approach to business. BF offers six generic questions you need to answer about your readiness to run your own tourism business and seven tips for when you think you’re ready to start: 1. Assess the risks; discuss your idea with friends, colleagues and relations. What have you done that proves you have the ability? 2. Is your motivation strong enough to survive? Examine your motives closely. If they are genuine they will help you. 3. The pressures of being self-employed are inescapable. You will probably work long hours and may well get into debt to finance the business. Do you have the confidence, energy and toughness to get through the difficult times? 4. It helps to have some management exBusinessFocus Sept / Oct
perience and the ability to adapt to the challenges of self employment. You will need to develop a variety of skills including business, leadership, selling and organisational skills. Are you the sort of person who can organise, plan ahead, manage your time and have the discipline to set and meet deadlines? 5. Does your personality fit the challenge? Self employed people are generally confident, good communicators, single minded, hard working and ambitious. 6. Does the future business have the backing of your partner or family? Ensure that your long term family commitments can accommodate the risks self employment can bring, especially in terms of income.
Seven tips for a successful start up: 1. Prepare for your new tourism business career. Research your market, take any training that will help and seek advice from as many people as possible and online business discussions before you take the plunge. 2. Most lenders will want to see a properly drawn-up business plan. They want to know that their money is secure and will be repaid. Preparing the financial section of a business plan is more than numbers
on paper. Your bank may also be able to give you a pro-forma business plan and straightforward guides with practical advice to help your business grow. 3. Protect your new venture from both natural and man-made disasters. Have the proper insurance to meet any eventuality, keep up to date on legislation and take professional advice. 4. Plan ahead. Planning allows you to concentrate on developing your own business along the right lines. It will help you spot problems before they overwhelm you. 5. Finance your new business properly. This doesn’t mean throwing in your entire life savings and hoping for the best, nor does it mean just asking your bank automatically for an overdraft. There are many ways of funding a tourism business. 6. Face your problems as they occur. Don’t hide your paperwork hoping it will go away – it won’t. Don’t let financial worries pile up – deal with them at once and talk to your lender; they want to support you and may be able to refinance your business if needed. 7. Have confidence in your business and grasp the opportunities. Create your own luck and plan for success.
Meet Some Exemplary Saint Lucian Personalities With Successful Careers In the Hospitality Industry Cheryl Gustave
Cheryl Gustave graduated from the St. Lucia Hotel Trades at the Morne Technical College (Sir Arthur Lewis Community College). She began her career by joining Cunard Hotel La Toc in December of 1977 as a dining room hostess. With her enthusiasm and determination to get ahead she worked in various departments as telephone operator, receptionist/cashier, secretary to the financial controller and receivables clerk. In 1989, Cheryl was promoted to the capacity of Credit Manager, a post she held until the sale to Sandals in 1992. Cheryl’s tenure at the Bay Gardens Hotel began in 1995 as a Front Desk/Reservations clerk, being quickly promoted to Front Desk/Assistant General Manager, a position held until December 2000 and during which she won Employee of the Year twice. From 2001-2006, Cheryl worked as the General Manager of Ginger Lily, and her skillful leadership led to repeat clientele and hotel awards for quality service and well roundedness of a small hotel. In 2007, Cheryl assisted with rebranding the Downtown Hotel in Soufriere to successfully ensure the presence of this small hotel. June 2007 would see Cheryl returning home to the Bay Gardens family where she is presently employed as the Front Desk Manager/Assistant Executive Manager/Resident/Operations Manager at the Beach Resort and Spa. Cheryl received the Manager of the Year award in 2010 and 2011. Under her leadership, the front desk has been the most consistent department, winning guest satisfaction on a monthly basis, and Department of the Year in 2011. Cheryl holds a diploma from the Professional Career Development Institute in Norcross, Georgia. She is also a Certified Rooms Division Executive (CRDE) from the Educational Institute of American Hotel & Lodging Association. As of May 2012 Cheryl is pursuing a certification in Certified Front Desk Management (CFDM). Cheryl believes that anyone can achieve what they set out to accomplish; her motto in life is to always get ahead and reach for the skies. Her advice to other staff members: Never become complacent in what you do, always set goals and objectives, and remember the sky is the limit.
Wilfreda has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for most of her life. She began at Charthouse Restaurant as a waitress where she spent more than 20 years, showing her dedication and passion for the job. She learnt all the necessary skills for working in a restaurant, making friends with her colleagues and providing excellent customer service to her dining guests. It was her friendship with one of her colleagues, Mary Sealy, which after 20 years, grew, and they developed a business plan to branch out on their own together. Taking a big risk, they formed a joint partnership, but for Wilfreda it was exciting because she had always wanted to have something of her own. In January 2009, they opened up Golden Taste Restaurant in Gros Islet. Three years on and Wilfreda hasn’t looked back. She didn’t know how it would turn out and it wasn’t always easy. She explained that they encountered problems with financing, needing to refinance the loan, so there have been some struggles. She says that it takes a lot of hard work being in this kind of business but it is worth it in the end. Wilfreda loves and enjoys her work. She is always cheerful, courteous and focused on pleasing her customers. Her role as a waitress ensures that good customer service and experiences are upheld. Wilfreda does recognize that if it were not for her good friend and business partner, who is also the chef at Golden Taste, her aspirations would not have come true. It takes a mixture of talent, dedication and teamwork to make it work. She says that the business is going strong and running a successful restaurant can be very rewarding.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Neither an upbringing in a family of limited means nor severe illness to her father could undermine Densosia Charles’ daring faith as she looks to her professional future with unshakable optimism. Being the first among her relatives to attain secondary education, Densosia started an ever-evolving career at Sandals 13 years ago as a waitress to become the resorts Ultimate Team Member for 2011. This she revealed came from a childhood ambition of working in St. Lucia’s most dynamic tourism industry. “I had to start working very young to help out with the expenses at home to make sure that my family’s financial future was viable so university was out of the question at the time. But it was an exciting opportunity to join Sandals as I wanted to for a very long time,” said Charles. Deeply rooted in her bones is the belief that opportunity is always an open door away. She constantly surveys the professional landscape with much courage and a conquering spirit. With a motto “never say never” firmly anchored within, Charles compensates for her lack of academic opportunities with an unrivaled work ethic and superior ambition. “My faith in life assures me every day that I can do it,” she adds. “No setback will be allowed to discourage me nor any challenge will be able to distract me.” Like great painters, she moulds mental images of her professional life and herald its bright destiny refusing to lay her advancing brush idle. A comfortable wage in the restaurant wouldn’t be allowed to obscure her view into complacency but instead fuel her enthusiastically into higher ideals. She explains, “Well, the time came when I longed for new challenges and had new aspirations so I began to cross-train in different departments and fell in love with weddings.” As head of her church’s family life outreach program, she remains a sterling conduit of community involvement with messages that provoke others to reach for a closer relationship with their God. And whilst divine inspiration commits Densosia to the community and her job, the Sandals Halcyon Ultimate Team Member is most fond of being a wife and a mother of two loving children.
Hardly anyone knows his real name isn’t Joe, but ask for ‘Joe Knows’ and any taxi or minibus driver in the tourism business will tell you where to find him. Josiyah Castang started off as a tour guide with one of the island’s main tour operators, Cox & Company, where he learnt the ins and outs of the island’s rich tourism offerings and shared with visitors the facts, figures and stories of St. Lucia. He soon discovered he wanted to do more. He looked ahead and realised people visited for many different reasons such as the mountains and rivers, culture and cuisine or to swim and dive in our waters. The rather unassuming and quiet Joe had sufficiently mastered his knowledge of St. Lucia’s tourism business so that there wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer. People began to refer to him as “Joe Knows” - and hence the name of his first bus charters as he branched out on his own. He established a company with the same name, established a website, opened an office at Corinth, printed business cards and launched Joe Knows Tours, a touring company offering complete island tours. The main difference between Joe’s and other local tour companies is his fleet of powered motorboats – each of which is also named “Joe Knows” with the numerical order of their acquisition. He’ll therefore respond to your e-mails or calls, pick you up in the Joe Knows bus at the airport or dock and take you on an island tour of your choice or his recommendation, for a land or sea tour, or a combination of both. His satisfied clients are then happy to spread the word both here and abroad, recommending their experience as one they would do again. Joe has gained the respect of his peers in the way he has carved his own little niche in a part of the island’s tourism industry that many others complain about being either too competitive or intense.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
If niche marketing is truly the way forward for the tourism industry, then kudos must go to Hyacintha Simon. As proprietor of both Pitons Travel Agency Ltd. and Alize Inn, Miss Simon has managed to fulfill her lifelong dream: hitching the means that get tourists here with the experience that makes their stay an unforgettable one. It all started when Miss Simon went to Martinique at age 18 and got a job at a hotel. She later went to England, then returned to Martinique and worked as a travel agent for 22 years. Miss Simon finally settled St. Lucia in 1990 and decided to build her own enterprise. Soon after setting up shop, she realised she was faced with a crucial problem: providing the appropriate hospitality for the vacation packages Pitons Travel Agency Ltd. was offering. That’s when she sought the solution. “There were times when I would be in need of small hotels to put up guests and couldn’t get any. So the opportunity came whereby I could invest in something I could call mine. I bought a dwelling place and remodeled it to my liking. I wanted something that was unique. Now Alize Inn is like my baby,” Miss Simon said, her warm personality beaming proudly. Her niche is mainly in the French market where she still does direct marketing to the various associations. She also attends trade shows in Paris regularly. Miss Simon remains driven by the force that has always influenced her successes. “I have always felt that if you want to be successful at anything, you need to commit yourself to being persistent and hardworking. It gives me real honour when I can realise my dreams and put a smile on my guests’ faces at the same time,” she said.
Mr. John McDonald began his career with several jobs including work in a lumber warehouse and on a banana farm in Babboneau. Then in 1995, his love of nature brought him to work as a landscape attendant at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort. John said the gardening was a casual start for him where he had no particular intention of getting into landscaping; it was really just a job for the salary. However, as he was working, guests started to ask him questions about Caribbean and tropical plants, and he felt that he wanted to educate himself to be better able to answer all their questions. As he read books on plants and flora, his enthusiasm grew and he came to realise that gardening was about “more than putting a plant in the soil.” He has now earned himself the reputation of a “walking encyclopedia of plants,” as he is always quick to respond to any question relating to their cultivation and management. After several years of hard work and dedication, John was promoted to Supervisor. His passion for landscaping really shines through as he explains, “it’s not a job; it is an art.” He says the garden’s design is of significance and that “It needs to send a message to reflect that all people are welcome” so that guests are encouraged to walk around the property. John is described as a team player who can be called upon to assist in any activity within his capability, and is always willing to respond with a broad smile. He never frowns and always has an encouraging word to brighten your day. The members of his team are very supportive of him. He has very strong organisational skills and has proven himself to be a very dependable individual. Most recently, Windjammer Landing was proud to honor John McDonald as the "Employee of the Year” - 2010 in the Support Services category and was awarded for his Outstanding and Dedicated Service at the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association's President's Gala Ball. John’s advice and encouragement to others is to continue learning and continue growing.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Training Central to Tourism’s Success
There’s always a constant question about the adequacy of training. It’s either never enough, or too much. But in the tourism industry there’s nothing like being overtrained. As is repeatedly shown, you can start from nowhere and end up at the very top of the industry, depending on several factors, among the most important being willingness to learn and to be trained - and even to train yourself. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism organization (CTO) underline the importance of training to the industry’s survival and organize annual scholarships and courses from which members benefit. But in large, training has to be based on and specified to the reality of each island, even while maintaining the delicate balancing act of being both local and international. The earliest local tourism-related local training institute was the Hotel Training School at the Morne, located at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College complex. It was established many years ago when hotels were the only tourism entities for which locals were being formally or professionally trained. However, today’s tourism planners say the skills sets are “at the lower industry scale” and have not expanded or upgraded with the local industry’s development. They are now pondering what to do about it. Apart from the Hotel Training School, few other actual tourism training bodies exist. There’s the Training Centre at Gros Islet that specialises in offering various tourism modules, but all others are departments of private or public sector entities, institutions or groupings. All major local hotels undertake continuous training at administrative and staff levels. The regionally integrated continuous training model being undertaken by the Sandals Group at its three resorts here also sees staff relocating to other sisterBusinessFocus Sept / Oct
hotels elsewhere in the Caribbean and beyond. As with Sandals too, most other local hotels that invest in training boast of several employees who’ve climbed the ladder more quickly than others because of their positive attitude to training. The SLHTA also hosts integrated training programs for managers and staff of member-hotels to expose them to changing trends and seek collective approaches to responses and solutions to related problems. The SLHTA identifies positive trends here and elsewhere and tailors training programs to suit. The St Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) undertakes training both here and abroad. Its directors attend thematic sessions that strengthen their ability to assess, design and implement training programs for both generalised and specialised staff. Particularly heavy emphasis is placed by the SLTB on appropriate training for staff marketing the island at home and abroad – especially the latter. With the industry growing and expanding rapidly, the need for more and better training remains constant. More young people want to start careers in tourism and have been taking advantage of scholarship offers (some sourced by CHTA and CTO) or search for new opportunities, as more regional training bodies offer related subjects. Monroe College has a local tourism training program supported by funding from the St. Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) that’s also heavily subscribed. Its output far exceeds local demand, offering graduates ready opportunities to market themselves and their skills elsewhere, most gravitating towards the cruise sector. While historically training has been for administrators and those who interact directly with visitors, this is already starting to change here, as the island’s training menu has started to reflect new flavours.
SLHTA Executive Vice President, Noorani Azeez, says one of the island’s training success stories has to do with the way we have developed our local culinary skills. He noted the island’s team at the 2012 CHTA ‘Taste the Caribbean’ culinary competition returned home with eight medals. Azeez also points out, “The CHTA turned out to be one of the first entities on the ground in Haiti after the earthquake. Through its educational fund that supports training and scholarships, one of the results of the training they gave to Haiti was that a Haitian delegation participated in this year’s regional culinary contest.” There’s a definite new flavour to the training modules being pursued in the culinary field as St. Lucia seeks to locate and create new niche markets and offer new niche products. Says Azeez, “The trend is towards integrating local flavours into international cuisine, like how the Jamaicans have successfully turned Jerk seasoning into an international condiment. Same with pairing of drinks and food, like wines with dinners, or lunches. Even in bartending we are seeing new trends, with more bartenders today actually using foods in their cocktails. All this requires training and adds new dimensions to our continuously changing training needs.” Azees says other aspects of the SLHTA’s training also include, “building new ties with the French islands, as a result of which we have some St. Lucians training in Guadeloupe, apart from the St. Lucians who are away on training on CHTA scholarships.” St. Lucia’s tourism planners do not underestimate the importance of training. Every sub-sector, hotel, tour operator and tourism department has had to take a serious look at and engage in the training of the people who are, and will be, the island’s tourism ambassadors.
CTO and Monroe College Offer Scholarships and Grants The Caribbean Tourism Organisation's (CTO) Scholarship Foundation is offering a number of scholarships to Caribbean nationals to advance their education by pursuing a bachelor's degree programme in Hospitality Management or a Master's degree programme in Tourism/Hospitality Management, full-time study, at Monroe College in New York, (website address: www.Monroecollege.edu) or at its campus in Saint Lucia, West Indies. This very generous offer comes as a result of a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Monroe College and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation in March 2012, which established a three year agreement for scholarships and study grants, to support students from the Caribbean to advance their tourism/hospital-
ity education at Monroe College. Scholarship awards will range from US$4,500 to US$18,660 annually, equally distributed over three semesters. The funds will be used to offset student tuition expenses at Monroe College. All scholarship and grant candidates must be new to Monroe College.
Students interested in applying for these scholarships and study grant opportunities are asked to go to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's website at www. onecaribbean.org to look at eligibility requirements and to access the application forms.
Total Contribution of Travel & Tourism to Employment The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts) was 30,500 jobs in 2011 (42.2% of total employment). This is forecast to rise by 6.0% in 2012 to 32,500 jobs (43.6% of total employment). By 2022, Travel & Tourism is forecast to support 45,000 jobs (51.9% of total employment), an increase of 3.3% pa over the period. % of whole economy employment
'000 jobs 50.0
2022 2022 2022
Courtesy: World Travel & Tourism Council BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
SMEs & the Tourism Sector About SME's For the purpose of this article, the term SME as the name suggests, refers to a small or medium sized enterprise, which employs fifty persons or less, has an asset base of $500,000 or less with total annual sales of no more than $1,000,000. In St. Lucia, for example, the total number of SMEs is estimated at 7,300, which accounts for over 80% of all business on the island. SMEs are the foundation of the economy and are an essential source of employment, growth and innovation in a wide and diverse range of sectors spanning construction, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. SMEs are vital to the alleviation of poverty as well as to the social and economic stability of developing island states such as ours.
SMEs in Tourism Tourism is central to the economic agenda of many developing island states – it is a key contributor to overall sustainability and growth - in terms of employment creation, income generation, and foreign exchange earnings. In St. Lucia, tourism related revenue is in excess of 31% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). SMEs make up the largest percentage of business enterprises in this sector, and are critical to its future progress and development. These enterprises undertake activities which transcend the following sub-sector service groups: accommodation & hospitality providers, transportation services, restaurants, tour operators and travel agencies. The structure and behaviour of SMEs and the challenges faced however, are often slightly different from those experienced in larger companies, and this is most evident in the tourism sector. These challenges include: changes in customer expectations, increasingly integrated markets, increased competitiveness from larger players and the high cost of differentiating from larger companies and the difficulty in accessing finance. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
The main challenge is to find possible solutions to the many challenges experienced by SMEs in St. Lucia. In order to prosper, and by extension, boost the tourism sector, SMEs need to focus on the following: preparing a proper strategic plan, improving infrastructure, improving communication channels (greater use of the Internet & social media), building marketing intelligence (understanding customer needs and market trends, identifying key target markets & market opportunities, gauging customer satisfaction), upgrading standards (quality control systems, accounting systems), creating strategic networks, new technologies & innovation, and most importantly accessing short and long term finance. With respect to the latter, SMEs continue to face increasing difficulty in accessing finance as a result of a number of variables which include: insufficient equity and collateral, increased competition resulting in low return margins, poor internal financing and excessive drawings from the business, poor quality financial statements and/ or insufficient record keeping, underdeveloped business ideas and inadequate marketing. SMEs operating in the tourism sector were more likely to seek informal financing to finance ongoing operations. Accessing finance from financial institutions can be particularly difficult for SMEs in the tourism sector because they are viewed as relatively risky compared to SMEs in the non-tourism sectors. In response to these factors, financial institutions have adopted more stringent credit risk regulations towards SMEs including shorter term credit, higher interest rates, smaller loan amounts, increased collateral requirements and other regulations. Tourism SMEs are increasingly vulnerable to the global economic pressures and negative environmental and social impacts that tourism can sometimes bring. It is imperative therefore, that SMEs continue to be central to any coordinated tourism strategy from public authorities aimed at improving the quality, competitiveness
and profitability of SMEs in the context of sustainable development. Private sector involvement, particularly that of financial institutions is necessary for providing greater access to finance and microfinance to assist in acquiring new technology, improving infrastructure and upgrading communication channels. Access to finance remains one of the most critical challenges facing SME owners and operators – which is what is needed to stay afloat, grow and prosper. Recognizing the potential and presence of the SME market, financial institutions have begun to position themselves to better serve the sector while at the same time implementing measures to safeguard against inherent risks, particularly those systemic to the tourism sector. Bank of Saint Lucia’s SME Unit has taken the lead role as financial provider and partner to St. Lucia’s SME community – with improved credit assessment procedures and credit policies specifically tailored to the unique product and service needs of SMEs. Government and other private sector agencies have also implemented a number of programmes and initiatives, for example, the establishment of the Youth Enterprise Equity Fund, Enterprise St. Lucia and the Youth Business Trust in St. Lucia. About BOSL SME Unit: Bank of Saint Lucia’s SME Unit is located in the Financial Centre on Bridge Street in Castries, however SME Client services can be accessed at all Bank of Saint Lucia branches island wide. For more information, log on to www.bankofsaintlucia.com and join our online SME community where you can benefit from expert advice from financial industry experts, post your questions and responses, share your story or promote your expertise in an effort to ultimately open the door to small business success.
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Expansions, Renovations & Re-Branding
St. Lucia’s Island-Wide Hotel Development Poised for strong growth in 2012, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board has announced multi-million dollar renovations and expansions in hotels across the island. Here are the main developments: wooden deck built on a rocky outcrop and surrounded on three sides by the sea surging over the reef.
The legendary Ladera Resort, a fixture on top hotel and awards lists, celebrates its 20th anniversary year with the unveiling of five additional connecting luxury onebedroom Hilltop Dream suites on Paradise Ridge in October. Each new Hilltop Dream Suite will feature the famously breathtaking vistas from the open living rooms and will include private infinity pools (See separate article in this issue of BF for further info).
Sandals Grande St. Lucian is breaking ground on 16 over-the-water suites, the first-of-their-kind in the Caribbean. The suites will feature see-through glass floors, over-the-water hammocks, outdoor showers and jacuzzis, lit water for night viewing and butler service.
Cap Maison is creatively refining its food and beverage venues this season, unveiling a new Rock Pool adjacent to Rock Maison. Rock Maison, which may well be Cap Maison’s best kept secret, lies directly below the Cliff at Cap restaurant. It is a
Stonefield Estate Villa Resort and Spa opened a new 860 square feet yoga studio and a state of the art air-conditioned gym fully equipped with Cybex cardio equipment, free weights and gym machines. “Chez Anista” is Stonefield’s new luxury
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
private villa addition. This five bedroom villa is over 3500 square feet with its own infinity pool and a private cook, jacuzzi and service staff.
The BodyHoliday re-opened in October 2011 following a US$20 million renovation. The renovation encompassed the total refit of public areas including Cariblue Restaurant, Piano Bar, the wellness center treatment rooms, TAO restaurant, new beach-front deck and new clubhouse pool. The Standard Garden View rooms were renovated while the Grand Luxury Oceanfront room and junior suites received enhancements.
The Jalousie Plantation, Sugar Beach is undergoing a US$100 million enhancement and will be re-branded and relaunched as Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort in late 2012. The physical transformation
includes the opening of eight new luxury beachfront bungalows, the Rainforest Spa, the construction of new luxury villas and the gut renovation of its luxury Sugar Mill rooms.
Boucan Hotel & Restaurant, originally called Hotel Chocolat when it opened in 2011, was recently rebranded. It is a boutique hotel set at the Rabot Estate, a working cocoa estate of the upscale British chocolatier. The property features 14 luxury Cocoa Pods and Cocoa Pods Luxe, Club Boucan with an infinity pool, the cocoa-inspired Boucan Restaurant and Cocoa Juvenate Spa with their exclusive range of wellness therapies.
As part of the Bay Gardens Hotel renovation project, several Standard Rooms have recently been converted into two Superior Rooms and a Jr. Executive Suite, each with an open terrace. The Superior Rooms were expanded to comfortably accommodate four and include enhanced amenities such as a flat screen TV, refrigerator, remodeled bathroom, and free WiFi. Amenities in the expanded Jr. Executive Suite include a kitchenette, king bed, sofa
bed, flat screen TV, dining table and chairs, remodeled bathroom as well as free Wi-Fi. In December 2011, Elite Island Resorts, a leading Caribbean hotel group, acquired the former Almond Morgan Bay St. Lucia, now renamed Morgan Bay Beach Resort. The resort features 345 guestrooms and suites, four freshwater pools, four restaurants and five bars, a fitness centre and a full-service spa, which is being expanded in late 2012.
The Fond Doux Holiday Plantation launched a new Mamma La Terre Spa, meaning Mother Earth, in November 2011. The spa focuses on the powerful restorative powers of nature, with spa therapists utilizing all natural, organically grown ingredients of the purest quality such as local coconut oils and organic fruits harvested on the plantation.
rooms and a new bar on the Splash pool deck. The newly renovated Kai Mer Spa features three new oceanfront cabanas, an organic product line and a range of new treatments. Two of the resortâ€™s restaurants were also refurbished.
Coco Palm is currently upgrading the Ti Bananne Caribbean Bistro restaurant, now called KoKo Cabana, three conference rooms, the lobby with a new front desk and concierge desk. The Luxe Swim-Up Suites will showcase upgraded amenities and features.
Ti Kaye Village Resort features a new Kai Manje Bar, new lounge area, and the largest underground wine cellar in St. Lucia, with more than 460 bins, all completed in early 2011. Courtesy: St. Lucia Tourist Board Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa recently added multiple new dĂŠcor developments, including new furniture in the lobby, refurbished blue bar and Splash BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Local Chefs Underline Importance Of Good Food To Tourism’s Success Left to Right – Top Row: Trevor Felicien - Sandals Grande; Odeen Martin - Fire Grill; Elijah Jules - Jade Mountain; Nicodemus Joseph - Cap Maison; Barkus Henry - Sandals Regency. Left to Right – Bottom Row: Dulish Perera - The BodyHoliday LeSPORT; Delroy Fred - Coconut Bay; Emmerly Gerald - The Landings; Paulyn Eugene - Windjammer Landing. (Missing: Bill Munn Team Manager – Windjammer Landing)
Vice President of the SLHTA, Daniel Belizaire said, “Without good food, our burgeoning tourism industry would not be able to meet the ever-demanding expectations of visitors to our shores. Without food our destination would be less attractive, as there would be that missing ingredient to complete a true St. Lucian vacation experience and flavour.” Fortunately, St. Lucia’s industry is buoyed by the culinary talents of chefs and other food and beverage staff, who have proven they’re among the very best throughout the entire Caribbean. The tourism industry is extremely proud of the St. Lucia Culinary Team (SLUCT) for its sterling performance at the recent 2012 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA)
Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition held in Miami. Team Saint Lucia included seven chefs and one bartender – all of whom were first time participants – and won recognition in every category in which they participated. The team did exceptionally well and returned home having won a total of eight medals and two awards, placing third in the overall competition. Speaking at a brief welcome ceremony, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus said they were “Ambassadors” of St. Lucia “because you have done what many attempt to do and will continue attempting to do. We also encourage you to continue to aspire to attain higher standards, to continue to hone in on your craft so you can contin-
Elijah Jules - Gold - Chef of the Year ue to develop and contribute to the tourism sector, because you are a vital component in the development of this sector.”
Chef of the Year Competition
Elijah Jules of Jade Mountain
Best Use of Cheese Competition
Emmerly Gerald of The Landings
Paulyn Eugene of Windjammer Landing
Dulish Perera of The BodyHoliday LeSPORT
Delroy Fred of Coconut Bay
Odeen Martin of Fire Grill
Barkus Henry of Sandals Regency
Saint Lucia Culinary Team
Dulish Perera of The BodyHoliday LeSPORT
Best Use of Cheese
Emmerly Gerald of The Landings Resort
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Ladera Celebrates 20 Years of Excellence
Ladera Resort is celebrating its 20th anniversary year in 2012. The groundbreaking luxury resort, a haven for celebrities, honeymooners and trendsetters, is situated on a forested ridge 1,100 feet above the sea, perched above the town of Soufrière. Originally designed and built 40 years ago as a development called Dasheene, Ladera opened as a resort hotel in 1992. “Throughout this anniversary year, we’re taking the Ladera guest experience to an even higher level of luxury, comfort and authenticity,” says Olivier Bottois, Ladera’s Vice President of Marketing & Operations. Ladera is “20 years young” as Bottois sees it. He adds that, “this year we’ll be introducing new suites, product enhancements and service innovations that are consistent with our signature guest experience and eco-friendly approach.” Ladera has received numerous outstanding awards over the years, including Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice award when Ladera was voted not only the “Best Hotel in the Caribbean,” but given the ultimate accolade “Best Hotel in the World”. The honor marked the first and only time in the 18 year history of the awards that a Caribbean hotel was given the number one position in the world on the “Best of the Best” list.
Pioneering the Authentic St. Lucian Experience Over two decades ago, Ladera pioneered the concept of the open-air, three-walled guest suites that remain the signature design of Ladera and which has BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
become a ubiquitous style, now de rigueur at resorts throughout Saint Lucia. The buildings were designed by the late John DiPol, a visionary American architect. DiPol conceived the concept when he realized that a three-sided series of building was possible due to the prevailing trade winds that approach from the back (eastern side) of the resort and which allow for the missing fourth wall, an expansive
view and interiors with atriums. Each suite embraces the island ambiance through tropical design, with all furnishings crafted on property by local artisans, including elegant four poster hardwood beds and St. Lucian ceramics and textiles throughout. The missing fourth wall allows the most spectacular views of the Sea, unobstructed sunsets, and the volcanic Piton Mountains, which are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to the clever design, they also remain sheltered, safe, and completely secluded, with private plunge pools and surrounded by lush tropical landscaping. Ladera’s striking infinity pool, the very first in the world in 1972, was used in the film Superman II when Christopher Reeves flies to St. Lucia to gather flowers for Lois
Lane, and is still the dramatic centerpiece of the resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens.
New Hilltop Dream Suites to be Unveiled in 2012 During this 20th anniversary year, Ladera will unveil five additional connecting luxury one-bedroom Hilltop Dream suites on Paradise Ridge in October 2012. “Each new Hilltop Dream Suite will feature the famously breathtaking vistas from the open living rooms and will include private infinity pools,” says Bottois. “The open air bedrooms are designed and appointed with furnishings and fixtures consistent with Ladera’s sustainable practices.” That includes using locally woven textiles, custom hardwood furniture crafted on site at Ladera, such as elegant colonial four poster king beds. The en-suite bath areas will be equipped with water efficient Kohler fixtures. Other noteworthy developments in Ladera’s 20th anniversary year include a new fitness room, outfitted with state-ofthe-art workout equipment. Yoga classes are also now on offer. The Ti Kai Posé Spa, which now incorporates more natural, organic treatments, will offer new outdoor couples massages on Paradise Ridge, a completely private retreat area of the resort which overlooks the Caribbean Sea and Pitons. Dasheene, Ladera’s award winning restaurant, will be taken to even higher culinary acclaim says Bottois, a past board member and Vice Chancelier Culinaire of
the Chaine des Rotisseurs and member of The James Beard Foundation, noting that “celebrated guest chefs from the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe will be featured at the restaurant.”
Giving Back to St. Lucia Ladera’s commitment to St Lucia and the local community has been generously expressed throughout the decades. Twenty years ago, the owners established Ladera’s Good Works Fund. Financed by gifts and the resort’s retail boutique sales, the Good Works Fund benefitted a soup kitchen and the Malgretoute Home for the elderly in nearby Soufrière. Ladera’s “Adopt a School” relationship with the Les Estangs School has helped the school build a new library and brought computers, textbooks and building repairs. Today, Ladera benefits St. Jude Hospital by providing funds for medical education and materials. It also subsidizes this by providing special
rates for doctors and surgeons who have come to work on the island and has helped families harmed by hurricane Tomas in 2010. The resort also provides funds to underwrite projects of the Living Water Community, a local charity. More recently, Ladera launched the new book “A History of St. Lucia”. The resort donated 100 of the books to schools on the island at a private ceremony held at the Governor’s home.
Twenty years ago the Ladera’s mission was to create a showpiece property that was quintessentially St. Lucian, one that embraced the magnificent views and offered a seamless experience with the natural beauty and bounty of the island. Under the guidance of Olivier Bottois this 20th Year, Ladera is ready to reach even greater heights as the “Best of the Best” hotel in the world.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Makes its Mark in St. Lucia and the Caribbean
Adam Stewart CEO and President of Sandals Foundation Since its inception, the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International (SRI) – has impacted 80,000 lives in St. Lucia and the Caribbean through more than 100 community programmes. Projects are funded in three core areas: education, community and the environment. As it celebrates its third anniversary, the Sandals Foundation has raised over US$1.5 million, keeping its promise of channeling 100 per cent of the funds raised into the Caribbean region. Focused on preserving the environment, the foundation, over the past three years, has planted over 4,000 trees in St. Lucia, supporting the biodiversity of Caribbean waters, while educating fishermen in Jamaica on the importance of preserving marine life. Having partnered with the West Indies Cricket Board and the governments of AnBusinessFocus Sept / Oct
tigua and St. Lucia, the Sandals Foundation has created St. Lucia and the Caribbean’s main cricket development program, the Sandals Cricket Academy, now the regional high performance camp. Some four hundred boys have graduated through the clinic with a long line up of former West Indies legends lending their vast experience to the region’s brightest young stars. Sandals Foundation President, Adam Stewart, who is also the CEO of Sandals Resorts International, noted that the foundation aims to build the Caribbean, one project at a time. “I am very proud of how far the Sandals Foundation has come in giving back to Caribbean communities in just three years. The community projects and programmes are a step in the right direction, but there is definitely a need that keeps growing and we must continue to work with our partners to address the issues that affect our region,” he said. The learning environment for students at Balata, Dame Pearlette, and Rosseau primary schools have been heightened to new levels with construction and also equipping of 2,000 books at Rosseau. Donation of a computer centre/library structure was also facilitated by the Sandals Foundation for the Balata school, which a year ago also received a facelift including state of the art playground equipment, reveals Theresa Dujon, Principal of the school. “I know that Sandals Foundation would never let us down, they have been with
us for the last 15 years and we feel really loved by their commitment. They have totally transformed our school and the children have a new sense of pride in themselves,” adds Dujon. The foundation’s Director of Programs, Heidi Clarke is enthused about the strong support which comes from volunteering team members of various Sandals resorts. “We would not be able to carry out our mission to positively impact the lives of others without the dedication of our team members and the hard work put in by our volunteers,” she said. “We are also very grateful to community partners, without whom our work would not be possible. Partnership is our greatest strength.” But for Jeremy Jones, the Regional Director for Sandals Resorts International in the Eastern Caribbean, the vision of the foundation is a long time-ago company tradition. “The Sandals Foundation is really a culmination of three decades of work that in the last three years been strategically formalized. Etched in the philosophy of our founder and chairman, Honorable Gordon Butch Stewart is an undying attitude of giving back,” Jones remarks. For 2012, the foundation will focus on teacher training and parenting workshops, and has identified 11 major projects to focus on in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands. These include the construction of a computer room and library for the Marchand Combined School among other projects which corresponds with its mandate to build a better future for the Caribbean and its people. To learn more about the Sandals Foundation, visit online at www.sandalsfoundation.org or contact Anne Harewood, PR Manager at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa. Tel: (268) 464-3275, email: email@example.com
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
By Keitha Glace
You Can Do Anything Online These Days… Well ALMOST Anything! Gone are the days of having to head down to your local travel agency to find a good airfare and hotel and booking 21 days in advance to get the cheapest deal. With the advent of the Internet, the travel industry has done a complete 180 on how people ‘travel shop.’ And now we have gone beyond the mere travel site where you can book anything from a flight, a hotel, a car, activities, etc. to shopping based on others’ opinions and reviews. This new aspect of shopping based on another’s experience has really put that human factor front and center for most travellers who are looking for that ultimate getaway. One must remember that there are two major players in this online travel game – vacation/travel providers and the traveller. Providers have to understand what travellers are looking for and the various ways to present it to them. Frankly, the biggest thing for a provider to remember is that the traveller has a choice. Providers have to cut and carve their ‘content’ in a myriad of ways to address the many possibilities as to why a traveller would choose to consume the experience that they are pushing. Fulfilling an experience is harder to present since there are so many factors and emotions involved. “So hey! Providers out there! Your work is cut out for you.” Travellers shop for travel using some basic criteria: Destination, Things to Do, Places to Stay and ultimately the Cost. Getting the right formula to attract not just the virtual BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
visitor but the actual visitor that will come to your hotel, or hike up a scenic mountain route, forces the providers of such commodities to play this ‘Please the visitor before they come’ game. Here, are some ways providers can utilize technology to compete in this ever-changing space. • Create a mobile app or mobile friendly website, so travellers can take you along anywhere they go. Almost 1 in 4 visitors have a smartphone and they want instant information such as where to find the best restaurant, fastest route to a location, what is nearby, reviews on a particular destination or hotel, greatest and latest travel deals. It is all now at their fingertips even while they are on vacation. Also – this just in as of July 2012 – Smartphone users now have overtaken PC users in China. So now it is a MUST to have a mobile friendly website. • Provide more rich media content to attract travellers, such as video, audio, interactive tools, etc. Engage your users and keep them coming back for more and ultimately you become the place to go to for all their travel needs. Utilize not only websites but all social media for maximum reach. • Create a dynamic presence on ‘Review’ portals such as TripAdvisor, which is now the first stop for many travellers venturing out into the real world as opposed to the virtual world of travel. • Give away everything but the kitchen sink at the best price which is
$FREE!!! Even things as simple as participation in an online survey gets users something for their time – offer it. Trust me, consumers use this. I am one of them. • Put together a fantastic package that is irresistible even for the most particular of travellers. ALL INCLUSIVE – Yeah that is the way to roll. Pay one price with a click of the button and the vacation begins. • Last but not least – BUT IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT – If you want visitors to actually visit – then you HAVE TO HAVE INTERNET AND WI-FI ACCESS FOR FREE – Yes ‘free’ I said. This is a pet peeve of several travellers. As much as they claim that they want to be free from technology and unplugged from the ‘matrix’ while on vacation, it is so integrated into the very fabric of their being – they’ve just got to have it. Give them that basic commodity and they will come! Well, I did say that you could do almost anything online – the one thing that you can’t do is travel the real world. Get out there and enjoy – then tweet about it! (I could not resist ) About the Author: Keitha Glace is the Owner and Managing Director of GlaceGrafix.com and the St. Lucia Business Directory – Slooogle.com. She has been providing advertising and marketing services, specialising in online products and solutions for clients worldwide since 1998.
Saint Lucia lies within the striking zone of hurricanes and meteorologists predict a record number of storms and hurricanes in 2012. Be prepared. • Secure your roofs, windows and doors. • If you live in low lying areas or near coastal surge zones protect against flooding. • Organize your 2012 Hurricane Kit-First Aid Supplies, water storage, water purifying chemicals, canned food, flashlights, batteries, waterproofed spare bedding,waterproof storage for valuables, documents and electronic items. • Have an emergency plan. • Insure your home, appliances, valuables and vehicles properly against damage. Don’t let a natural weather disaster become a life-long setback for your entire family, their dreams and goals.
2 Bridge Street, P.O. Box 1860, Castries, St. Lucia Tel: (758)451-3244 | Fax: (758) 458-1222 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ecglobalinsurance.com
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MOBILE WEBSITES Your customers are looking for you on mobile, what are you showing them? The mobile revolution isn’t just coming, it’s already here. According to Google, more than half of Americans currently own a smartphone, and by the end of 2015 there will be more smartphones on the Internet than PCs.
Contact Us at email@example.com for more information. USA: 18520 NW 67th Ave. Ste. 288, Miami, FL 33015 Phone: (954) 840-5857 Fax: (954) 697-0303
P O Box GR5047 Grande Riviere Post Office Corinth, Gros Islet, St. Lucia Phone & Fax: (758) 451-7825 Skype: glacegrafix
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BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Destination Weddings Are On The Rise 1 in 4 American Couples Choose This Route
St. Lucian and Caribbean wedding destination organisers are keeping their eyes peeled on a recent report that confirms that a majority of American couples seeking to get married away from home in another country choose the Caribbean, with Mexico and Hawaii standing in second and third places, respectively. XO Group Inc., a global media and technology leader and creator of the top two wedding websites, TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, recently released the results of its 2nd The Knot Market Intelligence Destination Weddings Study. The survey was fielded in December 2011 to January 2012 and was administered by Digital Research Inc. on behalf of The Knot Market Intelligence Group. The definitive report on the destination weddings industry captured detailed information on the destination wedding trends, locations and events of nearly 3,000 US couples who had a destination wedding in 2011 or 2012. Director of Insights at OX Group Inc., Howard Ladd, said, "Since 8 out of 10 brides use and trust TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, we are the only source that's able to provide this level of detail and insight into destination wedding trends." He added, "The 2012 Destination Weddings Study offers unparalleled information and understanding of the industry and the decision-making process of today's couples when it comes to planning the perfect destination wedding." "The idea of having a destination wedding is growing among our brides, and it goes hand in hand with the fact that most people no longer live where they grew up," said Carley Roney, cofounder of XO Group Inc. "When family is spread all over the BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
country,” he added, “a destination wedding is the perfect way to bring everyone together."
2012 DESTINATION WEDDINGS STUDY: TOP 10 STATISTICS 1. 350,000 destination weddings take place annually, representing 24% of all weddings; 2. The average destination bride is 30 years old; 3. Destination weddings have an average of 86 guests; 4. 70% of destination weddings take place in the continental US; 5. Florida, California and Nevada are the top three destination wedding locations in the continental US; 6. 30% of destination weddings take place outside the continental US; 7. The Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are the most popular wedding locations outside the continental US; 8. 51% of destination wedding couples use a wedding planner; 9. 69% of destination weddings are held outdoors ; and 10. 86% of couples still plan to take a honeymoon after their destination wedding.
KEY TRENDS The study looks at both international destination weddings and domestic (US) destination weddings, but for the relevance of US tourism to the Caribbean, we will focus on the findings for the international destination weddings.
• Destination weddings are growing in popularity: In 2011, nearly 1 in 4 (24%) couples had a destination wedding, an increase from 20% in 2009; 66% of international destination wedding brides opted for a destination wedding because they wanted a special, fun or exotic locale. The second most popular reason why international brides chose a destination wedding was to host a more intimate affair with fewer guests (65%). Although the study found that domestic destination weddings are more popular than international destination wedding locations, it revealed that the top five international wedding destinations include: Caribbean (39%), Mexico (24%), Hawaii (20%), Central/South America (7%) and Europe (6%). • The number of destination wedding guests is on the rise: In 2011, destination wedding couples hosted more guests, with an average of 86 guests per wedding. In 2009, there was an average of just 77 guests per destination wedding. • Most destination weddings last three or more days: Destination wedding events are longer than the average wedding, with most (60%) lasting three or more days. International destination weddings are even more likely to span several days... and they're getting longer. Nearly 7 in 10 international weddings last three or more days, and nearly half (47%) last four or more days, compared with just 38% in 2009.
• Destination wedding couples keep guests in mind: Destination wedding couples are spending more on a per guest basis than their more traditional wedding counterparts. The median destination wedding spend is $404 per guest internationally, compared with the national wedding average of just $137 per guest. The average total destination wedding spend is $20,890 (not including honeymoon, engagement ring or travel expenses). Aside from the traditional rehearsal dinner, after-party and nextday breakfast, 1 in 3 (32%) destination wedding couples plan a group activity like a sightseeing tour for their guests. Of the couples who plan a group activity, more than half (53%) cover the cost for at least some of their guests. For those couples who contribute to the cost, they spend an average of $2,598 internationally planning these group events. Couples are also considering their guests' expenses, with 2 in 5 (39%) paying for travel/ accommodations for at least some of their guests. • The party continues even after the wedding: More than 4 in 5 international destination wedding couples and guests stay at the wedding destination beyond the wedding date. Nearly 9 in 10 couples still plan to take a honeymoon after the wedding, with 7 in 10 of them honeymooning in their wedding locale – either for part of the honeymoon or the whole trip. www.going-places.tv
Ecotourism - A Growing Business Tourism’s longevity depends on its ability to change with the times and climate. New markets with new holiday packages offering different vacation adventures and experiences have been one of the best guarantees of sustaining visitor growth in this increasingly competitive industry. Adventure tourism has seen the island introduced in recent years to tram skyrides, treetop canopy zip lines, ATV tours, off-road tours, paragliding, even helicopter rides, whale watching, segway rides and sailing races. But ecotourism is a new niche that has taken-off quite well here. The island is dotted with lush vegetation - rivers, waterfalls, mountains, beaches, coral and other marine sensations to stop your heartbeat and of course, the Pitons and Sulphur Springs stand out and apart. The flora and fauna range from the tiniest snake in the world to the threatened iguana after which the
island was originally named. Among the ecotourism attractions on offer are snorkeling and scuba diving, horseback riding, forest reserves with endangered species, Creole parks, rainforest nature trails and hiking tours, health and beauty treatments using local herbs and spices, and a whole host of other options. The island’s tourism investors and planners have successfully weaved unique or rare ecological and environmental qualities into the overall tourism product. The Heritage Tours department has approved several sites offering ecotourism experiences and several viewing areas have been erected around the country offering breathtaking scenes that paint the artistry of the island’s greenery and natural habitats. With the world becoming more and more conscious of environmental impacts, hotels are using more sustainable prac-
tices, offering eco-friendly rooms and experiences such as witnessing how cocoa is processed. Some hotels are participating in international eco-friendly contests by adopting eco-friendly approaches to everything from laundry to energy. Eco-minded visitors have a fair amount to choose from and there is a rising interest from local operators to find ways and means of introducing more eco-tourism features. Tourism officials too, are increasingly stressing the advantages of further developing ecotourism as a possible niche market, while also encouraging locals with ‘green tourism’ properties (such as natural springs, waterfalls, plantations, historic sites and other natural habitats) to consider entering into discussion with tourism planners to explore the possibilities of adding their own bit of local spice to the island’s growing ecotourism product.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Tourism Paints the Changing Face of St. Lucia’s Development
Have any doubts? Take a look at Rodney Bay!
By Earl Bousquet
There’s no escaping it. Tourism drives development in St. Lucia – and in a very big way. This is evident around the island, but you only have to look at the transformation that’s taken place in the area stretching from Rodney Bay to Gros Islet to get the picture. St. Lucians old enough will remember what Gros Islet and the place we now know as ‘the Rodney Bay area’ used to look like in earlier days. In the 60s, the area stretching from the Morne Giraud hilltop part of the Castries - Gros Islet Highway, all the way through to Gros Islet and continuing to the entrance to Cap Estate, was nothing but a bushy and swampy marsh, a breeding ground for what many islanders considered St. Lucia’s worst mosquito and sand fly species. Crabs and frogs, wild pigs and goats, stray cows and horses, birds and bees, Jack Spaniards, dragonflies -they were the vast majority of the living population. Hardly a human was in sight along the single long, rough and dusty road, except persons awaiting buses. In 1970, the government contracted a construction firm owned by the Jamaican Matalon family to dredge, refill and rebuild the area to create what we now know as Rodney Bay. The project also included joining Pigeon Island to the mainland through the Pigeon Island Causeway. But while the causeway was a controversial project (it resulted in a change of the sea tide and fishing patterns and enhanced beach erosion along the immediate north-west coastline), ‘The Matalon Project’ as it was referred to by locals, was the start of the changing face of the barren and hostile terrain earlier described. It also marked the beginning of a continuous period of development over the next five decades that has changed the look of BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
the entire north of the island, transforming the Gros Islet area from a backwater fishing village where locals shouted expletives at buses of touring school children who called them savages, to the island’s most developed, most populated, most economically resourceful town – and the seat of the island’s tourism industry. The new infrastructure opened-up the area for investment and private and public entities, individuals and families, as well as foreign investors, grabbing the opportunity to plant their dreams, building homes, businesses and more businesses, turning the area into the new investment frontier it became. Then the Rodney Bay Marina (RBM) started getting really ship-shape. Building RBM involved a huge investment by American, Archie Marez, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur who made his money as a co-founder of the heart-helping Pacemaker, who was the main investor in the marina. Marez quietly nurtured RBM into an internationally recognized marina that put St. Lucia on the world yachting map, especially with the subsequent advent of the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) race that yearly crowds the marina’s increasing number of docks with participating yachts and hundreds of crew members and family here for the race – and the fun. The ARC developed its own annual identity as a national hosting of an international affair. But the marina wasn’t only about yachts and yachting. Support services had to be provided for the growing number of visitors, especially the large number of ARC families coming every year. Thus grew the number of restaurants, duty free shops, arts and craft outlets, banks, supermarkets, guest houses and small hotels,
car rental companies and other needed businesses, all looking to cash in on the marina’s expanding visiting and domiciled clientele. The marina itself started to expand its services, adding yacht and engine repairs, ship chandlery, Customs and Immigration services, more banks and communications (boat phone, cell phone, credit cardcalling, etc) and other needed services. In addition, yachtsmen in search of ‘a viking’s paradise’ in their golden years flocked to the island and started purchasing or renting properties, hiring locals and creating new areas of employment. RBM started to mushroom into a new economic space and commercial zone, supplementing the growing tourism industry that was also developing beyond Cap at the Cariblue and Club St. Lucia. The marina started to expand laterally from its original base as owners of proximate bayside properties cashed-in on the property boom and developed properties on the water’s edge, ranging from dining outlets to condominiums, luxury apartments, health and beauty services, fastfood outlets and other related entities. The entire waterfront area around the bay was developed, a process that was accelerated when Pope John Paul II visited the island in 1992 and said mass at the area in Rodney Bay still referred to as ‘Pope’s Site’. Property value spiraled and the transformation of the face of the area continued apace. Rodney Bay developed its own identity in tangent with, but apart from the yachting marina. The presence of at least four large and medium-sized hotels on one side of the strip (from the Holiday inn that gave way to today’s Rex Hotel chain), along with the growing number of restaurants, night clubs and bars along the other side of that road, opened the way for the string of oth-
er properties that soon followed. These included the earlier Islander and the original pre-Koko Creole local hotels, later joined by the likes of Coco Palm, and more recently, the Harbour and other gated apartment communities. Additions of the likes of Italian-style tropical entertainment outlets such as Pizza Pizza and Elena’s attracted families with children, while disco and other young generation outlets attracted the island’s youth, especially on weekends, from near and far. Also growing with Rodney Bay and the Rodney Bay Marina was the town of Gros islet itself – and not only the weekend nightlife that has become synonymous with the Gros Islet Friday night street parties. Besides the annual ARC race, the St. Lucia Jazz Festival also played its part in turning Gros Islet and Rodney Bay into beehives of development activity. The location of the Jazz Festival main stage activities at Pigeon Island and the construction of the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort along the causeway, as well as construction of the
more recent billion-dollar local hotel investment, The Landings, have also played a great part in breathing new life and much development in that part of the island’s northern peninsula. What used to be a largely under-utilized free trade zone in the area between Gros islet and Cap Estate also now metamorphosed into an enclave of warehousing, manufacturing, publishing and other entities, including location of Gaiety, easily the island’s largest and most popular modern conference and entertainment centre. Today the entire area boasts not only its own health polyclinic, but also its own fire and ambulance base – and more recently, a police station, with its own Rapid Response mobile unit. The latest sterling touches to the Rodney Bay area’s meteoric development rise came with the addition of shopping malls and supermarkets with Super J and the JQ Mall, constructed by the Chastanets, a local business family, being joined across the road by GL Foodmarket and the mammoth local Chreiki family owned Baywalk Mall, making Rodney Bay the location of the
largest shopping centre in the entire OECS. These multimillion-dollar investments over the past half-century have all helped shaped the Rodney Bay/Gros Islet area into a growing northern mini metropolis that has long outpaced the capital, Castries, as the most populated and most quickly developing area in the country. The continuous expansion, upgrading and modernizing of the Rodney Bay Marina has resulted in today’s IGY marina, which has significantly helped turn the actual marina into a place being increasingly visited by nationals and visitors alike, creating a growing appreciation of the role the marina played and continues to play in the development of the area named after it. Gros Islet today won’t be recognized by a returning national who left here as a youngster for Britain, the USA or Canada in the 60s. But this is all thanks mainly to a mutual coexistence between tourism growth and property development that has so changed the face of the place.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Accela Marketing St. Lucian Companies Win BID Quality Awards Continues Winning Ways!
CIE & Viking Traders Awarded Gold & Platinum Two award-winning local businesses have won international quality awards in Germany, attracting the congratulations and praises of their local counterparts and regional business associates. Construction and Industrial Equipment (CIE) Ltd. and Viking Traders Ltd., both locally-owned companies operating in the north of the island, were among 48 countries from Africa, Asia, Australia, The Caribbean, North, South and Central America, Europe and Oceania that received ‘Arch of Europe’ awards from Business Initiative Directions (BID), a Frankfurt-based international business development entity that awards companies worldwide for excellence in their respective sectors. CIE won the Gold Award among construction companies and Viking won the Platinum in its manufacturing category, with both companies collecting their awards at a recent BID convention and Gala Awards ceremony at the Frankfurt InterContinental Hotel from BID President and CEO, Jose Prieto. “I am delighted by the news that two locally-owned companies were distinguished as the best in their respective categories,” said Commerce Minister, Hippolyte. The minister said she was “particularly pleased that the two local companies were awarded for achievements in quality, innovation and excellence. CIE and Viking are two well-known local companies that have demonstrated their ability to strive to go beyond the ordinary, to be creative and innovative with the customer in mind, and to win awards at home and abroad for their services and products.” CIE has been in existence for some 15 years and Viking for 33 years, each among the local leaders in the construction and condiment manufacturing fields, respectively. The minister told BF, “These two local companies not only have made St. Lucia proud, but they have also set laudable standards for our local companies to aim for quality and excellence beyond our shores and horizons. I congratulate them and I urge all other local companies to emulate their examples at a time when we see local private sector companies increasingly setting quality standards to constantly improve their products to better serve their customers and consumers in general. These two local companies have done well to make St. Lucia proud and they can both take a bow.” BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Saint Lucia's Accela Marketing has received seven awards including the coveted, ‘Best of Show’ category at the 2012 Caribbean Advertising Federation (CAF) ADDY Awards. What is considered the Oscars of the Advertising World, the ADDY Awards are hosted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and are the advertising industry's most comprehensive and prestigious competition recognizing and rewarding creative excellence in the art of advertising. Among Accela's wins were two GOLD ADDYs for the SLASPA's 'Behind the Everyday Benefits of Life' corporate campaign and the FDL Pest Control Solutions radio advert. The agency also won four SILVER ADDYs for the ECFH 2012 calendar, the ECFH 2010 annual report and the Accela website and Facebook page. The FDL Pest Control Solutions radio advert also won the highly valued ‘Best of Show’ award. Out of all the radio adverts submitted it was considered the best of the best. Accela, a first-time entrant and winner of five awards in 2011, is one of the smallest agencies operating out of one of the smallest markets in the Caribbean. This year, over 420 entries were judged from over 30 different companies in the region including Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The agency held its own against some of the biggest multi-national creative agencies like McCann, Red Advertising & Marketing Ltd and Lonsdale Saatchi & Saatchi. "We are ecstatic to bring home seven awards this year, especially the award for best radio advert in the Caribbean," stated Accela's Managing Director, Agnes Francis. She added, “This is a huge accomplishment and a strong testimony of the world-class products that our talented creative team produces for our clients. Big ideas that bring big results do not need big budgets, big markets or big agencies, just big thinking and attention to small details."
The End Of
The end of the Air Jamaica brand appears imminent as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has instructed national carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to drop its Air Jamaica branding from its aircraft. According to reports by the Trinidad Express, CAL has been informed that the use of the Air Jamaica brand does not comply with CAL’s airline operator certificate and despite the acquisition of Air Jamaica’s routes, CAL is in fact not licensed to operate the two brands, although it has been doing so for over a year. It is understood that for CAL to use the Air Jamaica brand, it would in fact have to register a new airline in the name of Air Jamaica. However, although CAL is now racing to comply, reports are that this is not a new development as the CAA notified the Trinidadian airline of the disparity a few months ago as it sought to improve its systems ahead of a planned audit by the international Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). CAL’s head of Corporate Communications, Clint Williams, confirmed that CAL had received recommendations from CAA which had been passed to its new line minister, Vasant Bharath. Now, CAL has to repaint its six Air Jamaica planes at a reported cost of US$60,000 per aircraft. CAL’s investment in Air Jamaica has already been costly for the Trinidadian airline, reportedly requiring CAL to liquidate US$149 million of its investments already to carry the cost of the ailing Jamaica-based airline. The Jamaican government owns 16 per cent of CAL, following the consummation of a shareholders’ agreement which was signed on May 26, 2011, and which cost CAL US$50 million to acquire the airline’s routes. Apart from that, former finance minister Winston Dookeran disclosed to Parliament in May that Air Jamaica recorded an unaudited loss of US$38.1 million (JMD$245.2 million) for 2011.
St. Lucia Tops Caribbean In Connecting New Companies For Business
St. Lucia has topped the Caribbean in world rankings for ease of connecting new businesses to electricity. The island also ranks number two in the entire developing world – after Singapore – as the easiest place for a new business to get connected. St. Lucia was ranked by the 2012 Edition of the Ease of Doing Business Report - published by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – which graded the island as the 13th easiest place in the world for a new business to get a permanent electricity connection. The report indicated it takes only 25 days for a business to get an electricity connection here – a process that also involves inspection and approval processes by the Ministry of Infrastructure, after which the connection takes place almost immediately. In the Caribbean, after St. Lucia, Antigua ranked 16th in the world and 2nd in CARICOM. St. Kitts was the only Caribbean country to offer a connection in less time than St. Lucia, but the smaller twin-island federation didn’t measure-up in the other World Bank/IFC global assessment criteria. The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago all ranked way below St. Lucia. The latest annual report – which covers the period starting June 1st 2011 – assesses the ease with which businesses can do business across the world. It also assesses procedures required for a business to obtain permanent electricity and supply for a standardised business warehouse. The data is collected from the largest suppliers of electricity in 183 countries and assessed on a three-point ranking criteria that examines cost, time and procedures involved. It is then verified by electricity regulatory agencies and independent professionals such as electricity engineers and contractors, as well as construction companies. The businesses being assessed for the ‘Ease of Getting Electricity’ aspect must be regular commercial companies without any concessions reducing electricity costs. They must also be new and being connected for the first time. The warehouse to be connected must be at least 14,000 square feet in size, requiring a permanent three-phase connection, with costs measured as a percentage of the national economy’s income per capita. The first Ease of Doing Business Report was issued in 2003 and covered 133 economies. The 2012 report is the 9th in the annual series investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Indicators from the report are also used to analyse economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulations have worked, where and why. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
Choice Opts For Caribbean Destinations
Choice Hotels International has identified the Caribbean as a "priority area for expansion" and will invest in the region in coming years. The hospitality chain already has eight Caribbean franchises in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Curacao and Puerto Rico but wants to expand more since "(the Caribbean) is the number one destination requested by guests." Although the Maryland-based company has over 6,000 locations worldwide, its Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Joyce, said Choice still has room to grow. "Clearly our path for significant growth is internationally," he said. "But the Caribbean is one of our primary targets because we view the region as an extension of what we're doing domestically." Its ability to "drive customers into the Caribbean market" would directly benefit the region, the company said. The chain books "millions of room-nights a year." "The Caribbean is a value that's not being communicated well to the rank and file customer out there," Joyce said, adding that more Choice-branded hotels would significantly boost promotion to the region. "More options in the Caribbean would be advantageous for loyal Choice Hotels guests," he said, "but the region (also) needs it. It's a good combination because we're able to get our customers to the places they love and help out a lot of hotel owners at the same time," he said. Among its brands are Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Clarion Hotels, and Sleep Inn. It earns in excess of US$600 million ($53 billion) each year from its franchises. Smaller properties, with 40 to 50 rooms, are the company's specialty, Joyce said. Choice's interest in the small hotel sector is significant since it comes with international marketing reach, said Evelyn Smith, the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association. But some small hotels may be better placed than others to join an international brand, since they may have to make fewer changes to meet the chain's standards. "We see the need and desire for smaller properties to move to a branded concept," Joyce said, adding that it's "good long-term proposition" for the brand to tap into the allure of small hotels. Choice has projects under developments in Haiti, Dominica and Anguilla, with negotiations to award a franchise in St. Maarten in the final stages. BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
10 Participants Graduate from LMI Executive Showcase Programme
Leadership Management International (LMI), a USA based performance improvement company specializing in personal leadership and organisational development, has recently graduated 10 executives from St. Lucia in July. Participants came from private sector firms such as FICS, R.J. Clarke, Ramco. Missing from the picture is Mr. Nicholas Faisal, former Managing Director of the National Housing Corporation, Mrs. Cecelia Cherubin, Managing Director, Excel Signs and Ms. Paula Auguste, Director of the CookUp Restaurant. After 8 weeks (2 hours a week) of training in Effective Personal Productivity and time management, participants have been singing the praises of the LMI programmes. Testimonials by the participants included: “Where was this programme when I first started to work? I got more from that programme than when I did my first degree: I am able to identify my high off pay activities and I am now delegating my low pay off activities; I have been able to double my time spent with family and recreational activities, which was always been a problem in the past; I am structured in my thinking and have set goals for the future.” The programme was facilitated by Mrs. Marcelline Chitolie, who is the LMI representative in St. Lucia and the OECS Member States. She said she is heartened at the impact of the programmes on the lives of the participants and explained that the programme is unique as it deals with behavioural and attitudinal changes; that it concentrates on the total person and it uses spaced repetition of powerful ideas and actions. She further stated that each participant discovers and develops leadership attitudes, goal awareness, and goal consciousness in quantities not known before. LMI (St. Lucia) was launched in February 2012 as its latest member. LMI International operates in over 80 countries around the world and has impacted the lives of over 1 million people. The company has been in operation since 1966 and was founded by Paul J. Meyer who is recognized as one of the world’s most outstanding authorities in the field of goal setting, motivation, time management and personal and professional development. Upcoming executive showcases are: 20TH September – 2nd November, 2012 11th October – 22nd November, 2012 10th January – 27th February, 2013 For more information call Clara Mclean at 453-0367 or visit the website at firstname.lastname@example.org
LIME TV Collaborates with ESPN
LIME TV customers in St. Lucia now have another medium to access sports online whenever and wherever they wish: via ESPNPlay.com on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. Customers can access ESPNPlay.com free of charge by selecting the LIME icon, or by logging onto limetv.com ESPNPlay.com is ESPN Caribbean’s live broadband sports network and offering 24/7 access to live global sports events online. It is currently also available to LIME TV customers in Barbados. LIME plans to offer ESPNPlay.com to LIME TV customers in other territories soon. Fans can toggle between events in a main viewing window, and with a single click, jump to another event. Video can be expanded to full screen or reduced to a compact size. The site also has a pop-up window. The medium features live online sports viewing from a broad array of global events, including cricket, football, tennis and baseball. Some games are available live while others are broadbandenhanced versions of games from ESPN Caribbean’s two TV networks. In many cases games and events are available for replay varying from 24 hours to more than a week after the original airing, depending on the sport. Also, ESPNPlay.com presents live games and events not available on ESPN’s Caribbean television networks, such as additional NCAA basketball games, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships; additional Europa League and Bundesliga football games; extra courts for all grand slam tennis tournaments and extra holes for golf majors such as the British Open, The Masters and U.S. Open. Also available are additional American college football and Canadian Football League games. LIME Head of Marketing & Communications, Laurencia Cadette, said, "Our goal is to help LIME TV customers stay connected to their favourite sports programs by enabling them to access those broadcasts through a variety of mediums anytime they wish, from anywhere. That’s why we’re so focused on innovation and service enhancement, because we want every LIME product they use to be a great experience.” Bernard Stewart, Vice President and General Manager, ESPN Caribbean and Maritime Media, said, “We are delighted that LIME is expanding its distribution of ESPNPlay.com to its subscribers in St. Lucia. With ESPNPlay.com, sports fans can watch the programs they want to see when they want to see them. ESPNPlay.com underscores ESPN’s commitment to providing a tailored programming line-up for the Caribbean market and 24/7 access to that programming with a click of a toggle.”
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BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Hot Flashes, Mood Swings, Irritability, Sleeplessness... The List Goes On
By Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun
There are few things in life that women seem to dread more than the menopause. However, it is a process that most women will experience whilst still actively working in the business community. Menopause is defined as the time when a woman has naturally ceased having menstrual periods for one year. Menopause is a normal, natural event and is associated with reduced functioning of the ovaries due to aging, resulting in lower levels of estrogen and other hormones. It marks the permanent end of fertility. Menopause occurs, on average, at age 51. The years between puberty (when periods start) and menopause are called premenopause. Physical signs of menopause begin many years before the final menstrual period. This menopause transition phase is called perimenopause (literally meaning ‘around menopause’). It can last 6 years or more, and ends one year after the final menstrual period. This is the time you begin experiencing menopausal signs and symptoms, even though you still menstruate. Your hormone levels rise and fall unevenly, and you may have hot flashes and other symptoms. During this time, it is still possible to get pregnant, but quite unlikely. The years that follow are called postmenopause. Menopause is a natural biological process, not a medical illness. It is important to note that not all women will experience symptoms prior to or following menopause. If menopausal symptoms occur, they may include irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness or pain during intercourse, increased anxiety or irritability, and the need to urinate more often. The severity of these varies from woman to woman, but for the most part, BusinessFocus BusinessFocus Sept Sept / / Oct Oct
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they are perfectly natural and normal. The most common menopause related discomfort is the hot flash (sometimes called a hot flush). Although their exact cause is still a matter of speculation, hot flashes are thought to be the result of changes in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. If the hypothalamus mistakenly senses that a woman is too warm, it starts a chain of events to cool her down. Blood vessels near the surface of the skin begin to dilate (enlarge), increasing blood flow to the surface in an attempt to dissipate body heat. This produces a red, flushed look to the face and neck in light-skinned women. It may also make a woman perspire to cool the body down. An increased pulse rate and sensation of rapid heart beating may also occur. Hot flashes are often followed by a cold chill. A few women experience only the chill. It is important to see your doctor during the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause) and the years after menopause (postmenopause) for preventive health care as well as care of medical conditions that may occur with aging. If you've skipped a period but aren't sure you've started menopause, you may want to see your doctor to determine whether you're pregnant. He or she may take a medical history, do a pelvic examination and, if appropriate, order a pregnancy test. Always seek medical advice if you have bleeding from your vagina after menopause. Management of Menopause Many women do not need any special treatment for menopause. Eating healthy foods and keeping physically fit are important to feeling your best in the years leading up to menopause and beyond.
Some women who are bothered by some menopausal symptoms might want to try treatment. Several treatment options, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), now called menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), are available depending on your symptoms and other factors. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment so you can choose what’s best for you. Note that there is no one treatment that is good for all women. • Hot flashes. Some women report that eating or drinking hot or spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine, feeling stressed, or being in a hot place can bring on hot flashes. Try to avoid any triggers that bring on your hot flashes. Dress in layers, and keep a fan in your home or workplace. If you are bothered by hot flashes or night sweats, ask your doctor about MHT. MHT works best at treating hot flashes and night sweats. If MHT is not an option for you, ask your doctor about trying antidepressant or epilepsy medicine. There is proof that these can relieve hot flashes for some women. • Vaginal dryness. A water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant (like K-Y Jelly) can be helpful if sex is painful. A vaginal moisturizer (also over-the-counter) can provide lubrication and help keep needed moisture in vaginal tissues. Really bad vaginal dryness may need MHT. If vaginal dryness is the only reason for considering MHT, an estrogen product for the vagina is the best choice. Vaginal estrogen products (creams, tablet, ring) treat only the vagina. • Problems sleeping. One of the best ways to get a good night's sleep is to be physically active. It is best to allow 5 hours between exercise and bedtime. Avoiding large meals, smoking, and working right before bedtime may also be
helpful. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided after noon. Drinking something warm before bedtime, such as herbal tea (no caffeine) or warm milk, might help you to feel sleepy. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Removing the TV and other electronic items may be useful. Avoid napping during the day and try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day. If you wake during the night and can't get back to sleep, get up and read until you’re sleepy. Don't just lie there. If hot flashes are the cause of sleep problems, treating the hot flashes will usually improve sleep. • Mood swings. Some women report mood swings or ‘feeling blue’ during the menopause transition. Women who have had mood swings (PMS) before their periods or postpartum depression after giving birth may be more prone to mood swings around the time of menopause. These are women who are sensitive to hormone changes. Often the mood swings will go away with time. If a woman is using MHT for hot flashes or another menopause symptom, sometimes her mood swings will get better too. Also, getting enough sleep and staying physically active will help you to feel your best. Mood swings are not the same as depression. • Trouble focusing, ‘fuzzy thinking,’ forgetfulness. Some women complain of these symptoms in midlife. But studies suggest that natural menopause has little effect on memory or other ‘brain’ functions. Also, recent studies suggest that women should not use MHT to protect against memory loss or brain diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Getting enough sleep and keeping physically active might help improve symptoms. But if memory problems are really bad, talk to your doctor right away. If used properly, MHT can be very good at relieving moderate to severe menopausal symptoms and prevents bone loss. But MHT also has some risks, especially if used for a long time. For some women, MHT may increase their chance of: • Blood clots • Heart attack • Stroke • Breast cancer • Gall bladder disease When deciding whether or not to use MHT, you and your doctor need to talk about the potential benefits and risks. If
you decide to try MHT, use the lowest dose possible for the shortest time you need it. More women are turning to natural alternative treatments. Try the following tips to ease your symptoms of menopause: • Diet is one of the most important tools that you can use to help control your menopausal symptoms: Foods to avoid include high amounts of caffeine in any foods, and carbonated beverages which contain phosphorous and can increase bone loss. Also, limit your intake of meats with a high amount of saturated fats which may decrease the body's ability to metabolise estrogen. Excessive sugar intake also limits your liver's ability to metabolise estrogen and impairs the immune system. Include flax in your diet. Flaxseed lengthens the menstrual cycle. In doing so, it increases the estrogen-progesterone ratio and alleviates hot flashes. This is also rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and stabilises cholesterol levels. Consume at least three servings of lowfat dairy products every day for your daily calcium intake. Dark leafy greens are also a good source of calcium. This is important for building bone density. Increase your intake of foods that contain phytoestrogens including soy. Soy products such as tofu, and miso are rich sources of isoflavones, an estrogen-like substance found in plants. Several studies have attempted to pinpoint the amount of soy needed to produce a decrease in hot flashes, with successful results varying from 40-50mg of soy isoflavones per day. Hence, in order to decrease hot flashes, you may need one to four servings of soybased foods per day. Other foods that you should include in your diet include grains, oats, wheat, brown rice, almonds, cashews, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts are good for you. Green tea has antioxidants and phytochemicals. Three to six cups of green tea daily has reportedly contributed to weight loss. Tomatoes and yellow fruits such as mangoes, oranges and vegetables like carrots are also recommended. • Drink lots of water • According to research published by the Journal of the British Menopause Society, red clover isoflavone supplements, used in controlled studies, have been shown to have a significant positive effect on the rate of bone loss, improve cardiovascular health, and may offer some
protective effect against breast and endometrial cancer. There is also evidence which suggests that red clover isoflavones decrease the incidence of hot flashes. In one study, after 8 weeks using Promensil 40mg daily participants experienced a 58% decrease in the number of hot flashes experienced; study participants also experienced a significant reduction in the severity of night sweats. Promensil is a dietary supplement that is available over-thecounter, without a prescription, at retail grocery, drug, and health food stores. • Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus (the ‘good’ bacteria in our intestines) cultures are important for women during menopause to help with metabolism and utilisation of estrogen, and some believe these ‘good’ bacteria help reduce the occurrence of yeast infections. These can be found in various nutritional formulas on the market, as well as in some yoghurts. • Exercise is another important part of a holistic approach to the management of menopause. Beyond relieving hot flashes, with as little as 3-5 hours per week exercise can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases. • Regular practice of yoga has been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause. Inverted postures and Pranayama are particularly helpful of hot flashes because they cool the body and fill it with energy and life force. Menopause should not be looked upon as a disease, but as a natural and inevitable part of the aging process. Your mental and emotional outlook will greatly impact how you deal with this important part of your life process. Ref. North American Menopause Society American Academy of Family Physicians About the Author: Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun, MBBS (UWI), IBCLC, is the Director of Integral Health Care Medical Clinic at the Rodney Bay Medical Centre where she works as a Family Practitioner and Lactation Consultant. For more information, please contact her at (758) 452 8621 or (758) 45-DOKTA (36582). www.rodneybaymedicalcentre.com
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
HEALTH & WELLNESS
St. Jude Hospital Increased Reconstruction Costs Will Be ‘Money Well Spent’ The cost of the St. Jude Hospital project in Vieux Fort continues to rise, but the St. Lucia government says whatever the eventual cost, it will be money well spent. The costs have escalated from the original estimate of EC$30 million to $47 million most recently estimated. The hospital, which has served the southern part of the country since its inception decades ago, became basically dysfunctional after its main wings were razed to the ground in a major fire on September 9, 2008. Exactly one year later after a local and international fundraising drive, the government launched the St. Jude Reconstruction Project, aimed at having the burnt sections back in order by the end of 2011. The hospital’s operations were temporarily moved to the distant but spacious George Odlum Stadium, but delays in the project have kept sports out of the stadium for almost three years. Project Coordinator Shanta King says the original plan was to repair only the burnt structures, but the temporary renovation plan was replaced by a full-scale one, given that costs for a short-term plan would have been significant. The entire St. Jude medical facility is being reconstructed. Most of the old structures have been broken down and are being replaced, but maintaining the old layout and foundation, while new structures have been built to modernise the complex. Among the new features include an MRI and CT Scan unit (to house state-ofthe-art equipment), a warehouse, morgue (in a separate building), Dialysis Unit (also in a separate building), as well as an Accident and Emergency Unit. The number of beds will increase from 97 before the fire to 102 – and there will also be some new private wards. All electrical and plumbing BusinessFocus Sept Sept / / Oct Oct BusinessFocus
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Image of the original St. Jude hospital Completly distroyed by fire
will be new and all buildings will be air conditioned, and new wastewater treatment plants will be installed, with new water tanks. The increased costs for the extended project have caused some notes and comments of concern, with some projecting the hospital can eventually cost as much as $60 million – double the original estimate. But Prime Minister Anthony says whatever the eventual cost, “it will be well worth it,” since it will significantly reduce or eliminate the need for citizens from the south of the island to have to go to Castries to seek medical attention. The December 2011 deadline has now been re-set to December 2012.
Meanwhile, St. Jude CEO Dr. Jerry Poyard said the fire had caused St. Lucians to alter their view of the role and place of St. Jude in the national health system. He also said that while there was indeed talk about “stadium fatigue,” he and his staff are “looking forward” to eventual relocation from the stadium. He also noted that their experiences in the stadium brought and drove home some experiences that have served well in their better appreciation of and need for taking additional steps to improve functionality systems. He said, “I think we have created something better than what we had – certainly in terms of functionality.”
events 2012 CARIBBEAN MEETING & INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCHANGE (CMITE) 20th – 23rd September, Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall, Jamaica This event is for buyers and sellers of incentive travel serving the Caribbean meeting and incentive market. It is an appointment-based event that is invitation only - apply online. For further info: www.caribbean.incentivetravelexchange.com
GUY EXPO 27th – 30th September, National Exhibition Centre, Sophia, Guyana Guyana’s largest trade and investment expo showcases locally produced goods and services and offers business associates the opportunity to meet, network and negotiate with international companies and establishments, providing a platform for local and foreign businesses. This year’s theme is “Strengthening the Tradition, Embracing the New”. For further info: www.guyexpo.net
FCCA CRUSE CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW 1st – 5th October, Curacao For many cruise executives, destinations, suppliers and tour operators, the annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year to meet with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. Nearly 1,200 cruise industry partners attend each year. For further info: www.f-cca.com
CARILEC’S HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGERS CONFERENCE 4th – 5th October, Dominica This conference provides senior human resource personnel with the opportunity to examine issues and strategies relating to the competency needs and skill sets required to function effectively in a modern work environment. For further info: www.carilec.com
CARIBBEAN RUM & BEER FESTIVAL 2012 2nd – 3rd November, Grenada Cultural Centre, Grand Anse, Grenada This will be the 3rd Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival, bringing together a selection of fabulous regional and international rum and beer products to share with an appreciative audience from across the globe. For further info: www.rumandbeerfestival.com
WORLD TRAVEL MARKET 2012 5th – 8th November 2012, ExCel London This leading global event for the travel industry is a vibrant must attend four-day businessto-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and international travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. For further info: www.wtmlondon.com
65TH ANNUAL GULF & CARIBBEAN FISHERIES INSTITUTE (GCFI) 5th – 9th November 2012, Santa Marta, Columbia The GCFI will be comprised on oral sessions and poster sessions. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee. The special sessions and workshops are on: Innovation & technology to improve survey capabilities, developing strategies for management and conservation, and invasive lionfish control and management. For further info: www.gcfi.org
CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF BANKS (CAB) AGM 2012 14th – 17th November 2012. Montego Bay Convention Centre, Rose Hall, Jamaica The 39th AGM and conference will be held under the theme: “Partnering for Regional Transformation, Development and Growth: Empowering the Financial Services Sector.” The conference will address issues that will influence regional and global financial policies impacting member states. For further info: www.cabconferencejamaica.com BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
MAJOR MOVES Debra Ross joined J.E. Bergasse & Company Ltd. on in January 2012, and on July 2nd, 2012, she was appointed to the position of Sales Manager – B2B E-Commerce, Stationery & Office Supplies; with responsibility for driving sales for stationery and office supplies including paper, inks, toners and small office equipment. In addition, she is responsible for B2B E-Commerce, a new service now available to all J.E.Bergasse customers. Debra has over 30 years of business experience. She has worked in Sales and Marketing, Logistics/Operations, Customer Relations and Finance. Prior to joining J.E. Bergasse, Debra worked 11 years in Bermuda in the office supplies industry. The last 5 years were with A.F. Smith Trading Co. Ltd as V.P. Business Development where she was responsible for promoting the company’s products and services to clients island wide, growing accounts and the B2B E-Commerce revenue as much as 126%. Debra has an outstanding reputation for building strong client relationships and promoting value added services. Debra brings a wealth of experience to the Sales and Marketing department and J.E.Bergasse welcomes her to the management team with great expectations of value added services to its customers. Nancy Joseph has been appointed the HR Manager of J. E. Bergasse & Co. Ltd. She is responsible for the Human Resource Administration of the five companies that make up the J. E. Bergasse Group of Companies. Ms. Joseph joined the Company as Assistant to the Sales Manager in June 2008 and was promoted to HR Supervisor in October 2010. She is a friendly and down to earth individual with a warm smile. She holds a Bachelors Degree of Science in Management Studies from the University BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
of the West Indies (St. Augustine Campus) and is presently is pursuing a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management and Development from the University of Leicester. Ms. Joseph believes the role of Human Resource Management in organisations has changed over the years from one of personnel administration to a strategic partner and change agent. It is about helping employees to realise they are partners in the organisation and that their commitment is essential to the continued success of the companies they work for. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has appointed St. Lucian, Andy Delmar, to the position of Director, Retail Banking Operations. He is responsible for the operations of all retail banking branches in the 17 countries in which CIBC FirstCaribbean operates. Mr. Delmar has had a varied career with the bank developing his expertise and experience. He previously held the position of District Manager, EC Islands with responsibility for the retail, wealth and small business. He has also served as a director of the FirstCaribbean International Finance Corporation and other boards outside of CIBC FirstCaribbean. Prior to that, he held a number of senior regional positions within the bank. Mr. Delmar has an MBA specializing in Financial Services Management from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Bankers. The bank’s Managing Director, Retail Banking & Small Business, Rolf Phillips noted, “His varied assignments at CIBC FirstCaribbean have created a wellrounded individual, who has an excellent understanding of our system and financial services generally. I am positive that Andy has the right mixture of skills to allow him to excel in this role.”
Dr. Ubaldus Raymond has taken up the prestigious senior post of Chief Economist in the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony has regretfully accepted his resignation of from the Senate and, consequently, as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs. Dr. Raymond is the holder of a Ph.D. in Development Economics from Howard University in Washington D.C., USA, and prior to returning to St. Lucia to contest the 2011 General Elections in the constituency of Castries North for the Saint Lucia Labour Party, he served for seven years as Senior Economist in the Department of the Environment and the DC Public Service Commission in Washington DC and as Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida A&M University in the Department of Economics. Ubaldus ‘Jimmy’ Raymond possesses a wealth of experience and training in areas such as monetary and fiscal policy, macroeconomics, microeconomics, international finance, corporate finance, and managerial economics, which will serve him in good stead in his new position. The Prime Minster, on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers, wishes Dr. Ubaldus Raymond the very best in his new position and is confident that he will continue to make our country proud. Chris Relf & Sarah Watts are the new General Managers of Ti Kaye Village Resort & Spa.
Sarah has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and has a wealth of
MAJOR MOVES experience. She started with Virgin Hotels in the early 1990’s in Food & Beverage and gradually worked her way through all departments, to finally end up at the top of the tree, as such. In more recent years, she was F&B Manager at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI, spent 1 year at Ritz Carlton in the USVI as F&B Manager, then returned to the BVI as F&B Director / Assistant GM at Biras Creek Resort. Chris has spent many years in IT, starting in basic IT support and ending up project managing global multi-million dollar technical projects for corporate companies such as Unilever, Gillette and Mercedes Benz. He then turned to the hospitality industry, working in Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Vanuatu, the BVI and Fiji, gaining a vast knowledge of many areas across several industries. Chris & Sarah met in the BVI and have recently returned ‘home’ to the Caribbean after managing resorts in Fiji for 3 years. They actually stayed at Ti Kaye Village as guests in 2006 and are very excited to be back in St. Lucia, and at especially at Ti Kaye Village with the ’Ti Kaye Family’! The business community has welcomed the appointment of a businessminded former manufacturer as the new Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister of St. Lucia. The position is now held by Dr. Alison Plummer, a former Director of the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards, where she served for several years. She is also a former Vice President of the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA). The new Permanent Secretary was also an investor in the beverage industry, having been one of the original directors of AMK Inc, the Cul De Sac operation now run by WINFRESH, producers of the new H2O bottled water. Dr. Plummer is a young businesswoman who has often spouted the need for fresh approaches to how business is done today. In her new position, former fellow manufacturers and other businesspersons
expect Dr. Plummer to balance the needs of the state with the concerns of the business community on related national issues. Debra Charles is the Managing Director of the Diabetic Foot Health Clinic where she is a podiatrist. Debra’s employment background was in hospitality but she gave that up to study and gain a BSc. in Podiatric Medicine at the University College London (UCL). Although she is a General Podiatric Practitioner, her specialist field is Diabetic Foot Health which she often finds to be extremely rewarding. With the experience she gained from working for the National Health Service in North London, her love for Saint Lucia has now brought her to return home to practice. Her decision was also influenced by her awareness of the high incidence of diabetes and the high rate of diabetes related amputation in St. Lucia. Being able to prevent problems, offer advice and improve a person’s mobility and quality of life gives her great job satisfaction. McHale Andrew is now the Chief Executive Officer of the National Development Corporation (NDC), trading as Invest Saint Lucia. He was most recently the Executive Vice President of the SLHTA and is also a former Research and Development Advisor at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO); past Permanent Secretary in Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Tourism; and previously Director of External Relations at the ECCB and an economist at the Ministry of Finance in St. Lucia. McHale holds a degree in Economics & Law from UWI and a master's in Economics, Law & Policy-Making from the London
School of Economics. He has gained over 25 years of public and private sector working experience in the Caribbean in economic policy, sustainable development, tourism policy, international trade, investment policy, project management and business planning. He has written extensively on developmental policy and is also an elected partner of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), which has allowed him to represent the region at several Green Economy forums. Mr. Andrew is an avid adherent of the “triple bottom line” approach to development that gives equal consideration to the economic, environmental and social aspects and believes in a proactive approach to investment promotion, focused on targeting strategic investments that ultimately assist in positively transforming St. Lucia’s economy, society and the welfare of its people. Economist Jwala Rambarran has assumed duties as Trinidad & Tobago’s Central Bank Governor effective mid July 2012. He was selected by the People's Partnership Government to replace outgoing Governor Ewart Williams who spent a decade at the Bank. He previously worked at the bank for 14 years as a senior economist.He holds a BSc. in economics and mathematics from the University of the West Indies (UWI), and an MSc. in financial economics from the University of London. Rambarran is a graduate of executive economic and financial training programmes from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the IMF Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Central Bank issued a statement welcoming Rambarran, and pledged that the bank's management stood ready to work with the new governor in the pursuit of the bank's mandate. Courtesy: Trinidad Express
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS DIRECTORS
Seed Foundation Inc
To develop the young people of Saint Lucia Philip H Cenac in our communities and the world at large Veronique Abraham Leona Cadette Jane Charles
Caledonia Outdoor Advertising Company St Lucia Ltd.
Large format printing, Installation of tri-media and billboards Event planning
Robert McCook Oral McCook Everton Patterson Christine McCook
Q Homes Ltd.
Selling of home and household supplies, restaurant.
Li Zhang Qing Fa Han
Pablo Farms Ltd
Selling of agricultural produce and live stock
Kurt Mathurin Ernest Lubrin Sancha Gustave
West Hill Trust Ltd
Project management, cost estimate, steel Bertrand Johannes frames and design build
To engage in the operation of information and knowledge management consulting
Merle St. Clair Auguste
Walk Fit Inc.
Karate, health and fitness
Outsource St Lucia Inc.
Outsourcing of administration, business, residential and domestic services
Emunite Fiscal Solutions Ltd
Glenrick White Claudia Emmanuel
Davidâ€™s Modern Services Inc.
Refrigeration and air conditioning, construction (plumbing, electrical, sheet rock, tiling, painting)
Regional Fishing Industry Ltd
Retail of fish
Kurt Garvin Daniel Michael Robert Daniel Nervelin Maura Tobierre
Jean Marc Karouby Yvon Marc Aouizerate
Scarlette International Ltd.
Real estate investment and development
To carry on the business of restaurant and bar
Richardson Skinner Simone Skinner
Retail optical and sunglasses outlet
Fairwind Villa Limited
Daniel Fremont Orsolya Czinege
Netshop (St. Lucia) Limited
Courier & shipping
Glenn Charlemagne Lelia Andrew-Charlemagne
Glitter Nails Ltd.
To carry on the business of offering spa, hair salon, nail and general beauty services in St. Lucia
Rebecca Richard Steve Jameson
Pest Exterminators Limited
Pest control treatment
Hazel Ked Leon
FBA Secure Shred (St. Lucia) Inc.
To store and shred documents
Frank Bruce Armstrong Brian Arthur Cozier
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
Valley Lumber & Building Material Inc.
Sale of building materials, hardware and related products
Thomas Ambrose Thomas Ambrose Jr. Marietta Ambrose
ZENITH Corporate Finance Ltd.
egistered agent service Financial & management services Corporate services
Gail V. Philip-Jawahir Stephen C. Julien
Charles Customs Services Inc
Jesse Charles Thecla Joseph
Ti Morn Inc
Xtreme Sports (St. Lucia) Ltd
The sport of paintball, other types of unique, unconventional sporting and entertainment services
Carrime St. Rose Robin Schouten
Saverâ€™s Smart Variety Store Limited
Retail variety outlet
Hyacinthia Romulus Agnes Romulus
To carry on the trade or business offering Dr. Charles Isidore D.C office space for rent and inclusive of other property rentals
Mommyâ€™s World Inc.
Retail prenatal and postnatal supplies
Chandra Pierre Delano Pierre
MSCE CO. Ltd
Engineering company, consultancy services and other related matters
Everlight Consulting Services Inc.
Wadu Zakhour Anibal Wadih Cristina Slieman
Dennery Seafood Vendors Association Inc.
To carry on the business of buying and selling seafood whether wholesale or retail
Valentina K. Evans-Alphonse Clayton P. Bissette Cirita Joseph
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Incorporated
Propagation of the gospel through religious ministry
Kehinde A. Raji Monica Edwin Marguerite Ann Allain James Oloyede
Celebration Avenue Inc.
Vernesa St. Ange Jonelle Fabiana James Jasen Francis James Hassan Lorenzo Euristee
Purchase and sale of medical supplies
Christy Daniel Marcia Dupre
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God Incorporated
Rohan Maurice Taylor Kerry Denay Taylor Algon Herman Salmon May Corrine James
Property holding company
To engage in electrical and refrigeration installation, AC and DC installation for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes. Grounding installation and lightening range protection.
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
Bargain Mansion Limited
Promotion and facilitation of shopping facilities through the internet and by gift certificates
Distinct Water Inc.
Marcus Norbert Felicien
Island Excursions Limited
Promotion of tours, social outings and other excursions
Alvin & Grant Cruises Inc.
Touristic activities, water taxi/boating services and entertainment
Alvin Philip Grant Raymond
Emunite Energy Solutions Ltd
Glenrick White Claudia Emmanuel
Christopher Taxi Services Inc.
Christopher Leon Calixte Leon Marie Magdalene Beatrice Leon
Mary Crispina St Martin Semonette Alexander
Jn. Louis Training and Consulting (J.T.C) Inc.
Project management, consultancy, training and accounting services
Jeanette Jn. Louis-Hughes
To carry on the business of wholesale and Marco Esper retail and general merchandise.
Big Mama Boutique Limited
To carry on the business of wholesale and Adiby Esper retail of general merchandise.
Quality Aggregates (St.Lucia) Ltd
To purchase, take on lease immovable properties and mines, and also acquire concessions, leases and license in mines and mining rights. To be retailers and wholesalers of sand, aggregates, quarry products, cement and other materials.
Zenith Construction & Supplies Ltd.
Procurement and sale of construction material, equipment. Sale of construction services and related services.
Very Efficient Projects (V.E.P) Limited
Construction and all activities related to construction.
Vincent Patrice Earl Michael Hart Stephen Pius Aubertin
Industrial Metal Craft (IMC) Ltd.
Metal fabrication, machine shop
BusinessFocus Sept / Oct
The Business of Tourism