Issue No. 67
Health and Wealth www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com
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Jan / Feb 2013
61. Health and Wealth 62. Health is a Fundamental Development Building Block 64. Healthy Signs for Better Business in Medical Care and Services 68. New $175M National Hospital to be Open by June 78. We’re Changing the Face of Health Care in St. Lucia!
04. Editor’s Focus
32. Environmental Focus
06. Business Briefs
38. Business Spotlight 40. Baron Foods Ltd. Sweeps Caribbean Business Awards
Business Tech 08. LIME Helps Set the Stage for Public Sector Modernisation 10. Cyber Forensics in the Cloud. Cloud? What Cloud? 12. Growing the Digital Economy 14. That 2 Letter Word –How Important Is It to Your Business! 16. When They Move, You Move.... Money Matters 18. You and Your Money How to Manage Personal Debt 20. Innovating Small Business Financing 24. RBC launches $35m Regional Operations Centre 28. IMF to Distribute Gold Sales Profits to Boost Crisis Lending to Caribbean
In The Know 48. Joint Ventures: A Vehicle For Business Growth 50. Chamber of Commerce Holds 128th AGM 52. The 5 Classic Rules of Good Business 56. Bring More Than Your Degree 58. Putting a Price on Business 100. Tourism Focus 102. Bizz Buzz 104. Events 2012 106. Major Moves 107. New Company Registrations
Economy & Trading Focus 30. New IDB/China Exim Funding Initiative could benefit Region 32. Ten Must-dos for Businesses in the Decade Ahead 34. Climate Change Affecting Caribbean Hotel Industry
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Health and Wealth!
BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh email@example.com Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - email@example.com Hudson Myers - firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services
A wealthy nation isn’t necessarily a healthy one. But a healthy nation is indeed wealthy – and in the most important of all resources. Being well beats being rich, even if we wish there was no connection between the two. Since the last edition of BF, the state of the world’s wealth has become even more unhealthy. The Euro Zone is battling recession as several member-states slide into depression; the USA is preparing for fiscal gridlock on Capitol Hill; and all previous growth estimates everywhere are being revised, preferably downward. It’s been no better for us in this part of our world, vulnerable as we are to any shocks or jolts in the world’s economic health. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says the weak global economy, mainly due to the difficulties faced by Europe, United States and China, has affected growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. In terms of sub-regions, ECLAC says the Caribbean will grow by 1.6%, Central America by 4.4% and South America by 2.8%. St. Lucia starts 2013 on what we all hope will be a road to recovery of the state of health of the nation’s economic health. But there are early signs that should we all not take all the necessary medicines in all the right dosages, the economy - and its constituent parts - will not be able to any further withstand another of the bad coughs and colds it normally suffers every time the world economy sneezes. As the administration prepares its second budget after its first year in office, all signs are that the national deficit will certainly widen before it starts to close. The Number One priority will have to be for the 2013-2014 National Budget to be sufficiently well crafted, yet flexible enough to stem the tide and stop the slide. Citizens have an equal responsibility to ensure our best of health, and we’re also beginning a year in which the nation’s public health sector will be starting to go through some beneficial changes. New hospitals and other health institutions and facilities will cost hundreds of millions but the objective is to lay the basis to provide better health services to the nation. In this our first issue for 2013, BF focuses a wealth of attention on health. We bring you all we could find on all you need to know about the state of St. Lucia’s health as it transitions to a healthier stage. Our special feature section brings you, as usual, stories and images in the colour and shine that will also tell and show the state of our nation’s wealth. We also bring you in this our first issue for 2013 those regular healthy stories about the businesses – here, there and everywhere - that significantly contribute to society’s wealth. Here’s hoping this issue’s wealth of words and pictures will help infuse you with the healthy feeling that normally comes from digestion of wealthy information. After all, information is the both healthiest and wealthiest food for the brain.
Happy 2013 – and Happy Reading! Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Photography: Advertising & Marketing Services Ashley Anzie | MASL | Bernard Fanis | Stan Bishop Raul Joseph Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop | Pilaiye Cenac | Dr Azmina Long Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun | Dr Owen Gabriel Keitha Glace | Faithaline Hippolyte | Nahum Jn Baptiste First Citizens Investment Services | Dr Ricardo Ramdhan Bevil Wooding | Janice Sutherland | Kerry-Ann Heavens Sir Richard Branson | Carla Bridglal | Betty Combie Cassandra Simon | Ministry of Health Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email: email@example.com 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. 67
On The Cover: St Lucians Turn Out in Their Thousands for the 2012 Yoplait Walk for Cancer. Cover Photo: Raul Joseph Health Wealth
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BUSINESS BRIEFS However, among the service producers, Anguilla, Montserrat, Jamaica and St Kitts and Nevis are projected to post negative growth in 2013.
Projects 3.8% Growth for Caribbean in 2013 Economic growth for the Caribbean is projected to be around 3.8 per cent in 2013, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said recently. This growth is, however, predicated on developments in the world economy— in particular the Eurozone crisis settling, China and India increasing their consumption and the United States resolving its impending fiscal cliff. "The picture taking shape is thus one of slow overall growth and continuing uncertainty, which may worsen should geopolitical tensions disrupt the functioning of certain critical markets, such as the petroleum markets," the UN organisation said in its preliminary overview of regional economies launched in December 2012 at ECLAC's sub-regional head office in Trinidad. Caribbean countries are still on a fragile fiscal footing, and need fiscal reform along with external support to firmly gain sustainable fiscal consolidation paths. The outlook did not rule out a lower growth prospect, given external risks. "The resilience Latin America and the Caribbean has shown thus far would be more severely tested... a growth slowdown in the US would affect Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean," the report said. It is expected that overall growth in the Caribbean will be slightly better than last year, although the impact of Hurricane Sandy may have some spill over effects into next year. This may see an increase in construction activity as well as an increase also in food prices, due to its impact on agriculture. The region as a whole grew marginally relative to last year, with the goods producers posting 3.2 per cent and the service producers 0.4 per cent. Guyana, Belize and Suriname continue to post substantial growth rates buoyed up by high prices in gold and agricultural exports. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Scotiabank Named Global Bank of the Year Scotiabank received recognition as Global Bank of the Year from “The Banker” magazine, a Financial Times publication. The bank was also recognized in seven other categories, including Bank of the Year for the Americas. Financial institutions are judged by The Banker on their ability to deliver shareholder returns and gain strategic advantage. "We are honoured to be the first Canadian bank to be recognized as Global Bank of the Year," said Rick Waugh, CEO of Scotiabank. "At Scotiabank we pride ourselves on our ability to earn a strong return on capital while staying true to the risk management culture that has been a driving force of our success for more than 180 years. "Scotiabank has a strong track record of delivering superior results and at the heart of that success is our culture, which is rooted in our values and good business judgement," added Mr. Waugh. Scotiabank was also recognized by the magazine as Bank of the Year in Canada, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. The Banker's Bank of the Year Award is in its 12th year. The magazine is the world's longest running international banking magazine, recognized as a leading source of information on finance and investment around the globe. The magazine is a key source of data and analysis for the banking industry and is read in more than 180 countries.
Gulf Insurance to be Sold to Suriname Firm A Suriname-based insurance company has made an offer to acquire 100 per cent of Gulf Insurance Limited, the general insurance company that is based in Trinidad, but operates throughout the region.
An internal memorandum sent to staff and agents of Gulf Insurance indicated that the offer from Assuria NV of Suriname had been accepted by the trustee and bondholders of the local company. The memo was released by John Gonzales, Gulf Insurance’s CEO. Assuria NV which is the largest insurance company in Suriname is in the process of getting approval from the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago and from the Central Bank of Suriname. Through its operating companies, Assuria offers life and general insurance, including term, endowments and pension insurances (annuities), motor, property, liability, travel and health insurances and is a large institutional investor with substantial interest in a number of leading companies in Suriname.
Republic Bank buys 8.9% in Ghana’s HFC Bank for US$8m In keeping with its expansion strategy and its focus on areas outside of its traditional Caribbean markets, Republic Bank Ltd has confirmed its recent purchase of an 8.9 per cent stake in HFC Bank in Ghana, Africa. In commenting on the purchase, Republic Bank’s Managing Director, David Dulal-Whiteway said the bank had been considering a number of overseas interests over the last few years, and decided on the HFC opportunity, following HFC’s recent private placement to raise 50 million Ghana cedis. Republic Bank’s investment in the shares of HFC is put at US$8 million. In a statement, Dulal-Whiteway said the investment in HFC will open up for Republic Bank’s local business clients, new opportunities to do business on the African continent. “Africa, and in particular Ghana has been a key growth area for international business, and several of our Trinidad and Tobago corporate clients have been actively exploring those markets. Conversely, Republic Bank’s strong knowledge of oil and gas financing business here in the Caribbean would prove beneficial to the African bank,” said DulalWhiteway.
BUSINESS BRIEFS Republic Bank is a significant shareholder in St Lucia’s ECFH Financial Group and recently acquired majority ownership of the Barbados National Bank which has since been rebranded as Republic Bank Ltd in Barbados.
ment Association (IDA). The overall development objective of EGRIP is to promote the efficiency, quality, and transparency of public services in the beneficiary countries, through the delivery of regionally integrated e-government applications that take advantage of economies of scale.
Caribbean Fishers to Benefit from Euro Project
OECS Launches Tax E-filing System The OECS Secretariat has launched the Official Project Launch for the regional Tax E-filing System financed under EGRIP. The new system was introduced in St. Lucia in late 2012. Mr. Randolph Cato, Senior Director at the OECS Secretariat and Mr. Trevor Braithwaite, Deputy Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank delivered remarks. Saint Lucia’s Minister for the Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Senator Dr. James Fletcher presented the feature address. The Front End Tax E-filing System has been designed to enable electronic registration; filing of declarations and returns; electronic payments of taxes; interfacing in principle, with any underlying core tax administration system; and allowing for integration with the banking system for payments and refunds, including payments through a future regional payments gateway. The developers of the new system will also facilitate a five-day Inception Workshop for major stakeholders involved in tax administration including Permanent Secretaries, Tax Comptrollers and Information Technology staff. The Governments of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have each received soft loan financing in an amount equivalent to US$2.4 Million, from the World Bank, for implementation of the OECS Electronic Government for Regional Integration Project (EGRIP). The loans are provided under a special facility of the concessional lending arm of the World Bank, the International Develop-
St Vincent’s Vinlec to Invest in Hydro Electricity Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says the island’s sole electricity provider is to invest in a project to upgrade hydro electricity during 2013. Speaking at the 19th annual convention of his ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) in December, 2012, Gonsalves said that the St Vincent and the Grenadines Electricity Services (Vinlec) had a budget of EC$31 million (one EC dollar = US$0.37) for 2013 including funds for the hydro development project. Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy. Gonsalves said an additional 1.1 megawatts of hydro power would become available, adding “right now hydro provides 20 per cent, about four megawatts of power for St Vincent. “By putting on an additional 1.1 megawatts of capacity it will go to one quarter, 25 per cent. Last year because we had a lot of rain, 22 per cent of the electricity which was generated was generated in St Vincent by hydro power. “You paid at an average of EC$0.46 cents per unit per kilowatt hour for the fuel surcharge. If we did not have the hydro, you would have paid EC$0.64 cents per unit. So you understand why I have to invest in the hydro, “he told supporters at the convention held under the theme “Consolidating the renewal of party and government.” Gonsalves said Vinlec would also invest more than eight million dollars next year in providing an additional 100 kilowatts of solar energy.
Fisherfolk across the Caribbean are set to benefit from a timely €117,956 project which will help them develop a more sustainable and professional industry. The project will also target the quality of life of the fisherfolk and the nutrition obtained from seafood. The project will enable fisherfolk to continuously engage policymakers as they increase their participation in the formulation of key regional fisheries policies. Additionally, regional and national networking will be bolstered as the fisherfolk gain strength in advancing their interests. Entitled “Implementing the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy: Positioning and Engaging Fisher Folk Organisations”, the project will foster one-week consultation on the implementation and mainstreaming of regional fisheries policies into small-scale fisheries governance arrangements in the Caribbean. It aims to build insight into fisheries ecosystems and the likely impacts of the fishing techniques used on various ecosystems while expanding knowledge on common fisheries management tools which take into account climate change and disaster risk reduction. The project will be undertaken through the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) which was recently awarded a 12-month contract by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA). The CRFM-CTA project will engage executives as well as members of national fisherfolk organisations in 15 ACP member countries who are part of the CRFM/CARIFORUM group, as well as representatives from partnering organisations and is expected to positively contribute to sound, key regional fisheries policies that take into account small-scale fisher folk positions and their proposals. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
LIME Helps Set the Stage for Public Sector Modernisation A one-day information and communications technology (ICT) conference hosted by LIME, which was attended by Government ministers and senior executives from the Public Service, has been hailed a huge success. Dozens turned out for the event which was held at the Royal Saint Lucian Resort & Spa in October. The consensus is that the forum was quite dynamic and exciting, and a wealth of information was provided that proved to be very enlightening. The participants included Minister for Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport, Hon. Philip J. Pierre, Minister of Legal and Home Affairs and National Security, Hon. Philip LaCorbinere and Minister for the Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science & Technology, Hon. Dr. James Fletcher. Also present were permanent secretaries and high-level decision makers from the public
LIME GM Chris Williams & Hon Philip La Corbiniere
sector, including recently introduced Director of Public Sector Modernisation, Dr Cletus Bertin and representatives of the Customs, Inland Revenue and Electoral departments, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force and the Saint Lucia Fire Service. LIME’s goal in organising the conference was to stimulate discussions and offer suggestions on how the governments BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
of St. Lucia and the wider region can use ICT to modernise and transform the process of governance, increase efficiency and productivity and improve service delivery to the public. The theme of the event was “LIME, Partnering with Government for Success.” It was staged in collaboration with partners like Ernst & Young and Checkpoint Security. Similar forums are being held by LIME in Barbados and Jamaica. In his welcome address to the gathering, LIME St. Lucia General Manager, Chris Williams said, “These forums represent the continuation of our journey to present a transformational vision and possibilities for reforming the public sector with technology and solutions that are cutting-edge and citizen-centric.” He noted that the region’s governments face daunting challenges, including unprecedented fiscal pressures, a demand for instant online services; inefficiencies and waste in the public service and a globally competitive environment. “All these emphasise the need for real transformation of the way we do things... a transformation that requires not just simply upgrading your hardware and software but a real programme of changes from structures to processes to strategy,” Mr Williams added, reaffirming LIME’s commitment to supporting the government’s plans to utilise ICT technologies as one of the primary drivers of economic growth and development. Minister for the Public Service, Dr. James Fletcher delivered the feature address. He spoke eloquently to the need for the government to work closely with all telecommunications service providers to reduce costs and increase access and
efficiency, and to enable the sort of governance that the St. Lucia Labour Party spoke of in its manifesto. “Whether we are talking about education, health, security, we as a Government must seek to realise greater efficiencies. Ultimately our goal is to make things easier for the end user, the customer and the or-
Dr. James Fletcher addresses Gathering
dinary citizen, to enable provision of a wider range of basic services more quickly,” Dr. Fletcher explained. During the sessions members of the LIME team and representatives of LIME’s ICT solution suppliers delivered presentations that enabled the conference delegates to get a full appreciation of the range and capabilities of LIME’s communications technologies and systems, and its ability to provide the connected ICT platform needed to help the government enhance communications between its ministries, departments and sub-agencies and deliver services more efficiently to the public. BF
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BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Cyber Forensics in the
What Cloud? By Ricardo Ramdhan, Ph.D. Over the last few years, Cloud Computing has developed a following throughout the globe and also in the Caribbean. While Cloud Computing is unique in its design it is not totally “new” technology. Virtual Storage has been around for years – aka the likes of Citrix, SharePoint, Netstorage, IBM etc. However, over the past few years Cloud Computing has gained traction.
What is Cloud Computing?
For ease of understanding, Cloud Computing is the emergence of a model that separates application and information resources from the underlying infrastructure, and the mechanisms used to traditionally deliver them. The American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines Cloud Computing as “…a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable and dynamic computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with little management effort or service provider interation.” As mentioned earlier, Cloud Computing is not a new technology, not by any stretch, however, it’s a new way way of providing computing resources and applications on demand. These resources are varied but generally fit into one of three main delivery models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
What is Cyber Forensics?
We have all heard the terms – Cyber Crime and Cyber Forensics before, but a clearly defined view is sometimes eluding. Cyber BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Forensics are the usage of tools, expertise and most importantly knowledge and experience in recreating access logs and trails so that it is clear where, when and by whom fraud was committed. In the Caribbean we are seeing the top-down effect of timelines decreasing more and more. Whereas a few decades ago, criminal technology took some years before it filtered to our part of the globe, now it is happening with less and less of a gap. This is alarming for us and should be also for other regional countries. In later articles, we will explain what it is the good guys can do and how it is we must change our thinking in order to deter and apprehend law-breakers.
What is Cloud Forensics?
Cloud Forensics is not unlike traditional Computer Forensics, it is the art and science of applying computer science knowledge and skills to aid the legal process. This can be needed for several reasons from white collar financial crime to partial evidence needed for capital crimes. When acquiring digital artifacts in the cloud, whether for preservation, presentation, collection and storage in a court of law, or the internal investigation of employees misuse, basic forensic principles and processes apply. We will discuss the forensic process in brief in this article. The forensic process is broken into four distinct, succinct steps:
← Collection – artifacts (defined as digi-
tal evidence and supporting material) that are considered of potential value. ← Preservation – artifacts must be preserved in a way that is reliable, accurate,
complete and most importantly – verifiable! ← Filtering – the analysis of artifacts so that only relevant items are included. ← Presentation – the step that evidence is presented to support an investigation or case. Cloud Forensics applies the same forensic process as cyber forensics [previously defined in this article] but has the additional challenge of combining various physical and logistical locations. Three distinct areas come to mind:
← Client-side – technical controls or
monitors implemented on networks and computers under the clients’ control or ownership [Intrusion Detection System (IDS), Web Content engine logging, firewalls, access log, chat logs (locally), etc.]. ← Combined-side – technical controls or monitors implemented on networks and computers allocated to cloud customers (access logs, transaction logs, usage logs, etc.)
← Provider-side – technical controls or
monitors implemented on networks and computers that support or comprise the cloud service (firewalls, load balancers, admin access logs, IDS, NetFlow data, etc.)
Challenges with Cloud Forensics?
A challenge facing anyone involved in Cloud Forensics is to provide sufficient pure forensic data from the cloud to prove that the alleged event/activity occurred. In some case, you would not be able to create a bit-by-bit copy of the evidence, but it
is likely that a snapshot of the existing data from the cloud will be able to be recreated using access logs to the cloud resource [verifiable by the client-side NetFlow and/or firewall logs and providerside firewall logs, as well as access logs on the suspect’s laptop/ desktop/tablet which were used to access the data]. The current challenge is to convince other parties [law-enforcement, judicial etc.] that the event DID occur as you said it did! Presently in other parts of the globe [North America and Europe], digital evidence is beginning to be relied upon just as greatly as judicial evidence in the conviction of persons involved in crimes. The tide has been changing and very soon, our own legal process must adopt and adapt to the changes. There are two other challenges that are technical in nature but surmountable if we adopt the mentality to overcome and these are location and time:
← Location – before network or Computer Forensics can commence, the source device must be found. It may be physical or it may be virtual. It may reside on a dispersed, internationallylocated physical drive, data may have been deleted from a striped multi-disk array unit; or forensics may reside within another cloud vendor storage system which would mean court orders in order to be retrieved. ← Time – once the information source is identified, we must be sure that there is a consistent time across all networks and timezones [Network Timing Protocol (NTP)]. If a forensic expert has a difficult time convincing counsel that the time stamps from the source/defendant’s log files match the Provider’s side logs – the forensics will be difficult to defend.
your organization and the Cloud-Service-Provider. This is extremely important because when the moment when you need to employ Fraud and Forensics analysis comes, you will want to be at ease knowing that your SLA and other agreements do not hinder your quest for answers.
Conclusion? There are many technical and physical issues with performing Cloud Forensics that need to be further researched and addressed. One thing is for certain, whilst the methods for conducting criminal activities are expanding at an astronomical rate, law-enforcement methods are playing the catch-up game. In later articles, we will describe some of the things that we in the Caribbean can do [both client-side and law-enforcement agencies] in keeping up with or getting in front of the law-breakers when possible. BF About the Author Dr. Ricardo Ramdhan is the head of the Information Systems, Security and Intelligence Unit at Amalgamated Security Services Limited, the parent company of Alternative Security Services St. Lucia Limited. He has been formally trained in Cyber Security and Fraud & Forensics and holds a Ph.D. in International Defence and Strategic Security and an M.Sc. in Information Security. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
Key Benefits of the Cloud and Associated Cyber Forensic Challenges? There are two key benefits of the cloud delivery model for subscribers:
← Cost-savings – Users pay only for the computing resources [i.e. applications, memory etc.] as needed and on demand. This payas-you-need model is analogous to the consumption of electricity or water.
……Associated Cyber Forensic Challenge – This elasticity poses a challenge to the forensics investigator due to resources such as disk space and memory allocated today but which may be overwritten and gone tomorrow.
← Infrastructure Independence – Cloud services can be used without the need to know or understand how the underlying infrastructure operates or where it is physically located
……Associated Cyber Forensic Challenge – This lack of understanding or simply “don’t care” for knowing makes it imperative that strong relationships and binding agreements are formed between BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Growing the Digital
Economy By Bevil Wooding Economic growth and technological innovation have always been inextricably linked. Today, challenging economic conditions on the domestic, regional and international fronts are putting new attention on the need for greater investment in the development of the digital economy generally and the Internet economy specifically. The Internet economy encompasses consumer consumption (including online purchases and Internet access), private and public investment, and net exports. During the past two decades alone the Internet has transformed industries and entire sectors and has become a powerful driver of economic growth. Measured as a separate industry the Internet economy is already outpacing some formidable traditional economic go-to sectors in developed markets. According to an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group, the Internet contributes as much as seven per cent or eight per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in some countries; and in every country, its size and impact on the economy is expected to increase. In the United States it now accounts for a larger slice of GDP than the federal government. In the UK, France and Australia it already has a higher percentage of GDP than Agriculture. In China it is among the top six industry sectors, surpassing education, hospitality and utilities. In South Korea it is among the top five and BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
it is poised for even further growth. By 2016, the researchers say three billion people - half the worldâ€™s population - will be online. The majority of them will be using mobile devices to access the web, which means theyâ€™ll be able to make purchases anywhere, anytime, once there is an available Internet connection. The statistics on the rapid growth of the global digital economy present a compelling argument. The growth of the digital sector is not just about websites, mobile apps, and tech firms. For producers of technology goods and services, it affects labour markets, exports and foreign exchange earnings. It also has a positive spill over impact on the education sector, investments markets and supporting service industries. The research firm IDC, reports that the size of total worldwide e-commerce, when global business-to-business and consumer transactions are combined will equate to US$16 trillion in 2013. When added to the global market for digital products and services (which the French technology research firm iDate estimates at US$14 trillion in 2013) the total size of the global digital economy is estimated at US$20.4 trillion, equivalent to roughly 13.8 per cent of all sales flowing through the world economy! Given the magnitude of these numbers it is clear that developing the digital economy should be a priority for any country
serious about securing its economic future; particularly in emerging markets like those in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and the Pacific. Understanding the scope and implication of this staggering growth will be critical for business executives, politicians and educators as they make decisions about investments, policy, strategy that impact both social and economic development. Executives and government leaders must be aware of the opportunities as well as the challenges that attend the digital economy. More importantly they must understand the levers that determine digital success or failure. To operate successfully on the global digital playing field, organisations and governments must reorganise to embrace the reality of the digital economy. This shift, properly enacted, can have profound positive implications for sustainable economic growth and social stability. Education, infrastructure, electronic commerce, intellectual property protection and innovation are critical components. Each requires clear national policy backed up by accessible implementation mechanisms. Lip service will not suffice. Neither fortune nor favour is on the side of those countries or companies that are slow to act. Economies in emerging markets, faced with the opportunity to redefine the moorings of their economic development, can choose to stick to the traditional sec-
tors and hope for a global rebound. Alternatively, they can embark on an entirely new, digital path. What is at stake goes well beyond the technology sector and even beyond the economic growth it facilitates. The path chosen will testify to the quality of leadership for this generation. No action should be without a philosophical underpinning; no journey without a sense of the destination. For the Caribbean, our investment in the digital economy must be tied to our vision for our future. That future is based on the natural creativity of our people, our collective faith and our proven capacity to compete on the world stage... and emerge victorious. Our decisions, for better or for worse, will be a statement to the next generation of the seriousness of our resolve to leave them an inheritance upon which their lives and the future of our Caribbean society will be based. The digital economy will continue to grow apace. It is now for us to decide if we will miss our moment and be steamrolled by it, or seize the opportunity to grow with it. BF About the Author: Bevil Wooding is the Founder and Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, an education-focused not-for-profit delivering values-based technology training programs including digital publishing and eBook creation workshops. He is also Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding and Facebook: facebook. com/bevilwooding
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
That 2 Letter Word –
How Important Is It to Your Business!
By Keitha Glace That iconic “F” symbol or that little “thumbs up” icon. A couple of years ago it would be just some nifty little graphic but oh, how things have changed, and so quickly. Now that famous “FB” better be on your website or else you are not utilizing the most prolific marketing tool in the history of the Internet thus far. Facebook has become THE basic building block to your existence online as a business. Users are looking for you on Facebook FIRST before they try and find you via your website link or a Google Search. Now as much as the phrase “Google It” is now part of our everyday language (to the point where someone has on a t-shirt – “No need to Google it – my wife knows everything”, the giant Google understands the importance of tapping into this huge network and behavioral pattern that we onliners are hooked on. They are actively following what people are searching for on Facebook and have made it part of the criteria for your site or business coming up in their search results. As much as you may still get resistance from the older generation of online users about – I don’t want to have anything to do with Facebook - because they either BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
don’t understand it or think it is just for their kids to play on, it has become very urgent - more than ever - that a company includes this form of marketing as part of their overall strategy. Now the question becomes, “How do I get more likes?” Well there are various ways, but remember users do not give their “thumbs up” so easily. They always want to know “What’s in it for me?” My “like” must be worth something. Businesses have to think very carefully before going down that road. And, once you do, you have set the stage and you now need to manage your fans’ and friends’ expectations, because they WILL want and expect more. So be sure you can deliver and keep up. It is like a rollercoaster ride. Hold on tight because it can get crazy. However with various tools out there and expertise which allow you to run contests, post interesting videos, easy to learn tricks and tips in the trade, you too can become a Facebook expert. The main ingredient ladies and gents, is TIME. This is required in order to be successful. If you don’t possess such a limited commodity, hire someone who will literally be dedicated to ensuring that every Facebook post is
relevant to your current campaign or offering, that you are answering every question posed about your products or sales, that they make good use of your Facebook ad dollars, and overall, allow you to save face on Facebook. To my fellow FB business owners – I know as challenging as it is to keep up with your company’s marketing needs – you absolutely must run along to catch up the best you can because the bus has already left the station a long time ago. If you want to learn more about how Facebook can impact your business do a simple search in Google on “How important is facebook to my business”. Lots of useful easy to use information will come your way. See you on FB. BF 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, specializing in online products and solutions for clients worldwide since 1998.
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They Move, You Move.... By Pilaiye Cenac Phones are smarter than ever. Computers have been squashed into tablets. Bookshelves can now fit into e-readers. No doubt Santa got a (much-needed) workout lugging sacks of smartphones, tablets and e- readers around this past season. Those new devices are ideal for modern-day society where people are constantly on the go, do not want to wait, and insist on no-hassle access. It looks like folks have resolved to keep moving in 2013, and organisations must not follow them, but accompany them - keep them company on the long trek to and from home; be there with them at the beach, at the mall, on their porch, at work. If organisations do not tag along, how and when will they deliver their messages to consumers preoccupied with their mobile devices? Organisations must move with the times. Mobile marketing aims to engage consumers as they go about their lives. To demonstrate, here are a few tools used by Water Company X (WCX): 1. Mobile-ize it: It is difficult to read a regular website from a mobile device; therefore, WCX optimized its internet website for mobiles. A mobile site should be easy to view and navigate on a mobile screen, and should focus on the features most important to on-the-go users. In the case of WCX, the company noticed that many customers were paying their bills from their mobile devices; therefore this company made the “Pay Your Bill” button prominent on the mobile site. 2. Do you have an App for that? Apps allow consumers to experience brands in a variety of ways, but they are the expensive options (cost of development and then deBusinessFocus Jan / Feb
sign per platform). Those interactive solutions provide entertainment, information, assistance, while pushing the brand message. WCX created a game for kids “The Race to Save the Environment” to encourage water conservation at home. 3. Can you say it in 160 characters? All handsets are SMS capable, and organisations can take advantage of this to provide information and interact with customers via text messaging. Customers can also use short codes to request specific information from the organisation - this level of interactivity beats a static poster. In the case of WCX, customers can request their bill amount via short code. WCX is also able to send a mass text message advising of an interruption in the water supply at a particular time. This is a very affordable and effective option, but brands should avoid spamming or in the case of mobile marketing “spimming”. 4. Voice it: Some organisations choose to reach their target via computer generated calls; this is known as voice marketing. Consumers hear a prerecorded message, and they can choose to listen or hang up. WCX uses this to advise customers of what is required to avoid disconnection. 5. Encode it: QR (quick response) codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can take consumers anywhere organisations want them to go. Customers with smart devices can scan displayed QR codes linked to text, emails, websites, phone numbers etc. WCX has QR codes on water bills to take consumers directly to the “Pay Your Bill” portal on the mobile site.
6. Ad it: Organisations can choose to display ads on mobile sites as they do on regular websites. Ads are also available on apps. Organisations should place ads on sites frequented by their target group and on apps used by that group. WCX has ads on Facebook mobile. 7. Keep them close: Bluetooth/ proximity marketing can be used to blast messages to Bluetooth-enabled devices. Persons on WCX’s premises are informed via PA system and posters that they can switch their Bluetooth on to receive tips on reducing their usage and consequently their bills. WCX had invested in understanding its target group before doing any of the above. They asked questions such as: 1. Are my customers Blackberry or Android users? 2. What do they use those devices for? 3. Yes, they own devices, but how tech-savvy are they? 4. Do they have the time to download and play games or use the app we have in mind? Email us with your own questions: firstname.lastname@example.org BF About the Author: Pilaiye Cenac is an entrepreneur. Her qualifications include a BSc. in Psychology and Sociology and an MSc. in Marketing. She is also a PMP® and a published writer. One of her companies, In Tandem, focuses on low cost approaches to enriching the customer experience.
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You and Your Money
Manage Personal Debt
At some point in our lives virtually all of us will encounter this four-letter word called debt. Debt can be defined simply as financial obligations or commitments owed to others. Although somewhat inconspicuous in meaning, debt can have a profound negative or positive impact on our lives. Consequently, learning how to manage personal debt is perhaps an indispensable life skill. It is important to understand that incurring personal debt is not inherently wrong. In fact, debt can be incurred for good reasons as well as bad. In general, good debt will have a high probability of creating future economic value for the individual with a low probability of impairing his short-term financial condition. In short, good debt creates valuable or productive personal assets without placing excessive strain on an individual's income. Mortgages and student loans are examples of good personal debt to the extent that the loan payments can be realistically serviced from the individual's current or future earnings. Bad debt however is debt that is unlikely to yield any future economic value to an individual and/or that is likely to contribute to worsening his financial condition. This suggests that incurring debt in BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
order to finance non-productive assets or discretionary expenditure represents poor financial planning even when the loan payments can be more than adequately serviced. This is usually exemplified by retail use of credit cards or by hire purchase acquisitions of some household items. That said, even the acquisition of productive assets via debt can prove to be damaging to the individual when the loan payments cannot be realistically serviced from the individual's expected earnings. This often occurs in the acquisition of real estate or specialized commercial equipment. Understanding what differentiates good debt from bad debt is of critical importance in making one's financial plans. The fallout from impulsive decision making on personal debt can be very painful and can endure for many years. Consequently, the decision to incur new debt must be critically evaluated at every juncture. If you currently have a debt problem or if you are committed to maintaining a healthy financial condition, the following debt management guidelines may prove helpful: 1) Firstly, in order to manage debt you must first know what you owe and to whom it is owed. A simple schedule that
itemises how much each creditor is owed and their corresponding interest rate is usually the first step in the debt management process. 2) Secondly, with the above schedule completed, one should target the repayment of the debt with the highest interest rate first. More often than not, this is the credit card debt. In working toward paying off credit card debt you should avoid falling into the minimum payment trap. Minimum payments might be low but they extend the term of the outstanding credit and ultimately cause you to pay much more interest. Additionally, some loan agreements carry variable interest rates which can change periodically. It is advisable to be vigilant to find out when and by how much interest rates change. 3) Thirdly, it is possible to accelerate debt reduction by prepaying installments. However, when you make a prepayment on some type of debt (that is, pay more than what is immediately due), you should ensure that the extra payment goes to principal only. This serves to reduce the total amount owed as well as lowering interest that will accrue going forward. Making prepayments wherever possible is generally advised since in most cases, speeding
up the debt repayment period usually leads to less overall interest payments over time. 4) Fourthly, depending on the nature of debt and condition of the debtor, it is worthwhile to consider re-negotiating terms with creditors. You may argue for a refinancing of credit card debt, having the interest rates reduced or repayment periods adjusted. Each of these can bring some short term relief to your debt burden. Renegotiation is a useful strategy particularly in periods of falling interest rates. If you've been a good customer in the past, the lending party may extend some goodwill toward your situation. However, you need to be wary of fees associated with debt restructuring as these may cancel off the benefits of the renegotiated terms. 5) Ultimately, the best way to manage debt is to avoid it. Therefore once debt has been pruned to a healthy level, one should immediately start budgeting wisely. Only through budgeting can an individual have a firm understanding of his or her sources of funds and take control of their financial situation. Starting a budget could mean simply allocating your income between savings and different categories of expenditure. One should keep a record of all spending so that the accuracy of your budgeting can improve over time. It is useful to set saving goals for particular objectives such as education, home ownership and emergencies. With respect to the latter, a useful guideline is to build cash or liquid investment balances of at least three months' worth of living expenses. Establishing and sticking to a budget leads to financial discipline as well as a more prudent assessment of needs versus wants and enhanced savings, which is the bedrock upon which long term wealth is built. BF
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Innovating Small Business Financing
It seems these days that the words ‘innovation’ and ‘innovation policy’ have attained a new found currency in the field of development economics and policy formation. Despite being de rigueur, the terms are often left in academic abstraction with seemingly little real world application. To the average person the word ‘innovation’ might conjure images of iPads, hybrid cars, and other technological advances – in essence, the creation of new products, or retooling old ones to make them more efficient. While these are critical in shaping stronger and more competitive businesses, and by extension, economies, innovation can also be systemic. That is to say, innovation can also involve shifting the approaches to doing business so as to build dynamic enterprises. One area which has seen a dearth of such profound change, particularly in the developing country context, is that of SME financing. In the wake of the global economic crisis Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have become the 'darlings' of economic growth. These companies are well poised, by virtue of their small size, to allow for inclusive, sustainable growth by dynamising industrialisation processes, stimulating employment and catalysing development in urban and rural areas. SMEs are also deemed to be better equipped to weather the storms of changing economic climates because of their innate ability to reconfigure and reform to suit the demands of a changing economy. Small businesses have historically been hobbled by the inability to access credit and other traditional financial markets. Thus, while the clarion call has been trumpeted for SMEs to become more competitive through product innovation, most lack the requisite financing to make that happen. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
One of the principal factors affecting small-business lending is the perceived high risk of default rate. Small businesses often have limited sources of capital other than bank lending. This means they have to rely on cash flow to maintain operating expenses and still pay the bank their monthly loan payments. Further, many small businesses are comprised of young entrepreneurs or new managerial staff. This can lead to a work-in-progress organisation where mistakes can often be costly. Thus, banks are sometimes reluctant to support these growing businesses because of the risk involved in losing their investment. Another issue is the perception of greater financial risk, as small businesses have fewer assets to borrow against. If few assets are available and a business finds itself in financial trouble, it may be forced to close. However, banks will often provide asset-based lending, where a commercial loan is tied to a company's assets. Most governments seek to bridge the gaps in SME financing through the implementation of various programmes which take the form of soft loans and grant funding. These, however, are both unstable and unsustainable as they are highly dependent on the vagaries of the prevailing economic climate at the given time. One suggestion has been the establishment of a Junior Stock Exchange designed to allow investors to put capital into fledgling companies that exhibit the potential to develop the local economy by creating established and transparent businesses, jobs and ultimately, economic confidence. The initiative has however been met with some reticence despite the obvious advantages primarily because of the fear that a publicly listed company can be purchased ‘lock stock and barrel’ by larger businesses in the market. In Trinidad and Tobago, where SMEs are primarily family owned and are viewed as a legacy to be handed down from generation to generation, this quite naturally is a major concern. Additionally, burdensome rules and regulations, the requirements of reporting, and the overall scrutiny, prove to be further disincentives to small businesses.
In small economies such as ours, more innovative financing options may indeed prove to present better options for success. One such 'innovation' is that of 'crowd funding' or 'crowd financing', which allows large numbers of 'regular' people to invest small amounts in the purchase of equity stakes in small businesses online. Using a website platform, small businesses are able to market their ideas to a large number of investors with a local and foreign reach. This level of personalisation in raising seed-funding makes it easier for small businesses to be able side-step the usual red tape that attend larger equity offerings, as well as offers an opportunity for small entrepreneurs to raise capital without giving away too much equity. It is essentially like receiving a gift or a donation that you get to spend on your favourite project. Additionally, people who are raising capital through crowd financing can also use this as a relatively inexpensive marketing tool. Publishing information about a product or a project with a goal of raising capital on a well-read crowd funding platform also raises product or brand awareness. Crowd funding is not just limited to one single website. Supporters of the project disseminate the information using their social networks and encourage people in their networks to do the same. For this reason crowd financing can be a strong complement to cluster development campaigns. Of course there are the downsides to crowd financing such as the lack of protection from 'poachers' of new business ideas, limitations in the amount of money that can be raised, and the regulation of crowdfund platforms. However, the implementation of proper legislation can help curtail some of the disadvantages. The United States government, for example, recently passed the "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS)" which now makes it legal for entrepreneurs to use crowd funding to raise a limited amount of early-stage equity-based financing. Though still in its early stages, it certainly provides a beacon of hope for small businesses. BF Courtesy: Business Express
Government Sets Target for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Ranking Aims to be in Top 10 in 4 Years
Hon. Emma Hippolyte Minister of Commerce Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte, has set a four-year target to improve St. Lucia’s position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. The Minister articulated that goal in her first address to the full membership of the Chamber of Commerce when it held its 128th Annual General Meeting recently. Ms. Hippolyte said government is moving forward with a number of reforms and policies that will include the establishment of a Commercial Court, an Investment Roadmap Project, an Investment Climate
Assessment Survey and development of an Investment Policy. The Investment Roadmap is an analytical tool that will be used for documenting and analysing Saint Lucia’s attractiveness for investment and serves as a catalyst for change. The road-mapping project will examine the processes involved in facilitating investments against the policy and regulatory systems. The investment climate assessment study is done every three years and it is an evaluation of the investment climate in Saint Lucia as it relates to its operational dimensions and promotion of policies to strengthen the private sector. The last survey was done in 2009 and the Ministry of Commerce will be conducting the 2012 survey in the coming months. The policies and projects discussed above will all lead to the much needed investment policy and strategy.
The Minister told Chamber members that the government of Saint Lucia continues to streamline and harmonize the administrative, regulatory and legal framework such as the upgrading of the e-registry software to facilitate efficient online filing of companies and name searches etc. The Ministry will redouble its efforts at ensuring that the process for filing and approval of applications for import licenses is streamlined and done through electronic interface. Ms. Hippolyte reiterated the Government of Saint Lucia’s commitment to improving St. Lucia’s investment climate, stating the “goal is to improve our ranking and be among the world’s top ten countries for doing business. This we want to achieve over the next four years,” she added. BF
Calls on Latam/Caribbean to Boost SME Financing IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno called on Latin America and the Caribbean to promote the development of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) so the region can continue to make progress in its poverty reduction efforts. “SMEs face a variety of barriers that prevent their growth, but most SMEs rate access to finance as the main obstacle,” said Moreno, during the inauguration of the XV Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise (Foromic 2012). The event was jointly organised by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, and the government of Barbados. “Without diminishing our attention on financial inclusion and the micro level, there are a series of initiatives we are developing to promote the growth of SMEs through greater access to finance, markets and information resources,” Moreno added. McKinsey and Company estimates that more than 35 per cent of the more than
1.1 million formal SMEs in the region do not have access to credit, and the existing financing gap amounts to between US$125 billion and US$155 billion. Speaking to an audience of about 1,000 people, Moreno noted that the IDB, the MIF and the Inter-American Development Corporation have been supporting SME development through several programs ranging from capacity building for women entrepreneurs, technical assistance for financial institutions to better assess credit risk of SMEs, and investments in venture capital funds. Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart stressed during his speech the importance of Foromic to stimulate entrepeneurship. “Barbados, like many other countries around the world, is facing tough economic times,” he said. “One of the new columns in which the economy must be rebuilt is that of entrepreneurship of all levels. The relevance and importance of a forum at this time, therefore, cannot be overstated.” Foromic is the leading forum
for exploring ways to support and finance microenterprises, SMEs, and small farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event, which for the first time was held in the English-Speaking Caribbean, focused on innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship is a powerful driver of both growth and poverty reduction, which is at the core of the MIF’s mandate,” said Nancy Lee, MIF’s General Manager. “The theme of this year’s Foromic about unlocking entrepreneurship through innovative solutions reflects our shared challenges of giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to start and grow their businesses. Foromic has evolved as the region’s needs have evolved. Adding to our microcredit agenda, we also discuss savings, insurance, green finance, and innovative financial models for SMEs.” Courtesy: Business Guardian BF BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Algico / Alico Now Being Rebranded Across the Region
Pan-American Life Insurance Group President Jose Suquet, right, and Managing Director for the Caribbean, Miguel Sierra congratulate each other following the unveiling of the Group's new signage for its local company Pan-American Life Insurance Company (formerly Algico) at St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad offices. Insurance company Algico has been renamed following its acquisition by United States-based Pan-American Life Insurance Group. The newly renamed company is called Pan-American Life Insurance Company of Trinidad and Tobago. President and Chief Executive Officer of Pan-American Life Insurance Group Jose Suquet flew in from the company's headquarters in New Orleans, USA, to meet,
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
senior executives and management and staff of the local company. The company has changed its top three executive management positions with the senior management team in Trinidad and Tobago now being lead by Miguel Sierra, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Caribbean, Jacinto Martinez, Vice President and Regional Director of Agencies, and Varuna Kuarsingh, Vice President and Regional Chief Financial Officer. On August 2 Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG) purchased the assets of MetLife â€“ Alico and Algico in Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Panama and St Lucia. This purchase solidified the Group's strategy to become one of the leading life and health insurance pro-
viders in the Americas, company executives said. Suquet said customers would benefit by being insured by a company that has a strong asset base and is focused on life and health policies, an expanded footprint in the Caribbean and 100 years of experience. The acquisition of Caribbean insurance assets will generate about US$75 million in revenues for the company. The acquisition now brings the local company's total sales force to 265 agents and managers and 240 employees and its worldwide workforce base to 1,300 employees and 3,000 agents and managers. BF Courtesy: Business Express
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
launches $35m Regional Operations Centre
RBC Financial (Caribbean) recently officially launched its TT$35 million London Street Operations Centre for the bank's Southern Caribbean markets. The unit will provide services covering credit administration, collateral and credit processing, statement processing as well as other item
processing services across 20 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and the Dutch Caribbean. "With improved processes, this new centre is a critical support base for our expanding Personal Banking and Business Banking units across the Southern Caribbean and eventually, the entire Caribbean," RBC Caribbean Chief Executive Suresh Sookoo said. The unit accommodates 400 employees and has been operational since about May, but was officially unveiled recently at a ceremony featuring Finance Minister Larry Howai, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath and Chairman of the International Financial Centre Franco Sui Chong. The Ministers and Sui Chong welcomed the es-
tablishment of the centre, especially as the Government tries to increase investment in the financial services industry, one of its key diversification sectors â€” as a means of absorbing many of the skilled workers in the sector, while providing high-paying jobs. This is the second announcement by a major commercial bank to make Trinidad the regional base for data and service processing. In August 2012, another Canadian-based bank, Scotiabank, signed a memorandum of understanding for a TT$100 million investment to set up its regional service processing centre in Chaguanas, Trinidad. BF Courtesy: Trinidad Express
's Caribbean Acquisitions Paying Off
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank's acquisitions in the Cayman and Bahamas islands during 2011 have been paying off. The bank posted US$24 million net profit during the three months to October 31, 2012 compared to US$3 million for the same period last year. The purchase of CIBC Bank and Trust in Cayman and CIBC Trust in Bahamas boosted profit and revenue, according to Michael Mansoor, Chairman of the commercial bank. FirstCaribbean paid US$76 million for the companies, which brought combined assets of US$1 billion and liabilities of US$960 million late last year. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
The trust and fund administration services firms were bought to augment the bank's wealth strategy. Lower loan loss expenses also meant higher profits for the review quarter. During the comparative quarter in 2011, the bank incurred a US$35 million loan loss impairment, but the bank did not say how large the impairment was during the three months under review. On the other hand, loan loss impairment of US$97 million for the nine months to July 31 was already higher than the US$87 million recorded for the full financial year in 2011. The FirstCaribbean Chairman said that the bank has been ensuring that "there is adequate coverage for potential losses mainly due to exposures in the real estate/ construction and tourism sectors. The full year performance continued to be affected by the Bank's wide scope of operations which span 17 countries, all of which are at varying degrees of economic recovery, but with many experiencing marginal growth, sluggish domestic demand and low interest rates."
Net income for the financial year to October 31 was US$72 million, which was marginally lower than the US$74 million recorded for 2011. Revenue for the 12 month period was up, largely due to the acquisitions, even though the new subsidiaries in Cayman and Bahamas also meant higher operating expenses. "This was partially offset by cost containment strategies," said Mansoor. Non-performing loans were reduced as part of management's strong focus in this area, while key balance sheet aggregates show improvements over the prior year, with three per cent growth in net loans, supported by two per cent growth in deposit liabilities. "The capital base of the bank remains strong with capital ratios well in excess of regulatory requirements," said Mansoor. BF Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
makes a Step into
The National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Jamaica is set to expand regionally, starting with Trinidad and Tobago. The banking group's subsidiary, NCB Capital Markets, was recently given Board approval to acquire the Trinidad-based, AIC Finance. "This acquisition affords us a footprint in this market and provides an opportunity to further diversify our revenues," said Dennis Cohen, NCB's Deputy Group Managing Director. NCB already has a presence in the Cayman Islands through its offshore
bank. However, Trinidad and Tobago is the strongest economy in the English-speaking Caribbean, while the acquisition provides NCB with access to markets in the Eastern Caribbean due to proximity. "AIC Finance is a relatively small institution; however, it provides one of the few, if not the only, opportunity to expand in the T&T market without significant upfront expenditure," Cohen said. AIC Finance recorded a TT$2.9-million (US$0.46 million) pre-tax loss in the year ended September 30, 2010, which was smaller than the loss the company posted the year before, according to the last published financial statements. The two years of losses appeared to have turned a small amount of retained earnings into a TT$46million deficit. They were primarily as a result of losses on disposal and revaluation of assets in 2009, and an impairment on the goodwill on AIC Securities in 2010.
The financial position of the company and the proposed purchase price were not disclosed, but Steven Gooden, deputy CEO of NCB Capital Markets, placed the company's assets at TT$130 million, down from TT$140 million at the end of 2010. He also said that "the price is at a discount to an independent valuation commissioned by us." AIC Finance's ultimate parent company is Portland Holding, which is owned by Michael Lee Chin and the majority shareholder in NCB. However the purchase still requires regulatory approval in Jamaica and the twin- island republic. Once these approvals are received, NCB will be in a position to complete the transaction shortly thereafter. BF Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Three CARICOM States to Benefit from CDF Fund The board of directors of the Barbadosbased CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) has approved a total of EC$47,618,906 in assistance for three member countries. This decision was taken at the sixteenth regular board meeting held in Belize, where the green light was given for country assistance programmes (CAPs) of EC$19,053,317 and EC$19,758,589 for Dominica and Guyana respectively, and a further loan of EC$8,807,000 for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The CAP for Dominica comprises a line of credit and grant assistance to that coun-
try’s Agricultural Industrial Bank; grant assistance for ancillary works at the Melville Hall Airport; a loan for the operation and management of two multi-purpose Pack Houses at Portsmouth and Roseau; a grant to equip both Pack Houses and undertake remedial works on the Portsmouth facility; and a loan to equip the National Center for Testing Excellence and build staff capacity. The CAP for Guyana comprises a loan and grant to the Ministry of Agriculture for improving farm access through the upgrading of selected dams to all-weather and paved roads in Regions 3, 4 and 5. The
programme is geared towards boosting agricultural production in rural communities so as to encourage a shift beyond subsistence agriculture. The supplemental loan for St. Vincent and the Grenadines augments the existing CAP which was approved in September 2010. The money is to be used for procuring equipment for paving works and laboratory testing at the new Argyle International Airport project. BF
US Treasury seeks Caribbean help to curtail Offshore Tax Evasion
The United States says it is engaging Caribbean and other jurisdictions in curtailing offshore tax evasion. The US Department of the Treasury said that the “engagement” involves more than 50 countries and jurisdictions around the world “to improve international tax compliance and implement the information reporting and withholding tax provisions commonly known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).” The Department identifies the Cayman Islands among jurisdictions with which it is “actively engaged in a dialogue BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
towards concluding an intergovernmental agreement.” It also said it is “working to explore options for intergovernmental engagement” with Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Sint Maarten. Enacted by the US Congress in 2010, the US Treasury Department said “these provisions target noncompliance by US taxpayers using foreign accounts. “Treasury’s engagement with this broad coalition of foreign governments to efficiently and effectively implement FATCA marks an important milestone in establishing a com-
mon intergovernmental approach to combating tax evasion.” US Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur, said global cooperation is critical to implementing FATCA in a way that is targeted and efficient. “By working cooperatively with foreign governments and financial institutions, we are intensifying our ability to combat tax evasion while minimising burdens on financial institutions,” he added. The US Treasury Department has published a model intergovernmental agreement for implementing FATCA and announced the development of a second model agreement. These models serve as the basis for concluding bilateral agreements with interested jurisdictions. The Treasury Department said it and the US Internal Revenue Service will “finalise the regulations implementing FATCA in the near term.” BF
Campari Raises 40 Million Euro to Finance Lascelles Acquisition Move Makes Campari a Major Player in the Caribbean Spirits Market
Campari Group, the Italian liquor company which intends to acquire Jamaican rum maker Lascelles deMercado, has raised 40 million euros through an unrated seven-year Eurobond issue. The offering was oversubscribed 12 times the issue size, with demand totalling more than J$4.8 billion. It enables Campari to finance the Lascelles acquisition and to substantially lengthen its overall debt maturity profile, the company said.
"The transaction has been very successful in Italy and the international markets," said Campari CEO, Bob Kunze-Concewitz. "The bond issue was very well received by investors, reflecting Gruppo Campari's excellent global brand recognition and reputation in the capital markets." Campari announced last month its intention to purchase full ownership in Lascelles' rum and merchandising business for US$414.8 million or US$4.32 per ordinary share. Campari has been on a global shopping spree for more than a dozen years as it seeks to expand the 150-year-old company beyond production of its eponymous aperitif into new spirit and beverage lines. It is only acquiring two segments of Lascelles: the flagship rum portfolio, which includes the Appleton, Wray and Nephew White Overproof and Coruba brands; and the mechandising operations, focused on the warehousing, sales, marketing, and distribution of a wide range of third-party
branded products from well-known consumer goods companies. Lascelles deMercado, formed in 1825, has the largest stock of aged Jamaican rum in the world – the popular Appleton Jamaica Rum – which is distributed by subsidiary company J Wray & Nephew. In the fiscal year ended September 30, 2011, the rum and spirits portfolio sold 3.5 million, nine-litre cases. The company more than doubled net profits to J$5.8 billion for the nine months ending June 30, 2012 compared to the corresponding period last year. Lascelles marks the third-largest acquisition in Campari's history. The Italian aperitif maker has already agreed to acquire Trinidadian company CL Financial's present 81.4 per cent stake in Lascelles and plans to offer to buy the remaining shares. BF Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
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Tel: 452-3240/ 6240/ 453 2437 Fax: 452 - 2240 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Linmore’s Bldg., Theodore St., Box 283, Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
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IMF to Distribute Gold Sales Profits to Boost Crisis Lending to Caribbean The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it will distribute about US$1.1 billion in reserves attributed to windfall gold sales profits to its members in order to boost its concessional lending capacity for the Caribbean and other low-income countries during the global crisis. The Washingtonbased financial institution said the distribution is a key element of a 2009 plan to boost concessional lending capacity to US$17 billion over the five years to 2014. It said the decision authorising the distribution was taken by the executive board in February 2012, “to become effective only after IMF members have provided satisfactory assurances that new amounts equivalent to at least 90 per cent of the amount distributed would be transferred or otherwise provided to the IMF’s concessional lending vehicle, the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT).” The IMF said the 90 per cent threshold has been reached with assurances received from countries, including those from the Caribbean, such
as Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, meaning the distribution can now take place. “This is a wonderful achievement that demonstrates our members’ determination to ensure the IMF has the wherewithal to support its low-income members through this crisis,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “For many countries, this process has involved complex legal or legislative steps, and it is a tribute to our membership that we have arrived at the required level in just a few months,” she added. She said because gold sales profits are part of the IMF’s general resources available for the benefit of the entire membership, they cannot be placed directly in the PRGT, which is available only to lowincome member countries. Accordingly, using these resources for PRGT financing required a distribution of the resources to all IMF member countries in proportion to their quota shares, “on the expectation that members would direct the Fund to
transfer these resources (or would provide broadly equivalent amounts) to the PRGT as subsidy contributions.” She said the resources raised through the operation will count towards the 2009 package’s target of raising an additional US$2.3 billion in PRGT subsidies. Lagarde said the balance is being raised from other sources, including additional bilateral contributions, which the IMF continues to seek from member countries. The IMF said it sold 403.3 metric tons of gold in 2009-10 as part of a plan to ensure the long-term financing of the IMF’s dayto-day operations through the creation of an endowment using anticipated gold sales profits of about US$6.8 billion. It said high world gold prices during the sales period, over and above the US$850 an ounce envisaged when the sales were originally planned, generated “windfall” profits of about US$3.8 billion. BF Courtesy: CMC
Caribbean Firms Access
€2.5M Grant Funding
Pamela Coke-Hamilton – Executive Director, Caribbean Export
Ninety-two Caribbean firms and business support organisations (BSOs) have got €2.5 million in EU grant funding over the last few months. Grants have been BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
awarded to export businesses across a multitude of sectors, with most going to manufacturers. The funding will be used to modernise equipment, upgrade facilities to international food and quality standards, enhance products and packaging, implement alternative energy systems, train staff, develop collateral materials, market and promote products and services, according to Caribbean Export. The regional export development and trade and investment promotion organisation opened the latest round of funding in June when it asked businesses to submit proposals. Just over 71 per cent of the bids submitted got a passing grade, which reflects training received from Caribbean Export's proposal-writing workshops. “The Direct Assistance Grant Scheme is continuously one of the most effective mechanisms for enabling companies in the
15 CARIFORUM member states to improve their competitiveness and achieve more effective penetration of the export market,” said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of Caribbean Export. The programme awarded 50 grants over the eight months preceding the most recent call for bids. “The exportation of products and services from the Caribbean is crucial for economic success and social development of the region, and Caribbean businesses must be able to compete on the international stage,” said Caribbean Export. The grant programme has “provided a platform that supports Caribbean business to become more innovative and compete internationally and thus supporting the mantra of taking Caribbean excellence to the world.” BF Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
12/10/12 12:15 PM
Canada puts a case for the Caribbean before World Bank & IMF The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been told that recent experience in the Caribbean is a stark reminder that poverty reduction is even more difficult in societies facing disasters, shocks and crises, whether natural, environmental or economic. Canada’s Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, speaking on behalf of several CARICOM countries, as well as Ireland and his own country, said poor families suffer the brunt of catastrophe and face the greatest challenges in recovering and rebuilding. In a statement to the just concluded meeting of the World Bank and IMF in Japan, Flaherty said there is an opportunity for the financial institutions to improve coherence in global efforts to build resilience, and to connect disaster risk management to important work being done on social safety nets and climate change. He said that priority must be given to practical
approaches to encourage implementation of measures to prevent events from becoming disasters, including incentives for implementing appropriate building codes in urban areas, and to find creative solutions that can also generate economic opportunity, such as creating natural flood barriers through agro forestry. He said effective insurance facilities were critical, as it has been learnt in the Caribbean. “Building resilience also requires effective and coordinated support across the World Bank Group for national economic and fiscal management in countries at risk. We are pleased to be working with the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund on new mechanisms to build economic and fiscal management capacity in the Caribbean as well as in the Deauville Partnership countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where sustained economic growth and open, transparent
governance will be critical,” said Flaherty. He said climate vulnerability is another aspect of resilience that is having a serious effect on developing countries, including the small island states in the constituency, as global climate change is putting at risk important gains in the fight against poverty, hunger and disease. “Canada has committed to a $1.2billion contribution towards supporting developing countries with their climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts under the Copenhagen Accord. The scale of the challenge surrounding global climate change requires that we continue to find ways to mobilise private capital, including long-term funding from investors seeking commercial returns,” said the Canadian Minister of Finance. BF Courtesy: CMC
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
New /China Exim Funding Initiative could benefit Region
New platform is expected to mobilise as much as US$1.8 billion from a diversified pool of investors.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it is providing US$153 million in loans for the establishment of a new equity investment platform for Latin America and the Caribbean in partnership with the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim). The IDB said the new platform is expected to mobilise as much as US$1.8 billion from a diversified pool of investors, including Chinese investors, to fund equity investments that will support economic and fi-
nancial integration between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and China. “The platform is made up of three regional investment funds that will deploy risk capital in infrastructure, mid-size companies and natural resource projects, including agribusiness, energy and mining, particularly in the pre-production stage. The investments carried out by the platform will be environmentally and socially responsible and follow the highest standards of corporate governance. The IDB's policies will guide the environmental and social investment practices of the funds and a process will be established to collect and publish information regarding developmental, environmental and social impact of the funds’ investments,” the IDB said in a statement. IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department General Manager, Hans
Schulz, said the “the Platform is expected to mobilise a significant amount of longterm commercial resources to and within Latin America and the Caribbean to support sectors that are considered key for the development of the region and that, at the same time, will play an important role in the deepening of trade activities and financial ties between our region and Asia.” The funds are expected to have a life of 10 years extendable by another two years. The investment platform is based on a letter of intent signed between the IDB and China Eximbank in 2011, when both institutions announced the plan to establish a mechanism to finance projects in the IDB’s 26 borrowing member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. China Eximbank is in the process of seeking approval from the relevant authorities. BF
Commodities Based Sector Projected to Outperform Tourism in Regional Economies Tourism dependent Caribbean countries will find it tougher to grow than commodity exporters up to the end of 2013. Real GDP growth in the tourism-dependent economies is projected to be 0.9 per cent for 2012 and 1.4 per cent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tourist arrivals in countries, including the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and ECCU members, are somewhat higher than in 2011. "But weak recovery in advanced economies, and in some cases limited price flexibility in tourism activities, are keeping growth subdued," said the IMF. However, prospects for commodity exporters, which include Belize, Guyana, BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, are somewhat better, with output projected to grow by an average of 2.7 per cent in 2012 and 3.7 per cent in 2013. The IMF's new projections, which were released recently, placed growth levels at 0.6 percentage points lower than was envisaged in April. The multilateral agency said that most Caribbean economies continue to navigate in a sea of elevated debt, weak external demand and unfavourable terms of trade. What's more, it observed that fiscal consolidation efforts have waned somewhat, and public debt is now projected to average close to 95 per cent of GDP for the tourism-dependent economies
by year-end (2012). Consequently, public debt would end up more than 15 percentage points higher than pre-crisis levels and broadly unchanged relative to 2011. Financial sector difficulties also persist. Bank non-performing loans are high and rising in many countries, and non-bank institutions remain fragile. "Looking forward, Caribbean countries need to gear policies toward reducing vulnerabilities," said the IMF. "Greater resolve is required in reducing public debt and in adopting structural reforms to boost growth and competitiveness. BF Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
Could Benefit From CBERA Several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries could benefit as the United States considers whether to designate them eligible to receive benefits under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) requested comments on the possible extension of trade preferences under the CBERA as amended by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) to countries not currently receiving them. The CBTPA which is currently authorised through September 30, 2020 with the USTR, said that it is considering whether to designate Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Turks and Caicos Islands as eligible to receive benefits under CBERA/CBTPA. USTR said that Congress had identified the Turks and Caicos as potentially eligible for benefits in 1983 but the country did not request beneficiary status until July 2012. Separately, as a result of the dissolu-
tion of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010, Curaçao and Sint Maarten became successor political entities and have therefore requested the receipt of CBERA and CBTPA benefits. USTR is also considering whether to designate Aruba, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as eligible to receive benefits under CBTPA. It said while Congress identified the Bahamas, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent for benefits under CBERA in 1983 and CBTPA in 2000, these countries did not request benefits under CBTPA until 2012. Similarly, Aruba was designated as a CBERA beneficiary country as of January 1, 1986, upon becoming independent of the Netherlands Antilles, but did not request CBTPA benefits until October 2012. USTR said that interested parties should submit comments on whether these coun-
tries meet the appropriate eligibility criteria. For CBERA, these include whether the country is communist, has nationalised ownership or control of property owned by a US citizen or corporation, fails to act in good faith in enforcing arbitral awards in favour of US citizens or corporations, and affords preferential treatment to the products of another developed country that could harm US commerce among other criteria. It said that other measures include the country’s economic conditions, assurances of equitable and reasonable access to its markets and basic commodity resources, compliance with accepted rules of international trade, use of export subsidies, export performance requirements or local content requirements that distort international trade, and contribution to regional revitalisation through trade policies. BF Courtesy: CMC
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Ten Must-dos for Businesses in the Decade Ahead
Businesses and the accountancy profession will need to be better prepared to anticipate and respond to the unprecedented challenges of a volatile global economy while seeking and capitalising on opportunities, a new survey of finance professionals around the world suggests. They were asked to identify the key factors they should be thinking about preparing for in the next five to ten years, with responses helping to create the new study â€“ 100 Drivers of change for the global accountancy profession, by the ACCA's Accountancy Futures Academy. The study has developed ten strategic imperatives for business and the accountancy profession based on insights from the members of the academy, as well as members of the IMA and ACCA's other Global Forums and experts working in and close to the profession around the world.
The five imperatives for business are:
1. Businesses will need to assume and plan for volatility. With uncertainty as the new norm, businesses have to factor in turbulence as a very real possibility and develop strategies for a range of different economic and market conditions. At the same time, they will need to build a radar to prepare for a wide range of possibilities, tolerance of uncertainty and â€˜seeing round corners.â€™ 2. At an operational level, development of a truly global model is becoming a priority which will require business to prepare for true globalisation. 3. Leveraging technology effectively is of high importance and businesses will undoubtedly need to pursue technology BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
leadership, as developments in ICT have placed technology at the heart of strategy and operations of businesses across all sizes. 4. Equally of high importance is developing the capability of management to work with, adapt to and get the best out of a multi-location, multicultural and agediverse workforce. 5. Finally, companies will need to develop a curious, experimental and adaptable mindset which is a critical success factor in an increasingly complex and fast-changing environment.
The five imperatives of the accountancy profession are:
1. Accounting professionals will need to embrace an enlarged strategic and commercial role. 2. As businesses adapt to a turbulent environment, opportunities are emerging for accountants to assume a far greater organisational remit across all aspects of corporate decision making, from strategy formulation through to defining new business models. 3. The profession will also need to focus on a holistic view of complexity, risk and performance and establish trust and ethical leadership. There is growing consensus on the need for reporting to provide a firm-wide view of organisational health, performance and prospects. Such a holistic perspective must acknowledge the complexity of modern business and encompass financial and non-financial indicators of a firm's status and potential. 4. The fourth strategic action is to develop
a global orientation. The pace of global expansion of firms from developed and developing markets alike is placing the spotlight on accountancy's ability to master the technical, language and cultural challenges of cross-border operations. 5. The final strategic action for the profession is to reinvent the talent pool. The diverse range of demands on the profession is forcing a rethink of everything from recruitment through to training and development. Entrepreneurial spirit, curiosity, creativity and strategic thinking skills could assume far more significance in the selection of tomorrow's accountants. Raef Lawson, PhD, CMA, CPA, IMA Vice President of Research said: "The research emphasises that we are entering an increasingly uncertain world where almost every aspect of the economy, business and the accountancy profession will be in a state of flux. The drivers presented in this report highlight critical issues that will shape the global landscape." Ewan Willars, Director of Policy at ACCA said: "The fact that these drivers for change have been identified by those working in accountancy clearly demonstrates the profession is willing and able to engage in long-term strategic thinking. The key question is what do we do with these powerful insights? It is now up to the profession to ensure it meets the public's needs for the highest standards of integrity, while taking a broader leadership role in both business and society." BF The full report can be viewed here: http://www.accaglobal.com/en/researchinsights/accountancy-futures/driverschange.html
Barbados Top-rated Caribbean Country on International Corruption Index St. Lucia among the Top Three from the Region Barbados is rated as the top Caribbean country with Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied for first place according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. According to the international organisation, corruption continues to ravage societies around the world with bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings still rampant in many countries. It said that two thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 Index scored below 50, on a scale from zero, perceived to be highly corrupt, to 100 perceived to be very clean. Transparency International said the findings show that public institutions need
to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable. “Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people,” said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International. While Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied for first place with scores of 90, Barbados topped the Caribbean, placing 15th with a score of 76. The Bahamas and St. Lucia tied for 22nd position with a score
of 71, followed by St. Vincent and the Grenadines in position 36 with a score of 62. Dominica was ranked 41st with a score of 58, Trinidad and Tobago placed 80th with a score of 39 followed by Jamaica in position 83 with a score of 38. Transparency International placed Suriname in position 88 with a score of 37, followed by Guyana in position 133 with a score of 28. Haiti, still recovering from the powerful earthquake of 2010 that killed more than 300,000 people, was ranked 165th with a score of 19. BF
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Climate Change Affecting
Caribbean Hotel Industry
Dominica’s Tourism Minister, Ian Douglas The postcards portray sand, sea and sun. But key players in the Caribbean tourism industry are warning that it's time to shift gears away from the region's threatened coastlines and instead promote inland attractions like biodiversity. Climate change is one of the things that is affecting the hotel industry, and the fact that most of our hotels are right on the beaches means they are subject to violent storms, the frequency of which has been projected to increase due to climate change issues, according to hotelier and social entrepreneur, Valmiki Kempadoo. “Outside of Trinidad and maybe a large country like Jamaica, tourism is by far the largest economic driver of these smaller islands and we have to seek new solutions, new business models that could take this thing into the 21st century,” he said. Kempadoo is urging his regional counterparts to move their properties away from the beaches, noting that in light of the effects of climate change having a hotel at 500 feet or 1,000 feet above sea level can help in that general direction. He said while the Caribbean is known best for its beaches, there are also lots of other experiences the different islands can offer. “The climate away from the beaches is much better. It’s an incredibly fertile place where we can grow all these amazBusinessFocus Jan / Feb
ing exotic tropical fruits and vegetables that we have a world class collection of,” he said. “We can offer beautiful hikes, we can offer beautiful views and a beautiful experience without the high humidity and the other things that come with having a hotel on the seaside,” Kempadoo added. Dominica’s Tourism Minister, Ian Douglas, knows only too well the devastating effects of climate change on the tourismdependent economies of the Caribbean. In fact, he says Dominica is probably one of the islands most affected by this global phenomenon. “The islands are hit by hurricanes every year and that costs the islands millions of dollars to the point where governments have to look at some kind of disaster risk fund to mitigate against the damage,” he said. “At least one of the islands gets hit every year and Dominica is no exception. In fact, we are seeing a new phenomenon in Dominica right now where we are have massive flooding, something that was never before seen, and last year this caused considerable damage even to some of our tourism plants and equipment.” Douglas noted that Dominica, with most of its hotels on the west coast on the Caribbean Sea, “takes a beating every year.” And, he said, the island “now has to grapple not only with sea surges and rising sea levels, but also severe flooding in its 365 waterways.” Grenada is also moving to diversify its sun, sand and sea tourism product. And as the island moves towards greater sustainability, Tourism Minister Dr. George
Vincent points to the importance of the energy sector. “We are working with the electricity company to produce alternative energy in the form of wind. We are encouraging the hotels to do solar energy to replace fuel costs. But the sustainable tourism thing is where we’re heading,” he said. The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, held last October, was facilitated by the region's tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO). Secretary General Hugh Riley told delegates the Caribbean “is experiencing the toughest economic conditions since the Great Depression.” He urged hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders “to assemble all the creativity, discipline and collective resources” they have “and use them wisely for the good of the region.” “We have to determine what it takes for small, vulnerable tourism economies to effectively compete in an arena that is populated by large industrialised countries with vastly superior budgets and the power to pass legislation that discriminates against us, impacts our competitive position, and further shifts the balance of power in the direction of the already powerful,” he said. “The good news is that we in the Caribbean have more than a few cards to play. We in this cluster of small populations are bold enough to assemble and decide that we can come together as One Caribbean, enlist some of this industry's sharpest minds, elect leaders, thrash out ideas and mold them into actions that allow us to win in this environment,” he said. BF
Mom! are you ready?
facebook.com/brydenandpartners BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
ISLAND MOTORS LTD. Hyundai Motor Company of Seoul, South Korea appointed Island Motors Ltd. as the new Hyundai Distributor for St. Lucia, in January 2012. The Hyundai Showroom, Offices and Facilities are located at the Beachcomber Ltd. Complex. Hyundai Motor Company and Mr. David Devaux, Managing Director of both Beachcomber Ltd. and Island Motors Ltd. are very excited about the Hyundai line with its wide range of Affordable and Outstanding Quality Vehicles and they believe it will do extremely well in the St. Lucian Market. There is a wide variety of vehicles ranging from the small compact car selling for approximately $49,000 to luxury high-end passenger cars and SUV’s. They also carry Commercial vehicles; Mini buses and Cargo Trucks. Mr. Devaux, a very quiet, educated and well read person with many years of experience in the Automobile Industry, appreciates that the way to keep loyal customers in these difficult times, is through exceptional AfterSales Service. With this in mind he updated the Service Department which now hosts the latest in Diagnostic and Service Equipment, Body Shop Repair Department and Training facilities. Thus their technicians are fully trained professionals whom are continually assessed and are required to complete both overseas and on-line training. In line with the Service Department, Mr. Devaux created a ‘state of the art’ Parts Department. With their large storage/warehouse facilities, they are able to carry an extensive range of Parts as well as Accessories to update and modernize all Brands of vehicles. Hyundai Motor Company founded in 1967, is now known as ‘the World’s fastest growing automaker’ and has achieved many awards some of which are:
The i10 took the award for ‘Best Buy’ Supermini. Nifty and nimble, the i10 is a huge success offering outstanding fuel efficiency, extraordinary value and an interior package that belies its compact size. The i20 has been acclaimed ‘Best Buy’ in the Supermini segment delivering class leading safety features and outstanding value for money. The i30 Small Family Car class and multi-award winning, was again applauded for its exceptional safety package combined with luxury features. Generous interior space, a balance between performance and economy combine to make i30 a leader in itsBusinessFocus segment. Jan / Feb | 36
2012 HYUNDAI ELANTRA: NORTH AMERICAN CAR OF THE YEAR 2012 HYUNDAI ACCENT: MOTORWEEK’S DRIVERS’ CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST SUBCOMPACT CAR 2012 HYUNDAI SONATA: MOTORWEEK'S DRIVERS' CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST FAMILY SEDAN 2012 INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY (IIHS) - TOP SAFETY PICK HONORS AWARDED TO HYUNDAI Hyundai Elantra, Sonata, Tucson and Santa Fe Achieve Highest Safety Ratings. “Safety has always been a top priority at Hyundai, so we are thrilled to see our models on this important and prestigious list,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning. 2012 VINCENTRIC COMPANY’S BEST VALUE IN AMERICA AWARDS Accent, Elantra and Tucson earned the distinction of “Best Value in America” for 2012 from Vincentric, an automotive data compilation and analysis firm. “Hyundai’s Vincentric Best Value in America winners reflect the gains Hyundai has shown over the past several years in terms of sales, styling, and overall market acceptance,” said David Wurster, president, Vincentric.
As can be seen from the above, at Island Motors Ltd. there is a vehicle for everyone. So for the very best in Customer Satisfaction, with excellent Sales, Parts and exceptional Service support visit Island Motors today.
HD65 Island Motors Ltd. located in the Beachcomber Ltd. Complex Vide Boutielle Road, Castries
Tel: 1 (758) 452-5241 Fax: 1 (758) 452-7448 Email: email@example.com Web: www.islandmotorsltd.com BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Business Recognition Awards
By Janice Sutherland
In today’s cash strapped economy and the additional effort required to attract the business that last year would have fallen into your lap, how do you keep ahead of your competitors and keep your employees motivated? Despite all the economic doom and gloom, are you best at being better than your competitor? Are you a bit secretly pleased with the way things are going? – It might be time for you to turn your talents to winning an award and extol both your organisation’s and your employee’s achievements! Winning awards isn’t everything of course, but they do provide a sense of achievement to both employer and employee. Business awards are designed to recognise outstanding achievement in business systems, services, products, and quality achievement.
Is Entering Awards Worth Your While? A badge of merit from an independent organisation such as the Caribbean Business Awards can be used by winners to demonstrate their expertise in the particular field where they have triumphed. By promoting your company as a winner, an organisation will stand out from the competition to clients and fellow professionals alike. Recognition awards – such as service, sales, safety, and special achievement awards – help improve quality, BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
encourage teamwork, motivate employees, build morale, create awareness, increase loyalty, decrease turnover, and enhance a recipient's image in the community and among customers. Not only is an award invaluable as an employee motivation mechanism, it’s also a positive promotional tool for an organisation. Winning awards has numerous benefits for a business: • Provides positive publicity in the market place • Establishes a winning business as an industry leader • Motivates employees – being officially patted on the back as a business also bolsters staff morale quicker than a team-building exercise ever can. It's about recognising the people that work with you and work so hard to make the company a success, not just about the management team. • Helps to develop a culture of quality and success within a business • Encourages an organisation’s employees to be innovative • Industry accolades can fast-track your route to a robust reputation as a small business if you work in the business to business sector. • Awards ceremonies can open up impressive networking opportunities and the chance to liaise with other like-minded and successful operations.
• Opportunity to share best practice with organisations on the same wave length • The free PR that comes with winning an award is also a big bonus. You can reasonably hope for a bit of coverage in local papers and depending on the awards programme regionally. Make the most of sponsors' websites, who'll all have a section dedicated to the awards – handily upping your SEO too – by linking to the coverage from your own website. But most importantly apart from the obvious benefits there are financial paybacks which can’t be ignored:
The Financial Benefits of Winning Business Awards Little research has been undertaken on the Caribbean experience of awards programmes but research in other markets provide some compelling facts and figures relating to the positive financial effects of winning business excellence awards: • Large award winning companies enjoyed a 48% increase in operating income and a 37% growth in sales when compared to non-award winners. Smaller award winning companies were also shown to have experienced a 63% increase in operating income, and a 39% growth in sales when compared to non-winners. Source: British Quality Foundation based on experience in the USA.
• A study compared the financial performance of 120 award winning companies across Europe that met specific criteria against comparison companies of a similar size and operating in the same industries. The financial performance was tracked over 11 years. The study found that the award winning companies showed improvements in financial performance after just a year of winning their first award. Source: University of Leicester for the British Quality Foundation and the European Foundation for Quality Management. • Three years after receiving an award, the 120 award winning companies outperformed the comparison companies by an average of 17% for sales and 36% for share value. During the final year that performance was tracked, the award winning companies experienced even greater increases as compared to comparison companies with sales growing by an average of 77% more and operating income by 18% more. Source: As above. So there is a strong rationale for entering corporate recognition awards. It can raise your business profile, enhance your reputation, compliment your public relations and marketing activity, raise awareness of your range of business services, en-
courage excellence and help to make you more profitable. This is just the phenomenon that the Caribbean Business Awards launched in conjunction with the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) aims to replicate throughout the Caribbean, dispelling the notion that the region is only good for tourism, rum and reggae but that there are award winning successful businesses and business people in the region who can give the global business community a run for their money. As the Caribbean’s industry leaders continue to shape the corporate landscape through innovative business processes, the Caribbean Business Awards honours organisations that demonstrate the core values of business excellence, excellence of service, social and environmental contributions. The winning organisations are selected through the acknowledgment of innovative business processes, product development, enterprise, corporate responsibility and overall commercial success. With its primary purpose of supporting the development of a stronger and more successful business community throughout the region by drawing attention and recognition to the Caribbean’s best
businesses and what they are doing and to stimulate the debate about the future shape, form and substance of the business community; the 2012 Awards highlighted the business acumen that exists ranging from manufacturing to contact centres with winning entries from Baron Foods (St Lucia) Limited, St Lucia, Burger Boys Limited, Trinidad and KM2 Solutions LLC, St. Lucia, Barbados & Grenada. Entering their third year and open to all organisations irrespective of size, the calibre and range of industries represented are increasing, providing a well-deserved spotlight . So what are you waiting for? Biographies of current and previous Award winners and how to enter for 2013 can be found at www.caribbeanbusinessawards. com. Who knows, the next winner could be you! BF Story Credit Janice Sutherland MA (Sales Management), Dip (Sales), BA (Hons) Co-Founder of the Caribbean Business Awards
“ Southwell Congratulates Baron Foods Ltd. for Winning the 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year”.
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Baron Foods Ltd. Sweeps Caribbean Business Awards Ramjattan showered with praises
Ronald Ramjattan receiving 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Award form Mr & Mrs Sutherland of the Caribbean Business Awards Ronald Ramjattan and Baron Foods Ltd continue to pile-up regional and international awards for quality St. Lucian products that have taken the Caribbean by storm – and gained the highest international quality standards available in its line of business. Last December, the company and its founder were presented – yet again -- with more Caribbean awards: the four it won at the 2012 Caribbean Business Awards. This time, however, the presentations were done at home – and in the full and appreciative audience of staff, customers, business partners and friends who wish Mr. Ramjattan and his business continuing success. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Managing Director, Ronald Ramjattan, won the Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year award, while his company secured three others: Small to Medium Business of the Year, Award for Innovation and the Manufacturing Excellence Award. A visibly delighted Ramjattan attributed the accolades won by the company to what he considers “the organization’s greatest asset” -- the team at Baron Foods and its strong concentration on the importance of the value chain. Mr. Ramjattan and his company were showered with praise by Deputy Prime Minister Philip J Pierre (himself also a former Commerce Minister) and current Commerce and Business Development
Minister Emma Hippolyte, as well as by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association and specially invited guests. Presenting the awards, Janice Sutherland (a principal of Caribbean Business Awards Inc) spoke glowingly of “the standards that Baron Foods had set globally” and praised Ramjattan as “a visionary” who was instrumental in the success of his business and “his tireless approach to enterprise expansion”, which placed the company “at the pinnacle of Caribbean business.” Ramjattan, in accepting the awards, said his company was “being positioned as truly a Caribbean one.” Indeed, this is very
much so because, apart from its Vieux Fort based original St. Lucia plant, Baron Foods also has an agro-processing plant recently established in Grenada and construction of another is about to begin in Trinidad and Tobago. Ramjattan said he was “humbled” by the awards and accolades and “now even more driven to fortifying the Baron brand as a truly Caribbean product.” The Caribbean Business Awards is endorsed by the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce.
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
2012 Caribbean Business Awards ‘This is a great achievement, but it doesn’t stop here!’ "Ronald Ramjattan"
By Ronald Ramjattan, Founder and CEO of Baron Foods Ltd. I am humbled, honored, and at the same time excited to have received these four 2012 Caribbean Business Awards. But our acceptance and receipt of these awards and honor, would not be complete without letting you stroll with me along Memory Lane, to see where we are coming from and to pay tribute to the hard work and sacrifices that have made this milestone a reality. Baron Foods Limited was founded on the principles of excellence in our every endeavor whilst continuously providing distinctively fine-quality Caribbean‐Style products. I think it is fair to say that we have adhered to these principles since 1991, the year we started production. Our company’s greatest strength is our value chain, but our greatest asset is the team within our framework. The staff of Baron Foods all contribute in their individual and collective ways to the common accomplishment of any task bestowed upon them and the company by extension. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
We are living in tough economic times. We are constantly reminded by harrowing tales of economies declining around the world, the Caribbean being no exception. Baron Foods has found it pertinent that expansion of the Baron Chain is of vital importance if we are going to amplify sales in this recessive market phase. Being a result-oriented company with a strong customer base, we have gone from being a local company with roots in St. Lucia to a regional company with a full agro‐processing plant in Grenada. Not relenting on the success of expansion, the Baron Chain has now turned its attention to the twin island
republic of Trinidad and Tobago, where a multimillion dollar processing facility will come into existence within the next twelve months.
Although the underlining factor for investment in Grenada and Trinidad was and is the potential for great returns, it is rather counterintuitive that we also see these investments as a way of fortifying the Baron brand as a truly Caribbean brand.
Notwithstanding the importance of creating a Caribbean niche market, the capacity to export the Baron range of products is what drives this successful enterprise. Regional exports to the industrialized world of Europe have declined considerably since the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement, which came into existence in 2008. There has since been a preponderance of back and forth negotiations and debates on the seemingly skewed reciprocity notion, coupled with the simultaneous economic debacle that has facilitated this unfortunate decline of our regional export capacity. This, Iâ€™m proud to say has not distracted our attention from the goal of fostering increased export capacity within the European region. In contrast, Baron Foods has been touted as one of the few success stories that have emerged from this shrinking regional export pool. I am excited to let you know that Baron Foods Limited has had a trying, yet wonderful past and I am proud to mention that the future will be brighter. This awards achievement stands for the Caribbean as a whole. Recognition from the Caribbean Business Awards Inc is a complement that is rivaled throughout the Caribbean and an initiative supported by the (CAIC) Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce. Having the CAIC on board is a great incentive in this process that will certainly impact upon the development, growth and competitive positioning of Caribbean businesses. I would therefore like to express my appreciation to the CAIC for its good work. If these awards stand for anything, it stands for the united spirit in all of us that through a singular vision of success and hard work we can achieve and meet challenges together. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Spicing-up Our Lives is A Baron Foods Obsession!
By Earl Bousquet I was the first reporter to write an article about Ronald Ramjattan’s infatuation with spices – actually, with spicing-up food with locally-based ingredients. Back then (in the late 1980s) Baron Foods wasn’t yet born – at least, not on paper. But way back in the deep recesses of Ronald’s mind lay a clear vision of how he would go about spicingup our lives.
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I knew him as the chief operator at a regionally-owned Anse La Raye-based company. Next I knew he’d branched out on his own with the launching of Baron Foods Ltd in 1991. The rest is a very spicy history of a condiment factory that started in Vieux Fort and – in two short decades – took the Caribbean by storm, becoming the first in the business of its kind in this region to win
international standards awards won by no other. For most of its years, Baron Foods served the Caribbean – and the world – out of Vieux Fort. But, thanks mainly to the taste of its spices and the quality of its products, this home-grown St. Lucia-based Caribbean company has taken the name and flag of St. Lucia to boundaries beyond its national borders. With (not one but) two St. Lucia national flags eternally affixed to its everchanging and evolving product labels, Baron Foods has had to expand its production and diversify its production base to meet growing regional and international demand for its ever-tasty and expanding range of products. As if to only make that move when it was absolutely necessary, Ronald recently expanded into Grenada where Baron Foods now operates another significant second regional manufacturing plant. But already demand has since grown and the company is about to set up another new multi-million-dollar operation in Trinidad & Tobago. In the last decade – the second half of its existence – Baron Foods has set re-
cord after record and captured numerous awards, at home and in the Caribbean and beyond, in recognition of the sterling quality and the ever-improving standards of the Baron range of products. Its superiority is certified by the best international standards judges, especially the International Standards Organization that awards the envied but hardly attainable ISO standards mark. Baron Foods has in fact raised all 15 of CARICOM’s national flags by becoming the first Caribbean company of its kind to win the highest ISO standards in the international department of manufacturing sauces, condiments, concentrates, salad dressings and mayonnaise. Baron Foods is today acknowledged, now more than ever, as a flagship St. Lucia company that makes both St. Lucia and the Caribbean proud. Its achievements are also being acknowledged more and more. The company and its Founder recently
won four out of six Caribbean Business Awards in 2012, with the CEO ordained by the judges as the 2012 Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year. But this is only the latest in a long series of accolades and awards earned by Baron Foods Ltd and Ronald Ramjattan. With such an impressive past, Baron Foods future can well be imagined. But that’s exactly what Ronald wants of us – to keep on imagining what’s next. He made it clear at the December 6 presentation of the 2012 CBA awards that he has bigger plans for his company’s future. But he didn’t say one word out about what next. We may wonder and imagine, speculate and suppose, but the only assurance we have is that whatever it is, wherever and whenever, it will be as spicy as it will be tasty. We can always count on Ronald for that.
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Commerce Minister Lauds Baron Foods Ltd. At Presentation of 2012 Caribbean Business Awards
L to R : Mr Derek Sutherland, CBA Co-Founder, Hon Emma Hippolyte – Minister of Commerce, Mr Ronald Ramjattan – CEO, Baron Foods Ltd, Mrs Janice Sutherland – CBA Co-Founder and Hon Philip J Pierre, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure. “We celebrate the accomplishments of one of the fore-runners of industry. “The ability of a company to achieve the accolades of Business Excellence is no small feat, but even more commendable is the ability to maintain the standards of excellence which so often signals to the business community consistency in product quality and service delivery.” “Change within the operations of a business is never an easy task. Implementing a Management System, such as the ISO 22000:2005 or ISO 9001: 2008, is not a simple achievement. “It takes strong leadership, commitment at all levels in the organization, common understanding of the goals, vision and mission of that company and the wherewithal to act on the decisions to move in a particular direction. “Therefore, it is indeed a momentous occasion, as we recognize the Business Achievements of Baron Foods (St. Lucia) Ltd.” BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
“The emphases on quality in product and service development, are for many companies, and by extension countries, the roadmap to having a competitive advantage. The Caribbean Business Awards, now in its third year, aims to highlight the achievements of industry leaders who continue to demonstrate that business innovation and service excellence are attainable. These awards seek to recognize and honour outstanding organizations that demonstrate at both the national and regional level, that having higher standards at the core of business values is of real benefit. “Baron Foods (St. Lucia) Ltd is one of the most reputable agro–processors in the Caribbean, and that this is attributable to their consistent quality program. In 2005 the company gained the ISO 22000:2005 standard and in 2011 the FSSC 22000:2010 standard. Baron Foods (St. Lucia) Ltd then became the first and only organization in the Caribbean that has achieved
this prestigious standard, joining the likes of the global food giants such as Nestle and Heinz. Baron Foods has now proudly added to this acclaim, the 2012 Caribbean Business Awards… “It would seem, at the heart of Baron Foods (St. Lucia) Ltd. is the objective of providing products and services which are developed with a focus on consistent quality and safety. This mission, together with the determination to attain and sustain principles that allow their 120-plus product line, to stand up to global competitors and to excel in the regional line up for these Caribbean Business Awards, against competitors from private or public companies, government and non-government organizations operating within the Caribbean region, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados....
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IN THE KNOW
A Vehicle For Business Growth By Kerry-Ann Heavens
A savvy business owner is constantly on the lookout for new advantages that will set his or her business apart. A joint venture may provide the ideal vehicle to create those advantages in challenging economic climate. Generally speaking, a joint venture is an arrangement between two or more persons who, each lacking one or more of the resources necessary to carry on a new business or develop an existing business, decide to pool their resources with a view to mutual profits. The ideal partner in a joint venture is one that has resources, skills and assets that complement your own. Businesses of all sizes may utilise joint ventures to strengthen long-term relationships or to collaborate on short-term projects. A joint venture can help your business grow faster, increase productivity and generate greater profits. It may offer access to new markets and distribution BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
networks, increase capacity and facilitate shared risks and costs. Additionally, by engaging in a joint venture arrangement a business owner may obtain a capital injection to enable growth without having to necessarily borrow funds. A joint venture arrangement is not confined to a single structure; there are a variety of legal forms which may be employed. The three most commonly used organisational structures for a joint venture are: 1) By way of simple contract; 2) Through the establishment of a partnership; or 3) Though the incorporation of a Joint Venture Company (JVC). Where the joint venture is organised by way of contract, the parties usually agree to operate without setting up a separate entity as the vehicle to run it. This structure is most commonly used at the experimental or investigatory stage to establish the viability of the proposed venture before incurring costs in the creation of a JVC. In such cases, a co-operation agreement is usually prepared and executed; the parties must take particular care to clearly define their rights and obligations in relation to the joint venture as this is their sole avenue for protection. Care must also be taken to ensure that the parties do not inadvertently create a partnership by their activities, if this is not what they intend. A clause in the co-operation agreement stipulating that it does not create a partnership is persuasive but not conclusive. Where a co-operation agreement is used, liability to third parties will be dependent upon the trading relationship of each party to the agreement with those third parties.
However, the co-operation agreement may expressly provide for indemnities. The main advantage of establishing a separate entity or forming a partnership to carry on the venture is that it readily separates the operations of the joint venture from the independent activities of the parties to the co-operation agreement. A partnership allows two or more people to share ownership of a single business. This structure enables the sharing of responsibility and increases the ability to raise funds. However, each partner is jointly and severally liable for the actions of the other partners. Usually in a partnership there is no limited liability, which means that the personal assets of each partner are fair game to be used to discharge the debts of the business. This provides the most compelling reason to establish a JVC. The incorporation of a JVC limits the liability of the individuals engaging in the joint venture. This structure offers protection of personal assets from business risks and liabilities. A joint venture which operates through the medium of a JVC will usually require, in addition to the usual constitutive documents, a shareholders' agreement. The shareholders' agreement will typically include provisions governing: the subscription of shares by the parties;
financing; management; share transfer and termination. Where the parties are contributing loan capital to the JVC then it will be necessary to draft and execute the relevant loan documentation as well. If you intend to work with new partners it is important that you carry out some basic checks geared towards ascertaining information such as their financial security, credit worthiness, reputation and market performance record. Collaborating in any business venture may at times be complex; it takes time and effort to build the right relationship. Problems are likely to arise if the objectives of the venture are not totally clear and communicated to everyone involved or if the partners have conflicting aims. Before you consider signing up to a joint venture, it's important to protect your own interests. This should include drawing up legal documents to protect your own trade secrets and finding out whether your potential partner holds intellectual property rights agreements. You should clearly set out the terms and conditions in a written agreement to prevent any misunderstandings once the joint venture is up and running. But, regardless of the structure or the course taken, it is essential to get independent expert advice before any final decisions are taken. BF Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
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About the Author Kerry-Ann Heavens is an Associate at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon and is a member of the firm's Commercial Department. She may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org or www.myersfletcher.com. This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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Chamber of Commerce Holds 128th AGM
Gerard Bergasse – Chamber President
By Stan Bishop Gerard Bergasse’s leadership role at the helm of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture over the past year seems to have fallen in favour with his peers. And last November, their confidence in him was demonstrated when they seemed to indicate that one good term deserves another and reelected him for a second consecutive term. At the November 15 Annual General Meeting held in the Royal St. Lucian Conference Room, Chamber members and other relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors showed up in full force. Among them were Minister of Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries, Hon. Lorne Theophilus and Minister of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Hon. Emma Hippolyte. Bergasse began his President’s Address with the all-too-familiar state of the local and global economic climate. Finding a way out of the financial quagmire affecting the globe, he said, means that the chamber will have to come up with new and creative ways of thinking and action. “These are extremely important times for our economy and our country. The state of the global economy remains tenuous at best, the regional economies precarious, and the jury is still out on Saint Lucia’s. The seriousness of the current situation is not so much to do with the state we are in, but rather in what we are going to do about it,” the newly-elected Chamber president said. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
The daunting task ahead, Bergasse told Chamber members, includes overcoming major obstacles created by the public sector. These obstacles include legislation, government policy, regulation, entrenched bureaucracies and tightly-guarded interest groups. He also called on the government to be more efficient, transparent and accountable. Bergasse also explained some of the challenges posed by the recent introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT). Although the Chamber supports VAT to some extent, Bergasse said it does not simplify the payment of taxes for the business community. Not only was the business community being asked to prepare adequately for the new tax collection system – it was being asked to be the tax collector on government’s behalf. “(VAT) complicates business processes,” Bergasse stated. “We pointed out that while VAT may be more efficient for the government, the bulk of the responsibility for collection rests with the numerous VATregistered businesses. The impact of this subtle point, I believe, was underestimated by the VAT team: the change of the business community from taxpayer to tax collector. We pointed out that the transitional issues made it more costly to do business and thus the consumer would pay more. We pointed out that the extensive VAT exemption list complicated the computation of VAT claims and put additional costs on business and hence the consumer. Our voice on those, and other matters, for the
most part, fell on deaf ears. In due course we will all feel the repercussions of the approach adopted by government, in spite of our best advice. And yes, we continue to lobby for clarification and change.” BF The complete board of directors elected at last November’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Annual General Meeting reads as follows: President: Gerard Bergasse Tropical Shipping 1St Vice President: Gordon Charles J.Q. Charles Group of Companies 2nd Vice President: Lanfraze Cherubin Windward and Leeward Brewery Ltd. Immediate Past President: Chester Hinkson Bank of Nova Scotia Ltd. Member: Martin Dorville Consolidated Foods Ltd. Member: Esther Browne Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings Ltd. Member: Trevor Louisy St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd. Member: Cheryl Renwick Renwick and Company Member: Joya Martin Karib Cable Member: Sue Monplaisir The Wave St. Lucia Ltd. Member: Brenda Williams BDO
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IN THE KNOW
The 5 Classic Rules of Good Business
During a recent radio interview on the BBC, the host asked me what advice I would give to young people who want to start their own businesses. In the 46 years since I launched Student magazine, the world has certainly changed. The uncertain economic outlook and the relentless pace of technological advances make replicating Virgin’s success much more challenging for today’s young entrepreneur. At Student magazine, we expressed our opposition to the Vietnam War and the Cold War; these days, governments now face the more nebulous threat of terrorism and instability in the Middle East and Africa. Back then, American and European markets were generally stable; today, the economic power of Western nations is being challenged by the fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and growth opportunities and new markets can be found around the world. There is BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
also marketers’ new ability to bypass traditional channels - TV, radio and newspapers - and build a strong following online for their companies via Twitter, Google+, Facebook and new applications such as Path and Klout. This means that most start-ups are able to launch with smaller marketing budgets, and that entrepreneurs can break into new markets fast. It also means that successful companies must defend their positions, because their products can go out of fashion just as quickly as they caught on. But during the radio interview, I found myself arguing that while the world may be changing quickly, the steps to building a good business have not. Virgin Media founded its Pioneers programme to promote aspiring business people and help them to network. One of our best known pioneers is Jamal Edwards, the founder of SB.TV, an online music and lifestyle channel, whose company and business model remind me of Virgin’s in our early days. When Edwards started out, his company was just himself and his camera; he started posting videos of rap performances for his online followers. He was doing what he loved, and soon he developed a cult following for his passionate, innovative and authentic early videos of musical events. Once he had established a brand and a following, Edwards and his team extended SB.TV’s reach into more areas, including music and lifestyle, merchandise, clothing and even a record label. Traditional brands, like Puma and Nando’s - the fast food chain - started calling, wanting to discuss deals and endorsements. Edwards has also made his own luck by spotting talent. In 2010 a struggling singer/songwriter sent a video to SB.TV that was accepted and placed on the company’s YouTube channel. The views kept racking up, and eventually the rapper Example offered the unsigned young singer a chance to tour with him - this was none other than Ed Sheeran, whose career was effectively launched by SB.TV. Edwards remains very busy and very visible, pro-
moting SB.TV and himself wherever he can - on his website, in partnership with Google Chrome, and in the media, he tells the story of his company and their dreams and successes, getting the message out. And he knows that good business depends on backing your people and being a good listener. Despite his early successes, he remains down to earth, always willing to listen and constantly trying new ventures. If you have the right idea and execute properly, your start-up’s launch date does not matter. While the business environment has changed, the basic rules remain the same. Rather than getting nostalgic about how things used to be, embrace the new opportunities and challenges available to you now. The five simple guidelines we followed when we started the magazine and then Virgin Music remain as valid and useful as they were in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 1. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. You must love what you do. 2. Be innovative: Create something different that will stand out. 3. Your employees are your best asset. Happy employees make for happy customers. 4. Lead by listening: Get feedback from your staff and customers on a regular basis. 5. Be visible: Market the company and its offers by putting yourself or a senior person in front of the cameras. BF 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. Courtesy: Business Guardian
New Study Says
Caribbean Women Better Educated Despite recent gains, the wage gap between men and women in Latin America and the Caribbean still prevails, according to a new Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study. The study, entitled “New Century, Old Disputes,” compares surveys of representative households in 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The study was released at a high-level meeting of experts, including UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who met recently in Peru to explore how to achieve gender equality in the labour markets. The study, which also examines wage differences across ethnic minorities of the region, points out that, although the average gender wage gap decreased from 25 to 17 per cent between 1992 and 2007, the disparity remains quite high and there is still plenty of work to be done. According to the household surveys, women hold only 33 per cent of the better-paid professional jobs in the region, which include those related to architecture, law or engineering. In these professions, the study says wage gap between men and women is significantly higher: 58 per cent on average. It says these jobs require quantitative skills, and despite women’s progress in education – leading men by half a year
of education on average – they tend to focus on careers like psychology, teaching or nursing, where those skills are not developed. “In terms of women’s participation in the work force, there has been progress in recent decades, but the wage gap between men and women still prevails,” says Hugo Ñopo, an IDB specialist in education and author of this study. “The process of closing this gap has been very slow because misguided stereotypes and perceptions of the roles of men and women have distorted interactions, not only in the workplace but also at home. “These stereotypes, which arise even in early childhood, discourage women, thus limiting their access to careers with a better future in the labour market,” Ñopo said. The study says women have a tendency to work part-time, on a self-employed basis and in informal activities. It says while one in every ten men work part-time, one in every four women work on this basis. “This labour flexibility, which allows women to participate in labour markets while still being able to take care of multiple responsibilities at home, comes at a cost reflected in lower wages,” the study noted, adding that women usually enter the labour market at a later stage and partici-
pate in it irregularly, on account of raising children, for example. “This might deter their experience and professional development, thus increasing the wage gap with age,” the study found. In order to close the gender wage gap, the study recommends distributing household chores equally and encourages women to study science and mathematics and to take measures that give them a better chance to participate in labour markets. It says the latter can be exemplified with the expansion of services for early childhood development centres. Not only could this help women to increase their working day, passing from part-time to full-time employment, but it could also increase human capital for the next generation, the study says. It says an equal maternity leave for both parents could help level the playing field with respect to decisions of hiring women and men. Furthermore, the study says it could encourage men and women to dedicate more time to their newborns, generating more equal decisions. BF Courtesy: CMC
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
IN THE KNOW
Solidifies Support for Rotary Golf Charity Causes It started off twenty years ago as a fundraiser by the Rotary Club of Gros Islet to sponsor the many community causes and projects that it was initiating. Two decades later the tally of funds raised through the Charity Golf Tournament stands at EC$1.7 million dollars. JQ Motors Ltd. has been a longstanding supporter of the Rotary initiatives.
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Audi, a new line of luxury vehicles for which JQ Motors Ltd. is the sole Importer/ Distributor for Saint Lucia and the OECS, has been the brand associated as title sponsor for the past two years, a perfect fit for a supremely organised and well patronized fundraising event. Audi also donates a car annually as the top prize for any team scoring a hole-inone on the eighth hole. The Audi has gone unclaimed for the past two years! The 2012 tournament was won by a team sponsored by LIME, comprising Paul Marshall, Joan Paul and Kent Glace. In second place was First Caribbean CIBC and in third place, a team from Karib Cable. Thirty teams participated in the Rotary Club of Gros Islet Charity Golf Tournament, a vote of confidence from the private sector, considering the economic
climate and the recent introduction of the Value Added Tax. Thirty-two teams participated in 2011. The 2012 charity tournament raised in excess of EC$80,000.00. The General Manager of JQ Motors, Jason Clairmonte, has commended the private sector support for the Rotary Charity Golf Tournament praising their continued commitment to the event and its causes. For the past twenty years the Rotary Club of Gros Islet has used the funds raised to sponsor a mobile dental clinic for students of primary and secondary schools in the Gros Islet area, with dentists now seeing a reduction in the number of cavities per student from 10 to 1! Students received free treatment, cleaning and examinations. The 1.7 million dollars raised by the Rotary Club of Gros Islet over the past two decades has also financed three
containers of medical equipment over a two year period, worth over 1 million dollars. The club has also financed container loads of wheel chairs, and students have attended a camp in Canada for youth suffering with Diabetes, and since then, they themselves have conducted two camps locally. Mr. Clairmonte says it is that record that has sealed the Audi sponsorship of the Charity Golf Tournament. He says good corporate citizens go beyond just employment and paying taxes. It is their support for projects that improve the quality of life for all St. Lucians that matters and Audi is proud to be involved with the charity event. Other sponsors such as LIME, St. Lucia Distillers, Digicel and in recent times the Taiwanese Embassy have also strongly supported the golf tournament. The latest addition is the accounting firm, Ernst and Young based in Barbados.
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IN THE KNOW
Bring More Than Your Degree By Carla Bridglal
So you have a degree; in fact, you have an executive MBA from a fancy tertiary education institution. But is this enough to define you? Well, according to Nigel Forgenie and Vivek Charran, there’s more to being a workplace success than a fancy certificate and letters after your name: you need to bring value to your organisation. And these men should know what they’re talking about. Both are alumni of the Executive MBA programme at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business at Mt Hope and are also successful CEOs. Speaking at GSB’s CEOs Back to School event recently at the school’s Mt Hope Campus, Trinidad, Forgenie and Charran elaborated on the concept “Qualifications don’t impress—How do you create value in an environment that is degree weary?” “A degree is a preliminary qualification. What will set you apart are the knowledge, skills and competencies you possess,” said Forgenie, who is the CEO of the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP). Charran, the Managing Director of Charran’s Bookstores, concurred: “In a dynamic environment, your MBA alone is not enough—you need to be more than your degree. Your MBA helped you get the job, but that’s not the end. Your goal was to get a job with an MBA; now that you have it, your goals need to change. A degree is the beginning of your evolution as a successful person.” Both men saw an advanced degree as a stepping stone to becoming a better perBusinessFocus Jan / Feb
son: adding value not just to the organisation in which one operated, but also for personal growth. Speaking from the perspective of a potential employer, Forgenie said degrees helped companies narrow the field, but then there were core competencies a person might possess to single him or her out as the main contender. Forgenie listed these core competencies as: – Flexibility, adaptability mobility to assimilate into any work environment – A positive attitude, being a team player with good interpersonal skills – Customer focus – Leadership skills – Enthusiasm (a love for what you do) – Commitment – Willingness to learn and develop, enhancing skills to enrich one’s career path – Very good communication skills Charran’s outlook was focused more on personal development that would then enhance one’s contribution to the organisation within which one worked—and as such add value to one’s personal and professional life. “There are three aspects of value: quantitative, qualitative and nonspecific,” he said. Quantitative value was how much knowledge one acquired and added to his or her work and personal life. Qualitative was whether the information and knowledge was applicable in a real, dynamic way. Non-specific values were not always
acquired through formal means—like education—but how one presented oneself, work ethic and diplomacy. He noted that sometimes, especially among young people today, no matter how bright a person was it was difficult to make sacrifices. “We need to know how to make the correct sacrifices for the things we want. Your work is an endorsement of you and speaks volumes about who and what you are,” he said. Charran said diplomacy was almost a lost art that was key to one’s development. “Diplomacy has fallen to the wayside in a more aggressive, assertive society, but it is one of the most important aspects to add value because it sets the tone in how to solve problems; which battles to fight and which to leave alone. It is not something easily taught, not academically acquired, but it is a way to bring value,” he said. Charran elucidated some points he called the “forces of nature” to help people add value, similar to Forgenie’s: – Adaptation through experience – Create mechanisms to survive – Communicate to thrive – Implement to conquer “Ideas cannot make a difference without implementation; knowledge is useless if it cannot be applied,” he said. BF Courtesy: Business Express
Roadmap for Your Employees By Betty Combie In my line of work I get the opportunity to work one-on-one with some businesses. It turns out while many have a documented business plan; very few have a strategic (long term) plan. The two plans have some similarity, but they are different. One distinction which has stayed with me is that the business plan demonstrates to outsiders, particularly lenders and investors, what your business is all about. However, the strategic plan is an internal document to be used routinely as a roadmap for your employees. Many employers do not give employees access to their business plan. However, employees should have access to the strategic plan. This is important in ensuring commitment, as employees must understand how their work fits into and contributes to the plan.
So here are some recommendations for the roadmap for your employees:
• Use it when preparing operational or action plans. • Reference it when putting together the business case for new projects. • Report on it during performance reviews.
• Keep it simple and reader-friendly. • Let it provide the big picture to the employees. Let them understand the context in which the business is operating. • Ensure alignment throughout the plan – the mission has to be linked to the vision or vice versa, the goals have to be linked to the strategies, the strategies have to take into consideration the existing risks. • Get your employees to provide input into it. • Maintain it as a dynamic document making changes as the environment changes.
In this New Year commit yourself to developing a documented strategic plan for your business. Don’t keep the roadmap to yourself; let your employees see it too. BF About the Author: Betty Combie is a Process and System Management Consultant. She offers services in training and auditing, and assistance in process/system improvements.
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IN THE KNOW
Putting a Price on Business By Cassandra P Simon, BSc., FCCA The majority of local businesses are either sole proprietorship (owned by one person) or family owned businesses. Even those businesses which have incorporated are often ‘Mom ‘n’ Pop’ shops, seeking limited liability by incorporating. Entrepreneurs or business owners are looked on in awe and sometimes revered by those persons dependent on employment. “You are lucky you work for yourself,” is often cited by them. Others feel that money is pouring in and out of the door of the entrepreneur because he owns a business. What no one sees is the hard work, the stressful days, and perhaps a big overdraft or loan at the bank. Why do they do it? For some it is the feeling of self-accomplishment, pride, power, flexibility and hope of wealth. For many it is the chance of leaving a legacy for their children. The purpose of this article is to show how to value a business. I will examine it from the point of view of the buyer.
Selling a business – why would an owner want to sell his business? There are a variety of reasons for the sale. One of them may be that none of the children are interested in taking over or there is more than one child wanting the business and to avoid dispute a sale is easier. Whatever the reason, how much is my business worth? Will I get enough to afford me to retire comfortably? These are some of the questions to be considered when selling. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Buying a business – more now than buying, ensure management accounts are ever – it seems to me that persons are looking for businesses to purchase, rather than starting their own. With loss of employment and large severance cheques, these previous employees see the opportunity to realise their lifelong dreams of owning their own businesses. They think buying one that has stood the test of time is easier than starting from scratch. Most sellers want to be paid for the time and effort they have put into the business, the customers they have attracted, the lines they have captured etc. This is referred to as goodwill. Here are some things to consider when buying a business: • Ask why they are selling the business. If the owner has been in the business for a long time and the business is profitable there is often a reluctance to sell. Evaluate the response and ensure that you are not buying a lemon. It may be that the business is in an industry which is slowly dying or growth has slowed. It could also be that the owner has lost an important license or a large customer without which the business cannot survive. It may be that you the prospective buyer can regain the license or customer, however, the selling price must reflect this. • Ensure that the business has financial statements prepared by a reputable accountant. If some time has passed between the date of the financial statements and the review for the purpose of
available. Recently I met an individual who was willing to purchase a business based on three months of information. This business had been in operation for seven years; why then was there only three months of current year data available? Some businesses are subject to seasonality eg. the hotel industry. A 12-month income statement will show the fluctuations from month to month. In the foregoing example the three months of data could possibly be the best months of the year. • Pay a personal visit to the business over several days and observe the foot traffic (customers entering) or the activity of the employees. This should give you a feel for the level of business being conducted. • Ensure that you understand exactly what you are purchasing. If the business is incorporated, are you purchasing the shares or simply the assets including the goodwill. Will you be entitled to use the existing business name which may well be where the goodwill is? Will the existing owners pay the severance due to the employees? Are all statutory liabilities for taxation etc. met? • Determine how much is goodwill and whether it is worth it. Normally goodwill would be the excess of the asking price over the net value of the assets. It may be necessary to revalue the assets at this point. How much you are willing to pay for
goodwill is based on your determination of what you would be saving or gaining from buying versus starting a new business. • Prepare a business plan and cash flow projections and determine whether the investment will be giving the rate of return you are expecting. The rate of return is a personal decision. It must not be less than the rate available from other available investments eg. a fixed deposit. Consider that a business comes with certain risks and the return is affected by factors outside of your control. • Get an attorney involved in drafting and witnessing the purchase agreement. You may think the negotiations have been cordial and may want to save on attorney fees; however keep in mind that an attorney has the knowledge and experience of similar situations and would be able to draft an agreement to avoid any pitfalls. • When an existing business is purchased a balance must be struck between achieving a seamless takeover and changing things up so customers realise there is a new sheriff in town. The changes may need to come gradually, particularly as the new owner begins to learn the business, assess customer wants and needs and make the funds available for the desired changes. BF About the Author Cassandra P Simon – BSc, FCCA is a Senior Accounting Professional at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in St John’s, Antigua.
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HEALTH and WEALTH
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Health is a Fundamental Development
By Team Health 2012
Senior Health Ministry officials outline the nation’s strategy for boosting the Health Sector in 2013 and beyond. The Government’s work programme for the health sector for the next five years has been outlined and our mission at the Ministry of Health is to implement the plans we started in 2012 and continue them in 2013 and beyond. Our first priority and ultimate goal as a Ministry, is to ensure that we have a healthy population. We believe that health is a human right and that everyone should have equal access to health care, regardless of one’s personal circumstance. Our value system is driven by our desire to ensure that all residents of Saint Lucia have access to a guaranteed package of services that will allow families to experience healthier lives. This will convert into increased creativity and productivity, as our people realise their true potential. We view health as a fundamental development building block. A healthy nation is a wealthy and productive nation. We have placed the Primary Health Care approach at the centre of our development strategy. This approach addresses the need for covered lives and by that we mean protecting BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
our people through strategic and effective action-oriented health care delivery. We are not only interested in providing a service and ensuring it is available. More importantly, our mandate centres around ensuring people are able to benefit from their Government’s investments in health. Our health providers are being called upon to ensure that we understand our communities and have knowledge of their health status – particularly the most vulnerable and ‘at risk’ groups – and respond in a timely manner through cost-effective interventions. The Primary Health Care approach focuses on empowering communities with knowledge, access to appropriate and acceptable services, emphasis on comprehensive care – including prevention, promotion and treatment. It also includes supporting the participation of all groups in the health development agenda to ensure that we address all the social determinants of health and engender ownership and responsibility at all levels of governance. We have adopted a Comprehensive Pri-
mary Health Care approach, as opposed to selective primary health care. Rather than a narrow focus on diseases, we are focused on developing sustainable health systems. The Health Reform agenda in the Ministry of Health aims to address the need for system-wide structures and mechanisms to ensure that we do not only improve, but that we sustain our health gains over time and generations. The health systems framework focuses on the Health System Building Blocks. This represents an unfinished agenda for the Saint Lucia Labour Party. We have pledged to complete this agenda through a focus on six main objectives: 1. Strengthening delivery of Primary Health Care at the community level through a focus on Modern Integrated Service Delivery Systems; 2. Establishing Universal Health Care with an effective health financing mechanism to provide a comprehensive, publicly guaranteed package of health services to all Saint Lucians;
3. Ensuring accountable, efficient, well-managed public hospitals; 4. Improving the human resource base of the health sector through a strategic development programme; 5. Ensuring a national health information system that integrates all health information systems from the public and private health sectors; and 6. Ensuring all our health services are accredited according to international standards.
Modern Integrated Delivery Systems The priorities of the Ministry of Health for 2013 include: - Empowering individuals and communities to live healthier lives: the MOH will increase its health promotion and behavioural change communication strategies to engender healthier lifestyle choices such as the promotion of exercise, eating of healthy foods and avoidance of adverse risk factors. We will continue to adopt a
population approach, but will focus on school-aged children in the coming financial year, working closely with the Ministry of Education in promoting the provision, preparation and consumption of healthy foods whilst ensuring adequate physical activity. - Expanding Primary Care and Preventative Health Services: We recognise the value of preventative care, early screening and early treatment of illness, and, as a result, we will also (from December of 2012) be expanding the hours of service in key areas such as at the Gros Islet Polyclinic to increase access to health care, and, by extension, decrease the burden of care on the Victoria Hospital and the new National Hospital. (This should also lead to a decrease in the waiting times at the Accident and Emergency Department at the Victoria Hospital.) - Integrating Community Mental Health Programmes: In this coming financial year, we will expand Primary Care Services to include a Community Mental Health programme. We recognise the importance of Mental Health and the fact
that persons with conditions such as depression usually present to Primary Care Providers. A vibrant Community Mental Health Care programme will also strengthen the ability of families and community to better care for persons with mental illness, preventing overcrowding; and - Improving Quality of Health Care: The Ministry of Health recently entered into an agreement with Accreditation Canada to undertake a situational analysis of our health institutions to determine where we stand in relation to meeting internationally recognised accreditation standards. This is a first step in the process toward full accreditation of our health facilities. We recognise the value of providing quality health care and believe that this initiative will ensure an improved health service in existing health institutions, as well as the new National Hospital and new St. Jude hospital. BF * (This article was produced by a combined senior Health Ministry team especially for this BF Feature Section on Health.)
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The national medical infrastructure is growing and expanding at a rapid pace. New private medical facilities are offering higher standards of care at commensurate costs. But there’s even more to come, with bright signs on the horizon for the business of health. The Government is building what the Prime Minister says “will be the best national public hospital in the OECS” as part of a new health complex on the Millennium Highway, planned to help the country get closer to achieving the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health. State-of-the-art medical equipment changes will be introduced at and newlytrained staff will man the new national general and psychiatric hospitals, while a new municipal polyclinic will be built in Dennery on lands purchased in Bois Jolie. New health centres will be constructed and all the new facilities will be staffed by a new cadre of health care professionals trained to take the island’s health services to the next required level in the age of modern medicine, science and technology. Hundreds of young St. Lucian doctors and nurses trained in various health services in Cuba and elsewhere will get opportunities to put their skills to work at home. But even all of this investment by the state in the health sector will not be enough to attend to all the nation’s health needs. The private health care services – which traditionally trailed the state in BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
breadth of presence – have been increasingly taking up the slack. Tapion Hospital – the first major fully private hospital – has rapidly expanded its services. New private diagnostic and other medical consultancy services are being advertised almost monthly. New doctors, dentists and eye specialists are increasingly joining the ranks of the St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA). The island’s expanding public and private medical plant is also good news for business. All the new plans require new facilities, all of which have to be built, equipped and staffed. Contractors will bid, medical equipment establishments will make strong offers and medical professionals will get more chances to offer more and better choices. Local contractors are gearing-up for the construction opportunities to build the new hospitals, polyclinics and health centres, while property owners and real estate agents do healthy business providing locations for private clinics in the north and south of the island. Increasingly too, the private medical fraternity is seeking to offer specialist services, especially in such areas as cancer,
eye and dental care. The range and scope of needed specialist care are long and wide. The island suffers a great deal from diabetes and hypertension and there is a huge demand for kidney dialysis. Cancers of various types are being detected faster than care services become available. As a result, more private doctors and clinics are either expanding their services or coming together to complement their medical offerings. Pain management is another area of great scope for investment in the business of health. Private pain management centres exist, but there is always a growing need for such services. Private medical care for the aged and elderly is another growing health business that continues to attract more investment. The island hosted in October 2012 a national Health and Wellness conference at which the private health sector displayed its wares to local and visiting interests, revealing the existence of a growing sector of body care and natural health clinics, facilities and care products. Also on the increase is the number of ‘natural’ bio-medical, non-chemical products that are either ‘Made in St. Lucia’ or other Caribbean islands. La Clinic Du Corps
(LCDC) was an early pioneer in the non-chemical sphere, offering physiotherapy services and imported non-chemical medicines. Here too, the local market for private body rejuvenation services has also expanded. Many St. Lucians end up visiting non-medical facilities after failing to get satisfactory results from regular doctors or being unable to pay the full cost of required care. In many cases too, those who can afford opt to seek external health care, either out of urgency or because of costs. Many head for neighbouring Martinique or Barbados, or fly further to Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, the USA, Canada and the UK. But the government is also hoping that by increasing both the quality and quantity of health care here, it will reverse the trend. All the factors add to more opportunities for the private sector to fill the gaps left open in the business of providing adequate health care to a growing nation. The growing list of private medical services represents two steps in the right direction: investing in and improving the nation’s healthcare offering. More private sector investment opportunities will certainly arise as the government implements its national health plan, as enterprising minds in the private medical and health sector seek and find more opportunities to provide specialist care and services, to complement the huge national public health investment. BF
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Taking Care Of Your Aches And Pains
By Stan Bishop The services of an experienced physiotherapist should not be taken lightly. More and more, physiotherapy has proven to be that crucial element toward a smooth transition from pain to comfort. In fact, physiotherapy is widely used in hospitals as well as in the sporting arena for the general care of patients with neurological muscular and respiratory conditions. Face it: you will need a physiotherapist on your side sooner or later. So make no bones about it. Conditions such as strokes and paralysis caused as a result of an accident, children suffering from cerebral palsy and so on are just some of the instances where a physiotherapist’s service plays a vital role, physiotherapist Eyonthe Husbands tells BF. Husbands is manager of Physiotherapist Services, located in Sans Souci, Castries. She says physiotherapy assists both
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
adults and children in their recovery process. At its core, physiotherapy aims at evaluating, restoring and maintaining physical functions. A science-based health care profession, she adds that human movement being central to people’s health and well-being is the philosophy governing physiotherapy. Husbands has been in the physiotherapy field for over twenty-five years. And at Physiotherapy Services, Husbands and her qualified team of specialists attend to patients suffering from neurological conditions such as strokes, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries; orthopedic conditions such as rehabilitation of sports injuries, post-accident trauma, low back pain, neck pain and other soft tissue injuries; respiratory conditions; and pediatric conditions. And although physiotherapy does not zero in on any particular age group, Husbands told BF that the elderly especially are prone to seeking the services of a physiotherapist. As people get older, their muscles get weaker. And with inadequate exercise, older people develop a general weakness and are prone to falls which can result in fractures. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“In Saint Lucia, there are lots of people who suffer from strokes as a result of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” Husbands disclosed. “And if they see a physiotherapist who can commence rehabilitate them almost immediately, you find that the rate of recovery is much faster. So at Physiotherapy Services, we do our best to work with these kinds of patients so that they can continue to be active in society and hold their own instead of being dependent on their families.” Ever since opening its doors back in 1997, Physiotherapy Services has been at the forefront of taking care of its patients’ aches and pains. Currently, the company boasts two qualified physiotherapists and a massage therapist. The company uses state-of-the-art technology as well as experienced know-how to make you whole again.
While most of Physiotherapy Services’ patients are referred by a doctor, the office still has an open door policy where patients can come in for queries. Pricing for the wide range of services offered at Physiotherapy Services are both competitive and value for money. Patients can also benefit from discounts. After all physiotherapy improves the quality of life. So give the experienced team of specialists at Physiotherapy Services a call today. They’re both capable and willing to assist you in your smooth recovery to physical wholesomeness. BF
Poor Management Can Undermine Effectiveness of Nation’s New and Costly Health Sector By Earl Bousquet The Ministry of Health embarked on an extensive and exhaustive series of discussions and stakeholder consultations between 1997 and 2000, which culminated in the production of the 2000 Health Sector Reform Proposals. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) provided significant support for this activity. The 2003 Universal Health Care (UHC) proposals evolved out of the discussions on health sector reform that led to a National Strategic Plan for Health (NSPH) for the period 2006-2011, which was developed with the support of the European Union (EU), using the policies that had been articulated in the Health Sector Reform Programs. In 2005, the government convinced the European Union to fund the construction of the new national hospital adjacent to the Mental Wellness Centre, with the vision of creating a modern, national medical complex as a vital component of a re-
formed health sector. Unfortunately, this planned strategic approach to the development of the health sector was not emulated in the commissioning of the Mental Wellness Centre, which was undertaken without the requisite human resources and in the absence of the vital community mental health programme. This resulted in a considerably suboptimal service. The European Union has also funded a number of initiatives designed to build the capacity in the health sector to deliver on the health plan. In 2006, a Diabetes National Programme was launched as a pilot initiative of the UHC. An electronic health information system, SLUHIS, was also purchased as part of UHC in 2006. Officers were trained to develop modules and maintain this system. This expertise is still present as part of the National Health Information Systems Project.
WHAT IS PHYSIOTHERAPY
In September 2009, a fire destroyed Saint Jude’s Hospital. A newly built Saint Jude’s Hospital on the original site is set to open in December 2012. The new national hospital is set to open by June 2013. However, there has been no focused implementation of the plan for the health sector since the delivery of the original health plan in 2006. As a result, the health sector finds itself at a very critical point. There are deficiencies in the financial, managerial and human resources in the sector and glaring inadequacies in disease management capability. If this situation is not addressed urgently the result will be a poorly managed, expensive, inefficient health service that will further undermine public confidence in the health sector. BF
Physiotherapy is a science-based health care profession which views human movement as central to the health and well-being of individuals. Its practice is directed at evaluating restoring and maintaining physical function. PHYSIOTHERAPY services provides treatment for: In Patients at Tapion Hospital • Pre and Post-operative Surgical Conditions • Chest Conditions • Orthopaedic Conditions • Neurological Conditions • Arthritic Conditions • Home Visits and much more...
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New $175M National Hospital to be
An architectural impression of what the new national hospital will look like on the Millennium Highway.
The decision to build a new national hospital dates back to the 1990s. Over a five year period (1996-2001) five independent feasibility studies were conducted on the premise of improving secondary health care services in Saint Lucia. The ultimate recommendation was for the construction of a new national hospital on a new site with a bed capacity between 130-185 beds. Construction of the new hospital formed an integral part of the Health Sector Reform Process which focused on an integrated, efficient and effective health system capable of responding to the needs BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
of the population. The overall objective of the reform process was to improve on the administration, management and delivery of health services combined with improved access to health services by the population, especially the poor and other vulnerable groups. The health reform initiative included the establishment of a system of sustainable health financing, rationalisation and improvement of primary health care services, improvements in secondary care, reform of the health legislation including the development of a quality improvement plan.
These reform measures are expected to result in an integrated national health service which provides an efficient continuum of care from primary to secondary and tertiary levels. The new national hospital is therefore seen as being integral to the success of the overall health sector reform initiatives. As the main hospital, clients accessing services will be referred either from health centres, polyclinics or private health providers. In order for the new hospital to function efficiently, the Ministry of Health must strengthen its primary care network of services that will include 33 wellness cen-
tres, polyclinics, social institutions, as well as tertiary and secondary care health institutions. The proposed strengthening of services includes the upgrading of its polyclinics, expansion of diagnostic capabilities in the primary care setting, utilisation of health teams and offering of additional services at the community level. Through the strengthening of primary care services to deliver appropriate health interventions at the community and regional level, the Ministry intends to reduce the tendency of clients to bypass services provided at the primary health care level and the overcrowding at the hospital. The Ministry is seeking to keep persons well and out of the hospital setting. It is envisaged that this strategy will contribute to a significant reduction in secondary health care costs and improved health outcomes. The contract for construction of the new national hospital was awarded to INSO SISTEMI PER LE INFRASTRUCUTRE COCIALI S.p.A (INSO S.p.A) of Italy and construction commenced in November, 2010. The hospital is a two storey reinforced concrete structure spanning across a floor
area of approximately 14,500 square metres. The bed capacity of the facility is 116. The purpose of the new national hospital is to establish a modern hospital facility capable of providing quality health care services to all citizens, in an efficient manner. The overall objective is for the provision of improved secondary care services in Saint Lucia. The services to be offered are many: Outpatient Care will include Accident and Emergency, Observation Beds, General Outpatient Clinic, Orthopedics Clinic, Ophthalmology Clinic, ENT Clinic, Children’s Outpatient Clinic, STD Clinic, Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinic, Day Surgery/Investigation Unit and a Dialysis Unit. Inpatient Care will include General Acute Wards, Children’s Wards, Obstetrics Wards, Gynecology Wards, Special Care Baby Unit and an Intensive Care Unit. Diagnosis & Treatment will feature a Pathology Laboratory, Radiology, Operating Theatres, Delivery Suite and Physiotherapy
Medical Support will include a Pharmacy, Central Sterile Supply, Medical Records, Offices and Library and a Mortuary. General Support will come in the form of Hospital Administration, Other Administration, Meeting Rooms, Main Entrances/ Shops, Chapel, Telephones, Building Maintenance, Laundry, Kitchen, Staff Dining, Goods Receipt/Distribution, On-Call Suite and Staff Changing Rooms. By the end of October 2012, the new national hospital was 85% complete with remaining works to be completed by December 31, 2012 and the new facility will be operational by June 2013. Construction of is being funded by the European Union and the Government of Saint Lucia. The Government of Saint Lucia will; spend EC$34,288,888, while the European Union will spend EC$139,818,581.04. Total funding is estimated at EC$174,107,468.70. Up to the end of October 2012 the St. Lucia Government had already spent EC$19,068,797.97, the European Union had spent EC$109,147,266.09, bringing total expenditure to date to EC$128,216,060.24. BF
New National Hospitals Accredited ahead of
The Ministry of Health has taken a bold initial step in the process of preparing its institutions for the endorsement of international accreditation as a core component of national health sector reform. In a bid to systematically improve the quality of care received by patients and other users of the service and to improve satisfaction with the services received, Accreditation Canada International, an internationally recognised accrediting body, has been contracted to conduct assessments of the primary health care services (Wellness Centres, Polyclinic and District Hospitals), Victoria Hospital, St. Jude Hospital, the National Mental Wellness Centre and Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre to determine their readiness for accreditation. These assessments took place between November and December 2012. The results of the assessments – due early in
2013 – will inform the Ministry and the facilities concerned of the progress made in developing, documenting and implementing processes, protocols, and standard operating procedures. These form part of an integrated quality management system that seeks to assure consistent quality of care delivered to patients and clients, congruent with internationally accepted standards of care. This initial assessment of the existing processes and systems against international standards will serve as a baseline and guide for future work. The primary objective is to improve quality of care and ultimately to obtain accreditation. The assessors will also pro-
vide an assessment of each organisation’s capacity to transition to a culture of quality. These objectives are especially relevant given the imminent opening of the new National Hospital which aims to operate as a referral hospital providing more efficient and effective services. Patients and clients must be confident, irrespective of the public health facility visited, whether at the primary or secondary level, of the delivery of quality care services. BF
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Who’ll Pay for More and Better Health Care?
By Earl Bousquet
Government expenditure on improving and expanding the island’s national health services is huge. Over $200 million is already committed to build new national and regional hospitals and complementary community medical facilities such as polyclinics and health centres. The new St. Jude Hospital (to cost some $47 million) and the new National Hospital (to eventually cost $174 million) will both be operational in 2013. The St. Lucia Government will foot the entire bill for the St. Jude Hospital (minus whatever donated contributions were collected after the fire). But while the European Union will fund the bulk of the cost of the new National Hospital ($139 million), St. Lucia’s share of that bill will be a healthy $34 million. By the end of the third quarter of 2012, the government had already spent $19 million on the new National Hospital and had gone to parliament to secure another $10 million to equip it ahead of its 2013 commissioning. The government also plans to build a new Dennery Hospital by 2016. The old Victoria and Soufriere Hospitals haven’t yet featured in the national planning, but whatever their future use in the national health service, they will certainly bear additional healthy costs.
So, how will the nation meet the costs of the improved health care after all the new medical facilities are in place? In these tight economic times, will the government alone be able to budget sufficiently for the new services in the amounts required? If not, to what extent will citizens be willing and/or able to pay for the cost of the medical care to be offered and obtained at the new public facilities and the increasing number of local private health facilities? There have been warnings of a possible impending crisis. A PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation) consultancy in 2011 estimated that the new National Hospital – by itself – would increase the government’s national health expenditure by $21 million annually. Those in the know are ringing alarm bells. Former Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stephen King, now a Senator, told the Upper House last year that government will need to budget for an additional $50 million annually to cater altogether for the two government-run hospitals (St. Jude and the new National Hospital), as well as the upgraded national mental health services and the attendant disease management programs. Saint Lucians will naturally look to the government for VAT to pay for the increased demands in the health care sec-
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
tor. Current economic conditions require that more citizens take responsibility to pay for the nation’s health care. But history has taught that St. Lucians have very unhealthy habits when it comes to paying their health bills. The result: private health institutions demand payment up-front for all medical services. The private medical services seek to avoid the unhealthy level of indebtedness afflicting Victoria and St. Jude hospitals, which is simply incredible. Up to May 2012, St. Jude was owed $44.5 million – and that figure dated back to 1996. Government approved a six-month amnesty on outstanding receivables, offering a 40-60% discount to debtors. Some 14,000 patients were likely to benefit from the arrangement. The amnesty commenced on June 1st, 2012 and ended on December 31st 2012. Victoria Hospital does not have reliable figures on the overall level of outstanding debt by ex-patients. But the average annual level of patient receivables over the last four years was conservatively estimated at approximately $3.7 million, averaging a total of $14.8 million by May 2012. (As a group, patients on dialysis at Victoria and St. Jude were assessed as 'the most indebted,' as the cost of treatment normally tend to exceed their insurance coverage.) Some
80-90% of Victoria Hospital’s receivables were considered 'of doubtful recovery' status – and it was also estimated by the finance and accounting authorities that “the cost of collection is likely to exceed the levels of receivables.” However, the government invited ex-patients with debts to Victoria up to March 2012 to settle their accounts as of July 2012 and receive up to a 90% write-off. These initiatives, though commendable, still leave unanswered the question of how the increased national health bill will be paid for when all the new facilities come into place. There’s also the cost of the return of Universal Health Care (UHC), which was designed to improve management of the health system nationally and to source additional financing to adequately support the hospitals. It’s also proposed that UHC will finance disease management programs in certain priority health areas, including mental health services, chronic non-communicable diseases and emergency medical services – particularly prehospital emergency services. Dr. King told the Senate, “These areas were selected for the first phase of Universal Health Care
because they were the areas that, given the epidemiology and infrastructure plans, would place great resource demands that the existing system cannot meet.” To illustrate, he pointed to the new mental health institution on the Millennium Highway constructed by the Chinese, finished by the Taiwanese and rented out to an offshore medical school before being returned to a state adequate for its original intended use. He said, “This new facility delivered as a gift has not delivered as expected. In fact, its opening has caused deterioration in our mental health services.” The ex-CMO said that happened because the necessary investment “was not made in human resource development” as the budget was not increased sufficiently “to adequately fund the facility and the community mental health program.” This scenario, he said, could play out again after the opening of the new general hospitals – which again brings into focus the necessary cost and development of the human resources to man the over $200 million worth of new investments in the national health infrastructure.
Many may hope that the Value Added Tax (VAT) will raise the money the government will need to pay the nation’s health bill. But that would not be a wise or healthy hope – not in the immediate future as VAT receipts for the current financial year will only be for the six months between October and the start of the 2013-2014 financial year. In addition, government’s receipts during the period will also be negatively affected by a staggering $225 million deficit and it will lose some $45 million in taxes not collected as a result of the Construction Industry Stimulus Package. St. Lucians, complaining about VAT – even though they accept it – will probably be sickened by the thought that they will also have to foot the bill for the nation’s new health facilities. But with the government being forced to continue to borrow to pay for the national health plan, there’s no escaping the painful diagnosis that when the national prescription is finally filled, it’s still Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer who will foot the national health bill. BF
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The Disease of the Century
Over the last decade, billions of dollars have been spent by a countless governments and organizations in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The list is an extensive one and includes the likes of the United Nations, The World Bank, and the Clinton and Gates Foundations, all successfully united in the purpose driven cause of global action. Unfortunately cancer has not enjoyed the same sort of support, when the truth is that, just as much (if not significantly more) financial and other input is required to curb the onslaught of this abominable disease. Cancer mortality far outnumbers deaths from ALL infectious diseases combined. One person dies from cancer every 4.15 seconds. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO), confirms approximately 11 million newly diagnosed cases annually. Scientists project that by the year 2020, the incidence of cancer will further increase to 16 million annually with over 10 million deaths. What is even more astounding is that 70% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries like Saint Lucia and in the case of cervical cancer, this death rate is expected to be as high as 85% of global figures. While cancers of the lung, stomach, liver, colon and breasts cause the majority of deaths worldwide; prostate and breast BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
cancers, respectively, kill men and women most frequently in Saint Lucia. Among the OECS countries, Saint Lucia has the highest crude number of cases and deaths from cancer i.e. a total of 158 deaths between 2000 and 2003, as compared with 112 in Dominica and 123 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Dr. Owen O Gabriel MD; DM (ONCOL)
Unfortunately in the Caribbean, the war against cancer has not been fought in a unified and strategic manner. Much of the scientific knowledge of prevention and control which make up the rationale for government and NGO policy in developed
countries, are in the main, disregarded by the relevant bodies here. It is well known that over 30% of cancers could be prevented, primarily by cutting tobacco use, adopting a healthy diet, exercising or becoming physically active and preventing cancer causing infections. As such, cancer like other chronic noncommunicable diseases, needs to be addressed primarily by education, with the objective of instilling lifetime habits and triggering actions as part of a lifestyle from the earliest of ages. These healthy lifestyle behaviours are also relevant in the prevention and control of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, hypertension, and kidney disorders. In respect to diagnosis and treatment, in our region, it is not uncommon to find policies aimed at financing expensive sophisticated machines, first world technology and fragmented care, rather than implementing opportune scientifically structured strategies of early diagnosis and resource based care. It is clear that more than 30% of cancer could be cured if detected early and treated adequately. Further as 8 out of 10 patients seen in clinic are diagnosed in late stages, attempts at a cure are certainly less successful. Clearly, screening interventions like pap smears for cervical cancer, colonoscopies for colorectal carci-
noma, digital rectal examinations for prostate and mammograms for carcinomas of breast are better suited for cancer control in our low resource nations. In fact these were the very interventions which were used in developed countries as national programs and are still in effect. It is not surprising that NGOs, professional organizations and patient advocate groups wholesomely continue to buy into their cost effectiveness as well as the resulting significant positive impact on the reduction in incidence and mortality. A recent multicentre study conducted by a reputable economic intelligence institute indicates that over $300 billion are spent and needed annually to treat new cancer cases. A review of global spending suggests that only 5% of these costs were spent in the developing world. While the disparity of availability of resources is clear, rationale use of even these meager would augur well to im-
proved patient outcomes. At the national level, there is no clearly defined health policy and this is reflected in negligible allocations to overall health care in national budgets. Even as more and more persons
seem to be afflicted with this disease and more and more seek overseas care, our policy makers seem numb to the need for greater resource allocation. Inevitably, this could only be achieved through structured private â€“ public collaboration.
Currently 24.6 million people are living with cancer and regardless of the resources at their disposal, they are forced to confront the varied psychological, social and economic challenges inherent in having cancer. They however are not alone. These numbers do not include their family, friends and co-workers, who in one way or another struggle with the daily threat of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease. In our environment, we need to develop practical tools, evidence and resource based policies as part of a national cancer control program which is whole heartedly endorsed by all concerned bodies addressing cancer. If we do not cut to the chase, we are doomed to becoming crippled by this disease through the rest of this century and centuries to come. BF About the Author: Dr Owen Gabriel is a practising Oncologist in St Lucia.
10 Principal causes of death by rank (All ages) Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Principal Cause of Death
Malignant neoplasms (Cancers) Heart Diseases Diabetes mellitus Cerebrovascular diseases Hypertensive disease
786 583 472 469 348
% of Total 17% 13% 10% 10% 7.5%
Perinatal causes Chronic lower respiratory diseases Influenza and pneumonia Assault Diseases of the liver
135 133 117 113 79
2.9% 2.9% 2.5% 2.4% 1.7%
Total 10 Principal Causes
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
10 Principal causes of death by rank (Males) Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Principal Cause of Death
Malignant neoplasms (Cancers) Heart Diseases Cerebrovascular diseases Diabetes mellitus Hypertensive disease Chronic lower respiratory diseases Assault
451 346 217 208 145 100 98
% of Total 17% 13% 8.4% 8.0% 5.6% 3.9% 3.8%
73 61 56
2.8% 2.4% 2.2%
Perinatal causes Influenza and pneumonia Diseases of the liver
Total 10 Principal Causes
Total deaths by year and gender, 2007 to 2011 Year
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
539 555 534 419 548
384 466 408 315 435
927 1,022 954 737 983
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
10 Principal causes of death by rank (Females) Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Principal Cause of Death
Malignant neoplasms (Cancers) Diabetes mellitus Cerebrovascular diseases Heart Diseases Hypertensive disease Perinatal causes Influenza and pneumonia Chronic lower respiratory diseases Diseases of the liver Congenital anomalies
331 260 251 235 202 61 56 32 23 22
% of Total 16% 13% 13% 12% 10% 3.0% 2.8% 1.6% 1.1% 1.1%
Total 10 Principal Causes
Deaths by age groups and gender, 2007 to 2011 (combined) Age Group (Years) 00-04 05-14 15-49 50-64 65+ Unk Grand Total
No. 101 23 587 472 1,400 12
% 3.9% 0.89% 23% 18% 54% 0.46%
No. 91 15 273 280 1,343 6
% 4.5% 0.75% 14% 14% 67% 0.30%
No. 193 38 864 754 2,753 21
% 4.2% 0.82% 19% 16% 60% 0.45%
All statistics were provided by Ministry of Health
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
St. Lucians Walking for Healthy Causes
Walkers numbered in the thousands at the 2012 Yoplait Walk for Cancer. St. Lucia’s business community has over the years been encouraging people to walk for healthy causes – for themselves and to help others, especially cancer patients. Every year, businesses come together to promote walks, such as the Pine Hill and Yoplait Walks from Castries to Pigeon Point. Local agents of the products sponsor the highest costs and other businesses chip in with prizes – and the money raised is donated to a particular health cause. In early November, Super J/IGA’s Yoplait Walk for Cancer drew the usual large crowd – as did the National Community Foundation’s ‘Kouwi Ste Lisi’ (Run St. Lucia) earlier in March – both confirming that more and more people are getting more health conscious and willing to participate
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
in walks for good causes. The fourth Yoplait Walk for Cancer in 2012 was aimed at “education, awareness and fundraising for cancer.” Sancha Raggie, Marketing Manager of Super J/IGA, says the walks are organised “to demonstrate a commitment to fight against the disease.” She explains, “Together we walk to honour breast cancer survivors. We get educated about breast cancer and we raise funds and awareness for and of the cause.” In its first four years, the Yoplait Walk raised over $90,000 which was then contributed to the National Community Foundation to help pay costs of medical care for needy persons seeking its help. Apart from its ‘Kouwi Ste Lisi,’ the NCF also hosts its own annual Telethon (again
with much public and private sector support) to raise funds. The NCF has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars (each year) to fund its own community outreach activities and to handle its increasing medical expenses budget. But it’s not only the businesses and walkers who get on board. The Government also endorses these worthwhile activities – as evidenced by their participation in the various weekend or holiday walks. Indeed, Minister of Health Alvina Reynold, Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte and the Minister of Sports, Shawn Edward all participated in the 2012 Yoplait Walk for Cancer. BF
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BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
We’re Changing the Face of
Health Care in St. Lucia!
The island’s Health Minister answers 10 questions about the future of health care in St. Lucia under her watch Alvina Reynolds, a trained social worker with a deep spiritual attachment and expression, was appointed Minister of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations – one of only two women in the current Cabinet. Hers is the multifarious task of providing leadership for those responsible for reshaping the inherited, while shaping the future, for the island’s vastly expanding national health infrastructure and service. The Babonneau MP has faced both challenges and opportunities, but she offers a clear vision of what her mission is and says she’s determined to ensure implementation of the policies and framework for development of a new national health service in 2013 and beyond. BF put ten questions to the Minister in the following interview for this issue’s feature section. Her replies tell it all:
Q: You’ve spent a year at the helm of the take new approaches to health care while Ministry of Health at a time when the entire National Health Service is about to be revolutionised with new hospitals, modern equipment and trained staff. What will the national health picture look like in 2013 and beyond?
A: I welcomed this great challenge from Day One because I recognise the importance of the task and the enormity of the challenge. We are changing both the face and features of national health care in St. Lucia. We crafted all these plans for a new national health system in a previous Labour Administration and after a five-year lapse we are back to implement them. But our new plan is not only about new buildings and equipment. We also have in place very serious short, medium and long-term programmes aimed at encouraging and ensuring that communities take better care of their health and that individuals take more personal responsibility for their health. We will be taking health care to a whole new level, building from below with new building blocks and putting in place the systems to ensure we build a formidable universal health system that will BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
improving old ones. We will not only want people to be treated for diseases, we’ll be promoting disease prevention. We will not only be interested in cures, but in the symptoms to be addressed. Our entire health planning and policy implementation is being undertaken by a team at my ministry. I’m in the lead, but I have a very dependable team of professionals who know what our mission is and who are committed to its implementation over the next five years. But we’re not just planning for the next five years. We’re building the best medical and health system in the entire OECS and our vision is naturally beyond the next five years. But we’re taking it all in phases and for now we’re planning for the next five consecutive years. It won’t be possible to say all in this interview, but believe me: we have plans, we are executing them and the results are already starting to be seen throughout the island, from the new National Hospital Complex to the
new St. Jude Hospital to the new plans for the Wellness Centre to our new plans for Universal Health Care. But I’m also interested, personally, in other areas such as the effects of violence and accidents on health, the link between alcohol and sports, air pollution, the link between garbage disposal and our rodent problem, the increasing evidence of young people’s mental health being affected because of their inability to handle pressures; and the need for each of us to take more individual responsibility for ourselves and our actions regarding our health. These are
all issues we also have to start looking at more closely in the new dispensation and those will certainly be getting my attention in the next five years.
Q: How does the Government intend to finance the expanded health service beyond 2013?
A: The Ministry of Health has conducted extensive work on health financing options in order to meet the objective of sustaining health gains. In 2013, this will be finalised and the requisite policies and legislation will be developed to ensure the effective operation of the health financing mechanism.
Q: With the island’s expanding National Health Service, is Health Tourism at all under consideration?
A: Health tourism is an area with great potential. It is also an ideal platform for public/private health partnerships. Already, St. Lucia’s renal dialysis services are being utilised by neighbouring countries as well as by visiting tourists. Health tourism also provides an opportunity for utilising the natural beauty of St. Lucia in holistic health care with measures aimed at healthy eating, exercise, mental and spiritual rejuvenation, rest and relaxation.
the two entities, there is cooperation between the public and private health sectors. Some examples include sale of diagnostic services such as CT scans for patients who cannot afford these services. The Ministry also part-sponsors some patients receiving dialysis in the private health sector. The private sector also benefits from training for health care workers provided through the Ministry and via external funding partners such as PAHO. The public health sector accepts referrals from the private sector for patients needing specialised care, such as admittance into the Intensive Care Unit and for the continued care of very high risk patients. Under the UHC programme, this relationship will be further defined. The private sector plays a valuable role in health care provision and this will be harnessed as part of the Ministry’s focus on cost effective interventions and partnerships.
Q: The emergency (ambulance) services and A&E services have been suffering from resource and other problems and attracting public criticism. What plans for these services in the new dispensation? A: The Ministry of Health is currently in
Q: What are the island’s most prevalent discussions with Ministry of Home Affairs diseases?
A: Though acute infectious diseases such
(Fire Service), which is the main provider of emergency pre-hospital care. Various options will be examined to determine the optimal solution in 2013. We are aware of the various issues, challenges and complications that have affected delivery of these important services and we are undertaking discussions and practically examining the various options open to us, taking into consideration all the variables.
as the common flu and dermatological conditions are quite prevalent, chronic non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases) – also commonly referred to as ‘lifestyle diseases’ – are the main causes of mortality and chronic morbidity in St. Lucia. This pattern is in keeping with worldwide trends indicating a shift from infectious diseases to chronic diseases. In spite of this epidemiological shift, vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever and leptospirosis cause occasional epidemics and are of concern. In addition, new and re-emerging diseases – HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, bilharzia as well as leprosy – are also of concern.
Q: There continue to be pre-VAT concerns
Q: What’s the level of Public/Private cooperation in the health sector?
Q: What’s the status of and what’s next for
A: Though currently no formalised memo-
about the cost of private medical care. How does the government respond to the latest criticism and what’s being done?
A: The cost of medicines is constantly under review by the Ministry of Health. The components of that cost, including taxes, are being examined at this time.
the Cuba-trained nurses?
A: The Ministry currently has 125 Cubatrained nurses engaged in a six-month familiarisation programme. This programme is geared toward re-orienting the nurses back into an English-speaking health environment, as well as providing the exposure needed to facilitate success at the Regional Nursing exams which provide a license for nursing practice. We anticipate that by mid-2013 we should have a cadre of nurses who are ready to fill existing nursing positions throughout the health service.
Q: What’s the future for age-old Victoria Hospital?
A: The health service planning activities are addressing the role and function of all health facilities in the network of service delivery. This rationalisation of plant and equipment is crucial to ensuring cost effective service delivery. The Castries Urban Polyclinic will be housed at the old Victoria Hospital. A position paper is being developed for Cabinet approval on the way forward with all health facilities and infrastructures.
Q: What future for the still very new National Wellness Centre?
A: The National Mental and Wellness Centre represents the government’s efforts to increase access to quality mental health services. The model of care is an Integrated Mental Health Programme. It has both hospital-based and communitybased services. Clients move through the levels of care from community prevention, treatment and care, through hospitals and back to community. The goal of the Wellness Centre is to work towards the full rehabilitation of all clients and their reintegration into family and community life. The Centre plays a pivotal role in the delivery of hospital–based care to the mentally ill. This model of care is being strengthened through the support of the Quality Initiative and the Health Information Project. Timely and accurate information and clearly defined protocols and procedures will allow for the continued monitoring and evaluation of the mentally-challenged and the services designed to improve their quality of life. BF
randum of understanding exists between BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
The Importance of Regular Medical Check-Ups Make That Decision Now and Stay Healthy!
By Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun As the New Year comes around, our thoughts usually focus on our new resolutions, and what positive changes we’d like to make in our lives. The most important of these is maintaining our good health, or making the changes needed to improve our health. An annual medical physical exam is one of these important resolutions that we should stick to. Many people think it is foolish and a waste of time and money, and many of us neglect our health even if we don't intend to. However regular medical checkups have become very essential to enable the individual to detect his actual state of health and any disease that he may be carrying at an early stage, and better still prevent illness occurring in the first place. Some tests save so many lives that it is definitely worth the money spent on it. Not all serious medical problems have symptoms in their early stages. Notwithstanding, a physical exam could detect something while it is still treatable or while the diagnosis is still favorable. If you maintain a routine of regular checkups you greatly reduce the chances of getting sick in the first place. The object of staying healthy should be in identifying symptoms before they become incurable. With early detection comes the possibility of a BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
prolonged life, if problems are found and treated expeditiously. Routine annual physical exams can be done in several ways, but would usually involve the following:
1) A Detailed History will be taken, asking questions concerning important behaviors, like smoking, excessive alcohol use, sexual health, diet, and exercise. Your vaccination status may also be checked and your personal and family medical history updated. 2) Vital Signs will be checked. These include: Blood pressure , Pulse or Heart rate, Respiration rate, and Temperature. 3) Your General Appearance will be assessed. A large amount of information about you and your health can be gathered by watching and talking to you. These include: • Your memory and mental quickness? • Does your skin appear healthy? • Can you easily stand and walk? 4) A Thorough Physical Examination is done. This includes examining your heart, lungs, abdomen, head and neck, and skin. There
are other tests that are done on men and women, dependent on age and medical history. Based on the results of the physical exam, laboratory tests, x-rays or ultrasound scans may be requested. The results of these tests are then reviewed to assess if further steps need to be taken. It is essential to stress the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, a healthy diet, as well as no smoking, and moderate alcohol intake, in the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. According to studies, as high as 60 percent of the causes of death are due to preventable diseases which could easily have been detected and prevented by regular medical checkups. This statistic underlines nicely the importance of regular checkups. BF 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
Quality Health Care…
Right Here! By Stan Bishop
Family physician and lactation consultant Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun surely has her hands full. But she doesn’t complain about it as her more than two decades of hard work and persistence in the health field is paying off. As director of the Rodney Bay Medical Centre, Rodney Bay Diagnostic Centre and Integrated Health Care Medical Clinic, Dr. Destang is on a mission to revolutionise the state of medical care in Saint Lucia. And it’s all being done under one roof!
you’re vomiting, we can stabilise you. If you’re wheezing, we can nebulise you. In short, we take care of the different everyday emergencies right here. In addition to that, we still maintain the family practice side of things where we take care of adults and children.” The latest addition – the Integrated Health Care Medical Clinic – is a walkin clinic where patients do not need to make appointments before visiting the clinic and are taken care of immediately.
to which the patient is referred to alert the hospital staff about the nature or history of the patient’s condition. While the patient is there, Dr. Destang-Beaubrun said her clinic does follow-ups to ensure that things run smoothly. Nevertheless, the centre has been able to do most of the stabilisation care and the initial care of their patients, she told BF. Also, within the centre is a team of specialised doctors – including pediatrician, general surgeon and dermatologist
It all started when she opened her Rodney Bay Medical Centre in 1994 close to where the Bay Walk Mall now stands. She had realised her dream but by 2007 recognised the need for an expanded set of services to provide medical care of a particular quality to residents in the north of the island. That’s when the Rodney Bay Medical Centre, located in the Providence Commercial Centre, came into being. “With the RBMC, we just added a few things, including a full-service lab, a fullservice diagnostic centre, and a walk-in clinic to take care of non-life threatening emergencies,” Dr. Destang-Beaubrun told BF. “So, if you have a cut, we can suture you up. If you’re dehydrated, we can put up an IV. If you have a severe diarrhea or
She explained that the new facility offers a comprehensive range of services that take into consideration unbeatable prices, easy accessibility, time-efficiency and the convenience of having most – if not all – medical tests done in the same location. The state-of-the-art centre has a newlyopened diagnostic centre that offers digital X-rays, mammograms and ultra-sounds and comes equipped with the latest in medical technology. According to Dr. Destang-Beaubrun, if the patient requires further care than that offered at the centre, patients are usually transferred to the Tapion Hospital with which they have a good rapport via the ambulance. The centre’s specialised service includes calling ahead to the hospital
and ENT – to which the patient can also be referred. Moreover, among the front office staff is a licensed practice nurse trained in basic life support while the office manager also possesses that skill. “It gives us a level of satisfaction knowing that we are here not just to save lives but to also provide basic health care for families. And when a patient comes here, it’s not just about seeing a doctor. It’s about having a unique experience that begins from the moment you enter our door to the moment you leave with a smile,” Dr. Destang-Beaubrun said. BF
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Traditional Herbal Medicines – How Useful Today?
By Earl Bousquet Local traditional medicines are mainly (but not exclusively) herbal. Most are not entirely unique tropical varieties found only here, but their names vary, often with indigenous (French or Kweyol) names, however, all are relied upon by many for healing purposes. Historically, rural homes featured special garden corners or sections dedicated to medicinal herbs for treating everything from fever and asthma to the common cold. Plants and herbs exist for everything from treating eczema to a heat-treatment of a catarrh through the scalp. Hot local medicinal ‘bush teas’ also abound – from pure and simple Orange Leaf Tea (Deetay L’Oranjette) to a hot cinnamon tea boiled with spice leaves (Deetay Cannelles). Chamomile Tea comes today in imported packaged tea bags – even herbal caffeinefree tea bags – but they originated in herbal medicine backyard gardens across the Caribbean. Scores of local herbal medicines exist, many of which can also be found on open sale at the Castries Market or other local vendors’ markets island-wide. And each vendor will easily and speedily spell out the various medical conditions each bunch BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
of leaves, herbs or roots can heal. They range from Tabac Jab (Devil’s Tobacco) and Gwen Amba Feuille (Seed Under Leaves) to Lachay Chat (Cat’s Tail), Pye Poule (Chicken’s Foot) and Jewi Toute (Cure for All). More people resort these days to healthy use of traditional medicines. Similarly, more evidence exists of entrepreneurial efforts to promote and market them. Small entrepreneurs are already producing and marketing products with local herbal content. At pharmacies and on supermarket shelves you can find a growing list of local mixtures of tonic foods and herbal drinks. Popular local medical and healing beverages range from Black Roots Noni elixirs to Natural Purifiers concocted from a wide range of local roots and herbs. Manufacturers range from individual home-based operations to larger smallscale industrial operations for products with sparkling labels, websites and e-mail addresses. Herbal leaves and roots largely used here range from Leaf of Life, Herbe Mal Tete (Headache Herb), Cerasee, Carali and Veven Lachay Wat (Rat’s Tail) to Tumeric, Aloe Vera, Cactus, Casse (Golden Shower), Ginger, Sasporilla – and even Cayenne Pepper.
Of late, modernity has entered the picture. Bottled herbal medical products are registered with the Standards Bureau and are properly labeled with lists of ingredients, dosages per age, production and expiry dates, name and address of manufacturers, bar codes, warnings and the conditions they can cure over what period of time. Their uses range from to ‘help prevent diabetes’ to ‘ridding the body of toxins.’ A special study and documentation undertaken many years ago by Albert Deterville with and for the Folk Research centre (FRC), identified the local herbs by their scientific botanical names and outlined their uses. With the world waking up to the fact that over 70% of chemical medicines emerge from tropical flora and fauna and more international pharmaceuticals highlighting the ‘natural’ content of their products in their marketing efforts toward a more health-conscious global clientele, the future looks good for local herbal medicines in the business of health here and elsewhere. BF
The Rub! You won’t know it ‘til you feel it! By Earl Bousquet Traditional medicines come in various types. Most are based on indigenous herbs and plants, but many others also exist that are quite different and involve a variety of ingredients, not necessarily pulled or extracted from the soil of a herbal medicine garden. One such medicinal art is the ‘rub’ – a healing art that has over the years been restricted to ageing healers in mainly distant rural communities, but also practiced by the more elderly of townsfolk. Historically, a good rub would have required a trip to the countryside. And even if you wished to rub yourself or next of kin, the ingredients aren’t available on the Internet – or anywhere else. But not anymore… Frances Severin, an enterprising resident of La Guerre, Babonneau, grew up in
a community known for traditionally healing. She’s versed in the art of preparing the concoction of oils and ointments, herbs and spices used, and decided to make the mix available to everyone, everywhere in St. Lucia. Frances embarked on a mission of developing a home-based cottage industry to produce the mix. She established a company and registered it officially, then registered her product labels with the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards. ‘Frances’ Rub’ (the name of both product and company) has a long ingredient base, including: Soft Candle, Red and White Lavender, Coconut oil, Castor oil, Eucalyptus oil, Red Flower Oil, Olive Oil, Square Comfort Oil, Wintergreen Oil, Mustard Oil, Camphorated Oil, Balsa Benzoine, Lard and Nutmeg. The list of ailments it
can address is also long: Chest Colds, Flu, Rheumatism, Glands, Sprains, Stiff Necks, Back Pains, Cramps, Fever, Headaches, Period Pains, Cuts and Bruises. Frances’ locally produced pain balm hit the market after she registered her company in September 2012. She personally marketed the product from house to house, community to community. She eventually convinced the local supermarkets and pharmacies to buy and sell her potent medical mix. “I was very pleased with the way people have responded to my product and I am very encouraged,” she told BF. I go to the supermarkets and I see and speak to people and they like it because it’s working for them,” she added. Frances is churning out the mix at a rate that also promises a welcome resurgence of interest in the traditional solution of ‘taking a rub’ for certain conditions that don’t necessarily require intervention of a medical doctor. Frances’ Rub comes in three sizes (large, medium, small) and is available at a supermarket or drugstore near you. BF
RODNEY BAY MON-SAT 9AM-9PM PHARMACY 457-2090 SUN & HOL. 9AM-1PM _________________________________________________________ RODNEY HEIGHTS MON-SAT 8AM-8PM 457-2227 / 458-4992 SUN & HOL. 9AM-1PM
MEGA J MON-SAT 9AM-9PM 457-2040 SUN & HOL. 9AM-1PM _________________________________________________________ SUNNY ACRES MON-SAT 8AM-8PM 457-2265 / 458-2519 SUN & HOL. 9AM-1PM _________________________________________________________
WATERFRONT 457-2334 / 452-3849
MON-THUR FRI-SAT SUN & HOL.
8AM-7PM 8AM-8PM 9AM-1PM
CUL DE SAC 457-2350
MON-SAT SUN & HOL.
LA TOURNEY MON-THUR 8AM-7PM 457-2323 / 454-5970 FRI-SAT 8AM-8PM SUN & HOL. 9AM-1PM _________________________________________________________ NEW DOCK MON-SAT 10AM-6PM 454-5875 SUN & HOL. 9AM-1PM
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Committed To The Diabetes Cause By Stan Bishop
Dr: Takira Glasgow The high prevalence of Diabetes in St. Lucia is no feat that St. Lucians can be proud about. For years now, we’ve been told that the fight to reduce the number of diabetics has been an uphill battle. But there’s one bright young doctor determined to make a big difference in the fight against Diabetes, and she’s determined to win. Dr. Takira Glasgow admits to being a modest doctor with a passion for persistence and perfection. Her invaluable work caught the attention of BF in November when she ran special free clinics on Wednesdays in observance of World Diabetes Day on Wednesday November 14. The free clinics were held at Tapion Hospital where Dr. Glasgow’s practice is based. According to her, the clinics fell in line with her philosophy of sensitizing communities to the importance of Diabetes prevention and management. Her qualifications in the subject are not to be taken lightly. She recently completed a Masters in Diabetes with distinction in the UK but did her medical degree at the University of the West Indies and her first degree at McGill University in Canada. Dr. Glasgow is also ECFMG-certified which qualifies her to do residency or a fellowship in the United States. Her Masters in Diabetes, she said, covered the clinical management of Diabetes and also involved extensive research on Diabetes. It is against that backdrop and BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
the quest for a change in the status quo upon which Dr. Glasgow’s current medical practice is based. “We offer general medical care such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, medical reports, pap smears and blood pressure management,” she tells BF. “But we specialize in Diabetes care. I believe that a Diabetes patient must have the information, tools and motivation to manage their Diabetes health. After initial assessment, the patient is provided with a detailed routine that is tailored to their age, comorbidities, complications and whatever challenges they may have. “We try to get their blood glucose as close to the normal range as possible for the best quality of life. We also follow up closely until the patient is comfortable with self-management and then offer the regular check-ups and help during sick days and acute stressors. We have access to specialists and consultants for the next step in management of complications. Patient care is individualized and holistic.” Dr. Glasgow’s working hours at Tapion Hospital run from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday but current patients can also contact her via telephone as late as 9pm on most days. In keeping with spreading the word about Diabetes and its implications, she has undertaken the task of visiting communities in the island’s north as part of her work in public health. She gave BF the scoop regarding her findings. “There are parts of our communities in which blood glucose control is exemplary and in those locations, there is good follow-up and exercise classes are held right from the health centres. The members of the community know each other and are highly motivated. We can get the same effect island-wide if we manage to put a glucose meter in the hand of every person with Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes and if we encourage our neighbours towards positive lifestyle change. Finally, we must provide personalized Diabetes care. So just what is Diabetes and what are the types of the Diabetes? Diabetes is a group of metabolic disturbances manifested by high blood sugar
and characterized by defects in insulin action and/or secretion. There are basically four types of Diabetes: • Type I Diabetes is autoimmune with onset in youth rather than adult life. There is a dependency on administered insulin. Latent autoimmune diabetes is a slow onset form of Type I that can resemble Type II Diabetes in adults. • Type II Diabetes is the most common, often referred to as a lifestyle disease because of the association with obesity and insulin resistance. Both Types I and II Diabetes are increasing in prevalence but Type II is increasing at epidemic proportions globally. • Gestational Diabetes involves appearance of the disease in pregnancy. • There is also a classification of “other specific types” which include hormonal causes and genetic defects of the cells producing insulin. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease has been called Type III Diabetes. Dr. Glasgow believes that misconceptions and lack of awareness are partly to blame for the prevalence of Diabetes, especially in St. Lucia. “I have heard that Diabetes can be caused by eating too much sweet food,” but this is not entirely true of Type II. There is a genetic or an inherited disposition, whether due to our ancestors’ thrifty genes or due to fetal programming of adult Diabetes due to an undernourished mother. After this, obesity due to a sedentary lifestyle or poor food choices is definitely a main factor. “Many people opt for bush medicines and while these remedies clearly have their merits, they are unlikely to be curative of established Diabetes. I am thoroughly interested in bush medicines, their efficacy and how they work, but I encourage collaboration with your Diabetes physician to control your blood glucose.” According to updated International Diabetes Federation statistics, 11.7% of St. Lucians have some form of Diabetes, a prevalence that is comparable to other Caribbean islands. Dr. Glasgow notes that the countries with the highest prevalence of Diabetes are small islands off the Australian coast, such as Nauru where one in
three people reportedly have the disease. In the Middle East, one in four people have Diabetes. However, the highest undiagnosed cases are the highest on the African continent where an estimated 80% of the population with Diabetes may be undiagnosed. The estimated prevalence of Diabetes globally by the year 2030 is 552 million, and even this figure is likely to be an underestimation. While much is being done to get the message about Diabetes out, Dr. Glasgow admits that more needs to be done. “We can do more to highlight the importance of Diabetes prevention and to encourage awareness. The information about healthy meal plans and daily exercise seems to be reaching the intended audience and it is encouraging to see so many people out exercising in the evenings. Recently, I saw a family, including two small children, taking a brisk walk together. This is the sort of change that we need, the kind that starts at home.” So how often should you get tested and are there any specific health tips that we need to follow?
Dr. Glasgow gave BF some invaluable information in that regard. According to her, most Caribbean people past age 45 have more than one risk factor, so annual screening is important, particularly if there is a family history of Type II Diabetes. “As General Practitioners, we should know the symptoms of hyperglycemia in children and we should encourage parents to know these symptoms as well: increased urination, excessive thirst, fatigue and weight loss,” Dr. Glasgow indicated. She also gave a few daily healthy diet tips which include: • Eating breakfast • Having three meals a day at regular times • Opting for low sugar or sugar-free snacks and drinks or juice • Choosing lean meats and reducing the use of dairy products • Choosing foods with low salt, low saturated fat and avoiding trans fatty acids • Eating more fish, whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables • Opting for foods with a low glycemic index
• Reading food labels thoroughly • Drinking adequate amounts of water • Avoiding excessive alcohol intake • Speaking to your nutritionist about portion sizes and meal plans Dr. Glasgow says she hopes to continue making a contribution to the successful management of Diabetes using all available modern technology. Contributing towards research for a cure is also a big item on her list. In fact, her dissertation is about to be published in an international medical journal. She has some parting words for all concerned: “There are 8,760 hours in a typical year and you may spend five or seven of those hours with your Diabetes physician or nurse practitioner,” she said. “Therefore, the most important member of the Diabetes management team is YOU.” [Dr. Takira Glasgow’s office is located in the ground floor of Tapion Hospital, Castries. You can contact her by calling 1 (758) 459 2000 ext. 2278 or sending an email to email@example.com]. BF
St. Anthony Medical Centre
“Advanced Medicine - Compassionate Care”
Walk ins are Welcome
Monday - Saturday : 8:00 am to 4:00 pm For further information & appointments please call
We are located directly behind DIGICEL on Clarke Street - Vieux Fort
Tel: (758) 454-4040/454-4042 Fax: (758) 454-4043 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
What’s Hot – and What’s Not – About a Sulphur Springs Bath!
St. Lucians attach something special to the baths in Soufriere’s Sulphur Springs. The small and safe boiling cauldrons of lava in the world’s only drive-in volcano are the source of two sets of hot water baths lower downstream. The first – long cherished by older generations of St. Lucians as a source of heal-
ing powers – features water that’s hotter than you’d naturally go under, falling into a dark pool of a muddy mix of sulphuric water and related black sand. Visitors taken there feel edgy about the ‘bad-egg’ smell emerging from the sulphuric vapour as they approach the location. But they soon get over it when they realise it’s all part of the natural therapeutic spa experience. A bath in the island’s best-known natural spa involves: acclimatising one’s flesh to the temperature of the water, self-administering the plastering of oneself from head to toe with the black mud, allowing the therapeutic mud to almost dry onto your skin before washing it off in the pool of also hot naturally medicated sulphuric mud water. A similar experience is also shared much lower downstream from the springs at the cooler (but also hot) Mineral Baths,
which once attracted France’s King Louis XIV. The very baths used by the French king were preserved over the years and still serve as a tourist attraction. No one has quite documented the therapeutic aspects of this natural healing experience that still sees many St. Lucians resort to ‘a Sulphur Springs bath’ or ‘a mineral water bath’ to not only rejuvenate the body, but also ‘to chase away bad luck’ or ‘to chase evil spirits.’ But those who have had the bathing experience not only share stories of their unique natural experience – they highly recommend it. Locals and visitors pay a fee for either of the baths. However, there are suggestions that the Soufriere Regional Foundation should arrange for scientific examination of the therapeutic properties and health benefits of a Sulphur Springs bath, which could eventually add value to the bath and how it’s sold. BF
Universal Health Care
Next phases to target and help persons suffering from Diabetes and Hypertension Persons suffering from Diabetes and Hypertension will be among the main beneficiaries of the next two phases of the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme. The programme was initiated by the National Insurance Corporation (NIC). The Health Ministry is assuring that the persons suffering from these two conditions will not only receive special attention, but will also get free medication. The programme was originally designed to improve the management of the island’s hospitals and to raise additional finance to adequately support them. It was also established to finance disease management programmes in certain priority health areas, including mental health services, chronic non-communicable diseases, emergency medical services (particularly pre-hospital emergency services) and several other areas. These areas were selected for the First Phase because, given BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
the epidemiology and infrastructure plans, they would place great resource demands that the existing system cannot meet. So, what’s next on the agenda for Universal Health Care? That’s the question BF put to Health Minister Alvina Reynolds. She replied, “My ministry is committed to continue the UHC initiative that a previous Labour Administration commenced in 2006. We will complete and cost the essential package of health services,” she assured. According to the Minister, “While this package represents the national package of entitlements, some components are already being implemented. UHC Phase I and the soon-to-be-launched UHC Phase II represent minimum packages of services based on urgent care needs of the clients suffering from Diabetes and Hypertension. In addition to persons suffering from Diabetes, UHC Phase II will also include
the provision of free medications to persons with Hypertension.” An earlier survey by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) indicated that St. Lucia ranks highest in the world per capita with persons suffering from Diabetes. To further accelerate the full implementation of UHC, the Minister explained, “Our Ministry will soon be acquiring the services of a Health Systems Consultant to work on details necessary for full implementation of the UHC.” The UHC has been six years on the table and over that period the number of persons it is intended to reach has increased considerably. Ministry officials assure, however, that implementation of the second and third phases is intended to not only make up for lost time but also to expand the reach of the programme to ensure it is as nationally universal as originally intended at its launching in 2006. BF
THE CHANGING FACE OF DENTISTRY TO REPLACE MISSING TEETH
A denture stabilized by implants
The idea of replacing a missing tooth with an artificial root and crown seems rather intuitive. However the precise techniques to make this happen in an acceptable way was only found in the 60’s by Swedish scientists who discovered a way to fuse bone to Titanium metal. This changed dentistry forever -- and is seen as one of the most significant advancements since the discovery of anesthesia. The beauty of this procedure is that neighboring teeth are not involved and
the tooth replacement is entirely fixed and non-removable and completely cleansable. It looks, feels and functions like a normal tooth. Dr. SenGupta is a second generation Dentist and Implantologist, taught directly by the pioneers of these techniques in Europe and the US. His expertise is now in high demand by patients and dentists alike. Over the last four years Dr. Azmina Long, one of St Lucia’s veteran dentists of 30-plus years, has created the facility and supports Dr. Gupta in providing some of the most contemporary dentistry available today at the Bois D’Orange Dental Office. The typical time for completion of treatment is usually between three to five months and modern systems allow patients to enjoy modern dentistry delivered at home. A very common problem faced by many people is loose dentures. Implants provide
a unique solution by stabilising these dentures to restore total function, aesthetics and comfort. Being able to eat, smile, speak clearly and laugh with total confidence are so fundamental to our self-esteem that many people cannot take for granted, -- until now. There is no doubt that the placement of dental implants is the single best treatment modality for the permanent replacement of missing teeth. BF
A single missing tooth is replaced by an implant.
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
In Sight of a Bright Future...
Providing a full Eye Care Service in St.Lucia for almost thirty years, Vision Express is now looking ahead to the latest developments for the next thirty years. Developments within the Optical industry, internationally, have seen rapid progress over the last ten years and with the research now underway in different aspects of eye care, the next ten years should be an exciting time for the Optical industry.
How often should you have your eyes examined?
Transition lenses - These are the best quality, "darken in the sun" lenses. They change from clear to dark very rapidly. Each pair of Transition lenses comes with a guarantee from Transition to show these are lenses you received. Some optical practices refer to all change in the sun lenses as Transitions....be sure you receive genuine Transitions lenses with the Transition guarantee.
Sun Sensor lenses - Vision Express has recently decided to offer a less expensive photochromic lens , so that more patients can obtain full UV protection. You will now be offered the choice of Transitions or Sunsensor lenses when you buy your new glasses. All parents should take advantage of the Vision Express free eye examination for children, no later than their first year of school. Often children who have lived with lower than normal vision since birth don't realise they are not seeing as clearly as they should. After this first visit the Optometrist will then explain how often your child should be seen.It may be difficult for anyone with normal vision to understand, but Vision Express Optometrists have done routine eye examinations for patients in their 50's, who have never seen an optometrist, and have only been able to see clearly for a few yards, this was their "normal" vision.
Max and his Vision Express lab team has successfully run Vision Express Lab services for many years . This year the team is ready to start exporting their excellent service to other Caribbean islands.
The delight of patients seeing the world clearly for the first time is one of the pleasures of this profession, whether the patient is six or sixty.Make sure your child starts off his education with the best vision possible. The "normâ€? for routine eye examinations for adults would be every two years.Patients with any of the symptoms of glaucoma or diabetes should make that visit every year.
Optical lenses which ones should I choose? When Vision Express first opened in St Lucia , the choice of lenses was only glass, and the Blue coloured " change in the sun" UV protection lenses were only in the development stage. Now most lenses are in a special resin material so that they are lighter and can take advantage of the advances in plastic lens development to be thinner, for short sighted prescriptions, or tinted for computer use, or give full UV protection with lenses which darken in the sun. Everyone should be aware that UV rays are harmful to your eyes, and sunglasses or UV protection lenses are vital outdoors in St Lucia's beautiful sunshine.Vision Express offers two forms of UV protection "change in the sun" lenses. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Not only your Vision Care but your Eye Care When your Vision is checked, the Optometrist also checks for any medical problems related to your eyes and will then suggest follow on treatments or refer you to the Ophthalmologist.
Diabetes and your eyes
Refractive Surgery.. what does this mean?
A healthy lifestyle , the correct diet and daily exercise are the best ways to control the onset of diabetes.
This broad range of surgery refers to all surgery which improves your vision.This can be lasik surgery for myopic patients or contact lens implants or removal of the lens in your eye and replacement with a new intra ocular lens.
The lack of control of blood sugar levels for people with diabetes has many further affects on a person's health.Your eyes can be affected by Diabetes , with the onset of diabetic retinopathy . Diabetic Retinopathy is where blood vessels in your eye can swell or burst and cause partial vision loss. This vision loss cannot be restored. The treatment for diabetic retinopathy involves regular visits to the Ophthalmologist for laser treatment to seal the blood vessels in the retina and prevent further vision loss. How often this treatment needs to be performed relates to how well the diabetes is controlled, which goes back to the healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.
Lens Replacement Several years ago lens replacement was only undertaken when the person's own lens was in the advances stages of cataract.Everyone's lenses gradually become cloudy as we age . There is no way of predicting how quickly this will happen.
During your vision check the optometrist carefully examines your eye. During the eye examinations the fluid pressure inside your eye is also checked.If the optometrist finds the eye pressure is higher than normal they will recommend a visual field test to determine if the cause is glaucoma.
The recent advances in lens replacement , and the excellent quality of implanted lenses means that many patients over fifty are opting for this surgery before the onset of their own lens clouding, as it becomes cataractous.Often the person's vision is restored to the same as in their twenties and with the advances in the new lens implants this can improve both distance and reading vision. Having this surgery at age fifty, when health wise this is much easier, is a good choice. The alternative is a slow deterioration in vision as the cataract develops over five , ten, twenty years when surgery becomes less desirable.
The initial treatment for early stage glaucoma is eye drop medication, which can effectively keep the pressure under control.Glaucoma is hereditary, so if someone in your family has glaucoma, annual eye examinations are essential.You will not notice any changes in your eyes as the pressure builds up, this is why it is important to have your eye pressure checked regularly.
Lens replacement surgery, is one of the many advances within the Optical industry in the last five years.
There have been excellent advances in Glaucoma surgery in the last ten years so if the medication is not effectively lowering your eye pressure and build up of eye fluids, glaucoma surgery can be undertaken to do this. Glaucoma surgery effectively creates another release for the fluid to be drained from your eyes.
Vision Express St. Lucia is looking ahead to the new ideas and new developments in lenses, frames, contact lenses and in the treatments possible to save and restore vision. Serving St. Lucians for the last thirty years, who knows what the next thirty years will bring!
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
The OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service
Over 20, in charge of $20M -- and here to stay! Every country needs a pharmaceutical drug service. All Caribbean states do have one. But in the case of the nine-member OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States), member-states share one service -- which also happens to be among the top three in the world. It’s a small but quite effective unit located at The Morne in Castries, which serves, supervised and regulates the common drugs and pharmaceutical needs of the independent and non-independent islands in the union. The OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service (PPS) is the main agency responsible for procuring drugs for the nine member-states of the OECS. But what is it all about? To find out, BF spoke to Francis Burnett, the Chief Executive Officer. According to Burnett, PPS is a unit of the OECS Secretariat “designated as a pooled procurement agency” through which all OECS member states “are required to purchase tendered pharmaceuticals and other medical products.” He insists the OECS/PPS “has provided member states with a reliable supply of high quality pharmaceuticals.” We wanted to know whether the PPS, which has been around for quite a while, made pharmaceuticals cheaper or more affordable. Burnett said it has had a positive effect. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
He explained, “It has a comparative advantage over an individual country’s procurement capacity, because the aggregate OECS tender executed on behalf of the nine OECS member-states has successfully attracted and maintained competitive prices for the past twenty years.” Burnett further explained, “The estimated 20% reduction on the unit cost of pharmaceuticals and other medical products has resulted in annual cost-savings of approximately EC$4M for OECS memberstates.” “The annual cost-savings, after 20 years of joint purchasing arrangements,” he added, “have reinforced OECS/PPS as an excellent model of economic and functional cooperation among the OECS.” With a world of drugs suppliers available and offering to make pharmaceuticals and medicines available to the OECS, we wanted to know how the PPS goes about choosing the best products for the subregion. Burnett explained, “The OECS/PPS Technical Advisory Committee -- comprising the Central Medical Stores Manager and a senior doctor from each OECS country -- reviews the OECS Medicine Formulary annually. “During the annual review, obsolete and less effective medicines are deleted,
while better and more cost-effective medicines are added based on efficacy, suitability and cost.” Certain pharmaceuticals are considered taboo in the OECS – Performance Enhancement Drugs, AIDS treatments, as well as local ‘herb medicines’ that have stood the test of time but are considered illegal for lack of official international approval. We were interested in whether the PPS have a policy on such drugs. Burnett pointed out that the PPS’ mandate is “to procure and manage a portfolio of essential medicines needed for the vast majority of the population.” However, he said “performance-enhancing drugs and herbal medicines are outside our remit.” We also wanted to know whether the PPS is able to monitor illegal sales of uncertified drugs across the sub-region -- and how. But Burnett explained that “the PPS is not responsible to monitor illegal sales of uncertified drugs across the region.” So then, we wondered how the PPS determined the most-needed pharmaceuticals to order. According to the St. Luciaborn CEO, “We procure medicines, which are needed for the vast majority of the population to treat diseases which have the biggest impact on the morbidity and mortality profile of the OECS countries.”
To do so, he added, the OECS/PPS “has adopted the policy of the World Health Organization to procure and manage a market basket of the most essential medicines.” BF was also interested in finding out what’s the PPS policy on traditional medicinal practices. Barnett explained that OECS/PPS focuses on “prescription medicines which are approved by countries’ National Drug Regulatory Authorities.” “Consequently,” he added, “OECS/PPS has no policy on traditional medicinal practices.” We were also interested in finding out what assurances persons filling prescriptions have that they are buying the best pharmaceuticals procured with their best health in mind. According to Burnett, “The OECS/PPS has implemented a comprehensive quality assurance policy to ensure medicines conform to internationally-accepted standards and quality. “They include purchases of medicines from only pre-qualified manufacturers that confirm to Good Manufacturing Prac-
tices and testing of priority medicines at the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory in Jamaica through a post-marketing surveillance system.” Ahead of the implementation of VAT, the St. Lucia government last year sought CARICOM approval for derogations relating to certain drugs available or unavailable in the region. We asked whether the PPS had a role in this, but Burnett said “No.” Asked to identify what he considers the PPS’ three most important achievements for the OECS, Burnet said, “Firstly, we negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding valued at millions of dollars with the following three developmental partners to provide antiretroviral medicines to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the OECS Member States: Global Fund, Government of Brazil and Trinity Global Support Foundation. “Secondly, we provided economies of scale to the OECS countries by reducing the cost of medicines by at least 20% and produced regional cost-savings of approximately $4 million annually.
“And thirdly, we published seven editions of the OECS Medicines Formulary, which is a pocket reference guide to assist health care professionals to prescribe and use medicines rationally.” BF’s final question asked Burnett what he would say to persons relying on or skeptical of the OECS/PPS. He replied with three responses that’ll draw no rebuffs. Barnett said: “The OECS/PPS is one of the three most successful multi-state pooled procurement systems for pharmaceuticals in the world. “We also have a long, proven record of providing a 90% service level of pharmaceuticals in the OECS.” He added, “The Unit started in 1986 with a market basket of 200 pharmaceuticals with an expenditure of $2 million, and we have since expanded out products at an annual outturn of $20 million.” And if anyone has any doubts about where it’s heading next, Barnett let it be known that “The OECS/PPS has grown -and is here to stay.” BF
Caribbean Dialysis St. Lucia
St. Lucia Dialysis provides dialysis in a tropical Caribbean setting. Finally your dream Caribbean vacation can be yours without compromising your dialysis care.
Dr. Kent Glace & Associates
Our dialysis unit opened in January 1999. Formerly known as Island Dialysis, we provide all variations of renal dialysis, conventional dialysis and high efficiency dialysis. We offer the complete range of treatment
Implant and Cosmetic Centre We Look At Dentistry From A Different Perspective... YOURS
Our services • Implants • Veneers • Bonding • Crowns and Bridges • Root Canals
• Cleaning/Oral Hygiene • Composite Filings • Emergencies • X-ray-Panoramic • Gum Treatment Surgery
Call for an appointment today- Open Mon-Sat. #3 high Street, Castries Tel: 1 (758) 452-3840 Fax: 1 (758) 451-6037
Rodney Bay, Gros Islet Tel: 1 (758) 458-0167 Fax: 1 (758) 458-0893
Other Contact Numbers (These calls are forwarded to our St. Lucia Clinic office)
Canada - Toronto: 1 905 481 3105 Or call Tim, our Toronto representative 1 647 261 6900 24/7 USA - New York: 1-315-359-42535 UK - London: 011441273311605
options and support services to provide the highest level of care possible for our visitors. St. Lucia Dialysis is owned and operated by our Medical Director Dr. Martin Didier and Nursing Manager Catherine Lane, RN. from Canada. We’ll supply you OHIP claim forms for Ontario residents ($210 per treatment).
Payment is made at your first dialysis treatment. We accept cash or credit cards Service Fees: $350 US Dec 1/12 to Nov 30/13
St. Lucia Dialysis, Tapion Hospital 2nd Flr, Tapion Reef,Castries St Lucia Tel: 758 459 2620 Fax: 758 459 2621
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
International American University
Mr K.G. Manmadhan Nair, Founder, President and CEO of IAU and his Management Team
IAU Has BIG Plans
By Stan Bishop
The International American University - College of Medicine in Vieux Fort has some big plans for its future in St. Lucia – and they’re very ambitious: construction of a new campus near the St. Jude Highway. Plans have already been submitted to government for approval and once they get approved, construction works are expected to begin immediately. “In the first phase, we will be constructing the complete medical science building and related facilities for that,” K.G. Manmadhan Nair, Founder President and CEO of International American University College of Medicine (Saint Lucia) told BF. “Hopefully, we are planning to open the new campus as early as January 2014, so January 2013 is the target we’re banking on to begin construction. The short space of time for construction is very ambitious, but we should at least be able to complete the classrooms even though we may not be able to complete the entire building.” BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
The new campus will be constructed on ten acres of land not too far from the St. Jude Hospital and the first phase of construction has a budget of EC$30 million. However, the entire project will cost EC$85 million. Nair said another major factor influencing IAU’s move to become bigger and better has to do with its upcoming milestone for the learning institution. He explained, “We started working on this project in 2002 and we got the charter in 2003. We are getting close to ten years and by that time we want to have our own campus. We’re very eager about getting our foundation laid on the ground before we would have marked our tenth year in Saint Lucia. “We will be observing ten years here in February 2014 and that should be the grand opening of the building also. I am very confident that we are marching in the right direction and that we will be able to make a difference in the healthcare arena
in a very meaningful way. Many times over we’ve been recognized as the best school on the island and we will continue to strive in that direction and we will definitely succeed in that vein.” Currently, IAU has close to 300 students enrolled at its New Dock Road, Vieux Fort location and that number is expected to double when the new campus is completed, with a long-term aim for 900. At present, IAU already faces a challenge sourcing safe and easily accessible living accommodations. And with a bigger and new campus come other changes and challenges, too. Such changes include additional staffing and laboratory facilities. Nevertheless, Nair noted that with health and wellness becoming more and more of a crucial factor these days, the heavy investment IAU is making is worth the price. Presently, most of IAU’s student population is from the United States and Canada. There are also students from the Mid-
dle East, Africa, India, with the remainder coming from Saint Lucia and other Caribbean territories. When the new campus is completed, Nair said a more concerted effort will be made to attract students within the Caribbean region to IAU’s classrooms. Another crucial factor that will be given a shot in the arm is the Saint Lucian economy, especially that of Vieux Fort. The current student population at IAU spends approximately US$8 million annually via living accommodations, restaurants, transportation, groceries, entertainment, cell phone and Internet services, among other things. Add to that figure another US$1 million spent by the fourteen faculty members and that’s US$9 million. That figure is expected to increase by leaps and bounds when the new campus comes on stream. With the new campus, IAU intends to continue that enviable legacy of sourcing teachers who not only offer lectures in the classrooms but impress upon the students the crucial element on critical thinking. “All of our teachers are very professional and most of them have teaching experiences that span many years. They come from international sources, including India
and the Philippines. But most of them are from the United States. Also, our studentto-teacher ratio is extremely low, so we can offer one-on-one attention to our students. And that’s just one of our strengths that students benefit from,” Nair said. According to Nair, the Saint Lucian community has been more than generous to the learning institution ever since it opened its doors here. The faculty and students feel comfortable and at home in their second home Saint Lucia, which provides an excellent environment for learning. As such, IAU shows its appreciation in kind by giving back to the very community that it’s now become a part of. Some of the many projects IAU has embarked on within the community include: organizing outreach activities and medical camps in the Vieux Fort area; organizing weekly clinics at Vieux Fort and Laborie health centres; providing free blood sugar and blood pressure screening for residents of Vieux Fort and surrounding areas; assisting health centres in Region 5 by providing them with computers and electrical fans; allowing free access to the island’s nurses and physicians to IAU’s campus electronic
learning resource centre and library; providing CPR training to the Emergency Medical Service Team in Saint Lucia; organizing seminars on ‘Preventive Cardiology’ and ‘HIV/AIDS and Recreational Drugs’; sponsoring Christmas lunches and providing an ambulance for the elderly in Vieux Fort; offering free scholarships to eligible Saint Lucian students; organizing diabetic training to healthcare providers and community leaders; organizing periodic symposia and workshops on selected basic science topics; organizing blood donation drives; visiting patients at St. Jude Hospital to wish them well; and organizing basketball and other sporting events. “We’re in for the long haul,” Nair emphasized. “We believe we’ve done exactly what we set out to do -- being a leader in what we do. And with the new campus opening soon, things can only get better for IAU. “Yes, our plans are ambitious, but we believe that, as with everything else, we need to plan for the future. “And the future of IAU seems bright indeed.” BF
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
VAT on Medicine
Not a good cure say the sick!
Just as the price of everything goes up, the cost of medical care never goes down. It’s just part of the price of staying alive. Medicines have always attracted taxes. But, unlike now, they never appeared on the receipt. Since the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT), there have naturally been loud complaints from all over that the cost of medicine went up. Filling prescriptions had become more expensive for everyone. Vexed persons who paid more for medicines understandably blamed the government for the tax – and the pharmacy for the price. But the pharmacies and others in the business of importing and selling medicines insist that prices are affected by more factors than just VAT. Like all other imported items, the bulk of medicines used locally are imported and subject to price changes – especially increases – on the world market. Private importers and distributors of medicines are in the busiBusinessFocus Jan / Feb
ness of buying and selling, for a profit. They balance between service and business, and always have to keep their eyes on their profit margins. However, the average person seeking to fill a prescription is only concerned about two things – availability and cost. Medicines that can’t be found at government pharmacy and community outlets have to be paid for or purchased privately. A few insurance and other programs cater for elderly persons and pensioners. But non-insured individuals are left to face the cost of their doctor bills and prescriptions on their own. Some private medical practitioners jacked-up their fees and some pharmacies jacked-up their prices – all also blaming VAT – while the island’s doctors have also called on the government to remove VAT on medicines.
Aware of the impending effects of VAT on medicines, the government had earlier taken a major step to cushion the retail price of medicines. Before VAT, medicines attracted an Import Duty of 10%, followed by 5% Consumption Tax. The administration secured the agreement of CARICOM to suspend the Common External Tariff (CET) on certain selected pharmaceuticals for a period of four years from May 1st 2012 to April 30th 2016. The list submitted by the St. Lucia government included pharmaceuticals available from Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago and others that proved unavailable from Guyana and was considered and approved by CARICOM’s COTED ahead of the VAT. The new arrangement was supposed to mean that unlike other imported goods, Import Duty and Consumption Tax would not be charged on the approved medicines for the next four years. But it turned out that at the time VAT came into effect, retailers of medicines, including pharmacies, had applied it to previous 'old stock' already on their shelves, for which duty and consumption taxes had already been paid. The Government has accepted the criticism of the negative immediate impact of the VAT on medicines, even though it blames the private pharmacies and practitioners for applying the new tax to old stock. The officials insist the higher prices will only last as long as the old stock and assure that with the suspension of the CET on 16 sets of pharmaceuticals over the next four years, the affected medicines will be cheaper, even with VAT. But one of the glaring exposures since the introduction of the VAT has been the inability by the authorities to determine, detect and differentiate between new and old stock – of medicines and most other commodities in the private sector’s domain. Prices of many items went up at supermarkets and retail outlets – and so did medicines at pharmacies, leaving the VAT Implementation Unit and other monitors to continue to rely on the honesty and consciences of importers of everything, from food to medicines. BF
Offshore Medical Schools Mushrooming in North and South
More and more offshore medical schools have been setting up shop in St. Lucia these past few years. It’s been a slow process. The past five years have seen two new ones established – Atlantic University School of Medicine (AUSOM) and St. Helen University (SHU) – joining the American International Medical University (AIM-U) and others that came before. The island has become an attractive location for these offshore medical schools that mainly seek to train doctors locally
for American and other markets. They get concessions and are generally embraced on arrival. But it’s not all been well and good all the time. Many – if not all – the offshore medical schools already here have faced their difficulties. One early entrant in Vieux Fort closed down after ending up in court trouble. Two of the older ones also recently got tangled up in allegations of cases of mistaken identity because of the closeness of their names. And one which ended up occupying prominent space at the newlybuilt National Wellness Centre in 2010 was sent packing into its own private space earlier this year.
Diabetic Foot Health Clinic
The SHU, majority-owned by Caribbean persons, in 2012 set up shop in Vieux Fort with plans to open in 2013. Offshore medical schools have been shooting up across the Caribbean and while some have taken off on some islands and have built reputations of professional execution, several have ended up in legal troubles or have faced other challenges. Caribbean governments are now getting increasingly concerned about the quality of medical education being offered and the authenticity of the claims of new entrants, given the increasing instances of student complaints and the governments’ own need to avoid establishment of “flyby-night” operations in the names of medical schools. BF
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BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Making Tapion the Caribbean’s Hospital of Choice By Earl Bousquet ‘We would like to be the hospital of choice in the Caribbean for quality health care delivery at an affordable price, combining all the clinical expertise in an empathetic team approach operating in a mall-like setting... With Tapion Hospital now over two decades old, we wanted to know how the journey had been. According to Dr Daniel, “Two things have happened: One, Tapion Hospital has imbued Confidence in Health Care Delivery in St Lucia in locals and visitors alike -- confidence in the capacity for appropriate and timely delivery of care in St Lucia by St Lucians has never been higher. Consequent-
According to Dr Daniel, “We would like to be the hospital of choice in the Caribbean for quality health care delivery at an affordable price, combining all the clinical expertise in an empathetic team approach, operating in a mall-like setting. “Indeed, I think we capture our intent in our guidance theme, which is: ‘Tapion -- where patients and their safety come first.’”
“CPR, chest tube insertion, trauma treatment, Fracture stabilization, temporary pacemaker insertion and surgery, would be possible within minutes at Tapion,” he said. “We also have an Accreditation Canada-certified laboratory that provides instant backup, as does a well-equipped Radiology Department with its state-ofthe-art X-Rays Ultrasound, CT, MRI.”
ly, the GTM (Go to Martinique or Miami) mentality is not as pervasive.” He continued, “Secondly, expectations have been raised. Some are possible, while others will take a little longer. Innovation and newer services have to be balanced with cost to the hospital and ability to survive in challenging times. “It would be fair to say that the bar of quality health care delivery has been substantially raised by Tapion.”
Tapion offers a wide range of services that, according Dr Daniel, “could be emergent or elective.” He explained, “At the Emergency level we have a 24-hour Accident and Emergency Unit staffed by well-trained, certified doctors and nurses trained in emergency life support. Because of the Mall-and-Team concept, you would have the required consultant response in a few minutes if needed.”
“The broad range of elective services includes General Surgery, Diabetes, Orthopedic, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Dermatology, Urology, ENT, Internal Medicine/Cardiology, Pediatrics, Oncology (Cancer). We also have visiting Consultants in Endocrinology, Hematology, and Neurology, Laparoscopic Surgery, Knee/Hip replacements, Pacemaker/Defibrillator Implants and bariatric surgery, among others, as well as the hospital’s pharmacy.”
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
“Interestingly,” he added, “we now also offer conferencing facilities. And we also have two suites available for the benefit of relatives of patients undergoing hospitalization.” BF asked Dr Daniel to identify some of Tapion’s achievements to date. He replied, “Mainly, improved confidence in the quality and safety of healthcare delivery in St Lucia among locals and foreigners alike. Confidence has a ripple effect. Persons who we may never see but who know that we are here if needed -- and that their emergency needs will be handled with alacrity and professionalism -- have their minds put at ease and this redounds to the emotional and financial benefit of all St. Lucians.”
He continued, “There’s also the benefit of increased expectations, which, if realistic, can only encourage and enable continuous incremental improvement, the increasing of one’s expertise through CMEs, training and retraining, credentialing and the formation of strategic alliances.” Canadian accreditation, he added, “has really propelled safety and quality to the fore, not only in St Lucia but throughout the English-speaking Caribbean. Tapion Hospital is a beacon, the only Accreditation Canada-accredited hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. He noted that Laboratory Services -also headquartered at Tapion Hospital -- is also Accreditation Canada accredited. Dr Daniel was asked to outline some of the main challenges facing Tapion. “First,” he said, “is the financial challenge. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any organization. We need, in these challenging times, to find ways to navigate the swirling local, regional and international financial currents. Equipment, supplies, IT, maintenance of
Accreditation Canada Standards, Utilities, Staff costs (80 persons employed) -- to name just a few items -- are not cheap. “In addition, all businesses have challenges with delinquency or late payments -- including from insurance companies – that may exacerbate this particular challenge.” “Perception,” he identified as another challenge. “We were pioneers. There was never previously a private hospital. People have now started to understand that we do not obtain a subvention from government or the NIC to run the hospital. “To run the hospital well and have any future, we need to re-invest back into the hospital.” Dr Daniel continued, “There’s also the mental challenge of the narrow-minded ‘Them vs Us’ silo mentality exemplified by some officials -- past and present -- at the Ministry of Health. Public and private sectors need to work in tandem. The Government cannot be relied upon to provide every need, and the Government must negotiate the harmonious synergy between public and private providers in the interest of all Saint Lucians.” If this approach is found, he opined, “One plus one can equal three.” BF wanted to know what’s been the main reaction of Tapion’s clients over the past 20 years. According to Dr Daniel, “Clients (and visiting foreign physicians as well) are impressed with the quality of care at Tapion, the continuous incremental improvement, and the indissoluble emphasis/obsession on safety. The negative comments are related to cost and sometimes communication. But anxieties are usually alleviated when cogent explanations ensue.” And how does Dr Daniel see the difference between private and public health institutions? He offered several chalk-andcheese differences between the two. “Private hospitals,” he said, “survive on getting paid by patients for services rendered, while public hospitals are funded by Government. Private Hospitals have a more direct accountability to patients and their families while public hospitals are more accountable to Government administration. Private hospitals are more flexible and can be more rapidly innovative, but are constrained by finance. Consequently, public hospitals can afford
complacency, but private hospitals must adapt to contemporary realities. Private hospitals recognize that unless they cultivate the confluence of excellent habits of effective decisions, results, contribution, timeliness and time management, they are confined to the dustbins of history.” Dr Daniel also shared his view on the future of private health services in St. Lucia. He said, “Changes occur through revolution or evolution. Our health sector is maturing and the role of private health care services is therefore evolving. What the future will be like depends on two main drivers: the demands of the public and the vision and action of Government. “At Tapion Hospital, we believe that a healthy health sector has a robust private sector that complements the public sec-
tor. We are much more than ‘a necessary inconvenience’. Our contributions and impact to date are seminal. The records are there to speak for us…” However, he added, “We believe that the private sector should be facilitated to allow for innovation through partnerships, thus constantly increasing the range and quality of health care services in the country. This not only builds confidence in residents and tourists alike, but also encourages investment, facilitates economic growth through direct health outlays; and also indirectly through the confidence that a quality health service platform provides. “It does not equate the Judgment of Paris. All St Lucians benefit.” BF
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Cuba-trained Doctors and Nurses to help man expanded National Health Service
Approximately 200 St. Lucian nurses trained in Cuba are now back home waiting to enter the National Health Service. St. Lucia’s medical professionals train the world over, but mostly they have come from Caribbean medical institutions. Where the bulk of the older generation of medical doctors and dentists were trained in Europe (mainly UK) and the Americas (mainly USA and Canada), the bulk of today’s younger medical professionals – doctors and nurses – were trained either at the University of the West Indies (UWI) or Cuba’s University of Havana. In addition, there’s a large group of Cuban and other medical practitioners – doctors, nurses, medical technicians, etc. – as
well as a spattering of others from developing countries in the local health service, including Europeans, Asians, Africans and Arabs. St. Lucia today boasts many Cubantrained doctors and nurses, the result of a decades-old scholarship programme through which Cuba offers free annual scholarships to St. Lucian students in a wide range of areas, including medicine. Under this programme, St. Lucian students selected by the Ministry of Education spend between five and seven years in Cuba studying and graduating in various
St. Lucian nurses trained in Cuba display their diplomas on Graduation Day. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Havana University campuses in different provinces. The Cuban government provides free books, meals and accommodation and there are no subject fees. The only expenses on the part of the students are for air transportation between St. Lucia and Cuba and personal expenses in Cuba unrelated to their studies. Approximately fifty St. Lucian doctors and dentists and approximately one hundred and twenty five St. Lucian nurses have graduated in Havana in recent years, all of whom are back home. The doctors have been immersed into the national public and private medical services, many serving in both public and private institutions and operating their own private practices. The nurses, however, haven’t had it that easy. Many of the Cuba-trained St. Lucian nurses were virtually paid to stay home in the last quarters of 2012 before the start of their full integration into the national health system after the commissioning of the St. Jude and new National Hospital. The Havana-trained nurses also expect to be absorbed when the Chinabuilt National Wellness Centre starts to fully function with the Turning Point rehabilitation centre in the new national health dispensation. BF
Major Causes of Illness in St. Lucia Constantly Under the Microscope The list of major causes of illness on the island can be short or long, depending on who’s asking and who’s answering. It will include cancerous and non-cancerous diseases and may or may not be determined by the rate of fatalities. But they all continue to be constantly surveyed under the national medical microscope. Among the cancerous diseases most prevalent are breast and cervical cancer. Other diseases are heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stress, kidney failure, sickle cell and HIV/AIDS. Most of these and other fatal diseases or medical conditions are being officially monitored and both public and private medical institutions have been increasing and expanding their specialist related services. But while much attention is being paid to these causes of illness and death, there is also increasing attention being paid to
the increasing incidences of suicides and suicide attempts, especially among young persons. Similarly, there is also more interest in such issues as how deaths from violence or vehicular accidents affect the health sector. In addition, health planners are also concerned about the increasing cases of particularly young persons whose state of mental health ends up being altered as a result of their inability to address pressures at home or school, or simply unable to handle peer pressure. Diabetes and kidney failure are among the most prevalent illnesses being reported and cared for nationally. The island was diagnosed by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) as having the world’s highest statistical incidence of Diabetes – something still being regarded here as a negative blot on the national health sheet. However there are those who advocate
a reverse approach whereby the island’s unique world status could be used to its advantage to seek and attract increasing external assistance to tackle the national condition. Kidney failure continues to be another key national illness, with private clinics and practitioners seeking to offer private dialysis services. But issues of monitoring and control have so far not yet been resolved by the Health Ministry, thereby limiting the services to hospitals. There exist various national organisations associated with the long-standing problem diseases such as the Cancer Society, the Sickle Cell Association and the Diabetic and Hypertensive Association. They supply both advisory services and support to members while undertaking national campaigns to increase public education about the various conditions. BF
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BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
LIAT Unveils New Business Plan For 2013
• New Shareholders Agree to come on Board • Fleet to be Upgraded with Purchase of Six (6) new ATR 42s Aircraft • Several Flights To be Cancelled with Countries Asked to Subsidise Unproffitable Flights
Capt. Ian Brunton Over three dozen “uneconomic” flights provided by regional carrier LIAT will be chopped in 2013 – affecting more than a dozen Caribbean countries. The decision comes as the severely undercapitalised airline embarks on a plan it hopes will rake in profits in its 2013 financial year, instead of a repeat of the $20.2 million financial loss in 2010, the $43 million loss in 2011 and the $23 million loss projected for 2012. LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ian Brunton advised, “There are really 18 countries that are affected by these routes and this is a cardinal principle that we are saying now. LIAT cannot afford to go on being a charity and losing the kind of money that we have to go back to shareholders and eventually the taxpayers to support the airline.” While Brunton did not disclose the countries to be affected and the exact timeline the cuts will come into play, he BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
said if the respective governments want to save the 39 uneconomic daily flights, they must offer financial support to the company. He warned, “If you need them flown, do what every country does when they need that kind of flight, and that is to give financial support – commercial support – in order that the flight at least breaks even. We don’t want to make money off it but we want to be able to pay our costs on those flights.” Brunton was keen to note that non-profitable flights rather than territories, would be dropped from the airline’s itinerary. Though a relatively small airline, LIAT operates a total average of 100 daily flights to 21 destinations to include Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Canouan, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Vincent, Tortola and Trinidad. Some of the markets are very thin because the population in some of the destinations are below 100,000. The CEO noted that because the fleet is aging,
fulfilling that amount of flights per day is taking a toll on the airplanes and contributing to high maintenance costs. LIAT said its youngest aircraft is approximately 15 years and the oldest is about 23 years. Brunton reiterated that apart from cutting non-flourishing routes, LIAT is also keen on renewing its fleet. Once the fleet is changed, Brunton said the company could save at least half the $40 to $60 million spent on maintenance annually. He noted the airplanes were not maintained to the optimum level over the years as they were “overused”, resulting in “inevitable breakdowns and groundings to affect essential maintenance both routine and non-routine. Older airplane assets can be as reliable and as safe as brand new airplanes but what it takes is double maintenance.” To finance the re-fleeting project, the LIAT CEO said, “We are targeting a 20 per cent equity contribution; 15 per cent from the existing major shareholders – Barbados (49 per cent), Antigua & Barbuda (32 per cent) and St Vincent & the Grenadines (11 per cent) – five per cent from at least
three new shareholders who wish to invest in LIAT – Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts.” This means shareholder contributions will amount to just over $78 million, he said. St. Vincent has already set aside $3.8 million for the project. The airline official noted that if the carrier does not get that level of support from shareholders, it could embark on a backup plan that has already been discussed. “We can realise, with our own assets, US$24 million so it is not a major leap if we are disappointed with the equity but I think our business plan is so outstanding we will encourage investors. The remaining funds for the fleet will come via long-term commercial loan,” he said. The airline projects it needs a total of about US$105 million to purchase six ATR 42s (aircraft) and cover costs incurred for transition, training and investments among other expenses. The business plan projects that with the review of management structure and assets, it would make a modest $7 million in profits at the end of 2013 and about $40 million in 2017. In anticipation of the “usual” public criticism, the LIAT executive defended the airline’s decisions and said it has to find ways to cut its costs. He stated that while LIAT currently generates annual revenues of about $300 to $350 million, it is spent on operational costs which includes high cost of labour and maintenance and the “66 taxes” the company administers among other expenses. The taxes, he said, account for about 50 per cent of the carrier’s expenses. BF
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Launched Following a multi-million pound upgrade, the former Morgan Bay Beach Resort in St. Lucia has been re-named the St. James’s Club, Morgan Bay, Saint Lucia. The resort, which was bought by the Elite Island Resorts group in January this year when it was the Almond Morgan Bay Saint Lucia, has just undergone a resortwide makeover. More than 20 refurbishment projects have been completed including remodelling the swimming pools, upgrading the bar areas, buying new awnings and sun-
beds and installing flat screen televisions in all 243 rooms. The Elite Island Resorts group already owns the hugely popular St James’s Club Resort, Antigua. About the name change Rob Barrett, Chairman of Elite Island Resorts, said: “The formula at St. James’s Club in Antigua is an ideal match for what we have created as a result of our investment in St. Lucia. From the swimming pools to the new spa and guest rooms to restaurants, we’ve totally transformed the resort and now want to re-position and
re-launch it into the market to reflect the upgrade.” Paula Whitehead said: “St. James’s Club, Morgan Bay, was closed for a month in September and it was a hive of activity. The whole resort has been given a facelift, with new paintwork, furniture, and redesign of the public areas. The result is truly impressive, everything is looking refreshed - even the beach area has been expanded and looks sparkling.” BF
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Diamonds International University Completes First Home-based Course With Own Prescribed Curriculum
The concept behind Diamonds International as a business is clear. What may not be clear is sustainability in business and professional lives. To that end, Diamonds International (DI) embarked on a journey to develop and maintain an enrichment programme of certified courses to help create the strength and longevity to allow one’s business goals to be met and one’s personal growth to be attained. The result is Diamonds International University. The pride and determination exhibited by the staff who boldly piloted this initiative is clearly evident in the successful completion of the first course of the prescribed curriculum. The positive reception of this programme has spurred DI on to opening up the curriculum to offer more certified courses in other facets of the jewelry industry – mainly, horology, watch making, colored gem stones, metallurgy and goldsmith repairs, pearls – all of which would culminate in an accredited jewelry professional course for store management.
Diamonds International believes that this investment in its staff and the people of St. Lucia puts it in a position where it is no longer reliant on expatriates to train staff, but on using its own experts going forward. Diamonds International and the Diamonds International University plans to continue to foster investment in St. Lucia’s tourism and its people by expanding its physical footprint in the country and enriching their staff with superior training and credentials. BF BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Mainland Territories Hope for Regional Food Security
Leading Caribbean agriculturist Dr. Arlington Chesney, Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), has highlighted the opportunities the CARICOM mainland territories, such as Suriname, Guyana and Belize in the matter of food security. “The region has set itself a target of 25 per cent food and nutrition security by 2015. But we can’t do that as individual countries,” Chesney said. His comments came after a partnership arrangement between Guyana and Trinidad for the creation of a ‘Food Security Facility’ (FSF) with hopes of stimulating agricultural and livestock production; reducing dependence on foreign food imports and stimulating, regionally, the drive for food security in the CARICOM community. The announcement was made recently by Trinidad & Tobago’s new Finance Minister, Larry Howai, while presenting the 2013 national budget. Dr. Chesney said the principle behind the arrangement between Guyana and Trinidad was “a very good one.” CARICOM, with approximately 16 million inhabitants in its 15 member states, has an annual food import bill of over US $4 billion. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study shows that, with the exception of Guyana, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis in the English-speaking Caribbean, no country has the required landmass to achieve 100 per cent food security. Chesney said he welcomed the Food Facility arrangement. He said it was important to note the landmass limitations of a majority of CARICOM countries, including Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana and Suriname, with their abundant acreage can play a crucial role in a collective regional initiative to respond to the challenge of food security. Food security-related issues have long occupied the agenda of the region’s countries. Suriname’s OAS representative, Niermala Hindori-Badrising, recently noted that the issue of food security and access to food should be a priority in national and international policies, and that to solve this problem, regional and international cooperation are needed, “and an obvious need to invest in agricultural technology.” Trinidad and Guyana’s partnership is therefore being hailed as “good news” for farming communities, commercial sectors as well as consumers with a passion for Caribbean commodities. BF
Business Opportunities for
Plans are in the making by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), to produce a comprehensive set of metrics for evaluating countries’ environments for women’s business start-ups and growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. This was disclosed by MIF’s General Manager, Nancy Lee who said the WEVentureScope, to be produced in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit, will examine the factors that strongly affect women’s opportunities to own, manage and grow micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Those factors will include the business and entrepreneurship environment, access to finance, education and skill-building opportunities, and the availability of social services. “This index, the first of its kind, will provide a great leap forward in our understanding of key influences on women’s entrepreneurial opportunities. It will also help us pinpoint the kinds of public and private interventions that are most effective in helping women start and grow businesses,” said Lee in making the announcement during the the “Power: Women as Drivers of Social Growth and Inclusion” conference, an international event organised by the IDB, the US Department of State and the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru. The IDB said the index will include at least 25 qualitative and quantitative indicators, an interactive map with country scores, adjustable weights for the components that comprise the scores, country rankings, country reports, and a summary of key findings. It will also have a dedicated, interactive website. The first edition of the WEVentureScope will be launched in early 2013. The IDB said the WEVentureScope is part of a larger, recently-launched MIF initiative that promotes women’s economic empowerment, including efforts to unlock and support women’s entrepreneurial potential. BF Courtesy: CMC BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
events 2012 CARIBBEAN TRAVEL MARKETPLACE 2013 20th – 22nd January 2013, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas This trade show is open for suppliers and buyers that qualify. With prescheduled appointments, the main objective is to conduct negotiations that benefit the region. For further info: www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com CELAC-UE BUSINESS SUMMIT 2013 25th – 26th January 2013, Santiago, Chile The Latin American and the Caribbean–European Union Business Summit (today CELAC-UE, previously EU-LAC) will bring together close to 300 business people from both regions. The agenda is organised around the objective of improving bi-regional commercial relations and investments and of building a strategic alliance for the sustainable development of all our countries and people. For further info: www.celacue2013.cl/?lang=en ST. LUCIA BUSINESS AWARDS 2013 26th January 2013, Sandals Grande St. Lucian The St. Lucia Business Awards is organised by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce. They reward excellence in various categories, and target all businesses, large and small, celebrating the achievements of the private sector. For further info: www.stluciachamber.org MIAGREEN EXPO & CONFERENCE 31st January – 1st February 2013, Miami Beach Convention Centre This is a one-stop, all-inclusive interactive conference and marketplace to provide the US, Latin America and the Caribbean with access to the ever growing, green, renewable & sustainable markets. For further info: www.miagreen.com INTERNATIONAL POWER SUMMIT 2013 20th – 22nd February, France This platform will reach all the key buyers and suppliers from the traditional Western and USA markets together with delegates from the new emerging markets and include areas such as Central and Eastern Europe, India, China and South East Asia plus Latin America. For further info: www.internationalpowersummit.com 45TH CARIBBEAN HARDWARE & CONSTRUCTION TRADE SHOW 1st – 3rd March 2013, Puerto Rico Convention Centre, San Juan This expo attracts over 3000 buyers from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean that are searching for new suppliers and products in order to increase their profits. For further info: www.hardwareshowpr.com
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
The Chairman and the Board of Directors of the First Citizens Group has announced in a news release that Larry Nath was appointed to the position of Group CEO effective Monday November 12. The position of Group CEO became vacant when former CEO Larry Howai agreed to serve as the Minister of Finance and the Economy of Trinidad & Tobago on June 22 this year. Nath joined First Citizens as Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Banking Operations in June 2011. His career has given him a wealth of experience at senior levels in commercial, corporate and energysector banking. He currently serves on the board of St. Lucia Electricity Services Co. Ltd as well as other boards of several subsidiaries within the First Citizens Group. Under Nath's stewardship the Group will continue to commit to the delivery of excellent customer service and to build on its reputation of being one of the safest and highest rated financial institutions in the English-speaking Caribbean.
CIBC FirstCaribbean has appointed former Scotiabank Executive Dan Wright to the position of Director, Private Wealth Management. An experienced wealth management and private banking leader, Wright most recently served as Senior Vice President and Head of International Wealth Management for Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto, Canada with specific responsibility for their wealth management business in the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. He
was also Chair of the BNS Trust Company in the Bahamas and a Director of a number of Caribbean-based businesses in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. "Dan will be leading the implementation of our new strategy to deliver a holistic advisory service to private wealth management clients of CIBC FirstCaribbean regionally and internationally," said Mark Young, Managing Director of Wealth Management for CIBC FirstCaribbean. "He brings a wealth of experience from his previous roles that were for very similar regional geographies to our own, which makes me very confident he can provide a very compelling offer to our most valuable private banking client," Young added. Wright will initially be based in CIBC FirstCaribbean's Cayman Islands office, which is one of its largest wealth management businesses. CIBC FirstCaribbean has over 100 branches, banking centres and offices in 17 regional markets across the Caribbean and the world.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian’s Spa and Beach Resort welcomes Carl Beviere as the new General Manager. St. Lucian born but educated in the United Kingdom, his career in the hospitality industry began as a chef in a London restaurant. Becoming more attuned to tourism, he felt the need for some experience in other culinary cultures to make him a more rounded professional. With a new emerging tourism industry and family members residing on the island, Saint Lucia was the opportune choice. His first job was held at the former Club St. Lucia, but he quickly joined Sandals Halcyon as an Executive Sous Chef and then promoted Executive Chef and again to F&B Manager. After ten years of service, he joined Discovery at Marigot Bay as the Resident Manager. When the opportunity came to return to the Sandals family, Beviere did not hesitate to become the General Manager of Sandals Negril, and then
the GM of Sandals Whitehouse, Jamaica. He is now proud to assume the keys to the captain’s quarters on home soil.
Richard Fraser appointed COO at Digicel Jamaica Digicel Jamaica has promoted Richard Fraser to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Fraser replaced Rachel Hehir, who is returning to his native Ireland. His appointment became effective November 12, 2012. A Jamaican national, Fraser returned home to join Digicel Group as Head of Mergers and Acquisitions in April 2007. His roles and responsibilities were expanded in June 2009, when he was appointed Digicel Jamaica's Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. Fraser is an Attorney-at-Law having first qualified as a Solicitor in the United Kingdom where he lived and worked for 12 years before returning to Jamaica in 2007. While working in London, he held the role of senior associate at Myers, Fletcher and Gordon. "Since joining Digicel in 2007, Richard has been an integral contributor to a number of successful corporate transactions including Digicel's acquisition of Orange (Dominica), Claro (Jamaica), Voila (Haiti) and Netxar Group," said Digicel. "In addition, as a member of the Digicel Jamaica management team Richard has played a key role in helping to guide the business in terms of its legal and regulatory compliance." In his new role of COO for Digicel Jamaica, Fraser will have direct responsibility for driving consumer revenues through the promotion and development of Digicel's voice and data products and services, the company said, adding that his portfolio will also include responsibility for customer value management and product development, Diaspora sales and legal and regulatory affairs. BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion (RIM) has appointed Wes Nicol as Regional Managing Director for Latin America. Most recently he has been in the role of Managing Director for the Caribbean and Andean region, where BlackBerry is the market-leading smartphone. "I'm very excited and honoured to lead the BlackBerry business in Latin America at a time when this is one of the fastestgrowing regions for the company," said Nicol. His predecessor, Rick Costanzo, said Nicol has been instrumental in the development of new BlackBerry markets in Latin America. Costanzo is now Executive VicePresident of Global Sales at RIM. "He also built a strong executive team that was able to establish BlackBerry as the smartphone market share leader in the Andean and Caribbean regions, Costanzo said. We have a loyal and ambitious base of subscribers that expect us to continue providing them with the best mobile communications solution on the market, said Nicol. Nicol helped to launch BlackBerry solutions across Brazil, Chile and Argentina in 2005. He also managed the relationship with Telefonica and other strategic carriers in Latin America, as well as Nextel International. Nicol has been with RIM for 12 years, working in various roles across the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Dr. Richard Nottage of the Bahamas – new Chairman of CONSLE Bahamas National Security Minister Dr. Bernard J. Nottage has taken over the Chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers for BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE). He replaces Antigua and Barbuda’s National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort who held the position for the last three years. Caribbean Security Ministers recently attended the 13th CONSLE meeting in Trinidad and also participated in the Third Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue, a part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). During deliberations the Ministers discussed the reestablishment of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Office in the Region as well as the regional crime and security strategy and the implementation of the CARICOM Social Development and Crime Prevention Action Plan. Dr. Errol Cort will co-chair the CBSI high level dialogue with the United States.
Dr. Kentry Jn. Pierre is Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries. Senator Jn Pierre will have special responsibility for the Creative Industries. Senator Jn. Pierre replaces Dr. Ubaldus Raymond who resigned as a Parliamentary Secretary and Senator to take up a position in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Before his appointment Senator Jn. Pierre was Executive Director at the Folk Research Centre, where he was instrumental in the growth and development of Creole Heritage Month and in the Establishment of the Harold Simmons Folk Academy. Dr. Jn Pierre is also a Creolist and cultural activist who, at the turn of the century, worked as a trade unionist, serving as General Secretary of both the St Lucia Teachers’ Union and the Caribbean Union of Teachers. Senator Jn Pierre holds Masters Degrees in Educational Studies and in Creole Studies and a PhD from the University of Sheffield. He also holds a Diploma in Organisation and Management of Savings and Credit Co-operatives by Trades Unions.
Dr. Jn Pierre has published both literary and academic works locally and in international journals and has received both literary and academic awards including the M&C Fine Arts Awards Council’s Prizes for Literature, for Poetry and for Prose and the University of Sheffield’s Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship in 2003.
St. Lucia Mortgage Finance Company Ltd. wishes to congratulate staff members; Ms. Anne Verne John and Ms. Charlene M.Ghirawoo on their recent academic achievements. Ms. Anne Verne John attained in 2012 an MBA from the University of Sunderland and also completed her ACCA professional examinations. She is now a member of the ACCA. Ms. John joined the company in August 2000 as an Accounts Clerk and currently holds the position of Secretary/Accountant. Ms. Charlene M, Ghirawoo in October 2012 graduated from the University of the West Indies having attained a BSc in Management (Hons). Ms. Ghirawoo joined SMFC in March 2006 in the position of Cashier/ Clerk. She is being trained to take up a key position as the Company prepares to expand its services. SMFC is indeed proud to have these ambitious and dedicated ladies on its Team.
MAJOR MOVES NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
Tough Man Security Services Ltd.
Security and Surveillance Services
Gervin Rickson Auguste, Dafros Auguste Caputo Vincenzo Caputo
Dream Makers Construction Ltd.
Real Estate Services and anything incidental thereto.
Charles St Helene
Golden Work Ltd.
SABICU Holdings Ltd.
Claude Guillaume, Susan Guillaume
A meat and fish processing company and manufacturers of smoked brined, cooked grinded pickled meat and fish products.
Blue Apple (St.Lucia) Inc.
Michael Husbands, Dwayne Dottin Sean Ifill
SwiftPac St. Lucia Ltd.
To provide facilities for storage, warehousing ,carriage and distribution of mail, parcels and letters from and to St.Lucia.
Euthalia Brandford Ricado F. Drayton
Ultra Solution Co. Ltd.
Real Estate Services
Charles St. Helene
Property Holdings Company
Georges Hatem Farah Caroline Chreiki
Rapid Result Reality Ltd.
Real Estate Services and anything incidental thereto.
Charles St. Helene
General Home & Hotel Ltd.
Buying and selling and rental of new and used home and hotel equipment and merchandise and supplies.
To engage in property holding and Kwame Venner development and to undertake or direct Lynda Venner the management of the property, In the capacity of steward, receiver or real estate agent or otherwise.
Terryâ€™s Auto Body Shop Inc.
Auto Body Repairs
Christian Church of God Inc.
To evangelise the world in the name of Dr. Sylvester Omiyi Ikekhuame Jesus Christ and to propagate the gospel Pastor Dada Odunayo Daniel of Jesus. Ms. Jemma Baptiste
Drake Resort Ltd.
Gaya Services Ltd.
Commercial and Domestic carpet and upholstery cleaning service and equipment maintenance.
Drake Marina Ltd.
Colonial Trust and Financial Services
Corporate and Offshore Financial Services Sean Matthew
To carry on the business of building construction and infrastructure development.
Gregory Mongroo Mikhail Mongroo
Dream Bay Travel Inc.
Travel Agency and Tour Operation
Svetlana Laskova, Michael Pilgrim Gilland Adjodha
Terry H Lionel
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
Redstart Investments ( St.Lucia ) Ltd.
Ian Peter , Lorraine Sidonie
Clock Work Logistics Inc.
Jkwon Freeman, Nadia Germain
Felly Belly Inc.
Global Recycling Batteries
Recycling Used Batteries
Benjamin Collymore, Derek George
Health Steams of St.Lucia Ltd.
Health Products Development
Henry Joseph, Dr. Winston Paris, Jeanice Stanley Gerald Morris, Nelita Parris
Holiday Adventures Ltd.
Provision of tours to tourist and the general public.
Laurianus Antoine, Robert Lewis Matthew Hutchinson, Hermina Danzie Vitalis
Plant Grow Eat Inc.
Plant and grow food
Co.Direc.Ltd., Derek Clarke, Peter Dillon
B&J Cleaning Services Ltd.
Summer Breeze Holdings Ltd.
SSAV CE Ltd. Trading as SSAV
Mils St. Lucia Inc.
Property Sales and Rentals
Tam’s Travel Ltd.
Malcom Paul Alcee’, Tamara Dornatie Alcee’
The Air Born Academy Ltd.
Cory Carson Raggie, Wayne Vitalis
Air Systems Inc.
Repairs Servicing, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
The Explorer Society Ltd.
Henry Joseph, Gladys Taylor
T Holdings at Tivoli Ltd.
Thaddeus Marc Antoine, Normal Francis
CK Property Services Ltd.
Robert Anthony Joseph
The Compton Building Inc.
Barbara Janice Compton, Shadel Nyack Compton, Richard Glen Compton
Manhattan International Group Caribbean Ltd.
Land Development Project and Related Services.
Mr. Gregory Mangroo Mrs. Shiela Newton-Moses
Beni Rachmanov, Mikhail Yusupov
Trevor Michael Ellis, Stephen Kelvin Rule
Changing Lives Foundation Inc.
Alice Orie , Webster Orie Edith Petra Jeffrey -Nelson
Construction Engineering, Building Construction Etc.
Matthew Leon , Marie Magdalene Beatrice Leon
Neo –Tec St. Lucia Ltd.
Ivan Augustin, Garvey Louison
Forest Fings Ltd.
Legal & Drafting Services (SLU) Inc.
Legal Consultancy Services
The Church of Christ of Latter –Day Saints in St.Lucia, Inc.
Conduct of the affairs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in St. Lucia Inc.
Daniel R. de Almeida Kevin L. Whiting Cleavance J. Nicholas
Josephs Shipping Agency Inc.
Shipping Agent, Customs Brokerage
BusinessFocus Jan / Feb
Health and Wealth