Issue No. 70
Seventy Five Years of Indigenous Banking www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
BusinessFocus July /Aug
BF July/Aug 2013
65. Seventy Five Years of Indigenous Banking
04. Editorâ€™s Focus
40. Environmental Focus
06. Business Briefs
42. Business Spotlight
Business Tech 08. Flow and Partner to Build Out Fibre Network 10. Pacific Operations Now No. 1 Earner for Digicel 14. The Mobile Broadband Evolution â€“ from 2G to 4G
In The Know 44. CFL Buys GL Food Market 46. Forensics: Polygraph & Integrity Testing in the Business Environment 50. Women Learn Secrets to Success and More at First Citizens Seminar! 60. Refocused FAO leads Caribbean Fight Against Hunger 62. Caribbean Export Hosts Meeting of The Trade and Investment Task Force
Money Matters 16. Caribbean Bank Accounts Come Under IRS Scrutiny 22. Priceless Financial Advice for Recent Graduates 24. China Offers US $3 Billion to Region 27. Book Reviews Economy & Trade Focus 28. Caribbean Rum Justifiable Battle or Proxy WAR? 30. Aid for Trade! 34. Caribbean Drug Trafficking Boom Predicted as Latin America Cracks Down 38. ECLAC Urges Region to Maximise Natural Resources for Development
90. Tourism Profile Tourism Focus 92. 2013 Jazz & Arts Festival Justifies its Strategic Rebranding 96. St Lucia Reviewing Tourism Incentives Act 98. Health & Wealth 99. Events 2012
101. Major Moves 103. New Company Registrations
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Celebrating Longevity and Perseverance! The St. Lucia Cooperative Bank’s 75-year journey from the “Penny Bank” to the 1st National Bank is one that justifiably makes us all very proud of the island’s first private commercial bank. This truly national banking institution, first established during the Second World War by a group of enterprising and forward-looking Saint Lucians, was indeed a sound Lokesh Singh investment in the future. Not to be daunted by the ravages Publisher/Managing Editor of war, they told, taught and showed St. Lucians that every penny saved was worth saving – and that two cents is never too little to save. J.Q. Charles, Francis Carasco and the others who braved the rain of the day to establish this venture did so, not for themselves but for all who, at the time, felt they only had their cooperative and benevolent societies to save and be able to count on those savings in a bad day. They took the concept of savings one notch higher and established the common man’s “Penny Bank” back then, when there was no modern concept of nationalism. The small St. Lucian men and women who dared to establish a local bank accepting pennies was definitely a Lilliputian challenge to the day’s banking Gullivers. But they didn’t take on the Big Guys, but rather, to establish that there’s enough space on this island for a local bank catering for local people. Fast forward seven-and-a-half decades… When the Cooperative Bank took the decision to go Corporate and change its name to suit the times, it wasn’t simply engaging in a Public Relations upgrade. Instead, it was establishing the fact that its own history had given it the credence to give itself that name. It had earned it: it was (and indeed still is) this nation’s very first local bank. Then there’s that other essential difference between First National Bank and the other local or locally-based banks: its continuing community connection. First National every year makes special efforts to help communities and causes and highlights its efforts in that regard. The bank has invested much of its own capital into everything that will remind forgetful St. Lucians that it is indeed the First National Bank – everything from the public relations associated with its rebranding to actually investing in the communities from which its clients evolve. Yes, First National Bank of St. Lucia is an ineffaceable part of our island’s history. It has stood the test of time and continues to set its own stage for others to follow. In recent years it has almost been a fixture among the winners of the annual St. Lucia Business Awards sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, each year winning in a category that amplifies its strength and achievement in a given category of business services excellence. If there was ever a real definition of an indigenous local bank, the Penny Bank/St Lucia Cooperative Bank-cum-First National Bank is St Lucia’s epitomic example. It has survived all of its seven-plus decades living with the times, never once having being spoken of in terms of being unable to execute its primary mandate of assuring clients that their money, in its coffers, is as safe as in any other bank. The St Lucia Cooperative Bank survived a sustained period of success from its inception in the age of Colonialism, through Statehood and well into Independence. The metamorphosis to the First National Bank was, therefore, a natural progressive transition from one age to another – both in terms of St Lucia’s history and that of the local indigenous and nation’s banking community. Here’s to the First National Bank’s first 75 years, yet another significant milestone in the establishment of the foundation that started with the first laying of the first local banking head-cornerstone. Here’s too to the fact that this is the 70th issue of Business Focus, which is St. Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean’s longest lasting business magazine. We are as proud as any person or entity that has scored “three scores and ten” of anything – whether years or volumes of a publication. But rest assured that this magic number is not by any means our crowning achievement, as BF intends to be here for you for more than another 70 issues. Yes, you can count on that like you’ve always counted on us to present you with this here our best quality product with all the news and information you need to know about all aspects of local, regional and international business. ¤
As always: Happy Reading! BusinessFocus July /Aug
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 Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - firstname.lastname@example.org Hudson Myers - email@example.com Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services Photography: Ashley Anzie | Cecil Sylvester | Stan Bishop First Citizens Investment Services 1st National Bank St Lucia Ltd. | Carib-Export Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop | Pilaiye Cenac Betty Combie | Fern Smith | Lyndell Halliday Oma Sewhdat | Anton Edmunds | Sir Richard Branson Bob Warner | Dr Maurice Aboud Michael Bryant | Eric Melio – Infront Web LIME | CMC | Caribbean 360 | Bank of Saint Lucia 1st National Bank St Lucia Ltd | Carib-Export St Lucia Tourist Board | Antigua Observer Business Guardian | Business Express | DIGICEL First Citizens Investment Services | Jamaica Observer Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.amsstlucia.com, www.stluciafocus.com Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialized fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication.
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Govt Issues Treasury Bills to Finance Budget The Government of St. Lucia recently began issuing a series of Treasury Bills to be auctioned on the Regional Government Securities Market and to be traded on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, ECSE over the next few months. It began on Wednesday June 26 with an EC $15million 365-day Treasury Bill, at a maximum discount rate of 6%, with a maturity date of 27 June 2014. There are also other securities to be issued by the St. Lucia government: an 8 year $30million government bond issue with an auction date of July 10th and a 180 day T-Bill worth $25 million to be auctioned July 19th. A number of other Treasury Bills will be issued in October, November, January, February and May 2014. Investors throughout the OECS may participate in the auction through the services of a licensed intermediary. The current list of licensed intermediaries comprises the ABI Bank Ltd in Antigua, the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank Ltd, the Bank of Nevis Ltd, the ECFH Global Investment Solutions Limited in St. Lucia, Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ltd, First Citizens Investment Services Ltd - Saint Lucia and the National Bank of Anguilla Ltd. ¤ (Source: First Citizens Investment Services)
OECS Business Council Launched The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Sir K. Dwight Venner has announced the establishment of the OECS Business Council’s Interim Board. It comprises eight members, one each from the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, ECCU. BusinessFocus July /Aug
The members are: Mr. Keithley Lake - Anguilla, Dr. Errol Samuel - Antigua and Barbuda, Mrs. Lillian Piper - The Commonwealth of Dominica, Mrs. Aine Braithwaite - Grenada, Mrs. Margaret Howe - Montserrat, Mr. Franklin Brand – St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Gerard Bergasse Saint Lucia and Mr. Andrew Woodroffe of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The OECS Business Council is a regional body mandated to serve as a representative body for the private sector in the region. ¤
Following the regional workshop, the Saint Lucian delegation returned with finalised action plans for projects and activities that will feed into the National Development Plan for implementation, thereby starting the second phase of the Caribbean Growth Forum initiative. ¤
BA Highlights Strategic Model Partnership with St. Lucia
St. Lucia Enters Second Phase of Caribbean Growth Forum The Government of Saint Lucia completed the first phase of the Caribbean Growth Forum initiative (Saint Lucia National Chapter) with its participation in the Regional Workshop in the Bahamas from 24-25 June 2013. The Caribbean Growth Forum is essentially a multi-stakeholders participatory pro-growth initiative, aiming to address the technical and political economy factors that hinder private sector development in the Caribbean. The Forum provides a platform for dialogue on growth challenges with a view to identifying implementable solutions that inspire actions aimed at inducing growth and creating jobs in the region. The initiative is funded by The World Bank (WB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank, United Kingdom Agency for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). On 22 January 2013, the first phase of this initiative was launched here, resulting in an extensive consultative process in three key areas namely: logistics and connectivity, investment climate and skills and connectivity. The consultations extended over a period of six weeks and engaged key stakeholders from the private and public sectors as well as civil society. The reports from these consultations were presented at the Regional Workshop in the Bahamas by a Saint Lucia delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre.
The United Kingdom's flagship carrier British Airways says it is proud to be associated with Saint Lucia and the island's tourism product. The airline reaffirmed their commitment to Saint Lucia during a Thank You Ceremony and visit by BA Executives in June. Head of Commercial BA Gatwick, Colm Lacy, says the London-Saint Lucia flight, which has evolved over the years, continues to be successful. He said, “I often talk about our model relationship with Saint Lucia and with some of the other Tourism Ministers and Tourism Authorities around the world, because our partnership has really been the model for success and I talk about that a lot, as the success of this route is all about partnership and the relationship we have with Saint Lucia.” According to Lacy, “It is about the partnership with the government, hoteliers, the Tourist Board and the Minister, BA Holidays and the airline. Full planes mean business for the hotels here, employment for the people of Saint Lucia and money in the coffers of the government in these difficult times.” Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus says the St. Lucia Government will continue to support BA`s efforts to expand its business here. “What we want to do is ensure that we continue to increase the volume of business we do with various source markets,” he said. He added, “We know that 24% of our business come from the United Kingdom and despite the fact we had to contend with issues like the APD and rising fuel cost, we have still managed to increase Saint Lucia's presence in the UK market. So it is kudos to British Airways, BA Holidays and the relationship they have with the Government and People of Saint Lucia. We are going to continue to make this synergy work.”
BUSINESS BRIEFS British Airways operates a direct nonstop flight between London's Gatwick International Airport and the Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort, seven days a week in Summer and daily flights during the Winter Season. ¤
How Health and Wellness on the Job Helps Increase Productivity Regional Communications Ltd, producers of Cellestial laptops, tablets and cell phones, has embarked on a pioneering mission: investing in the health and wellness of its staff to increase their levels of productivity. The company offers staff a comprehensive selection of childcare options and has enrolled the first three children of staffers into schools selected by their parents. Factory Manager Mand Philgence’s three-year-old son Shaine and five-yearold daughter Shianne and Office Assistant Ashnell Martyr’s three-year-old Ziyah, were all assigned to schools – with the company taking up the tab. George Benson, Cellestial’s Executive Director, explains the bold move in simple terms: "We are 95% female-staffed and the majority of our team-members are single mothers. “The biggest worry on the minds of these ladies is the welfare of their children. Responsible childcare removes a huge financial and family burden from them, which contributes to team happiness and cohesiveness – and therefore enhanced productivity – which all translates into greater corporate profitability.” “The links are obvious," he concludes. The company currently offers staffers free private healthcare, free optical exams and glasses, a savings plan and a work week configured so that they have Friday afternoons off for conducting family business. Single-mother Ashnell explains the connection between being well and happy on the job and productivity. She says, "Cellestial bought the uniforms and school supplies for my daughter and set her up in a wonderful setting only a mile away from the factory. Now Zhiah is happy, which makes me comforted and allows greater job focus." ¤
St. Lucia Attends PetroCaRibe Meeting in Nicaragua St. Lucia and other Eastern Caribbean members of the PetroCaribe grouping met in Nicaragua at the end of June to further formalise access to and use of the facility through which Venezuela supplies petrol at cheap prices with long-term repayment terms, at low interest. St. Lucia is the latest CARICOM and OECS member-state to join the PetroCaribe grouping, following recent Cabinet Conclusions authorising entry into the ALBA grouping as well, which offers wider trade possibilities between memberstates. The St. Lucia Government says it joined PetroCaribe primarily to access lower-cost fuel to reduce the high cost of electricity and eventually do away with the legally mandatory ‘fuel surcharge’ mechanism that sees electricity consumers paying the now mostly privately-owned electricity company’s entire fuel bill. There were earlier concerns in some regional and local quarters that the PetroCaribe Agreement might have been doomed following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. But his successor Nicolas Maduro has since reaffirmed Caracas’ commitment to continue making Venezuelan oil accessible to Caribbean nations at affordable and concessionary rates. One of the matters addressed in Nicaragua by St. Lucia was creation of a local company to conduct the island’s PetroCaribe business, as well as establishment of the related regional mechanisms to accelerate the flow of PetroCaribe fuel into the islands. St. Lucia originally indicated interest in joining PetroCaribe and ALBA in 2006, but a change of government late that year saw the matter put on the back burner. However, interest was immediately reignited after the November 2011 General Election saw a return of a Kenny Anthony administration. ¤ The St. Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association has been mobilising its members for a trade show to be held during the 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism
Association (SLHTA) on July 12. The AGM will take place at the Royal by Rex Resorts under the theme “You are the U in Tourism.” The AGM is expected to attract over 100 top-level company managers and directors, as well as Government officials. SLISBA says it sees this as “an excellent opportunity for members to market products to the tourism sector.” The trade show has been organised under the theme, “Linkages in the Tourism Sector.” ¤
Efforts at Enhancing Water-based Tourism Product The Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries continues to improve the quality of the water-based Tourism Services and the Sites and Attractions Sectors through training in better emergency response preparedness. This is one of the many activities undertaken by the Ministry to continue enhancing the quality of the Saint Lucian Tourism Product. Approximately 30 participants in each sub-sector received training in June in Multi-hazard Contingency Planning Business Continuity Planning. Some of the areas participants learned about included: Introduction to the Structure of Disaster Management in Saint Lucia (Business Continuity and MultiHazard Contingency Planning for the National Tourism Sector); Introduction to Business Continuity Planning and Management; Fire Response and Preparedness; Awareness of the Standard for the Water-based Tourism Sector. Participants were expected develop or update their own business continuity plans, to be reviewed and endorsed by NEMO and endorsement for enlistment on Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s Website. This training is the collaborative effort of the Ministry and its industry partners and the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO). ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
Flow and Partner to Build Out Fibre Network The joint venture will result in the combination of 42,000 kilometres of cable connecting 42 countries in the Caribbean, the US and Central America
The parents of LIME and Flow have partnered to build out their underwater fibre-optic network and international wholesale capacity business. The joint venture between Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus Networks will result in the combination of 42,000 kilometres of cable connecting 42 countries in the Caribbean, the US and Central America. Columbus will have 72.5 per cent stake in, and management control of, the joint venture, called CNL-CWC Networks, with CWC controlling the remaining 27.5 per cent share "with appropriate minority protections," apparently reflecting the asset value of the respective companies. CWC's assets subject to the joint venture arrangement had a gross asset value of US$108.2 million, and recorded a loss before tax of US$0.9 million in the year to March 31, 2013, while Columbus's assets were valued at US$304.6 million and recorded a profit before tax of US$29.3 million in the year to December 31, 2012. "The alliance positions CWC strongly to meet the data capacity demands of its retail operations in the future, as well as optimising its capital expenditure commitment to its undersea cable networks," said a statement from CWC. "Demand for data capacity is growing rapidly in this region, driven by the increasing availability of, and consumer demand for, mobile data and fixed broadband services." Both companies have recently significantly strengthened their capital bases to pursue expansion opportunities. The UK-based telecommunications company inked a deal in January to sell its business in Macau for US$750 million, following a December agreement to dispose of its businesses within its Monaco & Islands division for US$680 million, from which it received US$601 million in May, while it still awaits approval for the transfer of CWC's business in the Seychelles. Columbus has been aggressively pursuing regional expansion since it started operations in 2005, while more recently it raised capital through the sale of new shares, representing more than 20 per cent in the company, to billionaire, Cable TV pioneer and telecommunications veteran Dr. John Malone. The net proceeds from the issue of new shares will help Columbus capitalise on nearterm opportunities and provide additional flexibility to prudently manage its financial position, according to the company. It will also be used to "accelerate the completion of its current capital plans, fund potential future acquisitions, enhance balance sheet liquidity and flexibility and for general corporate purposes." "We have budgeted close to US$200 million to further invest in 2013 with a huge focus on Cloud-based services," said Brendan Paddick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Columbus. "Since its inception in 2005, Columbus has invested well over US$1.2 billion in capital expenditures and we remain committed to building the region's most robust terrestrial network." BusinessFocus July /Aug
Already this year, Columbus inked a deal to acquire Kelcom International Limited, an Eastern Caribbean telecommunications provider that operates in St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua under the name Karib Cable. It also announced plans to build out broadband infrastructure across 100 per cent of homes in Barbados over the next three years. The telecommunications company, which has already invested US$60 million there, expects that 30 per cent of the roll-out will be completed by year-end. CWC has also put itself in a strong cash position to "be able to make value-enhancing investments, both organic and inorganic, in the targeted pan-America region", according to its CEO, Tony Rice. CNL-CWC Networks, which launched recently, will initially operate on an agency basis by providing joint sales and marketing services for each of CWC's and Columbus' international wholesale capacity services. The alliance will be broadened within the next two years with Columbus and CWC contributing their sub-sea and related assets into the joint venture company, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals and certain other conditions being met. Once the applicable approval requirements and conditions have been met, the joint venture will then assume ownership and management control of the international wholesale capacity operations of CWC and Columbus and all new investments in infrastructure will be made, and owned by it. Until then, Columbus and CWC will retain complete ownership and control of their respective existing networks in the region. In addition to the joint venture, CWC Wholesale Solutions, a subsidiary of CWC, has entered into a separate services agreement with Columbus, under which Columbus will provide CWC Wholesale Solutions certain operation and monitoring services. "Wholesale customers will be able to take advantage of expanded network reach and service benefits by doing business with a company that can provide more bandwidth and broader reach, faster and better," said Paul Scott, President of Columbus Networks. "With this joint venture, one plus one equals three." In the coming months, customers will begin to enjoy much greater route choice, improved reliability and higher performance as the joint venture rolls out innovative, new service offerings spanning clear channel services, IP transit, carrier Ethernet and carrier MPLS. "We have been investing heavily in recent years to upgrade existing networks and build entirely new subsea links such as CBUS and East West Cable," said Simeon Irvine, Chief Executive of CWC Wholesale Solutions. "By creating this joint venture, CWC Wholesale Solutions can expand its network reach and increase the diversity and security of supply for our customers and those of Columbus." 造 Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Pacific Operations Now No. 1 Earner for TM
Ahead of possible entry into Myanmar, Papua New Guinea overtakes Jamaica, Haiti. DIGICEL'S operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the biggest earner for the telecommunications company, by at least one estimate. "Fitch estimates that PNG has become the most meaningful market for EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) contribution, followed by Haiti and Jamaica," said a recent press release by the ratings agency. "Digicel Pacific Limited (DPL), a subsidiary of DGL, has continued to grow and has generated positive free cash flow (FCF) over the past three years." DPL, which operates in PNG, where the population is smaller than in Haiti but more than twice the size in Jamaica, contributed to 24 per cent of Digicel's group EBITDA for the 12 months to December 31, 2012. The most important contributors to DGL's EBITDA after the top three are Trinidad & Tobago and the French West Indies (FWI). Fitch expects value added services (VAS) as a percentage of revenue to continue increasing its share of revenues. "Positive trends in VAS have supported revenues and EBITDA growth over the past few quarters, offsetting pressures from traditional voice services in some markets due to reductions in mobile termination rates (MTR), tax increases and strong competition," said Fitch. "In addition PNG growth continues to support operating results." Meanwhile, Digicel will know by the end of June if it will get to operate in its largest market yet. The telecommunications company is going after one of two licences in Myanmar. The southeastern Asian country has low penetration against the background of limited infrastructure and low income. It also has a GDP per capita below US$1,000, or similar to Haiti, while almost half of the mobile subscribers in Myanmar are currently located in the country's two largest urban centres Yangon (with 1.8 million subscribers, or 25 per cent of the city's population) and Mandalay (860,000 or 12 per cent penetration). But the country is more than 20 times the size of Haiti in terms of land area, and has more than six times the population size. "Digicel has high cash balances that are estimated to exceed US$1 billion," said the ratings agency, which believes the cash can be used to fund the Digicel-led consortium participating in the bidding process for the two licences. "In the event the consortium is not awarded a licence, the use of cash balances is still uncertain but Fitch believes it may be used for some debt repayment, additional investments in existing markets and special dividends." 造 BusinessFocus July /Aug BusinessFocus July /Aug
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Moves Closer to the Caribbean Relocates Corporate Head Offices to Miami, Florida Cable & Wireless Communication announced plans to leave the UK after 140 years as it returned to profit after offloading businesses in gambling hubs Monaco and Macau. The company, which recorded full-year pre-tax profit of $35m (£23m) last year compared to a loss of $117m in the previous year, plans to move its headquarters to Florida in the United States as part of a restructuring of the business. Tony Rice, the Chief Executive, said the company would remain British but the move would bring it closer to its core operations in Central America and the Caribbean. Revenues slid four per cent, however, to $1.9 bn on the tough economic climate in its main markets, partly caused by a continuing slump in tourism in the Caribbean. “In certain markets at least that’s not going to go away,” said Rice. He said it had been a “milestone year” for the company, which sells fixed line and mobile network services. It sold its controlling stake in Macau’s largest telecoms operator to stateowned China Telecom in January for $750m. That followed the
disposal in December of its Monaco and Islands division, which served the Falkland Islands and Isle of Man among others, to Bahraini group Batelco for $680m. Rice said the sales had given CWC the “structural coherence” it sought after demerging from Cable & Wireless Worldwide, the British operation bought by Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L - news) in June. “The group is now focused on a single region with low penetration for data services and strong growth potential where we have scale and market leadership,” he said. The group is trying to expand data services as its traditional voice telecoms revenues are declining. It also aims to strip out a further $100m in costs within two years with a new single management structure and IT systems run from new operations headquarters in Florida. “We’re fundamentally re-engineering the business as an operating telco rather than a portfolio of businesses,” said Rice. The group is looking at acquisitions in Spanish-speaking Central America and Caribbean, where GDP growth is stronger than in English-speaking islands. ¤
Funds Region’s Only Cell Phone and Tablet Maker The company that won the ‘Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation’ at the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards has hit a virtual jackpot: a milliondollar grant from a regional entity promoting Caribbean business competition. Regional Communications, which produces the Celestial brand of locally-manufactured cell phones, laptops and tablets, received a US $500,000.00 grant from Compete Caribbean Enterprise Innovative Challenge, a fund established to help regional companies further develop their business, as well as to assist and support firms to improve productivity, exports, employment, social/environmental issues, economic diversification and growth. Regional Communications is the only company in the Caribbean producing cell phones, laptops and tablets and is owned by St. Lucian George Benson. Benson, who received the award during the recent Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) meeting here, said his business idea emerged after he employed unskilled and unemployed single mothers to improve their livelihoods. He said that created an avenue for innovation and opened a door to transform information communications technology in St. Lucia. He noted that 90% of his employees are female, 80% of who are single mothers. ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
ICT Jobs for the Blind no Longer Out of Sight! By Earl Bousquet Information and Communications Technology (ICT) isn’t something you’d readily associate with the blind in the Caribbean, where we still tend to first see the disability before the person. But not only is ICT playing an important part in development of blind welfare, it’s also opening-up the wide world of science and communication technology to those who can’t see – as well as to those involved in sourcing materials and equipment for eye care. The St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association’s (SLBWA) Eye Care Centre recently highlighted the role of ICT in its daily operations. But more, there’s increasing interest among blind or otherwise visually impaired persons across the island in the use of computers and other forms of ICT. Specialist equipment has been developed to facilitate blind access to computer technology. Computers have been fitted with Braille characteristics to help the blind feel their way along computer keyboards. At the local clinic, they use all forms of computer-based technologies – from the
traditional to the more recent and fastgrowing range of digital communications technologies that enable digital information-sharing. But it isn’t just the blind seeking access to ICT. It’s part of the continuing worldwide efforts to integrate persons with disabilities into the world of work and life. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is seeking to ensure that in every country, ‘Disabled’ or ‘Handicapped’ or ‘Differently-able’ persons, or ‘Persons With Disabilities’ are absorbed into the workplace. A recent workshop held here heard the need to cater for persons with disabilities in national Building Codes, for example, to ensure the likes of elevator access and handicapped parking. SLBWA’s Cynthia Weeks and Labour Officer Andrew Quashie both noted that there are positive private sector reports regarding reliability of persons with disabilities whom they have employed. (Digicel is one such company and Scotiabank is another among several that
have employed persons with disabilities, to their satisfaction – and that of customers.) Weeks says interest in integration of persons with disabilities into the workplace continues to be a local goal, with more sectors waking-up to the reality that persons with disabilities are indeed otherwise able. To that extent, another related workshop is now scheduled for September. One of the main objectives behind all the efforts is to not only teach the blind to access and use ICT, but also to access jobs for which they will be paid wages like everyone else. Paying jobs for the blind and otherwise able persons are not a farfetched dream, however. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) recently announced that it’s now producing dollar notes with Braille effects to make them more user-friendly for the blind and visually impaired – meaning, lack of vision will not prevent the blind from being able to check their cash on Pay Day. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
The Mobile Broadband Evolution – from 2G to across the globe are GSM operators. LIME rolled out GSM in 2003 starting with Jamaica, followed by the other LIME territories in the region. Unlike first generation telephony which is analog and voicecentric, GSM is digital. it has opened the doors to the wireless transmission of data. Short Messaging Service (SMS), or text messaging, was the first data transmission on GSM. It is still one of the most popular methods of data communication via mobile.
On the Road to 3G Out of the GSM standard emerged GPRS and EDGE. These two popular modes of data communication further paved the way for access to Internet browsing, emails and social networking sites like Twitter, MSN, Skype, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) services like the LIME portal where you can download ringtones and cool apps while on the go. They also ushered in a new wave of handsets with greater style and elegance, and allowed for the easy use of data services. Many of us, especially the younger generations, might find it hard to believe that not so long ago (wayyy back in the eighties) the average mobile phone was so big and bulky it could barely fit in your pocket. IF it fitted at all! Back then activities like Internet browsing, social networking and instant messaging were almost unheard of. Thankfully, those days are now behind us. Over the years telecoms providers around the globe have transformed our modes of communication with the help of a new generation of high-speed wireless technologies. In the process, terms like 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G have emerged and this has stirred up lots of debate about what it all means. Why do some mobile operators call their networks 4G? How is a 4G network different from one that uses the 2G or 3G standard? Which of them is better and faster? To grasp the significance of these Gs, it is important to understand how we got here. "G" stands for "generation," so when you hear someone talking about a "4G network," they're referring to a wireless network based on fourth-generation technology.
The Start of Mobile Data The first type of mobile telephony standard emerged in the early 1970’s, and lasted until the early 90’s. Initially the focus was on developing a portable phone for the masses that would allow them make voice calls without having to be based at their homes or offices. This evolved into modern mobile phone products and analog mobile communication networks now known as the first generation of mobile communications. Like most people, you’re probably more familiar with the second generation (2G) mobile standard which is still in use today. It’s known as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). This standard allows for easy connection of global systems and also makes roaming easier. It offers improved sound quality, better security and higher total capacity. Over 700 mobile operators BusinessFocus July July /Aug /Aug BusinessFocus
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Nowadays, we live in a fast-paced world with an increasing need for faster and easier access to information. This demand is being driven by customers seeking more bandwidth and greater performance than ever before. They want to have speed in the palm of their hands that is on par with their connections at home or at their place of work. Business executives and professionals also expect the same high-speed access and high-quality performance so that they can access data on the go, and for activities like downloading image-
heavy attachments, video streaming and file sharing. Such activities require increased bandwidth. This has led to a further redesign of mobile-data communication devices, including Netbooks, tablets, iPads and smartphones with larger screens that are ideal for video streaming, gaming and rich multimedia. 3G technology was designed to deliver speeds of up to 2 Mbps on mobile downloads. Now the need for even greater speed has given rise to the Fourth Generation of mobile technology (4G).
4G – the Game Changer 4G technology allows you to enjoy faster data speeds, watch videos at blazing speeds, simultaneously browse the web while making a call, send email, download photos, apps and music at lightning speeds, conduct videoconferences on 4G-enabled
phones, plus much more. It succeeds the 2G and 3G families of standards and includes HSPA+ (Evolved High Speed Packet Access) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies. LIME’s 4G network is based on the HSPA+ technology and offers customers a much faster mobile data experience. When in an HSPA+ (4G) coverage area with a suitable HSPA+ (4G) device LIME’s 4G allows for shared download/upload speeds of up to 60 times faster. With the launch of 4G, LIME customers can now look forward to many new consumer and business applications in the near future, including mobile TV, video-on-demand, video conferencing, tele-medicine, vehicle tracking, remote meter reading, security, remote video broadcasting, remote access to office networks and many more. 4G networks offer the ultimate mobile experience, giving customers real freedom away from their offices or homes and allowing them to access voice and high-speed data communications anytime, anywhere. LIME has chosen the evolutionary path of the GSM network to give customers the freedom to experience and enjoy the benefits of the most advanced network technology in the world. GSM is the global standard adopted by mobile operators worldwide. Currently more than 100 operators in over 60 countries support HSPA+, the standard evolved from GSM. Is this the end of the evolution for mobile data? We think not! Variants of these standards have already been developed with the aim of delivering speeds of up to 100 Mbps to mobile handsets and roving mobile networks and up to 1Gbps to fixed devices on mobile networks. LIME will continue to follow this GSM evolution to deliver the speeds and world-class devices that our customers demand, and which are necessary to increase productivity levels for our business customers, and for supporting our people’s social lifestyle. ¤
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BusinessFocus July July /Aug /Aug | | 15 15 BusinessFocus
Caribbean Bank Accounts Come
Under IRS Scrutiny
A federal court in California has authorised the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a “John Doe” summons seeking information about US taxpayers who may hold offshore accounts in a Barbadosheadquartered Caribbean bank. The Department of Justice has identified the bank as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB). It said the order was signed by Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson. The Department of Justice said the IRS summons seeks records of FCIB’s United States correspondent account at the San Francisco-based bank, Wells Fargo N.A and that the summons will allow the IRS to identify US taxpayers who hold or held interests in financial accounts at FCIB and other financial institutions that used FCIB’s Wells Fargo correspondent account. The Department of Justice said that, based on a petition filed by the government, the court granted the IRS permission to serve what is known as a “John Doe” summons on Wells Fargo. “The IRS uses “John Doe” summonses to obtain information about possible violations of internal revenue laws by individuals whose identities are unknown,” the statement said. According to the declaration of IRS Revenue, agent Cheryl R. Kiger filed in support of the petition, FCIB is based in Barbados and has branches in 18 Caribbean countries. The declaration said that although FCIB does not have US branches, it maintains a correspondent account in the United States at Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
In the declaration, Kiger alleges the “IRS learned that US taxpayers were using FCIB to help them keep their offshore accounts undetected by the IRS and not to pay US federal income tax on money placed in those offshore accounts.” The Justice Department said Kiger’s declaration describes her review of the information submitted by more than 120 FCIB customers who participated in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programme. According to the Kiger declaration, many of the FCIB customers in the “John Doe” class “may have been under-reporting income, evading income taxes, or otherwise violating the internal revenue laws of the United States”. Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, Kathryn Keneally, said the Department of Justice and the IRS “are committed to global enforcement to stop the use of foreign bank accounts to evade US taxes. This “John Doe” summons is a visible indication of how we are using the many tools available to us to pursue this activity wherever it is occurring. Those who are still hiding should get right with their country and their fellow taxpayers before it is too late.” IRS Acting Commissioner, Steven T. Miller, said the summons “marks another milestone in international tax enforcement. “Our work here shows our resolve to pursue these cases in all parts of the world, regardless of whether the person hiding money overseas chooses a bank with no offices on US soil,” he said. The Department of Justice said the IRS currently has in place an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programme in which US taxpayers can come forward and disclose their offshore accounts and income. ¤
OFFICIAL BEER OF
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Downgrades St. Lucia Expresses Concern Over Debt Ratios
‘Credit Worthiness’ is Upheld St. Lucia says it’s not alone in the world of ‘downgrades’ – and the recent downgrade of its credit ratings by a regional agency “is not unique” to the island. However, the grading agency also indicates that the island’s creditworthiness remains sound; and the Government says it’s not upset by the downgrade, as it’s already started making the necessary fiscal adjustments. In a statement in late June, the Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS) announced it had downgraded St. Lucia’s credit ratings on the Government’s debt issues “by one notch” on its regional scale, taking it down “from B+ to B or CariBBB”. The agency pointed to a steady fall in the fiscal current account balance, except for the 2011/12 financial year. It said St. Lucia had moved from a surplus of 4.9% of GDP in 2008/09, to a deficit of 1.2% in 2012/13 – its first year of deficit in the last decade. That shortfall, according to CariCris, was brought on by “a reduction in current revenue, as well as the upsurge in current expenditure to 22.7% of GDP in financial year 2012/13 from 20.3% in financial year 2008/09.” CariCRIS also said that while government had sought to improve the situation by implementing the Value Added Tax (VAT), it did not have “an enhancing impact” on current revenue over the previous year. BusinessFocus July /Aug
The agency said it therefore expects the country’s fiscal position to remain “tenuous” in the 2013/14 financial year, “particularly in light of the recentlynegotiated wage increase for the Civil Service.” It also projected that “total public debt to GDP ratio will grow rapidly by year-end.” But Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, who is also the island’s Finance Minister, said the downgrade did not upset him. He described it as “not surprising, as the entire Caribbean region is facing similar pressures, evident by the recent downgrades of Barbados, Grenada and Anguilla.” “Furthermore,” he added, “world output, including that of the emerging market and developing economies contracted in 2012, compared to 2011; and the Euro Zone is also under threat with significant fiscal challenges.” Dr. Anthony said the downgrade was the “result of an extended period of minimal economic growth, partly as a consequence of the continued adverse impact of the global crisis, coupled with the fact that very little was done to address the declining fiscal position in the past.” He said he’d signaled in the National Budget of 2012/2013 that tough fiscal times lay ahead; and this year he’d already
outlined a number of specific strategies in the 2013/14 Budget to return the economy to a more sustainable path. According to Dr. Anthony, “Government is pursuing fiscal consolidation with a focus on curtailing the growth in expenditure. He indicated that “In the current (20132014) Budget, “recurrent expenditure was reduced by $15.8 million while capital expenditure was cut by $114.6 million, bringing the reduction in total approved expenditure by $130.4 million.” The Prime Minister said his administration was “committed to implementing bold measures to reduce the fiscal deficit and curtail the rise in public debt, while pursuing polices to boost the economy.” According to the Prime Minister, “St. Lucia’s excellent track record on meeting its debt obligations will continue to remain the number-one priority of the government.” Indeed, CariCRIS, while downgrading St. Lucia, had explained that, “Notwithstanding the deterioration in the fiscal position, the ratings on St. Lucia continue to reflect its monetary and exchange rate stability, underpinned by its membership in a quasi-currency board arrangement and its relatively diversified economic base.” ¤
EU Gives $37M CDB Signs
Agriculture Boost for Diversification
Prime Minister Anthony addressing the $37 million ceremony. St. Lucia has welcomed a new $37 million injection of funding assistance for the agriculture sector from the European Union (EU), saying it will help plans to revive and reshape the island’s agricultural fortunes in the next five years. The funds – equivalent to 10.5 million Euros – came from the EU through the new Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) that have replaced the Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) and will be used to refinance the local Agricultural Transformation Project (ATP) from 2013 to 2018. The $37 million amounts to St. Lucia’s share of the 190 million Euros allocated by the European Council to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to help compensate for losses incurred from erosion of their preferential treatment for agricultural exports to Europe at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The ATP is already on stream here, with $5.9 million already allocated to be spent on it in the current financial year. The local project has four major components: Agri-Enterprise Youth ($7.6 million), Agri-Enterprise Facilitation ($4.8 million), Disaster Risk Reduction ($9.5 million) and Research and Technology Facilitation ($9 million). Under the Research and Technology aspect of the ATP, a new National Diagnostic Facility will be constructed at Union to serve as a one-stop-shop providing the range of services needed to support and sustain what can be described as our new model of agricultural growth. ¤
US $20M Loan Agreement with IDB for St. Lucia and Other
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has signed a US$20 million for a Global Loan Programme with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for projects in the four IDA-eligible Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member countries. This loan was approved by the CDB’s board in May at its 34th annual Board of Governors meeting here. The CDB will on-lend the funds for the financing of public sector projects in Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These small open economies are vulnerable to external economic shocks and natural disasters. They are also still reeling from the effects of the recent financial crisis. The new approved programme will help address the social and economic challenges of these non-IDB member countries, constrained by their limited access to longer term and lower cost credit resources. The loan will support areas such as education, infrastructure, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and also policy-based operations (up to 25% of the resources can be used to finance PBLs). Resources will be allocated by CDB based on its country strategy and programming processes. The IDB charter was amended in 1977 to allow the Bank to provide financial resources to the CDB to support its member countries. Before the approval of the new loan, the IDB had financed four global loan programmes to the CDB totaling US$104 million, as well as various technical cooperation operations. The approved programme will be financed by US$14 million from the IDB’s ordinary capital and US$6 million from the Bank’s Fund for Special Operations, (concessional funds) with an amortisation period of 30 and 40 years respectively. CDB has lowered its fees on the concessional portion of the loan, in order for the beneficiary countries to access these resources at more favorable rates. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug | 19
Investing in the Growth of a Nation!
Money by itself does not create wealth or success…it’s what we do with it and how we use it that help us achieve our goals, and attain desired results. Every individual has different needs, goals and desires for his or her stage in life. These goals may range from attaining higher education, owning a home, a vehicle, starting a business, investing in stocks or bonds to saving for retirement. Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) has the products and services tailored to meet the needs of our customers. At BOSL…it’s all about YOU! We’re a bank built on integrity and trust and we are in the forefront of nation building at the individual, corporate and community level. Our client base and loans portfolio is perhaps the strongest indicator of our leadership position in the financial services industry in St. Lucia. BOSL’s total client-base now stands close to 50% of the total population and an equally high percentage of St. Lucia’s bankable population. In 2012, BOSL welcomed over 3000 new (first time) customers; and total deposits to date amount to over EC$1.3 billion. In terms of disbursements, Home Mortgages account for the Bank’s largest portfolio in 2012 followed by loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Education remains a strong priority sector for BOSL, with just over 100 Student Loans approved in 2012.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
The Bank’s Wealth and Asset Management portfolio remains robust. Honour 50 geared towards persons 50 and over is far and away the strongest savings product. BOSL’s other popular investments accounts include the Registered Retirement Investment Account (RRIA) with a total of 1807 customers in 2012 and EduStart – the Bank’s Education Savings product – is showing modest growth with 501 customers in 2012. At BOSL, we don’t just claim to be the best…our record speaks to our contribution to nation building. BOSL has financed major projects in tourism, manufacturing, services, trade and commerce. On a personal level, we continue to transform lives by providing customers the opportunity to achieve their goals and realize their dreams of higher education, home ownership, personal investments and preparation for retirement. Corporate social responsibility remains a cornerstone of our parent company ECFH, a philosophy which filters down to all the subsidiaries within the Group, including BOSL. Bank of Saint Lucia has supported the development of the Arts in St. Lucia through its unbroken title sponsorship of Jazz in the South, support of the School of Art & Design St. Lucia (SADS), scholarships for young musicians and a 3-year Covenant with the St. Lucia School of Music. The Centre for Adolescent Renewal & Education (CARE) has also benefitted substantially from BOSL support in cash and in kind
through an ongoing covenant which spans a number of years. In the area of sports, BOSL has given tangible support through the recent BOSL Mini Hoops Basketball Tournament, sponsorship of the 2012 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tournament and sponsorship of cricket at the national level. In the area of the environment, BOSL continues to create a growth path with our Greedy for Green Campaign which will soon be taken to another level. The ECFH Group through BOSL continues to demonstrate its commitment to preservation and sustainability of the environment. BOSL is on the verge of launching a fun and exciting recycling competition in all secondary schools on the island. The competition will challenge students to use materials that are often discarded and pose a threat to the environment to create works of art or come up with other useful ways of using these items. The Environmental Challenge will give students the opportunity to demonstrate care for the environment in a very tangible way. Our commitment to being a good corporate citizen has been part of the Group’s legacy for a very long time and we will continue to provide that level of support to our country and our citizens. BOSL will continue to be a catalyst for change and positive growth of our individual customers, corporate clients, our youth, our communities and our nation. ¤
THE WAY HOME SINCE 1968 Our commitment has stood the Test of Time. Our Devotion is Legendary! Interest rates are at an all-time low so build Today and Celebrate Forever. At SMFC we have something for everyone: From as little as $10,000 to our “High 5”- $500,000. Come, talk to us, and together we can develop the mortgage plan that best suits your needs.
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
Priceless Financial Advice for Recent Graduates
The academic year has ended. Graduates are now FORCED to become adults. You endured years of schooling hoping that you will become employable. Your parents’ financial burden will be reduced because of your income-generating potential. Remember when you first started university and your parents helped you move into your new apartment? I’m sure they shed some tears. Well, here’s news - many of those tears weren’t because their bundle of joy was moving away from home. Sending a child off to university is NOT CHEAP! The trip to Disney Land and renovations to the house had to be sacrificed so you can secure a successful future. Now you’re finished, and expectations are high. You went to all your lectures (let’s hope so), you’ve worked hard and now you need to make some major decisions. Oh yeah, you need to find a JOB! Over the next phase of your life, you will be considered a regular working Boyo, earning a salary, paying taxes, and attending staff meetings. So, do you really want to be the person who still shares the room with the little brother at age 30? I should think not!
So, here’s the deal . . . Live like a poor university student for a while: are you unable to get a full time job initially? Stick with the part- time job that you had while at University. Take the night shift at the factories, this will double your earnings. If you decide to live on your own, get a roommate to help with the bills. Who needs a new car? Keep the ole Toyota. It still gets you around and you will save lots of money. Remember, you have that student loan to pay off!
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Credit is NOT free money: if you had a credit card in University, you may be entitled to a higher credit limit now that you are employed. You’ll understandably need to buy things; you can’t exactly go into the office with a vest and a pair of jeans with the gaping hole by the knee! However, you are not expected to go in with Armani suits and Samsonite briefcases. Credit cards should only be used to purchase absolutely essential items. The interest charges are overwhelming and you should try to cut costs wherever possible to avoid any substantial accumulation of these charges. One option is to use your credit card to make your purchases. At the end of the month, use your salary, which you leave in an interest-bearing account for the month, to pay off your full balance. This way, you receive interest on your earnings. The secret is to spend less than you earn – then invest your savings wisely. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’: don’t be tempted to buy stuff like cars, DVD’s, stereos, and similar items known as ‘depreciating assets’. This category of items loses value over time. You should try to spend as little as possible on them, because pretty soon, they would not be worth much. It would also prevent your debt from accumulating. Use your youth to your advantage while you still can: agility may be your strong point, but that is not all that your youth affords you. When a person starts to save at a young age, the savings accumulate like you would not believe thanks to the magic of compounding. A 25-year-old investing $200 each month for just 10 years will have $402,797 by retirement age, 8% annual return. If
a 35-year-old were to invest $200 each month until age 65 -- that's two decades longer than the 25-year-old in the next cubicle -- she ends up with a little more than $300,000. Impressive figures huh? Also, a young person who starts a life insurance or a pension fund will pay a smaller premium than an older person – another benefit of youth!
Okay, so what have we learnt thus far? The key to your financial success is to formulate a budget, yes that awful B-word! It may seem kind of geeky, but it will help you to prioritize your needs. Here’s what you have to do: • The first thing to do is to list all of your income; • Next you have to compare your earnings with your expenditure. This will give you a clear picture of you financial status; • Finally, prioritize your needs to effectively manage your finances. If you disregard the fact that your financial future depends on you and the decisions that you make now, you may end up in excessive debt, which can affect your ability to access credit in the future. So, make the right choices; then you can enjoy life (at least in the long run) and your parents can finally take that trip to Disney Land that they always wanted - confident that they have done there job well! ¤ by: First Citizens Investment Services
BusinessFocus July /Aug
China Offers US $3 Billion to Region
No $$ for St Lucia, St Kitts, 3 Others
“New Record High” of Foreign Direct Investment in Caribbean - ECLAC ECLAC predicts that this year's FDI inflows to the region will range between a fall of three per cent and a rise of seven per cent.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that support the People’s Republic of China’s One China policy, including Trinidad and Tobago, are to benefit from US$3 billion in concessional loans from that country. Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Suriname, Montserrat, Guyana, Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda support the One China policy, in which the People’s Republic of China does not recognise a separate entity called the Republic of China which administers Taiwan. Belize, Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis maintain relations with Taiwan. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar informed the media of the latest financial assistance being offered by the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, after she attended a luncheon held at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St. Ann’s, which featured an address from Xi while he was in T&T recently on a three-day State visit. “President Jinping announced at the luncheon he will be contributing US$3 billion in concessional financing for the CARICOM region, so we indeed thank him for that very generous gesture. US$1.5 billion for infrastructure projects and another US$1.5 billion for other kinds of development projects in the region,” Persad-Bissessar said. The US$3 billion parting gift from Xi comes just days after United States Vice-Presi¬dent Joe Biden paid a two-day visit to Trinidad, during which he met with several CARICOM Heads of Government, including Haitian President Michel Martelly, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minis¬ter Dr. Denzil Douglas. In response to a question from the media, Persad-Bissessar said the concessional financing would be limited to those CARICOM States that support the One China policy. “And that is as it should be. You would have seen that those countries that do not support the One China policy were not invited by His Excellency for the meetings, for the bi-late¬rals today, and I have no difficulty with that in principle because Trinidad and Tobago has always supported the One China poli¬cy, as several other countries,” Persad-Bissessar said. Speaking through an interpreter, China’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Huang Xingyuan, said the concessional financing may be increased in the future. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says the region received a “new record high” of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2012. According to the ECLAC report “Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2012”, the region received US$173.3 billion dollars of FDI (6.7 per cent more than in 2011), “despite an external context characterised by shrinking FDI flows worldwide”. The report attributes the “new record high” to the region's steady economic growth, high prices for raw materials and the impressive returns on investments related to natural resource exploitation. ECLAC predicts that this year's FDI inflows to the region will range between a fall of three per cent and a rise of seven per cent. “The foreign direct investment results attest to the good current performance of the Latin American economy,” said ECLAC’s executive secretary Alicia Bárcena. “However, we see no clear signs of FDI making a relevant contribution to generating new sectors or creating activities with a high technology content - as changing the production structure is one of the main challenges facing the region,” she added. The report describes FDI as “increasingly focused on the exploitation of natural resources,” particularly in South America. It said manufacturing represents a fairly low proportion of inward FDI, except in Brazil and Mexico. In addition, the report says that profits of transnational enterprises operating in Latin America and the Caribbean, also known as FID income, grew fivefold in nine years, rising from US$20.4 billion in 2002 to US$113.06 billion dollars in 2011. The report notes that FDI inflows to the Caribbean rose for the third year in a row, but failed to reach the record levels of 2008, adding that the main recipient was the Dominican Republic, with inflows swelling by 59 per cent in 2012. United States and European Union countries remain the main investors in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Canada and Japan also making significant contributions, the report says. “Having said that, 2012 saw a dramatic rise in the proportion of FDI from the region's own countries (14 percent of the total),” ECLAC said, adding “a high percentage of the investment received cannot be attributed to any particular economy because of the increasingly common practice of transnationals channelling their investment abroad through subsidiaries in third countries.” ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
START YOUR MEDICAL CAREER AT ST. HELEN UNIVERSITY IN ST. LUCIA
Our Caribbean campus provides:
Banks have a Critical Role in the Emerging Education Industry
St. Lucia can become a preferred destination for high quality university education in the Caribbean, driving robust economic growth and creating great education opportunities for St. Lucians. The recent announcement by the Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, declaring Vieux Fort a ‘university town’ has set the stage for what could be a major transformation of the Southern part of St. Lucia over the next few years. The banks in St. Lucia have an opportunity to ‘rethink, reinvent and reengineer’ themselves and become the catalyst for success of the ‘university town’ initiative, playing an important role in the sustainable development and diversification of Vieux Fort, and the St. Lucian economy. Banks ‘matter’. The Prime Minister has laid out the vision. The banks should now become proactive in what needs to happen next. Banks can make quick gains and have significant impact in the following:
1. Embrace new and existing universities in Vieux Fort as an
early development partner. Rethink the current ‘low tolerance for risk’ model which discourages investment, and move to one that proactively seeks to fuel growth, by creating innovative products that better balance risk with the opportunities Universities bring. 2. Revisit the student loan model for young St. Lucians pursuing university education at home. Financing Tertiary education is a global problem, but the banks operating here can use this opportunity to leapfrog the rest of the region and indeed the world, through innovative partnership models with business, universities and Government.
3. Bring true first world banking technology, banking models, and customer care to St. Lucia. Start pilot programs with the students and universities in Vieux Fort. Branches of foreign banks should challenge ‘Headquarters’ to deliver in St. Lucia what is delivered at home through purposeful technology and knowledge transfer. Banks can lead in the ‘university town’ initiative to create a multi-faceted win: for students, universities, the banks, the community and the economy; and for St. Lucia to emerge as a preferred destination for tertiary education in the Caribbean. ¤ Oma Sewhdat, President St. Helen University Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia.
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
Personal Branding Volume 3
by Lyndell Halliday
There is a good chance that your parents or grandparents had a single career that spanned their entire lifetime. There is an equally good chance that they did so without a great deal of forethought to their next move on their life journey. The likelihood that you will have the same experience and be successful is significantly less. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average American worker will have seven careers in his lifetime. While that figure may be lower in the Caribbean, there is no doubt that job and career stability has declined considerably over the last generation. Worse yet, career transition is often completely unplanned and is forced on the unsuspecting and unprepared. This issue’s edition of Business Focus Must Reads examines two books that prepare the reader to proactively manage his or her career and to plan a transition to a new career if necessary or if so desired. This issue’s Must Reads are Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future by Dorie Clark (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013) and Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career by Timothy Clark, Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (Wiley, 2012). Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future by Dorie Clark Dorie Clark is a marketing and advertising professional and a leading branding expert. Her A-list of clients includes Google, Ford Foundation and Yale University. She is a contributor to many leading publications such as the Harvard Business Review and Forbes Magazine. In this her first publication, Clark applies her knowledge of branding - which has been thoroughly tested through her work with Fortune 500 companies - to the area of individual branding.
Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career by Timothy Clark, Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
According to Clark, career reinvention is not a matter of if, but when. It happens sometimes by choice - such as through career advancement, or a change of jobs to pursue one’s true passions. Just as often, it occurs by force through an involuntary termination or company restructuring. Reinventing yourself professionally can equip you to advance more rapidly in your current field, to leverage your skills and experiences in a new career or to quickly find a new job if you have been laid off. Having been laid off herself early in her career and having changed careers several times, Clarke brings her personal experiences to bear on the subject matter. Through real life stories and a series of exercises, Clarke guides the user to identify their unique strengths, in order to better position and communicate one’s value. This book is not ground-breaking by any means as there have been plenty of books written on this subject matter before. However, Clarke is able to communicate the subject matter in an easy to digest and apply manner. The short exercises at the end of each chapter are particularly helpful, guiding the reader in selfreflection and aiding rapid application of the lessons learnt. And though relatively short in length, at only 240 pages, it has a tremendous amount of instruction per square inch of page. This is the kind of guide I wished I had 15 years ago at the start of my career.
In 2010, strategy consultant, Alexander Osterwalder and Yvest Pigneur, a professor of business at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland co-wrote Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. This book presented a very simple and easy to understand tool for developing a strategic business model for any type of business. The model was based on understanding and defining nine key building blocks: customers, value provided, channels, customer relationships, revenue, key activities, key partners and costs. It quickly became a best seller in the business book category. Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career is an adaptation of this model to the individual. It covers very similar ground as Clark’s Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, but has an entirely different approach. The result is a book on personal branding with an innovative twist. Throughout the book, the authors use real life case studies of persons they have worked with to illustrate how to apply the model. This book is written in a very straight forward, direct style that might appeal to some, but may be too pedestrian for other tastes. But style aside, the authors manage to deliver a thought provoking and novel approach to personal branding. Overall both books are highly instructive and supplement each other well. I personally prefer Dorie’s Reinventing You: Define Your Brand: Imagine Your Future. But Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career may be more useful to early career business professionals. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Caribbean Rum Justifiable Battle or Proxy WAR?
By Anton Edmunds
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anton Edmunds is the head of The Edmunds Group International, a consulting firm focused on the Caribbean region, and a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)
A threatened World Trade Organisation (WTO) filing by some vocal CARICOM countries against the United States over the US Virgin Islands’ and Puerto Rico’s use of the US Rum Cover-Over Programme begs the questions: Is taking this issue to the WTO justifiable or worthwhile, and who is really behind it? First and foremost, a WTO claim appears to lack legitimacy because the rum cover-over programme does not violate WTO rules. Critically, one cannot claim use of an export subsidy (the violation under WTO rules, which appears to be a chief claim against the programme by some) because the USVI, Puerto Rico and the mainland are part of the same country. Therefore, rum sent via the US intra-trade system is not an export. In fact, one could argue that the use of the programme by the USVI and Puerto Rico to develop beneficial and creative publicprivate sector initiatives has served nothing more than to lock in long-term operational arrangements, which have ensured that companies have a secure home in the United States and helped to stabilise the economies of its territories. All this, while the programme continues to provide essential tax revenue to the USVI and Puerto Rico governments to fund infrastructure, public schools and human services – all in line with what the program was supposed to do when created back in 1917. While CARICOM countries have long enjoyed preferential access to rum markets in the European Union, the winding down of these arrangements is causing concern that does not warrant unnecessary trade actions. Moreover, a country or countries bringing an actionable subsidies claim to the WTO must demonstrate adverse effects or harm to its trade. A review of the numbers raises real questions as to whether there have been adverse effects or harm. According to the US Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission and the US Census Bureau, CARICOM’s 2012 rum exports to the US increased by 17 percent in volume in 2012, BusinessFocus July /Aug
while CARIFORUM’s US rum exports (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) grew 15 percent in volume during that same time period. In fact, over the last five years, the numbers show an increase of 112 percent in volume for CARICOM and a 100 percent growth in volume for CARIFORUM. A pragmatist would argue that a formal WTO action would neither be worthwhile nor in the best interest of all parties concerned. Specifically for the Caribbean, the cost of pursuing a WTO complaint is not inexpensive, with base estimates for the filing country at well over USD $1 million and each additional country that participates likely to invest more than USD $200,000. A case may take as long as five years to resolve, while at the same time opening a Pandora’s Box that would focus unwanted scrutiny on the tax, subsidy and tariff structures of the very countries making the claim. One can also expect that it will sour relations among the Caribbean’s friends in Washington, San Juan and St. Thomas. On the issue of tax and tariff structures, there are already questions being posed as to whether some countries that are considering an action may themselves have biased and non-competitive systems in place. Notable are regimes that appear to be structured to benefit local producers, which may in fact violate WTO rules. The fact that many of these “local” companies are owned by large multinational producers of rum leads to questions as to whether the region is being led into a proxy war – with the agenda being driven by multinationals who own facilities in various Caribbean nations – making the issue far from the inter-governmental dispute that it is being presented as. In the final analysis, a case as being pursued seems without merit, costly and could serve to damage an already challenged USCaribbean relationship. Work on strengthening trade and addressing common issues of crime, border control and immigration within the extended Caribbean family could also be affected at a time when unity is needed, not action that can drive it apart. ¤
CDB President Says ‘No Longer Business as Usual’
Dr. William Warren Smith
Member-states of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) met in St. Lucia for three days in May, at the end of which they were told – squarely and fairly by the banks’s President – that as far as the region’s financial and economic business is concerned, it’s no longer business as usual. Recalling that 2012 was “a very challenging” year for most borrowing member countries, CDB President Dr. William Warren Smith said the Bank’s lending activities slowed. However, he said the Bank made “considerable progress” in strengthening itself, so that it could remain a relevant and reliable partner for all shareholders. Acknowledging the “people-centered development” inspired by the Bank’s first Governor, St. Lucia’s Sir Arthur Lewis, Dr. Smith said Sir Arthur “would no doubt be very concerned about the major challenges that Caribbean countries faced today.”
He also offered telling statistics that showed: in a typical borrowing member of the CDB economic growth was less than 3%; losses due to natural hazards had increased from 0.9% of GDP per annum in the 1980s and 1990s to 1.3% of GDP today; more than 21% of the population of borrowing member countries lived below the poverty line; the overall fiscal deficit of almost 4% was unsustainable; and the public debt of 8% of GDP was a serious drag on economic growth. He also said that citizens’ security was under increasing threat with the homicide rate in many countries far exceeding the average rate of 18 per 100,000 citizens for Latin America and the Caribbean region as a whole. “In spite of the economic and social progress that we have made, this is clearly not the region that Sir Arthur had envisaged,” Dr. Smith emphasised. ¤
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Aid for Trade!
by Bob Warner In January this year, Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organisation delivered a keynote address to the OECD Aid for Trade Policy Dialogue held in Paris. Mr. Lamy stated that some $US 200 billion had been mobilised for the Aid for Trade initiative since its launch in 2005, with some US$60 billion directed to leastdeveloped countries, and argued strongly for continued funding for the initiative. Should we be heeding his plea? We know that removing impediments to international trade and investment have been critical ingredients for the success that many developing countries have had in reducing poverty and improving levels of well-being – China, Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia are examples that come quickly to mind. And we also know that even in countries where a tradedriven growth path is less likely to deliver spectacular results, such as Pacific Island countries, there is no point in making trade and investment any more costly than it already is by nature of geography, size and location. So it would seem that helping governments and their people to realise the gains from international trade and specialisation could be a useful area for development assistance. But in practice, much of the effort devoted to aid-for-trade has been irrelevant at best, and very often harmful.
A significant proportion of aid-for-trade funding has been targeted at assisting developing countries in the process of accession to the WTO, and at helping develop the institutional capacity to meet commitments made as a result of becoming members of that organisation. While leaders in some countries were very clear-sighted about using WTO accession to achieve internal commitment to market oriented reforms (Viet Nam) or to avoid damage to key employment generating industries (Cambodia), most must now be wondering if the effort was worth it. But the process has left a more damaging on-going legacy. It has inculcated a terribly distorted mercantilist view of the benefits of trade and a corrupted understanding of the extent to which we need other countries to act collectively to reduce trade barriers for liberal trade policies to be in the national interest. (Thirty years ago, in an address to the ACT Economics Society, Jan Tumlir, then Chief Economist at the secretariat of the precursor of the WTO, the GATT, elegantly described the misconception pervading the GATT/WTO and all other negotiationsbased approaches to trade liberalisation. Tumlir pointed out that people accepted the argument that when every country protects its economy, all countries suffer. But instead of drawing the correct
conclusion – that ‘liberal (free) trade is the best policy for all countries,’ an alternative that ‘liberal (free) trade is the best policy when all countries practice it’ was put forward, which was ultimately corrupted to ‘liberal (free) trade is a good policy only if all countries practice it.’ This combined with the one-time ‘fruitful lie’—as Clive Crook called it in a 2006 article in The Atlantic – that the gains from trade come primarily from the exports you sell rather than the imports you buy, have been the false premises on which the complex edifices of international trade agreements have been built.) There are not entirely apocryphal stories of senior advisors suggesting to governments in transition economies that they needed to put in place restrictions on trade so that they would have something to put on the negotiating table during the process of WTO accession. And I have personally had conversations with developing country officials who have said that an important element of negotiating access to the WTO was learning how to protect local industries in a way that is consistent with the WTO. These are hardly the main messages we would like governments to take on board about trade policy. Linking aid-for-trade to WTO accession has also meant that it has supported
World Trade Organization
BusinessFocus July /Aug
countries to build institutions that in all other circumstances would have been at the bottom of the priority list. Many years ago, Mike Finger, who was (among other things) the World Bank’s initial Coordinator for The Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), calculated that complying with just a couple of the new agreements that emerged as a result of the Uruguay Round Agreement and creation of the WTO would cost many LDCs 100% or more of their annual development budget. Mike, for the sake of argument, accepting the perverse notion built into trade negotiations that trade liberalisation was all about agreeing to reduce one’s own trade restrictions in exchange for other countries agreeing to reduce theirs, made the point that LDCs were persuaded to accept these costs, but got very little in return in terms of market access in areas that really mattered to them. Much aid-for-trade has been targeted at assisting LDCs bear these costs, which might make sense if implementing the agreements was beneficial. But it is hard to see, for example, that putting in place a system to protect intellectual property rights is a priority in countries which have a really poor system for protecting rights to real property.
and engaging with the WTO diverts scarce human resources in LDC governments away from doing much more important things. This is not to say that all aid-for-trade has been bad: it is just that where it has perpetuated a misunderstanding of where the gains from trade come from, and has not been aligned with an honest assessment of the legislative and institutional priorities of developing countries, it has done damage. A recent ODI assessment of aid-for-trade suggests that it works best when it is targeted at reducing the costs of trading (for example, helping with investment in infrastructure, improving trade facilitation and strengthening value chains) and addresses binding constraints to growth. The report also suggests that work at the regional level can be beneficial, when it works in areas such as overcoming physical barriers to trade flows. These seem like reasonable rules of thumb to use when assessing aid-for-trade initiatives. It is a shame that so much aid-for-trade doesn’t conform to them. Bob Warner is Director, Pacific Research Partnerships at the Crawford School of Public Policy. He has spent much of his career advising governments on integration and trade liberalisation, much of it well before the WTO co-opted the notion of aid for trade. ¤
Other assistance has been targeted at helping to negotiate and implement bilateral trade agreements: the United State and the European Union have been very active in this arena, but has this assistance helped recipients reap the gains from trade? One not entirely cynical observation is that it has been designed more to teach developing countries favoured methods of restricting trade and enlisting local bureaucratic support for accepting these methods (for example, use of anti-dumping assistance, application of sanitary and phyto-sanitary approaches to restricting trade in agricultural products). At the very least, it has often been targeted at helping countries deal with rules of origin to take advantage of trade preferences: surely one of the dottiest consequences of non-multilateral trade agreements. The real tragedies of much aid-for-trade have occurred where it has: • obscured the fact that for many LDCs the big gains came from their unilateral reforms of trade and investment regimes, and that engagement with the international trade policy architecture has seldom come close to delivering benefits of that magnitude; and • exacerbated the problem that interacting with the international trade architecture, negotiating trade agreements
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Caribbean Must ‘Propel Domestic Engines of Growth’
The Washington-based financial institution said LAC is already expected to grow by 3.5 percent, an improvement from last year’s 3 percent. The World Bank has urged Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to “propel domestic engines of growth,” stating that the “formidable global tailwinds” that facilitated robust economic growth and social inclusion in the region over the past decade are receding. In its latest semiannual report, “Latin America and the Caribbean as Tailwinds Recede: In Search of Higher Growth,” the World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for the region, said recently that a new global context of excess liquidity, slower growth in China, and sluggish economic activity and high public debt in the developed world, points to the need for the region to do more on its own “in order to go back to growth rates similar to those enjoyed in the past decade.” The Washington-based financial institution said LAC is already expected to grow by 3.5 percent, an improvement from last year’s 3 percent, “but still below the 5 percent average before the 2008/09 crisis or the 6 percent in 2010.” It said rates range from as low as 0.1 and 1.0 percent BusinessFocus July /Aug
for Venezuela and Jamaica respectively, to 6 percent for Peru, nearly 9 percent for Panama, and above 11 percent for Paraguay. Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for the region, said while these growth rates are “good,” they are still “insufficient to sustain the recent pace of social progress” that the region experienced in the last decade. “Accordingly, the policy emphasis is shifting from external to domestic engines of growth, and from macro and financial stability concerns to growth-enhancing reforms,” he said. De la Torre said as global tailwinds subside, the ability of regional countries to grow above 3.5 percent “depends critically on themselves.” The report says that answering the question of how can the region propel its domestic engines of growth starts with understanding the specificities of LAC’s growth pattern, its limitations, and its strengths. It says that while much is said about South East Asia’s growth model –
based on manufacturing exports, high savings, and competitive exchange rates – the region’s circumstances “stand already in sharp contrast with that.” According to De la Torre the quest for export competiveness, based on cheap labor and undervalued exchange rates, “looks politically unfeasible and economically suboptimal. “If competiveness beyond natural resourceintensive goods is to be developed, without sacrificing living standards, productivity is the name of the game,” he said. The World Bank’s chief economist for the region noted that achievements in the 2000s have been “significant, including macroeconomic stability, solid growth, poverty reduction, and a fairer income distribution.” But he said the challenge for economic policy going forward is to “preserve and build on past gains, consolidating the dividends of a socially inclusive growth, and doing so without the assistance of global tailwinds.” (CMC) ¤
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Caribbean Drug Trafficking Boom Predicted as Latin America
William Brownfield, a top US State Department official, has predicted that the Caribbean is likely to see a surge in drug-trafficking activity by 2015 as operations out of Central America dwindle due to an international crackdown. Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement, said he believes drug traffickers squeezed out of Mexico, Central America and South America will target the Caribbean because it's spacious and allows them to remain undercover and take advantage of weak law enforcement in certain countries. "We're dealing with 14 different countries spread across a large area," he said. "Drug traffickers are looking for very vulnerable holes." The State Department official was speaking on Wednesday during a visit to Puerto Rico, where he met with local and federal authorities to talk in part about the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which aims to boost regional interceptions centre aimed at uncovering how illegal money and drugs are being moved. He nevertheless noted that establishing such a centre could prove difficult because its operations might not be legal in certain Caribbean nations. Funds disbursed in the past have gone toward building a regional centre in Barbados for exchanging ballistics information, and another centre for identifying and processing fingerprints. The Caribbean made up about five percent of the cocaine reaching the United States in 2010, jumping to eight percent in the past year, and is estimated to escalate to 10 percent this year, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Officials estimate that six percent alone is shipped through the Dominican Republic. Cocaine use has dropped in the United States, but has skyrocketed in Brazil, Argentina and Western Europe. The new demand means traffickers are shipping drugs across the Atlantic into West Africa and then north into Europe, Brownfield said. 造
The Caribbean made up about five percent of the cocaine reaching the US in 2010, with that figure estimated to jump to 10 percent this year. security with US funding aid. In the upcoming fiscal year, Congress has allocated US$40 million for the programme. The new funds will be available by August and distributed after the top priorities are identified, according to Brownfield. While a group of US agencies and Caribbean governments decide how the money will be spent, the State Department official supports using the funds to build regional programmes and centres that would benefit all Caribbean nations. He would like to see the establishment of a police training centre, a maritime training centre possibly based in Puerto Rico and an aviation centre featuring four to six helicopters that could be stationed across the region, targeting popular drug-trafficking routes. Brownfield also favours the idea of a Caribbean-based communication BusinessFocus July /Aug
OECS Preparing to Better Enhance Trade Facilitation in WTO
World Trade Organization
Specialists from the OECS Secretariat were in St. Kitts and Nevis last week for a consultation on national and regional measures to better facilitate trade in keeping with the emerging commitments being negotiated on Trade Facilitation in the World Trade Organisation. It was the final leg of the national consultations on Trade Facilitation by OECS Trade Policy Unit, which began in February 2013. The objective of the process is to simplify and harmonise international trade procedures such as payment of fees, access to information and cooperation between customs and other authorities. Regarding the mission to Basseterre, Programme Officer at the OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit Alicia Stephen says the idea was to be updated on where St. Kitts and Nevis is in terms of its ability to meet the emerging commitments from the draft Trade Facilitation Agreement text that is being developed. “Negotiations have been going on since 2004-2005 and we are more or less at the point where WTO Member States want to push for a final text which will go to Trade Ministers in December 2013 and if that happens St. Kitts and Nevis needs to know to what extent it can implement the commitments that are emerging in those negotiations.” Trade Facilitation refers to the processes and procedures involved in moving goods across borders. These include the fees required and time it takes to carry out such payments, the use of customs brokers, and the time taken to have matters relating to the clearance of goods re-dressed. Trade Facilitation is a key element of the OECS Economic Union and this work is expected to advance regional efforts towards the creation of the single economic space as well as informing the OECS’ engagement in the WTO negotiations. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is assisting this effort, as part of a project on Implementation Plans for WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Developing Member States. ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
WTO to Review OECS Trade Policies in 2014 Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states are to undergo a review of their trade policies by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in June 2014 and their preparation for this is being boosted by assistance from the OECS Secretariat’s Geneva Technical Mission and its Trade Policy Unit. Programme Officer at the OECS Secretariat Alicia Stephen said the trade policies of the OECS member states are reviewed by the World Trade Organisation every six years. “The assistance that we give to the member states helps to co-ordinate their participation, because the review process involves extensive data collection on trade policy, trade performance and it goes through a range of issues such as standards, health and food safety, competition policy, price control, investment, sector policy, tariffs, non tariff measures, etc. “So we assist the member states by helping them to gather all this information as well as mobilising resources and accessing technical assistance so they can provide the information and participate in
the drafting of the final report which is the review of their trade policy,” Stephen said. The trade policy review for OECS member states is one of the requirements of WTO membership and is meant to assess the compliance of countries with WTO rules and integration in the multilateral trading system. The last review was conducted in 2007. Stephens spoke about the benefits of such a review to the OECS member states. “The good thing about the review is that it is not the basis for any sort of action to be taken against member states if they do not comply. What the review does for our member states is that it gives them an assessment of where they are in terms of their ability to implement the commitments that are set out when they signed on the WTO and it also gives them a global view of their trade performance not just in terms of figures but in terms of the reforms they have undertaken since their last review. “The review also looks at emerging issues such as competition policy and trade facilitation which are not yet within in the
ambit of the WTO, but is there to signal to the member states in a certain way what their state of preparedness is to engage in those other issues. “It also reviews specific sectors that are important to the OECS member states such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing services, and assesses what the policy environment is for businesses within those sectors,” she explained. The OECS Trade Policy Unit said each OECS member state is required to prepare a statement on its trade policies. The OECS Secretariat also prepares a regional trade policy report while the WTO prepares a statement on each member state’s policies as well as the OECS trade policy. To date, member states have identified focal points for the review and have begun collecting data for the country statements. The OECS Secretariat convened a regional preparatory meeting in St. Lucia from May 28 to 29 2013 to agree on a plan for the review by the WTO. ¤
World Trade Organization
BusinessFocus July /Aug
BusinessFocus July /Aug
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
ECLAC Urges Region
to Maximise Natural Resources for Development
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is urging regional countries to review and strengthen their institutions and instruments in order to maximise the contribution of natural resources to regional development, particularly in the current cycle of high prices. ECLAC has submitted a report to the “Conference of the Union of South American Nations on Natural Resources and Integral Development in the Region” that analyses the issue of natural resource governance in the region. According to ECLAC, the governance refers to the set of sovereign policies over ownership and allotment of natural resources and the distribution of productivity gains arising from their exploitation. ECLAC says Latin America and the Caribbean has 65 per cent of the world’s reserves in lithium, 42 per cent of silver, 38 per cent of copper, 33 per cent of tin, 21 per cent of iron, 18 per cent of bauxite and 14 per cent of nickel. ECLAC said the region also has large oil reserves: a third of world’s bio-ethanol production, almost 25 per cent of biofuels and 13per cent of oil. In addition, it says the region has about 30 per cent of the world’s total renewable water resources, which represents over 70 per cent of the water throughout the Americas, as well as having 21 per cent of the planet’s forests and plentiful biodiversity. But, in light of all these, ECLAC says the region has “major weaknesses,” such as production and export structures based on “static comparative advantages,” based on natural resources alone, rather than “dynamic competitive advantages.” The ECLAC report presented by its Deputy Executive Secretary Antonio Prado also notes that the region also has low investment in infrastructure, exploration and value added, and poor performance in innovation, science and technology.
Renewable water resources
“Historically, the region has been unable to translate the boom periods of exporting its resources into long-term economic development processes,” Prado said. “The challenge for the countries of the region is to generate and efficiently invest extraordinary revenue from the current price cycle with social and environmental sustainability,” he added. In the report, ECLAC describes the various legal and economic instruments that Latin American and Caribbean states have at their disposal to “appropriate and distribute the revenues from the exploitation of natural resources relating to mining, water and hydrocarbons”. Between 2000 and 2010, ECLAC says the region’s oil exports “did not follow the upward trend of prices, unlike the pattern in the rest of the world.” It said despite this the estimated income of the hydrocarbons sector during the boom of 2004-2009 (7.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, or GDP) was double the average recorded between 1990 and 2003 (3.6 percent of GDP). ECLAC describes the region as “facing the challenge of achieving homogenisation and integration in energy consumption, with a view to narrowing the sub-regional divides that still persist, namely: the heterogeneity of natural resources, supply structures and energy consumption, and the need to achieve institutional consolidation and establish the basic conditions for renewable energy promotion and penetration policies.” It is urging regional countries to take a “long-term view on the need to ensure efficient investment of the windfall earnings from natural resources now that prices are buoyant,” as well as on the need to improve public management of socio-environmental conflicts that it claims arise in the development of natural resource sectors. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
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Defending Paradise! $64 million and Immediate Action Committed to Protect the Environment and Accelerate Renewable Energy In a joint eﬀort to safeguard and bolster the Caribbean region's tourism-dependent economy, ﬁfteen Caribbean governments and seventeen corporations met on Necker Island, home of Sir Richard Branson, in the British Virgin Islands recently and committed approximately $64 million USD to preserve and protect the region's marine and coastal environment, and accelerate eﬀorts to transition to renewable energy. "Protecting and harnessing the natural world is the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes," said Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group. "We can't have much economic growth without a healthy Caribbean environment, and we can't have a healthy Caribbean environment without healthy economic development. Solving the energy challenge and marine conservation challenge in the Caribbean go hand-in-hand." The event, launching the second phase of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), was co-hosted by the Prime Minister of Grenada, Premier of the British Virgin BusinessFocus July /Aug
Islands, and Sir Richard Branson. The event's sponsoring partner was Tiﬀany & Co. Foundation, and the event was organised by The Nature Conservancy, with support from Virgin Unite, the nonproﬁt entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group, and the Carbon War Room. "We are honoured to be part of such a historic event, and we applaud our fellow Caribbean nations participating in this Summit," said Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Keith C. Mitchell of Grenada. "We are charting a path for future generations, stressing the importance of conservation throughout the region." "Governments and their people, companies and their consumers, and local communities all must work together to protect this beautiful region," said Glenn Prickett, Chief External Aﬀairs Oﬃcer for The Nature Conservancy. "This event has demonstrated that no longer is protecting nature viewed as a luxury, it is critical to the success of the region's economy."
Commitments announced at the Summit by individual governments to support these eﬀorts included the establishment of a national trust fund to protect biodiversity in The Bahamas; adoption of a Protected Areas System Plan to protect 33 percent of marine and coastal environments in the British Virgin Islands; the establishment of 14 ﬁsh sanctuaries in Jamaica; a commitment to double the number of protected areas in Puerto Rico; Grenada's reaﬃrmation to protect 25 percent of its marine and coastal environment; and Belize's commitment to protect 30 percent of its marine and coastal environments with over 10 designated as no-take ﬁshing zones. In addition to these commitments, Defend Paradise, a campaign designed to generate funding for marine conservation in the Caribbean and raise consumer awareness of the marine environment was launched. ¤
Places Focus on Climate Change, Renewable Energy Climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency, natural resources management and biodiversity will be the focus of Germany’s assistance to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for the programming period to 2018. This was reiterated recently, when a German delegation met in Georgetown, Guyana, to review the CARICOM-Germany technical cooperation programme. The German delegation was led by Ullrich Kinne, Deputy Head of Mission for the German Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago, while the CARICOM team was led by Percival Marie, Executive Director, Resource Mobilisation and Technical Assistance (RMTA). While outlining the areas of focus for the current programming period, the German delegation also pointed out that the CARICOM Secretariat was regarded as Germany’s major development partner in the Caribbean for the planning and coordination of regional projects. Projects which have been approved over the last three years under the CARICOMGermany cooperation programme have involved the provision of German resources in excess of sixty million Euros. The current portfolio of German-funded regional projects includes three projects in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, two in renewable energy, two in climate change, and one in natural resources management. The meeting was notified of the priorities of the Community and in particular of recently approved policies for agriculture, nutrition and food security, crime and security, aid for trade, and ICT4D. With regard to the post-2015 development agenda, the German delegation pointed out its awareness of the special developmental constraints of the region and indicated an interest in holding discussions on an appropriate definition of development which took into consideration those constraints. ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
“CELEBRATING A LOCAL TREASURE” With So Many Flavours to Savour By Stan Bishop
Minister of Commerce Hon. Emma Hippolyte Presents Award to Mr. Charles Devaux of Ferrands Foods BusinessFocus July /Aug
There certainly is a lot more than just quality and wholesome ingredients that can be found in a Ferrands product. Aside from the smooth taste and rich flavours of its ice cream and other novelty items, there seems to be something that keeps us yearning and screaming (sometimes literally!) for some Ferrands ice cream. BF recently got the inside scoop on what keeps people coming back for scoop after delicious scoop of Ferrands ice cream. But before we tease your taste buds too much, we thought it best to fill you in on just what you’re dipping into in a tub of Ferrands ice cream. Managing Director, Charles Devaux, said it all began in the late 1940s with his father, Denis, supplying fresh milk from the Ferrands area in Cul De Sac valley. (Hence the name Ferrands). Then, in the early 1960s, due to growing demand, Denis built a milk plant in Castries and, after a few years of producing plain as well as flavoured milk he shifted course a bit and began making ice cream for pushcart vendors in Castries.
Charles joined the company around 1970 and began tinkering with ‘Ferrands Special’ ice cream. Take-home tubs were introduced and after a while, restaurants and hotels and grocery stores were added to the list of Ferrands’ growing clientele. As demand grew, more flavours were added and soon the initial Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate flavours had Rum & Raisin, Peanut, Guava and Coconut for company. Today Ferrands offers novelties, yogurt, and a wide array of flavours of ice cream that everyone can savour. Presently, Ferrands supplies only the local market but is churning out plans to position its products on the regional market as well. Because of their sensitive nature the company must put in place precautions to ensure the quality of its products is not compromised. From production to your door, quality is priority-one at Ferrands. It was news to BF to learn that Ferrands uses vegetable instead of butter fat in their recipes and that they have seen little or no change for decades. No shortcuts, no compromise. And get this – no preservatives! There are plans for HACCP certification and expanding the company’s infrastructure. New products are also in the pipeline and Ferrands is working assiduously at improved packaging. The company’s staff base currently stands at just over fifty and that number is expected to increase as the company continues to grow.
It’s no surprise why Ferrands was able to snag the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Saint Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA) Awards held last March. Devaux said pricing of Ferrands products is kept at a minimum even as the costs of raw materials and other factors of production increase. Nevertheless, he believes that Saint Lucians need to recognize the significance of purchasing quality local products. “There are many Saint Lucian companies today producing top quality products. However, there’s a tendency for consumers to buy foreign products, often only because of attractive packaging. What we should recognize is that buying even one locally produced product instead of a similar imported product has significant positive spin-offs for our local economy,” Devaux tells BF. The company also plays an important role in the community by taking its social responsibility to heart. Ferrands supports many school events and charitable organizations in various ways. So if you’ve had the chance to watch Ferrands’ nostalgic (and witty) television advertisements or listened to the radio advertisements over the years, you would by now know that Ferrands is deeply entrenched in the national psyche when it comes to cool taste. So ensure that the next scoop of ice cream or the next choc ice you bite into says Ferrands. It’s a Ferrands product and it’s stood the test of time. ¤
And that’s the Scoop.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Business Mogul Michael Chastanet
Commerce Minister, Advocates and Consumers React Differently to Local Chain’s Up-market Supermarket Acquisition The surprise announcement of the takeover of the island’s only up-market supermarket by St. Lucia’s only supermarket chain ought not to have been a surprise, but it was – and indeed sparked interesting reaction from Government, Consumer Advocates – and consumers themselves. Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs Emma Hippolyte was one of the earliest to offer an official response publicly to the acquisition of GL Food Market by Consolidated Foods Ltd (CFL) at the end of May. CFL announced on June 1 that as of May 31, it purchased GL, previously owned by Peter and Co Ltd, a wholly-owned local subsidiary of Barbados-based Goddard Enterprises. The minister’s response was both commendable and welcome, but also a warning about her expectations. First the warm words…“This action by CFL should be commended in terms of the expansion that has been witnessed by a local company,” Ms. Hippolyte said, adding that “This also further strengthens the company’s ability to expand beyond the shores of Saint Lucia, as it has done by establishing a commercial presence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We expect to see CFL established in other islands of the OECS and the wider Caribbean in the not too distant future.” BusinessFocus July /Aug
Focusing locally, she said the CFL takeover “is also testimony of the confidence that this major investor has in the strength of the local economy and hence in the management of the economy by this Government.” Then the words of warning…According to the minister, “The acquisition will result in increased purchasing power by CFL. We expect that the company will leverage this additional purchasing power to secure better purchasing prices and hence pass on to the consumer lower prices wherever possible.” But, she added, “The Ministry is, however, concerned that this exit of GL Food Market has reduced the level of competition within the market.” She explained, “Notwithstanding the possible benefits of the acquisition outlined earlier, we always prefer competition as the basis of ensuring that consumer welfare is maximized in a free market economy.” Ms Hippolyte offered an invitation to the local business community: “We therefore use this opportunity to remind all local investors that the distributive trades sector is open to new entrants and is not a controlled or closed sector of the economy.” She also voiced her expectations, saying she wanted “to remind them [CFL] of the important responsibility that they have in ensuring that the dominant position that
they currently enjoy in the distributive trade sector is not abused, but put to progressive use for the development of the economy.” President of the National Consumer Association (NCA) Kingsley St. Hill said following the announcement that his association was also concerned about “protection for consumers” and repeated his call for introduction and passage of a Consumer Protection Act. But ordinary consumer opinion was not necessarily the same as the Commerce Minister – or the NCA President, for that matter. Most members of the public polled by the media either welcomed the purchase or said they hoped to continue benefitting from the various “rewards” being offered to CFL shoppers, such as their supermarket “loyalty card and points” system. In some cases, consumers even chided other local entrepreneurs in and out of the supermarket business, who they felt “can afford,” but who some accused of “only being interested in banking their money and making interest.” Meanwhile, CFL has not indicated any change in the way it will operate GL Foods. In fact, CFL says it will continue to operate its newly-acquired supermarket just as it bought it. And, so far, not even the name has been changed… ¤
Study Calls on Regional Governments to Modernise Tax System A new study published recently is urging Latin America and Caribbean governments to renew efforts to modernise their tax system. The study done by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) suggests that while Latin America and the Caribbean have made great strides in boosting tax collection in recent years, they need a new generation of fiscal and tax reform to reduce income inequality, cut evasion, boost productivity, strengthen local governments and preserve the region’s natural resources. The study published under the title “More than Revenue: Taxation as a Development Tool” was launched at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Every year, the IDB conducts an in-depth comparative study of an issue of concern to Latin America and the Caribbean. This year’s edition presents taxation in the region as a missed opportunity. The study argues that taxation is largely viewed in the region as a means of generating income to pay governments’ bills, rather than as a valuable instrument to achieve important development goals. “Taxation is one of the unfinished areas of reform left for the region to tackle,” says Ana Corbacho, IDB Sector Economic Advisor and Co-Editor of the document. “Smart tax policies will help us fight poverty and inequality, diminish the effects of climate change, and improve private sector productivity.” The publication outlines advances made in the region’s tax systems in recent years and proposes tax reforms to advance equitable development. Countries in the region have strengthened their tax administrations, boosting collection by 2.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the past two decades, the fastest rate in the world. However, the region still takes in just 17 per cent of GDP in tax revenue, less than it should, given its per capita incomes. IDB Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge, Santiago Levy, said existing tax policies stymie the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), contributing to the low productivity that plagues the region. “Tax systems should be modernised to encourage the formation of larger, more productive companies in the formal economy,” he added. The IDB said that taxes that help protect the environment are another largely untapped source of revenue in the region. In Europe, such taxes collect an average of 2.5 per cent of GDP, but in Latin America barely one per cent. ¤
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Forensics: Polygraph & Integrity Testing in the Business Environment
By Dr. Maurice Aboud
Introduction Forensic Science covers a broad array of disciplines not only applicable to law enforcement but also to the private sector. In this issue we switch gears to a forensic tool known as Polygraph Testing or “Lie Detection” and we talk about its usefulness in a business environment to enhance employee selection, trustworthiness and retaining employees in positions of high responsibility. Finding employees that one can trust to exhibit key moral and ethical characteristics in one’s business can be a challenging task. They are often the ones who handle financial controls and the management of key physical/data assets. To help address some of these issues companies should consider polygraph testing for both pre- and post-employment, as a screening tool to aid in the selection of personnel and the fulfillment of management in key positions. While many businesses spend a great deal of resources on protecting themselves from external attacks or criminal activities, crime within the work place from internal sources has also significantly increased. Many companies now are faced with internal theft, fraud, sexual harassment and even industrial sabotage. The use of pre-employment integrity polygraph screening can significantly safeguard against such activities by guiding employers in the interview stage before they hire new people or, post-employment testing for people who may have been suspected of not telling the truth after an incident has taken place. The use of polygraph testing can help increase profitability of your business by eliminating or reducing key aspects such as but not limited to: BusinessFocus July /Aug
• • • • • • •
Employee Inefficiency Property Theft Money Theft High Employee Turnover & Training Leaking of Confidential Information Wasting of Company Stationary & Supplies Vandalism
What is a Polygraph: The Science A polygraph is an examination that uses a diagnostic instrument capable of measuring a subject’s physiological reactions such as: respiratory, electro-dermal and cardio reactions while responding to questions that tell whether a subject is stating the truth or is being deceptive. This is done by first establishing a baseline series of questions to ascertain when someone is being truthful, followed by a series of questions designed to gather the facts of an incident/ personal character. The results indicate when someone is telling the truth or being deceptive about their answer. The line of questioning and manner in which the questions are asked, are in itself a science, therefore the polygraph examiner must be adequately trained not only in use of the equipment but also in interrogation techniques. The changes in physiological conditions are interpreted by the polygraph examiner and compared to reactions to the baseline questions, certain changes indicating deception.
The leading governing body of polygraph examiners is the American Polygraph Association (APA). This organisation has established strict standards and requires continued education to maintain the membership as a qualified examiner. Over 1 million private polygraph tests are administered in the US with preemployment testing making up a large percentage. This number has been steadily growing as more organisations acknowledge the true value of this technique in identifying the correct person for the job or for investigations of an incident with an existing employee. Misconceptions about polygraph techniques have long been raised and numerous studies have been conducted that confirm the techniques’ accuracy with specific questioning. A number of additional counter-measures are typically conjointly used which measure not only physiological, but physical movements that greatly increase the accuracy of the results and decrease the ability of the polygraphee to deceive the system.
documentation in place, it can be implemented immediately, bringing a level of comfort to the organisation and ultimately reducing cost and increasing profit. ¤
The Law and Policies Currently there are no laws in Trinidad and Tobago prohibiting the use of polygraph testing for pre and post-employment testing. However, an organisation must develop and implement policies and procedures for instances where testing can be done and the consequences of the results. Depending on the policies set by the establishment, employee consent through an employee authorisation form may be required. It is important that the policies are set beforehand and listed, as part of the requirements for employment. In cases where employment already exists careful considerations must be taken before implementation. Policy templates may be obtained from the examiner, which can be formulated to the specific business and reviewed to ensure that the employer’s process is properly documented and the employer covers itself against any possible litigation by an employee or union.
Benefits of using Polygraph Integrity Testing in the Business Place Polygraph testing is a relatively short process with a typical analysis being performed in less than 2 hours. The short amount of time allows for multiple testing to take place with little productivity loss and immediate results. Another benefit to polygraph testing is the mobility of the equipment and its capability of being performed onsite at the business location, provided a room with suitable conditions is available. Alternatively a provider of polygraph services should offer testing at their facility. The results of a polygraph test can be used immediately to help resolve an incident that has taken place, in which an employee is believed to be involved or wishes to exempt him/herself from being involved. The benefits of using polygraph integrity testing both pre- and post-employment can be immediate, stopping financial and resource losses from continuing or allowing the selection of the person with the right character for the position and removing any temptation of committing a crime.
Conclusion The use of polygraph integrity testing for pre-employment screening and post-employment investigations within the workplace can be a significant tool in obtaining the right people for the job, keeping current employees functioning efficiently and honestly, and stopping the wasting and stealing of company resources. Once the business has put the policies and
About the Author Dr. Maurice Aboud holds a PhD. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Forensic Science, an MSc. in Forensic Science and has several publications on his work with different forensic applications. He is the Chief Forensic & Criminalistics Officer in the Forensics & Criminalistics Unit (FCU) at Amalgamated Security Services, which is the parent company of Alternative Security Services St. Lucia Limited. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
How to a Financial Controller for
Controlling the finances of a business is quite a daunting task. Taking advice from a financial controller helps you achieve your financial goals confidently. An expert adviser can advise you how to save more, where to invest, when to withdraw money and how to improve your cash flow. However, selecting a financial planning company is not an easy task. If you are looking for a financial adviser in London, UK, you should check certain things before hiring one. Here are two most important things to check when selecting a financial controller.
1. Background – Conducting a thorough background check on your financial planner is important. Check whether the company
has a clean record. Some important things to check include the company’s credit history, whether they have been sued or charged for breach of contract.
2. Experience – A financial planning company that has spent a substantial amount of time in the industry would be a good choice for you. It goes to show that the company has been doing well for the past few years. Otherwise it would have been separated out from the industry. One rule of thumb is to select a company that has at least five years of experience. It is important for you to look for references and recommendations. You
should get recommendation from at least four of their current and previous clients. You should also take advice from your friends, relative and business colleagues before hiring a service. Are you looking for a financial controller in London? If yes, you should visit http:// notjustaccounting.co.uk/. They provide comprehensive financial planning services, which include overseeing accounts department, assisting auditor, and controlling debtors and creditors. ¤ (Author – Eric Mello Founder of InfrontWeb social media marketing company in New York and Connecticut.)
Undertakes National Services Sector Survey The Saint Lucia Coalition of Services Industries is currently undertaking a national survey of service providers and services firms in key sectors in the coming weeks. The exercise, which commenced in April, ran for four weeks and targeted the Professional Services, Creative Industries, Health and Wellness and Information Communication Technology (ICT) sectors. The survey is a critical component of the Project “Developing Saint Lucia’s Services Sectors” which is being implemented by the SLCSI with financing by the Caribbean Development Bank and counterpart funding provided by the According to Ms. Dinah Hippolyte, Trade Information and Communication Officer under the project, development partners and government officials agreed during the conceptualisation of the project that any work undertaken to support the services sector must be based on qualitative information about the sector. It is anticipated that the survey’s results will provide much-needed data to inform and guide future policymaking on the services sector. Ms. Hippolyte further noted that this component of the project ties in with ongoing consultancy work by the SLCSI and Mr. Ramesh Chaitoo, to work with service providers and their professional associations, government agencies and other business support organisations to develop a policy paper outlining recommendations on a National Services Policy for Saint Lucia. Ms. Hippolyte had earlier urged firms and service providers to participate in the survey, noting that in order to meet the needs of the sector, policy-makers and advocates of BusinessFocus July /Aug
the sector must be well-informed on the size of the respective sectors, the services offered, the constraints which persons in these sectors face in their daily operations, and the areas where assistance would be most effective. The initiative was undertaken with support from the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development and Consumer Affairs and the Department of Statistics. ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Women Learn Secrets to Success and More at First Citizens Seminar! “This seminar really rejuvenated me. It was just the boost I needed! There was so much information . . . Extremely educational and inspiring!” These were just some of the sentiments expressed by attendees as the 4th annual First Citizens Financial Well-being Seminar for Women came to a close at the Bay Gardens Hotel recently. The event, supported by Neutrogena and the WAVE radio station, was held under the theme “Secrets of a Six Figure Woman” and attracted women from all walks of life, who came to participate in the fullday session that featured financial, legal and health advice, as well as motivational stories from successful women. The Feature Speaker for the day was First Citizens Deputy Chief Executive Officer Ms. Sharon Christopher who gave the audience “Six Secrets to Success”. Ms. Christopher revealed how she had used these practical tools in order to live a more fulfilling life. Her presentation definitely struck the right cord for a day ahead of truths, open and frank discussions and information that would help women become more financially independent and well-rounded individuals. Attorney at Law Natalie Augustin also connected with the audience as she expressed her own struggles along the road to success. Her presentation, “Establishing your Superwoman Legacy”, focused on the legal basics that all women should know when entering into investments and on protecting their legacy.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
First Citizens Regional Manager Mrs. Carole Eleuthere-JnMarie got down to business with her energetic presentation of “Six Figure Financial Strategies” which highlighted the essential path to follow to get on the road to achieving your dream, whatever it may be. Mrs. JnMarie sought to inspire the women in the room to take a long hard look at their bottom line and suggested ways they could increase and manage their wealth. Before lunch the questions came pouring in for the all-female panel. There was much more to come in the afternoon session and fitness instructor Velda Samuel of Vel’s Gym started things off by showing the audience a quick fitness routine they could work into their busy schedules. Life coach Ms. Angie Montoute touched on how women could identify and achieve their personal goals by changing how they see themselves. She implored them to seek balance in their life and learn how to juggle effectively their professional and home life.
The final speaker of the day, Dr. Marie Grandison-Didier, addressed the issue of managing your health in order to enjoy your wealth. The animated and unhindered doctor was very frank with the audience about positive and negative health decisions and gave them useful information fitness tips. Following the presentations the floor was given to the audience to ask whatever they wanted on varying topics. The panel listened carefully and gave each question attention and priority. There was no doubting it all ended too soon for some who suggested that the annual seminar was just what they needed. Other special features of the day included a “Dress for Success” segment presented by Scott’s Underground Boutique and a number of giveaways. First Citizens would like to say a special thank you to Renwick & Company Ltd (distributors of Neutrogena), The Wave radio station, HTS, Touch Therapies, Ti Mamai magazine and Bay Gardens Resorts. ¤
By Betty Combie
We look at the Saint Lucian business landscape, and there are some small businesses that have successfully survived for decades in the face of fierce increasing competition. Some well-known bakeries come to mind. By the way I think a study of these businesses would make for a rather interesting and enlightening project. Something maybe the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs should consider. I would however like to propose that what has worked for these bakeries is their ability to deliver consistently on their unique selling point (USP), in this case being the taste of their product. A unique selling point or proposition (USP) is what distinguishes and makes your business stand out from among the competition. Your business’ USP can be about your product characteristics, price (best/lowest price), location, service delivery, exclusivity, reputation etc. The ability to deliver consistently on your USP is no easy task. It requires a concerted effort. However, what one must remember is that the customer is depending on you to maintain that consistency. They will continue to trust you once you consistently deliver. Once that trust is broken they will go in search of the next unique experience. So the competition is real; and capitalizing on your USP is just one strategy for survival. So if you have not done so already begin this process today:
• Identify your business’ USP. It must be a proposition that is unique and not offered by the competition. • Set objectives, establish activities, and provide information and resources to deliver consistently on it. • Make a promise to the customer based on your USP. Ensure the promise is attractive and appealing. • Market yourself on that promise that encompasses your USP. • Regularly check to ensure that you are consistently delivering on your USP. ¤ 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.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Marketing By Pilaiye Cenac By Pilaiye Cenac
Makes Me Mad!
I asked some St. Lucian consumers to recount an upsetting marketing/false advertising experience. This is one young man’s experience: “I met up with a Girl for our first date. Girl looked a bit different from her Facebook profile pic but Girl looks good nonetheless: long and lean, flowing hair, flawless skin, promising bosom. Later that evening, in private, Girl removes wig, washes her face, removes her chicken cutlets [silicone breast enhancers] and steps out of her heels and girdle. Abracadabra – I didn’t recognise her. She didn’t look like the Girl on Facebook, or the Girl I’d had dinner with an hour before. I felt led on.” False advertising? Not quite what I had in mind, but we can see the similarities. Right? A little. Getting back to what I actually had in mind, H.G. Wells said: "Advertising is legalized lying." Organisations call it a creative way of bringing their messages across; consumers call it a pack of lies! It’s gone beyond stretching or bending the truth – sometimes there is no truth in the message whatsoever! This makes consumers wary, and it’s hard to build/ maintain a relationship when there is little/no trust. A few other St. Lucian consumers shared their Marketing Makes Me Mad experiences: • “I saw a phone advertised at a certain price and when I got to the store, I was told that I had to sign a postpaid contract to get the phone at the advertised price. The ad never stated that. I was so mad.” (M. Henry, Castries). The total price, additional fees, the conditions that apply are not BusinessFocus July /Aug
always communicated in advertisements, but are revealed when consumers arrive at the location. • “I was trying to lose some weight for my wedding and every day I used to eat a ‘healthy salad’ from a particular restaurant. One day, I asked a worker what they put in their salad that made it taste so good, and when she told me I then understood why I hadn’t lost a pound. I haven’t eaten there since.” (C. George, Babonneau). Some organisations withhold important product information, state important information in the fine print, or lie outright regarding products capabilities. • “A real estate agent tried to get me to buy a house knowing full well that the owners were selling to get away from the crime in the area. He told me that the area was VERY safe.” (A. Thomas, Corinth). High-pressure sales tactics turn consumers off. • “On the last night of my stay a hotel offered me a free dinner in exchange for a Facebook post saying ‘something positive’ about my stay. They knew that I was a dissatisfied guest because I’d complained about it.” (L. Alexis, Vieux-Fort). Some companies pay for "Likes" on top social media websites, get staff to create fake online profiles to post glowing reviews of the organization and its products/services. Misleading professional endorsements fall in this category. • “A friend of mine told me that they had no stock of a particular product but her company kept advertising that they
had a grand sale on that product. Her boss thought it would be a great way to create some hype and get more people into the store to sell their more expensive products.” (S. Joseph, Castries). Bait and switch tactics lure patrons with attractive offers to allow employees to try to sell them more expensive products.
So my small sample expressed that… • They believed that organisations use marketing to mislead, deceive, manipulate, brainwash them to get into their pockets… • Which led them to accept that some organisations do not TRULY care about them… • As a result, many distrust/ignore marketing communication and rely on word of mouth marketing… • The money spent on marketing is literally wasted money since they are not listening to what the organisation is saying False advertising/misleading marketing messages can increase sales in the short term but will affect the organisation’s long term profitability and possibly ruin its reputation. Consumers want to be in relationships with trustworthy partners. ¤ 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.
Awarded for Service Excellence
The St. Lucia-based investment company is the sister firm of First Citizens Investment Services (Barbados) Ltd., and of First Citizens Bank, which opened its doors in Barbados in 2012. The First Citizens Group of Companies continues to be awarded for its commitment to service excellence. First Citizens Investment Services (St. Lucia) Ltd has received the coveted Award For Service Excellence in the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards. The awards ceremony was organised by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture which celebrates achievements, innovation and strategies of St. Lucia’s private sector. The St. Lucia-based investment company is the sister firm of First Citizens Investment Services (Barbados) Ltd., and of First Citizens Bank, which opened its doors in Barbados in 2012. While the award specifically relates to the brand’s St. Lucia operations, the win is good news for the brand, which is considered to be one of the region’s sturdiest indigenous financial institutions.
The award is also good news for the Barbadian market, as the win reinforces that First Citizens’ Barbados operations are part of a strong, reliable financial institution. The First Citizens brand operates in Barbados, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Trinidad & Tobago and has won a number of accolades across the Caribbean. In 2010, First Citizens Investment Services (Barbados) Ltd, was a finalist in the Barbados Best Employers Awards. In Trinidad and Tobago, First Citizens Bank was designated as “Bank of the Year 2012” by The Banker Magazine. Now, First Citizens Investment Services (St. Lucia) has received the coveted Award For Service Excellence in the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards. The First Citizens Group initially began operations in Barbados with First
Citizens Investment Services (Barbados) Ltd. providing investment services to individuals, families and business organisations. First Citizens Investment Services Ltd are licensed brokers on the Securities Exchanges in Trinidad, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean with access to several other major exchanges in the region and internationally, and specialize in the provision of financial advice and services to individuals as well as companies. The company offers a range of services including Wealth management, Pension and Asset, Brokerage Services and Capital Market and Liquidity. The First Citizens brand is strongly associated with investing in the development of sports, culture, education and charitable causes. ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Canada to Fund Regional Open Campus Education
Confirms CAN $20 Million to Promote Expansion Over the next five years, the University of the West Indies UWI’s Distance Learning Programme – the Open Campus – will be receiving a total of $20 million Canadian dollars from the government of Canada. The donation was announced recently as Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister of State Dianne Ablonczy spoke at the University Centre in Antigua &Barbuda. She said the money will fund learning centres in 42 Open Campuses throughout the Caribbean. “The skills that will be developed will be helpful to investors here. If you want to set up a business here, you need to be able to hire people with skills, with technical skills, with the kind of knowledge that will help build a business,” Foreign Affairs Minister said, explaining the motivation of her government. Ablonczy also said that the area of distance education is a good fit for the Caribbean and for Canada, as both areas have populations spread thinly across great expanses. She said Canada was willing to share the expertise it has developed to deliver education to widely dispersed students. “The technology we’re helping develop with Antigua and other Caribbean countries is going to make a tremendous difference in the lives of real people very, very rapidly in this part of the world,” the Canadian official said. The man credited with the establishment of UWI’s Open Campus was also at the ceremony. UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Harris said he had been displeased with the high proportion of people in the region that did not have access to UWI’s main facilities in Trinidad, Jamaica, and Barbados. He told the audience that it was significant that the cash injection was being announced in the same country as the launch in 2008 of UWI’s Open Campus. Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer thanked Canada and highlighted the fact that Canada has a Valvoline Baby Bottle 7.5 x 5 half inch bleed.pdf 1 6/17/13 12:28 PM long history of helping to advance Antigua &Barbuda’s and the region’s development agenda. ¤
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
Street Lighting Pilot Project for Saint Lucia has Started By Claudia Monlouis
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 – The Government of Saint Lucia successfully commenced the Street Lighting – Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulb Replacement Pilot Project over the weekend. Government is said to be taking advantage of the opportunities for energy conservation and the use of more energy efficient lighting. On a yearly basis, the Government of Saint Lucia pays an estimated $7 million to LUCELEC in street lighting bills. Officials say if the LED Pilot Project is successful, government would be interested in how this energy consumption product can be used to bring about significant changes in the country’s public sector energy consumption patterns. Under the Pilot Project, 48 LED bulbs have been erected along the John Compton Highway and Jeremie Street. Trouble call and Street Lighting Supervisor, Vincent Antoine says the objective for installing the new bulbs straddles both energy efficiency and going green trends. “This is to reduce on the energy consumption of these lights, so this project will be monitored. First we’re going to install a meter to monitor consumption, and then we’ll also check the level of the lighting
so we don’t compromise the existing lighting level. This is going to be monitored throughout a period of about a month or so or even more but it’s basically to reduce the energy consumption.” The contractor who undertook the task of changing the bulbs, Windy Mangal of Island Wide Electricals is confident that the LED Street Lamps will deliver an exemplary statement as it has been proven to be a better choice than Incandescent Bulbs. “It burns about 10 percent less power than the normal lights we have on the system and it gives you a better light while the other one will give you a yellowish colour.” At the end of January 2011, there was over 19,000 street lights installed island wide. Currently, street light bulbs vary in wattage (70w, 80w and 250w) and are placed according to locations. The highest wattage utilized is the 250W sodium bulbs, which can be found along the highways. ¤
Towards a brighter future
• Investments through the replacement of term Deposits (flexible interest frequencies) • Loan Financing – Commercial & Consumer – (Consumer/Personal, Vehicles, Machinery, Equipment, Commercial Mortgages, Land, Debt Consolidation • Lease Financing (for vehicles) • Premium Financing (for vehicles) Sagicor Financial Centre Choc Estate, Castries, St. Lucia Tel: 1(758) 452-4272 or 1(758) 285-5868 / 70 Fax: 1(758) 452-4279 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.sagicor.com BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Enters T&T’s Insurance Market
NAGICO General Manager Christopher Henriques, left, and Chief Executive Imran McSood Amjad cut the ribbon to open the company’s offices in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Photot: Marcus Gonzales
Nagico Insurance intends to be competitive in the T&T insurance market, Imran McSood Amjad, Group CEO, Nagico Group of Companies, has said. “What we have found is that the market is very competitive. T&T is unlike the rest of Caribbean islands in that the market is more mature and is up there with European and
American companies. The T&T market gives a good level of competition but we have met that in other places as well and we are not that concerned about it,” he said. Amjad was speaking at the launch of the rebranding of the company’s name at Nagico Insurance, Queen Street, Port-of-Spain. He said the company spent about $6 million on renovation of its head office in Port-of-Spain and expects to spend about $3 million in renovation of the branch in San Fernando which will be completed in early 2014. Nagico is a St. Maarten based Insurance Company which started in 1982 and today has a presence in more than 20 territories throughout the Caribbean. Amjad said because Nagico is a regional company, it has a strong capital base to compete with the bigger players in the T&T insurance market. “We intend to improve our image of the company which we have already started. In addition, we are a company that is financially strong. We think that while there are some large companies here like Guardian, there are other smaller companies that do not have the assets of over $1 billion that we have. “We bring a strong and solid financial company where people will want to insure with our company,” he said. Amjad said the company intends to place emphasis on customer training. “We will continue to introduce our staff programme which is about service training and delivering good results. We can improve our claim services a lot. Our staff is being trained to be nicer and friendlier, in other words better customer service,” he said. ¤
Antigua PM says
Citizen by Investment Programme to be Implemented Shortly Antigua & Barbuda could begin its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) by midyear Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has announced. The Prime Minister said the structures necessary for operationalising the programme are currently being finalised. Despite a level of “discomfort” being expressed by Antiguan nationals with the CIP, he insisted that it would move ahead. “We are satisfied that it’s a mechanism that can be used effectively for economic development in Antigua & Barbuda and we are committed to moving the process forward mindful of the fact that it has to be properly and effectively managed,” said Spencer, who first brought the Bill to Parliament. Government is hoping that the controversial programme can bring in EC $32 million in its first year of operation. A lot of concern over the programme has surrounded fears over the due diligence process and the Prime Minister has assured that the CIP will be above board. The Antigua & Barbuda leader said implementation of the programme is “behind time” but expressed hope that “we will be able to launch within the third quarter of 2013.” The CIP became law in March, after it successfully passed the Senate and was later published in the Gazette. During the process in the Senate, the CIP Bill encountered about two major hurdles, one of which resulted in the dismissal of two senators who had voted against the law. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
Antigua Prime Minister: Baldwin Spencer
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IN THE KNOW
Economic Downturn The
In Our Local Economy – Challenge Vs. Opportunity By: Fern Smith In case you haven’t noticed, the economic downturn seems to be a common denominator in conversations regarding the state of affairs in our St. Lucian economy. Did we not see this coming? Or did we see, and failed to prepare for the eventualities? Some of us claim to be surprised, while others voice their anger that this downturn could not have happened at a worst time. It must be noted, that economies go through periods of expansion and contraction and are really two sides of the same coin, where one does not exist without the other. It all comes down to being prepared to deal with the issues of whichever side of the coin you find yourself on. As a society, perhaps we have subjected ourselves to “the ant and the grasshopper” scenario. Like the ant who gathered in summer for the upcoming winter, we too were to make the necessary changes during good times to weather the impending economic slump. Unfortunately, if we engaged in the grasshopper mentality of idleness in the good times, while failing to plan for the future, then we can understand why the current state of affairs has caught some of us off guard. There are many challenges as much as there are many opportunities, that arise in gloomy economic times. It all depends on perspective and what is done about it. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges, alongside potential opportunities: • Have you heard all this talk about “unionisation” lately? Employers have found it necessary to downsize, be it justly or unjustly, and employees are no doubt taking a hit. Employees may feel like their rights are being threatened in an already abysmal job market and are therefore forced to engage the services of trade unions to defend those rights. Employers also fight for the right to reserve resources and make decisions that BusinessFocus July /Aug
are in their best interest. Can you blame either side for doing what they must? The economic climate, no doubt has created upheaval in the workplace in the form of unemployment and drastic cost-cutting measures. Nonetheless, this downside provides the opportunity for employers to pay attention to the grievances affecting staff and for staff in return to take their duties more seriously, which can and should contribute to a more productive environment. Of course, there are always warning signs long before union talk arrives on the scene. It is the responsibility of management to engage staff at the first signs of dissatisfaction to resolve any issues, to at least prevent going the route of the union. After all, a business needs a workforce that is cooperative and efficient if it is going to battle tough times. • Businesses are shutting their doors. With decreased consumer spending, comes decreased sales. Some businesses have found out the hard way that neglect of their customers through poor customer service and offerings of inferior or too highly-priced products, may have forced customers to spend their hard earned dollars elsewhere. That’s because the competition made sure to fill the void that your business created. This forces business owners to re-evaluate their pricing strategies, company policies, and focus on customer service skills if they are going to thrive in the competitive environment. It forces a business to identify and eliminate the weaknesses that did not seem to be a problem in good times. Here is your opportunity to be innovative and be a “game changer” if you want to be in the lead. • Cash flow issues and budgets cuts also present a major challenge for businesses in a downturn. With less revenue to carry out business operations,
many businesses find themselves between a rock and a hard place, trying to figure out where to spend those resources. As a result, decision-making is slow and businesses tend to adopt a “wait and see attitude” to avoid further pitfalls. It will be essential to make sure that a business does not cut the budget for activities which will still add value in tough times. Many business places fall into the trap of cutting back on marketing and advertising, when what they really need, is to keep a strong presence in the market place with an effective value proposition. This is also the perfect opportunity to look more closely at your current business operations, and you just may find areas of wastage and overspending, that you previously did not see. I’m sure you will be surprised at what you discover in an effort to save resources. The key is to cut or eliminate spending on activities that do not add value. An economic downturn is a powerful stimulus for creativity in the endeavor to move forward and become better. Businesses are encouraged to deviate from the norm and find new ways of dealing with the issues that confront them. The chaos of an economic slump forces a business to present a better product, improve their services and policies, and generally to find more efficient ways to operate. I can only say to you, find ways to work the challenges and opportunities to your advantage if you are going to ride out this storm. Remember, this too shall pass. ¤ About the Aurhor Fern Smith holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management with a Minor in Marketing. Her work experience spans over a decade in the hospitality industry and the distribution and retail sector in St. Lucia.
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
Refocused FAO leads
Caribbean Fight Against Hunger A revitalised Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has recommitted itself to the sustainable development of agriculture and the fight against hunger in the Caribbean. The agency, headquartered in Rome and with a sub-regional office for the Caribbean in Barbados, recently appointed Dr. J R Deep Ford as its new Sub-Regional Co-ordinator. Dr. Ford, who transferred fully to the Caribbean office in April, is a national of Guyana with a PhD in agricultural economics. He returns to the region with more than 30 years experience at the regional and international levels, having worked for the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat, headquartered in London. For the past 13 years, he has worked with FAO in various capacities and prior to his regional appointment was previously the Sub-Regional Co-ordinator for Central America based in Panama. Dr. Ford has worked extensively throughout the region and is optimistic about the role that FAO can play in improving food security and agricultural development. “We have a glorious opportunity to address the challenges in the region that we’ve been speaking about for many years but on which we have yet to make sufficient progress,” said the new regional head. Dr. Ford’s appointment extends his fruitful working relationship with FAO’s new Director-General, Dr. Jose Graziano Da Silva, with whom he previously worked closely while being the head of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Chile. Since taking office in January 2012, Da Silva has guided the organisation through a period of review designed to increase its impacts on the ground, streamline and make its operations more efficient and make the institution more effective overall in the face of a changing global food context and more limited resources. To meet these challenges, FAO has made a commitment to working not only with governments, but also with civil society and the private sector. It has also outlined five new strategic objectives. FAO will seek to: • Contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition • Increase and improve provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner • Reduce rural poverty • Enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels • Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises In addition, the organisation has committed to the integration of gender issues and good governance and the provision of technical knowledge across all its areas of work. According to Ford, the region needs to seize the opportunity to bring about lasting change. “With the commitment of the new FAO, we have support at the highest levels promoting the importance of food security and nutrition security in our countries, understanding the importance of linkages across the region,” he said. “These problems are not going to be solved by one institution alone but by a partnership of institutions working together—national governments, private sector, civil society, international organisations. If we collaborate we can arrive at sustainable solutions to food and nutrition security in this region; reduce the food import bill; and create the employment opportunities that are necessary to transform livelihood systems of households and communities in this region.” ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
St Vincent PM Gonsalves Calls for Private Sector Investment in Regional Fast Ferry Service
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says implementing a fast ferry service in the southern Caribbean is a risk the private sector must take, with government assistance. “This is not as easy as some people think. It is a lot of money which is involved. In fact, the reason why you haven’t had it, despite all sort of efforts, is because it is a difficult proposition,” Gonsalves said at the 43rd special meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that ended recently. But Gonsalves, who has lead responsibility for transportation in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that regional governments can help private investors by offering them various concessions. “These are easy things for us to do. We do that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said, adding that ferries registered and operating here are imported tax-free, pay no tax on their earnings, and there is not value-added tax on the service. He said that when a ferry operator imports a vessel, they are only required to pay a four per cent Customs Service charge. “So when businesspeople talk about a fast ferry service, I say by all means, register the vessel in St. Vincent and you get all these concessions and we can work
out with all the other countries to get these concessions. And we can provide the port facilities,” he said, adding “and I use this platform to invite investors who want to get involved to do it.” He, however, said that people discussing a fast ferry service often want governments to fund at least a six-month trial run. He said only Trinidad and Tobago among CARICOM countries has such resources. “So, it really is going to be up to them whether they are going to fund it,” he said, adding that a six-month trial will cost about five million US dollars. “And the enthusiasm of some ministers in some countries on this subject always comes up against the realities as spelt out by various ministries of finance,” said Gonsalves. “If it is a financial proposition for the private sector, let us give them all the
get going to a normal commercial bank… But let us get the serious people who want to be involved in the ferry business, let us get it on the road,” Gonsalves said. His comments came even as he earlier noted increasing trade in agricultural produce between the Windward Islands and Trinidad and Barbados. “In fact, the trade with Trinidad and Barbados now in agricultural produce from St. Vincent and the Grenadines exceeds by far the value of what you trade with Europe,” he said, adding that the situation was similar in Dominica and St. Lucia. “So, among the things we have to talk about, is how we are transporting this produce. It is critical to addressing rural poverty and to address food security in the region.” Gonsalves noted the importance of regional air and maritime
concessions. I don’t see why we can’t give them all the concessions and I believe governments will give them all the concessions, certainly my government will be doing it and I will encourage others to do the same. “But you have to take the risk. Government might even be able to help you to source cheaper money than you would
transportation but also observed that it was the first meeting of COTED dealing with transportation since 2007. “Somehow, everybody talks about transportation being very importation but people just don’t find the time for us to sit down to talk about it. Well, I think that is changing,” he added. ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
IN THE KNOW
HOSTS MEETING OF THE TRADE AND INVESTMENT TASK FORCE From left, DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE – Premier of the Virgin Islands, Government of the Virgin Islands, PAMELA COKE-HAMILTON, Executive Director, Caribbean Export, and HONOURABLE OLIVER JOSEPH, Deputy NAO – Ministry of Economic Development, Planning, Trade and Cooperatives – Grenada
From Left, HONOURABLE OLIVER JOSEPH, Deputy NAO – Ministry of Economic Development, Planning, Trade and Cooperatives – Grenada and PAMELA COKE-HAMILTON, Executive Director, Caribbean Export
Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) as chair for the CARIFORUM, French Caribbean Outermost Region (FCOR) and EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) Task Force on Trade and Investment convened the 7th Meeting of the Task Force in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on May 30-31, 2013. The mandate of the Task Force on Trade and Investment is to promote dialogue on issues related to trade and investment and to assist with the identification of projects between CARIFORUM States and the French Caribbean. This dialogue is important given the fact that the French Caribbean Regions through their political status with the French Republic is a party to the European Partnership Agreement (EPA). Speaking at the opening of the meeting Caribbean Exports’ Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton stressed that “It is also important to note that there are host of opportunities for enhanced trade and BusinessFocus July /Aug
investment between CARIFORUM States, the French Caribbean and the OCTs. These opportunities range from the traditional trade in goods (where CARIFORUM enjoys trade surpluses) but also with regard to trade in services where all parties have significant opportunities to gain from enhanced private sector involvement.” Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, Premier, British Virgin Islands echoed her sentiments and expressed that, “ Although BVI has only observer status in the organisation we are proud to be part of a forward moving process and congratulate the region for being able to move forward with the European Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the European Union (EU).” The two day meeting allowed members of the task force to examine the key developments that have taken place in 2010-2012 as it relates to the CARIFORUMEU relationship including an update on the CARIFORUM-EU Partnership Strategy,
deliberations in the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Institutions and an update on EDF programming. ¤ About Caribbean Export Caribbean Export is a regional export development and trade and investment promotion organisation of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM) currently executing the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). Caribbean Export’s mission is to increase the competitiveness of Caribbean countries by providing quality export development and trade and investment promotion services through effective programme execution and strategic alliances. More information about Caribbean Export can be found at www.carib-export.com.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
BusinessFocus July /Aug
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Chairperson of the Board
Message from the President A fair proportion of this publication is devoted to chronicling the remarkable evolution of Saint Lucia’s most enduring financial institution – 1st National Bank. St. Lucia Limited. Clearly, this is an appropriate milestone at which to do so, both for posterity and in tribute to the clairvoyant founders who in 1938, established what would become a pillar of the Saint Lucian economy and a partner in the development of our nation. That our founders thought it necessary to create such an institution, and had the temerity to make it a success, speaks volumes for their pioneering spirit and perseverance in an era when circumstances offered little guarantee of commercial success. Because of their determination, we stand today relevant and resilient - looking ahead with cautious confidence into a future laden with challenge and opportunity. In that future the ethos of the persevering pioneer continues to inspire 1st National Bank. We draw on these qualities to shape our prospective view and to define our approach to the many imperatives of success and survival. It also helps to shape and strengthen strategies which sustain our Bank’s vital presence in the local landscape. Consistent with that philosophy, 1st National Bank has adopted a robust approach to corporate social responsibility, demonstrating substantial commitment to community activities with nation-building benefits. Accordingly, we place great store in our substantial support of projects in the Arts, Culture, Youth, Sports, Education and Health sectors. As we forge afield in an increasingly global business environment, we recognize that today’s markets are driven by strident competition and constant innovation. These offer new opportunities and new risks, demanding constant vigilance and fierce determination as hallmarks of sound decision making. Fortunately, 1st National Bank can draw on an admirable record of sensible growth and market responsiveness. This reflects processes of constant improvement in our service and internal systems, and a pro-active approach to business which has become integral to the very persona of our institution. We continue to anticipate, embrace and initiate change, incorporating new technology to keep us competitive and customer-focused. This has translated into efficiency gains for our shareholders and many customers so that when 1st National Bank was first to market with mobile banking, we set a trend for others to follow. From our days as the “Penny Bank” to our successful re-branding as 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited, we remember our genesis as a financial institution “…founded by St. Lucians for St. Lucians”. Marking our milestones, we move forward, proud and prudent, meeting the demands of new markets and emerging opportunities, and serving the expanding needs of our many customers, depositors and shareholders. BusinessFocus July /Aug
Dr. Charmaine Gardner President / Chair Person Board of Directors
MISSION STATEMENT To contribute to national development by creating value for shareholders through the provision of financial services to local, regional and international individuals and corporate clients. This will be achieved by creating value for our customers through excellent customer service driven by a highly skilled, empowered, visionary and inspired team using appropriate technology, supported by good corporate governance.
VISION STATEMENT 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited is the first choice financial services provider and an outstanding corporate citizen, achieving excellent customer satisfaction and sustained financial growth.
History of the Bank
from the Beginning - Onwards
1st National Bank was founded in 1938 with people in mind and that has been at the heart of our pursuit of balance between business and community involvement. The founders of St. Lucia’s first indigenous bank took the bold step of putting people first amidst a framework of financially selective banking. That path, while not necessarily the one of least resistance, was certainly one of enlightenment, enrichment and the beginning of alternative doors of opportunity for the people of St. Lucia. Our 75-year history is one steeped in the economic fortunes of a fledgling nation characterised by natural and man-made disasters, the boom and bust of bananas, the steady growth of our economic pillar of tourism, the expansion of our education system, the preservation of our cultural identity and traditions and the development of our people.
The bank takes up residence on Bridge Street
In all of the events that helped shape 1st National Bank, our hammer of determination and careful future planning forged a foundation which gave our customers and investors the assurance that we will continue to serve them well. For us building a strong bank means creating satisfied customers, providing state-of-the-art products and services, constantly training staff, informing shareholders and delivering prudent management. That is the historical roots of 1st National Bank. We now draw from that far-sighted past to once again look long-range into the future, because the wise amongst us concede, that those who do not acquaint themselves with the past are fated to repeat the errors.
Choc Bay Sub Branch
1st National Bank is clearly aware that today, we are writing the next chapter in the history of this proud St. Lucian financial institution. The prevailing economic environment has laid challenges in our original path of ‘people first’ but we have prevailed through sensible management while positioning our people and products where they perform optimally. This new chapter in our history is tempered by the current business conditions across the major sectors of the domestic and regional economy and our on-going, active role in initiatives that seek to strengthen functional cooperation within the regional financial services sector. At this new juncture, under the auspices of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, we seek to ensure stability in the sector and to safeguard depositor interest. 1st National Bank continues to invest in updated technology, avant-garde services and products and human resource development – all vital components of our long-term sustainable growth strategy and the ensuing chapter of our history. Rodney Bay Marina Sub Branch BusinessFocus July /Aug
1 Board of Directors
List of Former
The Bank’s First Board of Directors Comprised Individuals From Different Sectors of Society.
JBD Osbourne George Palmer Clive Beaubrun John H. Pilgrim Sir Allen Lewis Joseph Devaux . Sir Joseph Q. Charles Francis J. Carasco
George Palmer Period of Service Occupation
Anthony Gloumeau Lewis Floissac
Clive Beaubrun Period of Service
President 1937-1939 Labour Commissioner and Controller of Supplies.
Director 1937-1959 President 1939-1959 Business Proprietor
Director 1937-1980 President 1973-1979 Merchant
Joseph Devaux Period of Service Occupation
Director 1937-1939 Merchant
John H. Pilgrim Period of Service Occupation
Director 1937-1973 Journalist and Newspaper Proprietor
Allen Lewis Period of Service Occupation
Director 1937-1959 Solicitor
John B. D. Osbourne Period of Service Occupation
Board Secretary 1937-1954 Bank Manager
Occupation Joseph Q. Charles Period of Service
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Fitzroy N. Theobalds Russel H.V. Belizaire Henry Belmar Vincent Floissac Ralph Giraudy O.H.H. Giraudy C. Winville King N.G.F. Taylor Ornan Monplaisir W. Maurice St. Rose Ferrel Charles Lennard Augier Seaton Campbell Aidan Floissac Rene Raveneau Valerie Holden Hildreth Sanchez Parry J. Husbands Alnita Simmons Llewlyn Gill Cyril Matthew Guy Mayers G. Carlton Glasgow Carole Eleuthere –Jn Marie Lionel James
PERIOD OF SERVICE 1937-1954 1937-1939 1937-1959 1937-1973 1937-1959 1937-1939 1937-1980 1942-1989 – President 1980-1989 1944-1959 1952-1979 – President 1959-1973 1954-1966 1957-1988 1959-1970 1959-1991 1960-1987 1966-1968 1971-1995 1973-1974 1974-2003 1979-1981 1980-2011 – President 1989-2006 1981-1989 1987-1999 1988-2008 1988-1998 1989-2002 1990-1993 1993-1997 1990-1999 1997-2000 1998-2013 2002-2006 2000-2012 2004-2008 2007-2010
Former Managing Directors Who Have Served the Bank for the Last 75 Years John B. D. Osbourne Fitzroy N. Theobalds O. H. H. Giraudy Emmanuel Theodore John Greenwood (Acting Capacity) Alnita Simmons G. Carlton Glasgow
1937-1954 1954-1966 1966-1968 1968-1987 1987-1991 1990-1999 2000-2012
Gloria Thomas Mrs. Thomas joined the Bank in July 1978. She performed the duties of typist, insurance clerk, standing order Clerk and loans cashier. She was promoted to the position of Supervisors Assistant/Loans Processing Clerk. She currently holds the position of Junior Supervisor in the Credit Risk Department.
Mary Webster Mrs. Webster joined the Bank in October, 1979. She holds the position of Oﬃce Assistant.
Beverley Greene Ms. Greene joined the Bank in December, 1982. She has held the following positions:- Securities Clerk, proof clerk, Loans Clerk, Assistant Administrative Oﬃcer, and has risen through the levels of Junior and Senior Supervisor. Ms. Green has a thorough knowledge of our Banking operations. She currently holds the position of Assistant Manager, Finance.
Brief Proﬁle of Long Serving Staff (25 Years and Over) Who are Still with the Bank
Jacqueline Anthony Ms. Anthony joined the Bank in September 1984. She has held the following positions–: Junior Clerk, Clearings, Collections and Operations; Tellers Supervisor; Junior Treasury Oﬃcer; Supervisor – Foreign Trade; Junior Supervisor – Current Accounts, Customer Service. She has recently been promoted to the position of Oﬃcer in Charge of the Choc Bay Sub Branch.
Carleen Jn. Baptiste-St. Marthe
Mrs. Marius joined the Bank in February, 1972. She holds the position of Oﬃce Assistant.
Mrs. Jn. Baptiste-St.Marthe joined the Bank in January 1987 as the Managing Director’s Secretary. She has risen to the level of Senior Supervisor. She currently holds the position of Personal Assistant to the Managing Director, and also provides assistance within the Human Resource Department.
Aloysius Daniel Mr. Daniel joined the Bank in April, 1977 as a junior clerk. He currently holds the position of Senior Supervisor, Recoveries in the Credit Risk Department.
Juliana Jean Jacques-Popo Mrs. Jean Jacques-Popo joined the Bank in August, 1977 as the Managing Director’s Secretary. She has since held the positions of Junior Supervisor – Foreign Trade; Assistant to Oﬃcer-inCharge, Babonneau Agency; Oﬃcer-in-Charge Babonneau Agency; Senior Treasury Oﬃcer: Tellers Supervisor; Senior Supervisor – Operations. She is currently the Oﬃcer in Charge of the Marigot Bay Sub Branch.
Stanley Regis Mr. Regis joined the Bank in February 1987. He has performed the duties of Teller; Foreign Exchange and Accounts clerk; customer service representative. He has worked in the Finance Department with responsibility for Premises and Stock. He currently holds the position of Supervisors Assistant, Recoveries in the Credit Risk Department.
To those persons and others who have served long and well the Bank owes a debt of gratitude.
Viviane Jordan Mrs. Jordan joined the Bank in August, 1977 and has held the positions of Junior Treasury Oﬃcer and Securities Oﬃcer. She is the Senior Supervisor – Securities. BusinessFocus July /Aug
Current Board of Directors
Charmaine Gardner President Company Managing Director BA., LL.D.UWI Honoris Causa, SLMH, Acc.Dir. (ICSA.).
Johnson Cenac Parliamentary Commissioner/ Ombudsman M.A. Pub. Admin. B.A. (UWI), Acc.Dir. (ICSA.)
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Tedburt Theobalds Valuation Surveyor Agricultural Consultant BSc, MIS, MBA (UWI), ACIArb Acc.Dir. (ICSA.)
Nigel Fulgence 1st. Vice president Electrical Engineer BSc. Hons, Registered Professional Engineer Acc.Dir.(ICSA.)
Geraldine Lendor-Gabriel Business and Environmental Consultant BSc, MSc, CGA, Acc.Dir.(ICSA.)
Brenda Floissac-Fleming 2nd Vice president Attorney At Law B.A. Hons. Law, Acc.Dir.(ICSA.)
Joseph Maxwell Insurance Executive Cert. (Bus. Admin) (UWI), Cert. (Chart Insurance Inst.). Acc.Dir.(ICSA.)
Christian Husbands Company Manager B.A., Acc.Dir. (ICSA.)
Adrian Augier Economic Development Consultant/ B.A (UWO), M.A. (AU), Company Director D.Litt. Honoris Causa
Richard Monplaisir Company Director B.A. Business.
Aurea Lafeuillee Managing Director (Ag.) FCCA.
Caribbean Laureate for Arts & Letters
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Bank Local knowledge The
Sound Investment for Shareholders A
1st National Bank is a public limited company with its shares held by a diverse number of approximately 1,200 shareholders. It has grown from strength to strength from 1938 when it opened for business to date. The audited total assets as at December 31st 2012 stood at $488 million, with an equity base of $80 million. A good indicator of any sound investment is continued growth of the business. The Bank has recorded balance sheet growth year on year for the last 10 years, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10%. The compound annual growth rate for the last three years was 4%, understandably the result of the global economic downturn.
The records indicate that the Bankâ€™s earnings capacity shows good potential. A review of the Bankâ€™s financial statements indicate that the Bankâ€™s key performance indicators (KPI) are sound when compared to banking institutions locally, regionally and internationally. Despite being forced to navigate the volatile global economic climate, the Bank was able to record a fair net profit margin of 16%. Another indicator of a good business is how well it is managed. The cost efficiency ratio, a KPI which measures the cost and revenue relationship, indicates that the Bank is well managed. Cost efficiency before provisions is below 60%, a standard which is used internationally. The table below indicates some Key Performance Indicators for the Bank. BusinessFocus July /Aug
Book value per share ($)
Return on average equity
Earnings per share ($)
1st National Bank is managed conservatively based on sound banking principles. Evidence of good management includes prudent management of retained earnings and sticking to the knitting of the banking business. A policy was established by the Bank to retain at least 60% of profit after tax each year for strategic reasons. The Bank’s strategy is to maintain a capital adequacy ratio higher than the minimum of 8% set by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. This ratio stood at 22% and means that the Bank is providing sufficient cushion against potential losses to protect its deposit holders. Good management principles and strategies has earned the Bank a total of nine awards at the St. Lucia Business awards, spanning the years 2010 to 2012 in the areas of Corporate Social Responsibility (2010, 2011, 2013), Service Excellence (2010 and 2012), Human Resource Development (2012) Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation (2010), Corporate Leadership (2011) and Business of the Year (2011). The Bank has a good indigenous brand and it provides a service that is needed by the majority of the public, being easily accessible and affordable smart banking products and services to include online and mobile banking, card services, Saturday banking at all our business units in the Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay JQ Mall, Mercury Court at Choc Bay, George F.L. Charles Airport, Marigot Bay and Commercial Street, Vieux Fort. The opportunity must be taken to inform the public that the Bank’s shares are highly sought after. Further, the Bank has paid a consistent dividend of $0.40 per share on a historical cost of $3.00 per share for the last six years, a position which will be maintained in the near to medium term, based on projections of fair earnings results. As a current or potential investor in the Bank, a long term and holistic approach should be used in your investment decision, taking into account all factors, with no one factor being the single determinant of your decision to invest in the Bank. The Board, management and staff of the Bank pledge to continue to manage resources to maximize the return on shareholders’ investment. BusinessFocus July /Aug
Building a Positive Corporate Culture When it comes to promoting high standards for its human resource component, 1st National Bank has done exceptionally well. Recognizing the changing business environment of today, the bank has managed to keep up with the attendant growing demands from its customers and other business partners. 1st National Bank has done so by equipping its staff with the requisite skills that meet market demands. In fact, just last year, 1st National Bank’s enhancement of its human resource component saw greater emphasis being placed on the corporate human resource perspective of learning and growth and the corresponding strategic objectives of the following areas: • Cultivating an ethic of inspirational leadership • Developing highly-competent, committed and empowered employees • Creating a professional, safe and comfortable environment for service delivery • Honing collective skills and available resources to facilitate employee efficiency • Recognizing and rewarding excellence 1st National Bank also encourages leadership opportunities from within. This means that staff with the requisite skills can ascend to greater positions within the bank’s structure through hard work and dedication. Apart from ongoing training opportunities, employees also benefit from financial/ loan assistance to pursue higher learning. Employees also benefit from profit-sharing as well as salary increments based on individual performance. Another critical benefit that 1st National Bank affords its employees is the opportunity to shine even brighter. These moments occur when the bank hosts its traditional celebratory Annual Staff Awards and Dinner where well-deserved recognition is paid to staff in a number of categories. These categories include Branch of the Year, Managing Director’s Award, Supervisor of the Year, Junior Officer of the Year, Long Service Awards, and 100% Attendance Awards. 1st National Bank recognizes that without the dedicated and diligent performance of its staff, there’s no banking on it being a leader in the financial sector. For its sterling performance in recognizing its employees’ contribution and putting measures in place to encourage a climate of employee development, 1st National Bank was awarded the Excellence in Human Resource Development Award at the 2012 St. Lucia Business Awards.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
The Bank’s Employees Enjoy a Number of Benefits such as: • A Group Medical Insurance Plan inclusive of a Life Insurance policy • A Group Pension Plan • Annual Profit Share based on profits • Eligibility for Staff Loans and Overdrafts • Eligibility for uniforms at regular intervals • Travel allowance where eligible • Payment of relevant professional membership dues • Continuous staff training throughout the Bank • Loan assisted Banking courses • Annual salary increments based on performance • Continuous opportunities for upgrading and promotions based on merit, institutional requirements and succession planning.
The Bank’s Core Values 1st National Bank operates on the basis of three principal core values: integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality. These values, we believe, are integral to the relationship that exists between the bank and the customers we serve. As such, we endeavour to hold these three core values sacred as we build on that lasting relationship with our customers. By definition, our three core values are:
• Integrity: the ability to engender trust
and respect in all circumstances through honesty and impartiality.
Professionalism: to execute one’s duties in an honest, respectful manner; showing fairness, competence and confidence at all times.
• Confidentiality: maintaining the trust placed in oneself by others (clients and colleagues).
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Building a Positive Corporate Culture for the Future
Staff Training and Development Annually the Bank exposes employees at all levels to a range of training activities pertinent to every aspect of its operations and in line with the Bank’s strategic objectives and goals. These include: • Building leadership capacity • Corporate governance • Customer care and service • Management of credit risk • Expertise in information technology • Communication and sales skills • Strengthening of technical competencies • Orientation to new products and services • Personal development • Information security governance • Anti-money Laundering policies and procedures, auditing techniques, fraud detection and prevention. • Assistance to staff enrolled in professional banking Courses • Assistance to staff engaged in professional self-development • Disaster Preparedness; Business Recovery Planning; First Aid; Fire Safety drills. BusinessFocus BusinessFocus July July/Aug /Aug
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Corporate governance is critical to the Bank as it is central to its integrity and reputation. Good governance extends to all aspects of our business and informs all that we do. A Corporate Governance Policy guides the institution, permeating down from the Board of Directors to the staff, thereby guiding the organizational culture. To ensure due process in governance, the Bank has a total of 10 directors with expertise in the fields of law, commerce, engineering, accounting, agriculture, insurance, valuation surveying and management. Board Committees provide oversight of the Bank in the critical areas of audit, finance and planning, credit risk and human resources. The Board, Management and staff have a responsibility to live the Bank’s Core values to engender the desired corporate culture of integrity and trust.
In any structured and expanding business, choosing the right combination of individuals to manage the organization is critical to its success. At 1st National Bank, that is the mantra used. With a core unit of professionals with a wide range of experience, 1st National Bankâ€™s management team is charged to deliver excellent service, annual corporate financial growth and profitability. Hence, the Bank is operated by a 1st class Management Team which comprises the following persons:
Finance Manager Managing Director (Ag)
Clarette Auguste-Taylor Credit Risk Manager
Manager, Vieux Fort Sub-Branch
Manager, Internal Audit
Valery Marshall-St. Omer
Deputy Operations Manager
Beverley Ann Greene
Assistant Manager, Finance
Human Resource Manager & Corporate Secretary
Manager, Projects & Services
Manager, Rodney Bay Sub-Branch
Assistant Manager, Accounting
Assistant Manager, Recoveries
Assistant Manager, Card Services
BusinessFocus July /Aug BusinessFocus July /Aug
Leader with Innovative Services A
The Bank â€“ A Market Leader with Innovative Services
The First to Introduce 1st National Bank takes pride in the fact that it was the first bank to offer mobile banking to its customers. The launch of the new and comprehensive MoBanking service in August, 2009, essentially placed the world of tele-banking within the reach of all its customers. The MoBanking service is an innovative 24-hour service offered by 1st National Bank which allows customers to access their bank accounts via their mobile phones. Through the use of text/SMS messages, customers can transfer funds between 1st National Bank accounts, pay utility bills, pay their loans, check their balances and be alerted when their salaries are paid into their accounts. The free service applies to sign-up, account inquiries and payment of utilities and is applicable to most mobile phones. From its inception four years ago, MoBanking has revolutionized the usual methods of banking. However, MoBanking does not replace but rather complements the other service options used by the bank, namely in-branch teller service, remote and convenient automated teller machines and 24-hour online service.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AFTER PEOPLE... the result is “Crystal” again, and again, and again
1st National Bank, recognized and awarded for Service Excellence and for Excellence in Human Resource Development. As the only award winning Bank at the Saint Lucia Business Awards 2012, we share our achievement with our customers, shareholders and well wishers.
Growth and Profitability  the fruit of local Knowledge and Community focus
TwO PersPecTives On The debaTe Over children and
1st National Bank indigenous
Only yOur One
1st NatioNal BaNk's official Bi-MoNthly Newsletter
Issue 17• May/Jun 2012
knows how to make you feel welcome with the best opening hours!!
As part of its promotional campaign, 1st National Bank has launched musical jingles, television ads, erected billboards and has even continued to produced its bi-monthly newsletter, “The Teller”. The Bank also has a bi-monthly 15-minute television programme entitled “1 National Bank Notes” which airs on Wednesdays on Helen Television System (HTS), and on Sundays on Calabash TV.
Bank invests in the developMent of arts and culture
10 years of unbroken support on fond'or Jazz
1st National Bank ShareholderS education Forum a SucceSS
1st NatioNal BaNk's official Bi-MoNthly Newsletter Issue 05 • Mar/Apr 2010
1st NatioNal BaNk supports 2012 CarNival
BuildiNg a stroNg Cultural & sportiNg legaCy for st. luCia
gettiNg health iNsuraNCe
The bank website, www.1stnationalbankonline.com, is loaded with very practical tools for everyday use, including a foreign exchange converter. This allows customers to convert to and from various currencies from around the world. The website’s calculator has a unique feature that not only calculates customers’ monthly payments but also amortizes their loans as well. Simply put, customers can see every payment that is due on the date that it is due as well as their reducing balance. 1st National Bank’s online facility is a natural presence on the site where customers can log in securely and see their transactions, transfer funds between 1st National Bank accounts, see statements, among other practical features.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Expansion/ New Branches/ Increased Customer Accessability/ Increased Employment 1st National Bank’s cautious expansionary policies align perfectly with its deliberate inclusionary guiding principles. This purposeful tactic of ‘bringing the bank to the people’ has produced six (6) branches and two (2) strategically located Bureaux de Change. The watchwords in this forward planning process have always been “customer service and convenience”, as embodied in 1st National Bank’s marketing promise, Here…for YOU. As an indigenous financial institution, the bank embraces the sound idea of acting as predisposed facilitators of customers’ needs. While our frontline staff adopt the posture of “How can we be of service to you?” our policy and executive level teams open doors in St. Lucia’s communities to modern, international financial services and products. 1st National Bank’s most recent additions to its expanding list of satellite branches include the Rodney Bay Marina sub-branch which adds impetus and choice to it’s already established J.Q Rodney Bay Mall branch and a sister location to Marigot Bay Marina sub-branch. Visitors and St. Lucians alike can access the “off hours” convenience of these marina sites, as they cater to a very specific locale and clientele.
1st National Bank’s Choc Bay sub-branch opened its doors in August 2011 and has gradually gained a reputation of providing customers with premium parking facilities while accessing the full suite of products and services offered by our historic main branch ensconced in downtown Castries. St. Lucians can now find a branch of 1st National Bank positioned within relative convenient reach from any community, including the town of Vieux Fort.
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Bridge Street Castries
Rodney Bay Marina
JQ Mall Rodney Bay BusinessFocus July July /Aug /Aug || 81 81 BusinessFocus
Profile: Mrs. Valery Marshall-St. Omer Deputy Operations Manager Mrs. Marshall-St. Omer has worked with the Bank for 26 years, during which time she has gained exposure to virtually all sections. Having started at the level of a Teller, she rose through the ranks to be appointed Assistant Administrative Officer. In 1997 she was promoted to management level and held the position of Internal Auditor up to 2007 when she was reassigned to the Operations Department as Assistant Operations Manager at the peak of its expansion initiatives. Coming from an Internal Audit background, she used her skills to ensure that the Bank is protected despite the rapidity of its development of new products and Business Units: -
Under her direction, the department: • Reviewed operational procedure and created new manuals to support those products. • Created reports in order to monitor activity during product usage. • Recommended adequate Staffing so that separation of duties was maintained and customers were generally satisfied with the ‘after-sales’ support. • Liaised with sub-Branch Managers and Officers-in-Charge to ensure that their units were adequately staffed and stocked. She continues to provide guidance on operational procedure and has developed a coaching style to mentoring and inducting new staff.
In Her Own Words “My journey at 1st. National Bank has been an interesting and exciting one. I have been afforded numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. The experience gained over the years has been invaluable and has equipped me with the requisite knowledge and skills to competently execute my duties. I have absolutely embraced my current position, as it allows me to play a key role in the Bank’s operations, as well as being integrally involved in the training and development of young persons”. Mrs. Valery Marshall-St.Omer BusinessFocus July /Aug
Mrs. Marshsll-St. Omer has also used her change-management skills to ensure that the Staff are not over burdened by orientation to new products or intimidated by the cutting edge technology in use at the business units. Mrs. Marshall-St. Omer has received a broad spectrum of training over the years inclusive of supervisory and leadership training seminars and is currently pursuing an MBA Degree. She was recently appointed Deputy Operations Manager. 1st National Bank is pleased to recognize Mrs. Valery Marshall-St. Omer for her diligence in ensuring that the Bank’s goals are achieved in line with its policies. She is a role model for those wishing to make a career out of Banking.
Careers Profile: Mrs. Sylvia Alcee Manager, Rodney Bay Sub Branch
Mrs. Sylvia Alcee joined the Bank’s team in January 1981 and has moved steadily through the junior, supervisory and management levels over the years. Consequently she has been exposed to all aspects of the Bank’s business, having served within the Operations, Customer Service, Information Systems, Lending and Internal Audit departments. She has also benefitted from the range of staff training provided. Mrs. Alcee holds the professional banking designation of Associate of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (AICB); and is currently pursuing an MBA. She initially supervised and subsequently managed the Rodney Bay Business Unit from 1994, and it has grown significantly under her guidance. Indeed the Unit has been awarded Branch of the Year for the last four consecutive years, with this year’s winning citation noting the achievement of several key performance ratios including:• • • • • • •
Best net profit margin Best performance to budget Best cost efficiency ratio Best non performing loan ratio Highest number of up to date loans Best staff performance appraisal ratio Highest increase in loan interest over the last year, (notwithstanding the economic downturn).
Mrs. Alcee is tenacious in maintaining those standards, and has developed the banking business potential of her location to such an extent that it has become the Banking hub in the north of the island. She motivates her staff to deliver a high level of customer care and service worthy of 1st National Bank and to keep focused-always leading from in front. With the recent upgrade of the premises now complete and given the obvious growth potential of the area, the Unit has the increased capacity to handle further business. 1st National Bank is pleased to recognize Mrs. Sylvia Alcee as one of its outstanding staff members who has grown with the Bank and who continues to demonstrate the commitment towards propelling the Bank forward.
In Her Own Words “The success of the branch could not have been achieved without the unwavering support from all team members coupled with the invaluable training and development programmes extended to employees over the past years by the management of 1st National Bank. Further, management has inculcated in staff the importance of providing consistent quality service to our valuable customers which we have recognized, can only be achieved through a highly motivated work force.” Mrs. Sylvia Alcee BusinessFocus BusinessFocus July July /Aug /Aug
Saint Lucia Business Awards It was Aristotle who said, ”In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.” 1st National Bank has not worked towards the attainment of awards, but towards the provision of excellent service – official recognition of these efforts are a consequence of this higher ideal. 1st National Bank is, however, grateful to its peers in the business community for distinguishing its “good qualities in action” as merits to be awarded. In 2010 1st National Bank dominated the St. Lucia Business Awards hosted by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce capturing three of its most prestigious accolades: • • •
Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation (MoBanking) Award for Service Excellence Corporate Social Responsibility Award
In 2011 the Bank continued its winning streak, capturing three (3) more Crystals including two of the most coveted awards: • • •
Business of the Year Corporate Leadership (G. Carlton Glasgow, Managing Director) Corporate Social Responsibility
The following years, 2012 and 2013 were no exception as 1st National Bank persevered in its thrust to provide its Board, management, staff, investors and customers with superior service and cutting edge financial products. Once again, the awards came in this multi-business competition, as we continued along our path of service excellence. To date, 1st National Bank has captured nine (9) Crystal honours from the St. Lucia Business Awards, having won the Award for Excellence in Human Resource Development; the Service Excellence Award twice and the Award for Corporate Social Responsibility three times. These achievements represented by the Chamber of Commerce’s Crystal awards are proudly displayed at our headquarters in Reduit. 1st National Bank believes that in a competitive environment the approach is not to do things either “your way” or “my way”, but to execute them the best way.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
a Model Corporate Citizen
Over the decades, 1st National Bank has been an invaluable social partner in the Saint Lucian community. The Bank that was borne out of affording the community affordable loans and other financial services has demonstrated that giving back dovetails with its philosophy of national development.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Corporate Social Responsibility
The Bank & Sports
Bank, & Culture The
1st National Bank also has an impressive record with respect to supporting the arts in Saint Lucia. This is demonstrated in its support for major cultural events such as Nobel Laureate Week, Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival (Fond d’Or Jazz, Tea Time Jazz, Waterside Jazz, and JQ Mall Jazz), Saint Lucia Carnival, Carnival bands, (adult and kiddies) workshops, Carnival Queen Pageant, and the Mon Repos La Woz Group. The bank is also the premier sponsor of the annual Word Alive International Literary Arts Festival, which serves as a stage for budding writers to expose their creative talents. Other notable cultural events supported by 1st National Bank include the Silver Shadow Dance Academy, Literary Night (Library Week), Police Headquarters (Calypso Competition), R.C. Boys’ Calypso Competition (R.C. Jam), Cultural Night and Kweyol Poetry Competition during Creole Heritage Month.
BusinessFocus July /Aug
1st National Bank has been steadfast in its support for sporting activities across the island. The Bank believes that nurturing discipline and encouraging good health can lead to healthy lifestyles. 1st National Bank also believes that by putting an emphasis on youth and sports paves the way for the holistic development of the human component of society. Thousands of students within the Saint Lucian school system have been able to and continue to benefit from 1st National Bank’s generous contribution to sports over the years. In fact, the bank has the distinguished honour of sponsoring the 13 and Under (now the 14 and Under) Track and Field Championship; That’s certainly a remarkable and inspiring track record for a bank that places people first. The Bank also sees the inherent benefits in student athletes earning sports scholarships to prestigious universities abroad. The bank also hails the likes of world-class high jumpers Levern Spencer and Darvin Edwards, both products of the 13 and Under Championships, who have gone on to make their mark internationally. The Bank has invested significantly in other sporting events, namely the Under-23 Saint Lucia Netball Team at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank OECS Under-23 netball championships. 1st National Bank has also sponsored the National Secondary Schools Swimming Championships, the Masters Cricket League for veterans, among other sporting initiatives. Other sporting initiatives supported by 1st National Bank include the International Glaucoma Day Walk, Kouwi Sent Lisi Fun Run/Walk, primary and secondary schools sports meets, and the Levern Spencer “Road to London Olympics” campaign.
The Bank and Education
Francis J. Carasco Memorial Scholarship The Francis J. Carasco Memorial Scholarship has been in existence for 20 years, having been established at the behest of the shareholders in the year 1993. The Scholarship is open to the Bank’s Shareholders or their children wishing to pursue university level studies in Banking or related fields and is awarded on a triennial basis, subject to specific criteria. To date, the following seven (7) persons were previous recipients of the Scholarship:• Mr. Chima Tobias • Mr. Cleveland Emanus • Mrs. Nickler Velinor-Paul • Ms. Malaika Theobalds • Ms. Angel D’ Auvergne • Mr. Jade Barnard •Mr. Dawnavan Foster The range of studies pursued has included Economics, Business Management, Finance, Computer Science and Accounting. They have gone on to contribute both locally and regionally to the fields of Banking & Finance, Accountancy, Auditing and Human Resource Management. In this its 75th year of operations, the Bank is offering the eighth Memorial Scholarship to eligible shareholders.
Ms. Angel D’ Auvergne Senior Lending Officer Scholarship Recipient
Mr. Dawnavan Foster Management Training Scholarship Recipient
1st National Bank has a rich history of supporting the educational development of Saint Lucians. The bank continues to do so by providing opportunities for higher education through its suite of competitive financial products and services. The Bank also provides its invaluable time, expertise and resources for the ongoing education of Saint Lucians, especially the youth. One such bright example is 1st National Bank’s adoption of the Mon Repos Combined School. Another is the bank’s partnership with the UWI Open Campus to assist that department in helping its new recruits learn more about the financial options available to them. 1st National Bank also demonstrates that commitment to education through the introduction of its innovative 1st Class Student loan package, a loan facility that is tailored to students seeking higher learning opportunities but cannot afford standard collateral requirements required by other banks. Through this facility, students receive funding for localized and online study towards a first degree, and the bank also repackages its terms on general student loan requirements, thus making it more affordable and accessible for Saint Lucians to realize their dreams of higher education. The Bank also sponsors the island’s only game show, “Anansi’s Challenge”, an educational programme that targets primary school students. In fact, just last year, 1st National Bank put more money and confidence in “Anansi’s Challenge” by increasing its financial support to the initiative to the tune of $30,000. This injection of necessary support by the Bank serves to ensure the viability of the programme. Additionally, winners of the competition also receive educational scholarships, including schoolbooks and school uniforms. Another critical area of support extended by 1st National Bank is the Homework Assistance Programme. Through this programme, the Bank pays qualified teachers and other professionals within the Saint Lucian society to assist disadvantaged children in deprived areas within the community. For the past three years, 1st National Bank has been the only financial institution to participate in the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College Career Guidance Showcase. The showcase offers students information about the career choices available to them. One of the event’s highlights, the Pat Charles Memorial Lecture, is also supported by the Bank. BusinessFocus July /Aug
The Bank and Education
Sir Arthur Lewis Community College Career Guidance Showcase Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, SALCC, stands as a reminder of the level of international excellence that can be attained with the right combination of opportunity, perseverance and hard work. Sir Arthur, one of St. Lucia’s two Nobel laureates and after whom the institution is named, in his 1974 essay entitled “The University in Less Developed Countries”, identified four aspects of their role, namely; 1. Bearer of Culture 2. Trainer of Skills 3. Frontier of Knowledge and 4. Service Agency. Education is then “both the seed and the flower of economic development” (Harbison & Meyers). That is the basis of our support of SALCC’s annual Career Guidance Showcase. 1st National Bank has participated in this event consistently for the past 7 years and we will continue to support this activity into the future. Thousands of students have graced the classrooms of SALCC and are today contributors to the local economy and national development. As an indigenous banking institution we understand this unending circle of life. 1st National Bank contributes valuable insight into careers in banking while offering the students sound, hands-on advice on how to handle the pressures of a job interview and the world of work. We are proud to be the potential catalyst for St. Lucia’s next Nobel laureate whose contribution to humanity can change the world.
1st Class Study Loans 1st National Bank’s developmental policy of supporting youth and education is inextricably linked to its desire to create an enabling environment and platform for the provision of access to affordable financing for higher and further learning. From its introduction in 2012 1st National Bank’s 1st Class Study Loan became an instant hit and demand grew exponentially with its more relaxed terms and conditions. This purposeful ease of access enabled those who would not normally be able to afford higher education, a unique opportunity for personal development and career advancement. Students could now break through traditional barriers to education financing and see the myriad possibilities now readily available and within easy reach. As an added bonus to the local economy, 1st Class Study Loans were specifically targeted at students who wanted to study at educational institutions based in St. Lucia, even while still holding a steady job. These built-in advantages allow for minimal disruption and displacement of students with their families and a closer relationship with their 1st National Bank student loan representatives. This one-on-one rapport with our student applicants allows 1st National Bank to provide financial counsel while developing more responsible and informed citizens. To date, 1st National Bank’s 1st Class Study Loans have benefited hundreds of students islandwide and is testament to our belief that education of our citizens is intimately entwined in our country’s framework of national development. Our contributions in the area of education form part of the support pillars in our robust program of corporate social responsibility. The 1st Class Study Loan portfolio has a simple premise which provides at least one solution to the complex issue of developing the accomplished and progressive workforce demanded by today’s business environment. It provides thousands of points of light in the bright future we choose to create for ourselves. BusinessFocus July /Aug
1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited has always made me feel like I am their only client. They are always available and willing to assist, ensure that my banking needs are met, whether I’m on or off island. One thing is certain, 1st National Bank is the only Bank for me. They gave me a chance to do something that I believed in, when no other financial institution did.
Congratulations to 1st National Bank on achieving such a milestone – 75 years of indigenous banking is without a doubt, a great and unique accomplishment. Our association with the Bank grow from strength to strength particularly over the last decade St. Lucia Eye Centre is very proud to call 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited its bank of choice as we believe it exemplifies the motto “Here for you”
“The thing I love most about 1st National Bank is the at home atmosphere. Whenever I walk into the bank, I feel like I am visiting a friend. 1st National Bank is proactive and yet personal, they know me by name and make me feel like a valued customer when I walk through the doors. I love that I am personally known and I am not just a number in the Bank. That makes all the difference to me”
Congratulations to the Management and Staff of the Bank on this remarkable achievement.
Cheryl Goddard Dorville: Attorney – at- Law
Dr. Emsco Remy: St. Lucia Eye Centre 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited had been our partner from the commencement of our business in the agricultural sector, where most other banks would not venture. We have benefited greatly from the help and management of our account. Their Service have been exemplary. Congratulations on your 75th Anniversary. Darius Dujon: DG Farm Incorporated
Happy 75th Anniversary and I wish you another successful 75. Waren Montgomery: Smolders Restaurant
The work of this truly indigenous institution speaks volumes in its support and understanding for emerging companies like ours. Although our relationship is embryotic, your service has assisted greatly through this recessionary time. We therefore would like to take this opportunity on this special occasion to wish the Bank, Directors, Management and Staff all the best in the near future and for the continued support in building a stronger nation. The Management and Staff of Windor Trading Company extends congratulations
to 1st National Bank St. Lucia Limited on its 75th Anniversary Paul Hilaire: Windor Trading Company Ltd.
It is indeed a remarkable milestone for an indigenous financial institution. I have been a proud customer of 1st National Bank from as far back as 1984, my experience and relationship can only best be described as that of being my family. A bank that I can trust and rely on in good and bad times. We have all witnessed their transformation from what was called “the penny bank” to one of the more profitable and modernized banks today and is so doing maintaining that personal touch which had been at the core of their existence and not compromising on the human element. All St. Lucians should feel a sense of pride on their 75th Anniversary and wish them continued success well into their centennial, after all 1st National Bank is our Bank. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate 1st National Bank on their 75th Anniversary. David Cooper: Managing Director Paints Plus Ltd. BusinessFocus July /Aug
JULY 2013 ISSUE
TOURISM SUCCESS STORIES “A FAMILY AFFAIR” BY Michael Bryant
I met with Oliver Gobat; “Ollie”, to learn about his families part in St Lucia’s Hospitality Industry. Ollie was born in Vieux Fort to Theo and Helen Gobat, the youngest of three brothers after Rufus and Adam. This family team has managed many projects, including The Landings and Cap Maison and with a mixed skill-set of hotel operations, marketing and real estate management not to mention law (Adam is a qualiﬁed attorney), they have the bases covered! Theo came to Saint Lucia in 1971, working at Halcyon Days and later establishing CHMS with Bill Stewart, which included developing the Halcyon Beach Club, St Lucian Hotel and Club St Lucia. Theo’s contribution to the industry was huge, not only in hotel investments but in bringing vital air seats into the island. I ﬁrst asked Ollie what was the key to the rapid sales of Landings apartments in 2005… “Firstly the design quality was second to none and from that perspective it was an easy sell. The location is exceptional and of course you are selling St Lucia as a destination. Having such a strong connection with the island, I felt very comfortable selling its charms to prospective investors. From a ﬁnancial perspective, you sell the potential of the island and the product, and do not promise unrealistic expectations of returns, but to be part of a longer term project.”
Theo and Helen Gobat, and their three sons Oliver, Rufus and Adam. BusinessFocus July /Aug
He’s right! The buyers were also astute men and women, not likely to believe the outrageous claims made by sales people at other projects. Honesty was the right way, enabling buyers to make a reasoned decision. Ollie continued …. “ There was a clear premise that the relationship between the salesperson and the buyer in this case was going to be a long term one and therefore had to be based on mutual trust and respect. Whilst I was working with information given to me by the development company, I also accepted that the buyers were potentially going to become my friends and neighbors and many now are!” A lesson perhaps for the developers who all too often see the Caribbean as a route to a quick “buck”. “The Landings ” is without doubt a ﬁrst class “product”. Just look at the impressive atrium lobby and know you have entered a ﬁve star resort. Unfortunately, managed by the US Hotel Company, “Rock Resorts” it was not a success right away. Hit by the global ﬁnancial meltdown “The Landing Ltd”, (the development company), and “Rock Resorts” both struggled and ultimately the developer ran out of funds and entered receivership, but not before creating a “Masterpiece”. It is this commitment to product quality that has allowed the owners to pull the business around. Ollie, having invested his own money into the project, with his intimate knowledge of the property market in St Lucia and with a signiﬁcant background in hotel marketing and operations, was the ideal choice for Exec Director. It was a decision based on trusting an individual with the fortunes of a large number of stakeholders; both owners and over 200 employees, anxious about their jobs. Twelve months on, following a “make or break” winter season, occupancy has risen from 35% to
As Ollie summed it up: “ The concept of intimacy and comfort is captured in the name “ Cap Maison”, which we thought, meaning as it does “home or house”, implies that we are welcoming our guests into a home rather than a hotel” This concept was speciﬁcally communicated to prospective villa buyers and they loved it from the start! • The management are intransient on rate, preferring to maintain high rate at low occupancy to keep breakeven at a level with which they were conﬁdent. Harder to lose money and easier to maintain high standards. • Participation in the rental pool is mandatory, keeping inventory consistent. • Lock oﬀ rooms can be sold separately to maximize yield. • There’s no maintenance fees. As an owner can use your villa for 8 weeks of the year but you pay nothing, not even when in residence. Cap Maison manage the property as a hotel and pay the bills from the hotel income. The owners then share in the proﬁts. It’s easier to make return on investment for your owners and when things are really slow, the owners are not having to fork out money with little or no income to oﬀset their outgoings. It’s good to see these properties doing well and whilst the tourism sector faces challenges not just in St Lucia but the world over, the turn around in occupancy at Landings and the continued success at Cap Maison will bring more visitors to the island and they will be doing their part to safeguard the precious airline seats we desperately need to keep our industry going strong. So the secret is in the Product Design…
70%, jobs are secure, taxes are paid and with renewed conﬁdence, the number of owners including their property in the rental pool, has doubled. Cap Maison is, in essence, another condominium resort where each villa is owned by an individual but used as a holiday “let” within a rental pool. A concept that on paper would appear to be a winner, yet so many have struggled. Cap Maison has not; why? Right from the start, the Gobat family had a clear vision of their project. They looked at everything on the island and regionally and made their decisions partly based on their competitive analysis. It was felt that there was no “real” boutique product in the north of the island. “Boutique” not only implying small, but having a sense of style in design, quality of ﬁnish and a desire to have every room look diﬀerent. Based on excellence, located as it is in a stunning spot with panoramic views, the resort would be supported by intimate personal service and outstanding food and beverage.
As a marketer, I have grown up with the four “Ps” indelibly etched in my brain: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion. In my world, I am most likely to deal with numbers 2-4, but without pr oduct in place that oﬀers a compelling proposition for the prospective customer, even the best marketing eﬀorts might not succeed. A simple enough concept perhaps, but take it from me establishing such product is rare. ¤ Michael Bryant is a Marketer who has lived and worked in St Lucia for the past 20 years. His company “Altered Image” specializes in Database Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. You can get a free consultation at no obligation – www.alteredimageplus.com BusinessFocus July /Aug
2013 Jazz & Arts Festival Justifies its Strategic Rebranding
Tourist Board says it ‘Proves a sound platform for Creative Sector growth and key sectoral linkages…’ With the integration of Saint Lucia’s artistic product into what was formerly Saint Lucia Jazz, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) has deemed the staging of the rebranded Festival a success which generally met its objectives; but in some instances also exceeding expectation. A number of new indicators have been added to the metrics by which performance of the Festival is measured. A major one has been the responsiveness of the Festival to the broader Creative Industries development mandate. “In fusing the artistic and the culinary product with Jazz, direct beneﬁt to our Creative sector is an obvious outcome to track because Saint Lucian Arts shared as prominent a space as the imported components. In real terms the Festival invested heavily in the marketing of the literary, ﬁne arts, fashion and cuisine, created avenues for promotion, networking, exposure, as well as capacity building,” SLTB Director Louis Lewis explained. The SLTB Director cited the introduction of a fashion component and its obvious success as an innovation which has clearly justiﬁed itself. He described it as a smart product diversiﬁcation tactic which if prudently handled, will take on a life both in and out of the Festival season. “I am particularly excited about Hot Couture. While it may be a bit early to predict, it has the potential to deliver a strong legacy both for the exponents of fashion locally, but for value-added to the reputation of Saint Lucia as the Eastern Caribbean Art Mecca.” Director Lewis said. Other than visibility and exposure of Saint Lucian artists and artisans, the SLTB is BusinessFocus July /Aug
pleased with the levels of response to and participation in dance and music Master Classes organised both by the Board and by Labowi Promotions, producers of Jazz In The South. These included workshops delivered by jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles and the FELA Dancers, as well as a musicians' forum in conjunction with the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO). The Director further contextualised this success in terms of the forging of eﬀective economic linkages between emerging and established economic sectors. “While the mandate for the Creative Industries is not directly under the remit of the Tourist Board, it relates to us in two ways. One being that our product development focus must always aim for the retention of what is authentically Saint Lucian. But also because fortuitously, we are even better able to do that given that we fall under the same governmental administrative structure with the Creative Industries mandate. I would say we scored highly in this inaugural year of the Festival which is tremendous,” explained the Director. “The Jazz and Arts Festival will improve Saint Lucia’s visibility in the marketplace” he continued. SLTB Deputy Director of the Board Tracey Arnold also cited innovations in the logistical aspects of main stage management, which brought more coherence to key areas such as production, promotions, traﬃc management and the onsite patron experience. “Our optimisation of social media in pre-promotion and during the staging of main stage events, eﬀectively sharing
the excitement and the buzz in real time with audiences the world over was a ﬁrst, and extremely successful. We had hits as far as Dubai. We have received several commendations from local and visiting media about the seamlessness of our set-up and media facilitation this year. In fact, the consensus from most is that operational areas like traﬃc and venue management continues to improve.” She reported. In the estimation of Chairman of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival Committee Thaddeus Antoine, of the several ‘ﬁrsts’ added to the Festival this year, the increase in free shows, and events close to the cultural personality of the country, as well as trending artistic genres like Spoken Word, succeeded in achieving something which the rebranding established as a priority. “The people feel more ownership of Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, because they can become fully immersed in the buzz, whether or not they make it to main stage or other paid events. Once there is mass popular ownership, and pride in the Festival, we can only improve and maintain our strategic edge as the festival trendsetter in the Caribbean," exclaimed Antoine. The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival boasted over ﬁfteen island-wide venues featuring some of the best live performances spiced with the celebration of Saint Lucian Arts, culture and cuisine. It ran a full 13 days from April 30 to May 12. ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Branson Welcomes Saint Lucia to ‘Ten Island Challenge’ and Hopes Other Islands Follow
Sir Richard Branson Saint Lucia has announced its intention to move towards a clean energy future by becoming the next pioneering economy to join the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge at the Caribbean Conservation Summit held on Necker Island, co-hosted by Sir Richard Branson, the Prime Minister of Grenada and the Premier of the British Virgin Islands. “Solving the energy challenge and marine conservation challenge in the Caribbean go hand-in-hand. I am very pleased that Saint Lucia has decided to join the Challenge – and hope more neighbouring islands will follow,” Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin. "We are joining the Ten Island Challenge because it is consistent with the goals of our government to develop a renewable energy sector and transition to a Green Economy," said James Fletcher, Minister of Sustainable Development & Energy of Saint Lucia. BusinessFocus July /Aug
Launched at the Rio+20 Summit last June by Sir Richard Branson of the Carbon War Room and Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC, the Ten Island Challenge is working with pioneering island economies to reduce dependency on fossil fuels through the acceleration of commercial opportunities on islands, attracting expert engineering firms and investment. “We want to develop a renewables ‘blueprint’ using those islands that are ready today – and provide replicable models for many more communities isolated by water, desert or just distance from the grid,” Jose Maria Figueres, President of the Carbon War Room. Saint Lucia is focusing its efforts to transition off fossil fuels through a range of initiatives from renewable energies as well as waste and water efficiency. Although sustainability and low carbon plans aren’t new to island economies, successful implementation is. The Ten Island Challenge will highlight the opportunities on the island and Carbon War Room will reach out globally for the best solutions
and most competitive bids. Saint Lucia joins its Caribbean neighbor, Aruba - who signed up for the challenge in 2012. Sir Richard and Virgin Limited Edition have also taken an interest in the Challenge, offering Necker Island as ‘demo site’ to launch a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the installation of renewable energy solutions. Issued in February, the RFP has already attracted a multitude of bids from USA, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean and installation of both wind and solar solutions take place later in the year. The announcement was made at the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) Summit of Political and Business Leaders, convened recently on Necker Island/BVI. The two-day Summit brought together Heads of State and corporate leaders to address the opportunity to protect the critical natural marine environment of the Caribbean region. Transforming Island energy systems to renewable sources is critical to marine and coastal conservation, and is imperative to the economic growth of the region. ¤
Saint Lucia Wins ‘Again’ “Best Island in the Caribbean” Says Global Traveler Living up to its tagline as “Simply Beautiful,” the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia has again risen to the top and has distinguished itself amidst stiff competition as it continues to receive awards and recognition from key travel influencers. The 238 square-mile island, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean and home to the iconic twin-peaks - The Pitons; a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, has copped yet another prestigious international accolade. Tourism officials are basking in the news that the island has been adjudged winner of ‘Best Island in the Caribbean.’ The latest recognition comes from the US-based Global Traveler; a monthly magazine that focuses on business travelers including both business and lifestyle travel interests. Boasting a circulation of over 105,000 readers, Global Traveler is available across the United States. The magazine’s awards were launched last year to recognise the best in leisure travel destinations, cruises, tour operators and resorts.
Responding to news of the latest award, Director of Tourism Louis Lewis says, “This is a testament that Saint Lucia is indeed a world class tourism destination and that the one-of-a-kind vacation experiences we deliver through our unique hotels & resorts, restaurants, sites and attractions and other soft adventure excursion partners, truly excites and lifts the senses of the thousands of visitors annually who grace our shores.” According to Lewis, “we are not in the business to try to win awards but whenever we do, we are happy for the recognition as it speaks volumes to the hard work, commitment and dedication on the part of thousands of our industry workers to ensure that our visitors enjoy their stay with us. We are thankful to the readers of Global Traveler for taking the time to recognise our Simply Beautiful island.” For more information about Saint Lucia, please visit http://stlucianow.com, call 1-800-4STLUCIA or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook. com/SaintLuciaTouristBoard. ¤
IN ST. LUCIA’S FAMOUS MARIGOT BAY “I found Heaven”— “The setting is dreamy” —”The food, service and atmosphere are incredible” - Trip Advisor
Romantic Rainforest, set on the dock at the edge of the mangroves, is a simply magical place to spend an evening enjoying our French/Caribbean fusion cuisine and drinking champagne under the stars. From the moment you step off the ferry, the Rainforest team will be there to welcome you and make sure that you have a wonderful evening. Fine dining in this exotic tropical garden on the edge of a lagoon teeming with fish, make Rainforest a favourite hideaway for St Lucians and a popular haunt for visiting celebrities.
SUMMER OPENING Open 4 nights Wednesday through Saturday Closed Sunday through Tuesday
GETTING THERE Free Collection for Groups Of Six (or more) Adult Diners Call restaurant to arrange 286-0511 or 451-4485
LIVE JAZZ ON WEDNESDAYS & SATURDAYS Call (1 758) 286 0511 or (1 758) 451 4485 for reservations www.rainforesthideawaystlucia.com
A Great Place To Come Home To Poinsettia Holiday Apartments are fully furnished one and two bedroom self-contained villa style apartments with an array of amenities, catering to permanent tenants, business travelers, family holidays, singles, couples and all vacationers. Poinsettia Apartments, Vigie Cove, Castries, St. Lucia Tel: 1(758) 456-0469 Fax: 1(758) 452-0217 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.poinsettiaapartments.com
BusinessFocus July /Aug
St Lucia Reviewing
Tourism Incentives Act
Expected to Stimulate Investment and be more Competitive Saint Lucia, like many developing countries, is susceptible to external shocks. Hence, the impact of the recent financial crisis on the countryâ€™s economic performance came as no surprise. In 2012, the Economic and Social Review (2012) reported that the sector faced challenges such as loss of airlift from main source markets. In addition, the local tourism product has been considered to be less competitive than its regional counterparts. In 2012, there was a projected EC $209,472,412 investment in tourism development projects. The projected employment from these ventures was eight hundred and twenty five (825) persons in full and part time capacities. In light of the relevance of the tourism industry, the Ministry of Tourism, heritage and Creative Industries is in the process of developing strategic initiatives to promote investment in the advancement of the industry. The Tourism Incentives Act grants tax relief and waiver of duties as part of the efforts to stimulate investment in tourism related enterprises. In 2012, some 39 companies operating in various sectors were awarded tourism incentives. The trend indicates that there is a significant level of foreign investment in BusinessFocus July /Aug
the accommodation sector while the other sectors attract investment by nationals. The Tourism Incentives Act was originally conceived to attract investment primarily in the accommodation sector to facilitate the increase in room stock on the island. However, the industry has evolved based on changes in market demand. Hence, sectors such as Adventure Tourism and Recreation, Transportation, Events and Conferences, have all become viable and critical to the diversity of the local tourism product. The eco-tourism, health tourism and community-based tourism products have demonstrated significant potential in enhancing the competitiveness of the industry. However, the current incentives regime does not respond adequately to the unique needs of these emerging sectors. Definition of an incentives regime will necessitate the involvement of key tourism industry operators and Government Agencies, so the Ministry intends to engage all relevant stakeholders in a series of consultations, specifically geared towards identifying suitable fiscal and nonfiscal incentives to stimulate investment in the local tourism industry. The primary purpose of the consultation program is to ensure that tourism industry stakeholders and key Government
Agencies are provided an opportunity to evaluate and make recommendations to strengthen the existing incentives regime. The first consultation was scheduled for July 4, 2013 and involved public officers from various Government Agencies deliberating on the administrative procedures and best practices for the facilitation of investment. The outcome of this consultation will guide the development of the administrative procedures used to access the benefits outlined in the Act. A number of focus group consultations with key stakeholders in the tourism industry were also scheduled (beginning July 23rd) to secure the active participation of these stakeholders in designing an incentives regime responsive to their respective sectoral needs. The outcome of those consultations will be the development of an incentives framework to guide the revision of the Tourism Incentives Act Chapter 15.30 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia of December 2006. The consultations with private and public stakeholders will be moderated by Dr. Claudius Preville of Preville and Associates Consulting Group. Â¤
Vieux Fort Plaza Tel: 1 (758) 454-3245 Fax: 1 (758) 454-7673 Email: email@example.com
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BusinessFocus July /Aug
HEALTH & WEALTH
Revolutionized By Stan Bishop
Dr. Minerva R. King MD General Practitioner Ever since opening the doors to her private practice in January of this year, Dr. Minerva King has reinforced the fact that maintaining one’s health is no longer an option; but a right. Now armed with a well equipped office to conduct one-onone sessions, in a more intimate setting than afforded in the past eight years, she has finally achieved her goal. Time is of the essence in her profession, she says, and patients need to know that their doctor lends a dedicated ear at every visit, thus
promoting individual holistic care. After graduating in July 2005 from the Superior Institute of Medical Sciences "Dr. Serafin Ruiz de Zarate Ruiz" in Santa Clara, Villa Clara in the Republic of Cuba" where she studied medicine for six years, Dr. King returned to her native Saint Lucia eager to start her career. After an insightful year’s internship as a Physician at the Victoria Hospital, Dr. King embarked on 3 months tenure at St. Jude’s Hospital which prepared her for the journey ahead. However, it would be the experience during the 6 years spent working in the health centres across the island which would bring her the most satisfaction and encourage her to start her own practice.
Today she runs the GASHA Medical Clinic, a complete wellness medical clinic which provides an excellent service with a personal touch, coupled with promoting a healthy lifestyle throughout. Here’s what she says one can expect on a typical day; “We have a warm and welcoming environment here at the clinic. With two physicians present at any given time, patients can just walk in knowing that they wouldn’t have to spend much time waiting. We also have a psychologist to whom we refer patients who need special attention. “Dr. King says the clinic offers efficient and timely lab results and follow-ups. The GASHA Medical Clinic is open from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday and from 9 am to 1:30 pm on Saturdays. Home visits can also be arranged. Make your next appointment today and get your health on the right track! ¤
The GASHA Medical Clinic The General And Sexual Health Awareness Medical Clinic
Your Health Comes First Preventative Medicine Annual Medical Consults Papsmears Breast Exam Counseling Antenatal Care 1st Floor, Aquarius Crossing #5 Corner of Coral & St. Louis Street, Castries, Saint Lucia BusinessFocus July /Aug
Prostrate Screening STD Screening Family Planning Contraception Medical Insurance Consults Home Visits Tel: 1 (758) 450-1331 Fax: 1 (758) 451-1331 Cell: 1 (758) 285-1331
events 2013 PUERTO RICO HOTEL & TOURISM ASSOCIATION’s 27th Annual Convention &Trade Show 9 – 11 September, 2013 at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino. If you own or work in a hotel, restaurant, casino, transportation provider, food distributor, and any other business that provides a service or product to our tourism industry, you need to be there! The convention will have even more networking events and exciting seminars and workshops, as well as our popular culinary, bartending and housekeeping competitions. For further info: www.prhta.org
CARILEC RENEWABLE ENERGY / REGULATORY FORUM 15 – 18 September , 2013, Barbados This Forum provides a platform for energy leaders and experts to share their views on the issues pertinent to energy programmes, policies, technologies and investment opportunities. For further info: www.carilec.com
CARIBBEAN MEETING & INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCHANGE (CMITE) 15 – 18 September, 2013, The Cove Atlantis, The Bahamas Welcome to THE event for buyers and sellers of incentive travel. Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE) brings together buyers and suppliers servicing the Caribbean meeting and incentive market. CMITE is an invitation-only, appointment-based event held September 15-18, 2013 at The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas. For further info: www.caribbean.incentivetravelexchnage.com
FOURTH CARIBBEAN FINE COCOA CONFERENCE AND CHOCOLATE EXPO (CFCF4) 25 – 27 September, 2013, The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica This year's theme is "The Future Industry of Caribbean Fine Cocoa and Chocolate" in keeping with the current, changing market dynamics in this sector. There will be presentations from experts in the fine cocoa sector and updates on recent commercial developments and projects from across the Caribbean. The event will be important to all players in the cocoa industry both inside and outside the region - cocoa growers, prospective investors, cocoa processors, chocolatiers, research institutions, Government Agencies, NGO's and private companies - regional and international. Come and taste the latest exquisite cocoa drinks and chocolate products made from local cocoa beans.
FCCA CRUISE CONFERENCE & TRADESHOW 30 September - 4 October, 2013, Cartagena, Colombia For many cruise executives, destinations, suppliers and tour operators, the annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year to meet with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is because of the unique forum provided by the Conference that nearly 1,200 cruise industry partners, including approx. 100 cruise executives, attend annually. For further info: www.f-cca.com
BusinessFocus July /Aug
events 2013 GUYEXPO 2013 4 – 7 October, 2013 , National Exhibition Centre, Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana Guyana’s largest trade and investment expo showcases locally produced goods and services and offers business associates the opportunity to meet, network and negotiate with international companies and establishments. This year’s theme is: Advancing Productivity through Innovation, Modernisation and Expansion. For further info: www.guyexpo.net
CARIBBEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY FORUM 9 – 11 October 2013, The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba. Regional policy is increasingly renewable-friendly, capital is available, the price of technology continues to fall - and the price of oil is trending upwards. Will 2013 prove to be a watershed year for the development of renewables in the Caribbean? We look forward to working closely with our many stakeholders, sponsors, and delegates towards the biggest and most successful CREF yet. Join over 400+ senior participants, including Government Ministers from 40 countries. CREF has grown year-on-year, as has the region-wide opportunity for renewables development. For senior renewable energy stakeholders active in the Caribbean CREF is, simply, a must-attend event. Join senior government officials, utility executives, regional and international developers, and providers of capital, technology and expertise for three days of high-level debate, discussion – and exceptional networking.
CARIBBEAN FOOD & BEVERAGE EXPO 2013 18 – 20 October, 2013 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Bridgetown, Barbados Sourcing the “Right Ingredients” that go into making the ideal beverage or food is a very important factor for businesses within the Food & Beverage Industry. As a result, the Food and Beverage Expo will look to highlight every side of this complex sector. Leading local and international companies, which cultivate, extract, process or supply raw materials and ingredients used in the manufacturing of food, beverage and health products, will be on hand to explain the intricacies of this aspect of the food and beverage industry. We are, therefore, extending an invitation to the regions producers and suppliers to come, discuss and share their knowledge and to showcase the latest trends and products available.With regards to Packaging, it is no secret that this is a major sector of the industry hence there will be a variety of companies that will be showcasing the large range of useful, trendy and fashionable packaging related products.
66th ANNUAL CONFERENCE - GULF & CARIBBEAN FISHERIES INSTITUTE 4 – 8 November, 2013 in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. The conference will be hosted by the Harte Research Institute and the theme is "Natural and Artificial Reef Fisheries, Research, and Conservation". The focus on natural and artificial reefs at GCFI draws attention to the importance of this segment of fisheries, research, and conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Natural reefs have provided hotspots of biodiversity and productivity for centuries in this region, and now artificial reefs are very important to some areas. For further info: www.gcfi.org
BusinessFocus July /Aug
CARILEC elects Vincentian as Chairman The St. Lucia based Caribbean E l e c t r i c Utilities Service Corporation (CARILEC) has recently elected Thornley Myers as its new Chairman of its
Board of Directors. Myers is the Chief Executive Officer of St. Vincent Electricity Services, the electric utility which serves the island state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Myers was elected at the recently held Annual General Meeting of the association of electric utilities and suppliers across the region. The meeting was part of the just-concluded CEOs Conference with Communication Symposium, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. Newly elected Chairman of the Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Corporation (CARILEC) Thornley Myers speaks with colleagues — (from left) Dominica Electricity Services Public Relations Officer Adina Bellot-Valentine; St Vincent Electricity Services Communications Officer Tamara Job-Sprott, and CARILEC Marketing and Membership Coordinator Alison Pascal — between sessions at the annual CEOs Conference. Myers, who will serve for two years, takes over from Peter Williams, CEO of Barbados Light and Power Holdings. He assumes the position with a wealth of experience from over 20 years in the electricity industry, both in his own country and regionally. The new Chairman said that the continued work of the regional body is critical, and that the front-burner issues which he will be focusing on, will include: the regulatory environment in which the utilities operate; the high cost of electricity and the development of renewable energy. Myers was also recently appointed to head the committee established by the St. Vincent Cabinet to implement the PetroCaribe Energy Agreement. ¤
The board of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has made a number of Senior Executive appointments effective June 1, 2013. Daniel Farmer will assume the role of Managing Director, Corporate Lending and Investment Banking, replacing Ian Chinapoo, who has taken up another senior position outside of CIBC FirstCaribbean in his
native Trinidad. Farmer started his career in Barbados with Citicorp Merchant Bank Ltd (Citigroup), managing the corporate bank in Barbados. He was later promoted to Corporate Bank Head for the non-branch territories in the Caribbean (Barbados, Eastern Caribbean, Guyana, Suriname and Belize). Farmer joined CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank in February 2010 as Managing Director for the Barbados Operating Company. Mark St Hill will assume the role of Managing Director, Retail and Business Banking. St Hill was appointed Managing Director of CIBC F i r s t C a r i b b e a n ’s Barbados business in September of 2012. Previous to that he was the Director, International Banking with responsibility for the leadership and development of the International Banking (Personal & Corporate) offering across the six centres in Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Curacao and Turks and Caicos islands. Donna Wellington will assume the role of Managing Director, Barbados. Wellington joined CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank in 2005, after working for Sagicor, Ernst & Young Caribbean and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Barbados. At
CIBC FirstCaribbean she has progressed through various positions in the corporate finance and investment banking segments, culminating in her current position as Head of the Corporate Credit Recoveries Group based in the Bahamas. CIBC FirstCaribbean has also announced the creation of a new unit in the bank, to accelerate its progress on initiatives to strengthen its control environment. The new Governance and Controls Unit will be led by Donna Graham, who has been appointed Managing Director, Governance and Controls. Graham most recently performed the role of Chief Auditor. Graham has had successful careers in both the private and public sectors in Canada. She worked as a management consultant from 1999-2002 at the Canadian firm of McKinsey & Company where she developed business strategies for a number of Fortune 500 Companies across multiple sectors, including Financial Services. Patricia Rowe-Seale has in turn been appointed acting Chief Auditor. In making the announcements, Chief Executive Officer, Rik Parkhill, noted: “The Senior Executive Team members and I continue to be encouraged by the commitment – both in words of support and readiness to work hard to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. I feel confident that our newly re-assigned executives will continue to receive the full support of our team across the region. We look forward to delivering our business strategy of providing excellent customer service, making a difference in our communities and returning our company to historical levels of profitability.” ¤
BusinessFocus July /Aug
Brazil’s Azevedo Director-General
Brazilian diplomat Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo, left, speaks with French Pascal Lamy, right, World Trade Organisation, WTO, DirectorGeneral, at the World Trade Organisation ( W T O ) headquarters in Geneva,
Switzerland. AP Photo Brazilian Ambassador Roberto Azevedo won approval as the next Director-General of the UN World Trade Organisation and will become the first Latin American to hold the top trade post when he takes over on September 1, 2013. UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon welcomed Azevedo’s endorsement by the WTO General Council, calling his selection “important and timely at this critical juncture in the world economy.” Azevedo won consensus support from the organisation’s 159 members on May 8 to serve at the helm of WTO for the next four years. He will replace Pascal Lamy of France, who has been the Director General for eight years. Ban said Azevedo, who has been Brazil’s Ambassador to the Genevabased organisation for the last five years, “is well placed to ensure that the WTO will continue its important work to develop an open, rule-based, predictable and nondiscriminatory trading system.” Azevedo said that his first priority will be to try to rescue the WTO’s credibility as a forum for trade negotiations. He said the organisation’s prestige is on the line because it is used more to settle trade disputes and monitor policy than as a host for serious trade negotiations. “We are at a critical stage. The negotiating pillar of the WTO is completely stuck. There is a clear paralysis in the system,” Azevedo said. “We have a trade agenda that we have to broaden and tackle.” ¤ BusinessFocus July /Aug
Mikael Barfod named First EU Ambassador to OECS The European Union has provided more than Euro 23 million (One Euro =US$1.29 cents) in funding projects in the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) since March last year. N e w l y appointed European Union (EU) ambassador to the OECS, Mikael Barfod, says he hopes to “maintain and strengthen” those project as he presented his credentials to OECS Director General, Dr Len Ishmael. Barfod, who becomes the first EU ambassador to the nine-member grouping, spoke of the “tremendous achievements” of the sub-region in the integration process, congratulating it also on the efforts to efficiently insert the region in the global economy. He spoke also of the unique relationship existing between the European Union and the OECS, and affirmed his commitment to further enhance the relationship between the two organisations. In her remarks, Ishmael made mention of the longstanding relationship between Europe and the Eastern Caribbean., as well as the European Union and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean states. “The establishment of diplomatic relations between our two organisations is a crucial step in the history of our partnership, because today, we are responding in a bold, genuine and practical way to the demands of the time by entering deliberately into a new relationship”. She said that it is a “relationship which will by definition determine the nature and thrust of a new engagement, while at the same time serving as a platform for action based
on a real and meaningful partnership between friends.” Both officials agreed that the “new and deepened partnership” will serve to strengthen even further, the cooperation between their respective Organisations, leading to a positive impact on the development and well-being of their member states. The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. ¤
New Chairman for Grace Kennedy’s Audit Committee F i n a n c i a l Consultant and retired Auditor, Everton McDonald, has been appointed Chairman of Grace Kennedy’s Audit Committee with effect from July 24. He takes over from current Audit Committee Chairman, Gordon Sharp, who retires from the Grace Kennedy Board on July 23 in keeping with the provisions of the company’s articles, after 35 years of sterling contribution as a member of the Board. McDonald has been a member of Grace Kennedy’s Board and its Audit Committee since May 26, 2011 and also serves as a member of Grace Kennedy’s Corporate Governance & Nomination Committee and Compensation Sub-Committee. He is a former Territory Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Jamaica where he had a distinguished career spanning close to 40 years, retiring in 2009. He is a Past President and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica and serves as a member of its disciplinary committee. ¤
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
Kenny’s Concept Inc.
To engage in the business of Bar and Restaurant Services
Tapion Supplies Ltd.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Supplies
Dr. Horatius Jeffers Dr. Martin Plummer Sister Francisca Dickson Leeann Dantes
HT SLU Inc.
Retail of men’s clothing and shoes
Wisam Chreiki Dany Chreiki
DR CONNEXION (ST.LUCIA) Ltd.
Distribution and Trading Agency
David Jordan Peter Sylvester
Nom’s Auto Body Repair Ltd.
Body Repair, spraying of vehicles, sourcing parts required for repair. Valuations and Inspections of vehicles for insurance purposes
Lennard Saiwak Alvin Saiwak Ormestan Nanton
Terre Blanc Holdings Ltd.
Real Estate and Leasing
Ernst & Young Services Ltd.
To provide tax, advisory and consulting services
Trevor Nicholas Gomez Rendra Aswini Gopee
Christopher Alexander Bota McNamara
St.Lucia Juice Company Ltd.
Manufacturing and distribution of juices and related products
Bosun’s Bar & Bistro Ltd.
Restaurant & Bar
Hansel Sirnesses McCombie
Rap Holding Finance Company SL Ltd.
Tours ‘N’ Travel Services Inc.
Operations as a travel agency
Clarence Casimir Geralda Casimir
Opportunity Print & Design Ltd.
Riche Property Company Ltd.
Zeals Pharma Ltd.
Supply of Pharmaceuticals and Operation of a pharmacy
Sylvester Louis Andrew Nwachukwu Aghadiuno
Berean Baptist Fellowship Inc.
Charitable, humanitarian and religious endeavors
Robert Isaac Zephrynus Henry Gale Isaac Brent J. Fevrier
First Distributors International Ltd.
Clement Ruan Dana Ruan
To acquire by purchase, exchange or otherwise land/ immovable property in St. Lucia. Land Developers
NCH Property Investments Company Ltd. To own, manage and develop properties
Christopher Lubin Gilbert Fontenard
ECONO Parts Ltd.
Selling of auto parts
Sables Point Development Company Ltd.
Raquel Du Boulay Chastanet Allen Chastanet Trevor Hunte
BusinessFocus July /Aug
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
Right Production Management Inc.
RPM Inc. is an Event & Production Management Company.
Timothy Fevrier Kenwyn Pierre Irvin Springer
Frozen Treats Ltd.
Sale and distribution of dairy products
Gweneth Miranda Shoy
Premiere Building Needs Ltd.
Building & Electrical Services
Evanius Charles Isaac Silas Issac
W.R. Felix Inc.
Winsbert R. Felix
Cadet Distribution Inc.
Distribution of Goods
Whitney John Cadet
Stone Cast Concrete Products St.Lucia Ltd.
Pavement Decorative Blocks
Cuthbert Nathoniel Tadeusz Stefanowski Boleslaw Jan Idzik
Island Style-Tile & Bath Inc.
Wholesale, retail, distribution of tiles and associated products
Warren Joseph Rishma Ramnarace -Joseph
Grande Carre Inc.
Bottle N Spoon Inc.
Restaurant & Bar
Fortgate Offshore Investment and Legal Services Ltd.
To provide all aspects of service with respect to property development, Offshore corporate services and general legal services.
Tonjaka E. Hinkson Jahn R. Sifflet Theresa P. Hinkson
Intergo Roofing Brokers Ltd.
Black Pearl Ltd.
Operation of Tours, Private events , Bar and restaurant as well
John Allamby Christa Cooper
SCOTT’S Underground Inc.
To carry out all types of business except banking Financing and insurances
Aloysius Scott Monica Boodha
The Advantage Inc.
Dr. Sherry Constantine
David & Drozd Inc.
Rental of vehicles, importation and merchandising of consumer goods
MII Minimart Ltd.
Operation of a Supermarket
Mathurine LIMA Gabriel St. Ange
Escape To St.Lucia Ltd.
Consultation and Management Services
Malvory Reece Michael C. Mathius
Crowne Nominee Services Ltd.
First Trip Tyre Shop Ltd.
Sale & Resale of new and used tires for motor vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles
ZHQ Waste Management
Waste management company and other related services.
JD Events Management Ltd.
Lucy’s Paradise Company Ltd.
VEREPRO Empowerment Inc.
Provision of Real Estate Services. Sheski Joseph Business incorporated advice services, Mary Agatha Joseph Educational Consultation Services, Aid outreach services, empowerment events, talent development services
Hindson Ambrose Holding Ltd.
Purchase, sale, management of real estate
BusinessFocus July /Aug
1st National 75 Years of Indigenous Banking