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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



No. 66


Nov / Dec 2012



53. The Business of Shipping 68. Sean Matthew explains SLASPA’s role 74. Q&A with Comptroller of Customs

REGULARS 04. Editor’s Focus 06. Business Briefs Business Tech 08. Technology training for ICT educators 10. iPhone 5 blends beauty with versatility 12. Keys to defence against digital disaster 14. Kiss Google goodbye? 16. Money Matters 18. Korean firm ponders renewable energy investment in St. Lucia 20. IMF & CDB discuss growth in the Caribbean 22. GHL buys Globe Insurance 24. The fearful cost of financial interconnectivity Economy & Trading Focus 28. Caribbean must boost intra-regional trade 30. Caribbean and Latam exports face slowdown 36. Business Spotlight 32. Innovation St. Lucia 34. Bonne Baguette Bakery 102. Events 2012 103. Major Moves 106. New Company Registrations

In The Know 36. Stimulus for economic growth through construction 38. New Bonne Terre bridge underway 40. Praedial Larceny – What cost to farmers? 42. Performance management 44. I want my neighbour to mind my business 45. The changing retail environment 46. Sex sells… sometimes 48. Dispense with speculation manage with facts 50. The business of burials Tourism Focus 88. Is Le Paradis a Paradise Lost? 89. Hotels call for new safety standards & licensing regimes 90. Sandals to invest in St. Lucian expansion 92. Airlift schedule for 2013 98. Bizz Buzz Health & Wellness 96. Planners promise new hospitals by June 2013 98. Mobile youth clinic travels island-wide 100. The flu season

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia.


All Aboard!

BUSINESSFOCUS Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh

Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - Hudson Myers - Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services

Oh, how time flies. It’s like yesterday we wished you a merry Christmas and a Happy 2012. But then, we grew up knowing that ‘Time waits for no man’ – or woman. Be that as it may, we at BF have are once again pleased and proud that we have been able, for yet another year, to deliver to you, Dear Reader, the last 6 of the 66 editions of BF we have published over the years. Once again, we have sourced the world to bring to you, in as little words and as much colour, the ins and outs, ups and downs and measured movements of business in St. Lucia, the Caribbean and the world. Wherever St. Lucia is in business, we’ve found out and let you know. This issue of BF focuses on the Business of Shipping, which is very essential to our very lives. The majority of everything we wear – at any time -- is imported, but we could have had none without shipping. We have gone the usual extra length to give you a feature section that scans the business of shipping inside-out. We offer you the facts, figures and photos that you need to get a better understanding of this sometimes tedious exercise, without boring you with too many unnecessary details. We’ve spoken to port authorities -- from SLASPA to Customs & Excise, from ship Captains to truckers -- to give you the best picture of why the business of shipping is so important to our daily lives. This feature section also offers information on how best to clear the innumerable number of holiday barrels that arrive for Christmas and New Year every year. But nothing we have brought you in this issue’s feature section is at the expense of anything in our usual regular sections of BF. Each of your favourite sections is again punctuated with information we know you need to know to do better in your business, which, more likely than not, also involved shipping. Theflies. old Ityear ringing out iswe also as oldyou as athe newChristmas government last year. Oh, how time feelswe’re like only yesterday wished Merry and aelected Happy 2012, but as they say, “Time for no man” – or woman. Be thathave as it may, we atthe BF are once again pleased proud Many ofwaits its decisions in its first 11 months impacted business climate, but and none that wemore havethan been the able,Labour for yet another year, deliverAdded to you,tax Dear Reader, theof last 6 of the 66 editions Code and thetoValue (VAT), both which came within of BF we months. have published over years. havetosourced information nearbut andthe far new to bring you the ins It’s still toothe early toWe come conclusions aboutfrom either, year we’re and outs, upsto and downs and measured movements business inpudding St. Lucia, is the about ring in will certainly prove that the of proof of the inCaribbean the eating.and the world. This issueThe of BF focuses on the Businesssituation of Shipping, which is to central to each of our lives. The international economic continued be depressing in 2012, butmajority there of what we consume is imported, and would therefore not have without shipping. We hope we have delivered were signs that the captains of world industry have realized that the consequences of a feature section that scans the business of shipping inside and out. We offer you facts, figures and opinions inaction can and will be worse than inadequate action. to provide you with a better understanding of this industry in St. Lucia. We have spoken to authorities Like theand restCustoms of the Caribbean, is seeking wayssupermarkets and means of coping with including SLASPA & Excise, as St. wellLucia as ship captains,new brokers, and truckers the global and regional pressure by rearranging domestic arrangements and reordering to give you an overall picture of how the business of shipping impacts our daily lives. This feature section localinformation priorities. But nothing be possible or achievable without the barrels all-out,that all-on-board also offers on how best will to clear the innumerable number of holiday arrive for involvement of everyone within the shores and boundaries of St. Lucia, as well as all those Christmas and New Year every year. others beyond thesections boundaries whopunctuated continue towith have a stake inwe what happens back Eachmany of your favourite regular are again information know you need to know to do better your business, which, more likely than not, also involved shipping. The yearWe we’re ringing out with is as old the new government elected. Many of its and decisions so farIndies have end the year theashappiness and pride that Darren Sammy the West impacted the business climate, noneway moreinthan the Labour and Caribbean the Value Added Taxsporting (VAT). Cricket Team have gonebutsome restoring prideCode to the in the The international situation continued to be depressing in 2012, and like the rest of the Caribbean, business ofeconomic world cricket. St. Lucia is Here’s seekinghoping new ways coping withyear the global and pressures. But nothing be possible thatofthe coming will add toregional our successes regionally and will nationally or achievable without the all-out, all-on-board involvement of everyone within the shores and boundaries of and that the business of all businesses is conducted with the acumen and attention St. Lucia, as well as the many others beyond our boundaries who continue to have a stake in what happens required to be we successful these and yet still-changing times. back home. However, end the in year withnew the knowledge and happiness that Darren Sammy and the thankTeam you have all forgone yoursome support 2012pride and offer sincere best forworld the West IndiesWe Cricket wayduring in restoring to theour Caribbean in thewishes sporting Christmas Holidays and Happy, year Productive Successful Year inand 2013. of cricket. Here’s hoping that theacoming will addand to our successesNew regionally nationally and that

All Aboard!

business is conducted with the acumen and attention required in these new and yet still-changing times. We thank you all for your support during 2012 and offer our sincere best wishes for the Christmas holidays As Ever Happy and a happy, productive andReading! successful New Year in 2013.

Lokesh Singh As ever, happy reading! Publisher/Managing Editor BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Photography: Advertising & Marketing Services Ashley Anzie Stan Bishop Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop Gerard Bergasse | Pilaiye Cenac | Michael Chastanet Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun Keitha Glace | Faithaline Hippolyte | JE Bergasse Aleem Khan | Brian Louisy Harvey Millar | NRDF | Brian Ramsey SLASPA | St. Lucia Tourist Board | Fern Smith Sandals Resorts | Bevil Wooding Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email:, Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialized fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication. Issue No. 66

Nov/Dec 2012

On The Cover: Port Castries The of

Business Shipping

…That the following Goods and Services will NOT be taxable under the VAT?


Services on which no VAT will be paid:

Imports not taxable:

• • • • • • •

• An unconditional gift of goods to charities or government • Goods imported by diplomats • Goods imported by returning residents • Personal effects of a passenger • Goods and services imported during disaster by NEMO

• • • • •

For further information contact us at: Tel: (758) 468 1420 Email: Website:


Financial Services International Transport Services Residential Rent Electricity Water Educational Services Medical, Dental, Optical and Veterinary Services Sale of unimproved land and land for agricultural purposes Religious services Trade union services Local transportation Postal services provided by the state (excluding courier services) Services by a facility directly to aged, indigent or disabled persons

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Chamber Announces ‘New Twists’ for Next St. Lucia Business Awards

St. Helen University Offering Scholarships to Potential Students

Baron Shipping & Brokerage Launches New Service

Local private sector companies are bracing and preparing for the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards, which was officially launched in September. But the next local business awards contest will not be like those past. President of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, Gerard Bergasse, announced that there would be a few “new twists”. This time around, he revealed, public sector agencies will be permitted to compete – and they will be assessed based on their contribution to improving St. Lucia's ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ratings. Chairperson of the awards committee, Dr. Charmaine Gardner, in addition to reminding the gathering about the level of effort always given to ensuring that the adjudication process is “credible, independent and transparent,” also informed that, “the application forms were once again revised to ensure balance and user friendliness.” Dr. Gardner announced that the award for Exporter of the Year would be separated into two categories – Exporter of the Year – Goods, and Exporter of the Year - Services. The next business awards will also see the introduction of a Youth Entrepreneur Award, specifically geared at recognising young promising St. Lucian entrepreneurs. To prepare the St. Lucia business community for the awards, a workshop is planned for all firms interested in participating. Application forms for the business awards are available on the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce website

Fieux Fort-based St. Helen University (SHU) is taking registrations ahead of its 2013 opening in January and is offering a number of scholarships to potential students interested in enrolling for its first classes next year. SHU President, Oma Sewhdat, making the announcement, said: "In keeping with our commitment to make our highquality programs accessible to St. Lucian students, and to offer opportunities to current medical students to be part of our innovative programs delivered by highlyskilled and experienced physicians and medical educators from the US, Canada and the Caribbean, we are offering scholarships." According to Sewhdat, SHU is offering “Two full-tuition scholarships to qualifying students, and 50% tuition scholarships to all qualifying St. Lucian students who do not get the full tuition scholarships.” In addition, he says, “SHU is also offering a 50% one year scholarship to all students currently enrolled in medical programs in St. Lucia who would like to join the St. Helen program in January 2013.” The SHU President invites potential students to visit the university’s website “to learn more about our programs and faculty, and submit an application.” Interested persons can also contact SHU at for more information.

Baron Shipping and Brokerage Incorporated has announced the launch of its LCL export service to the islands of St. Vincent, Grenada and Guyana. The company will provide customers in St. Lucia with this fixed service every third week of every month. It was created to respond to a need for a more convenient an inexpensive export service from St. Lucia to these islands. Managing Director, Mr. Willibald Charles, who is particularly thrilled about this new addition to the company’s wide range of services, stated, “I found it necessary to create such a service in order to assist in the export drive of both manufacturers and general exporters, in order to build capacity and push the export drive of this country.” Already, Baron Shipping and Brokerage Inc. represents three longstanding and reputable shipping lines that service the US, the Caribbean and the wider world. Through its expert knowledge in handling imports, the company can provide this new complete and affordable service to the islands and will handle every stage of the shipping process from brokerage to trucking, delivery and loading, to ensure cargo is safe and arrives at its destination within a quick transit time.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Columbus Enters Barbados Telecom Market Columbus International Inc. ("Columbus") has announced that it officially acquired formal approval to enter the Barbados telecommunications market. The approval includes the acquisition of TeleBarbados and all requisite licenses to provide wholesale and retail broadband-enabled services for both businesses and consumers. In his video address to CTU ICT Roadshow attendees, Brendan Paddick, CEO of Columbus Communications, said, "Barbados' high quality infrastructure, excellent workforce and reliable institutions provides the foundation for Barbadians to use technology to transform their country." He continued, "Having effectively lowered telecommunications costs, provided affordable access and forced existing players to raise their game in every market we have entered, Columbus is eager to replicate the same success in Barbados." Over the past eight years, Columbus has invested well over $1 billion in its subsea and terrestrial networks, which now span 23 countries.

Employers Federation calls for Tripartite Commission and Local EPA Office The over-50-year-old St. Lucia Employers Federation (SLEF) is turning a new page. SLEF President Vern Gill says the employers’ entity has never been as active and in-demand as now, thanks to “increased trade union activism, enactment of the Labour Act 2006, challenges brought by the global economic crisis and a skilled staff.“ Gill said in the wake of its recent 51st AGM, that the Federation will work with its members to help them better understand the Labour Act 2006 – especially the Occupational Health and Safety component. He says since the Federation’s membership cuts across all the major private sector organisations (Chamber, SLHTA and SLISBA) a concerted efforts will also be made to recruit more members, particularly micro and small businesses impacted by its work. The SLEF President also wants to see establishment of a Tripartite Commission, “to provide an environment to facilitate discussion amongst government, unions and employers.” He also wants to see “a public forum” that would bring together a wide cross-section of informed persons to discuss the road ahead for St. Lucia’s future and result in participants being “of one mind” and “expressing common goals.” The way St. Lucia functions within the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is another issue on the SLEF President’s mind. He says the EPA offers opportunities for new enterprises to be established and existing ones to be modified and calls for establishment of a local EPA, “staffed by persons who understand the agreement and how it works and who would be responsible for implementing the agreement.”

St. Lucia to Benefit from Increased Connections from French Market Saint Lucia should see an increase in passenger arrivals from mainland France and other nearby European destinations via a code share agreement between Air France and Air Antilles. The move will result in increased airlift capacity for the island from Europe. Since October 28, Air France is flying passengers to St. Lucia via direct connections from Air Antilles in Fort de France, Martinique to George F.L. Charles airport in Castries. Air France is the national flag carrier and the airline of choice for all French speaking markets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The new arrangements allow consumers flying Air France to register their luggage from any French or European City straight to Castries. In welcoming the news on the new code share agreement, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus said, “not only will St. Lucia benefit from increased passenger traffic from a source market that we have been working hard to develop, but both St. Lucia and France will get a chance to again strengthen longstanding historical ties that exist between our peoples.” The flight, which originates from Paris Orly International in France runs three times weekly; Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and connects with Air Antilles Express flights from Martinique which arrive at G.L.F. Charles airport at approximately 6pm.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Technology Training Scholarships for Key Educators of ICT – The “I Can” Technology Photo: (From L to R) Dr. Robert Lewis, Minister of Education; Ms. Dayne Sydney, Scholarship Recipient; Mr. Davis Thomas, Scholarship Recipient; Mr. Ron Isaac, Project Coordinator of EEICTP

The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour is undertaking a strategic and wide-ranging programme called the “Education Enhancement through Information and Communication Technology Programme” (EEICTP). Presented under the branding, ICT - The I Can Technology, this project introduces and integrates Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools and communities, especially in the rural areas, in order to increase our country’s overall competitiveness in the global market. In recent years the economic and business environments have seen many changes. The most apparent being the shift away from hard physical labour toward knowledge-based, service oriented economies. Unfortunately many sectors of our economy remain ill-equipped in this new age. Rural communities and persons in lower economic brackets are falling behind in this world of rapid global, technological and economic development. In addition, many involved in agriculture, fishing and some in tourism are unaware of the ways in which ICT can make them more productive. Recognising the growing need to include ICT as a learning tool and provide adults with greater access to ICT training, the Ministry has taken active steps to address technology integration. They have a three-pronged approach to restructuring our education system to achieve this goal. First, educators will be equipped with better skills through training and the acquisition of competencies to use and promote ICT as a teaching and learning tool. Second, students will benefit from a revised education policy and a reformed curricuBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



lum. Third, modern ICT spaces will provide more pupil-centered teaching and learning environments. All these enhancements in education will result in stronger linkages between schools and surrounding communities. In accordance with this, Dr. Robert Lewis, the Honourable Minister of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour, presented two scholarships which will be funded under the European Union Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) 2008. In his awards presentation, the Minister said, “We have had a bus donated to the Ministry of Education that will provide a mobile lab space. I think that is important, but I believe the most critical intervention under the programme, is what Mr. Thomas and Ms. Sydney will be doing upon return to St. Lucia, having gone for further training in Education Technology.” Upon completion of their studies, Ms. Dayne Sydney and Mr. Davis Thomas will lead the process of integrating ICT within the education sector, with a focus on transforming classroom instruction at the primary school level. Ms. Dayne Sydney, a teacher at the Babonneau Secondary School will be attending the University Of London Institute Of Technology, where she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Education and Technology. One of the courses she will be pursuing is Theories of Integrating Technology in the Curriculum. “Upon completion of my studies,” Ms. Sydney explained, “I intend to impart the knowledge and skills in particular to teachers and students in the primary level with the focus on developing their competencies in the use of technology to enhance the teaching and learning process.”

Mr. Davis Thomas, Principal of Bocage Primary School, who is heading to Bristol in the UK will pursue a course of Training in Education Technology and Society. Mr. Thomas said, “It can be noted that the traditional methods of teaching – how you and I were taught, will not work for the 21st century students. We need to find new ways of integrating modern technology into all aspects of the curriculum. It is with this idea in mind that I have decided to embark on a course of Training in Education Technology and Society.” Both recipients are extremely elated to be awarded the scholarships and expressed gratitude to the Government of St. Lucia and the European Union. The recipients commenced their studies in October 2012. The EEICTP is guided by the reform strategy which promotes the idea that all citizens in this generation and the ones that follow will need to possess a high comfort level with ICT, in order to contribute to and be productive in our increasingly interdependent wired community. Building the foundation for sustainable economic, social, and cultural development of rural communities in St. Lucia is the ultimate goal of this project. The Ministry anticipates that establishing efficient technologically-based infrastructure, will modernise the teaching and learning process as well as enable better decision making and planning. The EEICTP is funded by the European Union (EU) through the Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) 2008. For more information, contact: Ron Isaac, Project Coordinator of the EEICTP, Email:, Tel: 468-5433

Launches Targeted for Regional Roll Out Scopia, a new video technology launched in Jamaica by business communications provider Avaya, could save companies millions in travel expenses and increased productivity. The videoconferencing software, developed by Tel-Aviv based company Radvision Limited, connects users in a virtual room, said Gaby Koren, Radvision's Regional General Manager. Acquired by Avaya last year, the video telephony development company launched Scopia Desktop in 2007. The latest version, which works on any computer or telephone, was released three years later. "Radvision software will work on any device," Koren said. "Consumers aren't limited to any one in particular." Jamaica is the first country in the Caribbean to get the technology, which allows an iPhone to set up a video call with Android, Windows, and BlackBerry users at

the same time, so long as they are in part of the world where the service is offered. The need for travel is therefore reduced, said Paulo Manzato, Avaya's Managing Director for the Caribbean, noting that business trips can easily run to as much as US$12,000 depending on the number of people going. That's almost as much as the one-time cost of setting up Scopia, according to Manzato. "Our software is free," Manzato said, but associated licensing fees will cost companies at least US$15,000. Avaya is based in the US and is responsible for outfitting most of Jamaica's call centres with the phones and exchange equipment on which the industry depends. Avaya also provides cloud technology although it is accessed through telecommunications providers such as Digicel. Though still being introduced to the region, Scopia already has at least two buy-

Paulo Manzato (centre), Avaya’s Managing Director for the Caribbean, said that with the conferencing technology, the need for travel is reduced. Looking on are Avaya’s Rodrigo Cuello (left) and Craig Schnoor. ers. Digicel and LIME have both bought it," Manzato said, adding that Jamaica's network infrastructure is "more than capable" of supporting videoconferencing. Courtesy: Jamaica Observer


Enjoy Responsibly BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




iPhone 5

Blends Beauty with


The advanced technology and new features that went into the new iPhone 5, make it clear that Apple has come up with another product to compel hordes of people to line up inside its stores again. For many people, the iPhone 5 is going to be a case of love at first touch. It's incredibly light and seems to be easier to hold. That means it might not be dropped as frequently as previous iPhones, reducing the chances of the glass on the display screen getting damaged. One woman who was testing out an iPhone 5 couldn't stop raving about how

five days of events on the screen in horizontal mode, instead of just three. The larger screen really comes to life with what is perhaps its coolest feature – a tool called ‘Panorama’ that automatically stitches together a series of pictures into a majestic vista. Panorama can be turned on simply by going into the iPhone 5's camera mode and then selecting it on an option

Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, gives prices of the iPhone 5. (Photo: AP) ideal the new design was for people with smaller hands. "All the other iPhones were made with men in mind because they could easily slip from your grasp if you didn't have big hands," she said. "Now we finally have an iPhone for women." The new iPhone is also easy on the eyes thanks to a larger screen and its retina display, the high-definition technology that Apple introduced in previous models. Video and photos look even more lush on the iPhone 5's bigger and better screen. At 4 inches diagonally, the iPhone 5's screen is a half-inch larger than previous generations and Apple made sure to take advantage of it. On the more prosaic side of things, the extra space means you can now see five rows of apps on the home screen instead of the previous limit of four rows. Open the calendar and you can see BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



menu. Once activated, an arrow guides to pan the camera around whatever scenery you desire. Once you are done, you can look at the panoramic shot within seconds. Not surprisingly, watching video on the larger screen is also more pleasurable and the device is also speedier because of a more powerful processing chip and upgraded wireless technology that accelerates web surfing. Apple also has equipped the iPhone 5 with a superior sound system, courtesy of the new headphones that the company says it spent three years developing. The headphones, called ‘EarPods,’ are a vast improvement on the ear buds that Apple has been giving away with its devices for more than a decade. The new headphones actually stay in your ears and make it seem as if the sound is playing inside your head.

The EarPods come free with the iPhone 5, and they sound as good as US$100 headphones sold by a variety of other companies. The new phone's operating system, iOS 6, also introduces another fun toy that makes it easy to share photos with your friends and family. Just select a picture, or even a series of photos, then email them to whomever you want. Assuming the recipients also has an Apple device running on iOS 6, they will get a notification that will send the designated photos to their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The recipients don't necessarily have to own an iPhone 5 because the new iOS can be downloaded on a wide range of older Apple devices, including the three previous versions of the iPhone and the last two versions of the iPad. The new operating system also stands out for what's missing. The pre-installed YouTube app that had been part of the iPhone since it came out in 2007 is gone (you can now download a new application from the iTunes store). Even more noticeable is the absence of Google Maps. Apple has cast aside one of Google's most popular services for its own mapping system. It offers three-dimensional renderings of many major cities, aerial views, and, best of all, turn-by-turn directions narrated by the iPhone's virtual assistant, Siri. The new iOS also offers a feature called ‘Passbook,’ where digital coupons, airline tickets and gift cards can be conveniently stored in one location. This, too, is going to be popular. Surely Steve Jobs would have been delighted with the iPhone 5's blend of beauty, utility and versatility.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Keys to Defending Yourself and Your Business Against Digital Disaster

By: Bevil Wooding

Disaster can strike anywhere and anytime. Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes can cause severe damage and loss, but they are not the only things that can cripple critical information and communication technology systems. For personal as well as corporate computing, disaster means the failure or loss of any communication channel, the technical infrastructure or data store. The important question facing computer users and network administrators alike is, how prepared are we for a quick recovery in the event of a disaster?

Data Loss Is Costly Even though the majority of businesses today rely on information technology, many do not stop to think about what could happen if their computer system fails them. In fact, surveys show that more than 70 per cent of the total PC users do not have back up storage for their files. Losing data can be costly, for individuals and for businesses. Even where lost data may be recoverable, depending on the cause of loss, it can be an expensive proposition. When one considers the material losses of a fire or flood for example, personal mementoes such as family photographs cannot be replaced. The same applies for business when proposals, presentations, financial records or other intellectual property are wiped out by a harddrive crash, lost laptop, or cracked data disc. The statistics paint a telling picture. The statistics by themselves are sobering. But they provoke even greater cause for concern when considered against the continued growth in technology use and trend from desktop to mobile computing. Simply put, critical data loss could be a fatal wound to a company. This is why regular data backup should be a top priority for all businesses or persons that rely on any form of electronic data storage – whether on PCs, laptops, tablets or mobile phones. • Why Backup? The reason to make backups is quite straightforward: mitigate against data loss. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Data loss can come in many forms: i. Hardware Failure. Mechanical devices such as traditional hard-drives are prone to failure, often without warning. Also memory cards, USB-sticks and even CDs can break or fail. ii. Human error. Accidentally deleting or overwriting a file for example or dropping your laptop. It’s easy to make a small mistake. iii. Theft. From cyber-attacks to lost or stolen laptops, hard disks or memory cards/-sticks. Laptops and tablets are prime targets for theft, but your network and computer servers can also fall victim to computer hackers. iv. Software/virus corruption. Virus or malware infection, faulty software, failed backups or configuration complexity. Advance Planning Key to Swift Recovery It takes time and careful planning to create and implement a backup and recovery

plan. You need to figure out what data needs to be backed up, how often the data should be backed up, and more. When creating your backup and recovery plan, consider the following: • How important is the data? The importance of data can go a long way in helping you determine if you need to back it up - as well as when and how it should be backed up. For critical data, such as financial records, email, system configurations and corporate databases, you may want redundant backup sets that extend back for several backup periods. Even for less critical data you will need regular backups that can be recovered easily. • How often does the data change? The frequency of change affects decision on how often the data should be backed up. For example, critical data that changes daily should be backed up daily. • How quickly do you need to re-

cover the data? Time is an always important factor in creating a backup plan. Your recovery plan should reflect that in ranking which systems need to be returned online in which

order. Ideally, your disaster recovery plan states how long recovery will take and which systems users can expect access to. For example, you might determine that recovery will be completed in 48 hours, and essential data will be guaranteed only until the end of the previous fortnight. • Do you have the equipment to perform backups? Performing timely backups may require

backup devices and sets of backup media. If you have backed up online, recovery will mean having an Internet connection and an access device. • Who will be responsible for the plan? Ideally, someone should be assigned as a primary contact for your organisation’s backup and recovery plan. This person may also be responsible for performing the actual backup and recovery of data. • Do you need to store backups off-site? Storing off-site copies of backup data is essential to recovering your systems in the case of a natural disaster. In your off-site storage location, you should also include essential hardware apparatus and copies of the software you may need to install to re-establish operational systems. • Do you need a cloud-based solution? Internet-based backup and recovery solutions are increasingly popular and affordable. Businesses have to assess the pros and cons of online solutions, keeping legal,

connectivity and speed of retrieval factors in mind.

Protect Your Digital Assets We are living in a digital age. Our increasing reliance on electronic data demands that we invest appropriately in protecting our digital assets. The principles outlined here can apply to your home as well as to your office. Take the time to make sure you and your organisation are well prepared to “backup yuh business.” About the Author Bevil Wooding is the Founder and Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, an education-focused not-for-profit delivering values-based technology training programmes including digital publishing and eBook creation workshops. He is also Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN. Follow on Twitter @bevilwooding and Courtesy: Business Guardian

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Is It Possible To Kiss Goodbye? By Kate Dailey Google's reach spreads far across the web. But is it possible to go online without being noticed by the search giant? Three computer professionals try to part ways with Google. Their findings: Tom Henderson spends what he describes as "way too much" time online. The Managing Director for Extreme Labs, a technology company in Indiana, Henderson says he's often up late in the evening doing work for clients – and having fun exploring the far reaches of the Internet. But when Google announced earlier this year that it would be streamlining the privacy agreements for all of its products – including YouTube, Blogger and Gmail – Henderson decided to find a way to stay online without patronising Google. The policy was criticised by EU officials for being too invasive. "At that point I had to make a decision," says Henderson. "Do I like the terms of service and am I willing to abide by it to use Google's products? And the answer in both cases was no." So Henderson decided to quit Google for good. He wrote a manifesto for IT World called ‘How I Divorced Google’ and set about initiating the break-up. Four months later, he's still living a mostly Google-free existence. Google's terms of service state that the information it collects is used primarily to make the browsing experience better. The firm also promises to share that information only in limited circumstances, unless users give consent. In a statement, a Google spokeswoman said privacy and the use of people's data was the company's number one concern. Pointing to a blog post by the company in which it tried to allay such fears, she added: "We don't sell our users' personal information. It's simply not how we operate." But Henderson wasn't satisfied that Google's policy could be enforced, and didn't feel confident that the sheer amount of information the firm can collect wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



"Google isn't subject to an audit of what those practices are," he says. "They're not telling whether they sell that info to insurance companies or people who want to market to you or people who don't like you at all." So rather than hope for the best, he started to live his life without Google. Though he still misses YouTube, he asked his son, a musician, to cross-post his music videos on Vimeo. He uses MapQuest for directions. And instead of "Googling," he now uses a platform called Duck Duck Go, a search engine designed to protect privacy.

“Mission Impossible” Henderson isn't the first person to try to abandon Google products out of privacy fears. But he's stuck with it longer than most. "After a month, I decided it was mission impossible," says Benjamin Ellis, a technologist living in Surrey. In 2009, he tried to give up Google after a friend "held up his Google-branded phone to take a picture that will probably end up on a Google-powered photo site, indexed by Google search-bots, published on Googlepowered blogs, with Google-powered ads, viewed in Google-built web browsers, maybe even on a Google-built operating system." "I realised pretty quickly that you had to go to extreme lengths to avoid interaction with Google," he says. He found that his contact with Google went well beyond the active choices of viewing videos on YouTube or using the search engine. Google planted tracking cookies when he visited sites that used Google's AdSense, which used his personal preferences to tai-

lor ads to his liking. Ellis was also being exposed to cookies via Google SafeBrowsing, a product that keeps tabs on sites known to run malware. That program is now used on Safari and Firefox web browsers as well as Google's Chrome browser. "It was hard to find any that didn't use either of those. It's a massive chunk of the Internet," he said. (Henderson, for his part, uses blockers that prevent Google from tracking his browsing). Ellis says he's back to using Google products, but has become more careful about his browser's privacy settings and the type of programs that he agrees to give data to. Though the UK has stricter online privacy laws than the US, Ellis is still proactive about his Internet footprint. "I have much stricter settings on my cookies now," he says. "I'm a bit more conscious."

Embracing a Google Lifestyle Not everyone who tries to walk away from Google ends up wary. Take Joe Wilcox, the Editor of, a technology news site. In 2011, he too was worried about privacy, and tried to shun Google for at least a week. "It went so badly that I went the other way. Now I'm a total Google geek," he says. Wilcox says that Google's size and scope has led to great products and breakneck innovation. "They're constantly improving their services and making it better. I like that lifestyle," he says. He's not bothered by the cache of data Google collects about each user. "There's no evidence that they're abusing your privacy," he says. Instead, he points to ways it can make browsing easier – for instance, the new product Google Now, a predictive service which is

promoted as being "always one step ahead" of the user. Google Now uses personal data and GPS information to determine users' routines and preferences. The program can send Android phone-users traffic updates, weather warnings and restaurant recommendations. "It flips the script. It doesn't take your information and mis-use it, it takes your information and makes your experience better," says Wilcox. In the digital age, he argues, there is very little privacy. With that in mind, Wilcox says he'd rather deal with a large, visible company like Google than other less-known entities. "At Google, I get more of a sense of what they know about me than some other companies," he says. "That's a different kind of trade-off."

Henderson's Seven-Day Plan • • • • • • •

Day 1: Take inventory Day 2: Delete cookies Day 3: Redirect host files Day 4: Install tracking blocker Day 5: Mobile phone maintenance Day 6: Find replacements Day 7: Maintenance and reflection

About the Author Kate Dailey is a senior magazine writer at BBC News.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




VAT Entry Both Smooth and Rippling It was smooth sailing in some areas but there were ripples in others when the new 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) came into effect on October 1 – a holiday. Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony, speaking on Day One, lauded “the responsible way” St. Lucians received the new tax, but hoteliers were not as excited. The Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, said that there were some teething hiccups from merchants and expected complaints from some consumers, but promised that the business places’ complaints “will be addressed and handled” and consumers will react better as time goes by, saying, “We were the last CARICOM country to implement VAT and we therefore have the advantage of the experiences of all the others.” He said, “Citizens here have handled it in a disciplined way and I am very proud that people have been very mature and

responsible. But I also want to reassure those still with questions that we have always said that we will revisit the legislation where and when we have to.“ But the island’s hoteliers complained they only realized that VAT applied to Service Charge a fortnight before its implementation and since they could not pass it on to pre-VAT clients they would have to absorb the new costs, resulting in unbudgeted losses. But the Prime Minister responded by saying the 8% VAT allowed for the tourism sector is the lowest in the Caribbean and noted the hotel sector already owed some $56 million in Hotel Accommodation Tax (HAT) they had collected for government but hadn’t paid-up. He also said the government had incurred some $500 million in expenditure to promote tourism in the past five years, which added to existing debt and had to be paid.

The Prime Minister said that, “the stark reality is that while the fiscal deficit widened after the global financial crisis, it also happened because St. Lucia had to borrow heavily after Hurricane Tomas.” VAT was intended “to help pick-up some of the slack and help close the wide deficit gap,” but “its implementation came so close to the end of this financial year that VAT won’t come up with enough revenue in this fiscal year to sufficiently close that gap.” “We therefore expect that deficit gap to widen before it starts to close,” the PM warned, “and we look forward to everyone, including the hoteliers, shouldering the national burden of rescuing our economy, because it is not the government’s task only but also that of the private sector and everyone else touched by the economy.”

Government Establishes Agency to Guard Against Price Gouging

The government of St. Lucia says it is “very concerned” that some businesses may resort to price gouging after the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and has BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



moved to establish a watchdog agency to monitor developments in this regard. The Prime Minister told reporters there were certain elements at play that were influencing market prices and needed to be monitored to protect consumers against unfair charges and to guide shoppers as to the reasons for price increases when they happen. “First of all, there are increases in the price of some items because of external factors,” he explained. “There’s another food shortage looming. For example, in the United States there’s been a serious shortage of corn and the result of that has been increases in the price of grains and so on. So, there’s that fact. But we have to insulate that from the price-gouging that is an unnecessary effort to take advantage of consumers.” In an effort to protect consumers from potential price gougers, the Prime Minister

promised that a special unit would be set up in the Ministry of Commerce “to keep an eye on prices.” Among the unit’s key objectives, he said, would be “the publishing of price ranges across the island’s various supermarkets, so that consumers can make informed choices.” “We also expect that the private sector – particularly the retail sector – will be honest with consumers and indicate to them when price increases are occurring that these increases are due to external factors and have nothing to do with VAT,” Dr. Anthony said. Ever since the implementation date for the Value Added Tax was announced, many consumers expressed concern about being taken advantage of when they shop. Many business places, however, attribute the increase to the global trends that affect supply and demand levels.

Legislators Back Funding for Increased Access to

Regional BroadbandNetworks

The Government of St. Lucia has secured funding to increase access to regional broadband networks and advance the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) through the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP). Legislators in the island’s Parliament have authorized Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Kenny Anthony, to access a US$6 million loan from the International Development Association (IDA) to provide support for the program. The Prime Minister says this will ensure that St. Lucia fulfills its commitment given on July 13, 2011 to participate in the first phase of the World Bankfunded CARCIP, which involves Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to the Prime Minister, “Essentially, it is to improve access and affordability to regional broadband networks and generally to advance and develop the ICT sector in our region. I think the ground has been laid very well for us by the creation of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ECTEL) and we have found the entity to have worked exceedingly well over time.” He said (while presenting the bill in the House of Assembly): “I do not believe there is any member of this Honourable House who would not support the need to expand access to broadband services. We badly need to do so and it is in that spirit this resolution is being brought before Parliament.” The PM noted, “It is an initiative of the former government,” but added that, “It’s a good initiative which we support, as there is no question that we need an expansion of broadband services.” Notwithstanding, the Prime Minister noted that the cost of funding for the CARCIP would increase the country's debt portfolio by US$6 million.

Participants at a recent ICT course – one of many reflecting growing use of IT services island-wide

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Korean Firm Pondering Renewable Energy Investment in St. Lucia

The multi-billion dollar Korea East West Power Company Ltd. has expressed interest to invest in renewable energy in St. Lucia. The company says it generates electricity using bituminous coal, anthracite, heavy oil, liquefied natural gas, outflow water, sea water, sunlight, fuel cells and wind power. During a recent visit to South Korea, External Affairs Minister, Alva Baptiste met with the company's representatives and discussed the investment opportunities. Baptiste says the company became interested after the St. Lucian delegation made a presentation on new and renewable energy on the island. He explained, “This presentation really elicited concrete responses within the decision-making bodies in South Korea to the extent that East West Power Co. Ltd has indicated an interest in investing in the renewable energy sector in St. Lucia. This is not just an investor that is speaking to this issue lightly, but they are certainly in the orbit of St. Lucia with absoBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



lute alacrity; so, it’s left for us now to make a determination as to the way forward with exploring other areas of renewable energy.” Baptiste said geothermal energy may be one of the avenues worth exploring through this renewed partnership with the Koreans. He says with international crude oil prices sky-rocketing frequently, a real investment in renewable energy here will present tremendous benefits for the local economy. “Can you imagine what it would be to have geothermal energy in St. Lucia where we can actually generate electricity at a few cents maybe less than ten cents per kilowatt? This would make us more attractive for investment purposes, it would be more attractive for domestic consumption because electricity would be cheaper and people will have more disposable income. “So, it will be a joyous daybreak to end the long night of suffering for our citizens because we have no control over the price

of oil which fluctuates on the world market; and certainly, exploring renewable energy is an area that would be of tremendous assistance and significance to us – if we are able to create a breakthrough.”

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& Call for Ambitious Reforms to Return Growth to the Caribbean

A high level forum to discuss the challenges of low growth and high debt facing the Caribbean has suggested that decisive reforms to boost competitiveness and private sector investment are of the essence. In particular, policymakers have been encouraged to continue focusing on lowering relative (domestic versus foreign) costs of goods and services to foster exports and reduce external current account deficits. These recommendations were among several communicated from a joint-meeting organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and co-hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago between September 4 and 5 in Port of Spain. Coming out of the forum, Caribbean BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



countries with high debt ratios were also encouraged to pursue fiscal adjustment steadfastly. While it was acknowledged that fiscal adjustment in the context of weak growth could be difficult to sustain, countries were warned that the cost of pursuing unbalanced policies could be more disruptive economically and socially than gradual and credible adjustments. The joint CDB-IMF communiqué noted that in many countries, fiscal consolidation has been initiated and a further deepening may be warranted. They noted that such consolidation could be enhanced by improving the medium-term frameworks for fiscal policy; lowering current spending to make room for capital expenditure; reducing the level of tax waivers and concessions; and enhancing debt management. Caribbean countries were also encouraged to make protecting poor and vulnerable groups central to reforms. “Building on the social cohesion that prevails in the Caribbean, fiscal consolidation and structural reforms should also focus on improving social safety nets by making them more efficient and equitable to better target protection to the poor and vulnerable groups,” stated the two institutions. The CDB and IMF also noted that financial harmonisation and increased crossborder transactions within the region could present systemic risks for the now vulnerable economies. “Greater interconnectedness has translated into a substantial presence of international banks and higher flow of foreign funds into the region. To help minimize systemic and contagion risks, it would be advisable to deepen cooperation among supervisory authori-

ties; harmonise regulations; meet international best practices; and strengthen the crisis resolution and deposit insurance frameworks,” the communiqué noted. The two institutions noted that the challenge to achieve sustainable growth in the region calls for a broad-based collective and collaborative approach. “Multilateral financial institutions as well as donor partners will need to work closely and coordinate their assistance to maximize the benefits to the region. This could perhaps include credit enhancement for transformational growth prospects,” they stated.

Participants in the forum included Prime Ministers, Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors, and other high-ranking officials from the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union member countries–Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and Montserrat, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Overseas Territories, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago also participated. Governor Ilmars Rimsevics from the Bank of Latvia, Professor Victor BulmerThomas, Irish Department of Finance, Secretary General John Moran and representatives from other regional and international institutions also participated in the meeting.

Launched A New Way To Pay Your Bills J.E. Bergasse & Company Ltd. in conjunction with Illuminat (Barbados) Ltd., a member of the Neil & Massy Group; a leader in Information Technology and Communications introduced the ‘SurePay’ service to St. Lucia on September 10, 2012. SurePay is an electronic bill payment service system that securely handles the distribution of funds to billers on behalf of customers, at no cost to the consumer. The SurePay system is in communication with each of the biller’s accounting systems, updating payments to each consumer account on an ongoing basis, which means all consumer account information is kept current and secure. It also means you can pay bills on the day they are due and not risk disconnection. You can also make part

SurePay currently operates in Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Guyana and Trinidad. J.E. Bergasse & Company Ltd launched SurePay in St. Lucia with the following business partners serving as the various collection points: gl foodmarket, Glace Supermarkets (Bella Rosa, Bridge Street & Marisule), The Document Centre (Bourbon Street – Castries & Vieux Fort), United Insurance (Vide Bouteille – Castries & Vieux Fort) and the West Coast Credit Union (Anse La Raye & Canaries). Phase one offers consumers the ability to pay Digicel and WASCO bills. Phase two will consist of many other billers and collection points island wide.

payments or payments after the bills are due. “SurePay is a free, convenient and secure way for consumers to pay their utility bills. When customers sign up for a free SurePay account, they don’t have to bring a bill again. No longer does paying bills require writing cheque after cheque or various payments for different bills. Just make one payment at any SurePay collection point. Consumers save time, no long waiting in lines, there is no XCD$1.00 charge for each bill payment and the system is secure.” says Theresa Belizaire, Business Development Manager, J.E.Bergasse & Company Ltd. “Through our reputable business partners, SurePay customers will receive an actual proof of payment for each bill payment and bill accounts are updated that same day.”

For more information contact J.E. Bergasse & Company Ltd. at 456-6500 or via email:

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Buys Globe Insurance

To Merge With WIA Arthur Lok Jack, Group Chairman of GHL Guardian Holdings Ltd. has acquired Globe Insurance Company of Jamaica Ltd. for US$38 million from spirits company, Lascelles de Mercado. In a joint statement with Lascelles de Mercado & Co Ltd. (LdM), GHL announced its cash acquisition of 100 per cent of the issued share capital of Globe Insurance Company. "The successful completion of this transaction is subject to all necessary approvals from the Financial Service Commission of Jamaica," the statement said. Lascelles was majority owned by CL Financial and the conglomerate sold its 81.4 per cent stake to foreign company, Campari. Globe Insurance is regarded as a major player in the general insurance market in Jamaica, underwriting the following classes of insurance business: property, motor, liability, accident, engineering and marine. GHL Group CEO, Jeffrey Mack said, "The acquisition of Globe is an excellent fit for GHL's regional growth strategy and puts us in a leadership position in the general insurance market in Jamaica, with approximately 20 per cent share."

Jeffrey Mack, Group CEO of GHL GHL has been a significant investor in the Jamaican market, having established Guardian Life Ltd. in July 1999, following its acquisition of the individual life and pension portfolios of Jamaica Mutual, Crown Eagle, Dyoll Life and Horizon Life. In 2000, GHL acquired all the issued share capital of West Indies Alliance Insurance Company Ltd. in Jamaica. Fraser Thornton, Managing Director of BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



LdM, said, "In GHL, LdM found a buyer, who already had a commitment to the Jamaican market and who is capable of enhancing Globe's market potential and growth prospects...The transaction is consistent with our strategic objective of concentrating our resources on our core businesses of spirits and distribution." GHL Group Chairman, Arthur Lok Jack, said of the acquisition, "The deepening of the group's position in Jamaica is testimony to the confidence and ongoing commitment of the Guardian Holdings Group to the Jamaican economy and people." Globe Insurance and West Indies Alliance (WIA) will be merged after the acquisition is completed in November. The merged entity will likely become the single largest general insurer in Jamaica, in terms of premiums earned, and perhaps, profitability. GHL's total Jamaican assets will represent some 23 per cent of group profits and 17 per cent of total assets. Based on last year's performance, the combined operations would have earned premiums in excess of $5.5 billion in 2011, compared to the $4.8 billion Advantage General Insurance (AGI) took in. AGI, which currently holds the number one spot, posted higher net profit in 2011 ($868 million) than Globe and WIA combined ($652 million), but its bottom line has fluctuated over the past four years. AGI's bottom line ranged from a loss of $56 million to a profit $868 million between 2008 and 2011, while Globe and WIA combined ranged from $479 million to $652 million. In other words, Globe and WIA together made $2.3 billion net profit over the four-year period, compared to AGI's $1.6 billion. When improved operational efficiencies expected from the merger are taken into account,

the new entity will likely be even more profitable. Arthur Lok Jack said that Globe was a good fit for its strong core performance.

"We (Guardian) are very serious about underwriting insurance," he said. "We are careful about the risks we take." Independently, Globe and WIA have been consistent in their underwriting performance — the earnings from the insurance business alone — and posted strong results over the past four years. Globe did report $83 million in underwriting loss in 2009, but it was the smallest loss reported in that year, when only WIA and General Accident managed to make profit from their core business. Globe and WIA have been the market leaders (numbers one and two) in fire consequential loss insurance but neither had a strong presence in motor insurance. Lok Jack said that the companies would look at all insurance categories to identify "any new lines of business." The Guardian chairman continues to see growth potential in Jamaica. "We continue to grow because when we make profit we reinvest," he said. "When opportunities come, like Globe, we make a bid. We feel very good about Globe." Courtesy: Business Express & Jamaica Observer

Buys Lascelles deMercado Group for US$338m

Also New Owners of Jamaica’s Appleton Rums Government controlled CL  Financial agreed to sell its 81.4 per cent ownership stake in Lascelles Bob Kunze-Concewitz, Campari CEO deMercado to the Italian spirits company, Campari, for US$338 million in a transaction that values 100 per cent of the Jamaican conglomerate’s rum assets at US$414.7 million. The assets being sold by CL Financial consist of Lascelles deMercado’s spirits business, led by its rum range, including Appleton Estate, Appleton Special/White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba, the related upstream supply chain, as well as a local distribution company. Specifically, the transaction includes all related production, sales and distribution in the domestic and international markets as well as ownership

and cultivation of sugar cane fields and manufacture of sugar and molasses used in the production of rum. The sale excludes non-core assets primarily insurance, transportation and investments which CL Financial is looking to divest separately. A statement from Campari on the website of the Jamaica Stock Exchange indicated that the acquired business achieved total pro-forma sales of US$277 million and a pro-forma EBIDTA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of US$27.7 million for the 12 months ending June 30, 2012. The transaction places a value of US$4.32 per ordinary share and US$ 0.57 per preference share and the consideration will be paid in cash. The price per share corresponds to an historic multiple of 15 times the most recent. It is expected that the transaction will close in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Reuters reported that Campari’s strategy in acquiring the Lascelles rum portfolio “echoes that of bigger groups like Diageo and Pernod Ricard, which have been upbeat as strong international markets compensate for Europe.” The wire service noted that Diageo for instance raised its dividend recently, confident that buoyant demand for whisky and spirits in Asia and Africa would help it hit medium-term targets. Campari’s Chief Executive, Bob Kunze-Concewitz, said: “When completed, this acquisition will give a further boost to the internationalisation of Gruppo Campari, further expanding our business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening our largest and most profitable business, the spirits segment.” Courtesy: Business Guardian and Jamaican Observer

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Bank of St. Lucia (BOSL) is just one of the several local financial entities that will have to comply with far-reaching new US laws combating offshore tax evasion that will come into effect in January 2014 and in full force by January 2017.

By Earl Bousquet

The Fearful Cost of Financial Interconnectivity

How US Laws Affect Non-US Caribbean Banks and Financial Institutions In the world of finance, when America sneezes, the Caribbean catches a cold. It’s happened before and it’s happening again, this time with warning. In 2000, the USA decided it would move to reduce the US $100 billion it loses annually through tax evasion and formulated legislation to that effect. New regulations have been put in place to come into effect in 2014. They will include laws compelling banks holding assets of US citizens to disclose account information of persons or entities suspected of evading taxes. It all sounds good on the surface, but the implications don’t amount to dollars and sense for Caribbean banks, which have survived on the principle of respecting the confidentiality of account holders. St. Lucian and other Caribbean banks have seen the signs of bad business. They fear the implications of the US’ Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). It’s one of those laws geared at deterring, discouraging and detecting offshore tax evasion by US citizens holding assets abroad, either in foreign financial institutions or foreign countries, including companies. The Caribbean’s banks and other financial institutions holding US citizens’ accounts are mindful of the sheer cost of establishing the infrastructure for compliance with the FATCA. But their worst fear is the cost and penalty of non-compliance, which can include revocation of US visas BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



and legislation authorising official ‘withholding’ of amounts on incomes and gross proceeds. The new regulations will begin to take effect from January 2014, and all provisions are expected to be in force by January 2017. Not all persons with US money in banks and financial institutions in Castries and other Caribbean financial capitals will be affected; FATCA will not apply to non-US

citizens or citizens with accounts of US $50,000 or less, or companies with US $250,000 or less in foreign bank accounts. These will include accounts in the offshore banking business, an activity considered crucial to the economic development of St. Lucia and several other Caribbean

countries involved in the more transparent aspects of offshore financial dealings. Most fearful are those Caribbean-based financial jurisdictions like Antigua, The Bahamas, Belize, Turks & Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and others with a history of being offshore financial havens over decades. But St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and other OECS jurisdictions have also been toying carefully with the offshore industry, mindful of the experiences of others and the consequences for national treasuries. A big issue will be the US law’s long reach in defining who is ‘a US person.’ US Green Card holders and non-US foreign financial institutions serving US citizens will both fall into the FATCA range. Merely having a US telephone number (like owning a Magic Jack or Skype account), having a US address or being one who regularly transfers funds to the US bring one under the IRS (Inland Revenue Service) radar. But the devil will be in the detail of sorting out exactly who is ‘a US person.’ The onus will be on the bank or financial institution to prove that the person or company is or isn’t – and the person or company too would have to prove he, she or it is or isn’t ‘a US person.’ The banks and financial institutions aren’t likely to absorb the costs of compliance with FATCA and other legislation aimed at protecting US financial interests

in their region. They will most likely pass the costs on to customers – including those trapped in the process of determination. The Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) held a recent seminar here to which it invited local financial institutions to discuss the implications of the FATCA. They all expressed concern about what the pending US legislation can cause, including loss of customers, service providers, capital flight and visa revocation. The region’s banks and financial institutions, including credit unions, are not too optimistic about Washington giving favourable, pardonable or soothing medication in their relentless but not all that successful long-term pursuit of tax evaders. Mitt Romney knows a thing or two about the offshore financing business and often had to explain on the campaign trail those aspects others found cloudy. But the US Democrats and Republicans both agree on implementing hot pursuit tactics in going after offshore tax evaders. But the Caribbean banks and financial institutions are not the only ones in the South catching the cold from the sneezes from their Northern neighbour. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)’s credit rating was also earlier this year downgraded by Standard & Poors, just as had been several countries and global financial towers. It’s all part of the new global financial make-up that connects what’s happening here with what’s happening everywhere else and results in what happens everywhere else affecting everything happening here. In global financial lingo it’s called ‘interconnectivity’.

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Offers Another US $700 Million Debt Financing

Telecommunications major the Digicel Group Ltd. has announced that it has set a goal of raising another US$700 million of debt financing through a private bond placement that becomes due in 2020. The company owned by Irish billionaire, Denis O’Brien, said the proceeds will finance

the repurchase or early redemption of all the 9.125 per cent and 9.875 per cent toggle notes due to mature in 2015; and up to US$245 million of an 8.875 per cent bond also due in 2015. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. will serve as the dealer manager for the tender offer. Moody’s assigned a Caa1 rating to the new issue and affirmed Digicel’s B2 credit rating, after the announcement of the planned new issue. Fitch Ratings has assigned a ‘B-/ RR5(exp)’ rating to the 2020 senior notes. Securities rated ‘RR5’ have below average recovery prospects, the rating agency said. Fitch cited positives for Digicel are its strong operating performance, diversified revenue, market strength, and brand rec-

ognition, but said the credit quality of the Jamaican-based telecom company whose operations span 32 markets, was, “tempered by continued high leverage, medium term refinancing risk, and exposure of operations to low rated countries.” Fitch said the recent acquisitions of Voila in Haiti and the transaction with America Movil (the El Salvador leg is pending regulatory approval) is expected to strengthen Digicel’s competitive position in its top markets of Jamaica and Haiti. Digicel posted annual earnings of over US$1 billion for the year ending March 31, 2012, the first time it surpassed the billion dollar mark since it launched in the year 2000. Revenue was up 14 per cent last year and customer numbers hit 12.8 million by the end of March. Courtesy: Caribbean360

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec

More Training Aimed at Region’s Microfinance Industry Fifteen institutions are participating in the second phase of the regional Microfinance Capacity-Building Project for the English-speaking Caribbean (Carib-Cap II), a programme aimed at helping the region develop its microfinance industry. The programme is a joint effort by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the IDB Group, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Commission and Citi Foundation. Carib-Cap II, a $2.7 million technical cooperation programme, will provide individualised capacity-building training to 15 microfinance institutions in the region, building on Carib-Cap one (I)’s successes in new client outreach and improved financial performance. Beneficiaries will include microfinance institutions from The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. The programme tackles the unique growth challenges faced by microfinance institutions in the English-speaking BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Caribbean, by providing training on areas including management, marketing, product design and financial tools. In the first phase, the $3M Carib-Cap I programme provided non-reimbursable financing for training, product development and strengthening of the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CMFA), a network of microfinance institutions established to develop a business ecosystem that expands lending to low-income enterprises. In the first year of the programme, client outreach of participating institutions rose by 14 per cent and their portfolio-at-risk was nearly cut in half, dropping from 27 per cent to 13.7 per cent. Carib-Cap II will further strengthen the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CMFA) to increase its capacity to serve as a focal point for networking, knowledge-sharing and capacitybuilding for microfinance institutions in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Microfinance Forum IV



immediately precedes the Foromic, and is an annual gathering of microfinance institutions that begun under the auspices of the Carib-Cap project. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Building High Performance MFIs – Increasing Financial Access for the Poor”. A highlight of this year’s meeting is a training programme on the “SMART campaign”, an international effort spearheaded by the Centre for Financial Inclusion (Accion) in Washington D.C. focusing on client protection. This training for the Caribbean is part of a larger collaboration between the MIF and the centre, and the goal is to assess and eventually certify microfinance institutions in responsible financial practices.

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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Caribbean Must Boost Intra-Regional Trade to Combat Low Growth & High Debt Make CARICOM Wider, Not Deeper

Finance Minister, Peter Phillips (front row far left) led the Jamaican delegation to the recent IMF conference, attended by dignitaries from around the region. Professor Bulmer-Thomas, is in the back row, third from left. (Photo: IMF) Caribbean countries need to increase intraregional trade, improve competitiveness, strengthen fiscal consolidation efforts, and tackle financial sector vulnerabilities in order to bring down high debt and accelerate economic growth, International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials said at a high level IMF forum on “rethinking policy” held in September in Port-of-Spain. During their presentation to Caribbean finance ministers and central bank governors, IMF Western Hemisphere Department Associate Director Saul Lizondo, IMF Executive Director Thomas Hockin and London University Professor Victor Bulmer-Thomas forecast a grim outlook for the Caribbean if governments do not take action to lower debt and boost economic growth. Lizondo told the meeting that the ongoing economic crisis in Europe plus the expected little-to-no growth in the United States has “implications for the Caribbean while the impact of downside risks from Europe are non-trivial, and risk persist from financial sector fragilities.” Minutes before his colleagues called for increased intra-regional trade to compensate for the fallout from Europe and the US, he said that thanks to global financial troubles, the Caribbean should expect “weak exterBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



nal demand” because he expects “external headwinds to persist for some time.” In his powerpoint presentation to Caribbean financial policymakers, Lizondo bemoaned “Caribbean non-performing loans” in Jamaica and Belize. He also said the “most recent food price shock may have an adverse impact” on the Caribbean. In his opening statement, as he rose to moderate the first session on Economic Challenges Facing the Region, IMF Executive Director Hockin said the region needs faster growth to accelerate poverty reduction. As for “how to deal with high debt,” Hockin said faster growth and a “direct attack on the debt stock” were the solutions in his view. Hockin said “each country has a flagship project that can probably transform its economy” and recommended that the IMF, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and Caribbean governments “work on our paradigms together,” as he also called for joint research as another ingredient in the serum to solve the region's problems. He said that with joint research, the ripple effect of adverse financial circumstances could be mitigated. Delivering his paper on Restoring Export-Led Growth in the Caribbean, the IMF's keynote speaker for the session, Vic-

tor Bulmer-Thomas, an emeritus professor at London University, called for increased intra-regional trade in the face of declining demand from crisis-struck Europe and the US. The region's exporters should shift their view “to within” as the “EPA is unlikely to make much difference,” he said. The policy proposed by Professor Victor Bulmer-Thomas would see a return to the successful export strategies of the 1950s, which established the region's tourism industry. CARICOM should generate exportled growth by recruiting new members, rather than by trying to deepen its existing relationships. "That strategy did indeed help to raise GDP per head to historically high levels," said Bulmer-Thomas, "but the package is starting to look tired," he said. Apart from Trinidad and Tobago, which has oil, and Puerto Rico, with its substantial manufacturing base supplying the US mainland, most countries in the region are suffering from high debt and low growth, he said. The Caribbean has been trying to deepen relationships for 25 years. "It's time to talk about widening." A bigger CARICOM would have more influence with major trading partners such as Britain over things like its new air passenger duty. CARICOM's members currently account for half of the region's countries, but only a quarter of the region's trade, a fifth of its GDP and just 15 per cent of its population, he noted. The need for a stronger emphasis on exports can be seen in another startling statistic. The ratio of exports to GDP in CARICOM has fallen by more than 20 per cent since 2006, a worse performance than in any of the region's groupings except the French territories. Bulmer-Thomas said that even before the now ongoing crises, the “Caribbean's share of world tourist arrivals has been falling since 2003.” He said in any event, traditional tourism is only one of the service exports the Caribbean can sell. He urged Caribbean countries to consider “non-tourist service exports” such as educational services, medical services, music

Victor Bulmer-Thomas and film festivals, sports training, financial services, telecoms and conferences. Bulmer-Thomas called for a widening of what is considered the Caribbean because CARICOM “does not represent the Caribbean as a whole.” He said that without Haiti, CARICOM is a very small market of about seven million, and “intra-regional exports account for only 13.4 per cent of total (Caribbean) exports,” meaning there is ample room for growth in intra-regional trade. Bulmer-Thomas said the “Dominican Republic should have always been a member” and made a case for the British territories, the French overseas departments, the Dutch islands, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Cuba to also be included in the Caribbean community because geographically, they are Caribbean and would encourage intra-regional trade. He urged Caribbean financial policymakers to create the framework to include them. If Argentinians can go to Uruguay on vacation and Costa Ricans can enjoy tourism in Central America, there is no reason the Caribbean cannot boost its intra-regional exports, he said.

Export to the Biggest Markets Bulmer-Thomas told the Caribbean financial leaders attending the high-level forum in Port-of-Spain that the region's exporters also now need to target China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and India as markets, since the economies of its traditional partners, the US and Europe, are in the doldrums. He said in the last ten years, China and Russia imported only one-tenth of a per cent from the Caribbean, and Cuba accounted for most of that. He said of these large markets to which the Carib-

bean should look to boost its growth, Brazil and Mexico are neighbours and both “are interested in expanding trade in the Caribbean.” For Bulmer-Thomas, a “return to export-led growth” in the Caribbean is an “imperative.” Responding immediately, discussants Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaican Finance Minister Peter David Phillips, and Guyanese Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Kumar Singh agreed with the professor about the need to seek growth through expansion and increased productivity, but asked for specifics and more support. Gonsalves said he liked the idea of “looking at our comparative history because in doing so, we'll have a better idea of the kinds of policy we should pursue.” On the topic of expansion of the Caribbean, he said the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is already considering the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe for associate membership, and will also entertain the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. Gonsalves said, “The question of labour productivity is absolutely essential. In our countries, there seems to be a greater affection for pleasure and leisure than for productivity,” adding that this needs to be addressed in order for the region to become more competitive and grow economically. He said symptoms of this is widespread tardiness and pilfering in the public service. He said Caribbean leaders should speak out against this “without putting water in our mouths.” Jamaican Finance Minister Phillips said, “In relation to the alternative visions of regionalism” that have been at times “competing,” there are groupings and sub-groupings, like the Association of Caribbean States, the OECS which have attempted to include some of the countries mentioned by Bulmer-Thomas, but the key question to ask is: Why have they not delivered the desired results? “What has impeded the regional integration?” he asked. He said that he does not think it is simply a matter of will but also of “administrative capacity and inherent resistance” stemming from “historical experience.”

Hurricanes Reset Economies Phillips said the Caribbean's major competitive advantage cannot be predicated primarily on low wages. He added

that hurricanes and other climate-induced disasters must be taken into account because, “with the exception of maybe Trinidad, because it's too far south,” that is a permanent vulnerability suffered by countries in the region. He said unlike in developed countries like the United States where a severe hurricane like Katrina will affect only a part of the country, hurricanes and natural disasters can and do force most Caribbean economies to reset when they are hit. “We need to recognise some social and structural features. I suggest that these things have an impact on the social processes. One thing that flows from this forum is that we have to recognise these vulnerabilities because the prospect of external shock, whether climate-based or economic, is greater than elsewhere,” Phillips said. He called for “effective mobilisation of private investment” because, in his view, the focus should be primarily on “private investments activities.” He said the region needs to mobilise more support and capacity building. Minister Singh from Guyana said he believes everyone in the room “could articulate the problem,” but more specifics are needed to solve it. He said everyone attending the forum would probably agree that “more effective regionalism is an objective we seek; fiscal sustainability is a big challenge and remains an objective for us to pursue,” but the difficulty is in articulating “practical solutions for overcoming these challenges and achieving our objectives.” Singh said Guyana, in particular “has limited option for diversification” yet countries in the region “need to diversify sources of our growth.” He said with all that has been said and done, Guyana continues to grapple with “access to affordable and reliable energy” and until this is solved, not much else would be. In this regard, he said, Guyana is looking into the large-scale generation of hydroelectricity. He put to the audience that “we need an identification of the specific interventions we need. Is it a regional capital market? A revised common external tariff? Widening geography?” PM Gonsalves added that sometimes in the Caribbean “we're choc-full of ideas, but there's a question of resources. We don't have the money ourselves.” Courtesy: Aleem Khan, Business Guardian & Jamaica Observer

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Caribbean & Latam Exports Face Slowdown

Foreign trade in Latin America and the Caribbean will suffer from the economic slowdown that started in the second half of 2011. The value of regional exports will increase by four per cent in 2012, whereas imports will grow three per cent – according to estimates presented in a new Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) study. In its annual report entitled “Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Economy 2011-2012”, the UN organisation states that the current recession in the Eurozone, the lack of economic dynamism in the United States and Japan and the modernisation in China's and other emerging economies' growth will affect trade in the region – which, in 2012, will be 20 percentage points lower than expansion rates shown last year. The prospects for 2012 show that foreign trade value in Mexico and Central America will grow above the regional average (7.3 per cent in exports and 5 per cent in imports), whereas South America will see lower rates (1.1 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively). The Caribbean countries will witness a fall in their trade exchange (-0.7 per cent in exports and -2.1 in imports), a fact that can be explained by their strong linkages to the European Union. According to ECLAC, Latin America and the Caribbean was the region with the highest export volumes growth in the last quarter of 2011 and the first four months of 2012, amidst the global trade slowdown. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Nonetheless, the European crisis and a global risk aversion affected its export performance in the months afterwards. This slowdown has affected the exchange with the main trade partners in the region – especially regarding exports to the European Union, which fell by five per cent in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. The weak export performance to the European Union will prevail for the rest of the year, although there will be differences among subregions (Caribbean countries -19 per cent; South America - 7 per cent; Mexico and Central America - 16 per cent). In the short term, this report foresees that developing countries will continue to be the engines of world economy and trade, although they will eventually also slowdown. “For this reason, ECLAC stresses that in order to increase potential growth in the future, it is necessary to make a special effort with ongoing challenges concerning production: productivity, innovation, education, infrastructure, logistics and transport," said Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the organisation, when launching the document. These topics, together with the regional need to move forward on the path of equal growth and environmental sustainability, were recently presented in a document entitled ‘Structural Change for Equality: An Integrated Approach to Development,’ launched by ECLAC during its thirty-fourth session, held at the end of August, in El Salvador. Amid the current international uncertainty, ECLAC foresees that the total value of regional exports will continue to grow in the next three years, yet at a lower rate than in the past years, i.e. an annual growth of 5 per cent between 2013 and 2015 compared to an annual average growth of 20 per cent in the second half of the last decade. In this context, ECLAC warns on opportunities and challenges linked to the strong relevance of commodities in the

region's export basket – especially among South American countries. One of these challenges is the presence of broader production chains, whether national, regional or global, as well as the recent integration of small and medium-sized enterprises into the production process of exports; the boost of interregional trade relations; and the strengthening of links to China and Asia-Pacific.

Challenges for the Region In its report, ECLAC sets forth that Latin America and the Caribbean continue to show low intraregional trade levels and a low productive integration. In spite of the fact that more than 50% of the exports of intermediate goods (excluding Mexico) are directed to the region, the proportion of the latter among intraregional exports amounts to only 10%. "Therefore, it is necessary to establish an adequate environment for a better productive integration among the economies of the region," reads the document. In the “Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Economy 2011-2012” report, other gaps in the region's export performance are highlighted. For instance, the percentage of exporting enterprises is below 2% in most of the countries of the region, and below 1% in many of them. On the other hand, the first percentile of exporting enterprises directs a proportion equal to or above 70% of their total exports to most countries of the region. Likewise, companies selling one single product for one single market prevail: from the 108,000 exporting enterprises existing in ten countries of the region in 2010, 36% (most of them small and middle sized) exported only one product to one destination. Courtesy: Business Express

OECS Considering WTO Treaty



Caribbean Agricultural & Manufacturing Industries Limited

CAAMIL Processors of Golden Acres:

The OECS flag may soon flutter at the WTO headquarters… A new project designed to assist Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) members to negotiate and implement trade facilitation agreements has been launched in St. Lucia. A communiqué from the OECS Secretariat stated that the goal of the project is to facilitate a future treaty with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), simplify and harmonise trade rules within the OECS, boost proficiency in business meetings and shrink trading delays while studying tariff payment alternatives, data accessing and socio-economic and political cooperation and aid among clients and with other partners. The project was launched during a trade facilitation workshop held here in August in collaboration with the United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) through its multidonor trust fund. Organisers noted that trade facilitation negotiations at the WTO level was one area in which OECS member-states stood to benefit significantly, as reform could result in increased efficiency by reducing delays in the clearance of goods which could also be more cost effective for consumers. The workshop participants, including trade and customs officials, reviewed the state of WTO negotiations on trade facilitation and discussed the project tools, outputs and stakeholder involvement. The workshop also sought to identify OECS interests and concerns, in the context of the establishment of the OECS Economic Union and identify regional approaches to implementation. The workshop and project will be followed by National Missions to the OECS-WTO member states – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia.


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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec





Style is Not

Just a Statement Carlos Philip Innovation St Lucia was founded in October 2007 by Carlos Philip in association with Mr. Raul Pinero Jr. of Innovation Works Inc., Miami to provide all facilities of a food service design company based in St Lucia. Carlos has over 20 years of experience in the hotel industry with 11 years in the Caribbean. His background as a chef and then Food and Beverage Director gives him an in depth understanding of the needs of his clients. Innovation St Lucia is the pioneer in providing complete food service design to completion, with after sales service in St Lucia and the surrounding islands. The combined experience of our team of architects, factory engineers, interior consultants and factory trained technicians has given us the ability to provide our customers with the most complete and comprehensive array of services including tailored consulting and design services, project planning and management services, coordination, logistics management of custom fabrication, training in HACCP systems and even complete turn-key solutions. The design and installation of food service facilities is a specialty field requiring an intimate knowledge of the catering industry. We offer an independent design service for all aspects of food and beverage service from the client brief, to commission and handover of facilities, and last but not least, we offer after sales support and warranty services. We also design home kitchens with a wide variety of cabinet finishes along with Fagor electro domestics / De Dietrich range of European appliances for exceptional quality on island. In recent years, our continued customer satisfaction has resulted in tremendous growth in the Caribbean, Central and BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



South America basin area. We are pleased to have participated in the development of some of the most prestigious resorts and hotels in the region. We successfully completed The Body Holiday Le Sport renovation project in 2011, The Jalousie Plantation’s restaurant/bar, Rendezvous Resort kitchen equipment, as well as work at Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Cotton Bay Village. Our current projects include redesign at the Jalousie Plantation and St. Jude Hospital and Laundry, walk-in coolers at the National Hospital and Regal Foods Outlet in Castries. Innovation St Lucia is pleased to represent some of the leading manufacturers from Europe and USA. The company took a new direction in 2010 with the formation of its sister company, Elegance by Innovation, under the leadership of Elena Philip with a retail outlet opening its doors to the St. Lucian market on March 7th 2011. Elena has to her credit, experience of over 20 years in the hospitality industry in a senior role in India, the Middle East and the Caribbean. To say that ‘Elegance’ is her brainchild wouldn’t be an understatement. Elegance sells high quality linen primarily sourced from India, the USA and France to various high end resorts in St Lucia, Gre-

nada, Tortola Trinidad and Tobago. Since then we have expanded our services to the design and installations of commercial laundries and other areas of rooms division including furniture, small appliances and accessories. We have successfully redesigned, supplied equipment, installed and commissioned the laundry at The Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort. This year marks a very special milestone for the company as we have moved into our new home “House of Innovation” in Massade, Gros Islet.

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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec





More Than Just Good Bread

There’s a little bakery in St. Lucia that’s already making its big mark. Bonne Baguette Bakery Ltd., which opened its doors to bread and pastry lovers recently, is run by its manager, Martiniquan Riquette BonneSmith, who saw St. Lucia as a possible market for her tasty and wholesome French collection. “I started coming to St. Lucia around 2010 to study the island so as to see what needed to be done in setting up shop here,” Bonne-Smith tells BF. “I saw there was a niche in terms of French pastries, so I created a little French environment here for St. Lucians and tourists alike to enjoy French bread and pastries that can be found overseas.” After giving some thought to the idea and putting much effort into the project, Riquette’s labour of love became a reality in May of this year. Bonne Baguette Bakery is located in the J.Q. Rodney Bay Shop-

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



ping Mall where delicious bits of Paris can be enjoyed in true French ambience. As proprietor of Bonne Baguette Bakery, Riquette also wears another cap – a diplomatic one, that is. That’s right. Madame Riquette Bonne-Smith is France’s Honorary Consul to Bermuda and a recipient of the Order of Merit (Chevalier de l’ordre National du Merite) and the Order of Academic Palms (l’ordre des Palmes Académiques). She is also an educator with two Master Degrees in French Language/Literature and in International Public Policy from SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University). It turns out that adding these delicious delights to her diplomatic duty portfolio is a dream come true for the woman who always wanted to open up her own bakery business. Bonne Baguette Bakery now offers a wide variety of French baguettes: half baguettes, long baguettes, whole wheat half baguettes, whole wheat long baguettes, and petit pain. Also on the menu are delicious pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins, sausage rolls, cheesecakes, muffins, black forest cakes, quiches, banana bread, carrot cakes, lemon tarts, chocolate tarts, fruit cakes, madeleines, cream puff (chou à la crème) and éclairs au chocolat. Riquette says a number of other items will soon be added to the already-delicious and wide range of pastries, including artisan bread and clafoutis. Located just in front of the bakery is an umbrella-shaded dining area where patrons can enjoy a glass of French wine while partaking in some of their favourite pastries in an al fresco setting. Since setting up shop, the feedback from patrons has been good enough to

keep them coming back for more of what Bonne Baguette Bakery has to offer, Riquette says. “Our prices are very competitive given the high quality of products that we offer here at Bonne Baguette Bakery. We do not use lard, additives or colouring in our products, so our products are very wholesome. Also, all of our ingredients are imported from Martinique,” Riquette explains. Bonne Baguette Bakery may be relatively new in the market but it has certainly made inroads. Its bread and pastry products are also available at some of the island’s leading supermarkets, including the Super J chain and GL Supermarket. Some of the island’s leading hotels are also customers who serve Bonne Baguette Bakery’s special range of bread and pastries to their guests. But Bonne Baguette Bakery’s great taste doesn’t end just there. The little bakery with big ambitions also caters for parties and business meetings, conferences, seminars and other special events. Place your orders today!

So if you’re looking for more than just good bread, then give the bread and pastries professionals at Bonne Baguette Bakery a call and let them give you great taste with a French twist. Bonne Baguette Bakery Ltd. can be contacted on 458-4939 or cell 486-5871, fax: 452-1980, email: or

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Hopes for the Stimulus Package to Create Economic Growth Through Construction The Government of St. Lucia’s Construction Industry Stimulus Package, launched in August, received both rave reviews and cautious welcomes, but it’s been generally accepted as a positive step that can result in a spur in construction that would inject both capital and action into the economy. One of the crucial pronouncements made by Dr. Anthony during the last general elec-

million with an approval ceiling of $1 million per loan applicant at a fixed rate of interest of 5.99% per annum for the first five-year period of the loan. This special loan offer will be available for a 12-month period with an option to extend it for another six months. These concessionary loans will be made available for new construction projects for individuals and busi-

tions and subsequent to his government taking office late last year was the importance of public/private sector partnerships. And the construction stimulus package, he said, is just one of the initiatives identified by government as being worthy of such a partnership. A total of $195 million will be available for investment during the eighteenmonth-long period of the new economic generation initiative. The government says the package will see two local banks committing a total of $150 million. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank will put up an initial exposure limit of $50

nesses in the private sector. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’s Country Manager Mauricia ThomasFrancis told BF that under the programme new loans to small and medium-sized enterprises for general construction-related projects, including physical expansion of industrial and commercial plant, warehouses, commercial buildings and land development projects such as substantial housing development would be covered. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank will also waive 100% negotiation fees for first-time homeowners with other lendings attracting 0.5% of the total sum being bor-

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



rowed, she said. Bank of Saint Lucia will provide another $100 million in concessionary loans, with each loan attracting a fixed interest rate of 5% over the first five-year period, followed by an incremental step-up to the market rate. There is no set ceiling on the amount each investor can borrow and Bank of Saint Lucia is also offering a 0.5% concessionary discount on bank fees. Senior Manager for Credit Risk at Bank of Saint Lucia, Beverley Henry, told BF that this special loan facility is targeting individuals, businesses, the private sector, land development projects with a significant component for housing, warehousing, manufacturing for factories and commercial entities. The Government of Saint Lucia will forego over $45 million in revenue as part of its contribution to the programme. This will result in significant reductions in the cost of key building materials by as much as 41% less than regular market prices. Building materials that fall under this concessionary umbrella include sand, aggregate and stone products, cement, lumber, plywood and other synthetic and non-synthetic woods, steel bars, rods, PVC and iron pipes, paints, nails, fencing and other basic building supplies. During the 18-month-long period of the construction stimulus package, these items will not attract duties and taxes, including the Value Added Tax. According to Dr. Anthony, such

concessionary measures will allow retailers to sell these items to consumers at a reduced cost. Further, government will waive the 0.25% stamp duty on loans for residential and commercial mortgages and serviced lots at competitive prices will be made available through the National Housing Corporation (NHC). Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, Deputy Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre and Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte attended the launching ceremony, as did Chamber of Commerce President Gerard Bergasse, Bar Association President Andy George, First Caribbean International Country Manager Mauricia Thomas-Francis and Bank of St. Lucia Chairman Hildreth Alexander. The Prime Minister said, “The impact of this programme will no doubt be pervasive, providing job opportunities for a wide range of labour segments, including architects and engineers, while providing infrastructural upgrades for lasting social improvements and the productive sector.” According to Dr. Anthony, “I expect that the economic stimulation this programme would provide, coupled with the NICE employment initiative, though short-term,

would greatly assist in keeping this country afloat whilst we realise other long term economic recovery measures.” The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce supports the programme. President Bergasse thanked the government for the effort to help build economic advancement and said he hoped this was “only the first of many more such projects,” in light of the economic situation, to find ways to stimulate economic activity. At the same time, he said the Chamber “wants to ensure the widest cross-section of the nation benefits through the expected broadening of economic activity. We are aware what the government is looking to do and we hope it will be successful.” Bar Association President, Andy George, said local lawyers had their concerns, but they felt that “the initiative taken by the government to jolt the economy was a good one, despite our concerns.” As a result, he said, the lawyers agreed to reduce their fees for projects under the stimulus package by 30% for the 18 months of the project’s duration, but also with the proviso that “this will only be extended to CARICOM nationals.” George said, “The Bar Association supports this initia-

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tive because we believe that it will more than likely spur economic growth, particularly in the construction sector, which we hope will translate into job creation and, therefore, more economic activity on the island.” Manufacturers Association President, Paula Cauldron said that short of some specific concerns, the manufacturers support the project, although they suspect its lifespan may have to be extended beyond the 18-month period. Vice President of the St. Lucia Association of Professional Engineers, former Government Chief Engineer John Peters, said his members also have specific concerns, but they also support the objective of the stimulus package. Opposition, however, came from the United Workers party (UWP), which issued a press release shortly after the launching saying the government was foregoing too much revenue collection ($150M) that could have been used instead to meet social expenditure. The UWP also called on the government to release lands to be made available to persons wanting to construct new homes.

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By Stan Bishop

New Bonne Terre Bridge In The Works

Construction is already underway on the new Bonne Terre Bridge, which upon completion is expected to ameliorate some of the traffic woes in the island’s north. Minister of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport, Hon. Philip J. Pierre revealed government’s rationale behind the implementation of the new thoroughfare at a press briefing held in early September. According to Hon. Pierre, the existing structure located along the Castries/Gros Islet Highway has given way to the elements. The existing Bonne Terre culvert, comprised of five circular metal culverts, has shown signs of serious structural failure. Despite repeated costly repairs done on the existing bridge, the problems persist and a more formidable approach had to be taken, ministry officials say. Chief Engineer, Albert Jn. Baptiste, revealed some of the key features the new Bonne Terre Bridge will comprise. They are as follows: • An 11.2 metre-long single-span reinforced concrete structure that will accommodate four-lane traffic and pedestrian sidewalks on either side; • A design life of 120 years and a flow volume capacity equaling a return period of 1 in 50, meaning that the new bridge will be able to accommodate a volume flow produced by a storm that occurs at a frequency of once in every fifty years; • A clear span of 10 metres and a bridge clearance of 3.5 metres; BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



• The total bridge width of 19.5 metres will accommodate four 3.5 metrewide lanes for vehicular traffic and two 2.3 metre-wide pedestrian sidewalks; • The roadway alignment will be constructed in such a manner that the road widening will switch from two lanes to four and then back to two. Jn. Baptiste added that increased traffic along the busy thoroughfare also necessitates a new structure. According to him, based on data collected by the ministry last January, the increased level of traffic renders the capacity of the existing twolane road inadequate and obsolete. In fact, using the below-quoted statistics related to the current and projected future flow of traffic in the area, Jn. Baptiste said construction of the new bridge is inevitable. The data collected is as follows: Average traffic volume in a 12-hour period: Cars – 12,768 2 axle trucks – 503 2+ axle trucks – 30 Converted to 24-hour traffic volumes, the results were: Cars – 17,876 2 axle trucks – 705 2+ axle trucks – 42 The average daily traffic (ADT) per lane projected for 2032 is as follows: Cars – 28,682

Trucks – 1,221 In order to accommodate motorists and pedestrians traversing the area during the construction period, the ministry is constructing a temporary bypass road running parallel to the existing culvert. This measure will also facilitate the smooth and uninterrupted pace of construction works being undertaken on the new Bonne Terre Bridge. The new Bonne Terre Bridge is estimated to cost $5,559,646. Construction began in late August of this year and the estimated date of completion is set for February 2013. According to Infrastructure Minister Pierre, funding for the new state-of-the-art bridge will be sourced from a $13.37 million allocation set aside in the 2012/2013 fiscal budget for the rehabilitation and maintaining of bridges and culverts islandwide. Two local companies have been contracted in designing and undertaking the construction of the multi-million-dollar structure. The new bridge design was conceptualized by Dannion CE Ltd. while works on the structure will be undertaken by Integrated Development Contractors (IDC). Additionally, the project will be supervised by officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure. Hon. Pierre said the Bonne Terre Bridge is one of many projects that the government has in the pipeline as it seeks to upgrade the island’s vast road network.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Praedial Larceny: What Cost to Farmers? By Earl Bousquet

Praedial Larceny has plagued St. Lucian farmers from time immemorial – long before the golden banana days. But in this post-banana period when farmers are even more pressed than ever, the effects of theft of crops by persons who reap what they did not sow, is that more deep and painful. The practice is illegal and those caught can but don’t serve jail time. Justice is so lenient to crop thieves that none ever seem to feel they will be caught. They walk the streets freely and vend freely by the roadsides – and everybody buys from them, no questions asked. On any day too, you can see guys who obviously don’t own one square foot of land anywhere, walking the streets everywhere with bags of coconuts or breadfruit, mangoes or oranges, yams, even carrots and cabbage. Nothing is beyond their fingers. For decades farmers were left to fend for themselves against those stealing their crops. In the absence of rural constables patrolling farms, they either had to keep permanent watch or wake up the next morning counting their overnight losses. The Ministry of Agriculture has long been trying to address the problem, but help was long in coming. A program was devised to establish a Praedial Larceny Unit way back in 2001 and funding was sourced from the EU’s Special Framework of Assistance Fund. But funding took years to come and the program was initiated in 2008, mainly in the Roseau, Cul De Sac and BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



This poster, erected by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Praedial Larceny Unit in Cul De Sac, encourages taking the battle against theft of farmers’ produce to another level. Mabouya agricultural areas. In its first year the program also reached Babonneau and Micoud. Now it’s been taken to the Southern Belt in 2012: to the areas encompassing Vieux Fort (North and South), Laborie and Choiseul. The Agriculture Ministry’s project is now considered national in scope, with Agriculture Minister, Moses “Musa” Jn Baptiste, saying, “Farmers are warming up to the program because it is working in their interest.” Jn Baptiste told BF, “The unit isn’t only providing protection through enforcement, but it is also an educational tool that is teaching farmers ways and means of working together to look after each other’s interests.” Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, addressed the launching of the second phase of the project in Vieux Fort in August and urged farmers who were victims of Praedial Larceny to “resist the temptation to take the law into your own hands.” He said the leniency of magistrates and the apparent unconcern of those engaging in theft of agricultural produce combined to make farmers feel they should take the law into their hands, but advised, “It is better for the law to suffer disrepute than for you to be its victim.”

The Prime Minister said the effect of the unit “will be measured in many ways, the most important being in an eventual increase in the production of crops for sale and increased confidence among farmers that they can reap what they sow.” The PM said fishermen also face the same plight of having their stocks stolen from their pots by day and night and it was time for those engaging in such theft to understand that action will be taken against them. He said the government was considering legislation to be taken to Parliament before the end of this financial year that will not only seek to strengthen anti theft provisions but also to introduce new measures to modernize farming. It will address issues such as Farmer Certification, Sale of Agricultural Products, Licensing of Agricultural Sales and a Food Safety Certification Programme.


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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Performance Management

By Faithaline Hippolyte

Ensure a Return on Your Human Capital Investment

All companies would expect to receive a return on their investment in human capital. It is therefore imperative that employers manage the performance of employees, to ensure a high level of productivity. A major tool in keeping track of employees’ performance is the formal appraisal. It can be done at regular intervals, for example annually, semi-annually or quarterly, depending on the level and nature of the job; the more critical and complex the job, the more frequent; the more routine the job, the less frequent. A very common and simple to use rating method is the graphic scale, in which an employee’s performance is rated against objective standards, as opposed to against other employees. The appraiser selects the appropriate place on the scale for each task; for example one may use a five-point scale in which 1 represents ‘falls below standard’ and 5 could be ‘exceeds standard.’ The appraisal time is an occasion to give feedback to the employee about areas in which they have done well, and areas that need improvement. It is also a time to receive feedback from the employee, as to how they assess themselves, and to get their input in finding solutions and ways to improve on their performance going forward. Future training and developmental needs of the employee can also be determined at this point. It should be noted that besides the formal appraisal, managers should be providing informal feedback to team members in BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



a timely manner - in fact at the time that the incident requiring praise or reprimand occurs. Managers should not be bringing up major issues at the formal appraisal for the first time, so that the employee wonders, “Why didn’t you tell me so at the time?” To encourage good performers to continue to do well, and poor performers to emulate good performers, it is vital that there be a reward system in place so that persons who do well are recognised and rewarded for their hard work. Rewards can take many forms: such as salary increases, annual bonuses, and even non-cash rewards such as thank you notes and paid time off. Poor performance or behaviour likewise has to be addressed, and therefore companies should have a fair and consistent disciplinary process in place. The aim of the disciplinary process should be to encourage the employee to perform better, and to offer them support in achieving company objectives. However if after reasonable effort on the part of the company to assist the employee to improve their performance proves unsuccessful, then the hard decision of parting company with this employee may have to be made. Those administering discipline should be assertive enough to confront issues, and to do so in a transparent and unbiased manner. Also coming out of the formal and informal appraisal would be the training and developmental needs of the employee.

Depending on the areas of weakness that are raised, training whether in hard skills or soft skills may assist in improving performance. In addition, the issue may not be one of poor performance in an area, however feedback from a team member may reveal their interest in advancing their career within the company. As a result, developmental plans may be put in place to help them gain experience in their area of interest, either through a course, a workshop, or being an understudy to someone in the organisation, etc. Due to the perception that employees tend to have that performance appraisals, the disciplinary process and the reward systems are biased; it is imperative that these be carried out in a transparent, fair manner, and that persons responsible for carrying out these processes be trained to do so objectively. Finally regular feedback from appraisers and the appraised should be sought in order to continuously improve on your performance management. About the Author: Faithaline Hippolyte is a freelance writer. She holds a BSc. degree in Management Studies, and is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Find some of her other writings at, including Kindle books for instant download.


Cocktail Campari Berry Ingredients: 1 part Campari 1 part cranberry juice ½ part orange juice Shake all ingredients and pour into it in a chilled cocktail glass.

Campari Orange Passion Ingredients 1 part Campari 1 teaspoon brown sugar 3 parts light orange juice Some crushed ice Prepare the drink in a tall glass. Place orange and brown sugar in the glass and crush to a pulp. Add crushed ice. Add the Campari and orange juice, and gently stir. Garnish with a red cherry.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec Distributed by Brydens & Partners Ltd.




I Want My Neighbour To Mind My Business

By Brian Ramsey

There once was a time when in every neighbourhood you walked or drove through on an evening you would see people sitting in their porch enjoying the evening or pottering around in their yard, maybe tending to their flowers. Neighbours would be chatting over the fence or at the gate and little boys would be playing in the street. Now when you go through neighborhoods in the evening, they seem to be deserted, no one appears to be around. Oh, we know that they are not really deserted because we see the front door open and the curtain blowing in the breeze or hear the sound of the television or the sounds of air-conditioning units running but we do not see the people. There is no one sitting on the porch to wave to you or talking to the neighbour next door. Now everyone seems to be locked up behind walls claiming that they are scared, so they are hidden away from view. If not blaming the seclusion on crime it is said that the high walls are because I do not want my neighbour to know my business. Why people do not want their neighbour to know their business I do not understand. There was a time that the neighbour knew when your son did well at school or did something that caused his father to correct him. The neighbour did not have to call on the cell phone because they had not seen you but knew when you were sick and appeared on the weekend with a pot of soup to strengthen you. What exactly is the problem with neighbours knowing your business, what can they really know and how will that afBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



fect you? This thinking of not wanting the neighbour to know your business is having consequences far beyond what many individuals imagine. Hiding behind high walls actually helps thieves in some instances. The high walls that some persons see as protection also mean that once a robber gets over the wall there is no one to see when you are getting robbed and so no one to either come to your assistance or call the police. This act of sequestering one's self inside the home as soon as you arrive and never venturing out until the next morning often means that there is no one outside to notice the strange car or strange persons going through the neighbourhood and then telling the others on the street. As a result there is no one realizing that the neighbourhood is being â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;casedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by robbers who are planning a burglary or home invasion robbery, so no one is on the alert. Quiet neighbourhoods have actually become attractive for robbers because they think that they can act without consequences because there is no one to see, no one to talk, no one to call the police, no one to identify them. Well I want my neighbour to know my business. I want my neighbour to know when something seems wrong at my house and call to inquire or come across to see what is wrong. I want my neighbour to know when I am not at home so anyone in the yard is likely to be a thief. I want my neighbour to know my business as that means we have a good relationship and he will look after my interest and seek

my safety. I want to live in a street that is alive with people talking to each other because that means that we are all concerned about our neighbourhood and so take steps to maintain the neighbourhood and that ultimately means that my property value will remain high and my investment in my home will grow at a faster rate than the rate of inflation. People should once again get to know their neighbour and build a relationship with that family. In the evenings and on weekends, one should spend time outside the house, the fresh air is good for your health and you get to see and know what is happening on your street. Yes it is true that in our busy modern lives we often have some type of work to do when we reach home, be it company or personal, but we can do that work with the windows open and the curtains back so that we can see what is happening on the outside. All in all, I want my neighbour to mind my business because it is good for my safety, good for my physical well being, good for my financial investment in my home and simply good common sense. About the Author Brian Ramsey has a BA in Accounting & Management, along with an MBA in Finance and over 25 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Ltd., which operates in Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Changing Retail Environment

By Fern Smith In today's retail environment, it's no longer business as usual. Technology, competition and a changing consumer landscape all seem to play a critical role in the selling of goods. Retailers are vying for the consumer's dollar and the changing environment means that they have to be prepared to do what is necessary to survive and thrive. Retailers who choose to ignore the changes will either find themselves on the bottom rungs of the ladder or they will soon go out of business. It is basically a game of survival of the fittest. As a retailer, are you prepared to deal with those changes? Technological advancement has made the shopping experience even easier for consumers. With the click of a mouse, almost any business with a website can be accessed via the Internet. Some retailers have made it convenient, by offering their customers the options to buy merchandise, just the same as if they were at the physical store. Payments are made online with some providing delivery within two days. Some retailers have taken it a notch higher, by utilizing methods such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;search engine optimizationâ&#x20AC;? which helps retailers improve the visibility of their website to their targeted audience. The proliferation of social media marketing via avenues such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has also taken the retail environment by storm, and cannot be ignored. Most major companies utilize one or more of these mediums to reach their intended audience. Embracing this change is a "must" for any business that wants to survive in a rapidly changing economy. Retailers who don't keep abreast, get left behind. Competition is another factor affect-

ing the retail environment. Are you selling what consumers want? Customers will go to the competition if you cannot cater to their needs. The rise of mega malls and mega stores make it especially difficult for smaller retailers who most of the time, rely on customer loyalty to get their sales. Consumers are looking to get the best bang for their buck and so staying loyal to one or a few small retailers who have been around for a while, can be short lived. Bigger retailers invest heavily in recreational attractions such as indoor playgrounds for kids, movie theatres and arcade centres to draw customers in. Smaller retailers must have strategies in place to deal with those challenges or face going out of business altogether. Store layouts together with innovative merchandising fixtures also play their part in enhancing the appeal of the retail establishment, luring customers in to make purchases. It is no longer just a matter of selling the right product, but also creating an atmosphere or ambience which registers your business as the ideal place in consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; minds to shop. The changing consumer landscape is another major cause of radical change in the retail environment. Consumers have become more demanding and better informed concerning their decisions to purchase over the last ten years. The reality is that they are looking for certain attributes such as quality, durability and effectiveness at the right price. It is essential for retailers to create value. Does your "value proposition" really offer value? Your value proposition is the benefits afforded to customers through the use of your product. It is necessary for retailers to stay on top

of trends and all the changes occurring in their respective markets. Neglect of any crucial factors may mean loss of sales, loss of customers, declining and obsolete markets. Many retailers employ the use of customer surveys and engage in aggressive market research to determine what their customers' needs are and how to please them. In conclusion, the changing retail environment is an evolving process. Some retailers try their best to anticipate future trends so that they can be one step ahead of the competition. At times they may be right on target or they may have missed it altogether. The defining line will be whether retailers can and will act fast enough to counteract those changes. Whether retailers want to accept it or not, the challenges of technology, changing consumer tastes and competition must be addressed if they are going to succeed. An assessment of all market factors affecting your business must be a priority on the agenda for success and profitability in the long run. Are you prepared for the changing retail environment? About the Author: Fern Smith holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management with a Minor in Marketing. Her work experience spans over a decade in the hospitality industry and the distribution and retail sector in St. Lucia. She is an avid reader of diverse topics, some of which include management, marketing and inspirational literature.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Sex Sells…

Sometimes By Pilaiye Cenac

Here’s a scenario: The family restaurant, Hearty Meals (HM), opened its doors four months ago. Business was great during the first two months but the management team has spent the last two months trying to figure out how to keep those doors opened. They’ve tried lowering their prices, offering free sides and drinks, extending their opening hours – but nothing has increased patronage. At one meeting, Devon proposed an advertising campaign (radio, TV, billboards, YouTube) to put HM’s name out there. This is one of his concepts for advertising this family restaurant: “A woman wearing a cleavage-baring top and ultra short shorts plays the waitress. This waitress will personify the Hearty Meals brand and will appear in all forms of advertising. In one TV ad, she approaches (in slow motion, of course) a table of six: husband, wife, 2 kids, grandma, and grandpa. The waitress asks the family, "Is everybody ready to eat?" ALL family members nod vigorously; the two men at the table look particularly thrilled. The waitress and the men exchange knowing glances before she assures the family that they’ve come to the right place…” HM’s team comprises three men and one woman. The men thought the concept was great, that it had that ‘something’ needed to capture people’s attention. They claimed that they would not hesitate to visit the place portrayed in that ad. I know what Devon was thinking… Sex sells! It has been used (and is being used) to sell chocolate, drinks, shampoo, perfume, shoes, magazines etc. Companies BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



tell consumers that their products/services can help increase attractiveness, provide more opportunities for sex and help them rise to the occasion when those opportunities present themselves. Many people believe and act accordingly. Axe, Old Spice, Victoria’s Secret, the writer of “Fifty Shades of Grey” are among the many successfully selling sex. PETA uses nude celebrities to chastise us for our unethical treatment of animals – what a thing! Sex: it’s a language people seem to understand and respond to. Devon is hoping that HM’s customer will follow suit. But here’s what I am thinking… 1. Shouldn’t HM’s team find out why customers stopped flocking to the restaurant so soon after the launch, before undertaking this ‘sexciting’ campaign? 2. Is this costly advertising campaign the best way to make people aware of Hearty Meals and its offerings? 3. Hearty Meals sounds so wholesome, but this suggested ad is quite the contrary. Is this restaurant located in a red light district? What’s on that menu? Pray tell. Are the men and women at the table 'ready to eat' the same thing? And what does this ‘ready to eat’ say about the value proposition? Is HM able to prepare meals faster than the competitor? Cater to all taste buds? Offer larger portion sizes? We don’t know. The ad does not say. 4. Are those grandma's hands I see covering the kids’ eyes? (Or is that my imagination at work?) This concept makes

Hearty Meals sound more like a ‘breastaurant’ than a family restaurant. Is HM trying to lure unsuspecting families into their establishment to destroy them? This proposed campaign does not seem suitable for the intended audience - families. Research reveals that women are generally turned off by such a sexually explicit approach in ads; men remember and appreciate the sexual innuendo, but don't seem to remember the company or brand being advertised. Then, we have the age groups to consider, from the grandparents who lived in a different time to the kids who have not lived long enough to understand what’s going on. 5. We’ve seen this ad before - a different woman, representing a different brand, but the same idea! There is no creativity here. This 'sexualization' is too obvious and a little creepy. So yes, sex sells when… 1. Selling sex …or products (obviously) related to sex in some way 2. It is presented in a way that does not confuse, mislead, alienate the audience. Also, it should not cheapen the brand. About the Author: Pilaiye Cenac is an entrepreneur. Her qualifications include a BSc. in Psychology and Sociology and an MSc. in Marketing. She is also a PMP® and a published writer. One of her companies, In Tandem, focuses on low cost approaches to enriching the customer experience.

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Dispense with Speculation, Manage with Facts! By Harvey H. Millar Ph.D., P. Eng.

I recall once delivering a seminar on total quality management in higher education and found myself stressing the importance of the use of factual information for supporting decision-making. As part of the total quality philosophy, managers are required to manage on the basis of facts. One of the participants expressed disagreement with this idea, suggesting that the approach did not appear to value the “human side” of management. He asked, “what about making decisions based on gut feeling?” Quite a good question I noted. But when does one resort to gut feeling? Most would agree, it is in the absence of facts - when uncertainty exists. Why would anyone speculate or resort to “gut feel” decision making if clear and concise facts are staring you in the face? There is no need for the gut feel!

You cannot manage what you do not measure! Imagine if doctors could not measure our blood pressure, hemoglobin count, PSA level, heart rate, sugar level, etc., it would be near impossible to effectively manage our health. Similarly, if we do not measure and obtain facts about the business, small and large alike, we could not effectively manage it. Many managers appear to be guilty of the practice of what I call “management by speculation” (MBS). Rather than use facts, they are prepared to speculate about the status of most of their key business processes, and act surprised when business performance fails to meet their expectations. Managers will tell you that employee morale is low, worker productivity is below standard, scrap levels are high, absenteeism is on the rise, sales are dropping, inventory costs are high, but very rarely can they provide precise measurements for each of the above elements. In most cases, appropriate measures are not BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



available, data is not collected, any collected data may not be properly analyzed if at all, and in some cases where data may be analyzed, the skills to interpret the data may be not be available. Perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that “gut feel” is more expedient, and that managers generally practice a satisficing approach rather than an optimizing approach to decision making. In some cases, managers simply exhibit “data phobia” the fear of not knowing what to do with the data, or because they fear that the data may contradict their preconceived notions of a particular business scenario. Some managers simply feel that they know it all (the omniscient manager), and that there is little or nothing new they could learn from any data that is collected. Others may like the challenge of navigating through uncertainty. They get a high from it. A major impediment to the practice of management by fact is the difficulty in designing and maintaining efficient data collection systems. It is not uncommon to find situations where the information is available, but not in the correct form (storage and retrieval inefficiencies). In such cases, the data collection system may not have been strategically designed. In some other cases, the data may not be readily shareable - finance prepared the data in one form, but operations require the data in another form. The idea of generating factual information from key business processes for the purpose of making strategic, tactical, and operational decisions is not just for big business. In fact, big businesses are just as guilty as small ones for practicing “management by speculation”. There is no reason why a corner store cannot collect hard data on the number of defects in each shipment received of a particular good, the time it takes to receive each shipment, the daily or weekly sales for the item, and other goods purchased in conjunction

with that item. In managing the ordering process for that item, the above information is invaluable if inventory costs are to be managed properly. It is not sufficient to say that only a few items get damaged during shipment, or the shipment takes about one week to get here, and so on. An overemphasis on approximations can make or break a business. Interestingly enough, an African professor of Sociology of Education, identified the practice of approximations as an axiom of African and by extension African-Canadian culture. Creating high performance organisations require that we shy away from such a practice. The value of factual data cannot be over-emphasized. It allows for better understanding of business scenarios, and it reduces the likelihood of managers making ineffective decisions. In the case of multiple departments using shared information, factual data promotes consistency and reliability in the basis for decisions. What is not obvious, however, is the kind of data to collect, and how the data should be collected, analyzed, and interpreted. In designing a data management system, it is important to first establish the goals and objectives that underlie the decision(s) being made. Secondly, one must identify the key processes implicated by the decision(s) to be made. Thirdly, key output measures from each of the processes must be identified. The data collection system must focus on the process outputs that reflect the decision(s) to be made. One must decide how to collect the data (referred to as data sampling) as well as the frequency of data collection. Both of these decisions are highly situation dependent. How to collect the data will depend on how the information sources are organised, while the frequency of data collection will depend on how dynamic the underlying process is. If things move slow, then data collection need only be periodic. In fast changing systems, data collection may need to be

continuous (hourly, daily, etc.). An efficient data collection system must have the following attributes: The data collected must be relevant, the collection device must be accurate and reliable, the format of the data must be shareable, the data must be easy to store and easily retrieved, and finally, the data must be analyzable. There is little value in data that cannot be analyzed for the purpose of supporting management decisions. In summary, managing with facts is unquestionably a superior way to manage a business. Managers must be willing to go beyond financial measures and engage with process-related measures. However, to manage effectively with facts, organisations must first have a fact-generation system in place (data collection). The data collection system must be efficiently designed, based on the factors impinging on the domain of the decision, and the data must be accurately analyzed and interpreted. To make full use of factual data, managers if they do not already have the skills, will need to be trained in the area of business research, data analysis, and interpretation. If the facts are there, use them! If they are not, find them! About the Author Dr. Millar is a Professor of Operations Management in the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, and a management consultant specializing in strategic planning and performance improvement of organisations. He can be reached at Harvey.H.Millar@ or through his website

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The Business of

By Earl Bousquet


Choc Cemetery is more than just a burial ground. It’s a place where the science and economics of burials exist side by side and go hand in hand, as bereaved families are finding out in their times of grief. Just in case you didn’t know, it’s becoming increasingly costly to die… Yes, to take that inevitable trip that we all must, to The Great Beyond. It’s getting more and more expensive to die. That’s the verdict from those who have had to bury relatives of late. It used to cost hundreds of dollars to bury a relative, but that was a long time ago – a distant memory. Today the costs start in the early thousands – and gradually climb. The cost of death is an addition of bills you’d never know existed - until they land on you. There’s the various costs at the funeral home – from washing and freezing the body to draining it out, to bathing and dressing it up for the funeral service to the choice of coffin and types of handles. The funeral pamphlet is about the only thing offered free, but every day the death is announced on air has to be paid for. And then there’s the hearse for that final ride. Then there’s the choice of grave – where a choice is available. Whether at the Choc Cemetery that stretches increasingly towards Vigie, or at any other, it’s becoming more and more of a hassle to secure cemetery space to bury departed loved ones. The cost of space is increasingly mounting where it’s available - and in several areas around the island, cemeteries have simply become over-full. Recycling is the name of the game in many instances. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



The north and south of the island are increasingly facing the ugly side of the business of burials – lack of space. The Castries City Council (CCC), which is responsible for the Choc cemetery - the island’s largest and most busy cemetery - has over the years supervised its expansion in all directions, speeding parallel to the Vigie Airport runway as it lessens the acreage of public beach space. To create more space (and earn more from the living burying their dead) the CCC has, over the past decade and more, creatively developed and adapted the science and economics of space allocation, increasing the cost per available tomb and inventing new ways to sell more burial space per tomb. The CCC has turned burials into as much of a business as funeral homes that conduct funerals. Every now and then advertisements are placed in local papers advertising increased costs of burial space and inviting persons to book their plots early. The CCC continues to be creative in the science and business of burials. It has of late devised a new mechanism of space allocation than can see four or five persons of different families buried in the same tomb.

Instead of the old system of charging each family per tomb that could be used and reused at no extra cost as members depart, today subscribers pay per layer, per coffin – and not per hole. Under the new system, one tomb can eventually contain four or five – even six – coffins containing the bodies of different persons from different families. In the unlikely case of a body’s bones having to be exhumed from the bottom of the pile, there’s no known mechanism of executing that operation which allows those above to rest in peace. Space is a similar problem at the Gros Islet cemetery, which is quickly heading in the direction of running out of space. In Castries, the former Anglican Cemetery between Chausse Road and Trinity Church Road gave way first to a bank and now to the prime property market. Same with the larger Hospital Road (Catholic) cemetery, where marble plates and concrete tombs have given way to illegally constructed homes. The island’s main undertakers have built lucrative operations in the south, but the cemeteries – whether private or public – are running out of space just as fast

as everywhere else. In Soufriere, new burial grounds are being sought and found continuously. Ditto Dennery and Micoud on the East Coast, where space is so limited that those who can afford have to increasingly opt for burial of their relatives or loved ones in Vieux Fort, or even Castries. The cost of burial also increases as undertakers become more sophisticated and offer more sophisticated products and services. The shortage of burial space has led to more families opting for cremations. Burials at sea are also available, but mainly done for seafarers. The authorities have not been making a big thing about it, but burial space is in demand everywhere – north, south, east and west. Municipal bodies (the city, towns, villages and district councils and such entities) are desperately searching for new space. But new space is an old problem that’s never been easy to solve – or find. The best locations are in private hands, while very few communities fancy existing alongside a cemetery. The business of burials continues to be tricky for all involved – from the undertaker who cannot afford to underwrite his losses to the grieving consumer who has to also pay for the food-andrum reception expected to follow the burial service. No, it’s not a nice job, but someone has to do the burying. However, what many are finding out in their moments of bereavement is that it’s becoming increasingly costly to die. And, even with a decent funeral these days, there’s never any guarantee you’ll rest in peace, for ever and ever.

Distributors for the ROT Brand of the Fire safety Equipment: portable & Wheeled


BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Business of SHIPPING The

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




The Business of Shipping is the Business of the Nation! Michael Chastanet Ports are central to the business of shipping, whether we’re speaking of airports or seaports. The simple fact is that everything we have that was not “Made in St. Lucia” was imported, and each item arrived here only through the business of shipping. The shipping business here has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades. I’ve sailed in and out of the Castries Harbour on my father’s local coastal boat, “Canaries”, to every town and village on the west coast, all the way to Vieux Fort and back every day. I know the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean well enough. There is no corner of our coastline I don’t know because I’ve been a seafarer for most of my life. I spent 25 years buying and selling cargo ships and working as a captain until I returned home to do what I’m doing today. No matter where I am, sea water still runs through my veins. I still have that deep attachment to the sea, because, after all, that’s what made me as I grew up in the business of shipping. The shipping business itself has transformed over the years. In the very early days, coastal boats and vessels - including my father’s “Michael David” and “Christine C” - transported people and cargo between the islands. They brought manufactured goods from Trinidad, ‘BG Plantain’ from Guyana, sugar from Barbados and Caribbean people from everywhere. Then came the Federal Boats (“Federal Palm” and “Federal Maple”) donated by Canada, which provided the opportunity to ship more people and cargo in greater volumes between the island of the Caribbean, from Jamaica to Guyana. Today we have all the world’s best shipping lines serving St. Lucia. We can receive BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



cargo from anywhere in the world because we have had to make the necessary changes to accommodate growth. The business of shipping in St. Lucia is a cycle encompassing the shipping agents, customs brokers, SLASPA, pilots, tugs, linesmen, stevedores, container truck drivers, insurance companies, and so many others. Each plays a vital role in importing goods here, and sending ours elsewhere. St. Lucia has kept up with the advances in the shipping trends. SLASPA has played its role from its inception in the 1970s when it took over from the Harbour Master’s Department. The various agencies have been playing their roles and different governments have had different ideas about what to do with our air and sea ports, and the indecision between them has resulted in us slipping back on the progress we could and should have achieved. We still have the chance to achieve. The business of shipping is about both cargo and people. The cargo ships sustain our trade, but the tourist ships sustain our economy. Both are important, so our ports should cater for both. Port Castries has been reconfigured to facilitate cargo shipping on one side of the harbour and tourist ships and activities on the other. But all of that happened so long ago that we need to start looking at everything again and start planning for the next ten to twenty years. After all, it’s been over 30 years since the Queen Elizabeth Dock was built for containerisation and over 30 years since Pointe Seraphine was built for tourism, while our protected natural harbour is littered with possibilities of expansion and improvement for the business of shipping, and each idea just awaits a decision by an appropriate authority.

Just as faces of cities change, so do the faces of ports. Port Castries, Port Vieux Fort and Soufriere, Cul de Sac and Marigot marine areas all have their uses, but the business of shipping in St. Lucia is strategically located in Castries and Vieux Fort, north and south, featuring both air and sea shipping. I wish to personally commend all those who have contributed to the development of the business of shipping in all its shapes in St. Lucia over the years. We can send and receive to and from anywhere in the world because the technology and transport revolutions have made it possible to order something today from anywhere and get it shipped tomorrow. There was a time when the business of shipping was rare, but not anymore. Its expansion is a very good sign and we must commend those who have sustained it over the years and those who keep it going now. At the same time we have to look back and look ahead to define the way forward. We must turn the challenges into opportunities. We will not all agree all the time on the way forward, but the more we talk about it and the more we make suggestions, the better. In another part of this magazine I have granted an interview in which I offer my own personal views, suggestions and recommendations for development of our shipping ports. I do so in the interest of contributing to the discussion on improving the business of shipping for all those involved, for all who benefit from shipping and for all who understand the importance of the business of shipping to the survival of the nation.

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



The Vision of the Shipping

Association of St. Lucia (SAS)

Wayne Monrose, President of the SAS The Shipping Association of St. Lucia (SAS) was officially launched in 2003 with eleven charter members forming the core of the membership. The broad based objective at that time was primarily that of uniting all stakeholders in the industry with a view of protecting and promoting their common interest. The era of infancy represented a significant amount of discontent for the stakeholders especially since at that time it also represented the growth of the Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs), which had grown significantly in the US and Europe and they were recruiting agents to represent them at the local level. This new trend was not easily accepted by the existing authorities and therefore posed increased challenges for the acceptance of NVOCCs as recognised business entities within the industry. The task of navigating members through these choppy waters was entrusted to Trevor Phillip and his team who served as the first executive of the association. The full executive team comprised of Trevor Philip – President; Eddie Hazel - Vice President; Wayne Monrose – Secretary; Martin St. Marthe – Trustee; Davis Joseph – Trustee; Augustin Joseph - Floor representative; and Peterson Francis - Floor representative. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Eddie Hazel went on to the serve as President in 2006, following the end of Trevor’s tenure. Wayne Monrose currently serves as the third President of the Association and is in his first year of the two-year term in office. One major objective of the SAS was to seek membership in the highly acclaimed and recognised CSA, Caribbean Shipping Association. Hardly had this accomplishment been achieved before the St. Lucia Shipping Association was asked to host the mid-year conference of the CSA in May 2004. The new and energized membership rose to the occasion resulting in a very successful and well coordinated meeting. Voices of approval for a job well done rang out from the attendees of the respective Caribbean and international associations. The St. Lucia Air and Sea ports Authority, SLASPA, largely seen by most of the membership at that time as an adversary

Courtesy All Biz Ltd. & SLASPA

of the association, rather than as a partner, is now reversed to the extent that in 2011, SLASPA became a fully fledged member of the SAS. The imperative of developing membership sufficiently to meet the challenging times as well as seeking best practice from more experienced Shipping Associations in the region to develop our internal organisation came from the renowned Jamaica Shipping Association. In July 2009, personnel from the Jamaica Shipping Association shared their experience with the SAS, resulting in a motivated membership infused with a vision for the future. According to Wayne Monrose, “We will continue to strive towards building a structure that we hope will provide future opportunities that will live beyond us. We must initiate and pursue our strategic business plan that will truly reflect the aspiration of all members and stakeholders.”




w: e: Superior Shipping Services Ltd. is a company duly incorporated in St. Lucia since 1999. We offer a range of services some of which include: Freight forwarding,Customs Brokerage, Import & Export, Air/Ocean Cargo Transaction.




As a freight forwarder, FSDLâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s overriding function is to facilitate the handling and transportation of cargo shipments on behalf of exporters and importers.



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(Castries Office) Hospital Rd. P.O. Box CP5333, Castries, St. Lucia, WI Tel: 1(758) 458-1590 Fax: 1(758) 453-7100 (Vieux-Fort Office) No. 47 Clark Street BusinessFocus Nov / Dec Tel: 1(758) 454-5213 Fax: 1(758) 454-7467



Making it Easier to Move Cargo In and Out of St. Lucia

By Gerard Bergasse and Brian Louisy The World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report does not paint a very flattering picture of St. Lucia as far as shipping, either in terms of speed, process or cost. A major reason is that a number of the agencies and instruments required to facilitate the movement of cargo operate almost in independent silos. Thus for example, an importer or exporter gives the same information about himself and his cargo to the related governmental agencies numerous times and never do these agencies speak to share that information or verify that the information is the correct or the same. This is one of the key principles which the business community would like to see adopted by St. Lucia in the game of shipping, i.e. “only give information once.” This principle speaks to the sharing of information across the ministries, i.e. the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, the Customs and Excise Department and the Port Authority. Imagine, when a company importing shoes, submits an application to the Ministry of Commerce for a license to import on the prescribed form, that information immediately becomes available to the Ministry of Agriculture to determine if a phytosanitary certificate is to be issued because the leather goods need to assessed, then the Customs Department will immediately have the information on the goods, the port will also have access and if need be, the inland revenue department will also. There is no need for the importer to go physically to each of those offices BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



and complete separate forms providing the same or similar information. This approach and concept falls under the rubric of a Single Window concept and is the direction countries interested in lowering the cost of doing business and improving efficiency are moving in. St. Lucia has toyed with the idea for some time. We have looked at the Singapore approach as well as the Clovis System, which is sometimes described as a cargo community system. The objective in all of these is to reduce the amount of paperwork, eliminate where possible duplication, and share information with all those who need the information instantaneously when it is entered once by the importer or any of these agencies. The beauty of a Single Window is that all players can participate and be part of the information sharing process, especially the private sector, from truckers, shippers, consignees, customs brokers, importers and stevedores. This system promotes transparency and predictability; who is holding up the document, where it is in the process at any point in time, and this information allows the importer to be fully informed of what is happening with his goods. This type of system will revolutionise trade in St. Lucia and redound to the benefit of the consumer and businesses, importers and exporters. The guiding principle of “only provide information once” can be a powerful thinking aid as we move forward in support of the objective of making it easier to do business in St. Lucia and the

Single Window System is central. The use of technology continues to be promoted and is active in many Government Departments. Currently the Customs and Excise Department uses ASCYUDA World which has great capacity for achieving some of the Single Window features, however, despite being “Customs” oriented, it is a good starting point. As far as we understand Customs intends to roll out the other features which will allow the Ministry of Commerce to utilize and conduct import license issues on that platform among other things. Additionally, the St. Lucia Air and Seaports Authority utilize “Uni-Track” which permits them to track cargo once it arrives on the port. These two programs can be integrated to share information and communicate, bringing us closer to a Single Window type environment. What is required at this time is a policy decision which will cause that integration to take place. Then there is the new VAT environment which is forcing Customs and the Inland Revenue Department to work more closely together. Maybe this is the time for the Single Revenue Authority which will permit and result in greater sharing of revenue and business information across the two main revenue authorities on the island. Elements of the basic platform for a Single Window is there, but we need to advocate to get Government policy to prioritise this matter and bring greater efficiency to the economy and really Make It Easier to Do Business in St. Lucia.

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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



The Art of Shipping Cargo – By Ship! By Earl Bousquet

Courtesy SLASPA & Cadet I lived near and virtually grew up on the Castries docks. I was a veritable ‘wharf rat’ who lived the transformation of the shipping business on the Castries wharves over the decades. When I was growing up, shipping was mainly bulk cargo, passengers, fuel and trans-Atlantic cargo through major shipping lines as CGM, Harrison and Saguenay, the Bruns and Geest banana boats. The Texaco and Esso fuel tankers kept the island supplied from huge tanks at Bannanes Bay. Cargo handling in Castries for many years required numerous stevedores to manually offload general cargo from the decks to be slung-up and over the side to the wharves by the ship’s derricks and slings, operated by the more skilled of the local stevedores. Back then, bananas were carried on women’s heads and men wearing oversized overalls worked like bees building a nest to complete the job in quickest time. Things started to change with the introduction of pallets taking cargo from manually hauled two-wheel carts to forklifts and waiting trucks. Then came the likes of Bernuth, Tropical Shipping, Maersk and today’s other faster and more integrated shipping lines linking St. Lucia to the rest of the world’s ports. They led the way to containerisation. As the country grew, trade increased, we imported more than we exported, expanding and increasing the need for more cargo space and better handling. ContainBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



erisation significantly improved the turnaround factor for cargo ships. There was no need for cargo shed space for containers. The modern shipping lines started calling here with everything from cars and yachts, to steel frames for new structures and dry goods stuffed in barrels. Then came the “Big Blue Boy” - a giant computerised crane that has rendered even the modern cargo ship’s own useless. I went back to the future the other day, when one local shipping company facilitated a tour of a modern cargo vessel in Port Castries. My colleagues and I boarded the “Tropic Unity” - one of Tropical Shipping’s regular vessels serving St. Lucia, the Windward Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and the Virgin Islands, from Tropical’s Miami base. Captain Melchoir Pioc is a captain who has successfully made the transition from the methods of Ancient Mariner to the Modern Master. He’s so integrated into his company’s customer-satisfaction culture that he jokingly guaranteed us with a smile upon our arrival atop the gangway that, “We will never delay your cargo.” The captain and I naturally gravitated to each other and he took pleasure guiding me through everything that’s changed in recent decades. The entire operation from his ship’s bridge is all digital, from balancing the containerised cargo to ensure smooth sailing, to being able to e-mail any branch of the company anywhere in the world and at any time, to the existence of a 24-hour Black Box-type mechanism that records every single command and movement for each day, plus three sets of navigating instruments including a small steering wheel, two Gyros and two bowthrusts. His seven-deck vessel, constructed in Shanghai and registered in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, includes features that make my days on the banana boats look like naval merchant slavery. Each cabin has

satellite TV and all crewmembers have access to Internet. There’s even a swimming pool with gym and sauna. Captain Pioc and I discussed the changes in Port Castries over the decades. “When I started coming, there were no buildings where these large ones now stand,” he told me, pointing to the Government Buildings at Conway. And, pointing to the long giant steel beams being offloaded by just two stevedores and the lone crane operator as we spoke, he added, “I’ve also brought lots of building materials to this island that have constructed many of those buildings dotting the skyline.” Pointing to the hills stretching from the Morne to Entrepot, he added, “There used to be just beautiful trees and flowers before all these houses and homes crowded the hillsides.” While his ship is in port for the few hours it will take to offload its cargo, Captain Pioc’s 17-member crew get that amount of time to rest before the start of the next journey to the next island. Meanwhile, from the “Tropic Unity” bridge, we saw the communication between the stevedores handling the cargo and the crane operator. It’s risky work, every second of the way. One bad sign or one misinterpretation can cause a catastrophe, yet they go about it like clockwork. In the 90 minutes we spent aboard the “Tropic Unity”, the local stevedoring team (less than a dozen, including the crane operators) had landed nearly half the number of containers designated for St. Lucia. Flawless, meticulous, precise operations saw containers landed in mere minutes, to be hauled away by waiting heavy equipment, confirming Captain Pioc’s early assurance that “We will never delay your cargo.” We had just witnessed what it is all about: the business of shipping cargo – by ship.

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(All items including personal effects & commercial items) BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Baron Shipping & Brokerage Inc. “Success is having fortitude in the pursuit of excellence.” Managing Director, Willibald W. Charles Over the past decade, the shipping industry has seen the rise of one of its most prominent shipping agencies in St. Lucia – Baron Shipping and Brokerage Incorporated. Since its inception in 2002, the company has revolutionised the shipping landscape of St. Lucia, with a drive for results and commitment to excellence.

- -

Shipping and Aircraft Agents Tanker Operations

Baron Shipping and Brokerage Incorporated is the local agent for the 2008 Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association’s transportation firm of the year – SeaFreight Lines and SeaPack Incorporated; as well as the local agent for one of the Journal of Commerce’s 2011 top twenty container lines for the year, Zim Lines. Whether it’s dry or reefer containers, vehicles, break-bulk cargo, project cargo, machinery or equipment, we will get your cargo to you safely and in time. SeaFreight Lines facilitate weekly shipments from Jacksonville, Miami and Panama, in addition to over twenty destinations. Their expert knowledge of shipping has lent itself to the operation





A full service company, Baron Shipping and Brokerage Incorporated has merged the scattered elements of the industry, to provide comprehensive and affordable air and ocean freight services with guaranteed customer satisfaction. Under the leadership of Mr. Willibald W. Charles, the company is a shipping force in pursuit of excellence in a fast paced and transforming economy.

Ocean Freight Air Freight Customs Brokerage and Clearance Trucking and Delivery Outsourcing Online Shopping Ship Chandelling Private Air Charters

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



strong reputation for customer reliability and expertise. What sets Baron Shipping and Brokerage Incorporated apart from all other agencies in St. Lucia is its commitment to providing superior and quality customer service from start to finish. With this in mind, the company recently launched its LCL export service from St. Lucia to St. Vincent, Grenada and Guyana, as a more convenient and inexpensive escape for its clientele. Baron Shipping and Brokerage Incorporated continues to strive for excellence as they set their mark in the shipping industry. T heir results-oriented staff provide the most modern and effective support, making shipping more than just a task but a exciting experience. Even as the company prepares for the completion of their corporate headquarters, they continue to stand by their motto:


Flexible Solutions to All Your Needs! - - - - - - - -

freight cargo to select Caribbean destinations every week at competitive rates. Zim Lines extend your global outreach to over one hundred and eighty ports of call. Based in Haifa, Israel, Zim Lines offer customised shipping backed by unsurpassed customer service and a

of another shipping agency – SeaPack Incorporated. With fully functional warehouses in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and Panama, SeaPack Incorporated handles the storage, pickup and loading of any package, barrel, LCL and consolidated FCL to St. Lucia and over fifteen other destinations. Their recently launched SeaPack Inc - Excel Forwarders service, provides customers with an option to air


. C N

At Baron Shipping… we deliver satisfaction!

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We represent the following freight forwarders:

Other Services:

• SEAPACK Inc out of Miami

• Claims Processing

• Kingston Logistics Center out of Jamaica

• Trucking

• Southampton Freight Services and Nordsea Orient Line Limited out of the United Kingdom

• Ship Chandelling

• Integrity International out of Taiwan

• Pricing • Commission Agents

• Standard Caribbean Shipping, KBB Shipping Inc, TLC Shipping & Delivery Services, Compass Shipping, Dean & Associates, Boston Shipping, Bryans Island Shipping, Starliner Shipping & Travel and Square Deal Shippers & Movers Inc out of New York

• Brokerage & Clearance • Freight Forwarding • Shipping Agents

• DAMCO Global Logistics out of El Salvador

• Aircraft Agents

• Fast Fwd Shipping


Consolidation • Packaging • Warehousing



Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.

1st Floor NAPA Building, John Compton Highway, Sans Souci, Castries, St. Lucia Tel: (758) 453-0344 / 0653 / 7983 Fax: (758) 451-9758 Int: (305) 517-5522 Suite #10, Bank of Nova Scotia Building, New Dock Rd., Vieux Fort, St. Lucia Tel: (758) 454-7338 / 7045 Fax: (758) 454-7338 Int: (305) 517-5522 BusinessFocus Nov / Dec Email: Website:



St. Lucia’s Sea Ports – Facilitating The Island’s Trade

Port Castries The Modernised Cargo Destination Port Castries is a bustling port catering to over 600,000 cruise passengers a year. But besides the majestic cruise ships are the essential cargo vessels that transport cargo from the countries of export to the final consumers here in St. Lucia. From the food St. Lucians eat and the clothes we

Courtesy All Biz Ltd. & SLASPA wear, to our household items and the vehicles we drive, they all pass through the facilities of Port Castries. The port thus serves as a facilitator of trade and plays a critical role in the supply chain; it provides the interface between ships with cargo and consumers ashore. Port Castries is home to cargo hanBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



dling activities catering to the local market along with Port Vieux Fort, which primarily handles transshipment cargo. Cargo operations at Port Castries have changed significantly from what it was before and a noticeable change has been observed from predominantly handling break-bulk to containerized cargo. The containerisation of cargo has resulted in cargo being more secure, more protected from the elements of nature, and easier to be transferred from one mode of transportation to another. The emergence of containers and innovative developments in ship construction resulted in specialised ships being built to carry specific cargoes. In some instances, to increase their carrying capacity, some container vessels have been designed to only carry containers and therefore cannot load or unload their cargoes using ship’s gear. This has meant that the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), as a facilitator of trade, has had to upgrade its cargo handling facilities in order meet the demands of shipping lines and thus provide a more effective and efficient service to port users. This led to the introduction of cranes and top handlers at Port Castries. The first was the Pan Atlantic Shore Crane which arrived in the early 1990’s complemented by two Kalmar top handlers. SLASPA upgraded its fleet in May and September of 2000 and again in November of 2007. These top handlers led to significant changes in cargo operations including improved quality of

service to shipping lines, truckers and consignees, decreased cargo handling costs and the overall modernisation of Port Castries. Development of cargo operations not only included equipment but also led to the upgrade of the berths in order to accommodate larger container ships while making navigational improvements for the smooth entry and exit of ships. In tandem with that development, came the upgrade of Unitrack and the computerisation of operating systems. Unitrack enables the smooth layout and tracking of all cargo entering and exiting the port. The container park and cargo shed were upgraded to feature a redesigned terminal layout, a reconfigured cargo shed and a new warehouse management system allowing for quicker retrievals of stored cargo. With increases in traffic at the port, management made the strategic decision to move bananas and transshipment operations to Port Vieux Fort thereby reducing congestion at Port Castries and improving efficiency of operations.

Port Vieux Fort Making its Mark As a Growing Transshipment Port St. Lucia Marine Terminals Limited (SLMTL) was formed on February 6, 1995 to manage and operate Port Vieux Fort. Port Vieux Fort is strategically located 2.5miles

from Hewanorra International Airport, the Industrial Free Zone, the Goods Distribution Free Zone and the Vieux Fort Industrial Estate. It is also 0.5miles from the largest fisheries complex in the Eastern Caribbean. SLMTL was established with the principal purpose of being a privately managed company to operate Port Vieux Fort which had been developed to be a transshipment port in the southern Caribbean. This private orientation was strategic for SLASPA and for the operations of the company, largely because of the need to provide a price competitive transshipment service, an optimal size and flexible workforce, and a highly efficient customer-oriented operation, in order to have penetrated the keenly competitive sub-regional transshipment market and strengthen the port’s marketability in this market. SLMTL won a prestigious Novaport Cup award for 2008 for the “Port with the most Improved Performance.” Port Vieux Fort has also won the following awards: The Novaport Cup – awarded annually by the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC) to the “Port with the highest performance in 2002”, Caribbean Shipping Association “Port of the Year Award – 2002 for Efficiency” and the Caribbean Shipping Association – Shipping Insight 2002 – “Best Exhibit Award.” In addition to the Novaport Cup, SLMTL won the “Best Multi-Purpose Port in the Caribbean” award forServices 2009 at2012_2012 the 39th AGM of the09:04 Caribbean ewanorra Air Cargo 01/05/2012 Page 1Shipping Association (CSA). Courtesy: SLASPA


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Vigie Cargo Shed Vigie, Castries Tel/Fax: (758) 452-7556

WWW.HACSSTLUCIA.COM BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Seaports and Airports are Critical to the Nation’s Financial Health

Courtesy SLASPA The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) through its management of St. Lucia’s entry and exit points, connects the island to countries all around the world. Whether it is the all-important tourism or agricultural industries, manufacturing and more recently banking, SLASPA affects almost every person who lives in St. Lucia - handling over 500,000 tons of cargo, facilitating the travel of over one million passengers and generating hundreds of jobs each year. The critical role that seaports and airports play in developing a nation’s economy is often misunderstood as many think of port authorities as mere regulatory bodies. While this is an important role, airports and seaports are also vital gateways for developing local businesses and consequently they are pivotal to the local economy and critical to the nation’s financial health. Without the existence of airport and seaport facilities, sustained economic growth cannot be achieved. To cite examples, the tourism industry, which is the main foreign exchange earner, is heavily dependent on good airport and seaport infrastructure, so is the Customs and ExBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



cise Department, one of the lead agencies for collection of state revenue. In addition, several local businesses depend directly on the airports and seaports, such as shipping companies, brokers, airlines, trucking companies and ground handling companies to name a few. Beyond the airport and seaport perimeter, other companies that rely on the ports would include supermarkets, clothing stores, construction companies, manufacturers and other companies involved in importation or exportation of goods or facilitation of travellers. SLASPA has embraced its role as a contributor to the nation’s financial health fully through the development of welldefined operational objectives and future business development initiatives. Over the past five years, SLASPA has invested over 100 million dollars in infrastructural improvements to include: building of modern cruise berths; resurfacing of the George F.L Charles Airport runway; building a new ferry terminal and redesigning one of its cargo sheds. As a key trade facilitator, a substantial amount of SLASPA’s annual operating budget is allocated to the up-keep of these facilities, which includes maintenance costs, meeting secu-

rity requirements, safety standards and customer needs. In terms of direct and indirect employment, SLASPA is also among the largest employers in St. Lucia with a total staff complement of 430. However, when combined with airport and seaport tenants and other business partners, this number is easily quadrupled. The economy in which ports operate is constantly evolving, and as such, demand will continue to grow. SLASPA has therefore positioned itself to meet those demands through communication, world-class customer service, employee development, technological advancement, re-evaluation of budgets and budgetary allocations, and examining and adjusting its strategic plan where necessary. Against this backdrop, SLASPA is currently working on several developmental plans which would provide significant improvement to the nation’s ports, ensuring that both facilities continue to perform as strong driving forces for sustainable economic vitality, thus contributing to the nation’s financial health. Courtesy: SLASPA


for Castries & Vieux Fort Castries Seaport Statistics: Container Traffic (Teus)

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011

Landed 17,962 15,055 15,344 15,031

Loaded 17,988 15,131 15,281 14,519

Total 35,950 30,186 30,625 29,550

Jan-Aug 2012




George F.L. Charles Airport Cargo Statistics (Kg)

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011

Landed 779,112 685,102 776,166 776,294

Loaded 519,563 423,802 548,118 550,011

Total 1,298,675 1,108,904 1,324,284 1,326,305

Jan-Aug 2012




Hewanorra International Airport Cargo Statistics (Kg)

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011

Landed 911,114 765,375 929,453 709,327

Loaded 1,099,077 947,851 654,681 725,810

Total 2,010,191 1,713,226 1,584,134 1,435,137

Jan-Aug 2012




Courtesy: SLASPA

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



CEO Explains SLASPA’s Role in the Business of Shipping: Keeping Port Costs Low So Prices Don’t Fly Sky High!

Sean Matthew (SLASPA) First there was the Harbour Master’s Office (under the likes of retired British war veterans like Commander Melbourne and Captain Simpson) which ensured ships and vessels were berthed properly and in the right place. Then the larger Port Authority consumed the Harbour Master’s Department as part of its wider responsibility for Port Castries. The St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) then became the Mother Ship in control of all the island’s ports – air and sea – also through which everything is shipped to and from St. Lucia. SLASPA handles hundreds of thousands of tonnes of containerised cargo at the island’s two main sea ports and millions of kilograms of air cargo at its two air ports. It also handles over one million visitors to the island every year. Its Manoel Street headquarters is therefore the Control Room for all that comes in and out of the island’s ports, by sea and air. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Sean Matthew is the overall Commander of the SLASPA mother ship. Like all his predecessors, this CEO/General Manager has had to navigate his statutory ship-ofstate through both calm and turbulent waters, to avoid it running aground; and also to test uncharted waters in the search for new seas and oceans to navigate, to chart new paths and courses to progress in the rough seas and changing climate of the changing business of shipping. BF’s Earl Bousquet sits with Matthew and asks him to start this interview by explaining what shipping is all about “for the benefit of those who don’t know.” “Too many don’t know,” Matthew says, “but shipping is important to the nation’s development.” He explains it this way: “Efficiency and landed costs are important factors that will decide the final cost to the importer of goods for sale, for example, which will ultimately have an impact on the cost of those goods on the shelves, which can impact the socio-economic situation in the country. So, SLASPA’s role is to keep costs at the ports as low as we possibly can, but at the same time ensuring efficient service.” He also notes the national economic contribution of the business of shipping, which is a significant part of SLASPA’s business. Here’s how: “Each ship that calls here automatically creates jobs. Every ship must have an agent who must undertake several tasks involving several agencies, including Customs and Excise, all of which also have to employ people. The shipping industry has grown and expanded. But as the industry and business of shipping develops, agencies - including SLASPA - also have to become more competitive by offering additional services. So we now have to compete in certain areas of our business. But then, competition in any industry is never

a bad thing. It can improve the status and competitive nature of the organisation…” But, as Matthew also says, SLASPA’s central role goes beyond handling cargo and visitors. “We also have to ensure the ports can accommodate the cargo being shipped, to dredge the harbour every five years, to track and cater for the changes in vessel sizes and operations, track changes in containerisation and trans-shipment and identify new business opportunities.” Like in any business, changes of ownership of shipping lines can have consequences that can either become challenges or opportunities for the business of shipping. “For example,” says Matthew, “Bernuth Lines (which calls here regularly) has now been purchased by King Ocean (a South American group). It’s a strategic move to control the Latin American market, which is getting closer to China, where most of its production is taking place.” So, where does Port Castries rank in terms of Caribbean ports? By Matthew’s measure, the Authority has good chances to change challenges into opportunities. The island’s shipping business is mainly domestically generated, so it needs to look beyond its shores to generate enough business to ensure the two sea ports remain afloat and the two airports keep flying. The SLASPA CEO explains, “The shipping lines look at three aspects: Productivity, Efficiency and Cost – and we aim to give the best of all three. But we’re also well-placed to do good business in the Caribbean. We have the bonus of Vieux Fort that can become a permanent container trans-shipment facility. We also have a good thing going with CAGEMA, a French line that does most of its business in Martinique and Guadeloupe, but while it’s good for now, it’s not permanently guaranteed or dependable.

“We’re actually one of the most efficient domestic and trans-shipment ports in the Southern Caribbean. We can’t compete with Jamaica, The Bahamas or the Dominican Republic - which have permanent trans-shipment terminals. But we can develop a market into Latin America and the recent takeover of Bernuth Lines by King Ocean, for example, can open doors for us in that direction.”

can and will be offloaded at any time of the day at the same competitive price. In that way, more people will gain the opportunity to work at the port.” There’s also the impact of decisions to be considered. According to Matthew, “In all our future infrastructure developments we will be paying particular attention to the social impact. We have to reduce costs to get more business to improve the social

SLASPA has been doing well in the Caribbean Ports business. In its first 25 years it won the prestigious Novaport Cup awarded by the Port Management Association seven times since 1988; and it’s also received top awards from the Caribbean Shipping Association, including Port of the Year in 1996 and 2000. But this is a new century and during the past decade SLASPA has had to structurally review its operations. Matthew and his predecessors have had to look back, look up and look ahead to chart the course for shipping’s mother ship. So, what is Matthew’s SLASPA vision for the coming period? “Looking ahead,” he says, “we have to remember how automation has had its social impact. Ten years ago, we got an automated crane that improved the way we work. Today though, we have to add value to the process while still reducing cost. However, there is still a serious disconnection between the cost we pay and the value we get. It would be better to have a shift system where more people get to work every day. If we work by shift, exporters and importers will know their goods

environment and still be able to earn the added income that will allow us to look at improving the infrastructure of the assets. It’s a huge balancing act, a huge challenge, but one that we have to examine.” Port Managers get equal amounts of praise and criticism, kisses and kicks. Matthew is no different. He and his officers and crew have their ideas to keep their good ship going - but so do others, including some respected ones who often air their proposals publicly - and graphically. So how does SLASPA react to praise and criticism? “Other views are good,” the SLASPA CEO says, “but we are governed by a Council, and if we have new plans, we have to go to them with proposals that have been already well considered by us. “Personally, I believe strongly in Town Hall-type meetings that give people an option and opportunity to air their views and opinions - and to get the type of information they need to know. Their proposals can be valuable, but they would have to fall within the total vision plan that we have for the next 10, 15 or 30 years from

now.” Matthew tends to attend more boardroom meetings, but he understands the need to communicate with customers. “When I get out of the office,” he says, “I get opportunities to see things as they are and to see what happens when our information does not get to people.” This underscores the need for constant and timely communication. We have certainly made significant strides in this area, however, I believe we also need to get out there more to get the feel of if and how our customers are getting our messages. And what of SLASPA’s plan for Port Vieux Fort? Matthew reiterated that the plan is to turn it into a trans-shipment terminal. “Vieux Fort started out as a wharf handling bananas and cargo, then containers and other shipping. But while the wharf is crowded with available services, the volume of business is down. The structure and equipment is aging. We’re looking to partner - with a shipping line, preferably - to transform it into a trans-shipment terminal. “The plan is to tie the Vieux Fort Free Zone to the sea port and the airport. There are people who have done it well. One is Panama, another is China - and maybe we need their assistance to create the synergies. In today’s shipping and free zone business, there are relationships between free zones that can allow for anyone to order by e-mail and that order can be managed through the relationship between the free zones. Our Vieux Fort Free Zone was constructed by the Chinese and the idea was to rent space out to the consignee for storage of duty free products. But it never really got off the ground, so we need to get a partner who knows how to do it - who’s done it before and who has the network to make it happen - and let them run it so that we have an integrated system. If we can get Vieux Fort going in that integrated and sustainable manner we will also create more employment, which is the most critical social need at this juncture.” His interview over, the CEO returned to his mother ship’s top-deck Master Control Room to continue charting the course for SLASPA to continue its vital role in the business of shipping, to and from each air port and sea port, through the Caribbean’s seas and skies – and far, far beyond. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Meet SLASPAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Management Team

General Manager and CEO Mr. Sean J. Matthew

Director of Seaports Mr. Adrian Hilaire

Senior Director of Corporate Affairs - Mr. Ben Emmanuel

Manager, Employee Compensation Mrs. Nadia Alcide

Manager, Employee Development Ms. Beverly Dulcie

Legal Officer/Corporate Secretary Ms. Danine Jones

Director Maritime Affairs Christopher Alexander

Internal Auditor Mr. Cuthbert Nathoniel

Director of Airports Mr. Peter Jean

Senior Engineer Mr. Daren Cenac

Chief of Port Police Mr. Kennedy Francis

Director of Marketing & Product Development Ms. Dona Regis

Director of Information Systems - Ms. Grace Michel

Financial Controller Ms. Daniella Martelly

Chief Engineer Mr. Chidi Tobias

Deputy Financial Controller Jason King

With General Manager and CEO, Sean Matthew, this team of dedicated men and women is indeed committed to the success of the Authority, meeting the needs of its customers and achieving some major milestones in their respective departments. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



SLASPA’s Security Takes Nothing for Granted

An all-important department at the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority is the Port Police Department. SLASPA’s own Port Police Division, connected to the Royal St. Lucia Police Force, comprises about 160 fully trained male and female officers with powers to arrest and prosecute. Their task is not an easy one and strict international

standards introduced post-9/11 are rigorously followed. Security at SLASPA’s two seaports meet requirements set by the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) code, covering security regulations for vessels and facilities. SLASPA is fully ISPS compliant and remains vigilant in ensuring safety and security meets the highest levels at Port Castries and Port Vieux Fort. Protecting cruise passengers is another task. Passengers returning from shore excursions must produce the correct documentation allowing them to return to their vessels. SLASPA’s Port Police Division controls all of the port access points with a view to protecting passengers until their vessels depart. The division is also charged with inspection of freight containers arriving


Services “We exceed your expectation”

and leaving the port. Empty containers are opened to ensure that no human trafficking or smuggling takes place. All seals and documents are rigorously checked before containers are allowed to continue through the port. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems are in place at strategic locations around SLASPA facilities to monitor activity on a 24-hour basis. Security gates and fencing have been installed around seaports and airports and similar security procedures are followed at St. Lucia’s ferry terminals and marinas, where police are often reinforced by private security companies serving as back up when required. With events that have occurred globally, SLASPA ensures that nothing is taken for granted and all security measures are on par with international standards.


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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



The Barrel Business! By Earl Bousquet The barrel trade has existed longer than any of us. It’s the way our forebears transported goods between shores and skies – and what better way at a time when only ships shipped cargo and every inch of space was precious? The barrels referred to aren’t casks of rum (which we also still export). Instead, they’re reinforced round, drum-sized cardboard containers (some with metal bottoms and covers) into which relatives and friends abroad will pack every possible item into every inch to send home to the family for Christmas – or whenever else the opportunity arises. The tradition of shipping household items by barrel has continued throughout the ages, with thousands of St. Lucians in the UK, USA and Canada either collecting goods through the year or taking advantage of a sale to secure the most items possible to send for the most possible people back home and to last for the longest possible period. Forms of shipping have improved (e.g. next-day air) but the barrel trade has persisted, the new shipping agencies having to ensure they cater for a trade that’s unchanging but both annual and lucrative. But shipping barrels is more than just a business. It’s got its own cultural pattern. It’s been traditionally mainly sustained by persons sending affordable items back home to low and middle-income households. Long ago, it used to be mainly for children and elderly people holed-up in BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



deep rural areas. But not anymore – today, barrels come from everywhere for everyone – and with everything. It used to be they came with clothes, shoes, make-up, school bags and other dry goods; now people will even send electronics. The barrel trade here got bigger than ever just over a decade ago when concessions were granted on barrels coming home from abroad for Christmas. The government specified a period – from November to January – during which barrels could be shipped duty free. The first time around, not only did the volume of barrels increase, but dutiable items were also sent in the duty free barrels, creating a logjam at Customs as officers determined what was taxable and what wasn’t. Next time around, the government identified the products not covered by the concession and set a maximum value limit – and since then the annual Christmas barrel trade has solidly etched itself into the administrative structure of the shipping business and gained its full share of attention from the Customs and Port departments. Currently, the estimated annual amount of barrels that come into Saint Lucia is 18,000, with about 40% of that amount coming in during the December/ January period. Shipping a barrel requires senders and receivers to do the same thing: identify a shipping agent and/or Customs broker, get the necessary documentation, pay transportation costs and other fees. It

has never really been a big problem for the sender (who’s already decided what to send). However, things didn’t always go so smoothly at the receiving end. Not only were too many being too disorderly, but nobody ever seemed ready to pay anything for anything. But SLASPA and Customs have stepped in to create order out of the chaos. In anticipation of the barrel business each December, SLASPA prepares flyers with checklists of what you’ll need to do to clear your barrel including what you need from your shipping or cargo agent, how to gain access to the port, what you’ll need to get your barrel out of the compound, precautions you should take and options open to you. It must also be understood that the concessions granted by the Ministry of Finance do not mean that everything is free and nothing must be paid for. The pamphlet appeals: “SLASPA wants to ensure the secure delivery of your goods to you, so please exercise patience and understanding during this process.” Do the likes of the proverbial ‘Beatrice Barrel’ get the message? Certainly! Once upon a time the barrels were cleared at the usually already busy Customs & Excise Department on Jeremie Street. Now there’s a dedicated venue in the SLASPA Castries compound - and a set process through which to get there, do your business and get out – barrel(s) in hand, ready to take home. No sweat!

Working in the Port: Skilled Operation Equipment Operators

consummate expertise even working long and late hours to ensure that all customers get their goods on time. Some of these same gentlemen have travelled to neighbouring Caribbean islands to train and provide assistance with their various port operations. To ensure that they remain on top of their game and keep abreast with the changes that occur in the industry, SLASPA provides them with training both locally, regionally and internationally. To put things into perspective, without the equipment operators moving containers from the ship to the waiting trucks, you might not be driving your car today as it likely arrived in a container that one of these skilled men moved off of a vessel. Equipment Operator Team Behind the cargo scenes at Port Castries are a highly skilled team who work very hard to ensure that customers get their cargo and goods on time. Operations Equipment Operators, performing one of the most important roles at the seaport, are Jerome Modeste, Thomas Marcellin, Leonard Daniel, Henks Hollingsworth, Mathis Phillip and Noel Gaspard. Together, this six-member team operates SLASPA’s reachstackers and mobile harbour. A reachstacker is a container-hauling machine that moves containers to and from different storage locations on the port before they are placed on trucks when they come into the port to collect cargo. The crane, which is a mobile harbour crane, facilitates the movement of containers from the vessel to the port, where the reachstackers pick them up and move them to the appropriate stack. When a truck comes to the port to pick up a container, the reachstacker picks up the container in the stack and places it on the truck. For example, when a container comes in with items for the supermarket, it takes consummate skill and precision to place that container safely on the truck to be taken to the supermarkets’ warehouses. It takes perfect hand eye coordination to pick up a container that is sometimes stacked four high on the port (higher than eye level) and place it precisely on the truck waiting to transport the cargo. The same goes for sitting 23 meters above the ground in the cabin of the crane, looking down to move containers from the vessels to shore. Combined, the highly skilled technical team has over 50 years of service, managing to make the task of moving containers look so easy, seamless and effortless with their

Courtesy: SLASPA

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Clearance, Infrastructure and Human Resources The Comptroller of Customs Talks On His Department’s Role In The Business of Shipping

Herman St. Helen Customs House was once a majestic structure on the Castries waterfront. But nothing about the Customs & Excise headquarters building today suggests that it is responsible for collecting more than half of government’s revenue every year - not enough parking-space, no central air conditioning, no elevators, nothing to show its central role in our lives. Everything we get from abroad passes through its hands – and half of every dollar the government earns and spends passes through its tillers. The slowly decaying structure is now one of the last surviving buildings of its age on that side of Jeremie Street. The comptroller’s office sits atop three flights of stairs and from the two top floors the various ranks of customs officers not assigned to inspect goods at ports of entry perform administrative duties and functions. The Comptroller, his deputy and their team call the shots and punch the buttons that bring BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



in the dough that bakes most of the government’s daily bread. Herman St. Helen has sat at that desk for five years and is clear about his department’s role today and tomorrow, as BF discovered when Earl Bousquet met with him to discuss customs and the business of shipping. Upon asking the first question why Customs is so important to the economy, Herman smiled as he replied, “Many people don’t fully realise it, but Customs is the primary revenue generator for the country. We handle imports and exports, regulate trade and monitor the treaties we are signatories to or bound by. We also perform a border security function to ensure our country and our environment remains safe for today and tomorrow. “And now, with the VAT on stream,” he continued, “we have to be even more vigilant and ensure that every exporter makes the correct submissions and does not take advantage of the VAT, since every export declaration is a potential cheque against government’s revenue. The VAT has a lot of implications for our work and we have a central role in its implementation as well, so here too our work is very well cut-out.” With the volume of shipping expanding nationally by sea and air as the years go by, BF asked Mr. St. Helen how Customs manages to keep up with the pace to examine everything. “We’re not able to examine every single package and container which is imported into the country,” the

Comptroller admits, “however, the department utilizes risk management and other parameters that guide us in which consignments may need most attention. Besides, our Customs intelligence network is well established locally, regionally and internationally; and the information technology available to us also helps greatly. Our IT unit uses the most modern equipment as we try to stay ahead of the game.” Once upon a time, all goods shipped to St. Lucia had to be manually inspected and cleared at the port of entry. Now goods can be cleared even before arrival. At airports, small importers (traditionally referred to as ‘speculators’) have to wait in line until non-commercial passengers have cleared customs before they are attended to. Of late, they have been accusing Customs of everything from over-charging to abusing their discretionary powers. But the Comptroller stands by his officers. He explained, “All rates applied by customs officers are official rates set by government and they are applied to all importers equally. There’s no discrimination between big and small. ‘Speculators’ are special traders with special needs and we attend to them all, but the one thing we must not forget is that the priority code at all airports is that passengers come first – and therefore they do get priority over traders.” But it’s not only the speculators who have complaints. The average person who queries a customs charge is often told about “the ASYCUDA system” which not many know enough about or understand. So, exactly what is ASYCUDA? The Comptroller sought to explain. “ASYCUDA means Automated System for Customs Data and it is a computer

software that helps us enhance our level of efficiency within the customs clearance process, to better inspect and release cargo,” he said. It also provides for the maintenance and the continued increase in revenue collection. “It’s a tool in our books, an automated process that allows brokers to file their declarations electronically and online. It has modernised how we work, improves processing time and simplifies collection systems. “ASYCUDA is not a panacea for all our ills,” he honestly adds, “but it has helped brokers, other stakeholders and the entire trading community better understand how to work the system better and more efficiently. It’s a very good tool of our trade that we use 24/7 and 365 days a year. We depend on it because it works well for everyone involved in the shipping and customs business.” Moving on to the issue of the barrel trade which intensifies at Christmas time, BF enquired whether all is always smooth, or whether advantage is being taken of the concessions that come with it. “The regulation stipulates that foodstuffs and other personal effects are duty free, but service charge and an environmental levy have to be paid. No electronic items are allowed. However, now that VAT has replaced the Consumption Tax, it is the last tax imposed on the commodity, so the Cabinet will have to make a decision on whether VAT will remain on barrel imports this year. “We will operate in the usual manner, by assigning staff from various units for the duration of the concession period. Although the government has waived the duty on the goods, they must be processed speedily because there are people waiting and depending on them for the holidays.” There’ll be one difference this year, though. According to the Comptroller, “This year we intend to use electronic x-ray scanners to scan the barrels and we expect it to be commissioned in time.” Lots of goods are also shipped throughout the year by courier agencies and the assumption is that since they are received sealed, they were not examined by Customs. But that’s an illusion, the Comptroller points out. “Customs officers are present at all the places where these courier services operate,” he informed, “and they examine relevant packages before they are

posted or delivered. But it’s not only courier services that we monitor, we also have a customs presence at the General Post Office, where parcels are also posted and received.” And what happens to goods seized by Customs? St. Helen explained, “Goods liable to forfeiture that have been condemned can be auctioned or given to government agencies or to special schools where the forfeited goods can be used. “Perishables can be auctioned at any time as deemed appropriate by the Comptroller, but prohibited goods aren’t auctioned because they are illegal and should not be imported. Before auctioning restricted goods we would have to get the all-clear from the relevant regulatory authority, but all auctions are guided by specific rules and regulations.” As port operations expand, Customs House has outgrown its size and operations have had to be decentralized. There is now a presence in Rodney Bay, Soufriere and Marigot Bay. Besides the mainly administrative and IT software work at Customs House, additionally, Customs services are becoming increasingly needed in the north because of its rapid expansion. “Apart from Castries,” St. Helen explains, “the Gros Islet area needs more special attention. We’re at Rodney Bay, but Gros Islet is more than just the marina area. There’s quite a lot of activity taking place in that part of the island and we’re about to put a proposal to the Government to allow us to establish a fully-fledged Customs department in Gros Islet, in order to expand on the services that the department provides.” So what about Customs House itself? Will it remain cramped on Jeremie Street, or will it be relocated or rebuilt? The Comptroller can’t say, as “this is another Government call.” But St. Helen knows what is needed. “We would hope for some dialogue on relocation if it ever comes to that,” he says. “There have been many redevelopment plans for Castries and all have included discussion about what to do about our building, but I’m not aware of any final decision. Be that as it may, we need a modern customs warehouse to house seized goods, as well as other goods under customs control. “Sometimes we may have an importer with a particular history and we may have

reason to be concerned, so we also need a Container Examination Bay, where containers will be examined on the wharf before leaving instead of being de-stuffed at private premises. “We also need ‘currency detector dogs’ to enhance the capacity and capability of the department’s canine unit. But all the things we need to modernise our operations mean nothing if we don’t have the human resource capacity to take us to the next stage. I mean, we need to have more and better ongoing training for our officers at all levels; we have to improve and increase their competency subjects, for example, training in external auditing and in post-clearance verification for trade facilitation and ensure they always receive continued training in the areas that impact on the management and development of our work. “Our officers have to be properly trained in an ongoing way to be more professional, to exercise better customer service. The department must be able to adhere to WTO (World Trade Organisation) and WCO (World Customs Organisation) best practices as we continue in our quest at remaining “the best Customs Department” in the OECS. “So, it’s not just about the building or location, but also about ensuring the staff is always well prepared for the continuing changes, the new tariffs, the revised treaties and all the various other rules, regulations and declarations that affect our work in St. Lucia and in the Caribbean and the rest of the world.” To end, BF asked the Comptroller to name three things that can be done to improve the efficiency of his department. He smiled as he rapped them off. “We need a lot, like I said earlier, but for the moment I would say we need, first of all, an agreement on our structure. We also need the requisite human resource base to help undertake training and re-training activities. And we need to adopt a more professional approach to how we serve the public.” And, for good measure, the Comptroller added a fourth need: “I would also like to see a Customer Complaints Units established. Customer service is paramount. Customer satisfaction must become the custom at customs!” BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Handling Perishable


Perishable items, particularly fresh fruit, meat and dairy, as well as frozen foods, are very delicate, and so the transportation procedure from farm to the retail shelf and food table needs to be managed carefully. Many such items are grown and produced locally and large volumes are imported. The process from the overseas order placements to the supermarket shelves require a specialised shipping method using refrigerated containers in transit, refrigerated warehousing facilities at the port, and then the same at the wholesaler and retailer using a variety of freezers and chillers. Failure to manage this process carefully could result in significant losses due to malfunctioning of equipment, fluctuating and incorrect storage temperatures and poor handling in the shipping, storage and distribution process. But there are ways of getting the best quality out of our perishables before their brief shelf life is affected and Dunstan Demille, Perishables Manager of Consolidated Foods Limited was the perfect person BF could have spoken to on this subject. With many years of experience in this position he is responsible for ensuring that the freshest and highest quality of perishable produce is presented ensuring that CFL’s customers get the best value and quality BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



from their perishables. But first things first: What is a perishable? “Perishables cover a wide range of items that have a short shelf life. As a producer, distributor and retailer you are basically racing against time to ensure that you can sell those perishables to the end user. As a consumer, you are trying to be able to use those products before they become unusable. Perishables are therefore delicate items: some will deteriorate quickly while others will not.” Demille explained. Some products falling under this umbrella include eggs, cheese, meats, milk, fish and vegetables. One of the most important factors that determine the fate of these items is temperature. Items have varying tolerance levels when it comes to temperature and it all comes down to storing these items at the right temperature levels. Sounds a bit scientific, right? Well according to Demille, it really is. Aside from the temperature levels of the chillers, there are other important factors that need to be considered when storing perishables. “Ultimately, what you do not want happening is your chillers having to work too hard to maintain a certain temperature,” the perishables expert says. “When that happens, it results in a gradual build-up of

water at the top of the chiller. That water can become contaminated if the temperature is not maintained and can fall on the perishables. That way, the perishables are left exposed to unwanted viruses or microorganisms which make them unhealthy for human consumption.” As part of his job description, Demille works with local farmers in an effort to educate them on the best practices and measures they need to employ when handling perishables from the point of production to the point of sale. These farmers would be producers on whom the CFL chain depends heavily upon on a year-round basis. Since CFL is the island’s largest food items retailer, Demille says no effort is spared in ensuring that consumers are offered wholesome produce. Storage compatibility is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration when handling and storing perishables. What this simply means is that items that are susceptible to being adversely affected by being stored in close proximity to other items need to be stored separately. For instance, storing passion fruits in close proximity to bananas would not be deemed a brilliant idea. The reason for this is that passion fruits produce very high levels of ethylene which quickens the ripening process of the bananas. Ethylene can also cause leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbages to become yellow. It is always advisable to keep vegetables hydrated so that they do not lose their water content after purchasing them. The journey between the market and your home can impact significantly on the quality of these items, especially on sunny days. In addition to storage at required temperature levels, perishables such as meats and milk should be properly sealed before and during the period they are being used. It is also advisable that perishables such as meats, vegetables and fruits be washed thoroughly before consumption. Consumers should also pay attention to expiry dates that apply to certain perishables.

Get Trained in St. Lucia NRDF offers courses for Customs Brokers As an example to others, Leslie Lazarus Jn Baptiste recently won the Outstanding Youth in Entrepreneurship prize at the St. Lucia Youth Awards 2011. Leslie Jn Baptiste is the owner of Eagle Freight and Brokerage Services, a shipping, customs brokerage and transportation company. After thirteen years of experience in the brokerage business and working for shipping companies, two years ago he decided to start his own business which he is now running successfully. Training is key to advancement in any career choice, and the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF) in St. Lucia is offering three courses in the customs brokerage field. The courses are recommended for customs brokers, shipping clerks, store clerks and anyone interested in customs.

Customs Classification

Modules include the structure, development and advantages of the Harmonized System (HS), general interpretive rules of classification and practical exercises. Upon completion of this course participants are expected to acquire a very good understanding of the rules to ensure correct classification. There is an examination and evaluation with UWI endorsed certification. The duration is 40 hours with classes twice weekly. The next course commences in January 2013. Cost: $520 + text.

Customs Laws & Procedures

Modules include Customs Laws, Customs Interpretation and Customs Procedures. Upon completion, participants will have a thorough understanding of the manner in which Customs officials and importers are expected to act in relation to Customs matters. There will be assessments and evaluations before issueing a UWI endorsed certificate. The duration is 40 hours with classes twice weekly. Cost: $520 + text.

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For more information, telephone the NRDF on 452-4253 or email BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Profile: The Customs Brokers Association

Aldrick George - President of CBA Being in the customs brokerage business sure has its many ups and downs. And there is hardly anyone in St. Lucia who has seen a balanced mix of them in that sector than customs broker and President of the Customs Brokers Association, Aldrick P. George. Upon leaving school at age seventeen, George joined the public service and was sent to work at the Customs and Excise Department. He ended up working there for twenty-four years, the last eight of which he served as Deputy Comptroller of Customs. George also served as Acting Comptroller during his tenure there. Although he no longer works with the Customs and Excise Department, the blood of the profession to which he has dedicated most of his life still runs through his veins. George received intensive formal training in customs matters over the years - both at the junior and senior levels - holding a diploma in Public Administration. Despite those accolades, though, he credits his passion for delivering exceptional quality service as the reason for his longevity in a business that is not as straightforward as many people would like to think. Over the past thirty-three years since he left the Customs and Excise Department, George has set up his own customs brokerage business, Aldrick P. George and Associates, which specializes in freight forwarding, packaging and storage. Business BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



has been good enough over the past years, he said, but it could be better. Presently, George serves as President of the Customs Brokers Association (CBA), an organisation that was formed over two and a half decades ago. Despite the long history of the association, George tells BF that the CBA faces an uphill battle as far as solidarity among the island’s many customs brokers is concerned. As a unit, George says the CBA is in a good position to make the business climate better for its members. However, that theory is yet to appear practical to those in the business, George explained in our recent interview with him. “The CBA doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere,” he laments. “I say that in the sense that we seem to be a community in which no matter how much we talk about unity and strength, people still like to go it alone. Personally, I think there are a lot of underlying selfish reasons: nobody wants to share.” Presently, there are about sixty members of the CBA. As far as he knows, the Customs and Excise Department is said to have registered close to four hundred brokers in St. Lucia. Such a disparity in both Customs and Excise Department and CBA’s numbers, he says, results in the CBA being anemic in both representation and flexing of muscles to get much done. Another key challenge faced by the CBA is that of licensing. Over its many years of existence, George says, the association has been fervently pushing for customs brokers on the island to become licensed. The failure to make licensing mandatory, he said, has virtually created a free-for-all environment in which just about anyone can claim to be a customs broker without having undergone the required training needed for that delicate and complex line of work. Such an environment often results in an inefficient and incompetent service.

But there’s a twist to all this, he says. “We have a Customs Brokers and Customs Clerks Act and that Act addresses licensing of brokers. There is also a Customs Brokers and Customs Clerks Commission and the life of that Commission lasts for two years. The life of the last Commission expired about three years ago and there has not been a new Commission since,” George explained. The CBA president says there are about six organisations that have representation on that Commission, with each being required to submit the names of their representatives to the Minister of Finance who will then publish the list, thus beginning of the life of the Commission. The current situation is unfortunate, George tells BF, as the Commission is the only authority to license the brokers. That is just one of the gridlocks in the system that he is actively pursuing at the moment to get resolved. During the course of his past two years as president of the CBA, George says he has painstakingly fought for many other changes to be made in the customs brokerage sector. In fact, George is demonstrating that passionate push in a big way by passing his wealth of knowledge on to others. He teaches Customs Laws and Procedures at the National Research Development Foundation (NRDF). George would also like to see some changes done at the Customs and Excise Department. With the introduction of the duty-free barrel system by government fifteen years ago came a sharp increase in those items ever since. The Customs and Excise Department, he says, needs to put in place the requisite systems that can handle such increased capacity in cargo. “One of the issues I have with this barrel business is that since SLASPA has to provide the storage for these barrels, the simplest thing to do would be to have statistics on a year-to-year basis. By doing so,

they would then be in a better position to gauge how the business is growing and thus be better prepared to handle the influx,” George tells BF.

So how does one become a member of the CBA? According to George, the individual must first be a customs broker and, subsequent to completing an application form and being accepted into the CBA, pay their regular dues. Membership fees are currently set at $20 monthly or $240 annually. Among the many benefits of being a CBA member are training opportunities, especially for those customs brokers who want to take their knowledge of the business to another level. “We really need to be a vibrant association. We seriously need to come together so as to be in a better position to take care of our business and advance the cause of the nature of this business in which we’re involved,” George tells BF. George also wears another cap: He is the first vice-president of the Caribbean Customs Brokers Association. That regional body is made up of customs brokers associations from jurisdictions as far north as Jamaica to Guyana in the south. The Customs Brokers Association (CBA) can be contacted at

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Safety on the Road! Truckers Willing to Play Their Part Truckers are an integral part of the business of shipping especially heavy-duty truckers moving containerised cargo. Over the years this sector of business has grown significantly with a number of major companies competing for the business. Despite this competitive spirit they have been practical and wise enough to see the benefits of forming a Truckers Association, which was established some three years ago but is currently dormant. With the number of issues being faced, members are currently engaged in re-energising the association to interface with the various stakeholders to address a catalogue of observations they want to share with the main shipping actors, including SLASPA and Customs.

Gregory Monplaisir, Head of Monplaisir Trucking, runs one of the island’s betterknown trucking services. He told BF: “Our association has basically been asleep and we’ve had no one to speak for us while the costs for operating our business are going up – including fuel, tyres, parts, labour, etc.” Among the issues Monplaisir says are of concern, some of which require better recognition and involvement from the Transport Board are: • Truck Driver Certification / Licensing. At the current time there is no specific training to qualify individuals to drive heavy duty vehicles in St Lucia. This could be rectified by establishing a driving school to certify truck drivers. According to Monplaisir, “Right now, anyone can buy a truck and hire someone, with or without a truck driver’s license, to join the trade and get into the trucking business. That’s not right or fair.”

• Road Repairs. Discussions with relevant departments regarding road repairs should take container trucks into consideration. Roads are being repaired and realigned, but in some cases they have now become too small for our larger trucks, forcing them to have to drive in the middle of the road, at great inconvenience to others, but necessary in the interest of customers’ cargo, and the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike. • ‘Goods In Transit’ insurance coverage. This is essential but unaffordable hence it is often ignored, putting the truckers and importers at what is an avoidable risk. In summary, Monplaisir says, “We need to introduce standards and principles to manage and assist orderly growth and development of this sector in the public’s best interest and safety.” Here’s hoping that our Truckers can get their Association back on the road again soon!

Monplaisir Trucking can arrange to collect your shipment at air and sea ports or directly from your warehouse and deliver it to your destination. We provide a friendly service second to none and take great pleasure in our customer service and job satisfaction. Mongiraud, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia P.O. Box GM 613 Tel: 1(758) 452-0974/0753 Cell: 1)758 484-1850 Fax: 1(758) 452-0989 Email: Web: BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



What are the Clearing Processes for Containers? The processes for clearing containers from the port differ depending on whether the cargo is a Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than Container Load (LCL). Here are the stages that occur with your cargo from arrival in the port to the delivery of the consignment: • Shipping agent sends notification to consignee that the goods have arrived. Consignee pays the agent fees and collects the Bill of Lading, Bill of Sight and Out of Charge Note.

AT CUSTOMS: FCL: Consignee goes to Customs Headquarters to get the Exit


Possible Causes for Delay: During the various stages of processing your FCL and LCL cargo, there are of course, several potential reasons for a delay to occur, each of which could greatly impact the timely delivery of your consignment. The possibilities include: • • • •

Software issues at Customs using ASYCUDA World Equipment problems or equipment availability Trucker may be given many EIR for different consignees and not have the capacity to deliver all the containers (FCL). The trucker may have more than one chassis and may place a container outside the port compound without delivering to the consignee and come back to collect an other container for another consignee (FCL).

LCL: Photo ID is required for a temporary pass to the port. Consignee goes to the cargo shed where the consignment is warehoused. SLASPA shed personnel identify & place the goods in the Customs examination area to be examined by Customs officer. Consignee goes to Customs Headquarters to pay Customs Duties and is given the Exit Note.


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AT SLASPA: FCL: Consignee or representative (trucker or broker) goes to

SLASPA to present Out of Charge Note, Container Release and Exit Note, and photo ID is required to be issued with a temporary pass. If there are storage or electrical charges (for refrigerated containers) the consignee needs to pay the cashier before collecting the Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) from the Operations Department. The EIR is then presented to gain entry into the port to collect the container. The truck is parked in a specified holding area and the consignee/trucker sees the Container Clerk with the Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) so that the container can be located and placed on the truck and leave the port.

LCL: Photo ID is required for a temporary pass to enter the port.

Consignee goes to the cargo shed with the Exit Note and Out of Charge Note. Any excess storage charges will be notified of at this time. If there are, the consignee goes to SLASPA’s cashier at their headquarters or at Cargo Shed 6. Shed personnel then prepare the goods for delivery and give the consignee a Goods Interchange Receipt (GIR) before they leave the port. The consignment is now delivered.

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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



What Our Ports Can Become!

A former local shipping magnate and Caribbean Sea Captain who’s pulled up his anchor offers words from the wise on what to do and how to take the island’s sea ports to the next level.

Michael Chastanet It would be unwise to research anything about Port Castries or shipping in St. Lucia without perhaps speaking to Michael Chastanet. Most know him as a supermarket magnate or a real estate businessman, but Michael is perhaps St. Lucia’s foremost ship owner and merchant mariner. Although almost retired, never a day passes without him talking to somebody about the sea, the ports, the marinas – and the infinite possibilities of what they can become. As far as Michael is concerned, we are still twiddling our thumbs instead of taking advantage of open opportunities. BF’s Earl Bousquet listened to his views on what he thinks and feels can be done to turn the nation’s ports around to do better in the business of shipping. The interview:

Q: You’ve spent the past year talking about what you see can or should be done for port development in St. Lucia. Why? A: Being in the shipping industry for the better part of a quarter of a century has afBusinessFocus Nov / Dec



forded me the opportunity to fully appreciate the importance of a well- equipped functional port facility. Let’s look at Port Castries. Focusing primarily on the cruise ship sector, it is important to offer a warm,

inviting and practical facility with a real Caribbean flavour. Pointe Seraphine is over 30 years old now and needs to be spruced up. First impressions are extremely important as thousands of visitors from beyond our shores enter a port at first light - and having had a good night’s sleep, nothing is

more pleasant than witnessing an organised and clean port facility which encourages visitors to go ashore. But, entering Port Castries is not a very appealing sight. As cruise ships enter our port, besides a natural land-locked harbour that nature provided, the first impression is of a very derelict site, starting from the La Toc area to the ferry berth. This part of the harbour is endowed with garbage, derelict boats and the La Toc Road, which has continued to disintegrate over the last 10 years. This part of the harbour should be nicely sheet piled permitting two cruise ships to comfortably berth at that location. To the left, we have a beautiful piece of waterfront property stored with building materials and confiscated crafts seized by the coast guard for drug related activities. Ganter’s Bay, which remains a natural enclave for great development is totally rundown and neglected as a result of unsafe moorings resulting from the construction of Pointe Seraphine. This enclave should be 85% protected to keep the area safe

from rising tides and bad weather and as presently Ganter’s Bay is extremely unsafe during any unnatural conditions. Pointe Seraphine used to be an appealing sight but now shows clear signs of tiredness as a result of age. We then witness the Fisheries Complex, which, in one sense has improved what existed primarily, but at the same time this area needs some sort of sprucing-up. The North Wharf (the section where La Place Carenage is located) has a charm of its own, but the Customs Sheds 4 and 5 need a new roof and some exciting colours. Sheds 6 and 7 because of their strategic location and size, need to be nicely painted to uplift the presence of the port. The derelict Port Police Station (the former Fire Station) needs to be torn down immediately and replaced temporarily with a simple Vendor’s Market while Government and SLASPA find the necessary funds to construct a more attractive building. Then we have the problem of stacking containers. The sight of containers within the city is most despicable.

Q: But if business and trade is growing

and the port is expanding, shouldn’t we expect to see some things get old and isn’t more containers a sign of more progress?

A: Not necessarily. There has to be order and how things look can tell a lot. I’ve studied what I’m about to tell you and I know what I’m saying. All containers presently stored on the docks could be relocated on five acres of land at Cul De Sac. The Cul De Sac site can be serviced by a fleet of 12 trucks with approximately 30 flat-beds. The total transit time from Port Castries to Cul De Sac is not more than 12 minutes. A proper Customs Office can be located within the five acre section to permit customers to clear their goods at Cul De Sac. All imported cars should be driven immediately from the port and located in Cul De Sac and then the entire port area should be made available to vendors and tourismrelated facilities. The ferry terminal is inappropriately located and Shed 4 should be used to handle the ferry passengers instead of landing the said passengers at the wrong side of Castries. Shed 5 should be converted temporarily into opening shops

towards Castries and remove the unsightly structures of the pavement adjacent to the Bank of Saint Lucia.

Q: You seem to be talking about improving the sight of the port, but what about the other practicalities? How much would that change? A: A lot. To start with, ambience and practicality are paramount. The cruise ship industry could be doubled or trebled. The unsightly 18 acres of land adjacent to the Coast Guard Station could and should be cleaned-up nicely and offered to an entrepreneur (in conjunction with Government and who can afford) to develop the area in keeping with a progressive plan. This area has sufficient land and waterfront facilities to create a new and exciting Pointe Seraphine that would enhance our port facilities to an unprecedented level. It should be recalled that in the early 70’s the Nedlloyd shipping line made Port Castries their preferred choice for almost seven years and the economic benefits were incredible, not to mention the constant flow of banana ships which visited Port Castries on a weekly basis, loading as much as 10,000 tonnes of bananas per week. A sea port is an extremely important asset to any country as it is intrinsic to imports and exports that are vital to the survival of a nation. A simple trip to St. Maarten, Aruba and St. Thomas will open our eyes as to the type of port facilities various governments have to compete with in this modern age.

A: Port Vieux Fort has not been able to attract the level of business required to maintain its viability, so Government should seriously consider joining hands with major shipping lines offering very special rates to create in-transit business. St. Lucia is relatively well located geographically and there are several countries which would be more than willing to use the Vieux Fort area as an in-transit depot. The yachting trade is another area crying out for special locations. The Vieux Fort Bay does not lend itself adaptable to yachting as the constant swells make it uncomfortable for yachtsmen. However, the huge swamp area adjacent to the Black Bay Lands remains dysfunctional and the same approach that Sir John Compton followed by dredging out the Rodney Bay area and forming a world-class marina can also be duplicated within that swamp. Automatically, this area could become a very safe haven and the land in that area would have a new life as a result of the activity that could be generated from the proposed development. Q: So, where would you start? A: Again, we simply have to find the right organisations to execute this project and one country that comes highly recommended would be Holland, since it’s renowned for developing low-lying lands and at the same time holds a top reputation for seafaring people. Serious Trinidad entrepreneurs would be most interested in joining hands with us as Trinidad offers first class repair facilities, but does not have the high tourism attractions that St. Lucia enjoys. Whether we are talking about the Castries or Vieux Fort ports, we must accept the fact that tourism is our business; and unless we get serious about the way forward, our ports – especially Castries - will remain in the doldrums for years on end. The nation needs constructive (not negative) criticism to change course, as it is no longer business as usual. That I offer here, hoping it doesn’t fall on deaf ears but truly hoping that somebody hears.

Q: What are your suggestions for Port Vieux Fort? BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Intra-Caribbean Shipping Trade Still Very Deficient

Yet another year approaches. The OECS Economic Union will soon enter its third year. The Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) approaches its umpteenth year on the books. But the governments of St. Lucia and other member-states of both regional entities continue to lament the slow movement of trade between the islands. Despite the OECS Trade Desk’s continuing bids throughout 2012 to create mechanisms to promote more trade, the islands continue to mourn a deficit in trade in manufactured goods between them because, like the wider CARICOM region, most exports still seek more lucrative external markets. With most islands still over-dependent on tourism, they have been seeking to reorient their trade into service-oriented industries, in which they enjoy a comparative surplus. The OECS Secretariat’s trade section is advocating the diversification of economies away from traditional dependence on old models. The OECS’ Trade Policy Desk, BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



based in Castries, has been encouraging tardy member-states to take faster steps to realize the Economic Union. But while this process of readjustment is being promoted, St. Lucia and the other islands’ manufacturers still have to contend with the usual problems - but mainly cost of transportation, which is just one of the added costs that make their products more expensive. Movement of goods between St. Lucia and other Caribbean states has declined considerably over the years, due primarily to the skyrocketed cost of shipping. Shipping by sea is holding its stead, even though business is also declining. Movement of goods and acceleration of inter-OECS trade continue to be problematic, leading to recommendations for a return to the earlier forms of regional sea transport between the islands through the introduction of ferry services as the modern equivalent to the schooners and other vessels that transported people and goods from island to island up until the 80s.

The Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Economic Union was signed in June 2010 in St Lucia. Two-and-a-half years later, its provisions still seek to upgrade the sub-regional arrangement by creating a single economic space through which capital, goods and people can flow unimpeded. The OECS Secretariat is actively promoting economic diversification - away from over-dependence on tourism - as an essential aspect of future economic health. Earlier this year, OECS statistics indicated that tourism accounts for 83% of OECS exports and is linked to 70% of employment in the islands. Its contribution to GDP ranges from 24% in Montserrat to 75% in Antigua & Barbuda. But the islands enjoy a surplus of trade in services, interpreted by the analysts as an indication that service-oriented activities may hold the key to much-needed diversification of the OECS economies. Accordingly, OECS governments regard diversification into services as essential for eventually weaning the sub-region away from its continuing over-dependence on tourism. The OECS Trade Policy Desk says the thrust toward economic diversification away from tourism needs to be accelerated as much as possible, to transform the sub-regional economy from its current state of virtual monoculture. The governments are still very much at the crossroads, recognizing the decrease in trade and movement of goods and having to promote alternative paths that are not immediate enough to guarantee any smooth passage for manufacturers that can’t make the transition fast enough. But even while pointing to new paths, avenues and directions, as another year approaches, the experts are also still hoping that a return to ferry cargo and passenger services and acceleration of sea transport between the islands will result in more, cheaper and faster movement of goods within and between the islands of the OECS.

Shipping in the Age of the Internet! People have lots of flexibility and options when it comes to shipping these days. There are a few factors to consider during your selection process however: WHAT is being shipped | COST of your shipment | SPEED of delivery Any which way you cut it – consumers have been given the control of selecting their shipping preference, and there are also several now available with a simple click of a mouse. You have goods or objects – ‘the tangibles’ that need to be physically moved from one place to another, and their alternate twins – the ‘intangibles,’ where distance and physical space do not play a role in this exchange which is what shipping really is in a nutshell: Getting things from one place to another. So you have your instant delivery which applies to your ‘intangibles’ – smartphone apps, online

software for immediate use, etc. In the age of instant gratification, you can’t get it faster than that. Then you have the almost instant delivery – where you pay, for example, for a Fedex Next Day Delivery by plugging in your Fedex Account number online and you get your package at your door within the specified time frame. These days the shipping industry has been more accommodating by putting more power in the hands of the consumer in terms of convenience and tracking of their goods while they make their trek to the purchaser. Shippers are now held accountable and obligated to meet these clients’ ever growing expectations. From the purchasing and printing of your own stamps online and scheduling a pick up from the comfort of your home, to the ability to track the journey of your goods to anywhere in the world, via air, sea or

By Keitha Glace land. This sort of transparency gives the buyer more confidence in knowing that their goods are on the way and an approximate time for delivery as opposed to the past anxious feeling of ‘hoping’ it arrives. As a guide for choosing a shipping method that works for you and your business, it is dependent on three main factors and the importance you place upon them: Speed, Efficiency and Cost. Happy Shipping Folks! About the Author: Keitha Glace is the Owner and Managing Director of and the St. Lucia Business Directory – She has been providing advertising and marketing services, specialising in online products and solutions for clients worldwide since 1998.

Blanchards Customs & Freight Services For efficient handling of all your Import, Export, Brokerage Services & Shipping Representative for: Express Freight Services – Miami Best Way Logistics Inc.

Affiliates Lee’s International (Shipping) DC Shipping – Texas Postal Address: P. O. Box 1952 Castries, St. Lucia, W.I Unit 11 Valco Building, Cadet Street, Castries. Tel: 1 (758) 458-1504 Fax: 1 (758) 458-1505 Cell: 1 (758) 484-3170 Email: Website: BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Incoterms Language is one of the most complex and important tools of international trade, and for business terminology to be effective, phrases must mean the same thing throughout the industry. In regard to the purchase and shipping of goods, it is essential for shippers to know the exact status of their shipments in terms of ownership and responsibility. It is also vital for sellers and buyers to arrange insurance on their goods while the goods are in their legal possession. In 1936, the International Chamber of Commerce created International Commercial Terms, known as "Incoterms", intended to clearly communicate the tasks, costs and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods. • Costs: Who is responsible for the expenses involved in a shipment at a given point in the shipment's journey? • Control: Who owns the goods at a given point in the journey? • Liability: Who is responsible for paying damage to goods at a given point in a shipment's transit? The movement of goods can have a direct financial impact on a company's business. Often companies like to be in control of their freight. That being the case, sellers of goods might choose to sell CIF, which gives them a good grasp of shipments moving out of their country, and buyers may prefer to purchase FOB, which gives them a tighter hold on goods moving into their country. EXW (EX-Works)
One of the simplest and most basic shipment arrangements places the minimum responsibility on the seller with greater responsibility on the buyer. In an EX-Works transaction, goods are basically made available for pickup at the shipper/seller's factory or warehouse and delivery is accomplished when the merchandise is released to the consignee's BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



freight forwarder. The buyer is responsible for making arrangements with their forwarder for insurance, export clearance and handling all other paperwork. FOB (Free On Board)
One of the most commonly used-and misused-terms, FOB means that the shipper/seller uses his freight forwarder to move the merchandise to the port or designated point of origin. Though frequently used to describe inland movement of cargo, FOB specifically refers to ocean or inland waterway transportation of goods. Delivery is accomplished when the shipper/seller releases the goods to the buyer's forwarder. The buyer's responsibility for insurance and transportation begins at the same moment. FCA (Free Carrier)
In this type of transaction, the seller is responsible for arranging transportation, but he is acting at the risk and the expense of the buyer. Where in FOB the freight forwarder or carrier is the choice of the buyer, in FCA the seller chooses and works with the freight forwarder or the carrier. Delivery is accomplished at a predetermined port or destination point and the buyer is responsible for insurance. FAS (Free Alongside Ship)
In these transactions, the buyer bears all the transportation costs and the risk of loss of goods. FAS requires the shipper/seller to clear goods for export, which is a reversal from past practices. Companies selling on these terms will ordinarily use their freight forwarder to clear the goods for export. Delivery is accomplished when the goods are turned over to the buyer’s forwarder for insurance and transportation. CFR (Cost and Freight)
It is the shipper/ seller's responsibility to get goods from their door to the port of destination. Delivery is accomplished at this time. It is the buyer's responsibility to cover insurance from the port of origin or port of shipment to buyer's door. Given that the shipper is

responsible for transportation, the shipper also chooses the forwarder. CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight)
This arrangement is similar to CFR, but instead of the buyer insuring the goods for the maritime phase of the voyage, the shipper/seller will insure the merchandise. In this arrangement, the seller usually chooses the forwarder. Delivery as with CFR, is accomplished at the port of destination. DAT (Delivered At Terminal) The shipper/seller pays for carriage to the terminal, except for costs related to import clearance, and assumes all risks up to the point that the goods are unloaded at the terminal. CPT (Carriage Paid To)
The shipper/ seller has the same obligations found with CIF, with the addition that the seller has to buy cargo insurance, naming the buyer as the insured while the goods are in transit. DAP (Delivered At Place) The shipper/ seller pays for carriage to the named place, except for costs related to import clearance, and assumes all risks prior to the point that the goods are ready for unloading by the buyer. CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To) Because it relies on the carrier's insurance, the shipper/seller is only required to purchase minimum coverage. When this particular agreement is in force, freight forwarders often act in effect, as carriers. The buyer's insurance is effective when the goods are turned over to the forwarder. DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)
The shipper/seller is responsible for dealing with all the tasks involved in moving goods from the manufacturing plant to the buyer/consignee's door. It is the shipper/seller's responsibility to insure the goods and absorb all costs and risks including the payment of duty and fees. Courtesy:

Duties of Buyer v Seller According to Incoterms Incoterm

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ExportCustoms declaration

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Unloading Loading Carriage to charges in on truck in Insurance place of port of port of destination import import

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BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Is Le


Paradise Lost?

By Earl Bousquet

The Le Paradis project on St. Lucia’s east coast was supposed to have become the island’s largest and most up-to-date multifarious hotel and golf course tourism development. It was huge. Spread over hundreds of acres on both sides of the highway, its billboards offered images of a finished product that many only started believing was possible when it began taking shape. The employment factor and its possible contribution to improvement of the island’s overall tourism product outweighed all other concerns. The local owners of the vast property landed a sweetheart deal. The project would bring life to a hitherto desolate area. Employment opportunities would be created for the surrounding communities that had lived long years with no employment for miles. Construction and earth-moving activities had turned that part of the island into a fast-developing construction zone as building structures stretched from the roadside to the breezy and choppy bay. Fears that Fregate Island would lose its indigenous birds were overcome; and the few snakes that may have been killed by tractors were replaced reproductively. St. Lucia’s next new paradise was taking shape. All was going well when, suddenly, the big bubble burst. Le Paradis, like many other projects its size in the Caribbean and worldwide, became the victim of the global financial meltdown. The project’s bankrollers ran into trouble elsewhere, the reverberations echoing loudly in St. Lucia. The Le Paradis developers had borrowed BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



some US $100 million from CLICO Investment Bank in Trinidad & Tobago and had only withdrawn approximately US $82 Million when the CLICO bank went bust. Since then, not a brick has moved on the project. The vast project has today metamorphosed from a bright spot that tour guides were proud to point to as a view of the future to a grey and darkening dump site of decaying structures. Trucks and tractors are parked and seizing, construction signs only remind of what used to be and the previously attractive buildings and other structures are now elements of an eerie ghost town. So, how is the government going to rescue Le Paradis? No official indications have been given, but a knowledgeable source told BF, “The Prime Minister has been exploring initial options on how best to approach the issue.” Said this close source, “The administration he leads already faces the inherited headaches associated with local aspects of CLICO’s financial meltdown and securing some form of saving graces for British American insurance shareholders. The CLICO mess is still a big mess in Trinidad, so the road isn’t all that clear as to the immediate future of this fallen giant.” It was explained that, “The original Le Paradis investors may well have (understandably) lost some (if not all) of their steam. But there are still many here pinning their hopes on the historical political and legal coziness between the St. Lucia PM and his T&T counterpart in some way leading to openings of corridors of promise.”

But whilst everyone hopes and prays for a miracle that would see the island’s highflying real estate development project rise from the ashes of collapse, the cracks continue to widen on the walls, shingles still fly off roofs and windows still flutter in the constant Caribbean sea-breeze. So, is Le Paradis a ‘paradise lost’? “Not really,” says a former site project manager still hoping for the best, “Dr. Anthony has a way of coming up with solutions to these types of problems. He’s done it before and most people believe the way he’s been talking about it, he must have something in mind.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Anthony keeps his lips sealed on exactly what he has in mind for Le Paradis, but told BF, “We have seen over our first nine months a renewal of investor confidence that has already seen one major hotel project in the north of the island formerly owned by the Almond Group quietly change hands in a rescue package that has left all sides happy.” He concluded, “We are looking at similar approaches for other projects brought to a standstill by the financial meltdown or other factors, and where possible, we will do our bit to inject energy into reinvestment to bring them back to life.” He said there was “every sign of renewed investor confidence” and his administration had spent “quite some time reconfiguring our main agencies with which investors have to interact, to be able to ensure their confidence is not only well appreciated but also well managed.”

Hotels Call for New Safety Standards & Licensing Regime

By Earl Bousquet What do you do when your neighbour’s house is on fire? If it’s a hotel, you don’t just wet it. The interest there is wider than the house and the household family. It has to do with more than the guests and staff. It affects an entire industry – and its reputation for safety. The St. Lucia hotel industry saw one of its houses on fire in early August when a visitor died at a southern-based hotel. The long and short of the story was that the young visitor was found dead in the hotel’s pool and a post mortem determined she died from drowning due to an electric shock. Subsequent investigation of the hotel’s in-house electrical outfitting revealed it was below standard and the regulators closed it down. The incident had several features that bade bad news for the island’s already stifling tourism industry. The young woman victim happened to be a cousin of a top English footballer with St. Lucian roots, who was not too long ago named a St. Lucia Goodwill and Sports Ambassador in the UK. The sad story of the death of the 20-year-old just days ahead of her 21st birthday was making the headlines in England, where the island had, just weeks earlier, suffered even more bad press after local police were accused of botching the investigation of a suspicious death at a local hospital of a British woman who lived on the island. The death of the 20-year-old was bad news too for the local safety regulators, who definitely weren’t on the job as far as that hotel was concerned. They too had a mountain of headaches. Yes, the hotel was effectively closed down through enforcement of the related rules. But what

about the island’s other hotels? That was the immediate question on most observers’ minds. It was never clear what the true picture was —and one was left with the impression the regulators and the industry came to the common conclusion: that it was safer to be safe than sorry. No word ever came out on whether any thorough hotelby-hotel investigation was ever carried out. And very few hotels, if any, publicly declared they could stand a regulatory test at any time, any day. The hotel had remained open for several days after the incident, leading to questions in the press about whether the pool had even been ordered closed for investigation; and a post mortem took even longer to be performed, which eventually determined the victim had died from “drowning secondary to electrocution.” The St. Lucia Hotels & Tourism Association (SLHTA) had to decide how to deal with the situation. How to respond in a responsible way that won‘t rub its members wrongly? Can it keep quiet and ride out the storm? Each question was a tough call. The SLHTA opted for a proactive stance, calling for the government regulators to devise a new licensing regime and set new safety standards for hotels and households. It argued that this approach would ensure all hotels were covered by the same rules and were measured with the same safety yardstick. The regulators haven’t issued a public statement about regulation of present or future safety standards for hotels, but this particular incident, whatever the legal outcome, has allowed the hotel industry to call for regulations of new safety standards. It

is now for the regulators to do their bit to protect visitors and locals against such unfortunate and tragic happenings. It’s simply a matter of public safety – for visitors and locals alike, at homes and businesses, schools and hospitals, hotels and all public places. But it’s not only about hotels. Recent investigations into school fires have turned up the same results: many of the island’s educational institutions have poor fire escape and emergency mechanisms in place, much to the concern of the Fire Department. The Fire Department is equally concerned that not enough is being done to keep narrow streets clear enough to facilitate fire trucks or ambulances attending to emergencies. Vehicle owners insist on parking on both sides of small streets, everyone preferring to park closest to their homes without caring about blocking access to fire hydrants or preventing fire tenders from being able to pass through freely. National safety standards should not only be enforced or considered when hurricane season approaches or after a fire or accidental death due to negligence or non-compliance with national safety regulations. It’s not only about Occupational Health and Safety at workplaces either. It has to be a national all-embracing policy to be implemented and monitored ceaselessly by serious regulators with the teeth and the tools to ensure compliance and bring defaulters to heel. In the absence of such a serious approach, we can never tell where the next incident or accident will happen. We will just know that it will definitely happen – it’s just a matter of time. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Sandals to Invest US$100m on

Grande St. Lucian Expansion Even though the world stares in the face of an economic abyss, Sandals Resorts International will be investing USD 100 million on an innovative development anticipated

to intrigue travellers to the Caribbean. The resort chain, which operates three luxury hotels in St. Lucia, has recently unveiled plans to build 15 over-water suites, which are part of a 200-room expansion. The Sandals investment is coming at a time when several planned projects locally have failed to either get off the ground or plunged into financial trouble due to the global recession. But SRI’s Regional Director in the Eastern Caribbean, Jeremy Jones, believes that his company’s new project will provide employment for 250 individuals in the construction sector and 400 permanent jobs upon completion. “This expansion will no doubt inject some activity into the St. Lucian economy BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



as it is expected to contribute USD 18 million annually on the local economy once completed,” Remarked Jones. He continued, “We will need wedding planners, front office attendants, food service professionals, financial and marketing specialists too. In addition to jobs, it will also create more opportunities for local businesses to provide a multitude of goods and services and this will generate dozens of indirect jobs.” The overwater suites which have become a signature of destinations in the Indian and Pacific oceans are well sought after by the travel community, and according to Jones they are a symbol of an enhanced profile for St. Lucia as a tourist destination, an opportunity he believes to be critical to the island’s competitiveness in a very challenging time for the global travel industry. “Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and what we are seeing is increased levels of competition for fewer tourists’ dollars. St. Lucia and the Caribbean will have to keep exciting the travel community with consistent additions to their product,” adds the Sandals Eastern

Caribbean head honcho. The Sandals Grande project will include private plunge pools, Jacuzzis, glass bottom flooring and other luxury comforts. The opulent expansion will also include Caribbean Plunge Pool Suites, Rondaval Suites and Beach-front rooms. In addition it will have five restaurants: Japanese, Sushi, Buffet, Pizzeria and Island Grill, in keeping with the Sandals’ Luxury Included philosophy. The development will make Sandals Grande the resort with the largest amount of rooms in St. Lucia, a total of 501, and is expected to draw the attention of the international travel media. St. Lucia therefore is expected to gain much marketing exposure from this development.

It is the first time in the history of the Caribbean that over-water suites are explored at this magnitude despite their legendary acclaim in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Courtesy: Sandals Resorts

St. Lucia Awarded “The Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”

Photo: Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards and Lorine Charles-St.Jules, Regional Marketing Manager, Northeast Honoured for the 10th time in the past decade, St. Lucia accepted the award for “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” at the 2012 World Travel Awards Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony held on September 14. Hosted at the Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Village and Spa, the event, now in its 19th year, was established for the purpose of recognizing and celebrating achievements in all areas of the world’s travel and tourism industry. “Being acknowledged as a leading romance destination, not only within the Caribbean but worldwide, is something we look forward to maintaining and are thrilled with this recognition from the World Travel Awards, especially since we are selected by consumers and the trade,”

said Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism for St. Lucia. “We plan to retain the leadership position by continuing to create new and exciting ways to entice travellers. St. Lucia is naturally made for romance and we have embraced it and want to share the love with visitors to the island. As we move into 2013, St. Lucia is poised for additional growth, product improvement and increased airlift which will make getting to the island much easier.” A number of St. Lucian companies and properties also received recognition at the recent ceremony including Barefoot Holidays DMC St. Lucia, which was named the Caribbean’s Leading Tour Operator. The Jalousie Plantation was awarded St. Lucia’s Leading Hotel. The Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort was awarded St.

Lucia’s Leading Resort and Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa was awarded St. Lucia’s Leading Spa Resort. Among the numerous awards and accolades the island has received recognizing it as a top romantic destination, both US and UK versions of the hit reality series, The Bachelor, have had several episodes filmed on island, reaching tens of millions of fans across both countries. Additionally, St. Lucia was recently named one of the world’s top 20 Honeymoon destinations by BRIDE’s magazine (2012) and listed as one of the “Best Caribbean Honeymoon” locations by US News & World Report. Courtesy: St. Lucia Tourist Board

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Airlift Schedule for Flights into St. Lucia 2013

For Flights into George F.L. Charles Airport (SLU) CARIBBEAN






Barbados - SLU

4 times daily



Antigua - SLU

2 times daily



Dominica - SLU




St. Vincent - SLU




Trinidad - SLU




Martinique - SLU




St. Maarten - SLU



Air Caraibes

Martinique - SLU



Air Antillies

France - Martinique - SLU

3/wk (Wed, Fri, Sun)


Caribbean Airlines

Trinidad - SLU



For Flights into Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) UK



No. of Seats 2013

No. of Seats 2012


Virgin Atlantic

London Gatwick - UVF




British Airways

Gatwick - UVF - Port Of Spain - UVF







No. of Seats 2013

Frankfurt - Barbados - UVF

No. of Seats 2012









No. of Seats 2013

No. of Seats 2012


Miami - UVF





Atlanta - UVF




US Airways

Charlotte - UVF




US Airways

Philladelphia - UVF




Jet Blue

JFK New York - UVF



American Airlines

3600 12900

Courtesy: Saint Lucia Tourist Board BusinessFocus Nov / Dec





No. of Seats 2013

No. of Seats 2012


Air Canada

Toronto - UVF




Air Canada

Montreal - UVF




West Jet

Toronto - UVF




Transat Tours

Canjet/Air Transat Toronto - UVF




Transat Tours

(Air Transat) Montreal - UVF



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& Appleton Form Partnership Replaces Guyanaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s El Dorado Rums in New Agreement The Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum range will now be poured in all 19 Sandals and Beaches properties throughout the Caribbean. The homegrown alliance will further enhance the resorts' five-star product offering as well as provide huge exposure to the rum brand via Sandals' extensive guest and travel agent network. "Sandals and Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum are two of the most famous and successful brands ever to emerge from this region. I'm delighted that we were able to join forces to offer the best of the Caribbean at our resorts," said Sandals Resorts International Chief Executive Officer, Adam Stewart. "While Sandals is a global brand, we remain a family business that is passionately committed to

our country of Jamaica and the region as a whole and therefore it's great to see two local brands linking up to offer a true Caribbean experience," he said. The deal marks the end of a two-year agreement Sandals had with Demerara Distillers to supply the Guyana-based company's El Dorado aged rums to all its hotels across the region. Prior to the supply agreement with Demerara, the hotel chain had a deal with Appleton for more than 20 years. "We're constantly looking to extend the boundaries of what our guests receive during their stay with us and Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum is an iconic Jamaican product and an internationally acclaimed rum brand. I would like to place on record our thanks to Demerara Distillers and their

Delivering Massage Therapy, Facials, Hand and Foot Care and Body Treatments in a relaxed & professional manner Providing the ultimate in customer service and unique treatments to promote health and well-being. In this peaceful getaway let our licensed therapists take you into Touch Therapiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; own little world. We offer the same wonderful services that you'd expect from a resort spa at a fraction of the price

El Dorado brand and wish them all the best for the future," Stewart said. Paul Henriques, Managing Director of J Wray & Nephew Ltd., producers of Appleton, said his company is delighted to renew its partnership with Sandals and to be able to showcase its award-winning range of Jamaican rums to guests of Sandals resorts across the Caribbean. "It is very fitting that in our 50th year of independence, two of Jamaica's most famous brands are once again partnering to raise the bar and provide guests of the Sandals and Beaches properties with an exceptional drinking experience," Henriques said. Courtesy: Jamaica Observer

Jardin Cocao Restaurnat & Bar

Open Daily from 11am - 10pm

Request an appointment or purchase a Gift Certificate Phone: (758) 452-9901 or (758) 488-5940 Email: BBM Pin# 2362E8CC Website: Like us on Facebook ;

P.O. Box 250 Soufriere, St. Lucia Tel: 1(758) 459-7545/48 Fax: 1(758) 459-7790 Web: Email: A colonial estate set against the backdrop of a St. Lucia World Heritage Site BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Taxi Owners Demand Equal Treatment as Minibus Counterparts Local taxi drivers are clamouring for equal treatment to minibus owners – they too want government help to keep providing public transportation services. The taxi drivers are not saying they need a similar payout as has been awarded to the bus owners, but they are arguing that they too have to pay for gas and parts – even though they largely determine their own fares. The taxi drivers say it is unfair for the government to only reward minibus owners by paying them not to raise fares while not paying much attention to the cost of taxi owners to keep their cars and vans on the road. Taxi drivers do have their own set of benefits, having been given large duty free concessions for new vehicles, which is not the case for minibus owners. However, they insist that they are facing difficulties such as encroachment on their turf by minibus drivers, who solicit tourists on the roads in competition with the tourism taxis. The government agreed to grant a subsidy of EC$2 million dollars to minibus operators, to assist in meeting the increased cost of providing public transportation, in order to avert an increase in bus fares at this time. EC$1 million dollars was to be available at the end of August 2012, with the balance of EC$1 million to be disbursed at the end of November 2012. According to a government press release there would be no adjustments in bus fares until April 2013. In a letter to the President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) confirming the subsidy, the Prime Minister emphasized the government’s inability to continue to subsidise the public transportation sector indefinitely. Dr. Anthony wrote: “The Government of Saint Lucia re-emphasizes that periodic subsidies to minibus owners are unsustainable, given the fiscal challenges facing the country at this time. The Government notes that between 2008 and 2012, the NCOPT would have received a total of seven million EC dollars in subsidies. Therefore, the correct approach would be to apply for any fare adjustments in the manner provided in the law.” According to the statement, “It is the understanding of the Government that the NCOPT intends to utilise this subsidy to establish a business to import supplies, including spare parts for the use of minibus owners. The purpose of this business is to help minibus owners better control their operational costs and to ensure long term sustainability of the transportation sector.” There has been no formal word yet from the government in response to the taxi drivers and owners’ calls for equal treatment as minibus owners. However, National Taxi Association President, “Nobbie” Lucien, says his members will continue to press for “equal recognition from the government” until their situation is addressed. BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Harris Paints Delivers Record Performance During Its Recent ISO Recertification Audit

The management and staff of Harris Paints St. Lucia Ltd. have much to celebrate as the organisation recently passed its recertification of ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System with absolutely no findings. This emphasises the company’s commitment to providing quality products and services and helping to make the industry more efficient and effective. Throughout the intensive three-day audit, Chris Watson – Certified International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) External Auditor, was very impressed with the overall Quality Management System at Harris Paints and the improvements made by the company. “In my 16 years of experience conducting audits worldwide, Harris Paints St. Lucia is the 33rd organisation to receive zero findings in a recertification audit. The organisation was initially certificated in 2003 for ISO 9001:2000 and has grown by leaps and bounds. This is a testament to the management and employees’ commitment and efforts to continuously strive for excellence in customer service.” In St. Lucia and also across the Caribbean, Harris Paints is one of the few companies that is currently certified ISO 9001:2008 and continues to satisfy the needs of its customers through product evolutions and high standards of service. “This is not only a great honour for Harris Paints, but it also underscores our commitment to our team members and, most importantly, our customers,” said Marguerite Desir, Senior Vice President of the Human Resource department for the region and Head of the Business Units of Harris Paints in St. Lucia and Dominica. “We try to create a work environment that fosters initiative, innovation, excellence, excitement, and consistently great service to our customers. Harris Paints strives on delivering quality products, backed by superior ‘before and after sales’ service to our customers. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people wherever Harris chooses to market its products and services. We achieve this by producing ideas and inspiration that enable our customers to decorate, enhance and protect their living and working environments with outstanding products and solutions that bring superior visual delight and longer lasting care to their surroundings.”

Ramjattan and Baron Foods Top the List at 2012 Caribbean Business Awards Baron Foods has won yet another set of awards – sweeping the majority from the slate in the 2012 edition of the annual Caribbean Business Awards. But it’s not just the company this time, its Founder and Managing Director was also voted the 2012 Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year. The organisers announced in early October that the local company won in three categories: Manufacturing Excellence, Innovation and Small-to-Medium Business of the Year. Baron Foods Managing Director, Ronald Ramjattan, responding to the news, told BF: “We are proud of ourselves - and for St. Lucia.” He said the latest award, “will join all our other national, regional and international awards and they will encourage us to continue to strive to do even better, never mind we’re considered at the top. There’s no limit to excellence.” Derrick Sutherland, Co-Founder of the Antiguan based entity, Caribbean Business Awards Inc., said in his statement announcing the 2012 winners: “We congratulate all the winners and are elated to provide a platform to showcase the best in Caribbean industry.” This year’s entrants ranged from new business start-ups to more established businesses from several countries, including Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. Sutherland said, “We also had experienced business professionals from across the Caribbean Diaspora participating as judges, providing the ideal vehicle to promote the Caribbean region as a great place to do business. According to Sutherland, the CBA awards programme “has gained interest year on year” and 2012 “has been the most successful yet. In these very tough economic conditions, it is great to see so much first-class work being done in businesses around the Caribbean,” the CBA Co-Founder said. “All winners are an undeniable success story – and many congratulations to them all for their outstanding collective contribution to the Caribbean region and their individual achievements.”

Winners of the 2012 Caribbean Business Awards are: Small-to-Medium Business of the Year – Baron Foods Limited, St Lucia Large Business of the Year – Burger Boys Limited, Trinidad & Tobago Contact Centre of the Year – KM2 Solutions LLC, St. Lucia, Barbados & Grenada Award for Innovation – Baron Foods Limited, St Lucia Manufacturing Excellence Award – Baron Foods Limited, St Lucia Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year – Ronald Ramjattan, Managing Director, Baron Foods Limited, St Lucia

St. Lucia & Trinidad Win Rights to Host Caribbean Twenty20 4

The West Indies Cricket Board has announced that Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia have won the rights to host the fourth edition of its flagship regional tournament – Caribbean Twenty20. Trinidad and Tobago will host the first part of the preliminary round at the Queen’s Park Oval, while Beausejour Cricket Ground will be the venue for the second part of the preliminary round, the playoffs and the final. The Trinidad and Tobago bid was specifically for the preliminary round of the premier regional tournament scheduled to be hosted from 6th-21st January 2013. The WICB International Fixtures Committee reviewed and assessed the four bids received and Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia were given the nod ahead of Barbados and Antigua. Trinidad and Tobago previously hosted the latter preliminary stage, the semi finals and final of the inaugural Caribbean T20 in 2010. This will be the first time Caribbean T20 will be played in St Lucia. Barbados had previously hosted every Caribbean Twenty20 tournament thus far and Antigua hosted the tournament in 2011 and 2012. Trinidad and Tobago had originally won the bid to host in 2012 but the tournament was moved to Antigua after scheduling conflicts arose.

Criteria for assessing bids: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Cost of hosting matches Contributions of the host to the event Potential revenue opportunities Strength of commitment Record of honouring commitments Quality of event management during WICB Tournaments Venue readiness Rotation of host venues Weather conditions at time of hosting

Venues must have lights to qualify for the bidding process. International Fixtures Committee: Enoch Lewis – Chairman (Chairman of WICB Finance Committee), Joel Garner (Chairman of WICB Cricket Committee), Emmanuel Nanthan (Member of WICB Business Development Committee), Dr. Ernest Hilaire (CEO), Roland Holder (Cricket Operations Manager [ag]), Nelecia Yeates (WICB Commercial Manager). BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Planners Promise New Hospitals & Health Delivery Systems by June 2013

By Earl Bousquet St. Lucia is about to make a quantum leap in health care that has already been very costly, but which will be worth every cent of medical care – if all goes according to the planners’ plans. From next year, the island will go from having just one ageold national hospital and one high-cost modern private hospital to having several: a New National Hospital Complex in Castries, a new St. Jude Hospital in Vieux Fort, new and upgraded Urban Polyclinics in Gros Islet and in La Guerre, and a new Dennery Hospital sometime later. The New National Hospital (NNH) project, started in 2006, has been having its ups and downs. For five years its pace of progress seemed tied to the nearby controversial National Mental Wellness Centre, which had become everything it wasn’t meant to be. Controversy followed controversy at the NNH site. Contractors were removed and replaced – then re-hired. The foreign firms and international institutions involved were at their wits end, with politicians over-ruling technocrats and tinkering with the plan, delaying progress on delivery. But from the beginning of 2012 the wind returned to the NNH’s sails and the project has been sailing ahead smoothly. The project is intended to be complete by December 31st and work has been proceeding feverishly to meet that deadline. The NNH will then take six months to be equipped and commissioned and the goal is to have its doors open in June 2013. The plan is for the three health institutions in close proximity to work together – the NNH, the National Mental Wellness Centre and the Turning Point Drug Rehab Centre at La Toc. Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony has BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



visited both the National Hospital Complex and St. Jude Hospital construction sites with official delegations. He brought entourages to Vieux Fort to monitor construction and did the same later with a high-powered EU delegation that visited to reconfirm its continuing interest in funding what the PM says is intended to be “the best hospital in the Eastern Caribbean.” The Ministry of Finance experts admit that St. Jude is running over-budget. It was first estimated last year to cost $37 million, but that figure has passed $40 million and may even reach as much as $60 million. The plan is to integrate all the new hospitals and upgraded polyclinics and other health facilities around the island by introduction of new and modern systems and equipment to be manned by trained personnel. The hope is that by strengthening the capacity of the primary health care facilities, as well as the smaller hospital in Soufriere and the one to be built in Dennery, there will be less pressure on the NNH, leaving it to offer better and more specialized care of really sick patients. A new St. Lucia Health Information System called SLUHIS has been initiated to centralise and digitise patient records in a safe national system. Anyone going to a health institution anywhere in the island will present an ID card or passport from which information will be entered into the system and become immediately available throughout the SLUHIS system. As a result, anywhere you go for medical care, there will be a record of that patient’s first visit even if it were elsewhere. Old Victoria Hospital will obviously be a lesser part of the new dispensation, but the planners insist it “won’t be phased

out.” They say the NNH will be characterised by inclusion of better diagnostic services such as CT scanning, MRI, day surgeries and other “services above what obtains at Victoria Hospital.” On September 20, anxious VH staff invited Ministry of Health officials to visit their display of proposals and documents and to hear their ideas for the future of the centenarian institution in modern times. The plan for expanding and deepening the nation’s health services will include such elements as: upgrading medical and health centres to Urban Polyclinic status, encompassing the hundreds of Cubatrained nurses into the national health service, improving and expanding the SLUHIS, launching the second phase of the Universal Health Care (UHC) system of 2006 under which patients with Diabetes and Hypertension receive free medication, implementation of legislative reforms to support the health reforms and improving the health infrastructure to support delivery of quality health services. The improvement of the island’s health services has been a national project. St. Lucians at home and abroad chipped in to raise funds for St. Jude after it burned down and yet undetermined amounts were raised through donations from countries and international private and public agencies. In all this, the island’s business entities haven’t at all lessened their roles. Digicel recently gave a true children’s facelift to the Pediatric Ward at Victoria, while Axcel Finance donated urgently needed medical supplies to St. Jude.


“We Service What We Sell”

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.

So make that call! P. O. Box RB 2484, Massade Gros Islet Highway, Saint. Lucia, West Indies Store Tel: (758) 452 0763 Office Tel: (758) 452 9914 Fax: (758) 452 9915 Service Dept. Cell: (758) 486 3876 Wholesale Dept. Cell: (758) 487 3876 email:

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BEXON, P.O. BOX BIG J’S 0029, CUL DE SAC TEL: (758) 287-1752 / 519-8555 / 451-2608 Email: BusinessFocus Nov / Dec




Mobile Youth Clinic Bringing Health &

Business Messages to St. Lucians Island-Wide Thanks to coordinated approaches and actions between private and public sector bodies and a major local charitable institution, young people across the island – including young entrepreneurs and business-minded youth – will benefit from a new mobile youth clinic launched to take related services to them. The Rotary Club

(over $200,000) came from the Van Geest Foundation through the involvement of Malcolm Charles, a former director of the banana company. The St. Lucia Planned Parenthood Association will be the managers of the clinic. It will improve accessibility to its services by offering screenings in communities across

of St. Lucia delivered on an eight-year-old promise to the youth of St. Lucia when President Konrad Wagner cut the ribbon in September to officially commission the $300,000 Mobile Youth Counseling Clinic. The presentation was made at Peter & Company, Vide Bouteille. The need for the mobile unit was first mentioned by Dr. Stephen King and past President, Malcolm Charles, while the idea was kept alive by past President Dr. Azmina Long. Through the hard work of committed Rotarians and the efforts of the singing group ‘The Rotary Calabashers,’ the main chunk of the funds for the project

the length and breadth of St. Lucia directly from the Mobile Youth Clinic. The range of services to be provided primarily for youth from the mobile clinic will include HIV testing, STI counseling, pap smears, voluntary sterilizations, prostate examinations, breast examinations, pregnancy testing, blood sugar testing for diabetes, infertility tests, contraceptives and distribution of medication and commodities for the care of PLWA (People Living With AIDS), substance abuse counseling, physical and sexual abuse identification and referral, general life skills advice and so on. An important aspect for example will be sexual

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



responsibility counseling. RISE St. Lucia Ltd. will function in a citizen advisory capacity, tying-in with the services offered by the health service providers and wherever possible, provide guidance and mobilize available resources. The government’s National Skills Development Centre (NSDC) will provide career advice, identify skills development needs, referrals to NSDC programs (like life skills, ICT, agriculture, hospitality, construction, literacy) and where applicable matchup skills with vacancies at organisations. It will facilitate registrations for specific programs like SMILES (Single Mothers In Life Enhancement Skills) as well as compile data for future skills development programs. The James Belgrave MICRO Enterprise Development Fund Inc (BELFUND) will carry its mandate of small enterprise development directly into communities through the use of the mobile youth clinic. Minister of Education, Human Resource Development & Labour, Dr. Robert Lewis, who was present at the handing over ceremony, said: "As the NSDC will be playing a major role in this project and as Minister of Human Resource Development, I want to publicly thank the Rotary Club of St. Lucia for this wonderful gesture." For his part, Senator Dr. Stephen King said Rotary has given St. Lucia two important gifts – first the blood bank (which has saved hundreds of lives) and now we have the mobile youth clinic. "We have a lot to thank them for."

Smartphone Users Risking Health UK researchers warn of office workers becoming ‘screen slaves’ People are risking their health by working on smart-phones, tablets and laptops after they have left the office. So says Britain’s Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, which also says people have become “screen slaves" and are often working while commuting or after they get home; and that poor posture in these environments could lead to back and neck pain. Unions said people needed to learn to switch off their devices. An online survey, of 2,010 office workers by the society found that nearly two-thirds of those questioned continued working outside office hours. The organisation said people were topping up their working day with more than two hours of extra screen

time, on average, every day. The data suggested that having too much work and easing pressure during the day were the two main reasons for the extra workload. The chairwoman of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Dr. Helena Johnson, said the findings were of “huge concern.” She said, "While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck pain, as well as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you're using hand-held devices and not thinking about your posture. Talk to your employer if you are feeling under pressure."

The General Secretary of Britain’s Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber, said: "Excessive work levels are not good for anyone. Overworked employees are not only unlikely to be performing well at work, the stress an unmanageable workload causes is also likely to be making them ill. By the time someone is so overloaded they constantly feel the need to put in extra hours every night of the week at home, things have clearly got out of hand. Individuals who find themselves unable to leave their work in the office should talk to their managers and learn to switch off their smartphones."

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‘Tis the Season… for Flu By Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun As the end of the year approaches, we turn our sights towards the fun and merriment of the holiday season, which unfortunately can be marred by the dreaded “flu”. However, it is important to understand the differences between the common cold and the flu.

Know the Difference between Cold and Flu Symptoms Symptom




Fever is rare with a cold.


A hacking, productive (mucus- produc- A non-productive (non-mucus producing) ing) cough is often present with a cold. cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).


Slight body aches and pains can be part Severe aches and pains are common with the of a cold. flu.

Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose is commonly present with a Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the cold and typically resolves spontaneously flu. within a week.


Chills are uncommon with a cold.

60% of people who have the flu experience chills.


Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.

Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.


Sneezing is commonly present with a Sneezing is not common with the flu. cold.

Sudden Symptoms

Cold symptoms tend to develop over a The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The few days. flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.


A headache is fairly uncommon with a A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases. cold.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is commonly present with a Sore throat is not commonly present with the cold. flu.

Chest Discomfort

Chest discomfort is mild to moderate Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu. with a cold.

Nausea, Upset Stomach, Vomiting or Diarrhoea

Uncommon with a cold

Cold symptoms are usually mild and develop 2-5 days after you are exposed to somebody else that is sick. The runny nose typically begins with a clear runny nose, but after 2-3 days, it may become thick and green or yellow. Symptoms may worsen over the first 3-5 days, and then slowly go BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.

May exist. Not common symptoms in flu.

away over 10-14 days. Flu symptoms appear with a sudden onset. It is important to note that many other viral illnesses can cause cold or flulike symptoms, although flu symptoms are usually more intense than regular cold symptoms. However, sometimes the only

way that you can tell the difference between a cold and the flu is by doing a flu test. Since it is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not work against the common cold. These respiratory infections usually go away on their own and taking antibiotics

will not help you get better faster and will likely not prevent secondary bacterial infections, such as an ear infection or sinus infection. Although there is no cure for these viral infections, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate some of your symptoms. These include extra fluids, use of a cool mist humidifier and rest. Younger children who may be unable to blow their nose, may benefit from using saline nasal drops and a bulb syringe to help keep their nasal passages clear. Over the counter medications that may help, depending on your symptoms, include a pain and fever reducer, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and a cold medicine with a decongestant and/or cough suppressant. The flu, like the common cold, is also caused by a virus, so antibiotics will not work against it. However, there are many antiviral medications that can be used to treat the flu and may help you to get better a few days faster. In general, they are only effective if started within 1-2 days of the onset of symptoms.

Prevention of cold and flu is critical to avoid the spread of these viruses. CDC Guidelines for Prevention and Spread of Flu include: • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way. • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Other important actions that you can take are to follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds

Diabetic Foot Health Clinic

and other social distancing measures. Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcoholbased hand rubs, tissues and other related items might be useful and could help avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and infectious. As with all illnesses, prevention is usually better than the cure. Following the guidelines listed above as well as general health maintenance strategies, you can have a healthy, safe holiday season. Reference: About the Author: Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun, MBBS (UWI), IBCLC, is the Director of Integral Health Care Medical Clinic at the Rodney Bay Medical Centre where she works as a Family Practitioner and Lactation Consultant. For more information, please contact her at (758) 452 8621 or (758) 45-DOKTA (36582).

St. Anthony Medical Centre

“Advanced Medicine - Compassionate Care”

Shoeropody Podiatry/Chiropody Clinic

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Diabetic Foot Health Specialist Clinic Diabetic Wound Care Nail Disorders Corns and Callus Dry Cracked Heels Warts/Verrucae Biomechanical Pathologies such as Flat Feet & Highly Arched Feet Heel Pain Ball of the Foot Pain Orthotic Therapy Footwear Diabetic Shoes Shoes for Amputees

Coming Soon • • • •

Medical Foot Health Spa Hydrotherapy Colonic Cleansing Acupuncture Counselling

Located at Sign-Tech Commercial Building, Bois D’ Orange Tel: 488-8818 Email:


Walk ins are Welcome

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday : 8:00 am to 4:00 pm For further information & appointments please call

We are located directly behind DIGICEL on Clarke Street - Vieux Fort

Tel: (758) 454-4040/454-4042 Fax: (758) 454-4043 Email: BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



events 2012 ST. LUCIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AGM 14th November 2012, Royal St. Lucian Hotel, St. Lucia The 128th Annual General Meeting is open to all members of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture. It provides members with an opportunity for an update on the work of the Chamber and to elect a Board of Directors for next year. For further info:

CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF BANKS (CAB) AGM 2012 14th – 17th November 2012. Montego Bay Convention Centre, Rose Hall, Jamaica The 39th AGM and conference will be held under the theme: “Partnering for Regional Transformation, Development and Growth: Empowering the Financial Services Sector.” The conference will address issues that will influence regional and global financial policies impacting member states. For further info:

CARIBBEAN TRAVEL MARKETPLACE 2013 20th – 22nd January 2013, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas This trade show is open for suppliers and buyers that qualify. With pre-scheduled appointments, the main objective is to conduct negotiations that benefit the region. For further info:

CELAC-UE BUSINESS SUMMIT 2013 25th – 26th January 2013, Santiago, Chile The Latin American and the Caribbean–European Union Business Summit (today CELAC-UE, previously EU-LAC) will bring together close to 300 business people from both regions. The agenda is organised around the objective of improving bi-regional commercial relations and investments and of building a strategic alliance for the sustainable development of all our countries and people. For further info:

MIAGREEN EXPO & CONFERENCE 31st January – 1st February 2013, Miami Beach Convention Centre This is a one-stop, all-inclusive interactive conference and marketplace to provide the US, Latin America and the Caribbean with access to the ever growing, green, renewable & sustainable markets. For further info:

45TH CARIBBEAN HARDWARE & CONSTRUCTION TRADE SHOW 1st – 3rd March 2013, Puerto Rico Convention Centre, San Juan This expo attracts over 3000 buyers from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean that are searching for new suppliers and products in order to increase their profits. For further info:

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



MAJOR MOVES Mr Hildreth Alexander is the new Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Saint Lucia. He was previously a Director of parent company, East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd. (ECFH) for 15 years, from 1997 to present. Prior to the appointment of the new Bank of Saint Lucia board, the ECFH Board of Directors assumed the role of Directors for Bank of Saint Lucia. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Alexander, the Board is responsible for the governance of the Bank and the guidance to the Management Team. The new Bank of Saint Lucia Chairman holds a degree in Mathematics and Chemistry from the UWI and an MBA from the City University Business School in London England. He is a Certified Director with Chartered Secretaries Canada. He is also a Director of the National Property Development & Management Company Ltd. (NIPRO). He has been a practicing manager for over 30 years and has held several other management positions, including the post of Executive Director at the St. Lucia National Housing Corporation, and Marketing Manager of Windward Islands Packaging Company Ltd (WINERA). Mr. Alexander is also the Executive Director of the St. Lucia Employers’ Federation, a position he has held since 2009. Beverly NicholsonDoty, has been elected as the new Chairperson of the Caribbean Tourism Organization at the CTO’s AGM in October. Commissioner Nicholson-Doty was elected unopposed and replaces Sen. Ricky Skerritt and will serve for the next two years. Nicholson-Doty formerly served as the Director of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel & Tourism Association. In addition to an extensive background in marketing, Nicholson-Doty was also selected as Executive Director of the Year in 2000 by the Caribbean Hotel Association. She was elected to three consecutive terms as Vice

President of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives. In keeping with the CTO constitution, Deputy Commissioner Chantal Figueroa has been appointed by Commissioner Nicholson-Doty to head the CTO Board of Directors. Captain Carl Burke, newly elected Chairman of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots’ Association (LIALPA), said he would take a balanced and level-headed approach to leadership. “I have to navigate some turbulent waters ahead, which I intend to do,” he said. “I hope with the support of the membership and the executive we will be able to sit down with LIAT and move forward.” Of being elected to his new post, Burke said, “It’s a good feeling but I have to remember that it’s a lot of responsibility.” Burke, who replaces Arthur Senhouse as chairman, said he is aware of the pressures that LIAT faces. “We are in one of the worst recessions of the century. Our passenger loads are declining. We always have to bear in mind that we have to ensure that the company survives so that we can all have jobs,” he said. When he officially took up the position on September 27, Burke laid out a strategic plan to the membership. One of the issues, which he intends to tackle, is that of pilots’ pensions. He also said he would be writing to St Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, to host an aviation summit with the purpose being to return the airline to viability. Citibank has announced the appointment of Dennis Evans as cluster head for the Caribbean, in addition to his current responsibility of Country Corporate Officer (CCO) for the Trinidad hub, which includes Barbados. In this capacity, all Caribbean CCOs from The Bahamas, the Dominican

Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico will report to Evans. Additionally, product and function heads covering the Caribbean will matrix report to Evans, ensuring total accountability and alignment of our strategy and priorities for the cluster, the bank stated. Evans is a "well-established and recognised senior leader with more than three decades of experience in banking", Citi said. He began his career in the financial services sector before moving to the corporate sector. He has held various positions in Citi Trinidad, including Corporate Bank Head, Director of Citibank (Trinidad and Tobago) Ltd, Director of Citicorp Merchant Bank and Franchise Head for Unbranched Territories in the Caribbean. In July 2004, he assumed his position as Managing Director with responsibility for Trinidad and Barbados and corporate business in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, The Bahamas, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana and Suriname. Dr. Clarissa Ettienne from Dominica has been elected Director General of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). “Her election signals the confidence the international community has in her,” Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a national broadcast, adding “it is a joyous occasion for all Dominica.” Dr. Ettienne becomes the second Caribbean national to be elected to the post, following Barbadian Sir George Alleyne. Dr. Ernest Hilaire has been appointed St. Lucia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom as of 1st October. The former West Indies Cricket Board CEO has a rich background in international relations, which will be crucial in his new post as he carries out his diplomatic duties. Dr. Hilaire BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



MAJOR MOVES admits it will be a learning experience, and that he will serve his country the best he can and “utilize all my skills and to learn new skills and to ensure that St. Lucia benefits, certainly from my performance as High Commissioner,” he explained. A former youth leader in the National Youth Council and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dr. Hilaire holds a doctorate from the London School of Economics and degrees from UWI and Cambridge University. Justice Janice Mesadis Pereira has been appointed to act as Chief Justice and President of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. The jurist from the British Virgin Islands, has replaced Sir Hugh Rawlings. Her appointment, which was approved by the OECS Authority at its 55th Meeting of OECS leaders in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, makes her the first woman to ever to hold that position. Justice Pereira obtained her law degree with honours from the University of the West Indies in 1979 and the Legal Education Certificate from the Norman Manley Law School in 1981. She was called to the Bar in the British Virgin Islands in 1981 and again in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2000. Between 1981 and 1984, Justice Pereira served in various capacities in the legal system including Ag. Magistrate and Registrar of Companies in the BVI, Acting Registrar General and Acting Registrar of the Supreme Court. She served as a High Court Judge from 2003 to 2008 and was elevated to the position of Justice of Appeal in 2009. Julian Dubois is St. Lucia’s new Consul General in New York. A former Deputy Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), he started his new job effective 1st September 2012. Dubois joins Ambassador to the UN, BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



Menissa Rambally, as the senior authorities at St. Lucia’s UN Mission in New York. Previously, the UN Ambassador took full responsibility for the work of both the Mission and the Consulate. However, Dubois says there will now be a division of responsibilities where his role will take care of all affairs relating to St. Lucians in New York, as well as in the US Diaspora, making it easier for St. Lucians in New York and the tri-state area (New York, Connecticut and New Jersey) to get better and more prompt services and access to persons with responsibility for their affairs. Mr. Dubois says he looks forward to serving St. Lucia at this high level and working in the interest of all nationals. LIME is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Chris Williams as the General Manager of LIME Saint Lucia. Mr. Williams takes over from Lawrence McNaughton who has left to take up a new appointment as head of LIME’s Caribbean Outsourcing Operations. A Saint Lucian national, Mr. Williams brings over 30 years of experience in telecommunications technologies, business strategies, networks expansion and service delivery. He has served in various senior positions including Head of Residential Service Delivery and Manager of Planning, External Networks, Support Services and Cable TV. Prior to his new appointment, Mr. Williams had been serving as Vice President of Country Operations since July 2010. Mr. Williams spearheaded the upgrading of LIME’s analog cable TV system to a fully digital service and has a reputation for combining LIME’s network operations and service teams together to better support evolving customer needs. In his new role as General Manager, Mr. Williams will be responsible for the development and execution of business strategies geared towards the continued growth of the business, the fostering of greater efficiencies and the enhancement of the overall customer experience.

LIME has also appointed Mr. Gerard Borely to lead LIME’s Barbados and Eastern Caribbean businesses (including the British Virgin Islands and The Turks & Caicos Islands). A Trinidadian national, Mr. Borely brings over 20 years of corporate finance, strategy and management experience to LIME. The new appointments correspond with a reorganization of LIME’s Caribbean Executive Team aimed at further strengthening its management expertise and capabilities in a way that will allow the company to improve the levels of service in all areas of the business and deliver greater value and satisfaction to customers. Madame Justice Louise Blenman has been appointed to the position of Justice of the Appeal Court – Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, after serving nine years as High Court Judge in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. She commenced her new assignment in St Lucia on September 10 where she will be based, having completed her recent 3-year rotation in the Anguilla Judicial Circuit. Justice Blenman, a Guyanese national, is the third female in the 40-year history of the court to be appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal on a permanent basis. She obtained an Honour’s Degree in Law from the University of the West Indies in 1986 and a Master’s Degree in Law at the University of London in 2004. During her career in Guyana, she held the positions of Acting Magistrate, State Counsel, Senior Legal Adviser, Principal Legal Adviser and Deputy Solicitor-General. She also worked as a Law Lecturer at the University of Guyana and later embarked on a private practice before migrating to the OECS where her assignment was that of Solicitor-General of St Lucia. Three years later, in 2003, she was appointed High Court Judge, serving in several jurisdictions before taking up her appointment in

MAJOR MOVES Anguilla in 2009. Justice Mario Michel has been appointed to the position of Justice of the Appeal Court Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. A well known lawyer and politician, Michel is a St. Lucian national. He studied Economics and History at the University of the West Indies before studying at the Hugh Wooding Law School in T&T from 1988 to 1990. In 1990 he returned to St Lucia and started his own legal practice, Michel & Company, which he pursued until being elected to Parliament in 1997, representing the district of Gros Islet. He is a former President of the National Youth Council, and from 1997 he was part of Kenny Anthony's cabinet, serving as Minister of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports and Deputy Prime Minister. He withdrew from active politics and did not partake in the General Elections of 2006. He returned to his private legal practice before taking up the position as Resident Judge in Antigua & Barbuda in 2009 where he served for the past three years. In expressing gratitude to the many people who supported his growth within the legal fraternity, Michel says he is committed to serving with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity. “I want to assure everyone who has encouraged, supported and assisted me that I will continue to try throughout the remainder of my career as a judge to do the best that I can in all circumstances as I have always sought to do.” Management consultant Michael Muirhead has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). Mr. Muirhead holds an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University in the USA and a degree in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies (UWI)

Mona Campus. A Jamaican, Mr. Muirhead served as Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company of his native country from 2004 to 2006. Since that time he has been engaged as a Management Consultant involved with several high level projects in Jamaica. "The Board is confident that the appointment of Mr. Muirhead will ensure that West Indies cricket remains resolutely on the path to structured development and that he is most capable of continuing the process of overseeing the implementation of the WICB Strategic Plan 2011-2016," said Dr. Julian Hunte, President of the WICB. "Michael is an accomplished, astute and measured executive on whom the Board will rely to execute its programmes and policies and further build capacity at the WICB Secretariat." Muirhead will take over for a three-year period, with the option of extending at the end of his contract. Dr. Reginald Darius is the island’s new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Social Security. He brings to the position a strong background in macroeconomic policy. He was previously employed as an Economist with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) from 1996-1999. From 2000 to 2002 he was employed with the St. Lucia Ministry of Finance as Budget Director and then Director of Finance. Dr. Darius’ qualifications include a degree in Economics from UWI, a Masters in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick. He has written on a wide range of issues including fiscal and monetary policy, exchange rate regimes and unemployment, his research being published in international journals including the Journal of International Money and Finance. Before his latest appointment, Dr. Darius was as a Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he held assignments over seven years in the African Department (where he worked on Rwanda’s poverty reduction

and growth program), as well as with the Strategic Policy and Review department (SPR) where he worked on a wide range of issues relating to advanced and emerging market economies.

The Cell introduces Jimmy Francis Technical Services Manager, Tanaquil Daniel - Retail Manager and Kristel Kouly, MIB - Marketing Manager. Jimmy Francis is a Level 3 certified technician with international experience. He has a BSc in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from Lemberth College in London. Mr. Daniel notes, “Jimmy holds overall responsibility for the effective coordination and management of the repair and service operations.” Tanaquil Daniel was educated at Howard University in Washington DC and has developed many years of experience in the mobile industry and customer service field. “Tanaquil will be responsible for the effective management of our six local retail outlets to ensure profitability maximization and a consistently exceptional level of customer service,” says Mr. Jermile Daniel, Managing Director. Kristel Kouly, MIB brings over seven years of experience in sales, marketing and promotions both locally and internationally. She holds a BSc in Marketing & Management from the University of Central Florida and a Masters of International Business from Florida International University. Her previous role was Account Executive at Accela Marketing. “In her newly appointed role she will spearhead all marketing, branding & promotional efforts while increasing The Cell’s visibility as a brand,” stated Mr. Daniel “Each one of these team members brings years of expertise in their field to our growing organisation and I am excited to have them on board.” BusinessFocus Nov / Dec





ASA Inc.

Holding Company

Mary Crispina St. Martin Semonette Alexander

Emunite Energy Solutions Ltd.

Holding Company

Glenrick White Claudia Emmanuel

Jn. Louis Training and Consulting (J.T.C) Inc.

Project Management, Consultancy, Training and Accounting Services

Jeanette Jn Louis-Hughes

Tropics Limited

To carry on the business of wholesale and Marco Esper retail of general merchandise

Big Mama Boutique Limited

To carry on the business of wholesale and Adiby Esper retail of general merchandise

Quality Aggregates (St.Lucia) Ltd

To purchase, take on lease immovable properties and mines, acquire concessions, leases and licence in mines and mining rights. Retailers & wholesalers of sand, aggregates, quarry products, cement & other materials.

James Edwin

Zenith Construction & Supplies Ltd

Stanley Onunwa

Alvin & Grant Cruises Inc.

Alvin Philip Grant Raymond

Combined Investments Inc.

Carrying out business ancillary to the operation of minibus services in St Lucia

Godfrey Ferdinand Linus St. CLair

Just-In Farm Products

Agribusiness Activities

Amatus Edwards

Isabella Gift Depot Limited

Distribution of Gift and Souvenir Items

Omar Anton Boyea

Vision Express Medical Services Ltd

Medical Service Provider

Gladys Taylor Chris Taylor


Holding Company

Llewellyn Charles Xavier

Quality Meats Inc.

Sale of meat and meat products

Ian McAllister Ed Evans

Quayside Holdings Inc.

Property Holding

Mark Gregory

Campbell & Campbell Ltd

Bar & retail services, financial consultation, hotel management & operations.

Petal Campbell Jeffery C. Campbell

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec






NAS Valuations (St.Lucia) Inc.

Use software to assist financial intuitions with risk mitigation, provide valuation to lenders policies and procedures.

Thomas Walter McCormick

Sunbury (St. Lucia) Ltd.

Provision of wellness and beauty services

Sunbury Holdings Inc.

Encore Group Inc.

To carry on the business of engineering and construction and real estate consultants.

David Anthony Hird Zedal Alvarez

No. 1 Service Station Limited

The business of retailing

Clinton Charlery

PTN Company Ltd.

Trading of dry goods

Nola Auguste Phil Neptune

CP Equipment Rental Limited

Renting equipment & construction

Randy Anthony

Peak Shift Inc.

Communicative and interactive media

Johns Hopkins Beharry

Villa Trou Rollande Inc

Property management including maintenance work, building & construction

Samuel Verity

Regal Insurance Brokers Inc.

Activities of insurance agents & brokers

Ronald L. Phulgence Kimberly Cenac Phulgence

Bay Regional and International Institute of Neurology Inc. (BRAIIN)

Medical and professional services

Radhakrishna K. Rao Naveen Chandra Raj Urs Ramesh Sinanan

JGD Consulting Inc.

Engineering Consultancy, Project Management

Joseph Dujon

Social Research and Policy Institute Inc.

Research & Evaluation Services

Julietta Raymond

Mango Bay Guest House Inc.

Accommodation in Hospitality Industry

Lester Isidore Jacqueline Morrisadams

Soufriere Service Station Inc.

Petroleum Station and Minimart Services

Rontgen Rogers Charles

Williams Jewellery Company Ltd.

Manufacturing & retailing of jewellery, repair of jewellery, clocks & watches

Ludwig William

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec






Newport Contractors Ltd

To raise capital for investment ventures

Conrad Theodore Ricardo James Frederick Raymond

Q Homes Ltd.

Selling of home and household supplies and restaurant

Li Zhang Qing Fa Han

Arnco Consult Inc.

Consultation on engineering and other related matters

Lester Arnold Lyndnon Arnold Lancelot Arnold

S&B Properties (Memories) Limited

Property Ownership

Bridget McNamara Stephen McNamara

Atlantis Found Inc.

Property Holding

PIF Corporate Services Inc

Joinville Holdings Limited

Operation of supermarkets, property etc.

Thomas Alexander Emmanuel-Joinville

Exclusive Car Rental Limited

Car rental & leasing, sale of cars & parts, taxi & touring services

Keith Jason Auguste

Wren Holdings

Holding Company

Aloysius Ferdinand

Diamond Spring Inc.

Water distribution

Lorne Jean Tamara Richard

Birking Island Enterprises Inc.


Ralph Dirk Birkhoff

CNR Construction Ltd.

To provide construction services and other related businesses

Reuben William

Lakeview Inc.

Holding Company

Darnal Lesmond

CGTL (St. Lucia) Limited

Gaming Machines

John Henry Derek Faria Lucien Joseph

Xtrasea Inc.

Boating Adventures

Thompson William

Cheprim Ltd.

Property Holding Company

Sophia Laurena Primus

Springboard Training and Consultancy Ltd.

Training and Consultancy

John Stanislaus Quail Ann Marie Quail

BusinessFocus Nov / Dec



St. Lucia Business Focus 66  

The Business of Shipping

St. Lucia Business Focus 66  

The Business of Shipping