Issue No. 68
Karib Cable is Business of the Year www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Mar / Apr 2013
63. 2013 Saint Lucia Business Awards 64. Up-Close from Afar! 66. 'Awards are a Success of Private and Public Participation and Partnership' 70. The Night in Photos 74. The Winners 76. Karib Cable Business of the Year
04. Editor’s Focus
06. Business Briefs Business Tech 08. CWC Invests Millions More in LIME for Fibre Connections 10. Technology Trends to Watch in 2013 12. Are You Apt to Use an App? 14. Essential Tablet Apps 16. Securing Your Wireless Networks Money Matters 18. The History of the EC Dollar 20. Bank of Saint Lucia… The ‘Bank of Choice’ in St. Lucia 22. 5 Simple Steps to Financial Success 24. IDB Warns Caribbean Economies to Lower Costs in 2013 26. First Citizens Remains Safest Regional Bank 27. Why ‘Angels’ Deserve Special Treatment 28. UNCTAD says Remittances to Caribbean can Play Greater Role in Poverty Reduction 30. ACP Seeks Clarification on Outstanding EU Banana Support Measures
Economy & Trade Focus 32. LIAT Given Green Light to Purchase New Aircraft 34. Wisynco to Produce Hawaiian Punch for Export 36. Fiscal Consolidation Inevitable in the Caribbean – says IMF 38. Caricom Rum Producers in talks with US Officials 40. CBD President Warns 7 Nations on Rising Debt 42. Environmental Focus 44. Business Spotlight In The Know 52. Emera Subsidiary to Acquire Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. 54. Digicel Partners with Marriott to Construct Haiti’s First 4-Star Hotel 60. Finance Background Helps Women get to Boardroom 61. Book Reviews 96. Tourism Focus 102. Health & Wealth 105. Events 2012 106. Major Moves 109. New Company Registrations BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Rewarding by Awarding!
BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia.
People deserving of awards are not always, but should always be rewarded. The rewards, whether for personal or collective contributions, can and do come in various forms – cash or kind, or plaques of various kinds: from diamond and platinum to gold, silver and bronze. The honours honour hard work and excellence in the given area of specialty and are usually the results of careful judging. For the 4th year running, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture hosted the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards ceremony at the end of January to honour the best-judged among local businesses for a dozen places, prizes and awards put up by the Chamber and the Government. The ceremony was broadcast ‘live’ to St. Lucia and the rest of the world. There were also more competitors and the winners featured new and younger faces. Once again, the Chamber’s main annual feature itself featured the essential ingredients of Public and Private Sector Partnership that no country or economy can move forward quickly enough without. The Chamber and the Government cooperated, while the Corporate Community boosted both their participation and sponsorship. Private Sector Partnership also featured that night: Local and foreign telecommunications and communications providers collaborated with local producers and entertainers to execute the two-hour production that took the event to bedrooms and living rooms, bars and boardrooms in St. Lucia, the Caribbean and across the world. The Business Awards ceremony has become an annual event that, like several others, showcases the ability of the local business community to commune to meet the challenges, to rise with the times and respond to the changes. The ceremony showcases the innovation and determination, creativity and adaptability that reside in the local business community. It also offers the opportunity to display high levels of excellence and achievement in quality and standards in the various sections and sectors of the local business community. The year 2013 began with challenges on the horizon for everyone everywhere, bar none. Same applies to the St. Lucia business community, same with the Private Sector as with the Public Sector. Trying times we’ve had, and time and again we’ve rebounded. But while our determination may be boundless, some global trying circumstances just can’t be evaded. Yet, even when we may think we’re at the lowest, St. Lucia has a way of bouncing back. Pursuit of Excellence is one of the best ways of achieving the ability to bounce back and exercises like the St. Lucia Business Awards do go quite some way to show that we do have what it takes to strive to the top. Here’s wishing our aims for achievements in excellence continue to be backed by the zeal and determination exhibited by the winners, who were simply but deservingly rewarded by being awarded. As always, BF is pleased to have attended and covered the 2013 Business Awards ceremony from many angles and perspectives – including a unique review of the live broadcast by one related viewer. We devote an entire glittering pictorial feature section to the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards Ceremony that also features the best photographs we took from all angles of that memorable evening. But – also as usual – that’s not all we have for you.... In this issue, we also bring you a wide range of other articles and features covering everything you’ll need to know (for now) about Caribbean money matters and business briefs, the nation’s business buzz and the region’s tourism focus, the business side of regional and local health and environmental issues, major moves in the private and public sectors, and even upcoming events; as we put you in the know while the new year is still young, but certainly growing older. ¤
As aways: Happy Reading! Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh email@example.com Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - email@example.com Hudson Myers - firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services Photography: Ashley Anzie | Cecil Sylvester | Stan Bishop Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop | Sir Richard Branson Gloria Khan-Charles | Leathon Khan | Lyndell Halliday Keitha Glace | Dr Ricardo Ramdhan | Earny St Catherine Bevil Wooding | Jamaica Observer | Business Guardian Trinidad Express | Caribbean 360 | Bank of Saint Lucia Caribbean Media Corporation | DIGICEL First Citizens Investment Services | ACCA Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email: email@example.com www.amsstlucia.com, www.stluciafocus.com Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialized fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication.
On The Cover: Karib Cable is Business of the Year
Issue No. 68
Cover Photo: Cecil Sylvester
Karib Cable is Business of the Year www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Cabinet Reviews Economy
St. Lucia has Largest Fiscal Deficit in the Caribbean Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony revealed in early February that St. Lucia has the largest fiscal deficit in the Caribbean. "Whereas other Caribbean states might have a fiscal deficit of 7% to 8% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), we are climbing up to 10%,” he said. “That’s a warning sign so we have really got to ensure that we bring it under some degree of control and resolve those differences.” He explained, “When I plead for understanding from our public service unions and others engaged in the negotiations, it’s precisely for that reason, because we need to restore St. Lucia's financial standing.” Dr. Anthony, who is also Finance Minister, has been repeatedly outlining the economic difficulties facing the island amid calls from public sector trade unions for increased salaries for their members. He cautions that some order must be brought to the public finances through consolidation and acknowledged that the country “must be bold and brave in attracting investment.” Dr. Anthony explained, "This is vital because no country in the world can survive without investment. What has happened in the world has made investment ten times more difficult and the new investors are very discerning, as they are only going to those parts of the world where they can get all the right incentives.” The Prime Minister noted that "Our product is a little tired and jaded, so we now have to search for new answers and do things we never thought of doing before, if we are going to survive in this new and different world." Dr. Anthony said the island had to be both more aggressive and innovative in attracting foreign investment and called for new and more innovative approaches to solution of old problems in the new economic dispensation. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Cabinet Ministers heard a full lecture on the state of the national economy from the prime minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Kenny D. Anthony and were sensitised over two days regarding the vast distance between growth and debt and the resulting tasks if the economy is to turn around in 2013. The Cabinet of Ministers met for two days at the end of January at a retreat reviewing the state of the national economy and its governance of the country in the past year. The retreat, which was held at the Coconut Bay Resort and Spa in Vieux-Fort, was attended by all Cabinet Ministers, including all MPs and Senators holding ministries. The objective of the retreat was to assess the work of the Government and to set priorities for the ensuing year. However, BF understands that most of the two days was spent outlining the implications and ramifications of the island’s economic challenges and choices. The local economy was examined within the context of the regional economic reality and the lasting effects of the world financial and economic crises. Also discussed were the effects of global economic climate changes on the economic plans of small island developing states. Prime Minister Anthony said the retreat “provided an avenue for the Cabinet and other contributors to offer views on the work of Government during the last year and provide guidance on the policy direction for the future.” “While the last year has been met with both challenges and successes,” the Prime Minister said he believes that “the improvements to the general image of the Government and Country have played a key role in some of the strides made thus far.” He said that avenues such as the Retreat “give new insight into each Minister's overview of his/her Ministry and how the team can work together to improve the operations of the Cabinet.” ¤
Caribbean Leaders Urged to Convene Summit on Tourism Regional tourism officials are calling on Caribbean heads of government to convene a regional summit on tourism within the next six months to discuss key issues affecting the industry. In a resolution approved by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's (CHTA) board of directors on Sunday, the Caribbean leaders are being urged to consider with industry leaders all major aspects of tourism including airlift, travel facilitation, marketing, visitor security, human resource development, the environment and new ways to encourage economic growth through a common approach to the problems facing the industry. "Such a summit would enable the Caribbean, as the most tourism dependent region in the world, to address global competition and return to the levels of success last seen in 2006," the CHTA said in a statement. CHTA said there is need for governments and the tourism industry to continue working closely together to increase employment, foreign exchange, investment and gross domestic product (GDP) growth at a time of economic uncertainty and with the challenges the tourism industry as a whole now faces. Caribbean countries are highly dependent on the tourism industry for their revenues and employment. ¤
Hotels to Pay Full VAT Rate After Concessionary Period Expires St. Lucia’s hotels can expect the tax man to knock harder at their doors by the end of April, when the time allowed for them to pay half the national rate for the Value Added Tax (VAT) comes to an end. The government last year amended the VAT legislation in parliament to allow the hotels to pay only 8%, vis-à-vis the 15% charged across the national board.
BUSINESS BRIEFS The government said it did so to allow enough time to address the hotels’ expressed concerns about the effect of the new tax on old business undertaken before its passage. The hotels explained that tickets and other holiday travel bills are often paid long in advance and to retroactively tax them would be counterproductive. The government said it acquiesced to the hotels appeals, but warned that they would be expected to shoulder an equal share of the national tax burden when the concessionary period expires.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, who is also Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Planning and Social Security, said he was mindful of the hotels’ concerns, but noted they had not been living up to their expected share of the responsibilities to the national treasury. Dr. Anthony disclosed late last year that the island’s hotel sector owed tens of millions of dollars to the government, which they had collected in the form of Hotel Accommodation Tax (HAT) that had been collected from visitors but hadn’t been remitted to the Treasury. Since the VAT was implemented last October, the government has reported successful administration of the new tax, which replaced five others. There was the expected early negative reaction to the new tax, but St. Lucians have generally resigned to its existence, even though there continue to be complaints about various aspects of its implementation. The Government reported last December it had collected some $20 million in tax revenues, but said it was too early to come to conclusions about the effectiveness of the tax regarding the nation’s efforts to lessen the gap between growth and debt. Finance Ministry and VAT officials are signaling that when the hotels’ period of concessionary VAT rate expires, the government will not only be expecting healthy remittances consonant with visitor and income growth rates, but also to start to collect on the massive outstanding HAT payments. ¤
IMF Warns Govt to Control Spending The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning the government to control spending in 2013 – this after a recent visit to the island by an IMF team to hold discussions on the 2012 Article IV Consultation with St. Lucia. The mission met with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Kenny Anthony, senior government officials, opposition leaders and representatives of the private sector and trade unions. At the end of the meeting, Ms. Aliona Cebotari, IMF Mission Chief for St. Lucia, said St. Lucia “has weathered the difficult post-crisis environment well, becoming the largest economy in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).” “Rising external headwinds, however,” she added, “have dampened economic activity, with growth estimated to slow to 0.2%-0.4% in 2012, despite government efforts to revive the economy.” She continued, “Low growth and high unemployment are weighing on financial institutions' credit quality and their balance sheets. Fiscal imbalances have also widened, reflecting past expansionary policies and the recent stimulus efforts to boost growth, and are expected to contribute to continued sizeable external current account deficits.” According to the IMF official, “Inflation is projected to edge up in the wake of the introduction of the value added tax (VAT) on October 1, 2012, but the effect will be temporary. "Against this backdrop, the discussions with the authorities focused on achieving the appropriate balance between fostering growth and employment, while strengthening economic fundamentals through fiscal adjustment and addressing financial sector vulnerabilities.” Ms Cebotari revealed that "The mission discussed with the authorities options for putting the fiscal position on a sustainable path.” “In this context,” she added, “the mission welcomed the introduction of the VAT, as this will modernise the tax system, broaden the tax base, and enhance revenue collection.” The IMF official cautioned, however, that “the expected gain from the VAT will be
realised only if all sectors contribute, and the base is shielded from the exemptions that have eroded the yield of other taxes.” “Even then,” she explained further, “a considerable further effort will be needed to strengthen the fiscal position and bring it on track to reach the ECCUwide debt target of 60% of GDP by 2020. To be successful, this adjustment effort will need to fall predominantly on current spending.” ¤
St Lucia Scores Caribbean’s Biggest Increase in Net Foreign Direct Investment for 2012 Net foreign direct investment in St. Lucia has risen by 81.6% in 2012 compared to 2011 – the largest increase in the Caribbean last year, according to estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Net foreign direct investment is defined as direct investment in a country’s economy after deduction of outward direct investment by residents of that country. It includes the reinvestment of profits. Net FDI in St Lucia reached $138 million in 2012, up from $76 million in 2011. St. Lucia was one of seven Caribbean countries that saw an increase in Net FDI in the period, along with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. In terms of raw volume, the Dominican Republic saw the largest increase, with an increase of $1.4 billion. The Dominican Republic led the region with a total of $3.78 billion in Net FDI. While Haiti’s Net FDI increased in 2010 and 2011, the country saw its number fall in 2012, from $181 million to $124 million. Haiti’s growth projections were lowered in 2012 due in part to the impact of a series of storms, but it’s not clear whether that had an impact on the country’s FDI. St. Kitts and Nevis suffered the largest drop-off in foreign investment, falling 51.4 percent to $69 million. Jamaica and Barbados’ Net FDI for 2012 were not included in the report. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
CWC Invests Millions More in LIME for Fibre Connections New investments to boost broadband and TV service in the region
In another move to deliver more value to customers Cable and Wireless Communications, the parent company for LIME, plans to invest an additional US$20 million in network infrastructure across the region. This is expected to further boost data speeds and build out TV product, especially
in markets such as Barbados and Cayman. In addition to pointing to an on-target financial position, the company further explained that as part of shaping the business to focus on the Pan American region, it has accelerated some investments designed to reduce costs and improve services for customers. This includes commencement of a major deployment of fibre in Barbados and Cayman to upgrade the fixed line infrastructure enabling provision of high speed internet and TV services. The decision to accelerate customer focussed efficiency investments in the Caribbean (excluding Bahamas) will increase the exceptional restructuring costs by around US$20 million to a total of US$55 million. These and other initiatives will improve the efficiency and flexibility of the business
and drive cost savings in future years which is critical as market conditions in the rest of the Caribbean remain difficult, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados. Other highlights of the release pointed out that: In Jamaica there continues to be an excellent response to the launch of competitive mobile packages which has increased the mobile subscriber base by over 40% compared to the same point last year. The Bahamas is delivering solid progress in its financial performance together with much improved service and product offerings to its customers. Mobile data revenue grew strongly across the Group during the third quarter driven by increasing smartphone adoption and usage. At 31 December 2012, Group net debt was $1,549 million, a decrease of $39 million since 30 September 2012. ¤
American Businessman Becomes ’ Single Minority Investor
Dr. John C Malone
Columbus International Inc, a diversified telecommunications provider in the Caribbean, Central America and Andean region, has announced the recent addition of Dr. John C Malone as a new equity shareholder in the company. Malone’s investment was facilitated through the acquisition of secondary shares from BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
existing shareholders in addition to the purchase of primary shares that will be issued from the company’s treasury. As a result of this transaction, Malone will become the largest single minority investor in Columbus. Malone will also have representation on the company’s Board of Directors. The investment in Columbus was made in Malone’s personal capacity and is in no way connected to his other business interests in the Liberty group of companies. “Having a high-caliber investor in Dr. Malone join the Columbus family is an achievement, for which we are both extremely proud and excited,” said Brendan Paddick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Columbus. “Dr Malone’s reputation as a world-class telecommunications operator and investor is second to none. We look forward to working with Dr. Malone and his team of
advisers, leveraging their skills, industry experience, insights and business acumen as we continue to build upon the successes we’ve achieved to date at Columbus.” The company intends to use the net proceeds from the issuance of primary shares to accelerate the completion of its current capital plans, fund potential future acquisitions, enhance balance sheet liquidity and flexibility and for general corporate purposes. The net proceeds of this transaction will help the company capitalise on near-term opportunities and provide additional flexibility to prudently manage its financial position. RBC Capital Markets acted as exclusive financial adviser to Columbus on the transaction. According to Forbes.com, Malone is number 57 on Forbes 400 list of the world’s richest. ¤ Marketwire
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Technology Trends to Watch in 2013 by: Bevil Wooding
The year 2012 has seen several positive developments in information and communications technology. In 2013, as always, technology trends will continue to play a significant role in determining which businesses, organisations and countries will be most successful. Here are a few areas to keep an eye on over the next year.
The Rise and Rise of Mobile Computing The proliferation of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, together with greater availability and affordability of mobile broadband services, would spur the adoption of mobile-based development and service innovation. Already, according to CDWâ€™s 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, adoption of tablets in the workplace is projected to grow 117 per cent. Smart innovators and entrepreneurs will tap the power of mobile computing to enable faster, more efficient and more productive work. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Key to growth of mobile innovation in emerging markets will be the fostering of a yet elusive enabling environment required for mobile commerce. Banking practice and legislative frameworks must better support and encourage technology driven enterprise.
Technology in the Classroom Technology is already having a massive impact on how students acquire knowledge and interact with their environment. Educators and academic institutions are beginning to catch up (and itâ€™s already clear that it will take more than free laptops). Evolving education policy, upgrading school infrastructure and providing relevant teacher training are the new priorities. Tablets and digital books will increasingly revolutionise the textbook economy. At the same time, connected schools, with in-class high speed internet and a slew of technology devices, will revolutionise
classroom interaction, teacher-parent engagement and the process of learning. For education, this means that the experiences that we deliver to students will be more integrated, adaptable, and consequential. Students will increasingly learn on their own terms, quickly and easily accessing content, joining courses, and connecting with experts across the globe. Leveraging the potential of technology can radically change the way we approach education. Pioneering educators will embrace the opportunity to redefine education and learning in the 21st century. New shared services models can help this evolution to occur more quickly. Increasingly, schools and universities can work collaboratively to leverage national and regional research and education networks, to simplify access and management, increase access, and decrease cost.
Growing Corporate and Private Clouds Cloud computing has become an increasingly attractive way to for governments, businesses, schools, and even individuals, to access technologybased services more reliably and economically. As cloud interoperability and standards continue to advance, cloud computing will continue to be driven by a desire for reduce technology costs while improving return on investment. Open source cloud management solutions such as OpenStack and CloudStack will help drive increased deployment. In emerging markets, the development of local cloud-solutions, and the attendant benefits to local economies, will also be spurred on by more robust local Internet infrastructure, including Internet exchange points (IXPs), local copies of DNS root-servers, and a growing technical community to support it all.
The Growing Internet of Things Today, there are more devices connected to the Internet than there are people in
the world. This growing Internet of Things is shaping up to be the most disruptive technology since the World Wide Web. The dream of being able to control everything in homes and offices, from temperature, lighting and security to using devices to track refrigerator stocks, programme entertainment and a host of other tasks, is quickly becoming a reality. The Internet of Things is expected to grow to comprise 100 billion Internetconnected objects by 2020. 2013 will witness an explosion of new uses by consumers and enterprises alike. Enterprises can benefit from the Internet of Things for tracking physical assets, managing customer relationships, and creating efficiencies in business operations and supply chains. The year ahead should see an explosion of start-ups, applications and research projects aimed at leveraging this vast potential.
Internet Governance As its global reach, influence and economic significance grows, the Internet has become a virtual battleground for social, political and technical control. Expect these battles to continue in 2013. Internet filtering, surveillance and
information control advocates will continue to clash with proponents of an open, unfiltered network where users and the technical communityâ€” not governmentsâ€”determine the direction and destiny of the Internet. Through this all, mounting cyber-security concerns, including denial-of-service attacks and network intrusion attempts will have to be balanced against the social and economic benefits of the open governance model that has allowed the Internet to grow into the greatest catalyst to innovation and social empowerment ever. Keep your eye on these trends. They will continue to drive the massive technologyenabled transformation we see taking place at home and in the world around us. Â¤ Bevil Wooding is the chief knowledge officer at Congress WBN, an international non-profit organisation and the founder of BrightPath Foundation, a technology education NGO. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding and Facebook: facebook.com/bevilwooding or e-mail technologymatters@ brightpathfoundation.org
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Are You Apt to Use an App
by Keitha Glace Nowadays there is an App for everything. All designed to streamline your life. It is like having a push button for everything you want to do that will hopefully make it faster and easier to do it. But let us face it, if it adds one more layer of ‘things to do’ to the ‘to do list’ then is it worth it? Well let us take a look; and by the way, it may just turn out to be really cool. Let’s decipher what is an App and how business folks like yourself can utilise it to your benefit. According to Wikipedia, the definition of an App is as follows: App(s) commonly refers to application software, also called an app; software for specific purposes. With the explosion of BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
the mobile market and the number of intelligent smartphones and tablets on the rise, Mobile Apps are being released to the masses so quickly that it has now been predicted that global downloads will reach 76.9 billion in 2014 and will be worth US$35 billion. So how effective can this be for a business owner who now has to sift through the millions of Apps out there. Well here are my favorite picks you may consider. This list has been gleaned from several ‘Top 10 Lists’ online with the focus on how it would help me as a busy Entrepreneur who does not have time to fidget with gadgets all day long. They are free and practical in their use.
• Speaktoit is the top-rated virtual assistant. It is available for the Android or iOS/Windows platforms. I personally use this when searching for news items and want just the snippets of the news read to me or for calendaring. This Apps learns the more you use it so the sky is the limit. Easy to use and it is really fun. • EverNote. It's great for taking notes in meetings and also lets you embed voice recordings, pictures, Web pages and anything you want to add to your notes. • Google Drive. This app lets you upload content from your handheld device to Google's cloud storage, you can save files on your device to view them offline,
edit existing documents as well as create a new document or spreadsheet within the app. • TripAdvisor. Plan and have your perfect trip with the free TripAdvisor app. With over 75 million reviews and opinions by travelers, you'll find the best places to eat, sleep, and play, wherever you travel. • CNN App – get news on the go. Enjoy the depth of content delivered by the world’s respected news leader. • Last but by all means not the least – Weather Apps – there are several of them and they can be selected based on your specific needs – Travel, Outdoors, etc. Now some ambitious folks may want to develop their own app for their company’s solutions. These days the price of such a production has gone down significantly and the process has been simplified quite a bit. But one must really think carefully as to what value their app would add to their customers and equate that to the cost and time of development. A lot of food for thought when it comes to this mobile industry. It has gained rapid momentum and constantly evolving and directly impacts our daily lives. But don’t be overwhelmed – have fun with it. If you come across an App that is useful and helpful in having you streamline your business, save you time and money, please feel free to share it with the rest of us. Happy Apping! ¤ Keitha Glace is the Owner and Managing Director of GlaceGrafix. com and the St. Lucia Business Directory – Slooogle.com. She has been providing advertising and marketing services, specializing in online products and solutions for clients worldwide since 1998.
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Transform your Tablet from a Tech Toy into an Indispensable Mobile Companion. by: Bevil Wooding Looking to get the most out of your Apple iPad or Android Tablet? For new tablet owners, it’s not always easy to figure out where to begin. With the right apps, you can transform your tablet from a tech toy into an indispensable mobile companion. Much like software applications on your laptop or desktop computer, apps are at the heart and soul of the Tablet experience. Apps allow you to transform your Tablet into an entertainment centre, a personal navigator, an epicurean encyclopedia, an international radio station, a news centre, a social network hub, an education tutor, an office assistant, a weather forecaster, a canvas or a portable library. Following are some essential apps for Apple iPads and Android Tablet users. These apps will keep you up to date on news, sports, entertainment, weather and much more. Best of all, the apps are free.
Ten Apps for your new Tablet
Evernote provides one of the best ways to organise your info into virtual notebooks containing text, photos or even voice notes. What distinguishes Evernote is how it synchronises your notes using a password-protected Evernote account. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
You can access Evernote using your tablet, laptop, desktop, or smartphone. This makes it ideal for authors, students or journalists to manage their content on the go.
or computer. You can search for flights, car rentals, and hotels and compare deals. You can also book a hotel room, track flights and manage your itinerary all from within the app.
Category: Social networking
Facebook tablet app gives users most of the functionality they can get on the popular social network’s Web site. Upload photos, post to your wall and troll your social network to your heart’s content. If you’re a Facebook fan, this is a must have.
The Kindle app puts Amazon’s extensive book catalogue at your fingertips. Read Kindle books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs using a very easy-touse interface. Choose from more than a million Kindle books from Amazon’s Kindle Store or enjoy hundreds of free titles. In addition, the app's viewing settings lets you customise your reading experience. Even reduce the brightness on your display and increase the size of the text from within the app to reduce eye strain. The Kindle app also automatically syncs so you can start reading on one device and pick up where you left off on another device.
Flipboard is one of the best news and social media aggregation apps. The Flipboard app makes the most of your tablet’s large display to cull blog posts, social networking feeds, images, video, and articles into an impressive layout that replicates the print reading experience. Category: Travel
Kayak tablet app lets you accomplish essential travel-related tasks without having to go anywhere near your phone
The Google Earth app brings the functional and educational goodness of its desktop counterpart to your tablet. You can pinch, zoom and swipe your way to near
and distant places, fly over buildings and virtually walk the streets of major cities. This app is a sure hit for young and notso-young world explorers and geography buffs.
During video chat, users can keep the left navigation panel in view, or switch to full-screen mode, for portable business conferencing or just to show the family what you’ve been doing around the house.
Category: Photo and video
Photo Editor by Aviary is one of the best free photo editors available for any platform. It has all the functionality needed to quickly and easily edit your photos on the go. From photo effects and filters to drawing and cosmetic tools, Photo Editor helps you edit and share your point and shoot masterpieces.
TuneIn Radio is the top streamingradio app offering more than 70,000 AM and FM and Internet stations, plus two million on-demand programmes from around the globe. Listen to your favourite talk programmes when you’re far from home, or browse through local radio, recommended stations, podcasts, foreign language broadcasts, and much more. TuneIn also offers an exhaustive list of genres like Classical, Jazz, Reggae, and Oldies.
Category: Social networking The Skype app brings all of the loved free-Internet video and voice calling functionality to your tablet. Make free voice and video calls over Wi-Fi or 4G to other Skype users, or for a fee to landlines and cell numbers. Skype takes advantage of the extra screen space by showing navigation tabs and recent communications on the left side of the screen, and thumbnail images of contacts on the right side.
Feeling out of sorts? The WebMD tablet app, based on the popular WebMD Web site, tries to help work out what might be wrong. Check symptoms, access drug and treatment info, and even get first aid essentials. You can also personalise the
app by saving drugs conditions and articles relevant to you. Honourable mentions Be sure to check out these apps as well. All Recipes (Food) Amazon (Shopping) Angry Birds (Games) Chrome (Internet) Digital Pan (Music) Fitness Buddy (Health and Wellness) Khan Academy (Education) OnLive Desktop (Productivity) Paper by FiftyThree (Art) TripAdvisor (Travel) These lists are by no means exhaustive. There are many more interesting and useful apps for Apple or Android tablets. Do write and share some of yours with us. ¤ Bevil Wooding is the Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN, an international non-profit organisation and the Founder of BrightPath Foundation, a technology education NGO. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding and Facebook: facebook.com/bevilwooding or e-mail: technologymatters@ brightpathfoundation.org
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Securing Your Wireless Networks by: Dr. Ricardo Ramdhan
Introduction We all love the freedom that wireless networks and connectivity affords us; there is no denying that it has made global computing much easier. However, what about Security? Is a simple device password ample and effective in keeping malfeasants out of your Data? To answer that question with a resounding “NO” would be extremely correct.
What next? ASSL has put together these steps that were once considered to be only necessary for large organisations, however with the advent of more and more skillfulled attackers, it is very necessary to take all steps required in the proper securing of your data. The next few steps can all be implemented or a combination of the steps can be employed to give additional options.
Install a firewall Not so long ago this involved the purchasing, installation and configuration BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
of an expensive device. However, the software firewall options have increasingnly become more accessible and easier to implement – even for home wireless networks. Some may argue that this is overkill, however, I assure you that the additional measures will be very useful to you once enforced. Failing to deploy or configure firewalls is not unlike leaving your front door ajar overnight. Make no mistake, it is highly needed. Having none also means that your personal data, financial information and other intellectual property are left unprotected. One should always remember this important fact – hackers are not ONLY after big corpoations, but also the regular user of the internet.
Passwords It may be seem rather passive, however, 60% of us neglect to change the default administrator passwords and usernames on our access point devices or wireless
routers. Keeping default passwords or not having any to begin with is just plain bad practice. Your password is your first defence in posing a barrier bewteeen your information and an attacker. It should be well crafted with Numbers, Upper and Lower case characters and where possible, special characters.
Encryption All wireless equipment supports a form of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption technology, which scrambles messages sent over wireless networks so no one other than you can easily read them. You need to select the strongest form of encryption that works with your wireless home network but also shares the same WPA or WEP encryption settings as your home network’s other wireless devices. (That may mean finding a ‘lowest common denominator’ setting.) Enforcing or deploying encryption methods forces an attacker to undertake in additional malfeasant methods in order to gain
access to your information. In the majority of cases, it typically means the difference between a hacker staying on course to get at your information, or him/her moving on to a less secured, easier target.
Wireless Broadcasted Name Known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID), the name of the wireless local area network (WLAN) must be the same for all your home network’s wireless devices for them to communicate with each other. Manufacturers of access points and routers normally ship their products with the same SSID set. While knowing just the SSID does not enable anyone to break into your home network, using a default SSID is a sign of a poorly configured network and is easy prey for hackers. So, when configuring your WLAN, change the default SSID as soon as possible to a name that you can remember and is: not easily known (doesn’t contain personal information, such as your birthday); includes both numbers and letters; and uses the maximum length allowed.
Filtering Each piece of wireless gear possesses a unique identifier called a Media Access
Control (MAC) address. Access points and routers keep track of the MAC addresses of all wireless devices that connect to them. Many such products let you input the MAC addresses of your home equipment, which restricts your network to allow connections only from those devices. While this does not completely prevent hackers from attacking your home network, it is another helpful step toward safeguarding it. MAC address filtering is by far one of the best measures you can do both as an individual and business owner. What this is, is allowing access to specific equipment. Whereas it is possible to recreate the unique identifier of devices, it is far easier for an attacker to move on to easier targets.
Hiding your SSID is always a good idea these days because of the shear simplicity employed by attackers when looking for their next pray – they often go after what they can ‘see.’
Conclusion These are simple, short but highly effective in ensuring that you and your data are secure. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information or even clarification on some of the items that I have outlined here. ¤ Dr. Ricardo Ramdhan is the head of the Information Systems, Security and Intelligence Unit at Amalgamated Security Services Limited, which is the parent company of Alternative Security Services St. Lucia Limited. Amalgamated Security operates in Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Ramdhan has been formally trained in Cyber Security and Fraud & Forensics and holds a Ph.D. in International Defence and Strategic Security and an M.Sc. in Information Security.
Make your network Invisible! In wireless networking, the access point or router typically broadcasts the Service Set Identifier (SSID) over the air at regular intervals. This feature was designed for businesses and mobile hot spots, where there are many different wireless users. For your home network, though, this feature is unnecessary and also makes your network more vulnerable to hackers—so turn off the SSID broadcast by logging in to your PC’s Network Administrator setting.
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The History of the EC Dollar
In today's era of information overload, we often take for granted many things that we see and touch on a daily basis without even the slightest thought as to what may have transpired in their making of history. One such item is the currency in our wallets.
Do you know whence it came? Yes, we handle it quite often, and we may hear about such things as foreign exchange rates or being "pegged" to the US Dollar, but other than that, we just want it to work and buy the things we want, when we want them. As for the East Caribbean Dollar, it has a very unique history and position in the realm of international currencies. It is no small operation to issue and maintain a currency in today's world of globalisation. A Central Bank is required, and it requires a considerable amount of money to manage the entire process, much more than a small country's budget can usually sustain. The East Caribbean Dollar, international code of "XCD" and shorthand symbol of "EC$", came into being in 1965 and actually serves as legal tender for eight separate states in the region. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States ("OECS") is comprised of nine independent states in the Caribbean region, and for eight of them, with the exception of the British Virgin Islands, they have made the election to use a common currency, the "XCD", much in the same fashion as with the Euro and their member states. These nations are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Two separate territories, Anguilla and Montserrat, have also chosen to participate in this unique banking arrangement. In 1976, these members agreed to "peg" the East Caribbean Dollar to the US Dollar at a ratio of "2.7:1", a practice that is common in the region due to the prevalence of US tourists and related financial market institutions. As a result, the "XCD" does not "float" in the daily Forex market, thereby providing stability for trade and investment considerations. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank ("ECCB") is the central bank and monetary authority that deals with currency issues related to printing, exchanging, or resolving any cross-border settlements that may arise in commercial transactions. The origin of local currency harkens back to the era of exploration, when Spanish
galleons were filled with "pieces of eight", silver coins that were freshly minted in the New World and that could easily be subdivided into eight pieces, the reason for its colloquial name. British rule would change this prevalence in the early 1800s, but both sterling and dollar accounts were common across the region during this period. Following World War II, British authorities experimented with the British West Indies Dollar ("BWI$"), known as the "Beewee", but support dissipated in deference to the US dollar. In 1965, the switch was made official. The British West Indies dollar became the East Caribbean dollar. The conversion, however, did not happen overnight. BWI$ coins remained in circulation until 1981. At that time, a new set of six coins was introduced in denominations of one, two, five, ten and 25 cents and one dollar in varying shapes and metal content. Initially, three of the coins were round, two were scallop-edged, and one was square. In 1989, the one dollar round coin was replaced with a nine-sided version cast in a copper/nickel alloy. The "pegged" exchange rate today is 2.70 EC$ to one US$, but it was reset from 2.60 at the end of 2010 to aid in economic recovery efforts. 造 Courtesy: Caribbean360
Opens in Jamaica
SSagicor Investments Chairman Richard Byles (left), Sagicor Investments President and CEO Donovan Perkins (2nd right) and TVJ’s Smile Jamaica host Neville Bell (right) watch with pride as Maurice Facey, Chairman of Pan Jamaican Investment Trust Ltd, unveils the rebranded bank.
Leveraging the name recognition of its well known parent company, Sagicor Bank officially opened its doors in Jamaica recently with a formal ceremony and building renaming at Sagicor Life Jamaica's headquarters in New Kingston, the centre of the capital city's financial district. "With the rebranding exercise, we are able to strengthen our relationship with the Sagicor Group," a news release quoted the commercial bank's Managing Director Philip Armstrong. "In effect, our suite of products and services are now enhanced by greater name recognition." Sagicor Bank, the release continued, is well suited for both business and retail customers. "In addition to current and savings accounts, debit cards and other standard banking services, Sagicor Bank offers PriorityMe — a low entry-
level current account with a built-in savings component, a 9.95 per cent auto loan facility and interest bearing current accounts." Armstrong explained that the bank is unique in that it offers "all the services that our business and personal customers need, and we have many benefits not offered at any other commercial bank". At the official opening ceremony, Maurice Facey, Chairman of Pan Jamaican Investment Trust Ltd, unveiled the rebranded bank to the delight of Sagicor Investments President and CEO Donovan Perkins, and Sagicor Investments Chairman Richard Byles, who is also President and CEO of Sagicor Life. The bank has five branches islandwide, access to the MultiLink ATM network, a robust Internet banking platform and
says it is well equipped to handle both its current, and anticipated larger customer base. Sagicor Bank started as Manufacturers Sigma Merchant Bank Limited before merging with Pan Caribbean Financial Services, to be rebranded PanCaribbean Merchant Bank. In 2009, the bank converted from a merchant bank to a commercial bank and took on the name PanCaribbeanBank. "The evolution of the bank demonstrates clearly the movement from strength to strength," Armstrong said. The group — which includes Sagicor Life, Sagicor Investments, and Sagicor Bank — said that new products and services will be rolled out as an extension of the rebranding exercise. ¤ Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
West Indies General
Insurance Company Limited
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Bank of Saint Lucia… The ‘Bank of Choice’ in St. Lucia
Twelve years after its birth from the merger of the then National Commercial Bank (NCB) of St. Lucia and the original Saint Lucia Development Bank – Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL), a subsidiary of the ECFH Group of companies, continues to retain the loyalty, trust and affinity of the vast majority of St. Lucians. Under its corporate slogan “All The Bank You Need” BOSL has impacted almost every facet of life in St. Lucia including commerce, agriculture, tourism, construction, education, retail and small business enterprises. ECFH and BOSL have built a strong legacy of community involvement as a corporate benefactor of the Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (CARE), the National Community Foundation (NCF), the St. Lucia School of Music and the Holy Family Children’s Home at Ciceron. The company has been a longstanding sponsor of national events such as St. Lucia Jazz, Carnival and within recent years the St. Lucia National Arts Festival. BOSL has over the years supported a wide range of sporting disciplines volleyball, football, cricket, netball, basketball, swimming and tennis. The Bank is also the Official Bank Sponsor of the 6th Edition of the Caribbean Association of Oncology BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
& Hematology ( C A O H ) Conference to be held in St. Lucia from May 7 – 9, 2013. For its outstanding work in the community, Bank of Saint Lucia has captured the ECCB Best Corporate Citizen Award on four occasions, winning the inaugural award under the title of its predecessor N a t i o n a l Commercial Bank of Saint Lucia in 1997. Quite apart from its record of nation building, the Bank’s business portfolios reinforce its claim and position as the leading financial institution in St. Lucia. In a population of just over 170,000 (as per the Census of 2010), Bank of Saint Lucia has a total of just over 87,000 customers which is close to 50% of the total population and a much higher percentage of the bankable population. In 2012, BOSL welcomed over 3000 new and first time customers. Its deposits in 2012 exceeded 1.3 Billion. All of these figures on their own speak of a strong, stable and vibrant institution, moreover this is testament to the confidence and appeal that the Bank continues to inspire - despite the challenging times and increased competition. In terms of disbursements, Home Mortgages account for the Bank’s largest portfolio with loans in 2012 valued at just over $60 million. Loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) was the Bank’s second largest portfolio in 2012 with disbursements of $23.4 million. Education remains a strong priority sector for the BOSL, Student Loans valued at just over $7 million approved in 2012.
The Bank’s Wealth and Asset Management portfolio remains robust. Honour 50 is by far the strongest product with 2308 customers and a portfolio value of $188 million. BOSL’s Registered Retirement Investment Account (RRIA) has a total of 1807 customers and is valued at $20 million. EduStart – the Bank’s Education Loan Package – is showing modest growth with 501 customers and a portfolio value of $1.2 million. Bank of Saint Lucia can best be described as the ‘foundation institution’ of the ECFH Group of Companies. The ECFH Group has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years to become the largest indigenous financial institution in the Eastern Caribbean, with an asset base in excess of EC$3 billion and a staff complement of approximately 600 group-wide. ECFH provides a wide range of services including retail, commercial and development banking, insurance, wealth management, capital market and merchant banking services and continues to meet its strategic objectives while placing high priority on corporate social responsibility. Its other subsidiaries include Bank of Saint Lucia International Limited (offshore banking), ECFH Global Investment Solutions Limited (investment banking), EC Global Insurance Company Limited and more recently, Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Limited, formerly National Commercial Bank (NCB) of St. Vincent Limited. In 2012, ECFH captured the prestigious Diamond Award from the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) in appreciation for its sterling support to the CAB and also in recognition of its consistent contributions over the years to the development of CAB members and the banking sector of the Caribbean. The CAB Diamond Award reflects ECFH’s strong leadership and commitment to the development of the financial services sector in the region. BOSL is well positioned to face the challenges of the coming years on a firm footing with confidence and vision. It has become increasingly adaptive to change and continues to reposition itself to meet the needs and demands of its varied and vast clientele which still makes it St. Lucia’s Bank of Choice! ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Simple Steps to Financial Success
Get rich quick schemes are all over the media. For many, following these schemes have ended in much heartache. How then, did the wealthy become wealthy? It is no mystery. Here are some steps that can be applied.
1. Budget Yes create a budget and stick to it. Whether you make thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year you need a budget. Create objectives, prioritize in order of importance and account for these goals in your budget. A budget will also help you set spending and savings goals. Most people hate budgets because it places restrictions on their spending but the key to a successful budget is to look at it in a positive light.
2. Reduce Debt Credit cards! They are supposed to make life easier but we know that unmanaged credit card debt can also turn into a nightmare. Credit card debt can be a major block when trying to excel financially. The card while being so easy to use can also make us forget that it is money we are dealing with when we whip them out to make small or large purchases. We often think it will be easy to just pay off the balance when the bill comes but when it arrives in the mail we are often slammed with such a massive amount. Basically, BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
we end up paying an exorbitant price for something that just was not worth it. Watch those plastics!
3. Save The first thing you should do when you receive your salary is to reward yourself. The trick is to save and then spend what remains and not vice versa. If you wait until you've met all your other financial obligations then to discover what's left over to use as savings, then youâ€™re running the risk of never developing a healthy savings account or investments. Make your mind up to set aside a minimum amount from your salary for savings before you start paying your bills. The best way to do this is to have money automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a separate account which you should avoid using as much as possible.
4. Invest Now we have to see how much is left over. If after contributing to a retirement and savings plan and you can still spare some money, a good place to put it is in other investments. Some places you can find the extra money lying around are your next bonus at work, income tax refund, or the money received from overtime at work. Before you decide on where to invest your money you have to begin by determining what your goals are. This
will help you choose the ideal type of investment. Stocks are considered longterm investments, and it's best to plan on holding stocks or stock mutual funds for five years or even longer. If you need the money sooner than this, you can cash in when the stock's value is down thereby making a profit on your investment. It is recommended that you place your money over several different types of investments to reduce risk, because one type of investment may do well when another doesn't.
5. Keep Good Records Good records are important where income taxes are concerned. If you don't keep good records, you're probably not claiming all your allowable income tax deductions and credits. Set up a system now and use it all year. It's much easier than scrambling to find everything at tax time, only to miss items that might have saved you money. Make your life easier and ensure that you don't miss any deductions, by organizing your record keeping system early in the year and keeping it up-to-date. Not only does having organized records make it easier and less frustrating for you to file your tax return, it also enables you to explain an item on your return that might be questioned which could prevent you from having to pay additional taxes and penalties for unsubstantiated items. Â¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, says the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean have performed strongly in the face of a challenging external environment, but that the region needs to continue to pursue key reforms to ensure growth in the future. In remarks to the IDB´s Board of Executive Directors at the start of 2013, Moreno summarized the region’s challenges, the institution’s performance over the past year and its priorities going forward. He said the region, boosted by high commodity prices, continued to grow its trade with the world. Moreno said trade with Asia has been “especially noteworthy” growing at a 20% annual rate since 2000 to total an estimated US$442 billion in 2012. However, he said many challenges remain, noting that trade among Latin American and Caribbean countries is still
IDB Warns Caribbean Economies to Lower Costs in 2013 too low, at 19% of overall trade. “We must focus our vision of the future on those areas that will enable us to maintain a diversified productive base, build our capacity for innovation, and successfully compete on a rapidly evolving planet,” Moreno said, adding “nothing produces greater returns than investments in building social capital”. He urged countries to lower their country costs by investing in infrastructure. “We must also work to break down financial, bureaucratic, and informationrelated barriers. We should pave the way for private initiative to flourish, so that we can take advantage of better international positioning that is not only desirable, but inevitable.” Moreno said the IDB continued on its path to build best practices into its operational and administrative management, bolstering transparency, accountability and financial mechanisms.
He said it was now standard practice at the IDB to assess whether projects can measure their expected results using rigorous evaluation methods during their preparation phase. In 2012, the IDB said it approved new financing mechanisms to help countries cope with natural disasters and safeguard the effects of economic crises. The financial institution said it approved 170 operations in 2012 for a total of US$11.5 billion, including 44 projects for non-sovereign guarantees, which finance private sector projects, for US$1.5 billion. The IDB said it also provided US$871 million in grant financing, up 29 per cent from 2011, with growing contributions by member countries to create acclimate fund for the private sector and provide additional resources for various initiatives. (CMC) ¤
FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited (FCIB) registered Earnings per share (EPS) of US$0.044 for FY 2012, a 4.35 per cent decline from the EPS of US$0.046 reported in FY 2011. The Directors have approved a final dividend of US$0.015 per share, payable on January 31st, 2013. This brings the total dividends for the year to US$0.030 versus the US$0.045 paid in 2011. At the top-line, FCIB reported an improvement of US$36M in Revenue. This upswing was an outcome of an increase of 6 per cent in Net interest income (NII) from US$374M to US$397M, which was predominantly due to lower deposit cost of funds, lower interest rate swap volumes and higher interest recoveries on non-performing loans. This resulted in an improvement in the NII margin from 76 per cent to 79 per cent year on year. Another factor that gave rise to an increase in Revenue was the 10 per cent surge in Operating income to US$146M, largely BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
due to increases in Net fee & commission income of $26M. Operating expenses climbed 3 per cent to US$348M mainly attributable to the acquisition of CIBC Bank & Trust entities. Year on Year, Loan loss impairment increased 38 per cent to US$120M. It was reported in FCIB's Management's discussion and analysis that the ratio of loan loss impairment to gross loans grew by 0.4 per cent to 1.7 per cent whilst the ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans decreased to 12.4 per cent. Profit after Tax decreased by only 2 per cent to US$72M. FCIB's results reveal that excluding the Loan loss impairment allowance the Bank's performance continues to be encouragingly satisfactory. The last two quarters have shown signs of improvement as the Loan loss impairment allowance has declined by approximately 53 per cent to US$23M.
In an effort to strengthen its operations during FY 2012 all segments of the Group that handle international and domestic high net worth clients were grouped under the Wealth Management Segment. This segment results increased 46 per cent year on year by to US$44M. However, FCIB continues to be challenged by the economic imbalances of the majority of territories in which the Group operates. Also, these economies are more tourist based economies and have been adversely affected by the lacklustre economic recovery in the US and Europe. At a price of $8.01, FCIB is trading at a trailing P/E of 28.4 times, significantly above its 5 year average of 15.4 times. The dividend yield on the stock stands at 2.40 per cent. In the short term there seems to be little hope of significant turnaround in the economic climate in the majority of territories the Company operates in. ¤
Exim Funding Initiative Could New
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it is providing US$153 million in loans for the establishment of a new equity investment platform for Latin America and the Caribbean in partnership with the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim). The IDB said the new platform is expected to mobilize as much as US$1.8 billion from a diversified pool of investors -- including Chinese -- to fund equity investments that will support economic and financial
integration between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and China. “The platform is made up of three regional investment funds that will deploy risk capital in infrastructure, mid-size companies and natural resource projects, including agribusiness, energy and mining, particularly in the pre-production stage. “The investments carried out by the platform will be environmentally and socially responsible and follow the highest standards of corporate governance. “The IDB's policies will guide the environmental and social investment practices of the funds and a process will be established to collect and publish information regarding developmental, environmental and social impact of the funds’ investments,” the IDB said in a statement. IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department general manager, Hans
Schulz, said: “The Platform is expected to mobilize a significant amount of long-term commercial resources to and within Latin America and the Caribbean, to support sectors that are considered key for the development of the region and that, at the same time, will play an important role in the deepening of trade activities and financial ties between our region and Asia”. The funds are expected to have a life of 10 years extendable by another two years. The investment platform is based on a letter of intent signed between the IDB and China Eximbank in 2011, when both institutions announced the plan to establish a mechanism to finance projects in the IDB’s 26 borrowing member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. China Eximbank is in the process of seeking approval from the relevant authorities. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
First Citizens Remains Safest Regional Bank First Citizens is the only bank in the Caribbean to be named among the safest banks in Latin America and the Caribbean Region by Global Finance 2012, the Port of Spain-based State bank said in a recent release. This is the third consecutive year that the bank has received this accolade, First Citizens said in a statement. The selection was made through a comparison of the long-term credit ratings and total assets of the world's largest banks. In arriving at this achievement, ratings from Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch were used. This news comes on the heels of Standard & Poor's re-affirmation of the First Citizens' credit rating of 'BBB+/A2'.
"First Citizens has once again demonstrated its commitment to strengthening its financial base, to growing both locally and regionally, and to providing excellent customer service," the bank said. "The news is reflective of the consistent hard work and commitment exhibited by First Citizens staff in delivering financial products and services in Trinidad and Tobago and in the Region," it added. First Citizens Bank Ltd is the parent company of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd with offices in St Lucia. 造 Courtesy: Trinidad Express
Raises US$300m for the RBC Capital Markets, in conjunction with RBC Merchant Bank (Caribbean) Limited, has successfully placed a US$300-million amortising bond issue for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The 15-year fixed-rate bond bears interest of 4.375 per cent annually until maturity in 2027, and represents a significant investment inflow into the region, RBC stated. "Proceeds of the bond issue will be used to augment CDB's capital ratios further, particularly in the face of prevailing downward trending regional economic conditions and the marginal growth being experienced throughout the region," the bank said. The bond is expected to have a positive impact on CDB's development initiatives, BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ultimately supporting funding for the bank's borrowing member countries, RBC added. As outlined in its strategic plan 20102014, RBC said, CDB plans to assist member countries in confronting their major development challenges, as well as in implementing policies and strategies which would contribute to their economic and social development. Chief Executive Officer of RBC Financial (Caribbean) Limited, Suresh Sookoo, said the bond issue reflected not only the bank's "commitment to regional capital market development, but also illustrates our ongoing drive to collaborate with organisations, like CDB, in the spirit of sustainable investment in the Caribbean."
"We believe that the bond arrangement between CDB and RBC is indicative of the intent of both parties to deliver best-inpractice, globally competitive and relevant financing solutions and support to our clients in the Caribbean," Sookoo added. RBC Financial (Caribbean) Limited is the second-largest financial institution by assets in the English-speaking Caribbean, with branches in 20 countries and territories, and has a track record of successfully raising financing from local and regional bond markets. CDB is the region's only multilateral development financing organisation, and has the highest long-term debt securities rating of all Caribbean financial institutions, with an AA grade from Standard and Poor's, and an Aa1 rating from Moody's. 造
Why ‘Angels’ Deserve Special Treatment The Importance of Crafting Insurance Policies Around Female Drivers by: Leathon B. Khan B.Sc., ACII
The Insurance business in St. Lucia has seen many changes and phases in the last decade but none more significant than the shift in the client base, with an increasing number of women (females) owning homes and purchasing vehicles. Generally, women are a strong and growing market segment for two fundamental reasons: they make very loyal and committed customers once they are satisfied with a product or service; and women have grown professionally, in many instances, surpassing men in the levels of income which they earn or the positions which they hold, both in the private and public sector. These factors make women very appealing to marketers who see the tremendous power and growth potential of this market segment. Research conducted in the United States and the UK overwhelmingly supports the notion that female drivers are in fact safer drivers and as a result they tend to be involved in less accidents. The research shows that in cases where females are in fact responsible for accidents, those accidents were less severe in the number of fatalities or in the extent of the damage caused. Interestingly, some research shows that women make about the same number of car insurance claims as men do. However, the findings indicate that women tend to be involved in less serious accidents and as a result, cause less damage. The smaller claims involve less cost for insurance companies and therefore smaller premiums for female drivers. Motor Insurance companies are very interested in such research data since they usually end up footing the bill for the damage caused by motor vehicle accidents. It guides them in the underwriting process which involves the assessment of various types of risks to determine suitability for insurance or whether to decline coverage. It allows insurance companies to reward those categories of drivers who have proven to be less risky and who have cost them less in claims payout. Insurance companies the world over are beginning to tailor and offer special motor insurance policies for female drivers with benefits above and beyond any standard motor policy in the market. In that regard, St. Lucia is no exception. EC Global Insurance has been a pioneer in recognizing the uniqueness of female drivers as a target market and has created products and services to satisfy their needs. The EC Global Angel Advantage service broke new ground in the local insurance market and added value to this market segment. In essence, female drivers constitute a niche market with distinct characteristics, needs and demands. It took a trendsetter and innovator to blaze the trail in embracing this growing market segment. It is therefore not surprising that in a few short years, this company has become the market leader in the insurance industry in St. Lucia and continues to transform and revolutionize the insurance industry in St. Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean. EC Global Insurance is a proud member of the ECFH Group of Companies- partnered with Grace Kennedy, the largest capitalized and most diversified Financial Services Group in the Eastern Caribbean. ¤
$285m Profit for TT’s Republic Bank Group
Chairman: Ronald Harford The Republic Bank Group has recorded a profit attributable to shareholders of $285 million for the first quarter ended December 31, 2012. This represents an increase of five per cent over the corresponding period last year, the bank said in a recent statement. The group's assets are now $54.2 billion, which, when compared to that of December 2011, reflects growth of ten per cent as well as a five per cent increase over the year ended September 2012. Chairman Ronald Harford, in announcing the results, noted, "While we continue to be challenged locally in Trinidad & Tobago by high liquidity, falling interest rates and minimal investment opportunities, we are encouraged by the upswing in credit demand, reflected in the five per cent increase in our advances portfolio year-on-year." Harford said the bank's success in its bid to purchase the noncontrolling interest in Republic Bank (Barbados) Ltd resulted in a 98.6 per cent shareholding as at December 31, 2012, with the remaining 1.4 per cent shareholding to be transferred in the second quarter. "The year has started off with the promise of increased economic activity, which bodes well for the future," he added. The Republic Bank Group is a significant shareholder in the St Lucia based ECFH Group of Companies which includes Bank of Saint Lucia Ltd. ¤ Courtesy: Trinidad Express BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
UNCTAD says Remittances to Caribbean can Play Greater Role in Poverty Reduction
A new United Nations report says remittances to the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) -- including St. Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean -- play a greater role in reducing poverty while also empowering the economies in those countries to grow. In the 2012 edition of its LDC report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) notes that with remittances forecast to grow over the mediumterm, the world’s poorest nations should ensure better banking and financing services to allow for greater domestic investment, small business development and job creation among their increasingly urbanized populations. The report, entitled “Harnessing Remittances and Diaspora Knowledge to Build Productive Capacities,” notes that remittances, the money sent by migrants to their home countries, have grown eightfold between 1990 and 2011, and are now worth US$27 billion dollars on a global scale. Moreover, the report says that remittances have continued to rise despite the impediments posed by the 2008 global economic crisis and consequent fears of financial stagnation. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
The report also urges governments to reduce the transfer costs associated with remittances, which often run as high as 12%. The potential pay-off for LDCs posed by remittances is “significant,” the report notes, considering that some 27.5 million LDC citizens live and work abroad. Over the past decade, remittances have steadily surpassed the value of foreign direct investment to LDCs, the report added. UNCTAD warns, however, that with the growing danger of global economic stagnation and deflation, LDCs must escalate their policy rethink of how remittances can promote industrial development and structural transformation through a freer channel of investment. UNCTAD says while money flows from LDC migrants are crucial to the advancement of the world’s poorest nations, it is the migrants’ very departure which often contributes to the further debilitation of an LDC’s chances of development. According to the report, the impact of “brain drain” on LDC countries appears to reinforce international inequalities in
the availability of qualified personnel, and to damage LDCs’ prospects for long-term economic growth. “Brain drain causes great damage to impoverished countries by removing the very people who could most help in stimulating economic growth,” the report states, adding that skilled, highly educated citizens are needed in the poorest countries to help them cope not only with development challenges but also the rising threat of climate change and its after-effects. In an effort to counter the negative effects of the brain drain, UNCTAD has proposed a knowledge-transfer scheme, known as the “Investing in Diaspora Knowledge Transfer” aimed at enabling highly skilled members of the LDC Diaspora, including an estimated two million university-educated migrants, to drive learning and investment in home countries. UNCTAD says the initiative would provide Diaspora members with preferential access to the seed capital required to initiate investment back home at preferential interest rates. ¤
Insurance Company Guardian Holdings Ltd (GHL) recently announced its second acquisition within a few months, this one being the 100 per cent shareholding of the Dutch Caribbean insurance company, Royal and Sun Alliance (Antilles) NV through its subsidiary Fatum Holding NV. In a statement issued, GHL said upon completion of this acquisition, which is still subject to regulatory approval, the combined operations of Fatum General and Royal and Sun Alliance (Antilles) will create the largest general insurance company in the Dutch Caribbean. “Concurrent with its acquisition of Royal and Sun Alliance (Antilles), Fatum has entered into a long-term distribution arrangement with the Maduro & Curiel banking group to distribute Fatum’s products through the bank’s branches and their insurance broker, Maduro & Curiel Insurance Services.”
The Trinidad headquartered Guardian Holdings Group said this latest acquisition comes on the heels of GHL’s recentlyannounced acquisition of Globe Insurance Company of Jamaica (Globe), which became part of the GHL Group late last year. The Insurance Group said it intends to merge the operations of its existing Jamaican general insurance company, West Indies Alliance, with that of Globe. “The combined entity will be the largest general insurance company in Jamaica,” read the GHL statement. The two acquisitions will add approximately US$55 million in annual new revenue for the GHL Group and both purchases are expected to be accretive to the Group’s earnings. “These moves, when combined with the GHL subsidiary, Guardian General Insurance Company, will bolster its position as operating the largest indigenous general insurance franchise in the Caribbean, serving 21 markets across the Caribbean
region. GHL already owns and operates the largest Life Insurance operation in the region, through its subsidiaries Guardian Life of the Caribbean, Guardian Life Ltd, and Fatum Life and Health. In the statement, Mack said GHL’s recent strategy over the last four years indicate “that our strategic objective has been to focus on our core businesses, in our home markets of the English and Dutch Caribbean, and divest ourselves of those investments which created a drag on our earnings and return to our shareholders. “We have successfully achieved this and are now aggressively seeking out the growth opportunities, both organically and inorganically, which exist within our markets, and which fit our business model. “The idea is to deliver consistent and steadily growing income while building value for shareholders. These two acquisitions fit very well into our strategy.” ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ACP Seeks Clarification on Outstanding
EU Banana Support Measures St. Lucia and other African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are seeking clarification from the European Union (EU) regarding outstanding pledges to support their banana sector. At the recent 24th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Surinam, Suriname’s representative Rabin Parmessar, questioned alleged reports that the European
Parliament has decided to reduce the amount of pledged financial support for the industry. “We were informed that the European Parliament has decided to reduce the amount of the accompanying measures on bananas and we would like to know if that is correct”, said Parmessar. He reminded his ACP and EU-colleagues that in 2010 the European Union decided to establish the supporting programme in order to help the ACP member states to cope with the new EU banana regime. The assistance programme was supposed to be set up and implemented in the period 2010-2013. According to the Surinamese legislator, preparation and implementation of the so-called Banana BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Accompanying Measures (BAM) has been delayed now for nearly three years. “We wish to urge the EU to disburse all the resources announced and to guarantee full disbursement of the allocated resources and facilitate their optimum use”, he told the conference. According t o
Pa r m e s s a r the banana producing countries are appealing to the EU to engage in prior consultations with the ACP member states regarding any further reduction of the funds. Banana exports from the ACP group of countries, including several Caribbean countries, have enjoyed preferential access to the EU for decades. But this trade regime has been subject to more than 15 years of legal disputes in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In December 2009, the EU finally reached an agreement with all parties
concerned. The agreement reconciles the legitimate interests of two sets of developing countries exporting bananas Latin American countries on the one hand, and ACP countries on the other. It will cut the EU's banana tariff for Latin American countries - its so-called Most Favoured Nation or MFN tariff - so the preferential margin which ACP countries enjoy will fall. But ACP preferences will remain. The EU applies no import tariffs or quotas on bananas from ACP countries, and that will continue, under the terms of new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and groups of ACP countries. In addition, the EU will continue its longstanding financial support to the banana sector in ACP countries. The Banana Accompanying Measures were designed to help those countries adjust to new trade realities over the next few years. But the ACP countries have complained that the EURO 190 million (One EURO = US$1.29) for 10 countries over a four year period, have not been forthcoming. Last November, an agreement was reached at the World Trade Organization (WTO) ending an international trade dispute over bananas dating back two decades. The December 2009 agreement involved the EU reducing its tariffs on imported bananas from EURO 176 per tonne to EURO 114 per tonne within eight years. Latin American banana exporters had long protested against EU tariffs designed to protect small growers in former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. They claimed that the EU import tariffs had favoured imports from former European colonies. ¤
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BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
LIAT Given Green Light to Purchase New Aircraft
Board Approves Decision to Buy French Made ATR Planes Shareholder governments of the regional airline, LIAT, have given the green light to plans to renew the airline’s aging fleet and the expansion of its operations. The shareholders – St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda – met recently and according to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, part payments have already been made for the new planes. “We have made some payments already with funds from some shareholder governments towards the fleet renewal and the idea is to have a mix of 48 and 68 seaters between next year and 2014,” Gonsalves said, adding LIAT was also looking at a mixture of purchasing and leasing the French-made aircraft. “We have given a tentative yes to the Board exploring a jet service beyond the 68 seaters and we are looking for strategic partners in that regard,” he added. Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer described the meeting as “a sort of watershed if you like in the history of LIAT in the sense that we have now come to terms with the fact that LIAT is a living organism in this region and in order for us to become or remain relevant and to be able to deliver the service for this region then we have to move in a particular direction.” BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Dominica which recently became the fourth major shareholder of the Antiguabased regional airline defended its decision to pump millions of dollars into the cashstrapped company. “I have asked those who criticise us to close their eyes for a few seconds and picture LIAT not flying to Dominica for one day, not for one week, for one day and one can appreciate the implications for our economy whether it is bringing people into Dominica or getting people out of Dominica or getting our agricultural produce out of Dominica. “The Dominica government recognises that we cannot continue only having Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines carrying the weight of this very important element of the economy,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt said. Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, said his island is committed to the efficient functioning of LIAT and that his administration would make sure that opportunities for wastage were minimised and that the airline remained viable. “And, it can only remain viable if it is financed, and Barbados, therefore, has had no difficulty in committing itself to that course of action. So, as the largest shareholder at the present time we felt
that it was our duty to live up to our regional obligations and we are doing just that,” he added. “LIAT, over the last 56 years has contributed in no small way to the deepening of the regional integration movement, making regional integration not an abstraction but a lived experience for the people of the Caribbean. And, since Barbados has always been in the forefront of promoting regional integration, of course we have a natural attachment to LIAT and its success,” Stuart said. Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer, Captain Ian Brunton, said a decision had been taken to reduce the “number of airplanes that we are going to immediately purchase to five” resulting in a savings of millions of dollars. “We are definitely getting four starting somewhere between May or June 2013 but we are looking to change the entire fleet and have 12 new airplanes by the end of 2014,” he said, adding that the company has negotiated a commercial loan “that will be very favourable because of the significant developmental effort that LIAT makes in the region,” in order to carry out its expansion plans. LIAT flies to 21 destinations in the region and has 1,000 flights weekly. ¤
look to Argentina for Trade and
Investments Newly appointed Argentine Ambassador to the OECS, Marcelo Aldo Salviolo, underlined his country’s desire “to consolidate closer links with the Caribbean States.” The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) says it is seeking to explore opportunities for greater south-south cooperation after establishing a diplomatic relationship with Argentina. OECS Director General Dr. Len Ishmael, speaking at the signing ceremony, said that the nine-member sub-regional grouping was also seeking stronger development cooperation ties as well as exploring avenues for trade and investment. “It is in this context that we seek to tap into
the full potential of the OECS-Argentina relationship, a potential which has yet to be unlocked. Indeed, we believe that the transformation of the OECS into an Economic Union has made our region ripe for stronger economic links with Argentina,” she said. Newly appointed Argentine Ambassador to the OECS, Marcelo Aldo Salviolo, underlined his country’s desire “to consolidate closer links with the Caribbean States.” He said he hoped his appointment would “help strengthen relations between this prestigious Caribbean Organisation and Argentina, in all possible fields, whether
political, trade, technical cooperation, humanitarian assistance or cultural.” Argentina and the OECS also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that seeks to strengthen and promote cooperation and coordination between them in a number of areas including trade and investment, agriculture and fisheries, health, education and sport, information technology, and tourism, among others. Argentina is the 11th country to establish formal diplomatic relations with the OECS that groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Wisynco to Produce for Export
Awarded Exclusive Caribbean Distribution Rights The WISYNCO Group of Jamaica will this year start shipping Hawaiian Punch fruit drink to Caribbean markets, having recently obtained a Certificate of Origin for the product. The Jamaican manufacturer and distributor last year entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with American drink company Dr. Pepper Snapple to produce Hawaiian Punch on the island and supply the brand throughout the region. Wisynco has immediate plans to distribute the product to Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Cayman Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda, revealed the company's Export Manager,
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Stephen Dawkins. "Those are the main territories that we are focusing on right now," Dawkins advised. According to Dawkins, the company had been waiting to acquire the certificate for several months. A certificate of origin is a document, required for international trade, declaring in which country a commodity or good was manufactured. Products of Caribbean Community (Caricom) origin are granted preferential access to markets throughout the region. Wisynco is among Jamaica's largest distributors of international consumer brands. Among the global manufacturers it distributes for are Coca-Cola, Welch's, Kelloggs, General Mills and NestlĂŠ.
The move to begin exporting Hawaiian Punch is a major step towards Wisynco expanding its global reach in beverages, said Dawkins. "It opens up new avenues for us to be the major beverage distributor in the region," he said. Wisynco also manufactures its own line of beverages, including bottled water brand Wata; a flavoured water product, Cran Wata; energy drink Boom; and soft drink Bigga. The firm announced in September that it was spending $400 million in six months to add capacity to its White Marl, St. Catherine plant, with the investment aimed at facilitating an aggressive push of its products into overseas markets. Â¤
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Fiscal Consolidation Inevitable in the Caribbean – says IMF An International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper says since growth in the current global economic environment is “virtually nonexistent,” significant fiscal consolidation is inevitable in the region. The paper, dubbed “The Challenges of Fiscal Consolidation and Debt Reduction in the Caribbean,” examines debt dynamics in the Caribbean and discusses policy options for reducing the high debt levels. Based on empirical studies of factors underlying global large debt reduction episodes, the paper says “important policy lessons” are drawn for the Caribbean. The analysis shows that major debt reductions are associated with strong growth and decisive and lasting fiscal consolidation efforts. It says better control of the public wage bill, increasing public sector efficiency and tackling transfers are the obvious targets to reduce spending. On revenue, the working paper says there is “ample room” to reduce tax expenditures, eliminate distortions while broadening the BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
tax base. “Fiscal consolidation needs to be complemented by a comprehensive debt reduction strategy including tax policy reforms and structural reforms to boost competiveness,” the paper urges. It states that Caribbean economies face high and rising debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratios that “jeopardise prospects for medium-term debt sustainability and growth.” The working paper points out that the global financial crisis “worsened the already high debt burdens in the Caribbean,” adding that the crisis and subsequent slow recovery in advanced countries had a “significant adverse effect undermining growth in the largely tourismdependent Caribbean, exposing balance sheet vulnerabilities built up over many years.” As a result, the working paper says the ratio of public debt to GDP increased by about 15 percentage points between 2008 and 2010.
It was noted that Caribbean commodity exporters rebounded rapidly after the crisis, buoyed by high commodity prices, stating that their debt ratios have stabilised at “relatively low.” The working paper says several countries have made attempts at reducing debt, mainly through “ad hoc restructuring or fiscal consolidation.” The IMF working paper also pointed to the region’s small size and geographical location which makes it “highly vulnerable to a host of frequent shocks, against which it is costly to insure. “As a result, Caribbean economies have had a silent debt crisis for the past two decades, contributing to a high debt-low growth trap.” The IMF working paper says Caribbean countries can draw lessons from successful fiscal consolidation efforts in other regions to guide their fiscal consolidation efforts. ¤
IMF Extends Zero-Interest Rates for Caribbean, other Low-Income Countries The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has approved a two-year extension to the zero-interest rates charged on loans to Caribbean and other low-income countries. The Washington-based financial institution said the extension is part of a wider strategy to support concessional lending to poorer countries as they combat the effects of the global economic crisis. Following further weakening of global growth and low-income countries' declining ability to weather the crisis, the IMF said it approved a second extension to the exceptional interest waiver on loans under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). The move, approved by the IMF Executive Board, extends the waiver through 2014. In addition, the IMF announced a postponement by one year to end 2014, of the next review of PRGT interest rates. "The Executive Board decision to keep interest rates at zero for all concessional loans for a further two years is testament to the Fund's continued support for low-income countries since the global economic crisis hit in 2009," said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Lagarde said the zero-interest rate extension follows other recent steps by the IMF to bolster lending to poorer countries
that include increased resources, higher borrowing limits, and more flexible terms. She said these moves stem from the major overhaul of the Fund's support programmes for low-income countries in mid-2009, which created a new framework for loans to the world's poorest nations and initially set zero interest rates on concessional loans through 2011. This is the second extension of the zero interest rates, the IMF said. After the first biannual review under the PRGT interest rate mechanism in December 2011, the IMF said it decided that the significant downside risks to the global economic outlook required a one year extension, through 2012, of zero interest rates on concessional facilities. After the global financial crisis first erupted in 2008, the IMF said it stepped up its lending to Caribbean and other lowincome countries to combat the impact of the ensuing recession. Initially, the IMF said poorer countries succeeded in adjusting policies to offset the worst effects of the crisis. But it said this success was partially reversed in 2011, with many low-income countries having limited fiscal space and running current account deficits that were higher than pre-crisis levels.
The IMF said low-income countries face the slow pace of the global recovery and increased volatility in food and fuel prices. It said a recent review of low-income countries facilities noted a strong and continuous demand for fund support. According to the IMF, empirical evidence shows that, over the long term, IMF-backed programs help raise growth, reduce poverty, and boost resilience to shocks in low-income economies. The IMF said the PRGT replaced an earlier support programme and has been fully operational since January 2010. It said lending commitments to low-income countries have been approved under all three PRGT facilities, the Extended Credit facility, Standby Credit Facility and the Rapid Credit Facility. The IMF said these facilities allow for greater access to financing and offer more flexible terms than previously. In response to the increasing financial needs of low-income countries during the global financial crisis, the IMF said its concessional lending increased significantly from US$1.2 billion in 2008 to US$3.8 billion in 2009, and US$1.8 billion in 2010 to US$1.9 billion in 2011. 造 Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Caricom Rum Producers in talks with US Officials Caribbean Community (Caricom) rum producing countries are holding high-level talks with the United States on resolving issues surrounding the rum industry in the region, Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced. A government statement said that Prime Minister Stuart made the announcement as he addressed a ceremony unveiling a commemorative plaque for Mount Gay Distilleries’ New Aging Bond recently. Stuart said the discussions, which are also being attended by officials from the Dominican Republic, were necessary
on this issue… We do not intend to allow rum producers in the Caribbean to be so severely disadvantaged by this market distortion which has resulted from these overwhelming, if I may use that word, subsidies being extended to producers in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.” Recently, the Caricom Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) said the region continues to have “serious concerns” regarding the competitiveness of Caribbean rum in the United States. “In addition to being the largest agriculturebased export industry in Caricom, the rum
since, within recent times, subsidies had been given to rum producers in the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, much to the disadvantage of Caribbean rum producers. He said the situation is so serious that Barbados is prepared to take its case to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if a solution is not forthcoming. “The Government of Barbados has had to take a stand on this issue, and under my instructions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade communicated with the US Government on this issue. And, of course, very recent discussions have taken place between Caricom countries, the Dominican Republic and the United States Trade Representative with a view to addressing the more pressing concerns of rum producers, not only here in Barbados, but in other parts of the Caribbean, and, of course, in the Dominican Republic,” he said. Stuart said Caricom was not going to “relapse its vigilance” on the issue. “We are not about to relax our persistence
industry is a substantial employer and a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings and government revenues,” COTED said. Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said the rum issue, involving Diageo, the global rum producer, continues to “threaten Caribbean rum into the US market, and the leaders agreed that strong and urgent political intervention was needed to address that issue. There is a concern with regards to some subsidy that is being provided for Diageo, the multilateral and one of the largest rum producers which is currently located in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.” “Last August, the UK-based Diageo reportedly warned that should Caricom mount a complaint to the WTO over the alleged subsidies it would “re-evaluate” its Caribbean interests. Dr. Carissa Etienne named as WHO Regional Director for the Americas Nearly five months after she was elected Director of the Pan American Health
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Organisation (PAHO), Dominican-born Dr. Carissa Etienne has been named Regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO Executive Board, which recently held its 132nd session, said that Dr. Etienne will begin her five-year term as PAHO Director and WHO Regional Director on 1 February, 2013 succeeding Dr. Mirta Roses Periago of Argentina. PAHO serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO (WHO/AMRO). “I believe strongly that good health is rooted in equity, universality, solidarity and inclusiveness. I have learned that universal health coverage is not only the best way to improve the health of every citizen in a country, but that it is entirely feasible,” said Dr. Etienne in her acceptance speech. Dr. Etienne holds degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of the West Indies as well as a Master’s in Community Health and an Honorary Diploma in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She held several senior positions in Dominica, including serving twice as Chief Medical Officer and Director of Primary Health Care Services. She was also an Associate Professor at the Ross University School of Medicine. In Geneva, Dr. Etienne led efforts to renew primary health care (PHC) at the global level and to strengthen health systems based on PHC, promoting integration and improved functioning of health systems. She has also promoted policy directions to reduce health inequalities and advance health for all through universal coverage, people-centered care, the access to safe and effective medical products and technology, the integration of health into broader public policies, and inclusive and participatory health leadership. The Regional Office for the Americas comprises 38 member states stretching from the Arctic to the Tierra del Fuego and including all the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. ¤
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
CBD President Warns 7 Nations on Rising Debt by Rickey Singh, Bridgetown
PRESIDENT OF the Caribbean Development (CDB) Dr. Warren Smith recently warned member countries of the regional institution to avoid facing their own "fiscal cliff" – as happened to the United States – by moving vigorously to reduce their "mounting" debt stock. At least seven borrowing countries currently confront this economic challenge. They range from the Caribbean Community's sole energy-based economy, Trinidad and Tobago, to Barbados (which formerly boasted a record in robust economic management); to current crisisridden economies like Jamaica, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis. In his more than two-hour-long news conference, supported with printed statements and graphs, Smith discussed and answered questions varyingly related to the CDB's role as more than a provider BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
of financial aid to Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs), as well as how it interacts with international financial institutions and donors involved as partners in this region's economic and social development. In reviewing the CDB's activities for 2012 and providing the "economic background and prospects" for 2013, he disclosed that the debt levels of the seven BMCs (Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis (the two highest); Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica and St. Lucia) "have become unsustainable." And, he emphasised, "anchoring investor confidence, both at home and abroad, will require governments to take corrective policy action…" As analysed by the CDB, "the fiscal policy agenda" of the seven economies identified with "unsustainable debt levels" must include measures that tackle
improvements in tax yields by reassessing the range of exemptions and concessions offered. At a time of high unemployment levels for developed economies in Europe and the US, unemployment levels remain a major factor in the still "unfolding" global crisis. Available data provided by four of five borrowing countries disclosed the following jobless scenario for 2012: St. Lucia (21.2 per cent; the Bahamas 14.7 per cent; Jamaica 14 per cent and Barbados 12.2 per cent. In contrast, Trinidad and Tobago was showing mid-year unemployment of merely four per cent compared with a 5.8 per cent rate at the end of first quarter 2011. ¤ Courtesy: Trinidad Express
Caribbean Faces Higher Trade Costs A new database developed jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the World Bank reveals that trade costs fall disproportionately on the Caribbean and other developing countries. The World Bank said this has taken place although the international economy has integrated considerably in recent decades. "Although developing countries are becoming more integrated into the world trading system in an absolute sense, they are starting from a higher baseline and their relative position is deteriorating because the rest of the world is moving more quickly," the World Bank said. The new Trade Costs database uses an "innovative method" to estimate trade costs in agriculture and manufactured goods, "opening new analytical possibilities for policymakers and researchers interested in trade integration."
According to the research, trade costs are influenced to varying degrees by distance and transport costs, tariff and non-tariff measures, and logistics. The new database which covers the period 1995-2010, outlines the importance of supply chains and connectivity constraints in explaining the higher costs and lower levels of trade integration observed in the Caribbean and other developing countries. One of the key findings triggered by the database is that two areas amenable to policy interventions – maritime transport connectivity and logistics performance – are "very important determinants of bilateral trade costs, with an effect comparable to that of geographical distance." The global database shows the pattern of trade costs across countries and through time by offering a comparison of countries
and identifying high trade costs. The World Bank said that one telling trend is that for upper middle income countries, it is easier to trade with high income countries than among themselves. "Neighbouring countries in regions like the Middle East and North Africa often have higher trade costs with each other than with the more distant Southern European markets," said Jean François Arvis, a senior economist at the World Bank's International Trade Department and one of the database's principal architects. "This disparity serves to hold back ongoing efforts at regional integration in such areas." The Trade Costs database allows policymakers to highlight high trade costs at a bilateral level, identify the key determinants and focus their efforts on the reduction of those costs. ¤
Crime Takes Toll on Latin American and Caribbean Economies
Crime and violence have had a dramatic impact on women, youth and the economic well-being of families in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to several studies commissioned by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB). The new studies underscore the more hidden dimensions of the cost of crime on Latin America’s economies, by looking at issues
such as women’s health and property values. The studies were the result of a call for proposals to academics and other experts to use innovative and appropriate methodologies to measure the cost of crime and violence in the region. According to the IDB findings, the children of women who have suffered from domestic violence have a greater risk of being born underweight, and grow up with more feeble health, with less chance they will be vaccinated and more likely to suffer from diarrhea, according to one study on seven countries in the region.
Latin American and Caribbean citizens reportedly cite crime and violence as their top concern, above unemployment, healthcare and other issues. The region suffers from some of the world’s highest homicide rates and 20 of the world’s most violent cities are located in Latin America and the Caribbean. Public trust in public institutions and the police is also lower than for other regions in the world. “Crime has tangible direct costs such as the cost of funding a private and public security infrastructure to prevent and combat crime,” said Ana Corbacho, sector economic advisor of the IDB’s Institutions for Development (IFD) Sector, which covers citizen security at the IDB. “But the implications of crime on the region’s wellbeing are potentially much greater. Violence not only victimises individuals – it undermines trust in public institutions.” ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Puerto Rico now Home to
Caribbean’s Largest Solar Plant Panels for the basis for a new 138-acre solar farm recently established in Puerto Rico
The Caribbean's largest solar energy park has been opened in the southern Puerto Rican municipality of Guayama. The 138acre solar farm, which uses GPtech PV inverters and a Power Plant Controller (PPC), is capable of generating enough electricity to meet the annual consumption of 12,000 families.
The 20MW PV plant called Ilumina was developed by AES Solar and built by GES. It will use some 100,000 photovoltaic panels and Governor Luis Fortuño has described the project as one of the most ambitious solar power facilities in the entire United States. The solar park will supply energy to state-owned utility AEE under a 20-year
contract. The project, which benefited from federal stimulus money, during its construction phase created 200 jobs. Fortuño emphasised that with the Guayama project Puerto Rico placed itself on the front rank of renewable energy generation in the Caribbean. Plant director Neil Watlington said he felt happy to be a part of the first large-scale solar energy project in Puerto Rico and that the initiative opens the door to a more sustainable energy future. AES Solar is a global firm specialising in building large-scale photovoltaic solar parks connected to electric grids that supply renewable energy to homes and businesses. The company operates solar projects in Italy, Greece, Spain and France, and it has several such projects in the development phase in the United States, Bulgaria and India. ¤
Clinton Foundation Help for
Geothermal Boost Dominica says it is hoping to sign later this year an agreement with the US-based Clinton Climate Initiative on the further developing of its geothermal energy sector programme. The island’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vince Henderson, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, said the Clinton Foundation has shown support for the multi-million dollar programme. “We were able to get the interest and support of the Clinton Climate Initiative as part of the Clinton Foundation to provide assistance to Dominica in the development of its geothermal resources, and that BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
process has been ongoing six months, and we are hoping to conclude some of our discussions by the end of this year. That holds great promise for Dominica. We are looking forward in 2013 to really finalising some agreement that will see the exploration of our geothermal resources, that will result definitely in a reduction in the cost of energy to consumers, and by 2015 that we could get the plant on line,” he added. Henderson said that the Roosevelt Skerrit government hopes that by 2015, the geothermal plant would also reduce the island’s green house gas emissions. “Futherer down the road we have to look forward to the exportation of electric
energy to Martinique and Guadeloupe via sea cables,” he added. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said his government has spent more than EC$33 million developing the geothermal industry. He said investment in the geothermal programme will help the island address a number of issues in the future, including a reduction in energy costs. “Equally and importantly, we will be in a position to export energy to (French islands) Martinique and Guadeloupe with the consequent result being to having an increase in our foreign exchange earnings.” Skerrit said this would allow for greater economic activity on the island that will promote economic growth and create thousands of jobs. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
BUSINESS BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT SPOTLIGHT
Digicel to Open Up a New World for Special Needs “Digicel to celebrate the opening of a brand new Sensory Integration Room in the year of its 10th Anniversary” Castries, St. Lucia January 25, 2013: Children in St Lucia with Special Needs will soon have a place where they can explore and develop their senses and skills. This is being made possible as part of the Digicel Caring Connections programme and being done in collaboration with like-minded social partners in the field of Special Education. The new Sensory Integration Room will be located at the Special Education school in the community of Vieux-fort.
Mrs. Holly Hughes-McNamara, Digicel's Country Manager with Rachael Gaunt, the Occupational Therapist committed to the Sensory Integration Room Project in Vieux Fort
The concept of the Sensory Integration Room is quite simple; it places a person with a special need in a pleasant environment where the distractions of the outside world are completely absent. The Sensory Integration Room is usually outfitted with specialised equipment, interactive music and sounds, as well as attention grabbing colours and shapes help rehabilitate in addition to the fostering of the developmental socialization of that child. The use of a sensory room provides a much needed multi-sensory experience of touch, movement and body awareness activities which the children are unable to access themselves due to their physical and learning disabilities. Activities in the sensory room help children with learning BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
disabilities connect to their environment improving their quality of life. “As persons without Special Needs we take a lot of simple things for granted and are often unaware of how complex these seemingly simple things are to persons with special needs,” said Holly HughesMcNamara, Country Manager, Digicel St. Lucia. “It is in an effort to help persons with special needs across St Lucia to develop some of these skills that we are delighted to be able to make this facility available as part of our Digicel Caring Connections programme. “Digicel is dedicated to improving the lives of persons with Special Needs and in our 10th year of operation here in St Lucia, it’s a fitting way to celebrate a cause we have adopted from our inception.” added Mrs. McNamara. According to Rachael Gaunt, Occupational Therapist, “It is an honour to be part of Digicel’s Caring Connections programme. A sensory integration room on this scale is a first for the south of St Lucia. The provision of this specialist resource; a comprehensive training programme for education staff will result in creating this calm, interactive and sensory rich environment. It will help learning, attention and skill development for children with special educational needs now and for years to come.” The Sensory Integration room anticipates to benefit not only the students of the Special School in Vieux Fort but the entire Special needs youth contingent across St. Lucia who have variety of disabilities which include Down’s syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, hearing and vision impairment and other physical and mental conditions. Persons with Special Needs, continue to be the focus of an initiative of the Digicel Caring Connections programme which was
launched in 2004. The Caring Connections Programme was successfully re-launched in November 2011 with an exclusive focus on persons with special needs. To date Digicel has supported a series of initiatives which have benefited many Special Needs persons across St. Lucia. This year, Digicel has committed to the mobilization of specialist therapy resource, Ms Rachael Gaunt who will assist with the development of a state of the art sensory integration room which is scheduled to be opened by the end of April 2013.
ABOUT DIGICEL GROUP After 11 years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has over 13 million customers across its 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network. Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team. Digicel also runs a host of communitybased initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes. Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
J.Q. MOTORS RAISES THE BAR WITH THE AUDI EXPERIENCE
The Grand Opening of Audi St. Lucia Showroom Facility A red carpet event marked the grand opening of the Audi St. Lucia showroom at Choc Estate. In attendance were Current Audi owners, and invited guests including government officials, and business partners of the J.Q. Charles Group. The company partnered with the Audi brand of luxury vehicles to introduce a fresh and modern dealership experience to St. Lucians.
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Current owners of the luxury brand of Audi vehicles from JQ Motors got a first-hand dose of the Audi experience at the grand opening of the brand’s new dealership showroom facility at Choc Estate. The inauguration of the Audi St. Lucia showroom was a result of the J.Q. Charles Group of Companies focus to achieve excellence through the use of innovation technology and customer service, in addition with their commitment to meet the exacting standards which the Audi brand requires from its Dealer representatives. Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Phillip J. Pierre and Minister of Commerce, Hon. Emma Hippolyte were also among the invited guests. In his remarks, Mr. Pierre noted that “Audi is now truly recognized as the premium brand of motor vehicles in St. Lucia epitomizing technology, innovation and luxury.” The acting PM also believes that there is an offshoot of spinoffs to be
gained from the continued penetration of luxury vehicles into the St. Lucian market, and praised the J.Q. Charles team for their innovation and foresight. The St. Lucia Audi dealership has been praised for its remarkable achievement within months of its introduction to St. Lucia. Vice President of Audi Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Diego Ramos, revealed that the company had achieved 60% of the market share in St. Lucia. “St. Lucia has been the most successful market out of the 24 countries managed by the Miami office”, he told the audience. General Manager of J.Q. Motors Ltd, Mr. Jason Clairmonte, said the Audi experience was more than just the purchase or comfort of driving a high-end automobile. It was about progressive innovation and excellence in customer service. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar Mar / / Apr Apr BusinessFocus
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In Sight of a Bright Future...
Providing a full Eye Care Service in St.Lucia for almost thirty years, Vision Express is now looking ahead to the latest developments for the next thirty years. Developments within the Optical industry, internationally, have seen rapid progress over the last ten years and with the research now underway in different aspects of eye care, the next ten years should be an exciting time for the Optical industry.
How often should you have your eyes examined?
Transition lenses - These are the best quality, "darken in the sun" lenses. They change from clear to dark very rapidly. Each pair of Transition lenses comes with a guarantee from Transition to show these are lenses you received. Some optical practices refer to all change in the sun lenses as Transitions....be sure you receive genuine Transitions lenses with the Transition guarantee.
Sun Sensor lenses - Vision Express has recently decided to offer a less expensive photochromic lens , so that more patients can obtain full UV protection. You will now be offered the choice of Transitions or Sunsensor lenses when you buy your new glasses. All parents should take advantage of the Vision Express free eye examination for children, no later than their first year of school. Often children who have lived with lower than normal vision since birth don't realise they are not seeing as clearly as they should. After this first visit the Optometrist will then explain how often your child should be seen.It may be difficult for anyone with normal vision to understand, but Vision Express Optometrists have done routine eye examinations for patients in their 50's, who have never seen an optometrist, and have only been able to see clearly for a few yards, this was their "normal" vision.
Max and his Vision Express lab team has successfully run Vision Express Lab services for many years . This year the team is ready to start exporting their excellent service to other Caribbean islands.
The delight of patients seeing the world clearly for the first time is one of the pleasures of this profession, whether the patient is six or sixty.Make sure your child starts off his education with the best vision possible. The "normâ€? for routine eye examinations for adults would be every two years.Patients with any of the symptoms of glaucoma or diabetes should make that visit every year.
Optical lenses which ones should I choose? When Vision Express first opened in St Lucia , the choice of lenses was only glass, and the Blue coloured " change in the sun" UV protection lenses were only in the development stage. Now most lenses are in a special resin material so that they are lighter and can take advantage of the advances in plastic lens development to be thinner, for short sighted prescriptions, or tinted for computer use, or give full UV protection with lenses which darken in the sun. Everyone should be aware that UV rays are harmful to your eyes, and sunglasses or UV protection lenses are vital outdoors in St Lucia's beautiful sunshine.Vision Express offers two forms of UV protection "change in the sun" lenses. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Not only your Vision Care but your Eye Care When your Vision is checked, the Optometrist also checks for any medical problems related to your eyes and will then suggest follow on treatments or refer you to the Ophthalmologist.
Diabetes and your eyes
Refractive Surgery.. what does this mean?
A healthy lifestyle , the correct diet and daily exercise are the best ways to control the onset of diabetes.
This broad range of surgery refers to all surgery which improves your vision.This can be lasik surgery for myopic patients or contact lens implants or removal of the lens in your eye and replacement with a new intra ocular lens.
The lack of control of blood sugar levels for people with diabetes has many further affects on a person's health.Your eyes can be affected by Diabetes , with the onset of diabetic retinopathy . Diabetic Retinopathy is where blood vessels in your eye can swell or burst and cause partial vision loss. This vision loss cannot be restored. The treatment for diabetic retinopathy involves regular visits to the Ophthalmologist for laser treatment to seal the blood vessels in the retina and prevent further vision loss. How often this treatment needs to be performed relates to how well the diabetes is controlled, which goes back to the healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.
Lens Replacement Several years ago lens replacement was only undertaken when the person's own lens was in the advances stages of cataract.Everyone's lenses gradually become cloudy as we age . There is no way of predicting how quickly this will happen.
During your vision check the optometrist carefully examines your eye. During the eye examinations the fluid pressure inside your eye is also checked.If the optometrist finds the eye pressure is higher than normal they will recommend a visual field test to determine if the cause is glaucoma.
The recent advances in lens replacement , and the excellent quality of implanted lenses means that many patients over fifty are opting for this surgery before the onset of their own lens clouding, as it becomes cataractous.Often the person's vision is restored to the same as in their twenties and with the advances in the new lens implants this can improve both distance and reading vision. Having this surgery at age fifty, when health wise this is much easier, is a good choice. The alternative is a slow deterioration in vision as the cataract develops over five , ten, twenty years when surgery becomes less desirable.
The initial treatment for early stage glaucoma is eye drop medication, which can effectively keep the pressure under control.Glaucoma is hereditary, so if someone in your family has glaucoma, annual eye examinations are essential.You will not notice any changes in your eyes as the pressure builds up, this is why it is important to have your eye pressure checked regularly.
Lens replacement surgery, is one of the many advances within the Optical industry in the last five years.
There have been excellent advances in Glaucoma surgery in the last ten years so if the medication is not effectively lowering your eye pressure and build up of eye fluids, glaucoma surgery can be undertaken to do this. Glaucoma surgery effectively creates another release for the fluid to be drained from your eyes.
Vision Express St. Lucia is looking ahead to the new ideas and new developments in lenses, frames, contact lenses and in the treatments possible to save and restore vision. Serving St. Lucians for the last thirty years, who knows what the next thirty years will bring!
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Red Dragon Rising
by Stan Bishop
With China’s economic prowess on the rise globally, there is no denying that the attention of the world will be focused on that key market. As a result and by no surprise, we have, like many First World countries before us, officially entered the realm of the premium Chinese vehicle.
BusinessFocus BusinessFocus Mar Mar / / Apr Apr
Okay, so you’ve seen a number of Geely vehicles making their way around Saint Lucia, none with “FOR SALE” signs which is testament to the brand’s strengths and confidence. Enter again, Pinnock Brothers Inc. (PBI) and Great Wall Motors (GWM). With the re-launch of the GWM brand in Saint Lucia, PBI is poised to deliver serious
competition on the usual line up of pickups and SUVs. Pinnock Brothers Inc. set up shop over 3 years ago and are gaining market share quickly by delivering these two forerunners in premium Chinese-made vehicles. The fact that the GWM brand is now selling in the United Kingdom lends
serious street credibility to the brand. In fact, the folks in the UK are so confident with the brand that it’s being offered with a 6-year guarantee for no rust! This, coupled with an automatic transmission SUV 4x4, should leave little doubt in the mind of the consumer. And if you’re not one quick to trust a British regulatory department in charge of approving the Steed to tow 2.5 ton, then consider the following independent review of the brand: • Autocar Magazine UK states in part: “Buyers shouldn’t be put off by investing their hard earned cash in an unfamiliar name, as Great Wall has been established for over 35 years and has already sold over 700,000 examples of the Steed around the world to date.” And with the great after-sales service the company offers its customers, which includes full parts and service, there is no reason why you shouldn’t own a Geely or Great Wall vehicle that comes with a three-year, 100,000 kilometer warranty. The GWM brand is being sold in countries that possess some of the world’s most rugged terrains, including Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and New Zealand. That makes for good information given the sometimes bone jarring, undulating Saint Lucian terrain challenges our vehicles face. Spend some time checking out the GWM brand and beat the competition and economy to the punch by owning a Geely or Great Wall vehicle! ¤ • Carverdict Magazine Australia states in part: “What’s even more impressive is that whilst the H5 (X240 in Australia) is classified as a compact SUV, in concept it is similar to the far more expensive Mitsubishi Nativa” According to owner/manager Charles Pinnock, there are multiple reasons why having a GWM vehicle is an absolute plus and he is quick to admit, with uncanny and smiling confidence, that price is #1. “First of all, you’re getting the absolute best bang for your buck when you purchase a vehicle from us,” Pinnock told BF. “That’s our number one advantage. You’re getting a premium new car for a minimum of $20,000 to $30,000 cheaper than our closest competitor.” Pinnock went on to say: “Next time you see a GWM owner, ask them why the smile! They are laughing all the way to the bank!”
Steed 5 interior
PINNOCK BROS. INC.
P.O. Box GM 1060 • Bois D’Orange • Gros Islet Phone: 1(758) 452.9085 • Fax : 1(758) 452.8603 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.pinnockinc.com • www.facebook.com/GWMStLucia
BusinessFocus BusinessFocus Mar Mar / / Apr Apr
IN THE KNOW
Emera Subsidiary to Acquire Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. Barbados-based Light & Power Holdings (LPH), which is a subsidiary of the Canadian firm Emera Inc, had reached an understanding with WRB and is close to completing a purchase agreement for the controlling shares in GRENLEC. US-based WRB Enterprises which owns 61.4 per cent of the Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) recently offered the Tillman Thomas government the option of retaking control of the company for EC$100 million. The Grenada government says it will not be able to purchase controlling shares in the lone electricity company but is negotiating a possible reacquisition of a portion of the company within a year according to Finance Minister Nazim Burke. The shares are presently valued at
EC$11 but the sale is being negotiated at EC$7.50 per share. Ownership of the utility is distributed among Grenada Private Power, Belizebased Eastern Caribbean Holdings (ECH), the National Insurance Scheme, the Government of Grenada and the general public. The majority of WRB's stake is held in subsidiary Grenada Private Power, which owns 50 per cent of GRENLEC. Burke said that under the new agreement, LPH will be allowed to purchase the 61.4 per cent shares. "However, in keeping with the government's policy that no entity shall own more than 50 per cent of GRENLEC, the new agreement blocks LPH from having any voting rights associated with the Eastern Caribbean Holding shares
and allows the government to purchase them at the same price the LPH purchased the shares up to one year after the initial purchase is concluded," Burke said. Attorney General Rohan Phillip and Burke, who have been involved in the negotiations with LPH, said there will be amendments to the Electricity Supply Act to govern an agreement between the Grenada government and the Barbadosbased company. The government has circulated a 20-point document titled 'The New Framework for Grenada's Electricity Sector' which indicates that "an exclusive licence will be granted to GRENLEC to generate electricity from fossil fuels only". ¤
to Undertake US$25M Expansion in St Kitts and Nevis
American School of Veterinary Medicine renews partnership with St Kitts and Nevis and undertakes a new 25-year agreement. (Credit: myspace) Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine has signed a 25-year renewal of its partnership agreement with St Kitts BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
and Nevis that paves the way for the United States training institution to move forward on a planned expansion of its campus and facilities. By way of the agreement, the University has committed to spending a minimum of US $25 million over the next five years on its Veterinary School’s expansion. “With the government’s strong support and advocacy, we have been able to build an internationally regarded education program in St Kitts,” said Dr Andrew Jeon, President of Ross University School of
Veterinary Medicine. “Their cooperation has ensured that Ross’s faculty and students have the resources they need to fulfill the School’s educational mission. It is our hope that the continued partnership and planned expansion activities will have mutual benefit for the students of Ross and families in our local community.” Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine is a part of DeVry Inc. Since its founding in 1983, the Veterinary School, has employed more than 300 staff, of which about 70 percent are local nationals. The new construction projects will result in additional permanent positions and are expected to increase revenues for local businesses due to the added student capacity. Currently more than 900 students are living and studying in St Kitts. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
Acquires Jamaica Fuel Distribution Company
Cool Petroleum Jamaica sold to the Rubis Group
Blue Equity Chairman, Jonathan Blue
Blue Equity, which purchased controlling interest in The Antilles Group Limited or Cool Petroleum in 2012, has sold the company to the Rubis Group. The Antilles Group Limited, (“TAG”), is the licensed user of Shell brands in Jamaica. The transaction was finalised at the end of 2012 for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition consolidates Rubis’ presence in the Caribbean, where the publicly traded company is one of the largest operators of downstream operations in the area of fuel supply. The Antilles Group Limited supplies a network of 53 service stations currently operating under the Shell brand (the original shareholder), and has a broad customer base in the commercial and industrial sectors.
W i t h 200,000 cubic meters of fuels distributed in the retail network, representing approximately 30 percent market share, and about 70,000 cubic meters in the commercial and industrial sectors, the company remains the undisputed leader in the downstream petroleum products business on the Island. Additionally, an import and storage infrastructure, along with stations located in the major strategic locations, serves to provide the company with a significant competitive advantage.
Since 2000, Rubis has expanded its presence across three continents, both through direct investments and via acquisitions. Rubis has a significant presence in the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Guyana. Further acquisitions during 2012 included the Chevron assets in The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. “I am quite pleased with TAG’s advancement under our ownership and the future international positioning with the Rubis acquisition. This is the perfect transaction for our clients, partners and team members,” said Jonathan S. Blue, Chairman and Managing Director of Blue Equity, LLC. ¤
to Unveil New Website to Boost Regional Tourism The Caribbean Hotels & Tourism Association (CHTA) says it will soon unveil a state-of-the-art website geared towards boosting tourism in the Caribbean. “The new website will be a one-stop, complete and comprehensive site that will revolutionise the research and vacation planning process for millions of consumers around the world looking for a vacation in the leading warm weather destination – the Caribbean,” said Beverly N. NicholasDoty, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Commissioner of Tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC) jointly owned by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) will re-launch the regional marketing website, www. CaribbeanTravel.com with enhanced design and search capability.
Driven by the necessity to compete in an aggressively competitive global travel marketplace, the Caribbean created the state-of-the-art, online portal which will act as the collective home for all countries in the region. Nicholas-Doty said the revitalised website will set a new standard for promoting the Caribbean and will become the cornerstone of cooperative regional strategy for the Caribbean brand. “This cutting-edge website will provide consumers with full responsive web design implementation for optimal user experience across desktops, tablet and mobile devices,” said Nicholas-Doty. The destination sections of the website will comprise country branded micro-sites and fresh editorial content. CHTA president Richard J. Doumeng said the website’s advanced searching capabilities will make finding the Caribbean resort easier than ever and will allow
hoteliers, restaurants, attractions and other visitor activities the ability to showcase their properties. “CaribbeanTravel.com will act as a single, centralised source for exploring and promoting the CHTA’s member hotels, resorts, restaurants and activities,” he said. Rafael Cardozo, President of Tambourine, a global destination and hospitality branding and marketing firm responsible for the redesign and implementation of the website said the site, utilising the latest programming languages and dynamic database driven technology, was conceived for long-term solution and to serve the Caribbean into the future. “From advanced destination mapping features, to comprehensive social media integration and robust rich media presentation capabilities, CaribbeanTravel. com is a comprehensive destination and hotel marketing platform never before seen in the region,” said Cardozo. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
IN THE KNOW
Partners with to Construct Haitiâ€™s First 4-Star Hotel
(From left) Denis O'Brien, Chairman of Digicel Group; Digicel Group CEO Colm Delves; Haiti's Tourism Minister Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin and Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, participate in a ground-breaking ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photos: AP)
Construction crews late last year began to build what is touted as Haiti's first four-star branded hotel, a US$45-million project expected to help boost the country's economy. Digicel Group is responsible for designing and building the hotel and chose Marriott International's signature Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand as its operating partner under a long-term management agreement. The Marriott hotel will create some 200 jobs and is scheduled to open in early 2015, officials said. It will feature 175 rooms and will be located in the Turgeau area of Port-au-Prince. The hotel is one of several planned for the capital and surrounding areas as Haiti tries to recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake that officials say killed 300,000 people. "This is a huge vote of confidence in the future of Haiti," Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said at the ground-breaking ceremony.
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Officials said the Marriott hotel will feature a large ballroom that can sit up to 500 people. "Not only will this be a solution to the lodging issues in the city, it will also create jobs, attract foreign visitors and communicate a positive outlook for the future of Haiti," said Denis O'Brien, Chairman of Digicel Group, an investor in the project. Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, said the company is also working with Haiti's tourism and education officials to improve hospitality training. "We believe we can make a difference in Haiti by creating jobs and developing the human talent that can help lift this country over time back to its rightful place as one of the top destinations in the Caribbean," he said. The hotel, along with others that are still in planning stages, are not targeting tourists but rather contractors, foreign aid workers and diplomats. Many have struggled to find accommodations, with nearly 850 hotel rooms destroyed in the earthquake.
Developers say the hotel is especially suitable for business meetings, conferences and events and will feature the most up-to-date facilities in the city. The hotel will include five suites, a casual restaurant with private dining area, fitness centre and a swimming pool. The property will also have a gift shop and marketplace and will offer guests 24-hour room service, WiFi and secure parking. Digicel said the company is committed to attracting foreign direct investment to Haiti and to helping the country rebuild in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake. O'Brien is founder and patron of the Digicel Foundation which to date has constructed 100 schools in Haiti. Further, as the Chairman of the Clinton Global Initiative's Haiti Action Network, O'Brien has been instrumental in driving the activity of 80 support organisations in Haiti to deliver on their commitments and in reconstructing the iconic Iron Market in Port-au-Prince. Â¤ Courtesy: Jamaica Observer
Justice Anthony Carmona to be
New President of Trinidad & Tobago
Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona will be elected the fifth President of Trinidad and Tobago. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar hailed Carmona as a “distinguished son of the soil,” naming him as the Government’s nominee to succeed President George Maxwell Richards.
The President is elected by the Electoral College which is comprised of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Persad-Bissessar said Carmona was an internationally respected member of the Judiciary, having recently been elected as a Judge of the International Criminal Court. Carmona, she said, has a distinguished career in the criminal justice system over the past 30 years, having served under several administrations. Persad-Bissessar noted that Carmona held the positions of deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and acting Director of Public Prosecutions and was also the United Nations prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She added that Carmona has also been a senior tutor in the department of government and a lecturer in Languages and Linguistics at The University of the West Indies.
“Mr Justice Anthony Carmona, in the opinion of those giving consideration, has demonstrated the qualities of human character, experience and distinguished qualifications worthy enough to be the nominee for President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and to best serve our citizens their enshrined and sacred democratic rights and interests with compassion, humanity, fairness and love towards all,” said Persad-Bissessar. On March 17, the second term of President Richards will expire. He has served as President for the past decade. The Prime Minister expressed deep gratitude to Richards on behalf of the people for his service. The Prime Minister noted that far from being a mere ceremonial post, the office and role of the President “is in fact the measure of democracy in our nation, the guidepost of our humanity, wisdom, civility, rationality, compassion, intelligence and progress as we uphold and respect our democratic principles of equality for all.” ¤
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BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Brainstorm Properly, and Deals will Rain Down by: Richard Branson When I took part in attempts to set speed records for hot air ballooning across the oceans in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we got into some sticky situations. For me, the term “brainstorm” always brings back memories of flying a hot air balloon 30,000 feet above the earth into the eye of a very different kind of storm. In those terrifying, exhilarating moments, our team desperately racked our brains, trying to work out how to survive. Luckily, we were always able to come up with ideas and made it through. While not every brainstorming session involves making life-and-death choices, the principle is the same. When you face a problem and are groping for answers, brainstorming is a great way to harness your staff’s collective knowledge and come up with solutions. Here are eight tips on how to get the most from your brainstorming sessions.
1. To think outside the box, avoid getting into one Many management consultants suggest scheduling regular brainstorming sessions so that you and your team can “think outside the box” or do some “bluesky thinking.” I hate those terms; being creative shouldn’t be confined to specific times in your day. You and your staff should try to be innovative in every aspect of your work, every day. But brainstorming is great for when you get stuck and can’t find a solution.
2. Choose a creative environment I find that I often come up with my best ideas when I’m on the move: either travelling or exercising or just taking a walk. When you run into a problem and decide to hold a brainstorming session, get everyone out of that stuffy, cramped office, which isn’t going to be conducive to creative thinking. Enjoy a change of scenery for at least for half an hour before you start working, and remember to take breaks. Diversions like playing a game, exercising or listening to music might help everyone to relax and then go back to work refreshed.
3. Define the problem, not the solution
8. Listen and follow through – then lead
While everyone gets an opportunity to think creatively during a brainstorming session, there should be a practical purpose for your gathering, or else you may end up going nowhere. When the conversation strays, remind everyone about the problem you’re trying to solve, and keep working toward that objective.
In Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre, the protagonist George Smiley succinctly explains how group decisions are delayed by disagreements and discussions: “A committee is an animal with four back legs.” The same often applies in business, where it can be important to make timely judgments. While I have discussed here the importance of brainstorming and listening to and learning from others, I often also act on impulse. Over the years, some of my decisions to go ahead with what turned out to be among Virgin’s best ideas have been made off the cuff. (I didn’t get the nickname “Dr Yes” for nothing.) In business, as in life, you sometimes have to trust your ability to lead your company to achieve things that others may think are impossible. This does involve risk: I decided to go ahead with a few of our less successful ventures in the same way. But on the whole, you should pay close attention to your gut reaction about how to solve a problem and forge ahead. Ultimately, you need to find a balance between brainstorming your way out of a great idea and acting as lone ranger. Use brainstorm sessions to obtain your team’s perspective, listen to and follow up their best ideas, but in the end, you need to make a choice and then take responsibility for that decision. ¤
4. Keep the ideas fresh Rather than surrounding yourself with the same people at every session, invite employees from other parts of your company to join in. You just might find that employees elsewhere in your business have great ideas. Someone on your accounts team might have a suggestion that leads to an unusual and creative marketing strategy, or one of your administrators might point out a recent change that helps the team to come up with a new sales pitch.
5. Make sure everyone is heard The quiet guy sitting in the corner may have excellent suggestions, but unless you give everyone the chance to speak, he won’t be heard over the person shouting at the top of his voice. Encourage listening as much as talking.
6. Write it all down Any ideas that may come up during your session should be recorded. Those great suggestions aren’t going to be any help to you if you forget them. I carry a notebook so I can write down every useful idea I come across, no matter what the context, and then follow up later.
7. Make the best ideas a reality Remember to say yes to potentially good ideas that come out of brainstorming sessions. Sure, you might make an occasional mistake, but if you take a risk, you’re more likely to find success. Before your group disperses, plan out how you’re all going to follow up.
Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He has recently published two books: “Screw Business as Usual” and “Like a Virgin.” He maintains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter. com/richardbranson. To learn more about the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com. Questions from readers will be answered in future columns. Please send them to RichardBranson@nytimes.com. Please include your name, country, email address and the name of the Web site or publication where you read the column. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
IN THE KNOW
Re-appointed UWI Principal
Professor Clement Sankat has been reappointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad for a further four years, until his retirement on September 30, 2016. The announcement was made by Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice-Chancellor of the UWI, who said the University’s Finance and General Purposes Committee (the Standing Committee of the University Council) has accepted his recommendation. At the time of his retirement, Sankat would have served The UWI for 38 years as a Professor, Head of Department, Dean, PVC (Graduate Studies) and as PVC and Campus Principal. Professor Sankat was first appointed as Campus Principal on January 1, 2008 succeeding Professor Bridget Brereton who acted as Principal for six months following the appointment of former Principal
Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, as Pro ViceChancellor, Planning and Development. During his first term as Principal, Professor Sankat has overseen a significant expansion of both the undergraduate and postgraduate student body, outstripping the other campuses within the University to become the largest residential campus of the UWI, without any apparent decline in the quality of academic and service delivery. The UWI also attained accreditation of many professional programmes, such as engineering, medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry, capped off by the achievement of institutional accreditation by the Accreditation Council of T&T (ACTT). Under his watch the St. Augustine Campus has also benefitted from substantial infrastructural development, including construction of the Sir George Alleyne Health Economic Centre, the Sir Arthur Lewis Hall of Residence, the Canada
Hall Renovation, refurbishment of the main Administrative Building, the New University Inn, the Facilities Management Head Office and the Teaching and Learning Complex. Also to be established under Sankat’s tenure is the satellite South Trinidad Campus at Penal-Debe—site of the Faculty of Law currently under construction— among many other projects. Professor Sankat has also contributed to the advancement of the graduate education and research agenda of the UWI. Harris said in a media release that because of Sankat’s vision, communication and networking skills, the campus has fashioned very robust partnerships not only with the Government of T&T and stakeholders in the private sector, but also with local, regional and international organisations and countries outside the Caribbean. ¤
light bulbs; sensors; GPS technologies; CD and DVD drives; digital cameras; most optic lenses; communication devices, as well as satellites. At the ground breaking ceremony on February 4, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said the red mud project provided Jamaica with an opportunity to significantly boost its export earnings, adding that the project, if proven economically viable, could act as a magnet to pull many investors to Jamaica’s shores, and in this vein, the country could become a major hub for exports to the Americas and other areas of the world. “This project represents the kind of industrial diversification that this country needs, if it is to realise its economic potential and improve the living standards of the people,” the Prime Minister stated. In January, when Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell first revealed the project, it was noted that rare earth oxides are currently being traded at rates of up to US$3,500 per kilogram as compared to alumina, which is now being traded at US$330 per tonne. Paulwell also disclosed that Nippon Light
Metal’s ultimate objective is to extract some 1,500 metric tonnes per annum if the pilot project proved successful. Extraction will be conducted by the JBI, in partnership with Nippon Light Metal. Scientists from the University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Technology (UTech) and Northern Caribbean University (NCU) will also participate in the process. Executive Director of the JBI, Parris A Lyew-Ayee said the project represents a new phase in the country’s long standing efforts to maximise the exportation and diversification of one of the country’s most valuable resources - bauxite. Lyew-Ayee said over the past year, the institute has sampled, analysed and characterised the red mud in various locations “and we are very satisfied with the results.” “On a laboratory bench scale, we have been able to extract the gross rare earth oxides from the red mud. Now we need to move on to the next step on a plant scale, to ensure the commercial viability of this process,” he said. ¤
Japanese Firm Begins Rare Earth Mining in Jamaica As Japan seeks to lessen its dependence on China for ‘rare earths,’ Tokyo has started digging-up in the Caribbean. Nippon Light Metals has broken ground on its red mud pilot plant on the grounds of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) in Hope Gardens, St. Andrew. For the next three months, the Japanese aluminum firm will be extracting rare earth elements from Jamaica’s red mud as the focus of its US$3 million pilot project, which Jamaican officials are hoping will earn the country far more in export potential than its current aluminum exports. Rare earth elements or lanthanides are extremely valuable elements which require advanced technology for their extractions and include elements, such scandium cerium and dysprosium. Several industries, particularly the electronic and ICT sectors, are dependent on the supply and availability of rare earth elements as they are key components of computers; Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) and Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors; hybrid automobiles; wind power turbines; magnets in television sets; energy efficient BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Trinidad Economy Threatened by Rise of US Shale Trinidad and Tobago’s oil and natural gas resources has made it one of the economic powerhouses of the Caribbean, but a recent analysis in Petroleum Export suggests that the twin island republic’s economic security could be under threat from one of its major export markets. According to writer Justin Jacobs, the Caribbean producer could suffer more than most other energy producers with the rise of shale output by the United States. Jacob writes that the surge in US shalegas production, a wave of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects around the world and major gas discoveries offshore east Africa and elsewhere, have ushered in a new era for the gas sector, which he suggests threatens to undermine the security of Trinidad and Tobago’s markets. “While it has adapted in the short term, to secure its place in the new-look global gas market, Trinidad and Tobago must
develop a new, long-term strategy,” Jacobs reports. “Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is powered by natural gas. The industry accounts for about half the country’s GDP, generates nearly two-thirds of the government’s revenues, attracts most of its foreign investment and lines the sovereign wealth fund. The country’s decision to export its gas has served it well, making it one of the wealthiest nations in the Caribbean. But, the assumptions upon which Trinidad and Tobago’s industry was based no longer apply, forcing the country to rethink its energy strategy to ensure its future,” writes Jacobs. Along with the United States, Trinidad and Tobago supplies markets in the Caribbean, South America, Asia and Europe with LNG and accounts for approximately 8% of the world’s LNG production. ¤
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IN THE KNOW
Finance Background Helps Women get to Boardroom
While finance is often seen as a male profession, a new report commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) from Cranfield School of Management shows that a financial qualification or a background which demonstrates substantial financial acumen are seen as catalysts for women getting onto the boards of FTSE companies. Analysis for the report “Women in Finance; a springboard to corporate board positions?” shows that: • Proportionally, women appear more successful in attaining executive roles where they have a financial background: 45 per cent of female executive directors are financially qualified and 65 per cent in total have a financial background, while 26 per cent of their male colleagues are financially qualified and 44 per cent have a financial background. • More than half of new female nonexecutive director (NED) appointments have a functional background in finance. • The finance function is seen by the three groups interviewed for the research – executive search consultants, chairmen and women who have made it to the board – to be more facilitative for women's progress to the top of corporate organisations.
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Helen Brand, Chief Executive of ACCA says: "What we have sought to understand through this study is why the finance function is such a springboard for women. We are seeing a time of change when it comes to women's representation in the boardroom; since the Davies Report of spring 2011, we have seen a five per cent increase, equal to the entire increase over the previous decade. Our report shows that more than half of the women appointed in this period have a functional background in finance and the proportion is even higher for female executive directors, at 65 per cent." The report says finance is the language of the boardroom and having the ability to communicate financial information establishes and builds credibility; it appears to validate women's suitability for consideration for a board appointment – a view especially expressed by search consultants who took part in this research. Dr. Ruth Sealy, Deputy Director of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders and co-author of the report added: "A certain level of financial acumen is necessary for all board directors. But for women, having a finance qualification or functional background helps to break down some persistent stereotypes about women's competence, giving them credibility, legitimacy and a common language that allows them to join the conversation of the boards."
Bringing together new findings, plus existing research into the differences between men and women when it comes to access to the boardroom, the report reveals that finance offers a clear career path for women, especially within professional services firms. The research also reveals that women appear to have been more successful in reaching the most senior jobs through the function of finance and this may have implications for other functions when looking to encourage the progression of female talent. But the research also reveals that women nevertheless need to build their networks, use their social connections and use their financial acumen to progress their careers. Brand concludes: "While there was a clear message from executive search consultants and the chairmen that finance was a facilitator for a path into the boardroom, it is also clear that financial skills alone are not enough - women need to stretch their social connections, and make themselves known to those where they want to work. The adage 'it's not what you know but who you know' still stands in the workplace, but for women - to get to the top they need to be motivated, driven, determined and known." ¤
MUST READS by Lyndell Halliday
Welcome to the first edition of Business Focus Must Reads. In every issue, I will highlight two ‘must read’ business or leadership books. Generally the focus will be recently published books, but I will from time to time explore some older classic, but still relevant works. This week’s Must Reads are On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis (Basic Books; Fourth Edition, 2009) and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 2011)
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
Many leadership books give the false expectation of instant leader in a weekend transformations. This book is not one of them. Fast food, it is not. It is a book to be read slowly, digested and then read again. This is a book on the soul of leadership. Originally written in 1989, but recently revised, the instruction in this primer is as relevant now as it was back then. The name, Warren Bennis will be familiar to anyone who has read a contemporary text on leadership since he is one of the most frequently cited writers in the field of leadership. Bennis is a consultant and author who has penned over thirty books. Forbes Magazine dubbed him the “dean of leadership gurus.” He currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California. According to Bennis, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It’s precisely that simple, and it’s also that difficult.” Bennis posits that anyone can become an effective leader, but he does not sugar coat the process. In doing research for this title, Bennis interviewed almost thirty leaders from a diverse range
of fields – from business to academia, from media to arts and sports. Mercifully, he spared us any coverage of politicians. Through a series of case studies based on those interviews, Bennis identifies the qualities that define leadership and lays out a process for enhancing one’s leadership capabilities. Bennis scorn’s the superficial and stresses the importance of authenticity and character. A key personal takeaway for me was the need for planned reflection in the development of oneself as a leader. This book is rich with insight and provides deep and thoughtful guidance. Study this book and it will become selfevident why some twenty-four years after the publication of the first edition, it is still regarded as one of the timeless classics on leadership.
by Walter Isaacson The Harvard Business Review recently ranked the late Steve Jobs as the bestperforming CEO in the world over the last 17 years. It is no surprise considering Jobs’ impressive achievements at the Apple Corporation, having grown the company’s market value by US $359 billion and elevating its status to that of the world’s most valuable company. Jobs revolutionised five different industries, personal computing (Apple and iMac), animation (Pixar), music (iPod and iTunes), mobile phone (iPhone) and mobile computing (iPad). It is without question that Steve Jobs was a giant, and while much has been written about him, this work by Walter Isaacson is a standout as it is the only authorised biography.
Walter Isaacson is a former business executive and journalist whose published works include highly acclaimed biographies on Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklyn and Henry Kissinger. This exclusive biography on Steve Jobs is based on over forty interviews conducted over two years with Steve Jobs up until just before his death. Throughout that time, Isaacson enjoyed unprecedented access to Jobs. Isaacson strove to be fair and unbiased and thus also interviewed many of Job’s family members, friends and business associates. Steve Jobs, an obsessive and controlling figure, to his credit, gave Isaacson free reins and made no attempt to influence what he wrote. The end result is a remarkable portrait – intimate and revealing yet objective and brutally honest. Isaacson’s Steve Jobs is a fascinating and riveting read. I first read this biography in ebook format and was surprised to subsequently discover that the dead tree version is actually over 600 pages - the book is so gripping it simply does not feel lengthy. This is a story about a business and technology behemoth, yet it is deeply personal and engaging. It is heavy yet funny; highly detailed at times, yet never tedious. The tales of Jobs’ temper tantrums will horrify you, his idiosyncrasies will amuse you and his relentless passion and immutable self-confidence will stir and inspire you. This is a very human story of a deeply flawed, yet incredibly brilliant man. But above all; it is a story rich with lessons – on entrepreneurship, innovation, passion, determination, self-belief, relentless focus, business strategy and much more. Steve Jobs by Isaacson is a compelling, entertaining and highly instructive read. Be warned however; clear your schedule before you sit down to read it. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
A Presentation of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Up-Close from Afar!
by Earl Bousquet
A viewer’s perspective of the live broadcast of the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards Ceremony I’d always covered the Chamber of Commerce’s most major of annual events with a ring-side seat at the William Jefferson Clinton Ballroom. Nattily dressed, I’d be perched up-close at a well-covered table of eats and drinks with a bird’s eye view of everything, pen in hand, noting notable notes and jotting the indescribable as the evening rolled along. Cameraman on the loose on the floor to capture the visual images, I’d cover the entire shindig from my bird’s nest platform – from the welloiled Welcome Reception to the colourful Red Carpet arrivals; from corporate photo shoots to exclusive comments gathered before, during and after the big do. This year, however, I decided to do differently. Media Zone, Choice TV, LIME and Landmark had again cleverly conspired to bring the big show to my little bedroom and living room – and to TV screens everywhere else in St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Indeed, I was told anyone anywhere in rest of the world with a computer, i-Phone or i-Pad plugged into the world-wide-web would also be able to watch the ceremony, ‘live and direct.’ I therefore decided to attend the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards ceremony somewhat by remote: to be right there, but sitting elsewhere; to get the inside feeling, but from outside. I’d join the rest of the island – and the world – and watch live on TV. Not out to be a fly on the wall, I booked an early up-front seat near the TV at my BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
favourite sports bar/watering hole. This being somewhere that freedom of speech reigns supreme, I’d also booked a six-pack to come at an agreed rate during the two-hour show. I’d also psychologically prepared myself not to be distracted by the remarks (good or bad) from fellow viewers during the show. I’d only talk after it was all over. I knew it would be like attending a West Indies Cricket Finals at Beausejour, where language has no limits and expressions have no boundaries. But even if I didn’t have pen and paper in or camera at hand, I would be me and just watch and listen for what to write about. I’d be judging the judging – and the whole show – like and with everyone else watching that evening: there but not there. The companies nominated for awards included new fawns alongside old horses, racing the same courses. The fresh new faces had good credentials, but the bigger boys (and gals) on the business block had all already tasted the sweet taste of success – and wanted more. Tonight we’d know who got what. MCs Richard Peterkin and Sharon Williams looked none less sharp than each other, but knowing these two, I felt they were not too comfy with the restricting that comes with doing everything by the script at a party. But then, this was for TV. It was party yes, but also a production for the screen. Everyone was an actor – and act they did.
Chamber President Gerard Bergasse did the classic act of delivering his 2012 presidential report card before the end of the first month of 2013. Under his watch, he said, the chamber had successfully engaged the government in its first year in office to facilitate establishment of mechanisms to improve St. Lucia’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, resulting in the agreement to establish a Public/Private Sector working committee to permanently pursue better Doing Business ratings. And he welcomed the recent establishment of St. Lucia’s chapter of the Caribbean Growth Forum, as well as the agreement between St. Lucia and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to fund establishment of a National Productivity and Competitiveness Council. Bergasse waxed poetic as he made frequent reference to something about “setting a pebble rolling to start an avalanche of change.” But it was also clear he couldn’t have allowed (or been allowed) to let this once-in-a-year moment pass without acting like a President should. Charmaine Gardner, who oversees the entire process on behalf of the Chamber pulled out the best of her classic acts as a former President of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) and holder of locked and interlocking directorships across the banking and merchant sectors and whose family business has already spun four generations.
As Chairman of the organising committee for the awards, the current matriarch of the business arm of the Carasco family noted the new and fresh faces among the participants and nominees and the tightening of the judging system. Instead of one round of judging there are now two – and the results are passed to the Chamber’s Auditors, who hand them over for the envelopes to be opened before the cameras, and to the expectations of competitors, those gathered, and all of us watching from outside. Chairman Charmaine did sound satisfied that the judges were satisfied that they had given their free time for the better of business, also informing all watching that she too was satisfied that “As compensation, we have received the growing confidence and enthusiasm of the business community and the nation; it is all the reward we need.” Then, waxing warmly along her script, Madame chairperson acted like she’d suddenly remembered she’d been warned that if she wasn’t on time, her voice would be faded out by music…
When the show ended, I fished around for some reviews. Most were of the expected watering hole type, but I did encounter a well-known alcohol-free socialite with some constructive criticism. A bespectacled former classmate and colleague, now employed by one of the winning enterprises, topped-up his scotch with soda, gulped a sip and told me, “The show was the best it could be. Now it just has to get better by changing the rules a bit to widen the judging process….” He explained, “Some companies seem to be casting a wide net to catch everything, with the hope of eventually catching something. But others just can’t afford to. Besides, companies should not be allowed to nominate themselves. Members of the Chamber or registered private sector companies should be invited to submit nominations independently.” My next encounter was quite different. I asked a lady sitting alone how she felt about the show. “I liked it,” she said, “especially as it showed that we have what it takes to appreciate ourselves and feel great.” I asked, “What about it made you feel so great?”
She replied, “Women are taking our place in the male pecking order. We’re breaking the glass ceiling and leading successful companies. We saw that last year – and you just saw it again with your own two eyes….” Her expression invited me to talk more. With her permission, I pulled a chair and sat astride the dimpled damsel, if only to possibly engage her in more of not necessarily the same conversation. It turned out she was a banker and had decided, like me, not to take up the invitation to attend. I’d just started exploring her mind’s thoughts about other things when my phone rang. The number was “withheld”, so I didn’t answer. It stopped and started ringing again. I ignored it again. It stopped and started a third time. Miss Dimples suggested that I answer. “It could be someone needing your help.” Reluctantly, I picked up and answered, “Hello?” The voice at the other end asked: “Where you?” It was my wife. ¤
Awards were ‘A Celebration of Excellence’, says Chamber Prez
Judging by what he saw when he took to the stage at the William Jefferson Clinton Ballroom, to address the 4th St. Lucia
Business Awards ceremony at the Sandals Grande St. Lucia Resort and Spa, Chamber of Commerce President Gerard Bergasse said, “It appears that we are all pleased with the growth and development of our awards evening.” And he was right... If their presence meant anything, the over 350 business execs who turned up for this year’s version of the annual event – many of whom attended last year – was proof of their satisfaction. He said they were gathered that evening “to celebrate excellence and achievement in the business community.” The President said, “We celebrate companies that have implemented plans;
taken ideas and operationalised them” and “we also applaud our nation’s ability to achieve and perform at global standards.” He continued, “We uphold the ideal of excellence in our community and our nation, and I thank all who have supported these awards as sponsors, partners and nominees.” The President also thanked “all the firms who have made submissions this year and in the past.” He said the Chamber was “particularly pleased that many nontraditional firms decided to participate this year” and “we encourage our traditional firms to not flinch from the race, but make submissions next year.” “The wider the participation,” President Bergasse said, “the more successful we will be in growing the St. Lucia Business Awards phenomenon into an even greater success story.” He concluded, “We have achieved a level of excellence on which we should continue to build and to aspire.” ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Awards are a Success of Private and Public Participation and Partnership.
(Following is an abridged version of the address by the Chairperson of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Organizing Committee, Dr. Charmaine Gardner.)
When we set out to create a new dynamic awards process and event, we could only hope that it would be well-received and that it would become a fixture on the annual business calendar. We hoped, but had no idea that we would achieve this continued growth in participation, this warm and reassuring turnout, this partnership of sponsors, producers and participants, this response BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
from both the private and the public sector. You have exceeded our hopes and we thank you all for your sustained and unstinting commitment to this event -- and to this Chamber -- now entering its 128th year. We are particularly pleased to see a growing number of entries from traditional as well as new and emerging companies. The mix of new and existing players across the business community testifies to the appeal and relevance of the format and structure which has been engendered. We wish to assure you that the Chamber – and more particularly the Business Awards Team – continue to strive for excellence, not only in making this event the visible success that it is, but equally important, in the manner that we manage and execute the all-important adjudication process. Thanks to a team of learned and meticulous judges, we have been able to continuously enhance the adjudication process driven by several insightful recommendations from the judges themselves. For the second time in two years, the Chamber has hosted a Nominations Workshop, at which potential nominees received – directly from the Judges
– guidance regarding the submission process. We are therefore extremely pleased to note how many of the attending firms actually made successful submissions and have been shortlisted. This year interviews were also conducted by the Judges, with many of the shortlisted applicants, so that clarifications could be requested and supporting documentation assessed wherever necessary. Moreover, the entire process is now adjudicated by two separate judging panels, with a first preliminary assessment followed by a second final round. The integrity of the process is further ensured by the submission of final results to the Chamber’s Auditors, who have brought the results with them directly to the ceremony tonight. We take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to our adjudicators who serve pro bono and give their time and expertise so willingly. In terms of the ceremony itself, as you can see, the Chamber is constantly striving to exceed previous standards in the design, planning and execution of this awards evening. It continues to be a wonderful learning process, and we remain all willing students. As compensation, we have received the growing confidence and enthusiasm of the business community and the nation; it is all the reward we need. We are especially grateful to the ladies and gentlemen of the media who give us such enthusiastic exposure. It remains now, for me to warmly thank our many members who continue to partner with us as sponsors and co-producers of this event… On behalf of the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards Committee, let me say sincere congratulations to all our nominees and winners! ¤
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BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
TV Beamed Awards Beyond Our Borders The Chamber of Commerce’s 4th St. Lucia Business Awards was broadcast to St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines on CHOICE TV, thanks to the successful 2013 arrangement between the organisers and producers of the annual ceremony. Producers Landmark Events and broadcasters Media Zone/Choice TV collaborated to present the ‘live’ TV broadcast of the event, which was tailored for the broadcast to St. Lucia and the rest of the world from the William Jefferson Clinton Ballroom at the Sandals Grande Hotel. The Wave also broadcast the show to Barbados and LIME chipped in to take the telecast beyond the Caribbean’s borders.
There was general appreciation for the glitzy production, which proceeded seamlessly and without interruption. It’s not the first time the event has been broadcast ‘live,’ but it was the first time it was seen ‘live’ in neighbouring St. Vincent – and streamed to the rest of the world. St. Lucians have been generally commenting positively on the quality of the production and transmission, many saying it was another showcase of local media and telecommunications talent. Chairman of the Chamber’s Awards Organising Committee Dr. Charmaine Gardner was loud in her praise of the continuing collaboration between the Chamber, Landmark Events and Mediazone/Choice for the production and broadcast of the Chamber’s most important annual public event. At the
ceremony, she expressed the Chamber’s “thanks to Media Zone/Choice TV, for our broadcast to St. Lucia, the region and the world-wide-web powered by LIME.” Said Dr. Gardner, “We recognize also our producers Landmark Events who continue to pour so much energy and creativity into this event and this partnership, keeping us all on point and on time.” Similar sentiments were expressed by Chamber President Gerard Bergasse, who said, “This excellence is in large measure, a reflection of the dedication of our Awards Committee, our Sponsors, and our Production Partners: Media Zone and Landmark Events.” “Together,” he added, “they are the primary architects of this success.” ¤
Laurie Barnard’s Lifetime Contribution Acknowledged The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award went to its late former president Laurie Barnard, the former Managing Director of St. Lucia Distillers Ltd, who passed away in the United Kingdom last October. The late entrepreneur emerged from one of St. Lucia’s best known business families. He and his brother Craig, with their father, Denis Barnard, ran estates in the Dennery Valley over decades, heralding the transition from sugar cane to bananas on the island’s east coast. But while the agricultural aspect of the operations saw the cane fields give way to banana plots, the family still maintained the other original side of the business: manufacturing rum. There was also the tourism-related aspect of the family business through BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ownership of the then Malabar hotel located on the Vigie Beach near northern end of the Vigie Airport. Through Malabar, Craig gravitated into tourism, his flagship achievements being the transformation of Malabar first into Couples and then into Rendezvous and establishment of the unique Le Sport/The Body Holiday resort at Cap, plus establishment of Le Source in Grenada (now part of the Sandals chain.) However, Laurie remained with bananas and rum, effectively pioneering the transition of the family’s rum-producing business from the Dennery valley to the Roseau Valley, heralding the creation of the new name and brand Denros (Dennery/ Roseau) and Bounty rums, produced by St. Lucia Distillers. The distillery, under Laurie Barnard’s leadership, became a major manufacturing entity here and one of the Caribbean’s flagship rum producers, each year producing prize-winning brands from
“Chairman’s Reserve” to Admiral Rodney and brands of locally-named and finetasting liqueurs, ranging from “Marigot” to “Castries”. The Roseau-based distillery was eventually bought into by CLICO, which helped capitalize it and further enhance its export base and regional popularity. Laurie also pioneered creation of new lines of family business, including a new line of bananas for shipment to Europe and development of the export of highend flowers to the UK. He served as a President of the Chamber and at its recent 4th St. Lucia Business Awards ceremony, the late business magnate was hailed for his sterling contribution to the private sector. Laurie was described as “a man of the people” who never shied away from sharing on his knowledge with his peers. His son, Nicholas “Joey” Barnard accepted the award on his behalf. ¤
Showcased Business Awards to the World The 2013 Annual Saint Lucia Business Awards was taken to all and sundry at home and abroad, in fine style, after LIME came to the table to broadcast the event to viewers in Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines – and around the globe. LIME used its DIA network to facilitate high-quality live broadcast of the welcome cocktail, the red carpet and awards ceremony, as well as the MediaZone interview spots. Their broadcast was live over Choice TV (Channel 39 on the LIME TV network) to viewers in Saint Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. LIME also provided the fibre connectivity at Sandals Grande, along with the cable TV backbone that allowed Choice and MediaZone to get a signal from the awards venue to their Vide Boutielle location for onward transmission islandwide and throughout the world via their website.
This year’s awards evening, coming as it did at the conclusion of the annual Nobel Laureate Week, celebrated exceptional and exemplary achievement across corporate Saint Lucia with an enhanced and innovative program format. “The Chamber will be taking this milestone ceremony to new heights, to continue to reflect excellence in every aspect of the Saint Lucia Business Awards,” said Executive Director for the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, Brian Louisy, ahead of the big night. “As always, we are delighted to have LIME on board as a partner and we are grateful for their assistance in showcasing the awards evening to the world via live TV broadcasts and online,” Mr Louisy added. Similar sentiments were expressed by the service provider. “LIME is proud to partner with the Chamber for this year’s awards,” said LIME General Manager,
Chris Williams. “We believe that the Saint Lucia Business Awards not only provide a fantastic platform to raise the profile and successes of local businesses, it also serves to emphasise the strength of Saint Lucia’s business community as they strive for excellence in the face of a challenging economic environment at home and abroad. “For us, at LIME, it gives us pleasure to use our resources to promote Saint Lucia and the entrepreneurial spirit of local businesses to the world,” Mr. Williams added. LIME is a major sponsor of the awards, which are held annually and organised by the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce. This year’s awards presentation was broadcast from Sandals Grande on Saturday, January 26th. ¤
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The Night in Photos
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Companies Large and Small, Young and Old, Shine at 4th Business Awards! by Stan Bishop
The spotlight shone brightly on several private sector companies and individuals at the 4th annual St. Lucia Business Awards held on January 26th. The annual awards ceremony is organised by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, which aims to reward excellence in quality and service within the local private sector.
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Held in the William Jefferson Clinton Ballroom at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort, this year’s live broadcast event proved that there is no shortage of both excellence and quality in that sector. Following the traditional red carpet affair, the evening slowly morphed into the main segment – the presentation of awards.
Several companies – large and small, old and new – as well as individuals, were honoured in the 12 categories adjudicated. In the end, it was telecommunications provider Karib Cable that ruled the night, picking up two major trophies: the Corporate Leadership award (won by Managing Director Joya Martin) as well as the Business of the Year Award.
Winners in the other ten categories were as follows: Idea of the Year Award: 123 Digital; Service Excellence: First Citizens Investment Services; Green Award: Cartridge World (Saint Lucia) Ltd.; Marketing Excellence: Bay Gardens Resorts; Exporter of the Year: Bank of Saint Lucia International Ltd.; Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Kurt Elibox [Blueprint Construction Limited (LLC); Entrepreneur of the Year: Jermile Daniel (The Cell); Excellence in Human Resource Development: Sandals Resorts International; Corporate Social Responsibility: 1st National Bank of Saint Lucia Limited; and Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation: Regional Communication Ltd. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to former president of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Laurie Barnard. Barnard, who was also a former managing director of St. Lucia Distillers Ltd., passed away in the United Kingdom last October. The late business magnate was hailed for his sterling contribution to the private sector. He was also described as being “a man of the people” who never shied away from passing on his business knowledge to his peers. His son, Nicholas “Joey” Barnard accepted the award on his behalf. Baron Foods Ltd. continued its lengthy streak of trophy drought at this year’s St. Lucia Business Awards. Despite having won four out of six Caribbean Business Awards last year and being nominated in four categories in the local awards competition,
the manufacturing giant failed to win a trophy. (In the four years since the awards have been held, Baron Foods Ltd. has never won.) Nevertheless, the wins and losses at this year’s Business Awards proved that bigger and better things are on the horizon for the local private sector. That was the sentiment expressed by Chamber president, Gerard Bergasse, who told the packed William Jefferson Clinton Ballroom audience that a major step towards deeper private-public sector ties had been forged of late. That major step, he said, dovetails with the Chamber’s commitment to stimulating economic activity in the local business sector. “Although all that we seek has not yet come to pass, I am pleased to report that over the last year the Chamber has made true on its pledge,” Bergasse
said. He added, “Our every action, every intervention in our ongoing conversation with government, has been consistent with the prime objective of making it easier to do business in Saint Lucia. This we intend to continue in the coming year with additional emphasis on implementation of reforms.” Bergasse also noted government’s current efforts aimed at addressing many of the outstanding issues affecting the wider business community, describing it as “a commendable start” that must be followed up with “more coherent and deliberate action.” The Chamber Prez also had some words of encouragement for the nominees and winners. “This evening, we celebrate excellence and achievement in the business community. We celebrate companies that have implemented plans, taken ideas and operationalised them. We applaud our nation’s ability to achieve and perform at global standards. We uphold the ideal of excellence in our community and our nation and I thank all of you who have supported these awards as sponsors, partners and nominees.” The St. Lucia Business Awards were first held in 2010 as part of Saint Lucia’s Nobel Laureate Week calendar. The main objectives of the awards are to recognise industry leaders through acknowledgement of their innovative business processes, product development, enterprise, sustainability, overall business success; and rewarding social and environmental contributions made by organisations through excellence of service, commitment to customers, philanthropic ideas, ethical behavior and environmental sustainability. ¤
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The Winners for the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards were:
Prime Ministers Award for Innovation Regional Communications Limited
Award for Service Excellence First Citizens Investment Services
Entrepreneur of the Year Award Jermile Daniel The Cell St. Lucia Limited
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Kurt Elibox Blue Print Construction Limited
Business of the Year Award Karib Cable
Exporter of the Year Award Bank of St Lucia International Limited BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Award for Excellence in Human Resource Development
Sandals Resorts International
Award for Marketing Excellence Bay Gardens Resorts
Award for Corporate Leadership Karib Cable
Award for Corporate Social Responsibility 1st National Bank St Lucia Limited
Green Award Cartridge World St Lucia Limited
Idea of the Year Award 123 Digital Limited
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
The Beginning by Stan Bishop
Kelly Glass Founder of Karib Cable For the past fifteen years, Karib Cable has been on a relentless pursuit to be the Caribbean’s best and most dynamic homegrown telecommunications service provider. Since its early beginnings in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 1996 when it was issued its first telecommunications license, it has grown exponentially. That vital subscriber television license would later pave the way for unlimited possibilities in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and beyond. Founded by owner Kelly Glass and his wife Jankie, Karib Cable’s initial operations changed the landscape for telecommunications in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In essence, Karib Cable’s entrance into the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines market created a key cable television market that had not existed previously. The company connected its first customers in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines just one year later. This achievement was a significant breakthrough as it gave Vincentians BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
their first cable television experience. Karib Cable was later successful in acquiring additional telecommunications licenses in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2004, the company was granted an ISP (Internet Service Provider) license and, just three years later, acquired a fixed line license. Over the past fifteen years, Karib Cable’s growth in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has been undeniably remarkable. The company currently offers coverage to a whopping 98% on mainland Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Additionally, Karib Cable’s services extend to 100% coverage on the Grenadine islands of Bequia, Canouan, Union and Mayreau. Generally, Karib Cable is the market leader for both Internet Services and Digital Cable Television in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Aside from providing quality service to its satisfied customers, Karib Cable’s Saint Vincent and the Grenadines operations employs over eighty employees who ensure that customers get the best value for money. And with a reputation of being the best in the market, there is no doubt that Karib Cable will continue its pioneering efforts that has steered it well since its early beginnings. ¤
Establishes Operations in
Karib Cable Comes To
Following on the heels of the successes reaped in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Karib Cable made the bold move to expand their services regionally with Antigua and Barbuda identified as the company’s second marketplace to set up. After applying for and being granted a subscriber television license to operate there in 2003, the company was also granted an ISP (Internet Service Provider) license as well. Despite having to compete with an existing cable television provider that had already served Antigua and Barbuda for many years, Karib Cable’s main focus was to provide customers with a viable alternative.
Almost immediately, Karib Cable was able to make quite a positive impression in that market. In fact, the company now covers 100% of Antigua and commands 70% of the cable television market there. The high level of customer service that was borne in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was also replicated in Antigua and Barbuda. One of the keys to Karib Cable’s successes in Antigua and Barbuda was the construction of a hybrid fibre and coaxial line plant. That bold accomplishment comprises a high-count fibre backbone and deep-fibre penetration throughout the length and breadth of Antigua and Barbuda. Karib Cable’s Antigua and Barbuda operations also provide employment for over fifty employees. ¤
Karib Cable’s entrance into the Saint Lucian market in 2007 was also a market-changer in the telecommunications sector. At the time of acquiring three licenses to operate there, the company was well on its way to becoming a dominant force. A major factor in Karib Cable’s ability at the time to enter the market with much ease had to do with the fact that the company was already well ahead of scheduling in terms of setting up its network systems. The three licenses essentially allowed Karib Cable to provide its Triple Play service – subscriber television, Internet, and fixed line -- to customers. The initial rollout period was set for five years -- an ambitious feat, indeed. However, the company was able to provide coverage to over 90% of the island in just two years! One of the company’s setbacks was due to damage to its network caused by Hurricane Tomas. Despite entering a market that was already serviced by other telecommunications service providers, Karib Cable was able to make another positive stride in limited time. The initial goal was to construct the most state-ofthe-art fibre optic network within
the Eastern Caribbean. That goal has since been achieved and Karib Cable continues to build on its many successes in Saint Lucia. Notable achievements to date in Saint Lucia include covering approximately 94% of the island with its high-count fibre backbone network. The company also boasts the fastest data transfer speeds within the Caribbean region. Karib Cable’s Saint Lucia operation has been ranked #1 Internet Service Provider by Speedtest.net. The company also won two awards at the recently-held St. Lucia Business Awards – the Business of the Year Award, and the Award for Corporate Leadership. Currently, 110 employees are on the staff of Karib Cable’s Saint Lucia operations. ¤
Karib Cable St. Lucia Team Celebrates BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Developments Within the Last Year
Development of Our 24hr Contact CenterKarib Cable's contact center was established in 2011 and opened its doors to a full staff of call center agents, technical support agents, tele-collections agents and telesales agents on 25th of September of that year. On January 12th 2012 the contact center became a 24hr operation after recognizing the need to provide extended customer service to its valued customers. The Contact Center boasts an answer rate of at least 4% more than industry standard on a monthly basis. With the leadership of Mrs. Adriana Mitchel-Gideon who started out with the company 3 years ago as a customer service agent, she knows the value of its customers and the level of customer service Karib Cable aspires to provide. This department is thriving and has produced the employee of the year at the 2nd annual employee awards.
Establishment of a New Service Delivery DepartmentThe service delivery department was born after careful consideration was given into how Karib Cable would improve outdoor support to its customers. The technical department was branched into two departments one being service delivery. Under the Leadership of Mrs. Chandra Pierre, the service delivery team has taken new installation to a 48hr execution time of new installations and service calls.
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Network Maintenance and Projects Department came to be when the technical department was split in two in 2012. The department is literally the backbone of the company maintaining the fiber which is the core of Karib Cable's network. This department is also responsible for maintaining all elements of the network plant, scheduled maintenance and line repairs, new construction and new projects.
Establishment of a New Fleet and Facilities Department This department is responsible for maintaining the company's fleet of vehicles, all buildings, management of company's insurances, administration of hurricane and disaster preparation, administration of security services and overseeing all health and safety issues company wide
The Customer Service Department was rebranded with its main focus on exceeding customers expectations and customer loyalty. New initiatives such as customer retention, rebranding of the stores, courtesy calls and community projects the customer service department has taken a new approach to defining satisfaction. 造
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Barbados: Karib Cable’s
Barbados is Karib Cable’s fourth and most recent market. The company has already been granted all the licenses required to deliver fully-converged telecommunications services throughout that island. Karib Cable’s aim is to make the Barbados operations their biggest market to date. The company will be delivering its Quad Play services to Barbadian customers, who will be connected to subscriber television, Internet, fixed line, and security services. The Barbadian market will also comprise a pure fibre network and Karib Cable will be offering domestic speeds of 10 megabits. Guided by the confidence and success
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that were gained in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Saint Lucia operations, Karib Cable will be investing $65 million in the infrastructure and operations of its new Barbados market. The local job market will also benefit in a major way as Karib Cable will employ over 200 people for its Barbados operations. Currently major works are being undertaken to coordinate the buildout in Barbados and staff have been sourced and are currently being trained to fill the new positions being created. Experienced management and technical staff from all Karib Cable regional operations along with talented technical international
professionals have been deployed to Barbados to lead the development and launching of this most exciting new venture in the Karib Cable regional rollout. As one of the more mature and tech savvy regional markets, Karib Cable forecasts significant opportunity and growth with Barbados projected to be a highly competitive but lucrative market. Despite the well entrenched positioning of the current service providers, the company is confident that through the launch of the most modern network, its customer friendly approach and competitive packaging and pricing. Exciting times are ahead and the future looks good. ¤
Karib Cable Just Keeps
Better From Cable TV to Major Telecomms Service Provider Over the past 15 years, telecommunications provider Karib Cable has made major strides in growth and regional expansion. This has been achieved in a highly competitive and challenging environment and through the delivery of quality and improved services to its many customers. Its recent success at the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards allowed for a great opportunity to delve into this regional success story through an exclusive interview with Ms Joya Martin, General Manager, St Lucia.
BF: Give us a short history and
background of Karib Cable and the long-term vision.
JM: Karib Cable was established 15 years ago as the brainchild of Kelly Glass and his wife Jankie. Being resident in Saint Vincent, they saw an opportunity to bring cable television to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. They were granted a license to operate and have since dominated the landscape. Kelly then decided to take Karib Cable regionally and has since obtained licenses to operate in Antigua, St Lucia and recently Barbados operating the most modern fibre optic network available within the Eastern Caribbean offering a suite of services.
we currently offer a superb service to our customers, with more than 100 channels in our premium package and an additional 16 channels in the Sports, Movie and Adult Packages.
BF: Can you share with BF the make-up of your employee base here in Saint Lucia? JM: We currently have 110 employees in Saint Lucia across several departments to include Service Delivery, a 24 Hour Contact Centre and the Customer Service Department with four locations at Rodney Bay, William Peter Boulevard, Vieux Fort and Soufriere. We also currently have a management team of eight. BF: What would you say is the penetration of your television market here? JM: It’s been estimated at 64% by an external research body. Our own internal estimates are significantly lower. So we’d have to be told by the NTRC (National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission) what the actual figure would be.
BF: Karib Cable celebrates 5 years of
BF: How is the move into the other areas, such as the ISP (Internet Service Provider), been?
JM: Our aim is to cover 100% of the island. We reached 96% in just two years, which was way ahead of schedule and
JM: Our Internet product is very strong and superior. It’s rated number one by Speedtest.net and we’ve held that position for the past two years. We believe we have the greater market share in the region as well. We have a better fibre network, with reliable speeds and base our product on
operations in Saint Lucia this year. What has been the experience, especially following on the heels of the two major market players?
quality. The fact that most of our network is above ground means that if anything goes wrong, it can be fixed very quickly.
BF: Recently, ECTEL’s Chairman, Dr. James Fletcher, called for number portability and calls between OECS Islands to be classified as local and also a Single Space, as major issues that the telecommunications companies should address. Is it that Karib Cable has already moved in that direction? JM: We certainly support Dr. Fletcher with his initiatives and vision for telecommunications in Saint Lucia and the OECS. That’s one of the reasons why we are rushing to finish our buildout because of his vision for Internet availability island-wide for everyone and we support those initiatives totally. We’re willing to partner with ECTEL and others to push these forward. Saint Lucia has a great product already. The product here is more advanced than what obtains in other territories and we want to keep it that way. BF: As a woman leading an ICT enterprise – an unusual placement in the region – what are some of the challenges of leadership? JM: I can’t point to a single negative experience in this position. My degrees are in Computer Science and Accounting and I’d worked previously with Ernst & Young in Barbados, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG in Antigua. If you look at my personality type – ENTJ -- on the MyersBriggs Type Indicator (MBTI), you would recognize that only 1% of women possess that personality type. So I’m already quite BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
rare as it stands and I have a love for things technologically-based. I’m not just a touchy-feely person – I’m also very logical. In terms of getting respect from staff or the market, in general, I can’t say I’ve had any problems.
securities services; not in terms of physical security services, but in terms of providing the telecommunications backbone for camera monitoring, direct contact and callbacks which can be delivered over the same line as are our other services.
BF: Karib Cable scored big at the recent St. Lucia Business Awards winning the “Business of the Year Award” and the “Award for Corporate Leadership”. How do you feel about this and what are some of the reasons for this success?
BF: Delivery of service must be a critical factor in your achievements to date. What are some of the training programmes you have implemented to deliver these results?
JM: It feels great. It’s also very validating because we’ve worked very hard for this honour. The entire team has pulled together and ensured that this happened. It’s also the result of our staff buying into our vision of being the most-loved telecommunications company in Saint Lucia. Our growth has been tremendous in the short period that we’ve been here, and I think that’s what the judges looked at. BF: What are some of the positive leadership approaches you have implemented that have propelled the company forward?
JM: Our service delivery department is very new. Surprisingly, we only implemented it last August and it’s a first for Karib Cable. We’ve always had the technical department. I think that in Saint Lucia, we’ve progressed from being just a technological company to being a service delivery company. That’s the crux of the matter. So I’ve basically split the technical department into three areas – a network maintenance and projects department, a service delivery department and a department that takes care of our fleet and facilities. We also train our team members so that they become competent in all areas of the business. Training in soft skills is also a big part of what we do.
JM: I would say that I am an inclusive leader. I want to know that I am engaging the brains of not only my management team, but also that of every other person in the company. Everybody’s voice and opinions matter. We recognize, too, that since our employees are the ones who liaise with the customers, they act as the conduit of communication between customers and management. Hence, if customers have issues with any aspect of our service, we can know about them and rectify them.
BF: As a regional company, are there opportunities for movement across borders for your Saint Lucian staff?
BF: With rapidly changing technology, what new can we expect from Karib Cable this year?
BF: Giving back to our communities has become an integral part of today’s business culture. What is the customer service responsibility philosophy of Karib Cable?
JM: We’re based on fibre optic technology. That is what is going to be sustaining us for the future as far as we can tell. I think we’re going in the right direction investing in state-of-the-art technology. So in the years to come, we hope to be doing things like IPTV, which is television delivered strictly over the Internet. That’s the way that the industry is going. If we want to hook up to mobile technology, all of that can be accomplished over a fibre optic network as well. Because of the quality of our technology, there’s so much you can do with it. We hope to launch our BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
JM: Generally, our thrust is to develop as much local talent as possible, but we do have a mix of nationalities on the islands where we operate. It’s great that we have that option of free movement of talent available to us. We do, however, try as much as possible to hire people specifically from within the prospective islands where we operate.
JM: We’re really excited about our “Mèsi Sent Lisi” programme because we are overwhelmed at the level of support we get from our customers. When I reflected on the number of people who have been with us since our first year in Saint Lucia and are still with us, I was floored! There has been customer loyalty from day one. Things are getting tougher economically for everyone and we want to say ‘thank you’ to our customers for still managing to pay their bills and – better yet – staying with
us. One of our taglines is “More to Love”. We’re also targeting communities where we intend to make similar contributions aimed at raising the quality of life.
BF: What are some of the issues women need to address in moving ahead in the workforce? JM: Women are especially more motivated when they’re younger for a number of reasons. That motivation increases especially if they become single mothers. On the other hand, however, many young women become comfortable living below their true potential and seldom dream of reaching the top. That bothers me a bit, so I try as much as possible to inspire my female staff. Women have infinite potential but some often lack the opportunity of being influenced by strong positive role models. I would really like to see more women seeing themselves as people who can lead successful careers as opposed to just getting by. BF: As a successful woman in enterprise, what advice would you offer to the new generation of women looking to emulate people like yourself? JM: I would tell them that they need to craft a vision for themselves, craft an idea or a dream of where they want to be and refuse to let anyone or anything stop them from getting there. I would tell them to lay their fears aside and just go for it. Women need to stop thinking that there’s a glass ceiling. A glass ceiling only exists if you allow your mind to think that way. BF: What are some of the legacy issues you wish to leave behind as the GM of Karib Cable? JM: The profitability of the company and the awards are fine. But I would hope that the seed I would have planted in the minds of every person that I’ve had the pleasure of leading would have been worth it. In some small way, would hope that every team member would have been positively inspired by me. These are the things that make a real difference to me. And with 110 team members who have families, those seeds have the potential to spread even further. That would be the most important achievement for me. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Life is Mobile
The Cell Celebrates 10 Years
Ideas sometimes appear at a particular moment. Some are conceptualized, then planned and executed to perfection. Such is the story of a young man – Jermile Daniel, who was struck by an idea at a particular moment, thought long and hard about the possibilities and believed that this idea could be the opportunity “to realize his dreams” as a successful entrepreneur. Today, after creating and launching his business “The Cell” through careful planning, strategic linkages and purposeful execution, he and his team can celebrate “Ten Years” of growth and successful business development. What came from an idea resulting in a single store has mushroomed to a thriving regional enterprise with multiple stores offering an extensive range of services. It has grown across the Caribbean with limitless future possibilities, built on a decade of business experience Such success, achieved after ten years of hard work, serious challenges, difficult economic times is deserving of every accolade and Jermile Daniel has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and the wider St Lucian business community by being presented with the award of “Entrepreneur of the Year” at the recently held 2013 St Lucia Chamber Business Awards. A dapper looking Daniel was visibly ecstatic as he was presented with this great statement of achievement in front of private and public sector executives. Humbly, he credited his success to his immediate family and Managers and staff who supported him. Daniel founded The Cell in December 2002. Today, it is the largest authorized Digicel dealer in the Eastern Caribbean. Locally, it is the biggest mobile technology retailer and wholesaler of airtime with outlets in Rodney Bay, Castries, Vieux & Soufriere. They pride themselves on being the first to offer the latest unlocked handsets, tablets, cameras and other popular mobile gadgets.
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Starting out with 200 square feet of retail space in Castries, expansion was always their focus. Within a year they acquired a retail contract with Digicel expanding to two new locations in Castries. The Cell’s vision was not limited to Saint Lucia but included being the largest authorized Digicel dealer in the OECS. This soon became a reality as they expanded to St. Vincent, Grenada, Guyana, Barbados, and St. Kitts & Nevis in addition to opening new Digicel outlets locally in both Soufriere and Vieux Fort. Ten Years later, The Cell now employs over sixty people, with over ten stores within the OECS. The success of the organization can be contributed to their young, motivated and committed staff. The Cell also believes in the value of corporate giving to the local community. In 2013, the goal is to visit numerous local schools and educate the youth on entrepreneurship while spreading the entrepreneurial spirit of The Cell’s founder Mr. Jermile Daniel. “For any business to survive 10 years in today’s competitive environment is a worthy achievement. We have not only survived, we have grown steadily from inception and I am extremely proud of this and of our dedicated team members who have fuelled our success “ stated Daniel. ¤
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Life is Mobile
The Cell Celebrates 10 Years
Jermile Daniel Awarded "Entrepreneur of the Year"
Jermile Daniel Receiving Award
Jermile Daniel Celebrates with The Cell Team
by: Stan Bishop Ever since its first store was opened on Broglie Street in December 2002, The Cell has grown to become one of the fastest-growing homegrown companies. Back then, the company specialized in retailing mobile accessories and top-ups. Fast-forward ten years and ten stores later, one can understand why The Cell has more than ten reasons to celebrate. Managing Director Jermile Daniel gave BF the inspiring story that has led to The Cell’s success. “Back in 2002, we were expecting Digicel and AT&T to come into the market, so we knew that there would have been a boom in cellphone sales since cellphones would have become more affordable for the average consumer,” Daniel tells BF. “So we supplied a wide variety of designer cases and very fun, cool and colourful stuff for cellphones that I had discovered on a trip to Miami. These items hadn’t been seen in Saint Lucia before.” It turned out that that single purchase of a case for his cellphone in Miami would become the catalyst that forced Daniel to become an entrepreneur. After a few more trips to Miami to purchase cellphone accessories, the Broglie Street store came to fruition. Despite the success the store was making at the time, Daniel wasn’t quite ready to sit on his laurels. He wanted more and that came when he seized on a prime opportunity that presented itself. “We were able to negotiate a contract to be an authorized retailer for Digicel’s products and services. So by March 2003, we had expanded to three locations BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
in Castries and we were an authorized dealer for Digicel when we launched in March 2003. With the rapid expansion of Digicel, we also decided to expand our operations and try to emulate what Digicel was doing throughout the region as well. So we were able to expand and negotiate contracts with Digicel in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada,” Daniel explained. The contract with Digicel allows The Cell to resell Digicel products in their stores, as well as selling top-ups, and conducting post-paid activations. However, The Cell also has the liberty of selling other products and services not being sold by Digicel. By the end of 2003, The Cell already had five locations in three islands. The relationship between The Cell and Digicel continued to grow and The Cell later set up shop in Guyana, Barbados, and St. Kitts & Nevis. The Guyana operations have since been sold. In total, The Cell currently operates ten stores in five territories. Six of those stores are in Saint Lucia. Nevertheless, Daniel says he’s still not resigned to becoming complacent about being the current largest authorized reseller of Digicel products and services in the OECS. There are still more opportunities out there for the taking, he says. In fact, The Cell has expanded into mobile tablets, cameras and gaming, for which there’s a very high demand. Daniel describes the relationship between The Cell and Digicel as one that mutually benefits both companies. Ideas
and information are shared between the companies so as to ensure that both companies stick to the same objectives: to provide a high-quality level of service and the latest products to the market at competitive prices. The Cell scored a major ace in the hole at this year’s St. Lucia Business Awards. Daniel walked away with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. It is an honour he says he feels very proud of albeit an honour he cannot take full credit for. “The award made me feel really good just knowing that we could be recognized in front of the entire business community,” Daniel said. “By no means is this just my success; it is really the success of the company and all those who have supported me from day one. We always knew that we were doing a good job. We always knew that there’s room for improvement in what we do. So it was really just the icing on the cake for us and it encourages and motivates us to continue to do better and be an inspiration for a lot of young Saint Lucians wanting to go into business.” Daniel credits a quote from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs -- which says “Stay hungry, stay foolish” -- for much of his success. But there’s also another quote that he says guides him as he sets out to take The Cell beyond its current success. It’s also a quote he hopes that will inspire people to own their own businesses. It goes like this: “Instead of continuously focusing on climbing the corporate ladder, we need to focus on owning the ladder.” ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Bay Gardens Resorts Markets Excellence
by Stan Bishop
Getting the best bang for the buck is just one of the mantras by which Bay Gardens Resorts operates. It’s also one that is costsaving for the hotel chain. Bay Gardens Resorts – which comprises Bay Gardens Inn, Bay Gardens Hotel, and Bay Gardens Beach Resort -- has been able to do much with limited resources, thus opening the door to unlimited market potential. Such potential also comes with a quality that sets Bay Gardens Resorts apart from the competition. Just last year, the three properties – including their restaurants – were awarded TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence. To understand just what a feat that is, consider this: only 10% of properties in the world receive such a distinguished honour! Bay Gardens Beach Resort was also recognized by both Expedia and Fodor’s as being among the top 100 hotels in the world! The resort chain also scored big when it captured the Excellence in Marketing Award at this year’s St. Lucia Business Awards. And while that honour may mean much to the Bay Gardens Resorts family, the genius lies in the details. BF sat down with the resort’s Executive Director, Sanovnik Destang, recently to gain some insight into just what unbeatable marketing mix is being concocted at Bay Gardens Resorts. The volatile global economic climate, we learned from Destang, calls for ingenuity. “Our marketing campaign and marketing strategy are a bit different,” Destang tells us. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
“It’s not similar to what a lot of companies do. We don’t do a lot of print advertising and simply cannot afford television ads. In fact, our annual marketing budget is what a lot of our competitors would spend in a month. So with such a limited budget, you have to find the best way to make use of it.”
Since opening the doors to its initial 45 rooms in 1995, Bay Gardens Resorts has depended heavily on two key members of its team – Berthia Parle and Waltrude Patrick – to sell the Bay Gardens Resorts experience that has kept visitors coming back. As Destang tells it, Parle and Patrick were the resort’s “social media” long before that term became socially prevalent. And while that method would have worked for the brand, there was no
denying that tapping into the information superhighway was a route to be taken. When Sanovnik joined the family business in 2008 and realized that Facebook was increasing in popularity, he and the Bay Gardens Resorts’ marketing team began experimenting with that social networking medium. From the initial 200 friends on Sanovnik’s Facebook page, the Bay Gardens Resorts Facebook page has now grown to an astounding 22,000+ fans! And at an average growth rate of about 1000 new fans per month, the hotel chain’s Facebook fan base is setting new records. According to him, no other local business has that many Facebook fans. That mode of advertising, he tells BF, has some critical advantages over traditional media. But Facebook is just one of Bay Gardens Resorts’s online marketing strategies that focus on two key areas: improving the hotel chain’s website by making it more attractive, userfriendly and transaction-oriented; and finding ways to drive traffic to their website in order to generate more bookings. Other methods used include Google Adwords advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to their website by making the site more search engine friendly. Bing and Yahoo advertising, and email marketing are also other methods of advertising used. In fact, Bay Gardens Resorts has over 20,000
email addresses in its database. Finally – but equally important – TripAdvisor is another method of online advertising on which the resorts rely heavily. Destang says the benefits derived from using the Internet as a marketing tool should not be underestimated. “These changes helped to improve the quantity and quality of traffic to our website which has seen a 60% increase in visitors since 2008. This in turn has led to 40% increase in direct bookings -- both through our website and call centre. Direct bookings are commission free (as opposed to bookings through third party tour operators who take 20-30% commission) and having bookings redirected through our website and call centre as opposed to tour operators has helped to improve our revenue and profit margins by double digits despite the recession. “With online advertising, we only pay when someone clicks on our ad. It’s very efficient since we can control how much we spend per day. We can also change our campaign quickly. It is also very easy
Saint Lucians who – along with Destang – are adapting to and learning cuttingedge marketing techniques from scratch. As such, the hotel chain saves on the exorbitant fees they might have otherwise be forced to pay foreign consultants to do
to track the results and to link that to the bookings. Online advertising is fluid and can be changed by the second. When we track our statistics and analysis, we can easily pinpoint where our traffic is coming from. So this also brings out the creativity within our marketing team that has to do more with less,” Destang explained. Most of these marketing strategies are executed by the resorts’ in-house marketing team, many of them young
He also credits the staff of Bay Gardens Resorts who are instrumental in keeping the winning ways of the hotel chain alive. Today, Bay Gardens Resorts has grown from one to three properties that house a total of 198 rooms. Recently, an EC$ 3 million renovation was undertaken on the Bay Gardens Inn and Bay Gardens Hotel. Other expansions are also in the works. Another component of the Bay Gardens
the same job. Destang tells BF that Bay Gardens Resorts recognizes the creative potential that lies in young people who just need guidance and the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Resorts experience is that free WiFi is provided at all three properties. But despite the many successes, Destang is thankful that the family business still continues to remain vibrant. He credits he resorts’ Managing Director, Joyce Destang – his mother – who founded the business nearly two decades ago. His mother, he said, has shown a great willingness to listen to his advice and adjust marketing and general operational strategies that have all benefitted the business. That kind of stewardship and confidence, he said, has also worked to the advantage of the personal bond that exists within the family unit. “She has put a lot of faith in me and my wife, Julianna Ward-Destang who, like me, is a Chartered Accountant and is also a Director and whose focus on the hotels’ operations and finances allows me the space and time to dream and focus more on marketing and strategy. Mrs. (Joyce) Destang sees us as the future of the business and has transferred a lot of responsibility for the business’ operations to us over the last
4 years while still providing guidance and support and a sense of continuity. Working in a family business certainly has its challenges but it’s good to be part of a close-knit unit that is looking out for each other. All of this is grounded in our faith in each other and an unwavering faith in the Almighty that carries us through any challenge businesswise or as a family,” Destang said. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Sandals St. Lucia Hailed as
Human Resource Development
Champions at 2013 Business Awards
Sandals Resorts International emerged as the winner of Human Resource Development Excellence at the St. Lucia Business Awards during a red-carpet event at Sandals Grande St. Lucian resort. The event, which is held annually by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, recognised a number of companies for their excellence in various areas. SRI Regional Manager for Human Resource and Training in the Eastern Caribbean, Ryan Matthew, says that the award represents a proud day for all employees and management. Upon accepting the award, Matthew said, "This award tonight is really owned by the 1200 team members in St. Lucia and their commitment to implementing the principles that they have learnt from our Human Resource professionals. We place a high premium on HR Development BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
as a medium of giving us the competitive edge. It's not how many luxury rooms, gourmet restaurants or mega-pools we build, but it's about how many champions we develop." The Sandals executive told a gathering of business leaders in St. Lucia that he receives the award with great pride knowing that the company's Chairman Butch Stewart and CEO Adam Stewart are both committed to developing people. To give credence to his claim he highlighted their approval of the Sandals Corporate University, a first by any organisation in St. Lucia. "Because of our commitment to training, Sandals has developed a reputation for high training and HR standards in the local tourism sector. Our employees are expected to be among the best trained
and we go beyond this expectation to even train young people in the community with a desire to pursue a career in hospitality," Matthew notes. All 1,200 Sandals employees in St. Lucia are students of the recently launched Sandals Corporate University; whilst the luxury included resort chain trains over 200 unemployed youth in its Hospitality training program in various skill sets. The resort company, which operates 800 opulent rooms and suites in St. Lucia, also facilitates dozens of internships and management trainee programs for students and young professionals both locally and internationally. It spent some US$19 million in payroll cost and benefits to St. Lucian families. 造
Luxury Included© Vacations
Winner of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce Human Resource Development Excellence Award As a Caribbean family-owned company, we take pride in our people. We believe the genuine friendliness and hospitality of locals is at the heart of the Caribbean experience. This is why, as a major employer in the islands, we develop people, not employees. We work side-by-side with our staff providing them with opportunities for professional and personal development. With initiatives such as internship programs and Sandals Corporate University, our team members cross-train and learn varied skillsets to help them build a better future. After all, when they excel, we all excel with them. When they grow, we all grow with them. And when they succeed, we as Caribbean people succeed. So when our guests tell us they love our staff—we agree wholeheartedly.
BusinessFocus Mar /coming Apr | 91 back. Our resorts certainly impress, but it’s our people that keeps guests
l imi t ed
by: Stan Bishop Young entrepreneurs Irvine Springer and Rankin Morgan have the knack for making the most difficult job seem easy. It gets better if that job happens to be one that involves the use of digital technology. In fact, the duo seems to have what it takes to qualify as a winning combination. Springer is Finance Director and Morgan the Managing Director of 123 Digital Ltd., a new fast-paced company that brings companies up to speed with the latest marketing trends. That winning combination seems also to have what it takes to come up with winning ideas: To the surprise of many, 123 Digital Ltd snapped up the ‘Idea of the Year’ Award at the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards held last January. But, for a company that is merely one year old, winning such a coveted title should not be taken lightly. BF recently got the scoop on just what brilliant ideas have led to 123 Digital Ltd’s success thus far. “We do a lot of digital media: Web development, Web solutions, market BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
research, sales analysis, and Web analysis,” Morgan tells us. “We also do digital publications – Dazzle Magazine being one of them – and we’re about to roll out another magazine within the next couple of months which will be geared towards the tourism sector. That edition aims to take all the red tape out of the tourism sector by showing visitors how to circumvent it.” According to Morgan and Springer, the primary goals of 123 Digital Ltd. are “To continue in the business of print publication, facilitate the development and distribution of digital media, and manage e-commerce projects.” The other dimension of the business caters to providing consultancy to clients in terms of Web development. “That area of expertise,” Springer said, “sets 123 Digital Ltd. apart from the competition on many levels.” Both Springer and Morgan have a combined 20 years of experience in Web Development, marketing and financial accounting. They’ve worked with major
corporations both here and abroad and that wealth of experience is what they now draw on as they seek to carve out their niche in the technological landscape. Although 123 Digital Ltd’s win at this year’s St. Lucia Business Awards took many by storm, Morgan and Springer explained that dogged determination that began ever since they attended the awards last year as mere observers had finally paid off. After much brainstorming, the concept of bringing Dazzle Magazine to life was decided upon. The magazine went to the drawing board a number of times before being released. Now readers can’t seem to get enough of the popular bi-monthly magazine. That is the kind of success that Springer and Morgan are hoping to translate to their clientele: to make each customer a winner. So, give the expert team at 123 Digital Ltd. a call today and let them put your business on the right track on the information superhighway. ¤
as easy as... Electronic Payment Processing Digital Media Project Management Revenue and Sales Analysis Serving the following industries and sectors: Utilities, Banking and Insurance ,Tourism, Retail, Telecommunication, Manufacturing , Agriculture, Government E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 758-727-3780 Intâ€™l: 888-228-3312 W: www.123digitallimited.com
Caribbean . UK . Canada . USA BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Blue Print Construction Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Blueprint Construction Ltd is a legal LLC founded by Mr. Kurt Elibox in 2011. The company offers a range of professional services which include; Full Design and Build Services, New Construction, Renovations, Civil Works and Property Development. The company boasts its reliability, and innovativeness. In addition to his main business Blueprint Construction Ltd, Mr. Elibox also leads and manage many other very successful businesses including areas of Entertainment, Agriculture, Clothing Retail and Landscaping. Most of his prior achievements evolved half a decade ago within the entertainment Industry with launch and establishment of the New Generation Entertainment Company, which manages the annual event “H2O – Wet Fete.” He is proud to be one of the younger minds in the construction industry who has proven to be a game changer amongst the bevy of competitors. His belief is that young contractors of today are the nation builders of tomorrow which will ultimately decide the future of Saint Lucia’s construction industry. ¤
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Re-fill, Re-use, Keep it Green – and Save! Green Award: Cartridge World
Cartridge World, which has been in the business of manufacturing and re-filling cartridges for more than the past two decades, launched its first franchise in Saint Lucia in August 2011 at the Orange Park Commercial Centre at Bois D’Orange, Gros Islet. The company’s local outlet refills and re-manufactures inkjet and laser printer cartridges, using state-of-the art processes that not only help save money, but provide an environmentally superior alternative to costly and wasteful new cartridges. An increasing number of new companies the world over are going ‘green’ in their operations and this is being encouraged in the Caribbean. It is therefore no surprise that Cartridge World’s local operation and record was enough to convince the judges at the Chamber of Commerce’s 4th annual St. Lucia Business Awards to agree to award the Green Award to this particular entity. For over 20 years, Cartridge World has been providing rigorous and updated training to its technicians worldwide, with similar training extending to its local operators. Each of their technicians starts with a rigorous 80-hour training course in the latest printer technology and processes to ensure accuracy and consistency. Cartridge World specializes in refilling ink or toner cartridges for all major brands, including Brother, Canon, HP, Epson, Lexmark and Samsung. Customers simply swap out an empty original cartridge or purchase one already refilled and find a significant savings compared to buying new. Cartridge World also provides free pick-up and delivery to all qualified business clients. ¤
Innovation Unchained! Prime Ministers Award for Innovation
The Regional Communications Ltd story is like no other in this region. It sounds like that of a fast-lane sure-start, fast-lane, fortunechanging Chinese hi-tech firm. Regional Communications is the first company in the Caribbean to mass-produce cell phones, lap tops and tablets and its products are specifically designed with the Caribbean consumer in mind. All of the company’s products are entirely manufactured in St. Lucia and exported through a distribution network. Indeed, the company is St. Lucia-owned, managed and staffed. One of its major innovations, for example, is the production of the fist 4-sim multi-language multi-frequency unlocked cell phone in the Hemisphere. Additional innovative Regional Communications products include: low-cost textbook-sized school (laptop) computers, tablets with SIM card slots and the first 6-inch phone-tab 2-SIM ever manufactured. All Regional Communications products (sold under the name Celestial Products Inc) are priced 70% less than the major brands. It is this rich Achievements List that surely must have attracted the positive attention and consent of the judges at the Chamber of Commerce’s 4th annual St. Lucia Business Awards, who bestowed the Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation on this young company. Besides, it was the firm’s first outing at the annual awards. Naturally, St. Lucia-born Managing Director George Benson was elated as he reacted to the announcement that his company had won the coveted prize. After all, he and his company encompass the very essence of the theme for St. Lucia’s 34th Independence Anniversary: Unlocking our Creativity, Transforming our World! ¤
BOSLIL Leading the Export Thrust
A vehicle for meaningful and positive change
Award for Corporate Social Responsibility
Exporter of the Year Award: Bank of St Lucia International Limited It may be difficult to understand why a local bank would win an ‘exporter’ award. You may well wonder what a bank can export – apart from money. But then, you’d be right. That’s exactly what it’s all about – the bank’s ability to export its services. By legal definition, Bank of St. Lucia international Limited (BOSLIL ) can only provide services to non-residents (International Business Companies) and therefore can be regarded as being engaged entirely in export services. Here’s how it’s done: The wholly-owned subsidiary of East Caribbean Financial Holdings (ECFH) provides international banking business which includes the acceptance of monetary deposits, sale or placement of bonds, certificates, notes or other securities and use of the funds whether in whole or in part of loans or investments for the risk of the customer, as well as other related financial services – all to a global clientele. But this less-known aspect of ECFH’s banking business -BOSIL’s business – didn’t start with the bank’s birth. Bank of St. Lucia (BOSL) and the St. Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) were two state-opened banks launched here after Independence. They lived alongside each other at the lower end of Bridge Street until their eventual separation. Today, BOSL is part of ECFH, as is BOSIL. Growing from just under 20 clients in 2004 to over 1,700 clients in 2012, BOSLIL is committed to providing efficient and personalized international banking services and tailored investment options. Its first eight years saw it rise from nowhere to where it is now – at the very top of its world as the winner of the "Exporter of the Year Award" at the recent 4th annual St. Lucia Business Awards sponsored by the St. Lucia chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. ¤
In 2012, the First National Bank demonstrated its unwavering support for the society with contributions to Education, Arts and Culture, Sports and Health and Community Outreach. The bank’s contribution to the nation’s education also reveals First National is a vehicle for meaningful and positive change. Its contributions to the Arts also assert its desire to see its nation’s talent flourish, and overwhelm all negative forces. First National Bank has supported generations of young athletes through its unbroken record of the 19 consecutive years of sponsoring the 13-and-Under Track and Field championships. The bank supports many initiatives via covenants so that partner organizations can sustain their programmes of care and comfort for the sick, shut-in and sometimes destitute in our various communities. Through its robust programme of Corporate Social Responsibility, First National Bank has improved the lives and situations of the elderly, the youth, the marginalized, the artistic, the differently-able, the environment, aspirants to higher education and upholders of the nation’s cultural traditions. But it didn’t all just start here and now. The bank’s roots go all the way back to the 1930s, when a few business-minded St. Lucians established the St. Lucia Cooperative Bank. Back then – and for decades later – it was affectionately called “The Penny bank” since the minimum deposit for opening an account was “one penny”. The Cooperative Bank held its own as the island’s first indigenous, fully-St. Lucian-owned local bank, until its recent corporate elevation into the First National Bank. Always clothed in the national colours and supportive of national causes island-wide, First National Bank is indeed proud to be the only local bank that can indeed call itself the island’s first national bank. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Caribbean Tourism Sector Sees US, Canada Visitor Increase as UK Declines
The Caribbean tourism industry continued to show signs of recovery during 2012 fuelled by improvements in the United States and Canadian markets. But Secretary General of the Barbadosbased Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hugh Riley in a Christmas message warned that the region continued to face challenges in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom market from which the numbers have been falling. He said visitor spending has also been sluggish. Riley said that the latest figures on visitor arrivals show a five per cent increase rise and “there are clear signs that our performance in the US, our region’s main source market, is improving, with arrival numbers up by 5.3 per cent”. He said the Canadian market has also showed growth, with total arrivals matching the US at 5.3 per cent. “The UK, on the other hand, has recorded a decline of over six per cent. The Summer Olympics did have some effect, leading to marginal growth in the UK economy, which is still struggling to rebound”. But Riley said that a factor which the region cannot ignore is the “unfair and discriminatory” Air Passenger Duty (APD) that is continuing to have a severe impact on the Caribbean tourism sector. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
The APD, instituted in 1994, is a British environmental tax aimed at offsetting aviation’s carbon footprint. In its initial stage, it was set at £5 (US$7.85) per person. Regional governments have been lobbying London to remove the tax, which they said negatively affects the growth of the tourism industry since the Caribbean has been placed in a band that makes travel to the region much more expensive than travelling from London to the United States. “Much to the disappointment and frustration of the Caribbean, this crippling tax is due to rise even further in April 2013 while the discriminatory aspect of the distance ‘banding’ system remains. A family of four visiting the Caribbean and flying in economy will be expected to fork out 332 pounds sterling for APD – and double that amount for a few extra inches of leg room if they fly in any class above economy,” Riley said. Riley noted that on the contrary, that same family would pay less APD to fly to US destinations that are far further away from London than any Caribbean country. “This is an issue the CTO and its member countries and partners will continue to fight.” But he said despite the many challenges which the Caribbean faced, “we got
through 2012 with our chins up and our resolve unfazed. “Many of our member-countries have scored major successes regionally and internationally, often parlaying those wins to the benefit of their tourism sector. “We at the CTO have been energized by our new vision “To position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination by 2017” and the recently elected CTO Chairman, Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty has begun her two-year tenure with a pledge to refocus attention on urgent and essential areas including aviation”. He said she immediately established an Aviation Task Force to develop solutions to the region’s aviation problems, including the issue of taxation. “As we prepare to enter 2013, we look forward to working more closely with all of members and partners. As the international agency that leads tourism development in the Caribbean, we know there are plenty of opportunities to improve the quality and the value of the services we provide. We take our responsibility seriously and will use every resource available to us to improve the quality of life of all Caribbean people through tourism.” ¤
Buys 49% Stake in
DELTA Air Lines said it will buy almost half of Virgin Atlantic for US$360 million as it seeks a bigger share of the lucrative New York to London travel market. Delta plans to form a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic where the two airlines would share money from the flights operated under the partnership. In order to coordinate their schedules, they'll need antitrust approval from US and European regulators.
Landing rights at London's Heathrow Airport are limited. So buying part of Virgin Atlantic is a way for Delta to get a bigger piece of the travel market between Heathrow and the US. Currently, Delta has fewer flights from the New York area to Heathrow than either American or United, its main US competitors. Delta is aiming to have the joint operation running by the end of 2013.
Sir Richard Branson will still own more than half of Virgin Atlantic, which will continue to fly as a separate airline under its own name. In 2000, Branson sold a stake to Singapore Airlines for £600.3 million, or about US$960 million at the time. That's the share that Delta intends to buy. If the plan is approved, Delta and Virgin Atlantic would continue to fly between the US and the UK as they do now. However, they would market the flights together and share the costs and profits. "Our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic will strengthen both airlines and provide a more effective competitor between North America and the UK, particularly on the New York-London route, which is the largest airline route between the US and Europe," Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in a prepared statement. Shares of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines rose 16 cents to US$10.30 in pre-market trading. ¤
7.5 million Visitor Airline Seats Available for US-Caribbean Routes this Winter Season Until March With over 300,000 weekly airline seats available into the Caribbean over the 22-week International Air Transport Association (IATA) winter schedule season, this region is expecting to lay claim to more than 7.5 million seats before the end of March 2013. This is according to information provided by Anna Aero, the airline network news and analysis website. According to the online airline news tracker, four new routes have already been launched in this 2012-2013 winter season – including two from jetBlue to Grand Cayman – and there were still nine routes to launch for the US-Caribbean market.
Anna Aero reports that Delta Airlines has recorded 30% growth in this market over the past 12 months, fuelled by extra capacity mainly from New York. Despite its significance, the total USCaribbean market has shrunk marginally since December 2011 – with around 4% less capacity this year. A major reason for this, reported the website, is that the United Airlines has cut reduced seats as the airline continues to trim excess capacity following its merger with Continental Airlines. Anna Aero also reports that the Dominican Republic is the most popular Caribbean destination for US travellers.
Excluding US territories, San Juan and the Virgin Islands, it is the Dominican Republic which lures most Americans away from their home shores, with close to 60,000 weekly seats and still growing. Six destinations are served on the island discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 from 13 of the 15 points offered in the US. Of the Caribbean’s over 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays, it is the former Netherlands Antilles colony of Curaçao that has seen the most growth, with over 40% more seats last December that one year erarlier. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Polishes its Diamond by Stan Bishop Award-winning resort Ladera is at it again. Fresh from winning four major international accolades last year, the Soufriere-based resort has expanded its soothing comforts. Aside from the 32 suites and villas that thousands of satisfied romantic couples call home throughout the year, 5 more sanctuaries have been added to the 15-acre property. BF sat down recently with Ladera’s Head of Marketing and Operations, Olivier Bottois, who told us that although winning is good, polishing a diamond brings even greater satisfaction. And Ladera’s diamond couldn’t shine brighter, it seems. The five new suites and villa form part of Ladera’s ongoing upgrade programme that aims to build on that memorable experience guests have been exposed to at Ladera for the past twenty years. Located a short distance from the main resort, Paradise Ridge consists of a larger and lavish 1,900 square-foot villa which has the distinction of being the largest and most exclusive one-bedroom accommodation that has a direct view of the majestic world-famous Pitons, on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The additional four suites – all of which possess unique features – are stately decorated with locally-woven textiles that create that exotic Caribbean flair. Each room also comes equipped with a conspicuous and elegant Colonial fourposter king-size bed crafted by Ladera’s inhouse team of skilled artisans. The rooms’ standing showers and bath areas have also been fitted with water- and cost-efficient Kohler fixtures, and also include large bottles of Molton Brown bath amenities. Each of the suites and villas are built using the “three wall” concept, created by John Dipol in 1982, in which one side of each room is left open. This allows for the soothing Caribbean breeze to act as the room’s sole air conditioning unit. Also, a well-laid-out pool near the open wall offers a close-up and breathtaking view of Petit Piton and Gros Piton and the Caribbean Sea! According to Bottois, work on Paradise Ridge began in October, 2011 and the distinctly rustic and aesthetic décor of the BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
accommodations was spearheaded by resident architect and interior designer, Eustace Augustin. Augustin, BF was told, has been with Ladera since its inception and his eye-catching craftsmanship can be seen throughout the resort – from the signature hands on the gate at the security checkpoint to the furniture and designs found in the rooms and throughout the resort. Even the doors and staircase rails have been chiseled into works of art by Augustin and his talented team of craftsmen who make furniture and other wood products on-site year-round. Bottois says the new suites and villa have been tailored to suit the needs of top-tier guests seeking luxurious comfort with an added charm and flair. As such, Paradise Ridge – which opened its doors on February 1 of this year – features butler service. Paradise Ridge is also testimony to the philosophy that Ladera is willing to step out of its winning comfort zone and take comfort to higher heights – literally. Already known for its exceptional cuisine, under Executive Chef Mark Atkinson and incomparable hospitality, Ladera is now focusing on positioning itself as a gem that elicits a second – or even third – look. Another feature that has been added to Ladera is a new Wine Cellar and Tasting Room located near the Dasheene Bar, which features over 1,000 bottles of carefully-selected wines chosen by Head Sommelier, Karim Boulet. The new Wine Cellar, too, is a creation borne out of the creative team headed by Augustin, who told BF that “Whatever Mr. Bottois has a plan for, I build.” Recently, Ladera has been able to capitalize on some of the things that set it apart from the competition. Since most – if not all – of Ladera’s furniture is made in-house, the resort took the bold step of launching its own furniture line, Paradise Ridge Collection. That’s right. Now guests have the chance of purchasing the finelycrafted furnishings identical to those seen at the resort. Such items include the eyepopping four-poster Ladera wedding beds, the Ladera bedside table and the Dasheene wine room table. However, guests can also place orders for custom-made items.
Items from the Paradise Ridge Collection are made from a variety of tropical hardwoods, such as Blue Mahoe, Mahogany, Red Cedar, Greenheart, Purpleheart, Mabre, White Cedar, and Pitch Pine, all of which have been carefully harvested by environmentally-sensitive methods. Items from the Paradise Ridge Collection can be ordered directly from Ladera, and shipping and delivery costs vary according to destination and cost extra. Bottois told BF that the launch of the Paradise Ridge Collection coincides with the opening of the Paradise Ridge suites to further demonstrate the seriousness with which Ladera views staying true to its authenticity. That authenticity, he added, has been just one of the most prominent selling points of Ladera over the past twenty years and differentiates the resort from other luxury properties in the Caribbean. “It’s very unique that a resort would make its own furniture on site,” Bottois told BF. “Actually, we’ve always done it; it’s just that many people didn’t know about it. But now the level at which we’re doing it is much higher in terms of design and craftsmanship. So now we’re being recognized for our design. We just won an award from a UK magazine for being one of the best designed resorts in the Caribbean. It’s making a statement that our craftsmen here in Saint Lucia can make something that is world-class.” During his year-and-a-half stint at Ladera, Bottois, a seasoned hotelier, says he has been able to maintain Ladera’s reputation of being not just an awardwinning destination but one that wins its guests over. Despite its numerous strengths – which include its dedicated 135-member strong staff of which 132 are Saint Lucians – success means keeping ahead of the game. That is why Ladera is spending over EC$6 million this year as part of its upgrade programme. It is money well spent, he says, to polish a diamond whose brilliance stands shoulder to shoulder with the majestic Pitons. ¤
You already know that St. Lucia is impossibly beautiful. But once you see it from Ladera’s point of view, you will be even more astonished. Each villa and suite at Ladera is deliberately missing a fourth wall, inviting fragranceLaden tropical breezes and breathtaking views inside. So while you are soothed by ﬁne linen, or luxuriating in your very own, very private plunge pool, St. Lucia itself becomes a part of your magical Ladera experience. Embrace it . You simply can’t get any closer.
758. 459.6600 | www.ladera.com | Toll Free 866.290.0978
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Tourist Board Launches New Brand Campaign at Caribbean Marketplace The St Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) has unveiled a striking new brand campaign themed “Lift Your Senses” that captures vacation moments in a fresh, journalistic style. Designed to evoke an emotional response, the campaign portrays the essence of St Lucia as an island that literally lifts visitors’ five senses - sight, taste, hearing, feel and smell. The campaign was created by ISM, the award-winning Boston-based travel and lifestyle marketing firm, in close collaboration with the St Lucia Tourist Board. “From strategy development through to execution, the ‘Lift Your Senses’ campaign truly captures what sets St Lucia apart from other Caribbean destinations in a way that we believe will differentiate our island in
an extremely crowded competitive set,” said Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism for the St Lucia Tourist Board, in making the announcement. Presented in a series of vignettes, the campaign brings the reader or viewer closer to the on-island experience through a combination of close-up shots and experiential imagery. Headlines tie each of the five senses to the variety of ways to stay and play on St Lucia to reach romance/bridal, family, adventure/dive, yachting and other key markets. Conversation within the body copy ties back to the central idea that St Lucia “lifts” all the senses. “St Lucia is such a rich destination of natural beauty, symbolized by the majestic Pitons, exceptional hospitality and commitment to service and mix of
hotel product,” said Nerdin St. Rose, Vice President Marketing & Sales for the St Lucia Tourist Board. “’Lift Your Senses’ taps a variety of experiences to provide an ideal platform to connect with diverse groups of travelers in each of our target markets.” The new campaign, launched in January with online advertising initially, followed by print placement in major consumer publications and television to be launched later in the year. New collateral was officially rolled out for tour operators at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, held on January 20-22 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas and is available for distribution in North America. ¤
Tourism Director Sees Significant Improvement in Key Tourism Markets
Director of Tourism Louis Lewis BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Tourism officials say there was significant improvement in some St. Lucia key markets during 2012 including the United Kingdom, despite the recession and increase in the Air Passenger Duty (APD). However, they lament a decline in arrivals in the United States market primarily because of a 20 per cent loss in airlift from North America. But they expect the matter to be addressed with the impending arrival of a new carrier here by the mid-year. Director of Tourism Louis Lewis reported a 6% increase in the flagship United Kingdom market, "in spite of the Summer Olympics, a recession in Europe and the UK’s Air Passenger Duty”. He said the Canadian market described as a star performer, was up 7% for the sixth consecutive year and shows serious potential. "The United States market declined by 5%, part of that attributable to a 20%
decrease in airlift, although demand for St. Lucia there remains strong. 2013 started off on a good note with major operators already seeing double digit growth in the first two weeks in January." Lewis said he expects the situation to be further improved with “an announcement to be made shortly of the introduction of a new air carrier,” even as he acknowledged that the cost of airlift remains a challenge with St. Lucia having little control over that situation. However Lewis has expressed concern over an average 2% decline in visitor expenditure. The cruise sector was down 8% as cruise lines re-programmed vessels in the summer months. Yachting. on the other hand grew by the same percentage and appeared promising for 2013. ¤
OECS Officials Develop Action Plan to Ease Intra-Regional Travel The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is considering a model similar to the Schengen States of Europe where travellers are cleared at the initial port of entry to continue travelling seamlessly within the sub-region. This is one of the major suggestions coming out of a recently-concluded working session in Antigua for Chief Immigration Officers and Comptrollers of Customs from the OECS to develop an Action Plan to facilitate ease of travel not only for OECS citizens but also for visitors to the OECS region. Dr Loraine Nicholas, programme officer for tourism at the OECS Secretariat, stated that the essential measures proposed by OECS border control officials to facilitate ease of travel include full clearance of travellers only at the initial port of entry. “In our efforts to facilitate ease of travel within this single shared space of the economic union area there are two dimensions that we need to bear in mind: One is the free movement of OECS citizens
which is a treaty right conferred upon OECS citizens and which OECS Member States are therefore obligated by treaty to comply with.” She added, “The other dimension is the ease of travel into and within the OECS space by visitors coming into the region which in essence is a matter of choice rather than of obligation. So conceptually therefore the treatment of both visitors and OECS citizens may for the most part be similar.” “However, as it relates to visitors, one of the recommendations coming out of our OECS Tourism Policy which was developed in 2011 is for visitors to the region to undertake full clearance procedures, that is customs and immigration only at the initial port of arrival in the region and then for them to be able to move relatively easy to other Member States on that same trip,” explained Nicholas. Some of the other essential measures proposed by OECS border control officials to facilitate ease of travel included:
Harmonisation of procedures to collect departure taxes; Electronic collection and sharing of E/D card data; Harmonized standard operating procedures and improvements to service quality at OECS borders; Standardization and compatibility of software to enhance information sharing; and harmonisation and consistent application of risk management principles. The OECS regional consultative workshop to improve ease of intra-regional travel is the first tourism-related activity out of a series of planned interventions geared towards implementing the recommendations related to the harmonisation of tourism policies contained in the OECS Common Tourism Policy. “At that meeting in Antigua and Barbuda we basically discussed the various actions and interventions necessary for us to facilitate this ease of travel while of course ensuring that the security of our borders is not in any way compromised,” said Nicholas. ¤
New IRS Laws Could Hurt Caribbean Tourism Industry
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has flagged a potentially crippling development within the United States tax legislation that could have far reaching implications for hoteliers and tourism attractions across the Caribbean. According to the Nassau Guardian, the BHTA has brought to the urgent attention of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism
Association the fact that US credit card companies have been mandated to implement an automatic 28% withholding fee unless the merchant receiving the payment is compliant with new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. In a far-reaching action reminiscent of the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) regulations with which many financial institutions across the region must now comply, the new rules added to the US Tax Code in January 2012 means that credit card processing companies must collect and verify the tax identification number (TIN) and legal name associated with that number for each merchant customer. According to a BHTA notice to its members acquired by the Guardian: "If there is a discrepancy between the merchant's TIN and associated legal name in the credit card processing company records and IRS records, or if the merchant does not provide TIN, the IRS now requires the processing company to withhold 28
percent of the merchant's future payment credit card transactions until the issue is resolved," the notice read. "The 'back up withholding' provision of the law went into effect for transactions on and after January 1, 2013." Non-U.S. merchants must declare their status, meaning everyone is essentially subject to the law until they have properly documented their status with the IRS. So far, American Express appears to be the only credit card company enforcing the law and, according to the BHTA, several hotels have already been caught by the new regulations and have had the withholding fees levied on them. However, should all the credit card companies start implementing the withholding fees, restaurants, hotels, and other tourism attractions across the Caribbean who count on American visitors for much of their business could face serious cash flow restaurants, plus the added problem of becoming IRS compliant. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
HEALTH & WEALTH
The Secret to a Healthier You !
by: Gloria Khan-Charles Have you ever wondered what is the secret to being a healthy individual; to wake up feeling energised; to have fulfilling relationships; maybe even work that you enjoy doing? Well the answer lies in three words— words that we have all heard, but maybe haven't given enough thought to how they can affect our health and happiness. These three words were introduced to me as a student studying natural health sciences. It wasn't until then that I started seeing for myself how combining different therapies and modalities along with these three words can bring about marvellous recoveries. In everything we do these three words: Variety, Moderation and Balance must come into play and then the solution to any problem can be found. Although these words may sound simple, generations have spent money, time, and energy trying to attain this simple formula. What makes these words Variety, Moderation and Balance so hard to BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
incorporate into our daily lives? Well the reasons could be endless, such as culture, finance, social class and the list can go on and on. But this formula is known by some who live long and productive lives. The first word in the equation is Variety and the saying holds true that ‘variety is the spice of life.’ Without variety we would get bored and stuck in routine which eventually leads to death. I know this sounds pretty dramatic but it is so true. Our bodies were made to move, walk, run, jump, dance, swim, climb and so on. How any of us get up five days or more and do the same thing every day, for example sit anywhere for six to eight hours or stand for hours repeating the same tasks every day? Our bodies were not designed for such limited movement. So no wonder we suffer with more postural ailments such as frozen shoulders and neck and back pain. Wrist pain—or as some may be familiar with, carpal tunnel syndrome—is another ailment, which many who use computers
may suffer with. If we do not challenge our bodies with a variety of movement we are destined to lose mobility. Our body also depends on many different minerals and vitamins in order for it to function efficiently. The only way we can accomplish this is to have a diet that consists of a variety of foods that are found in nature. Did you know that Japanese try to introduce one hundred different types of vegetables to their kids so that they can have the best health possible? Our bodies change all the time; hence feeding it the same diet for years will not only starve it of vital minerals and vitamins, but will cause disease to develop. For example, did you know that good fats play a vital role in our brain functions, sexual development and even the proper absorption of vitamins A,D,E and K? Hence starving your body of good fats can literally have stunting effects. Our brain not only needs a good blood supply full of oxygen and good fats, but it also needs to be challenged. In order to do
this, learning is a must; whether it be in or out of a classroom. So get out there and learn something new every day. Having a life that is full of a variety brings us closer to being healthy and happy. The Second part of the formula to a healthier, happier you is Moderation. We touched on how important variety is in our lives and in our quest to try and do new things we will always favour some more than others. This is where moderation comes into play. One mango is good, full of vitamins and fiber and tastes really good, but a bowl can be detrimental to our blood sugar level. With a rise in diabetes we cannot afford to become another statistic. As I mentioned earlier good fats are necessary for many body functions, however, too much of the wrong fats can clog our arteries, making us more susceptible to heart disease. Overworking can cause mental fatigue and burnout if we consistently repeat the same task over and over. Even overdoing something that may be good for us can cause stress and disease. Anything we can think of or do, whether it be positive or negative, if done in excess can only have a detrimental outcome. Did you know that you can drink too much water? Indeed,
something that the body needs to survive can cause harm if taken in excess. To quote Mark Twain 'Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody' The final word in the formula is Balance. Subconsciously we all know that if we could only find balance in all that we do we would be happier. Everything in nature must be balanced in order to function properly and finding the balance in our lives is no exception. What we put in our bodies must also be balanced. For example, a diet too high in acid forming foods can lead to disease and on the other end of the spectrum, a diet too high in alkaline foods can also cause disease. Finding the balance is crucial to avoid illness. Learning how to express ourselves and our emotions is also important. It makes us calm and able to have healthy relationships with family, friends and society. Making the time to not only take care of our physical body but also our emotional and spiritual wellbeing is crucial to having a balanced life. There are many avenues that can aid us in becoming more balanced. Taking care of our physical can be as simple as playing sports, having massage and reflexology or eating a little healthier. Our emotional or
mental state can be improved by making time to speak with friends, going to motivational seminars or even speaking to a professional. We are in a constant state of change so finding balance in our lives takes time and lots of trial and error, but this is what living is all about. Mastering this formula takes time and sometimes even a lifetime, but to even try will not only make you happier but also healthier. Starting small is the key. Maybe it could be trying a new food or even going for a walk after dinner to help improve digestion. There is an endless amount of information out there to help, and if you don't know where to begin then seeking professional advice can be a start. Whichever part of your life you decide to start improving, always remember: with Variety, Moderation and Balance success is the only outcome! ¤ Contributor: Gloria Khan-Charles Gloria is the owner and manager of TiKhan Health Clinic. She is qualified as a Natural Health Therapist and practices Massage, Reflexology, and Reiki. She is also certified as an Iridologist, Nutritionist and Herbalist.
New CARICOM Cigarette Labelling Requirements to be Adhered to by end of 2013 Following the 35th meeting of the Caribbean Community’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Guyana late in 2012, all cigarettes sold and distributed in the region must start carrying pictorial health warnings by the end of 2013. This means that cigarette packets, which currently have text on them warning of the likely impact of smoking on the health of users, will also have to carry pictures and pictograms depicting diseases that may arise from the consumption of tobacco products. The CARICOM Secretariat has described the decision by the Caribbean regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) as an “historic” one.
It said all member states present at the meeting, chaired by Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade A.J. Nicholson, voted in favour of accepting the CROSQ's new requirements as the regional standard. "CARICOM member states have now taken a major step in meeting a significant obligation under Article 11 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to which most member states are signatories and which entered into force in February 2005," the statement said. Article 11 calls on countries party to the Convention, within three years after entry into force, to adopt and implement effective measures to ensure tobacco packages are labelled according to guidelines developed by the World Health Organisation's FCTC Secretariat.
"The Convention calls for parties to, among other requirements, implement rotating health warnings on tobacco packaging that cover at least 30% - ideally 50% - of the display areas, which may include pictures or pictograms," the CARICOM Secretariat said. "In adopting the regional standard on tobacco labelling, CARICOM countries would have met this important obligation," it added. "In so doing, CARICOM member states have also met the related obligation under the Port-of-Spain Declaration (2007) on Non-Communicable Diseases. “All manufacturers, importers, retailers and other entities engaged in the production and or trade of tobacco products within any member state of CARICOM need to comply with the regional standards," the statement said. ¤ BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
HEALTH & WEALTH
New Lung Cancer Vaccine Developed in Cuba Racotumomab was proven in rigorous clinical trials to increase survival rates among patients. Cuba's Centre for Molecular Immunology (CIM) has patented a new therapeutic lung cancer vaccine, according to Ana Maria Vazquez, a specialist at the institution. Vazquez said the antibody, called Racotumomab, was proven in rigorous clinical trials in 2012 to increase survival rates among cancer patients, and has shown good safety and tolerance levels. The new vaccine reportedly combats lung carcinoma by reducing cancer cells
and minimising the presence of tumours. Experts say that although the patient’s cure is not guaranteed because of the reduction of the tumour, experience shows that when cancer does not expand in a long period of time the patient is in a stable stage of the disease and can live longer. Parallel to its registration in Cuba, the new vaccine was also presented in Argentina for its subsequent export to that
country, according to Agustin Lage, general director of CIM, in his annual report. Racotumomab is the second vaccine developed by CIM against lung cancer, after CIMAvax EGF, which has proven effective in helping Cuban patients. Lung cancer is the second-most common type of cancer in Cuba with an estimated 5,000 patients in advanced stages of the disease. ¤
More Polyclinic Services and Two New Ambulances for Gros Islet
The Gros Islet Polyclinic has extended its operating hours from January 7th 2013 (from Mondays to Fridays, 8am to midnight) to facilitate a wide range of services; and two new ambulances have been added to the northern town’s fleet to widen its area emergency services. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Cointha Thomas, says the extension of opening hours is aimed at a “patient-centred and driven approach” of international repute. “It means that in order to be successful and to be on par with the rest of the world, our system needs to be reconfigured, to be patient-focused and patient-driven. Special attention will also need to be given to the sources of most patients’ complaints. This is what we are BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
aiming to do with this extension of hours of operation.” A d d i t i o n a l l y, the extended hours will facilitate greater access to a variety of health services which will aid in the improvement of the health of Gros Islet residents and environs. Acting Administrator at the Gros-Islet Polyclinic Marcia Dupre says the clinic offers services commensurate with those of primary health facilities within Saint Lucia. “It is not a hospital. However, the services offered here are commensurate with what’s offered at most of our hospitals on the island and include: maternal and child health services, sexual and reproductive health services, screening and management of chronic and nonchronic communicable diseases, dental, pharmacy, x-ray, laboratory, dermatology, gynaecology and obstetrics services.” According to MP Emma Hippolyte, 25 new staff personnel will be added to the Polyclinic at a cost of $1.5 million.
Meanwhile, just as the polyclinic extended its operating hours, two fully equipped ambulances were officially handed over to the Gros-Islet Fire Station as it marked its 10th anniversary. The Government says it hopes that this assistance will aid in improving and boosting emergency services. Parliamentary Representative for GrosIslet, Emma Hippolyte offered figures about the emergency service’s efficiency. She said, “The Fire Service for Gros-Islet for the year, 2012, made some 1,847 emergency calls, and this constituency continues to grow day after day, and in 2013 I expect those numbers to increase.” Minister for Legal Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security Senator Victor La Corbiniere hailed this initiative as a step in the right direction. “I believe this year will bring some challenges for the Fire Service, but it will also bring some resolution to some of the problems in the Fire Service; and it will also bring high hopes to move the Fire Service even further ahead and certainly in the direction that we are all committed to go.” ¤
events 2013 CARILEC’S Occupational Health & Safety, Human Resource & Disaster Management Conference St. Maarten, March 18 - 22, 2013 This Conference and Exhibition is planned to meet the demand and interest shown by HR Managers and Health & Safety Officers from our member utilities.” The conference seeks to address the new perspective of health and safety as a feature of corporate responsibility; major issues of Occupational Health and Safety such as the: adoption of international standards and the associated benefits. www.carilec.com
CARAIFA - The Caribbean Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors 27th Annual Sales Congress 2013, April 21st - 24th, Dominica CARAIFA is an umbrella organization of regional Life Underwriting associations whose members are engaged primarily in the sale of the products of Life Insurance and Financial Services companies. CARAIFA hosts an annual conference of the Life Underwriters/Financial Advisors throughout the region in May each year. These congresses feature motivational and inspiring speakers from our region and internationally. Theme: "Life's Blessing" www.caraifa.com
ST LUCIA JAZZ April 30 to May 12, 2013 The Caribbean's premiere musical festival Saint Lucia Jazz has become one of the major events on Saint Lucia's calendar of events and surely a most anticipated event in the Caribbean. During the month of May, the island dances to the beat of jazz when music fills the air and tourism takes on a whole new meaning to all. What started as simply a marketing event to boost tourism industry arrivals during a low period, has developed into a truly Saint Lucian Festival. www.stluciajazz.org
2013 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference May 7 – 9, 2013, Hyatt Regency, Trinidad This will be the seventeenth year of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization managing the region's most successful and longest-standing tourism investment event. This is the one Caribbean food and beverage event and competition not to be missed; the one annual opportunity to network, polish professional skills and cheer on colleagues in competition, before a large audience of industry peers and consumer culinary enthusiasts.
CSA's 12th Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference May 13 - 15, 2013 Freeport, The Bahamas The Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) was established in 1971 to facilitate development of an efficient, viable Caribbean shipping industry. Since then, the Association has become the voice of the region's shipping industry and a major regional forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed. www.caribbeanshipping.org
33RD Annual Caribbean Insurance Conference June 2 - 4, 2013 Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, Cancun, Mexico The 2013 Caribbean Insurance Conference will feature a mix of general sessions, breakouts, panel discussions and excellent networking opportunities. Attendees include senior level insurance executives, administration executives, heads of marketing, distribution, and information technology, along with top regional producers. website:http://iac-caribbean.com/conference/ Patricia Sasso: Phone: 860-298-3963 Email: email@example.com BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
MAJOR MOVES LIME recently announced that Chief Executive Officer David Shaw will resign after leading the company for the past four years. Shaw will remain with the business for a six month period to facilitate a handover of responsibilities. He will be replaced by Tony Rice, Chief Executive of LIME's parent company, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC). LIME is CWC's Caribbean b u s i n e s s . CWC recently announced its intention to focus its business on the Caribbean and Central American region, after agreeing to sell its Macau and Monaco & Islands operations. Shaw said that the company has accomplished many objectives during his time running the business. "As a team, we have achieved a great deal during the past four years. Our business is fighting back in Jamaica; in The Bahamas we are well positioned to face up to competition when it comes; and we are competing strongly in our other markets. The business is more focused than ever on delivering for our customers. Being a part of LIME has been an incredible experience and I look forward to seeing the business continue to fulfil its potential being the driving force in connecting the Caribbean," said Shaw. Rice will work with LIME's regional business leadership team, which includes Chief Commercial Officer Chris Dehring and CEO for Jamaica & the Cayman Islands, Garry Sinclair.
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
LIME is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Chris Williams as the General Manager of LIME Saint Lucia effective October 1, 2012. A Saint Lucian national, and former Vice President of LIME Saint Lucia Operations, Chris has over 30 years of experience in telecommunications technologies, business strategies, networks expansion and service delivery. He has served in various senior executive managementlevel positions including Head of Cable TV where he spearheaded the upgrading of LIME’s analog cable TV system to a fully digital service. In his new role as General Manager of LIME Saint Lucia, Chris will be responsible for delivering excellence in the customer experience which will be at the core of the LIME business strategy. "I'm thrilled to be entrusted with this new responsibility,” said Chris. “It’s great to be part of the Caribbean’s leading communications company, a formidable regional player with proven products and services, and a genuine focus on innovation and customer satisfaction. I look forward to working closely with my management, networks and service teams to build on the strong foundation established by further improving our processes and systems and the overall customer experience.” Gerard Borely, CEO of the Barbados, Eastern Caribbean, British Virgin Islands and Turks & Caicos cluster of markets said, "I wish to congratulate Chris on his new appointment. He brings expertise, leadership and the drive to deliver more for customers and for country. These will be key for success in our very challenging environment.
LIME Saint Lucia has announced structural changes to its management team. Joanna Marius has been named head of the newly-formed Consumer Sales & Customer Experience team. Joanna, who previously led Customer Experience, will take on additional responsibilities with the merger of the Customer Experience and Retail Sales teams. Joanna will be responsible for the dayto-day operations of LIME’s four retail / full service outlets. She has an excellent record of fostering good customer relations, on-time service delivery and resolving customer-experience issues. A former LIME ‘Shine Ambassador,’ she was instrumental in helping to develop innovative improvements and ideas for enhancing customer experience. LIME’s Corporate Sales and Indirect Sales teams have also been merged to form the new Customer Segments team, which is headed by Bridgette Charles. Their primary goal is to provide personalised service and ensure customer satisfaction among LIME’s Small / Medium Enterprise, Corporate, Government, Enterprise and top-tier residential customers, as well as LIME eTopUp vendors and other LIME partners. Joanna and Bridgette’s updated assignments coincide with LIME Saint Lucia’s increasing focus on re-organizing the business around customer service and strengthening its management team. “We’re delighted to have Joanna and Bridgette assume these new roles,” said General Manager Chris Williams. “They bring key experience, knowledge and expertise to their respective teams and we look forward to great things from them. We’re confident that Joanna and Bridgette along with their teams will continue to champion our drive to put the customer at the heart of our business.”
Mc Claude E m m a n u e l describes himself as creative, focus and goal oriented. His appointment at the helm of Radio St. Lucia is a testament to that. The station which now fights to stay afloat in the competitive market is now placed squarely in the hands of this young maverick. He is a graduate of the University of the West where he specialized in Economics and Business Management and possesses a range of unrelated qualifications ranging from Project Management to Construction Management. He has an extensive history of community development, having served as Treasurer of the St. Lucia National Youth Council and instrumental in the formation of Youth & Sports Councils around the island. He’s vision for Radio St. Lucia is quite ambitious. He sees a station poised to exploit its potential by penetrating new segments and capitalizing off emerging opportunities which were regarded as unattainable in previous dispensations.
Rodney Bay Village, S A I N T LUCIA (6 February 2013) Coco Palm, Saint Lucia's a w a r d winning boutique hotel welcomes back Allen Chastanet as Managing Director following his service to the Government. Resuming his role as Managing Director which he handed over to his sister, Feolla, in December 2007, Allen will once again be directing the 100 room Rodney Bay Village property.
"My focus is on the operational aspect and overseeing our capital projects as our General Manger, Jean St Rose, handles the everyday running of the hotel while Feolla will focus on the public relations, sales & marketing" noted Chastanet. He went on to say, "Between Jean St Rose, Revenue Manager Claudine Gilbert, Feolla and myself we have over 100 years travel experience without taking in to account that of our Heads of Department. Each of us play a pivotal role in making Coco Resorts what it is today and am a firm believer in Team spirit." Since leaving Government Chastanet has been working with Carnival Sailing Party Cruises, a business which Michael Chastanet has been a partner and share holder for the last 21 years. In addition, Allen, who is the developer and founder of Coco Resorts, has spent the last nine months on the food & beverage department with the rebranding of the restaurant as KoKo Cabana and launching an All Inclusive plan which has made a marked difference to guest satisfaction. Allen noted "we listen to our guests and tweak our product to meet their expectations. We have some great plans for 2013 and aim to keep improving all the time."
A New Financial C o n t r o l l e r and Corporate Communications Officer Appointed Castries, February 18, 2013 – LUCELEC is pleased to announce the appointment of Financial Controller Jonothan Edwards and Corporate Communications Officer Carmy Joseph. Jonothan Edwards officially took up his duties on February 11, 2013. He replaces Earl Estrado who held the position until May 2012. Mr. Edwards has several years of experience in senior positions in Finance within the region. Most recently he was a Consultant Senior Finance Manager with Haitian Telecoms Company, Comcel/ Trilogy partners. He is also a former Vice President Finance – Carrier Services at LIME, with oversight for Barbados, Jamaica, Cayman, and St. Lucia.
Carmy Joseph is a former Editor and Producer at HTS/ Radio 100 where she worked for the last eight years. In addition to managing the Newsroom, she also hosted and produced a number of television programs. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science from St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada. She officially took up her duties on January 15, 2013.
Prism Services Inc. has introduced Tony Del Castilho as general manager of a new subsidiary, Prism Financial Services Inc, at a press session at their Bridgetown, Barbados offices. Del Castilho is one of the pioneers in the payments business, starting Advanced Business Systems Inc (ABS) in the early 1990s. ABS went on to become one of the key providers and integrators of card technology systems and services in the region. From the early beginnings, ABS was a key partner to Prism Services, working jointly on many card implementations in the region. Del Castilho adds significant strength to Prism’s operation and will be expanding the company’s payments business into a number of new areas and geographic markets, Edward Ince, director of Prism, said. “Tony’s mandate is to expand both our service offerings in payments and our presence in the region.” Del Castilho’s knowledge of the region and the industry will serve to bring additional value to Prism’s clients and to strengthen their brand reputation in the payments industry regionally. Prism Services Inc (www.prismco.com) is the regional outsourcing powerhouse with offices in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
T h e Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Fa c i l i t y (CCRIF) has selected St Lucian Isaac Anthony as its first fulltime chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2013. His job is to strengthen relationships with government agencies across the region and oversee the development of new insurance products. Previously, the job of CEO was done on a part-time basis by CCRIF executive chairman Milo Pearson. Prior to this job, Anthony worked with the St Lucia government as permanent secretary of planning and national development. He also held other government positions, including
accountant general, registrar of insurance, director of finance and permanent secretary for finance. He already has a five-year association with CCRIF as the CARICOM-appointed director on CCRIF's board. The post of chief executive officer for the insurance facility was created to strengthen its management structure, with the position being advertised back in July 2012. All CCRIF's team members will now report to Anthony, who will operate out of offices in Barbados. The team members comprise Caribbean Risk Managers Ltd - the facility supervisor or main operational and risk manager; Sagicor Insurance Managers Limited - CCRIF'S insurance manager; London & Capital Ltd and EFG Bank, Cayman Branch - the asset managers; Guy Carpenter & Company LLC - reinsurance broker; and Sustainability Managers - the corporate communications manager. CCRIF is a non-profit risk-pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a policy is triggered.
Former Jamaica and West Indies batsman Wavell Hinds has been given a full term as President of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA). At the Annual General Meeting of the players body recently held at the Capital Plaza Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Hinds was elected unopposed, as was the rest of the Executive. Hinds acted as Interim President for nine months last year after the incumbent Dinanath Ramnarine stepped down. He has been a member of WIPA's Executive since 2002, serving as Treasurer for four years, and Vice-President for six years under Ramnarine. And Hinds said he was happy to serve again.
Retired from Business The Saint Lucian Business Community wishes to recognise these three outstanding personalities who have made significant contributions on the Saint Lucian Landscape during their tenure as senior business executives in the local private sector.
We Wish them well in their Retirement.
1st National Bank - Managing Director BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
ECFH - Group Managing Director
WLBL - Marketing Manager
MAJOR MOVES NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
FDL Chemicals Incorporated
Distribution and Sales of Pesticide and Related Equipment
YENNA PROPERTIES INC.
To Own, Manage and Develop Properties
Gilbert Fontenard Pewlin Fontenard
CANADA PLASTIC INC.
To Carry on the Business of Manufacturer of Bags made from all Types of Material Including Nylon
Lay Peter Roserie Raywattie Roserie Douglas Vannitamby
COSOL TOURS ISLAND SPLENDOR INC.
Offering Taxi and Touring Services
Nereus Francis Sera Eudovic
KICKSTART MEDIA CARIBBEAN LTD.
Internet / Web Design
Lyle Pauls Russell Fast
Management and Consultancy Business
Gladys Taylor Christopher Taylor
AS Gittens Inc.
Real Estate/ Agency /Quarrying
Austen S. Gittens Patsy Joan Gittens Deryck Robinson
Flowers Express Inc.
To Carry on the Business of Florists Emerson Cadette Services Including the Importation and Magdalene Cadette Exportation of Fresh cut and Artificial Flowers. Floral Arrangement Services and the Transportation and Delivery Therof.
American International Medical University Inc.
Provide Medical and Management Education, Nursing and Allied Services Education
Dr. Raju Saravanan Babu Dr.Subramanian Sasi Priya
MOR BUSINESS ASSOCIATE INC.
Accounting and Finance
Odel Williams Mark Moore Maxim Adams
DRAKE DEVELOPMENT LTD.
DRAKE MARINA VILLAGE LTD.
DONN Property INC.
DRAKES DOCKS LTD.
Marine Docking Company
THE ANIMAL CARE CENTRE LTD.
Veterinary Services and Other Related Business
Dr. Jennifer Cenac-Andrew McHale Andrew
To Carry on the Business of Retailing of Merchandise
Jaihad Janoura Samar Janoura
Progressive Auto Rental Company Ltd.
Jefferson Stanislas Gabriel Auguste
CAYLUCIA C & C SERVICES INC.
Multi-Services , Ironing Services, Laundromat, Organizing Vacation Packages Between St.Lucia and Cayenne, Facilitation of Entertainment, Landscaping, Handyman Services, Import and Export of Specialty Food and Beverage Products and Other RelatedServices
Mr. Christian Roger Porthos
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
ICCE (Caribbean ) Ltd.
Project and Program Management (PPM) Accredited Training in OGC Best Practice Markets (PRINCE2, MSP, ITIL & M_o_R), Project Management Services Including for the Construction Industry, Property Management.
H&P Mechanical and Electrical Enterprises Inc.
Mechanical and Electrical Services
Herbert Cadette Philip Neri Gravillis
KAMJ’s Produce Ltd.
Alwin Marius Jules
Kathy’s Auto one Mechanical Services Ltd.
Automotive, Mechanical Repairs and Services, Sales and Other Investments
K A R Mining Ltd.
Mining & Construction
Rhone Neil Kelly
Clarkes Hardware & Paint Supplies Inc.
Construction, Paint Supplies and Hardware
Elliott Clarke George Ste Marthe Serge Voba
Blue Waters St.Lucia Ltd.
Bottling, Sale and Distribution of Water and Other Products in Saint Lucia
Ramon George Esper PIF Corporate Services Inc.
Simply Glide Inc.
Rental of Vehicles , Importation and Merchandising of Consumer goods
David Drodz Clayton Keon Pipe
Fusion and Copper Splicing Services
Shawn Ferdinand Yann Louis Ricky Estwick
Golden Wok Ltd.
SABICU Holdings Ltd.
Claude Guillaume Susan Guillaume
Drake Resort Ltd.
DREAM MAKERS CONSTRUCTION LTD.
Real Estate Services and Anything Incidental Thereto
Charles St Helene
Rapid Result Realty Ltd.
Charles St Helene
GAYA SERVICES LTD.
Commercial and Domestic Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Service and Equipment Maintenance
Su Mate Ltd.
To Carry on the Business of Restaurant/ Bar
Interisland Architects & Planners Ltd.
Architectural and Planning Services
Neville Skeete Claude Guillaume Duane Marquis
The incorporated trustees of the redeemed Christian Church of God Inc.
To Evangelize the World in the Name of Dr.Sylvester Omiyi Ikekhuame Jesus Christ and to Propagate the Gospel Pastor Dada Odunayo Daniel Ms. Jemma Baptiste of Jesus
Terry ‘s Auto Body Shop Inc.
Auto Body Repairs
Terry H Lionel
TAM's Travel Ltd.
Malcom Paul Alcee', Tamara Dornatie Alcee'
BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
We specialize in the fabrication of kitchen & bathroom counter-tops
Premiere Grade Granite
Also available are retractable mosquito screens for doors and windows. Grande Riviere, Gros Islet, St. Lucia W.I. Tel: 1(758) 485-9839 or 1(758) 450-4348 Fax: 1 (758) 450-3643 or 1(758) 458-9839
Karib Cable is Business of the Year