Issue No. 69
CREATING LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com
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Contents FEATURE 63.EDUCATION – CREATING LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES 64. 68. 72. 78. 88. 92.
CARE Celebrates 20th Anniversary LMI St. Lucia Hosts First Women in Leadership Re-Examining Education Technology When Training Day is Every Day Vieux-Fort to be Declared ‘a University Town’ Caribbean Teachers WARNED
04. Editor’s Focus
06. Business Briefs Business Tech 08. The Business Benefits of Social Media 12. Samsung to Open 41 Stores in the Caribbean 14. Science, Technology and Innovation Takes Centre Stage at CARICOM 16. LIME Keeps Customers Moving Smarter With BlackBerry Z10 18. With Help and Support, Local IT Company Spreads Wings Regionally Money Matters 20. EU Launches €40 Million Caribbean Investment Facility 22. Grenada Default has Negative Implications for ECCU - Moody's 26. IMF Economist Warns Eastern Caribbean Countries 28. Managing Debt Collection in Small Business 30. The Future of the Auditor 32. Shareholder Offering a Stake in Flow
Economy & Trade Focus 34. Work on US $300m Gas Pipeline to Start in 2014 36. World Bank Urges Caribbean to ‘Propel Domestic Engines of Growth’ 38. Caribbean Export Coordinates Training for Caribbean Investment Promotion Agencies 42. 2013-14 Budget at a Glance 44. The Business of the Throne Speech 46. Environmental Focus 48. Business Spotlight In The Know 52. ACCA: SMEs Need Finance Expertise 54. Jamaica Government to Auction New Mobile Telecoms Licences 58. Caribbean’s First Gold Refinery Expected to Earn Billions 33. Book Reviews 94. Tourism Focus 98. Health & Wealth 101. Events 2012 102. Major Moves 103. New Company Registrations BusinessFocus May/June
Education and The Challenges of Today! We often say all the good things about the importance of education. We quote the best brains to underline its role in any society. But we’ve not yet got to that desirable stage where education drives and propels the nation. We have the schools and our students score top marks. Millions continue to be spent by governments and parents to ensure provision of and access to the best education available at home and abroad. But the returns are still way below the value of the investment. Few countries in the world have found the correct balance between education and development. But those which have bear testimony to the fact that it can be done. In St. Lucia and the rest of the OECS and CARICOM, our national and regional educational institutions do the best they can to fashion curricula relevant to the country and the region. The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) shape and fashion subjects and graduates in whose minds and hands the future of the Caribbean lie. For years UWI has produced our best brains and top leaders, among them over a dozen Caribbean Prime Ministers, including many in office today. But while many have returned home to better serve country and people in public and private practice, there continues to be concern about the lingering effects of the apparently perennial ‘brain drain’. Governments and educational institutions alike have been unable to stem the tide of departures by some of our best brains from the Caribbean’s blue waters in search of faraway greener pastures. Our graduates and academics who substitute tropical sunshine for snow (or other continental temperatures) do grade highly in their respective fields of endeavour. They continue to climb the ladders of success and contribute to the positive development of their adopted societies. But the Caribbean simply hasn’t been able to put our act together well enough at national and regional levels to attract our best brains and detract them from looking beyond our borders. The national concerns are also many. Governments and the private sector have been historically unable to find the ways and means to create jobs and opportunities for the thousands of qualified students and graduates who leave school or return home from overseas studies every year. Notwithstanding the ill omens on the horizons from international and regional assessments of global job prospects for youth in coming years, students continue to show their worth. The entire region is beginning to address the worrying fact that girls do overwhelmingly better than boys in class at all levels of the education system, from kindergarten to university. But despite increasing worry about curricula keeping up with the region’s fast-changing needs, students are taking on the academic challenges – and succeeding. Overseas private and commercial offshore educational institutions based in the region are registering successes by local students attending those educational and medical institutions in various territories. St. Lucia faces all the challenges here outlined and succeeding governments have continued to nurse the education system through its various phases. The challenges remain, but so do the opportunities they each bring. It’s now for the nation and the region to shape and reshape Caribbean education as to allow it to play for us that role it’s played in those few other countries that we so like to cite as the best examples to follow. This issue of Business Focus, as always, takes you on a journey around St. Lucia’s business community and through the related regional and international business items that will further enhance your knowledge of how we are affected by everything else happening in the whole wide world of business. ¤
As always: Happy Reading! Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor BusinessFocus May/June
BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh firstname.lastname@example.org Project Coordinator: Alex Foster - email@example.com Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - firstname.lastname@example.org Hudson Myers - email@example.com Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services Photography: Ashley Anzie | Cecil Sylvester | Stan Bishop Contributors: Earl Bousquet | Stan Bishop | Pilaiye Cenac Betty Combie | Fern Smith | Lyndell Halliday Keitha Glace | Faithaline Hippolyte | Juliet C Brathwaite Bevil Wooding | Dr Tanya Destang-Beaubrun Business Guardian | Sir Richard Branson | Sandals LIME | CMC | Caribbean 360 | Bank of Saint Lucia Business Guardian | Business Express | DIGICEL First Citizens Investment Services | Jamaica Observer Barbados Nation Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.amsstlucia.com, www.stluciafocus.com Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialized fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication.
On The Cover: EDUCATION CREATING LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES
CREATING LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES www.stluciafocus.com www.stluciafocus.com
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WINFRESH Urged to do More for Windward Banana Farmers
Corporate and Social Partners Met to Help Shape 2013-14 Budget Ahead of presentation of the 2013-14 budget, the Ministry of Finance and related departments met with a number of corporate and social partners in preparation for the actual presentation on May 14. On April 9, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony hosted separate meetings with the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture and the Banking Association. When the Chamber of Commerce and the Prime Minister met last year, the Ease of Doing Business was the main area of concern for both parties. In response, a joint committee was established to assess the World Bank's Ease of doing Business Report and to provide recommendations to address some of the shortcomings highlighted in the report. At the social partners’ meeting, both parties exchanged views on the economy and initiatives to enhance the prospects for economic growth. The Bankers Association has been a reliable partner in the development of Saint Lucia. Two banks have partnered with the Government of Saint Lucia to help ordinary Saint Lucians recognize the dream of owning or expanding their homes through the Construction Stimulus Package. The Government said it remained hopeful that despite the challenging financial climate, the parties would find common ground on proposed policies to stimulate further investment. The Finance Minister also met representatives of other sectors, including Labour Unions, to share views on the budget and the future prospects for the economy. The Prime Minister had been meeting with a number of Government agencies six weeks ahead of the budget presentation. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
Consumers to Pay More for WASCO Water St. Lucians have been bracing for new water rates, but were pleased to learn they would not be as high as requested by the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO). The National Water and Sewerage Commission (NWSC) had earlier stated it was considering a request for a 66.15% increase in water rates and a 140.30 % increase for sewerage rates. However, in mid-April NWSC Executive Director Kelly Joseph indicated that after a period of public consultation and consideration of all factors, the commission had settled for a new structure that will see 55.72% of the 66.15% increase go towards water and the remaining 10.43% go towards the dredging of the Sir John Compton Dam at Roseau. WASCO expects to complete the dredging of the troubled dam within two years, following which the 10.43% would be chopped off the 66.15%, reducing the rate increase to 55.72%. As for sewerage rates, the commission declined the request for 140.30% and instead settled for a 50.8% increase. Regarding commercial rates, the existing rate per 1,000 gallons is EC $20 and the 66.15% increase will add another $13.23 to take the new rate to $33.23. Hotels now pay $22.00 per 1,000 gallons and the new rate will be $14.55 more, taking it to $36.45. The island’s lone water company is severely cash-strapped and has seen troubled times in recent years. The national water system needs serious upgrading but the company is in serious debt and is continuously bailed-out by government. The NWSC is also calling on the government to implement the existing Water and Sewerage Safety Standards regulations, without delay. ¤
The St. Lucia Prime Minister has called on WINFRESH to play its part to stabilize the struggling Windward Islands Banana Industry. He issued the call at the opening of a recent Windward Islands Agriculture and Bananas Technical Management Symposium. Dr. Anthony said, “WINFRESH has a moral as well as practical duty to play its part. This is not a time for a silent retreat from bananas by Governments or by WINFRESH. “WINFRESH exists first and foremost for the farmers of the region, not just for banana production and the marketing the fruit and products of the region. The model, as I understand it, has long been that the profits made at the point of sale must be ploughed back into the production system to maintain and improve quality, provide inputs as well as assist with research and development.” According to Dr Anthony, “The sector cannot and will not survive if each party remains “siloed” and at war with the other. There must be synergy and collaboration as well as a willingness to act when synergy and collaboration do not happen. We need a more integrated industry, not one of isolation, indolence or regression.” He noted the absence of involvement by WINFRESH in the provision of a number of services to farmers and called on the organization to play a role in revitalizing the banana sector. He told the WINFRESH representatives, “There was a time when you maintained reception depots and managed quality control locally, managed farm and farmer and certification, provided laboratory services and provided technical support for producers, from soil tests to recommending fertilizers. There was even a time when you procured inputs such as leaf-spot control materials. “I say to WINFRESH that it has to play a role in helping the farmers in our islands to get back up on their feet, to replant, to resist Black Sigatoka, to research for better outputs and to add value to the production, and to renew this banana industry.” ¤
186 Newly-Skilled St. Lucians Ready for Inclusive Growth Some 186 Saint Lucians have now graduated with regional – and in some cases international – certification in various disciplines, thanks to the OECS Skills for Inclusive Growth Project. The graduation ceremony, held at the National Cultural Centre, was attended by Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony and other Cabinet Ministers. The Prime Minister expressed “pride and excitement” at their achievements, but reminded the graduates that “to soar to new heights, you will need a little more than the certificates in hand.” He explained, “Many a time, people don’t get the job because their attitude to work and the work environment is wanting. Having the right attitude to life will generally result in having the right attitudes for work.” The PM advised the graduates to “Never let people know you’re having a bad day and don’t let your emotions break your daily bread. Be helpful, polite, honest, careful, considerate, confident – and be prepared to learn.” “Once you have the right skills, the right knowledge and the right attitude,” he added, I am sure you can find opportunities anywhere in the world." Dr. Anthony thanked “the various business and technical partners who worked tirelessly to mold young men and women of character, who are now ready for the world of work.” The graduation ceremony was the second held in Saint Lucia and areas of training included general construction, office administration, commercial food preparation, food and beverage and housekeeping. Some 48% of the graduates had already found employment in their chosen fields. ¤
St. Lucia Joins ALBA Ahead of PetroCaribe St. Lucia has officially joined fellow OECS member-states Antigua, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the newest member of ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America). The decision was announced following the VIII Meeting of the ALBA Council of
Economic Complementation in Caracas on April 23, which concluded with a sevenpoint Resolution that announced the inclusion of St. Lucia in the regional bloc. The ALBA meeting was attended by several Caribbean leaders, including Prime Ministers leading delegations representing other OECS ALBA member-states. St. Lucia was represented by Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony and Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste. At the meeting announcing St. Lucia’s membership, it was also decided that the Commercial Fair of ALBA countries will be held in Caracas during July 2013, to boost member-states’ economies and help shield them from the more powerful nations. The Government has also indicated that St. Lucia will also join the PetroCaribe Initiative, through which Venezuela makes fuel available to Caribbean states at attractive prices and with long terms of repayment. St. Lucia will also follow other OECS member-states and appoint a non-Resident Ambassador to Latin America. ¤
It’s Now Easier to do Business With Government! Thanks to a promise by Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy in her 2012 Throne Speech last year, it’s now possible to do business with the Government of Saint Lucia with credit and debit cards. The announcement was made by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Dr. Kenny D. Anthony at the recent launch of the new Point of Sale (POS) System. The Prime Minister, who described this milestone as "another promise delivered," thanked the Bank of Saint Lucia “for partnering with the Government of Saint Lucia to transform Government's method of collecting revenue.” He explained, "Since the announcement, government sought to procure the services of a suitable partner that was able to facilitate the introduction of the POS system. Following much evaluation and analysis, government selected the services offered by the Bank of Saint Lucia.”
He said the Bank “has a symbiotic relationship with the Government and has in many instances been our partner in development” and his government looks forward to a continued mutually beneficial relationship." The Prime Minister, in his remarks, expressed the hope that this initiative will not simply lead to a more efficient way of collecting revenue, but that Government will realise an increase in collections. The Point of Sale system was launched on March 19, 2013 at the conference room of the Ministry of Infrastructure. ¤
Taiwan and Morocco to Fertilise Banana Revival Efforts continue towards revival of the local banana industry, with Taiwan and Morocco offering to help fertilise its revival. The Taiwanese, who have long been involved in banana tissue culture research on the island, have promised to step up their help with additional assistance. Taiwan has also been assisting with fighting the dreaded Black Sigatoka disease, which razed whatever was left of the industry after Hurricane Tomas. Saint Lucian banana farmers will also generally benefit from special assistance from Morocco in the procurement of much-needed agricultural inputs. The African nation in April reconfirmed it will supply 200 tons of fertiliser annually to aid with the island’s banana production. St. Lucia has been the leading Windward island producer of bananas, exporting record amounts each year to the UK over sustained periods under special arrangements with the UK. However, the agreements favouring Caribbean, African and Pacific states were successfully challenged by Latin America with US backing at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Cheaper but less tasty Latin fruit have now flooded the European market, to the peril of the Windward Islands and other Caribbean producers (including Jamaica). But banana production formed the financial base of the island’s mono-crop economy for such a long time that it’s been difficult to encourage farmers to diversify. Taiwan has sought to introduce aquaculture, oriental gardening and farming with some success, but not enough to counterbalance the tremendous losses from the once-lucrative banana industry. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
The Business Benefits of
By: Bevil Wooding The phenomenal rise of social media platforms is altering the way organisations engage the public. By more intimately connecting companies to customers, social media provides organisations with powerful new means of getting their messages out. But how do organisations tap into the power of social media in the face of executive pushback and potentially unknown returns on investment (ROI)? The answer is deceptively simple: have a clear social media plan. It’s not sufficient to go ‘social’ simply because it’s the in-thing. The key is to accept that communicating and marketing social media is just that: marketing and communications. The same basic principles that govern corporate communications and marketing can be applied to the new social media channels. The new digital platforms are simply new interfaces for engaging customers, building brand awareness, and promoting products and services. Social media platforms can also be used to gain invaluable insight into shifting market preferences and trends.
Feedback from Organisations The Harvard Business Review Analytics Services recently conducted a survey of 2,100 organisations and discovered that 79 per cent are currently using social media channels. They also asked them what they saw as the benefits of social media and here are the results and feedback from the real world. 1) Increased awareness of the organisation 2) Increased traffic to Web site 3) Greater favourable perceptions of the brand 4) Able to monitor conversations about the organisation 5) Able to develop targeted marketing activities 6) Better understanding of customers perceptions of their brand 7) Improved insights about their target markets 8) Identification of positive and negative comments 9) Increase in new business
10) Identification of new product or
service opportunities 11) Ability to measure the frequency of the discussion about the brand 12) Early warning of potential product or service issues
Social Media Still Evolving According to Jon Phillips, a Washington DC-based new media expert, “Social media is still very much in transition. Companies are still figuring out how to connect social media investment into quantifiable business returns.” This is one reason why organisations and marketers struggle when it comes to understanding and measuring social media ROI. Lack of knowledge of the rules and requirements of the dynamic social media landscape is another reason that many initiatives end in failure or disappointment. Phillips likens corporate social media efforts to New Year’s resolutions, “The majority of organisations have great intentions, but the efforts at adopting social media ultimately fail because there is insufficient investment and commitment.”
Rhea Yaw Ching, vice-president, sales and marketing at Columbus, agrees, “When there are no well defined objectives, implementation can and often will lead to wasted resources and disappointing results. Companies should take the time to understand the shifting behaviour of consumers in online channels and match that to their revenue and retention objectives.” Understanding this who, what, where, when and why of social media engagement makes it easier (and more rewarding) to take the plunge. Creating a presence on the popular networks is a technically trivial affair. Any business can join and create a profile. Making that presence count is where the investment must be focused. Just as visibility has value in the real world, your social media presence can be given value in the virtual world.
5 guides for Social Media Success The following list can be used as a guide to help you craft a practical set of rules for your social media initiatives:
1. Participate where your presence is strategic: Research all relevant communities of interest and come up with a participation value matrix. 2. Resource your social media initiatives: Ensure that any external activities are supported by a comprehensive infrastructure to address situations and adapt to market conditions and demands. 3. Make sure your social media initiatives are seamlessly integrated into your corporate communications, marketing, HR and sales initiatives: Internal collaboration ensures consistent external messages. 4. Track your online activity and safeguard your brand perception: Train your social media personnel to proactively and reactively respond. 5. Act and Learn: Record and share lessons of your social media experience across the company and create avenues to ensure that your organisation evolves and adapts over time.
Even with all its benefits, many corporate decision makers remain unsure or sceptical about the returns to be gained from investing time and resource in social media. What often intimidates decision makers is that the potential dangers of social media can be so devastating. Paul Gillin the author of ‘The New Influencers,’ wrote, “Conventional marketing wisdom long held that a dissatisfied customer tells ten people. But…in the new age of social media, he or she has the tools to tell ten million.” However, the positive dimension is that a satisfied customer can now instantly share that delight with thousands or millions in a way that was simply not possible before. Fear of the unknown should not be allowed to overwhelm clear value that the social media revolution can provide to an organisation. ¤ Bevil Wooding is the chief knowledge officer of Congress WBN, a values-based, international non-profit organisation and an Internet strategist with USbased Packet Clearing House. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding or at: facebook.com/bevilwooding or contact via e-mail at technologymatters@ brightpathfoundation.org
Makes Karib Cable its 3rd Major Caribbean Telecom Acquisition Columbus International Inc continued its march across the Eastern Caribbean with its acquisition of Kelcom International Ltd, which operates under the name ‘Karib Cable.’ Karib Cable operates in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and holds a host of telecom licenses in Barbados, where it is in the early stages of network deployment. The channel reaches approximately 110,000 homes and serves close to 60,000 customers, offering cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony services. Columbus is a diversified telecommunications provider in the Caribbean, Central America and Andean region and this acquisition marks the fifth
significant transaction and third acquisition entered into in the last twelve months as the company continues to scale-up its operations in the region. The telecommunications company provides digital cable television, broadband Internet, digital landline telephony in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and Curacao under the brand name FLOW and corporate data and cloud based services under the brand name Columbus Business Solutions. Upon completion of this transaction, Columbus' retail operations now span eight countries across the region, pass more than 750,000 households and businesses and serve in excess of 500,000 retail customers, further strengthening the
company's position as the leading triple play service provider in the Caribbean. "The acquisition of Kelcom marks another important milestone for Columbus as we expand our service footprint to deliver our brand of services across the Caribbean region," said Brendan Paddick, chairman and chief executive officer of Columbus. "We believe that this is an exciting opportunity to build upon Kelcom's past successes to offer a truly world-class suite of services and technologies to the people and businesses of St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Antigua. “We welcome Kelcom, its customers and its approximately 250 talented professionals into the Columbus family."
Jamaica’s LIME to Lay Off 300 as it Partners with Ericsson Telecommunications firm LIME will lay off more than 300 employees as it partners with international service provider Ericsson to upgrade customer service. About 305 employees from the company’s field services department will be affected under the seven-year agreement which becomes effective May 20th, Corporate Communications Manager, Elon Parkinson disclosed Monday. However, LIME employees will have the opportunity to reapply for positions with Ericsson. They will receive a separation package and will also be provided with career change counseling and financial advice, LIME said in a release Monday evening. Those who successfully apply to Ericsson will become part of that company’s team “global network of professionals and will benefit from the firm’s advanced expertise and training, with opportunities for further career advancement,” the statement said. LIME announced the move as part of its thrust to “to transform the customer experience across its wide range of products.” ¤
BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May/June May/June
to Open 41 Stores in the Caribbean
Elias Kabeche, Samsung’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hand Held Products (HHP) and IT Businesses As Samsung seeks to establish itself as the dominant technology provider in the world, the Korean company is moving to seal its presence in the Caribbean. Plans are afoot to open a series of Samsung Experience stores throughout the islands and to engage in educational initiatives and other private and public sector partnerships. Elias Kabeche, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Hand Held Products (HHP) and IT Businesses, said the Caribbean is very important to Samsung. “Part of the policy of Samsung is that we don’t leave any country behind, no matter how small it is and in the Caribbean right now we have a lot of initiatives,” said Kabeche, whose area of focus is the Miami export market and the Caribbean. Kabeche was among the many Samsung executives who were in New York recently for the launch of the new Galaxy S4 at Radio City Music Hall. His contingent included Julio HC Hong, President of Samsung Electronics Latin America and Young Dae Sin, managing director, Samsung Electronics Latin America. Speaking to the T&T Guardian after the BusinessFocus May/June
launch, Kabeche revealed that one of the initiatives Samsung is currently engaged in regionally is the Smart School project. “This allows us to bring our tablet with smart content to schools in partnership with the government. Right now we are doing it in Antigua and we are looking at Curacao and Trinidad and talking to the Ministries of Education in those islands,” he explained. Smart School is a programme that allows teachers to upload work to Samsung tablets and monitor their students’ progress. Kabeche said Samsung has tested the programme and found that children who use it develop a higher learning curve than children who do not. Kabeche said in an effort to get consumers more familiar with their products, 41 Samsung Experience stores will be opened this year. The stores will feature all of Samsung products, including tablets and computers. “We really want to get more in touch with people so we can sell the right set of products in each island. We have a partnership with operators in the islands so we can put our phones there and try to get more smart phones in the hands
of people,” he said, stating that Samsung products are increasing in the Caribbean on its own merit. He said in T&T, in particular, Samsung has a much larger share of the market than Blackberry. “Trinidad is one of our important markets and Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In terms of the Caribbean, up and coming islands are the Bahamas, the Guyanas, Suriname. We support our operators and they have presence in all the islands so we have support in the islands in service, in product.” He said in addition to the flagship SIII and S4 series, Samsung has a range of phones suited to all income levels. Kabeche also revealed that there would be a significant marketing campaign throughout the Caribbean to promote the new S4. In an effort to interact with the Caribbean better, Samsung will open a new regional office, based in T&T. The office, which is carded to open soon, will occupy the space that Microsoft formerly occupied at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce building in Westmoorings. ¤ Courtesy: Business Guardian
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Science, Technology and Innovation Takes Centre Stage at CARICOM The sustainable development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) can be brought about only through the incorporation of research and development in all sectors of the economy and the appropriate development of human resources. This was put forward by Myrna Bernard, officer in charge of the Human and Social Development Directorate at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, at the opening of the European Union (EU)–CARINET first bi-regional dialogue workshop at the Secretariat Headquarters, Turkeyen, Guyana. The EU-CARINET project brings together a consortium of five European and six Caribbean partners and seeks to promote and support a long lasting, sustainable, multi-stakeholder bi-regional policy dialogue on science and technology and innovation.
Bernard identified a key element of the required knowledge production and management as the achievement of closer linkages among science, technology, and innovation (STI) at all levels. She pointed out that Article 64 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas recognised the importance of research and development and in particular, the adoption of measures “to encourage, inter alia, inventions and innovation, and acquisition, transfer, assimilation, adaptation and diffusion of technologies in the Community” and the promotion of “cooperation in research and technological development among the member states and with third states and competent international organisations.” The one-day workshop presented an opportunity to examine the evidence with regard to the status of STI in the Caribbean, the barriers and challenges to effective STI
and the priorities distilled from the various thematic and other consultations and processes engaged in during the project. This four-year project, which is now entering the final twelve months, has delivered, Bernard said, some important results, “which can form the basis for reigniting the discussion around STI at the regional level and also to trigger a renewed approach to the manner in which CARICOM and the Caribbean in general, organises to advance STI by taking advantage of opportunities and strengthening cooperation with international partners especially the European Union.” She added, “We are hopeful that the occasion of this bi-regional dialogue workshop will form the initial step for a renewed regional level approach to science, technology and innovation.”
CARICOM Focuses on Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy Stakeholders in the energy sector across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) gathered in Trinidad and Tobago for an exchange of views on the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). The document is being used to guide the region’s progress in the use of renewable energy and set energy efficiency targets. About 50 participants attended the C-SERMS workshop on the eve of the 41st special ministerial meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy. The forum was aimed at building awareness about the process involved in the full establishment of C-SERMS, and providing feedback that BusinessFocus May/June
will aid in the finalisation of a report on establishing regional sustainable energy targets. In addition, the half-day workshop also discussed sustainable and efficient energy use in the transportation and building sectors. C-SERMS has its background in a mandate issued by the heads of government of CARICOM at their twentieth inter-sessional meeting held in Belize in 2009. At that meeting, the heads of government had agreed that a regional sustainable energy roadmap should be developed and implemented to guide, encourage and expedite the increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. This stance was adopted in view of the role of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency in the region as key climate change mitigation strategies. The roadmap and strategy is being established in phases. Phase One – setting initial sustainable energy targets
and strategies – began in 2011 with grant funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through a technical cooperation agreement. Phase One concludes this year. The second phase begins in 2013 with support from the government of Germany through the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and other agencies. That phase encompasses more detailed work on the assessment of the energy sector in each member state. Aspects of this segment of development of the roadmap and strategy include testing political feasibility of regional strategies; coordination of financing mechanisms; identification of innovative financing solutions to bridge gaps that exist; and the development and adoption of harmonised tools to support energy sector analysis, diagnosis, performance tracking and reporting.
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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 May/June | 15 back. Our resorts certainly impress, but it’s our people that keeps guests coming
Keeps Customers Moving Smarter With BlackBerry Z10 Customers Can Win Tickets To Alicia Keys’ Concert in Prague 22 April 2013, Castries: LIME today launched the new, highly-anticipated BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone powered by BlackBerry® 10, and announced that three lucky customers from across the region will be jetting off to see Alicia Keys’ SET THE WORLD ON FIRE concert in the Czech Republic. LIME debuted the BlackBerry Z10 at a mega-launch hosted at the Baywalk Mall in Rodney Bay, attended by corporate customers, celebrity guests and Government officials on Monday, 22 April, and announced that the new smartphone would be available from LIME across the region. At the event, LIME explained that the BlackBerry Z10 running on LIME’s data network makes for a smarter experience for customers. “As the region’s value leader our customers expect us to offer devices and packages that let them work and play at a cost they can afford. The BlackBerry Z10 on our data network will allow us to do just that. LIME customers will get the best of both worlds – a smartphone that goes further and a network provider that understands their needs. Our customers know it is the smarter choice,” said LIME Saint Lucia General Manager, Chris Williams. Customers who buy the new BlackBerry Z10 from LIME will have the opportunity to win one of three trips for two to see Alicia Keys’ SET THE WORLD ON FIRE concert in Prague on June 12, 2013. “We are always looking for ways to delight our customers with unmatched experiences. With the BlackBerry Z10 from LIME, our customers again have the best value in the region. And we are excited to go further with a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to see Alicia Keys live in Europe,” added Chris. The new BlackBerry Z10 is the first BlackBerry smartphone to launch with the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry 10 platform, giving customers a powerful and unique new mobile computing experience. ¤ EDITORS’ NOTE: With BlackBerry 10 every feature, every gesture, and every detail is designed to keep customers moving and includes advancements such as: Peek and Flow into the BlackBerry Hub – A new mobile computing • paradigm where what matters to customers is always only one swipe away. • Keyboard – Understands and adapts to customers, so they can type faster and more accurately. • BBM™ (BlackBerry® Messenger) – Allows customers to share things with the people that matter to them in an instant. • BlackBerry® Balance™ technology – Protects what is important to customers and the businesses they work for. About LIME LIME is the Caribbean's largest telecommunications company with a proud history in the region, and which is always working to improve life in the Caribbean. LIME delivers the very best communication services to governments, businesses and families in 13 Caribbean countries with one unifying promise—building, connecting and serving communities. LIME is part of Cable & Wireless Communications PLC, one of the world's leading communications companies. BlackBerry and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited. BlackBerry is not responsible for any thirdparty products or services. BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May/June May/June
Honours George Theophilus On Cover of 2013 Directory This year’s Directory Front Cover places the spotlight on Mr George Theophilus for his outstanding work in the fields of finance and economics, his immense contributions to the economic advancement of Saint Lucia and the Caribbean. The 2013 Services Directory was officially unveiled recently and it proved to be a truly special occasion for Mr Theophilus who is a devoted Catholic. “It is timely that the LIME 2013 Directory places the spotlight squarely on a Saint Lucian who is a living example of commitment, dedication, humility and self sacrifice, and a dedicated Christian,” said LIME Saint Lucia General Manager, Chris Williams. “He is a man whose phenomenal contributions to the fields of finance and economics have had immense impact on the financial policies of governments and institutions in the Caribbean, and have won him praise throughout the region. At LIME we believe in doing our bit to ensure that outstanding citizens like Mr Theophilus are acknowledged,” Mr Williams added. George Theophilus was born in Choiseul, where he started his first career, education, as a primary school teacher at Choiseul Boys School. He eventually went on to serve in the Ministry of Education as Administrative Cadet, Assistant Secretary and Permanent Secretary. He graduated from London University and Carleton University, Canada with degrees in economics, public administration and finance. Mr Theophilus’ embarked on a second career in banking and finance in 1973, as Deputy Managing Director of the East Caribbean Currency Authority. On his return to Saint Lucia in 1981 he was appointed Managing Director/Chairman of the Saint Lucia Development Bank. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the National Commercial Bank and as Financial and Economic Adviser to the Saint Lucia Government. In 1992 Mr Theophilus founded Financial Investment and Consultancy Services (FICS) Ltd along with his now deceased wife, Mrs Jeanne Lusca C. Theophilus. FICS has since grown to become one of Saint Lucia’s premier indigenous financial institutions. Mr Theophilus cites the
mutual love he and his wife shared and the support and encouragement he received from his brother, Denison Theophilus as his greatest sources of strength and inspiration and the main reason for all his personal and professional successes. Mr Theophilus has provided consultancy services in management, banking, finance and budgeting to regional governments and institutions, including the Governments of Grenada, Antigua and Saint Lucia, the ECCB and OECS Directorate of Civil Aviation. His research papers and speeches have contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in a wide range of areas in finance and economics. For his outstanding service to Church, State and country,
George Theophilus and his son Minister Lorne Theophilus
George Theophilus has been knighted by the Pope, awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty the Queen, and in 2009 was awarded the Saint Lucia Cross by the Government of Saint Lucia. Mr Theophilus is the proud father of two children, Lorne Theophilus, a lawyer and currently Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, and Wendy Theophilus, Acting Managing Director of Financial Investment & Consultancy Services Ltd. Over the years LIME has used the Directory cover to honour numerous Saint Lucians who have dedicated their lives to the socioeconomic, cultural, artistic and sporting advancement of Saint Lucia, including Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott, Sir Dunstan St Omer, Mrs Teresa Hall, Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson, two-time Olympian, Levern Spencer, and several other national icons. ¤ BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May/June May/June
With Help and Support, Local IT Company Spreads Wings Regionally Thanks to support from a locallybased business-support entity assisting to develop local export capacity, a local company is spreading its wings regionally. Business Tech Research Inc., a local IT company located at Vide Boutielle, is making inroads into the regional market, with help from the Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries (SLCSI). The company, which has been in existence for over 10 years, specialises in IT Implementation Services, Software Development and Data Management and Research and Planning. They are also local resellers of McAfee Security Software and a few other international brands including Dell and MobileFrame mobile application platform. Senior Associate Jason Charlemagne says Business Tech Research Inc. (BTRI) does “Management Consultancy with an ICT focus.” The company is headed by its founder and Managing Director Dr. Stephen Louis and has a full-time staff complement of four persons, including a Database / Application Developer, a Project Manager and an IT technician. The company's client base includes prominent local companies, as well as regional organisations such BusinessFocus May/June
as the CARICOM Secretariat and the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). BTRI is one of 20 companies benefitting from an Export Development Platform currently being undertaken by the Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries (SLCSI). The export-readiness initiative is part of SLCSI's programme dubbed 'Developing St. Lucia's Services Sector.' Charlemagne says prior to signing up for the Export Development Platform, BTRI landed contracts based on referrals and the quality of the company's work. He says, “What the programme has done is that it has shown the merits of preparing a proper marketing strategy, identifying market segments and targeting the calibre of clients which the company wants to serve.” Charlemagne adds, “We always had a general idea of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to be. What the export platform has helped us to do was to approach it systematically and set specific targets in terms of what products/ services we want to develop for specific markets.” According to Charlemagne, "So far, the programme has helped us identify potential niche markets in
specific territories. Our initial focus is on Barbados and OECS markets but we are also interested in the future potential of the larger markets such as Trinidad and Jamaica." Charlemagne says BTRI has had some experience working in these markets and hopes to strengthen its contacts and working relationships and is in the process of developing specific products and service offerings for these markets. Most of the service offerings will be delivered online but BTRI personnel will be available to travel to provide support services when necessary. He says BTRI has had past experience deploying software solutions and delivering training to various clients in the region using remote access software. Charlemagne noted that advances in technology are making the delivery of services via the Internet more feasible. Diane Girard of NEX Consulting says, “The fact that BTRI already had some experience exporting its services made the process of working with them a lot easier.” She adds, “The challenge for a company like BTRI is keeping pace with the latest technology and making sure its staff has the right skills for the range of services the company offers.” ¤
EU Launches €40 Million Caribbean Investment Facility
The European Union launched the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF) during late March 2013 in Barbados with an initial budget of €40 million (US$52 million). The CIF is an innovative financing mechanism established by the EU in 2012 to mobilise additional financing from European and Caribbean development and finance institutions. The facility seeks to respond to the need to support investment projects in the region boosting potential for economic growth and reducing poverty. The aim of the CIF is to close funding gaps by blending and leveraging European Union grant resources with the lending capacity of finance institutions and private sector capital. The main priorities for the CIF are interconnectivity, energy, transport, disaster mitigation and adaptation, communications, water and sanitation, BusinessFocus May/June
social services infrastructure. Eight projects have already been identified to receive funding from the CIF. The total value of these projects is €26.5 million (US$34.7 million), and in accordance with the leveraging aims of the CIF, these projects have attracted further investments of more than €290 million (US$380 million). On March 13, the CIF board approved a contribution of €2 million (US$2.6 million) for the further development of geothermal power in Dominica. The agreement was formally signed by the Government of Dominica, the European Union and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) on the occasion of the CIF launch. Jolita Butkeviciene, EuropeAid Director for Latin America and the Caribbean said: “This CIF launch marks the beginning of a new level of cooperation between Europe and
the Caribbean, which in light of the evolution of similar EU funded regional facilities, should provide considerably increased investments for the region.” The CIF is managed by EuropeAid and is implemented in partnership European and Regional Development Banks. Similar EU funded investment facilities exist for Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the European Neighbourhood. These have proved to be extremely successful at leveraging additional investments for key components of the path toward sustainable development. As an example, the EU Latin American Investment Facility, launched in 2010, has already attracted an additional €1.6 billion from bilateral, multilateral and Latin American Finance Institutions and other donors. ¤
Simple Steps to Accumulating Wealth
The accumulation of wealth is largely dependent on what one chooses to do with one’s cash in hand. Money can be used in various ways. It can be spent, lent or used to gain ownership of an asset, that is, an item of value that can be used to generate a return. Spending relates to using up income earned on the consumption of goods and services. Excessive spending can leave an individual with insufficient means to buy assets to generate a substantial return. In other words, to accumulate wealth the first step is to be a conservative spender. Try to distinguish real needs from wants or luxuries that you can do without. Lending your hard earned money can get you some returns in that one gets interest on the funds that one lends. Whilst being a lender might be relatively safe in the short term, in the long term, lending can become quite risky because, after time, due to inflation (rising prices) and taxes, lenders are almost certain to experience a decrease in their real purchasing power. In other words, there is the risk that one dollar repaid by a borrower in the future would buy fewer goods & services than one dollar today. The third option, purchasing assets, provides individuals greater scope for creating more wealth. Assets to own can range from developed property, freehold land, gold or even shares in companies. Investing in the common stock or shares of a firm effectively makes the individual a part owner of the company and entitles him/her to a part of the company’s profits. This ‘profit’ is distributed in the form of dividends which are paid on a per share basis. Shares can also be sold for a profit
if their price goes up after the individual purchases them. As a potential investor you need to develop a sound understanding of money. You need to ask yourself exactly how much time you devote to your financial education and whether the time you spend is enough to enable you to make the best decisions. Smart investors know how to take advantage of current tax laws. For instance, when you file your tax returns, having money invested in an annuity allows you to claim for a partial re-imbursement of tax payments made in the year. In deciding which investment is right for you, it is often best to visit a professional investment firm. At the very least, you should do enough research yourself before making investment decisions. Factors to consider An important factor to consider is the rate of inflation. As prices go up (inflation) the same amount of money buys fewer goods and services. It is best as an investor, to find an investment with a rate of return that either meets beats or at least adequately compensates for the rate of increase in prices. When shopping for items at a supermarket many individuals look for the ‘best deals’ on items. Similarly, when you are picking stocks of companies to invest in, look for value for money. In other words, out of all the companies listed on the Stock Exchange try to find those that have been consistently making profits. Try to find out exactly what type of business they are in and try to assess whether their profitability is sustainable in the long-term. A strong business model accompanied by a good management team usually leads to
the long-term success of a company. Holding shares in just one or a few companies can be quite risky for the inexperienced investor as prices can also go down based on different factors. When purchasing shares it is best that individuals seek the advice of an experienced financial advisor. An alternative would be to purchase a mutual fund that tracks the performance of a wide variety of shares. This reduces the investment exposure to any one company by spreading/ diversifying the risk across a larger number of companies. In other words, mutual funds ensure that ‘all your eggs are not in one basket’. Acting on emotions or simply ‘going with the crowd’ based on ‘hype’ about companies reported in the media may lead to an investor making a bad choice of investment or making an investment at an inappropriate time. Common sense and logic must always be at the heart of any investment decision. The way to overcome ‘emotional investing’ is through knowledge. Securing your financial future takes time, discipline, and knowledge of what money must do to create wealth. There are people who can help with increasing your financial knowledge and investment know-how, but you need to be disciplined and commit the time and effort to understand what is required. Accumulating wealth can be done by following these relatively simple steps, so why wait? Use intelligent investing right now to achieve your goals, for, as the saying goes, “tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ¤
Grenada Default has Negative Implications for ECCU - Moody's A major international credit rating agency says the liquidity crisis leading to Grenada’ default on its US and Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar bonds is “credit negative” for the country and elevates the risk of distress spilling over to member countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The newly-elected Dr. Keith Mitchell administration in Grenada said it would default on the bonds due 2025 because it is unable to secure financing to make a coupon payment. The Wall Street-based Moody’s Investors Service said Grenada’s default has “systemic implications for the ECCU through two channels, financial and institutional.” It said Grenada’s default will elevate short term financing costs for its peers that issue local currency (EC dollar) bonds and treasury bills on the ECCU’s Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM). Moody’s said sovereign defaults have also weakened the balance sheets of banks and institutional bondholders in the region. On institutional, it said pre-emptive debt restructuring, primarily targeting external, foreign currency bonds “has become a more acceptable option for policymakers in the region, indicating a diminished willingness to service sovereign debt.” Moody’s said the default is Grenada’s second since 2004, mirroring wider distress in the ECCU. It said that St. Kitts and Nevis defaulted on its debt in 2011, and Antigua and Barbuda restructured its debt in 2010. Moody’s said both countries have active International Monetary Fund (IMF) stand-by programmes “with embedded conditionality and structural reform requirements” while all six ECCU members, which also include St. Vincent and the BusinessFocus May/June
Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, “rely on emergency IMF credit facilities for financing reconstruction following the impact of hurricanes.” The credit rating agency said government debt in the ECCU is “high,” adding that the regional average was 94 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, putting it “on par with distressed Euro area sovereigns.” Moody’s said regional GDP contracted at an average rate of 2.1 per cent between 2009 and 2012, adding that it expects “only a modest recovery in 2013.” In addition to the debt overhang, it said ECCU sovereigns face elevated risks stemming from twin current account and fiscal deficits. “Absent a currency devaluation or exit from the union, which are both unlikely options at this time, policy levers for addressing these imbalances and repairing sovereign balance sheets are limited to a severe domestic adjustment through fiscal consolidation and structural reforms to stimulate growth. “For a number of sovereigns in the region, these reforms may not materialize fast enough to arrest rising sovereign financing needs, leading to liquidity crunches,” Moody’s said, adding that a sustained reduction in debt in the region over the next decade will require “some combination of aggressive fiscal consolidation and an improvement in growth.” However, it said both of these goals are increasingly out of reach, stating that budgets are “largely inflexible, limited by high and rising interest costs and expenditure on wages and social benefits.” Moody’s said diminishing returns to the Caribbean tourism-centered growth model, combined with depressed public sector investment in infrastructure, have
resulted in a “ratcheting down of trend growth that will be difficult to reverse.” Moreover, it said growth in the ECCU is “acutely vulnerable” to volatility in external demand and weather-related shocks and that it views more indirect approaches to reducing the debt burden as less feasible in the ECCU. It said monetising domestic currency debt through inflation is not a viable option under the current quasi-currency board arrangement, and that the ECCU lacks the “fiscal firepower” to finance an emergency lending facility along the lines of the European Stability Mechanism. Moody’s also said IMF financing remains the sole source of emergency external liquidity support for the ECCU. It said debt mutualisation within the currency union “a potential long-term solution to the liquidity pressures facing issuers in the Euro area, is far from becoming an economic reality in the ECCU, since all of the sovereign member states currently carry unsustainable debt loads.” Moody’s said the region’s upper middle-income status disqualifies it from multilateral and Paris Club debt relief that is afforded to over-indebted but poor countries. “This dearth of options has elevated debt restructuring as a tool for reducing government debt. However, the history of sovereign default in the Caribbean is instructive,” Moody’s said, noting to date, restructurings in the region have done little to address the threat of insolvency posed by unmanageable debt burdens. Instead, Moody’s said most countries have received only temporary liquidity relief, “which has only increased the frequency of sovereign default.” ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
China to Provide US $2 Billion for Regional Co-financing Fund with IDB The China Co-financing Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean is the first of its kind established by China and a multilateral development bank. The fund is the result of a partnership between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the People’s Bank of China (PBC) to support public and private sector projects that promote sustainable economic growth in the region. The IDB said the fund will provide capital to complement the IDB’s own resources for projects seeking to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality, boost private sector investment, improve competitiveness and social welfare, and support programs to
mitigate the impacts of climate change and promote greater gender equality. The proposed US$2 billion contribution by China will be used to co-finance a total of up to US$500 million of IDB public sector loans and up to US$1.5 billion for loans made by the Bank to private sector entities, the IDB said. It said co-financing fund resources will be used to complement IDB loans, subject to pre-established limits. The IDB said the funds from China will be available for the next three years for public sector projects and the next six years for non-sovereign guaranteed operations. “China is a key partner for the Bank’s mission to alleviate poverty and inequality
in the region,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “This partnership is another example of our efforts to promote greater South-South cooperation to narrow funding gaps in sectors with high developmental impact and enhance the social and economic impact of our projects,” he added. In partnering with the IDB, China hopes to channel its resources toward development finance projects that require additional financing to make them viable, the statement said. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
West Indies General
Insurance Company Limited
Suriname Keeps Out Republic Bank State blocks a strategic partnership between Suriname’s Hakrinbank and Republic Bank Trinidad’s Republic Bank has lost out on acquiring a majority stake in stateowned Hakrinbank of Suriname after that government announced its decision to instead sell its shares to private investors. Last year, Hakrinbank had reported in its annual report that its board of directors had started negotiations with Republic Bank to become its new majority owner and talks were “progressing smoothly". Despite opposition to the sale being voiced even from within the highest levels of parliament, Hakrinbank had said it had consulted with the Surinamese government in its capacity as majority stakeholder before proceeding with the negotiations.
However, it seems now that arguments against putting state assets in foreign hands has won-over the government as Suriname’s Ministry of Finance said shares the state owns in Hakrinbank will soon be made available for purchase by private investors. Reports are that Suriname’s President Desiré Bouterse said the decision not to sell its 51% stake to the Trinidadian bank is in line with observations by Surinamese bankers who had warned against the acquisition by Republic Bank. Established in 1936, Hakrinbank is one of Suriname’s oldest banks with a 25 per cent market share. The Suriname Government said the sale would take place on the local commodities market
and the intention is for the Government to have less involvement in the service and product sectors which are best served by the private sector. In its annual report last year Hakrinbank had linked the pursuit of a new majority owner to ongoing significant increases in its operational costs and investments expenditures, and growing competition on both the domestic and international financial sector fronts. In commenting on this latest development, Republic Bank issued a statement saying that it remains open to any new opportunities offered in Suriname and other countries in the region. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
Former LIALPA Leader Wins Against Antigua Labour Department Agrees that LIAT Unfairly Dismissed Captain Michael Blackburn.
LIAT’s December 5, 2011, termination of Captain Michael Blackburn from its employ amounted to unfair dismissal, according to the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Department. Acting Labour Commissioner Pascal Kentish has stated in the conciliation report BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May/June May/June
that the former chairman of the Leeward Islands Pilots Association (LIALPA) was dismissed unfairly because the company failed to follow the disciplinary provisions of the collective agreement. Kentish has recommended that Blackburn be paid severance pay at the rate of one month’s pay for each year of service, notice pay, vacation earned but not paid at the time of termination, and six months compensation for unfair dismissal in addition to wages earned but not paid. Blackburn, worked as a LIAT pilot for more than 33 years. According to the Observer newspaper, Blackburn was fired after making certain comments on Observer Radio’s Big Issues programme in 2011, which the management said threatened the airline’s existence.
At the time, LIAT’s Corporate Communications Manager Desmond Brown said Blackburn was fired after long consideration. Brown said Blackburn was summarily dismissed because the company “felt that Captain Blackburn’s statements with regard to the safety standards of the airline and the capability of its management were a deliberate attempt to bring the company into public disrepute.” He said these statements had received widespread publicity throughout the region and the world, and painted “an unfair and distorted picture of LIAT’s operations” and brought the safety and reliability of the airline into question. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
IMF Economist Warns
Eastern Caribbean Countries
Alfred Schipke, formerly of the IMF Western Hemisphere Division
A senior economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) that they face similar challenges now confronting the Eurozone countries. Alfred Schipke, formerly of the IMF Western Hemisphere Division, said the Eastern Caribbean Currency and Economic Union, may be the smallest of three economic and currency unions worldwide, bringing together eight small islands, whose total combined population is less than a million; but he said it is an interesting microcosm of the Euro area and the challenges it faces following the global economic crisis of 2008. Schipke has edited a new book on the Eastern Caribbean Currency and Economic Union and in an interview posted on the IMF website, said the member countries of the union – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat and Anguilla – all have many similarities including the same colonial history. “In terms of the benefits given the small size of these countries it allows these countries to take advantage of sustained economies. It also allows them to what we call diversify risk, one country gets hit by shock or hurricane then they can pool resources and deal with those shocks more effectively. But most importantly because of the size of the islands they can provide at the regional level, more cost effective public services (and) that’s the major benefit.”
He said what does matter is that if those countries speak with one voice they can have better representation at the global level. “Interestingly enough the Eastern Caribbean Currency and economic Union is actually a microcosm of the European Economic and Monetary Union since it has been faced with rising fiscal deficit, unsustainable debt levels in a number of states, a lack of fiscal integration and challenges in the financial sector that are threatening the underpinnings of the union. “Just like in the European Currency Union overcoming these challenges are particularly difficult in monetary unions,” he said, adding “sometimes you need a crisis to implement reforms. So there are opportunities and I think there is a general feeling in the region that further integration is needed to ensure the viability of the union, but in the European Union you would need to put political capital into the reforms.” Asked what would be some policy recommendations for long term growth in the region, Schipke said there is need for generating conditions for strong sustainable growth which he noted is paramount in the Eastern Caribbean. “As a matter of fact, the Eastern Caribbean experienced strong growth periods in the years after independence, but since the 1990’s prior to the financial crisis, growth slowed down significantly. Now that is in part explained by a number of shocks, the erosion of trade preferences that the countries benefitted from Europe, in terms of the trade shocks, higher oil prices and also a reduction in foreign aid.”
He said another issue is that tourism has been a major contributor to economic growth in the region and while “there is some potential for future growth in this particular area in other service areas,” the new growth model for the region will have to rely more on the private sector. “In the past the role of the public sector was very dominant, but given the very high debt levels, the room for public participation will be more limited, so it has to be more private sector driven.” Schipke said unlike within the European Union, there is no opposition to a single currency within the Eastern Caribbean union. “The common currency has never been questioned; given the small size of these countries there is no alternative to that. In addition to that, the Eastern Caribbean had never had its own currency. It was either the British pound; it has had a currency board and it has served the region very well. It has relatively low rates of inflation and it is one of those currency broad arrangements that has success because it has lasted for a very long time. “Given that there is no questioning of the common currency that needs to be supplemented with other elements including a sound framework for the financial sector at the regional level ... I don’t think there is any questioning that further coordination needs to take place. “I think the question is more at what speed rather than whether,” he added. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
Witco Makes TT$476m Profit for 2012
UN $87 Billion Needed to Fight
ONE CARIBBEAN MEDIA LIMITED The United Nations-backed Global Fund says it needs an estimated US $87 billion to bring under control the threat posed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, during the 2014-2016 period, in the Caribbean and globally. “If we don’t seize this moment, we will be dealing with these diseases for generations,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on the second of a two-day conference with donors and other partners here. “These moments don’t come very often,” he added. “We can achieve a historic change in the world, and that is what we are on this planet to do.” According to a needs assessment by the Global Fund and partners, the fight against HIV/ AIDS alone will cost about US$58 billion in 201416, with additional $15 billion for tuberculosis and $14 billion for malaria. The assessment was drawn up with technical partners at the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), UNAIDS, Roll Back Malaria and the Stop TB partnership. In addition to the needs assessment, delegates at the meeting heard presentations on new advances in science and implementation that can increase the impact of Global Fund investments to support partners fighting the three diseases. The UN said health officials also showed how a big increase in impact could be achieved in many countries by focusing efforts on “hot spots,” where disease is most heavily concentrated, and by acting before diseases spread out of control. Forecasts presented to delegates showed that, with adequate funding, more than 18 million adults eligible for treatment could be on antiretroviral therapy by 2016, up from 8 million; that almost 6 million people could be saved from TB; and that 196,000 more lives could be saved every year from malaria. In December, the WHO warned that funding for prevention and control of malaria – which kills an estimated 655,000 people every year and sickens millions more has levelled off after rapid expansion between 2004 and 2009. In a statement accompanying the release of its annual World Malaria Report, the UN health agency said, “These developments are signs of a slowdown that could threaten to reverse the remarkable recent gains in the fight against one of the world’s leading infectious killers.” ¤
OCM Records US$15.8m Pre-tax Profit
One Caribbean Media (OCM) has recorded a US$15.8 million beforetax profit for its 2012 financial year. This was a six-per cent increase over the media group’s US$15 million pretax profit in 2011, OCM chairman Sir Fred Gollop said in a recent statement. OCM is the parent company of Caribbean Communications Network (CCN), owner of the Trinidad Express Newspapers and television station TV6 in Trinidad, the Nation Group in Barbados and includes the Wave Radio Station in St Lucia. OCM also announced a 9.7 per cent increase in revenues, up from US$70 million to US$77 million in 2012. Sir Fred said enhanced sales and marketing strategies, as well as strategic investments, enabled OCM to maintain its net profit margin of 21 per cent. “Our companies continue to enjoy leading positions in their markets. Independent surveys along with digital market reports conducted during 2012 indicate that the group’s media entities held audience and market leadership,” Sir Fred said. Directors have approved a final dividend payment of US$0.07 cents per share, bringing the total dividend declared to US$0.11 cents a share in 2012, up from US$0.10 cents in 2011. At the close of trading on the last trading day before the long Easter weekend, OCM shares were US$2.46 per stock unit. ¤
Executive Manager of West Indian Tobacco Company (Witco), Jean Pierre du Coudray, left, listens to a shareholder during the company’s recent AGM at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Photo: AYANNA KINSALE
West Indian Tobacco (Witco) has recorded a $476 million pre-tax profit for 2012, an 18 per cent increase over $402 million in 2011, according to a company release. Witco held its annual general meeting recently at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad where its board of directors reported the company’s financial results for 2012 to shareholders. Dividends to shareholders have increased 20 per cent to $3.82 per share. The company’s revenue for 2012 was $868 million, a 13.7 per cent increase over 2011’s $763 million. Witco’s taxes amounted to $126.2 million, or 13 per cent more than 2011’s $111 million. The company’s after-tax profit was $350 million, or 20.6 per cent over 2011’s $290 million. Witco pays 35 per cent of its income in taxes to the TT government. “All debts have been paid, all expenses accounted for and government taxes paid on time and still the company is left with $17 million in revenue reserves,” Managing Director Jean Pierre du Coudray said. Du Coudray acknowledged that the company’s product was associated with health risks, but the company’s approach to strategically grow market share is by encouraging existing adult smokers to choose its products over competitors’, not by trying to increase the number of people who smoke or how much they smoke. “Given the health impacts of tobacco products, we support balanced regulation and the company expects high standards of conduct among those who produce, distribute, market and sell them,” he said. The company’s strategy, he said, includes stakeholder engagement on industry regulation; responsible marketing and preventing underage access. WITCO is based in Trinidad and services the Caribbean through a network of distributors. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
Debt Collection in Small Business
fortunate enough to stumble across someone within their network who is willing to offer some insights into how the potential client manages his business. For bigger businesses that are publicly listed and Government offices this task is fairly simple due to annual reports. Having this information in your possession now empowers you to make an informed decision when approaching the client — whether it means receiving the full payment upfront or allowing the client some flexibility in their payment method. Regardless of the business operation, we all face the dreaded task of running down clients for unpaid goods or services. For many larger organisations, an external debt collection agency may be employed or a separate unit or individual may be assigned to try to recover bad debts before they are written off. Many smaller businesses with limited resources are sometimes forced into cash restraints due to the inability to recover sales income. Unable to have a fully-staffed accounting department to oversee accounts receivables, many small businesses have to seek short term financing to cover the costs of their day-today operations. This loss of independence and control is sometimes the unfortunate beginning of the end of operations. So what can a small business do to reduce the occurrences of bad debts?
Before entering any agreement with your potential client, a binding contract should be drawn up every time and on every job, regardless of whether it is wholesaling or on consignment. The contract should include details such as the product(s) to be sold, the amount, prices and regulations governing its sale. While this may seem bureaucratic and unnecessary it reflects the old saying of "prevention is better than cure". More importantly, service oriented businesses which offer intangibles must have a clearly defined contract. Having a lawyer or commissioner of affidavits draft a contract that seeks mutual benefits for both parties is relatively affordable and can be copied from client to client.
Know Your client
Incentivise Early Payment
Your enthusiasm to have your products on the shelves or to set your feet firmly on the ground sometimes tends to put small business operations at risk. This enthusiasm can blind you to the personality of the client, so before anything is done a background check must be performed on the potential client. Since there is no formal system, you must be as discreet as possible when attempting to get more insight into the client company's financial operations. When checking smaller clients, you may be
Chances are if you client is having difficulty paying you on time, they would be also delaying payments to their other suppliers as they juggle their own bills. In this circumstance, you want to be your client's priority. One of the popular methods used by suppliers is incentivising early and timely payments — for example, offering free products, fixed deductions, two to five per cent discounts on the current bills and even discounts on future orders. You can even go so far as to be
Systemise Your Business Practices
competitive by offering better discount rates, prompting your bill to be given preference to the other suppliers.
Be Proactive Bill your clients on time and address non-payment immediately. Calling the customer directly, instead of sending an email or fax will create a sense of urgency. As recommended earlier, having a binding contract is essential; one must be precise about the payment deadline and have a defined payment schedule whether it is 50 per cent now and the other 50 per cent next ten days or month's end. A useful tip would be to offer your client a payment option — cash or cheque, for example. Far too many suppliers take for granted this basic principle and it can eventually lead them into a cash flow trap.
Join a Business Sector Organisation Joining a professional business service organisation such as the local chambers, associations and affiliate programmes allows you to take advantage of collective knowledge. Many of the larger business service organisations may have the expertise to advise you on the action necessary to recover overdue payments. These organisations from time to time offer programmes, sessions and workshops aimed at addressing small business limitations. Another valuable resource that is directly offered is dispute resolution services (mediation, conciliation, arbitration) which are cheaper than going to court and in most cases resolve the pending issue at hand. These four techniques are not only limited to the management of bad debts. They all fall under the handbook of pragmatic management principles that should be carried out by business owners, whether micro, small, medium or large. In spite of the occurrences of non-paying clients, debt management begins with the business supplier. By utilising these four basic ideas one would find the task of recovering dues much easier! ¤ Courtesy: Business Express
’s Top Line Grows
For the financial year ended December 31st 2012, Sagicor Financial Corporation (SFC) reported diluted Earnings per share (EPS) inclusive of discontinuing operations of US 2.9 cents compared to the previous year’s US 0.2 cents. Diluted EPS from continuing operations stood at US 16.8 cents compared to US 15.1 cents in 2011. SFC’s results in the past were negatively impacted by Sagicor Europe operations which have now been classified as discontinued. The Board has declared final dividends of US 2.0 cents, payable on May 15. This brought the total dividend paid for the year to US 4.0 cents, the same as the prior year. The Group’s Net premium revenue rose 10 per cent to US$665.0M whilst Net investment income climbed 6.3 per cent to US$295.1M. Fees and other revenue surged 67.5 per cent to US$104.3M. Other revenues in 2012 benefited from one-off items, notably a gain on the recapture of a previously reinsured block of policies. Overall, Total revenue grew 12.7 per cent to US$1.1B. Total benefits grew by US$97.6M or 18 per cent to reach US$639.4M. As reported, the increase in benefits arose from an increase of US$38.1M in policy benefits an increase in future policy benefits of US$62.0M. Total expenses climbed 7.0 per cent to US$326.5M, mainly as a result of the 8.0 per cent increase in Administrative expenses.
Net income after taxes from continuing operations declined 2.2 per cent to US$74.1M. SFC has indicated that Sagicor Europe recorded an Operating loss of US$15.6M. Including taxation, finance, currency exchange and impairment charges, the Net loss amounted to US$42.0M compared to US$43.9M in 2011. SFC is currently engaged in a sale of its European operations and expects to exit this market in the near future. Overall, the Net income for the year inclusive of discontinued operations stood at US$32M versus US31.8M in 2011. Of this reported figure, US$10.4M is attributable to Common shareholders. SFC’s assets closed at US$5.5B. Of this, US$4.8B is attributed to continuing operations whilst the remaining $0.7B is associated with the discontinued operations. Total liabilities stood at US$4.7B; with 0.13 per cent of liabilities associated with the discontinued operations. Total Shareholder’s equity decreased by 0.9 per cent to US$601.6M. On September 28th SFC announced the acquisition of Washington based PEMCO Life insurance company which resulted in the approximately 10,000 additional term and whole life policies and 7,500 new clients. In February 2013, SFC’s Jamaican operations, Sagicor Life Jamaica (SLJ) agreed to participate in the National Debt Exchange (NDX) programme. The NDX announcement led to a downgrade of
the Government of Jamaica’s (GOJ) credit rating by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and consequently to a downgrade of SLJ’s credit rating from BBB- to BB+. From 2011 Annual report, SFC’s GOJ securities stood at US$1.1B, representing 31 per cent of its investment portfolio. SFC has an overall interest of 51 per cent in Sagicor Life Jamaica (SLJ) and SLJ contributed 32 per cent to total revenue in 2011. The NDX is expected to hamper the profitability of SFC’s Jamaican operations. The depreciating Jamaican currency would also impact SFC’s overall profitability. Year to date the Jamaican currency has depreciated 6.7 per cent relative to the US dollar. However, Dodridge Miller, President and CEO of Sagicor Group, remains confident in the Jamaican operations. On March 15th 2013, Sagicor Life Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of SFC) finalised the acquisition of the British American Insurance Company Limited (BAICO) from the Governments of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). BAICO’s group pensions and traditional life insurance business spans the Eastern Caribbean (EC) states. This deal brings an additional 17,500 policies to SFC and is expected to restore the policy values for nearly two in every three BAICO policyholders. The Governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) will arrange funding of up to US$38M to aid in restoring value to the transferring policies. SFC will create a separate ECCU based entity for the operation of the business within a year of completion of the transaction (March 2014). Within two years, the Group plans to list at least 25 per cent of the shares of the ECCU entity on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange. Additionally, SFC’s Jamaican subsidiary has received approval to enter the Costa Rican market. The Group’s recent initiatives and acquisitions lay the way for more steady future returns. Diversification away from the Jamaican market should help to reduce the negative anticipated impact of the NDX in the short to medium term. At a current price of $6.30, SFC is trading at a trailing P/E inclusive of discontinuing operations of 32.49 times and a trailing P/E from continuing operations of 5.61 times. The stock has a relatively attractive dividend yield of 4.1 per cent. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
The Future of the
• Competition Commission's ongoing investigation has been necessary to ensure future standing and trust in audit • The ultimate outcome must be for the benefit of business and investors The provisional solutions and remedies recently offered from the Competition Commission's investigation into the audit market in the United Kingdom have been welcomed by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Since November 2011, the Competition Commission has been looking in-depth at "theories of harm" which relate to concerns about "sub-optimal" audit quality and levels of innovation; higher prices and costs for audit services and the impact of less competition in non-auditing markets. Sue Almond, technical director at ACCA says: "The whole point of this investigation has been about the audit market's structure. While the audit market is static, it must be remembered that auditors act as society's eyes and ears to report fraud, bribery and money laundering activities; they also assist the assessment and collection of both direct and indirect taxation, so the future of audit services need to be assured and supported."
• Mandatory tendering: We believe that the auditor appointment should be the primary responsibility of the audit committee, who should make an informed decision based on the particular circumstances. This process requires increased transparency by the audit committee of their policy for audit tendering and the rationale for change, or not, of auditor – known as a "comply or explain" regime. Tendering takes a lot of effort and resources; it would be better to have the Audit Committee explain why they suggest maintaining an auditor without tendering after ten years, as proposed by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC); • Mandatory Rotation: ACCA does not believe there is evidence that mandatory rotation increases audit quality. Given the complexity of modern business, it can take two years plus before a new auditor is up to speed, and losing that long-held knowledge could be potentially disruptive for a company. ACCA would prefer to see
Looking at a selection of the Commission's suggested remedies and solutions, the ACCA commented: • Audit needs to meet the needs of business: It is important that audit meets the demands of the business world, including those of management, investors and shareholders;
an emphasis on competitive tendering. • Strengthened accountability of the External Auditor to the Audit Committee is also important and we would welcome this enhancement, along with suggestions for improved shareholder-auditor engagement. Their involvement will
help to drive the audit market which the Commission has described as "static." • Prohibition of Big 4 only clauses in loan documentation is an important step in removing artificial barriers to auditor choice by a business; • Extended auditor reporting will improve transparency between auditors and investors and help articulate the value of the audit. Almond concluded: "For ACCA, the issue has always been about the end user of audit services, and we have previously said that future recommendations need to be workable for business while enhancing investor confidence. Audit is only one part of this jigsaw and it is not the only way to tackle investor concerns. Progress could be made without creating more rules by enhancing corporate reporting through integrated reporting. This development aims to reflect the interconnected nature of economic and financial performance with environmental, social and governance factors in organisations' annual reporting. We want to see audit services which are well structured, which are trusted and which also bring the most value to business and the end-user. These findings will no doubt be read with considerable interest not only in the UK but across Europe and the rest of the world, where the future of audit is also under considerable scrutiny." The Caribbean office of ACCA will host three audit roundtables to discuss these and other critical issues surrounding the state and relevance of the audit. Audit and Integrity: maximising stakeholder value will be held in Trinidad on April 15, Barbados on April 17 and Jamaica on April 19 and will feature presentations from ACCA deputy president Martin Turner, representatives of top accounting firms, business leaders, regulators and investors as well as a panel discussion with the Big 4 audit firms. ¤ Courtesy: Business Express
EU Funds to Boost Caribbean Agriculture The European Union is providing Euro 8.6 million (One Euro = US$1.30 cents) to boost agriculture in the Caribbean. The funds are being provided under the tenth European Development Fund (EDF) Intra-African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Agriculture Policy Programme for the Caribbean between the European Commission and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The agreement was signed by Guyana President Donald Ramotar, who has lead responsibility for agriculture within the quasi-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cabinet, the Delegate of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Ambassador Robert Kopecky, Co-ordinator of IICA’s Regional Integration for the Caribbean Region, Gregg Rawlins and CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque.
IICA is the principal implementing agency of the programme on behalf of the Caribbean Forum (Cariforum), with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Cardi) and the CARICOM Secretariat as implementing partners. LaRocque said the implementation of the programme “comes at a time of significant challenges for the Caribbean in general, and the 16 states of Cariforum in particular. “It is a time when our states have no choice but to improve their competitiveness, with a view to achieving greater economic viability and sustainability. That competitiveness would put us in good stead as we seek to take advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.” He said the essence of the programme’s interventions is informed by the results of a series of consultations with the key players
in the agricultural sector in Cariforum including the Caribbean Farmers Network (CAFAN); the Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP); Caribbean Agriculture Business Association (CABA) and the Caribbean Forum for Youth in Agriculture (CAFY). The four year programme is specifically planned to further strengthen policy regimes and incentive schemes for agricultural smallholders across the region that form the bulk of producers. It would also improve food security by increasing production and productivity of selected commercially and nutritionally valuable agricultural produce. A CARICOM Secretariat statement said in the execution of the programme, there is a specific bias to women and youth as these groups have been identified as important to the sustainability of the sector. ¤ Courtesy: CMC
Shareholder Offering a Stake in Flow
JOHN Risley is selling a minority stake in Columbus International — the owner of Flow — through a private placement. CVBI Holdings (Barbados) and Clearwater Holdings (Barbados), which are owned by Risley, and which owns a controlling interest in Columbus, will issue new shares — representing a minority position in the parent companies — to investors through an agreement it signed with Portland Holdings recently. The offer provides an opportunity for investors to participate in the "wealth creation of private companies", outside of investing in bond issues, according to Robert Almeida, Portland's Senior VicePresident and Portfolio Manager. Columbus has taken on new shareholders since it started over six years ago. Most recently, the company boasted that billionaire, Cable TV pioneer and telecommunications veteran Dr John Malone has bought a more-than-20 per cent share in the company, albeit, his net worth was estimated by Forbes at US$5.6 billion, placing him among the top 200 billionaires in the world last September. The private placement now opens up equity participation to a broader base, even though it still is meant to attract financial institutions and high net worth individuals. The requirement for investors, financial institutions and individuals vary from BusinessFocus May/June
country to county, but the private placement is of a sort that requires a minimum investment of US$100,000 to US$150,000 depending on the jurisdiction, according to Almeida. Portland Holdings Ltd, which is owned by Michael Lee Chin, who also owns a piece of Columbus, has already started promoting the offer to accredited investors in Canada.
Another vehicle through Cayman will allow non-Canadians to participate. Columbus has recorded fairly strong financial performance over the last four years. Its revenue grew from US$214 million in 2008 to US$427 million in 2012, while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) climbed from US$101 million to US$195 million over the four-year period. The company, which operates in 25 countries in Caribbean, Latin America
and North America has two operating segments — wholesale broadband capacity services (Columbus Networks) and retail broadband-enabled services (Flow). Its retail offerings, which include digital cable television, broadband Internet, digital landline telephony, represent the larger piece of the business which has grown faster than its wholesale services. Retail services increased its share of revenue from 56.1 per cent in 2008 to 59.2 per cent in 2012, and that is with operations in only four of the countries within which it operates — Trinidad, Jamaica, Grenada, and Curacao. It recently launched its fifth Flow in Barbados, where it plans to build out over the next three years. "Columbus seeks to accelerate its growth through the acquisitions of select cable providers and broadband service providers in the Caribbean and Latin American region," said a brochure posted on Portland's website. "Each of the 25 touch points of the wholesale network presents an opportunity for acquiring or developing a retail business." On the wholesale side of its business, Columbus' true potential lies in its under utilised capacity — only nine per cent of its network is currently being used. IP traffic in Latin American is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 per cent between 2011 and 2016, according to a forecast done by Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) The growth is expected to be driven by increasing Internet penetration and growing usage of broadband intensive applications, like Facebook and Youtube. "Columbus Networks' strategy is to continue to extend its subsea business to reach new countries in the region while continuously investing in in-country back-haul to extend its network from the shoreline into major city centres, thereby sourcing new high margin revenue streams and creating significant barriers to entry," said the investor brochure. Columbus Networks owns and operates the America's Region Caribbean Optical Ring System (ARCOS) subsea and terrestrial broadband fibre optic network that spans more than 23,000 kilometres and connects the Caribbean, Latin America and North America. ¤
Getting Things Done by Lyndell Halliday
In the rapid pace of the modern world, there are ever increasing demands on the time of a business professional. Balancing a career, the need to continually educate and improve oneself coupled with the challenges of family, health and personal life is a daunting challenge, and often one thing or the other is sacrificed. Part of the solution to navigating this quagmire can be found in these two books: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (Random House, 2012) and Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert C. Pozen (Harper Business, 2012). Both are recent works on the topic of getting things done, or more accurately getting the right things done.
The Power of Habit Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Tom Dungy was the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl and is the only coach in the history of the National Football League (NFL) to have reached the play-offs in ten consecutive seasons. Paul O’Neil was better known as a government bureaucrat than a business executive when he took over the reins of a deeply beleaguered Alcoa company in 1987. He achieved a remarkable turnaround and over the course of his thirteen year tenure, growing the company’s revenues from $1.5 to $23 billion. According to author, Charles Duhigg, what both of these men had in common was that they understood the nature and the power of habits. In this book, Charles Duhigg, an award winning business writer at the New York Times and a graduate of
Yale University and the Harvard Business School lays out the science of habits in a very practical and easy to understand manner. The book is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the habits of individuals, the second section covers the habits of organisations and the final section is on the habits of societies. The term ‘creatures of habit’ may seem like just a well-worn cliché, but Duhigg notes research that up to 40% of our behaviour is habitual. Hence a staggering 40% of our actions are automatic – dictated by urges rather than careful thought. Learning what drives our habits and how to instil and maintain the right habits has tremendous power to improve our personal lives, boost productivity, transform businesses and even build entire movements. In the research process for this book, Duhigg interviewed over 300 scientists and executives and consulted hundreds of academic studies. As a journalist and experienced writer, he was able to skilfully blend the latest in scientific research with compelling and interesting stories. Overall, The Power of Habit is a fascinating insight into understanding habits, the potency of habits and learning how to develop the right habits. It will be a highly useful read to any business professional.
Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert C. Pozen Sometime ago I was fascinated to read that US President Barack Obama only wears grey or blue suits. Obama’s own words were, “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions
about what I’m eating or wearing, because I have too many other decisions to make.” The US President cited research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. To the sceptic like me, the idea that simple decisions could impact more consequential decisions initially seemed silly and bizarre. But In fact, the idea is indeed backed up by solid research, as I discovered in reading Robert Pozen’s book – Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours. Robert C. Pozen, originally an attorney by profession, is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was chairman of MFS Investment Management – the oldest mutual fund company in the United States and vice chairman of Fidelity Investments. This is Pozen’s sixth published book. This book is a guide to improving personal and business productivity and achieving high performance. Pozen shares his own personal experiences as a highly successful business professional who has juggled many hats, while maintaining healthy family relationships. The first part of the book is about how to apply a strategic planning mind-set to life goals. The author then goes on to give a range of advice on how to get the most out of each day, accomplishing long term goals and many other useful topics. The reader will not use everything in this book and might even disagree with some of the advice. But any professional reading this book will walk away with numerous practical ways of boosting their productivity that will many times over repay the investment in time and money spent on this book. ¤
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Gas Pipeline to Start in 2014 To Connect Barbados and South Caribbean From Tobago islands. The pipeline is expected to significantly lower the cost of producing electricity in countries which rely primarily on fuel oil to produce electricity. The pioneering project will help reshape the regional energy market and reduce dependence on oil based products. Rich said ECGPC was excited to have Beowulf and FREIF as majority project sponsors in this ground-breaking regional energy infrastructure project. “The extensive energy infrastructure experience and substantial financial resources of Beowulf and FREIF will accelerate the implementation of this regionally important project thereby creating long term value for the company’s investors while delivering tangible financial and environmental benefits to the islands served by the pipeline,” Rich said. ¤
Construction will begin next year on a natural gas pipeline from the Cove Eco Business and Industrial Park in southwest Tobago to islands of the southern Caribbean, CEO of the Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline Company Limited (ECGPC) Greg Rich has announced. He said the first phase of the US$300 million pipeline project will end in Barbados and gas will be pumped to that island from 2016. Rich, along with the company’s technical coordinator, Clyde Williams, and principal of Beowulf Energy, Andy Lindholm, recently met with a team from the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) led by Chief Secretary Orville London to give an update on the project. BusinessFocus May/June
Rich confirmed that gas will come from the BHP Billiton field east of Trinidad to the US$1 billion processing plant at Cove. He said the plant is in operation and the marketing aspect of the project is going “quite well.” Beowulf Energy LLC (‘Beowulf’) of New York and First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Fund (‘FREIF’), with offices in Greenwich, Houston, Hong Kong and London, acquired a majority ownership interest in ECGPC. In Phase I of the project, ECGPC will construct and operate a 300km natural gas pipeline from the Cove Point Estate in Tobago to Barbados. Phase II of the project will involve extending the pipeline from Barbados to other Eastern Caribbean
to Open 11 Restaurants in T&T Wendy’s Restaurant is on an expansion drive and plans to open 11 restaurants in T&T over the next five years, Dane Darbasie, managing director of Desk Restaurants Ltd, local franchise holder for the restaurant chain, said yesterday. “We will also have 25 restaurants across the Caribbean and will establish Wendy’s as the preferred and most recognised brand among Caribbean people,” he said at the official opening of a new Wendy’s Restaurant in Montrose, Chaguanas. Three other Wendy’s restaurants are already operating on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, Tacarigua and Gulf View in south Trinidad. Darbasie said there was support from Wendy’s headquarters for the local franchise even when there was a “difference of opinion.” Carlos Rivas, vice president, Wendy’s Latin America and the Caribbean, said the opening of the new restaurant was an opportunity for the region. “We now have 17 countries in this region where we operate. Trinidad was a market we came into in 2010. Desk Restaurants signed a long-term agreement with us for 25 restaurants,” he said. “We have a very strong track record, very strong experience in the restaurant industry, a great knowledge of the market here in Trinidad and the surrounding islands. We have considerable resources, not just to build the brand, but to build a great company with a great community spirit.” ¤
Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar, centre, poses with models dressed in Wendy’s costumes and Directors Stephen Small, Director of Operations and Training for the Latin American region, left, Patrick Stanfield and Dane Darbasie, Managing Director, Desk Restaurants Ltd. PHOTO: KEARRA GOPEE
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
World Bank Urges Caribbean to ‘Propel Domestic Engines of Growth’ The World Bank has urged Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to “propel domestic engines of growth,” stating that the “formidable global tailwinds” that facilitated robust economic growth and social inclusion in the region over the past decade are receding. In its latest semi-annual report, “Latin America and the Caribbean as Tailwinds Recede: In Search of Higher Growth,” the World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for the region, said recently that a new global context of excess liquidity, slower growth in China, and sluggish economic activity and high public debt in the developed world, points to the need for the region to do more on its own “in order to go back to growth rates similar to those enjoyed in the past decade.” The Washington-based financial institution said LAC is already expected to grow by 3.5 percent, an improvement from last
of growth, and from macro and financial stability concerns to growth-enhancing reforms,” he said. De la Torre said as global tailwinds subside, the ability of regional countries to grow above 3.5 percent “depends critically on themselves.” The report says that answering the question of how can the region propel its domestic engines of growth starts with understanding the specificities of LAC’s growth pattern, its limitations, and its strengths. It says that while much is said about South East Asia’s growth model – based on manufacturing exports, high savings, and competitive exchange rates – the region’s circumstances “stand already in sharp contrast with that.” According to De la Torre the quest for export competiveness, based on cheap labor and undervalued exchange rates, “looks politically unfeasible and economically suboptimal. “If competiveness beyond natural resource-intensive goods is to be
Managing Director Christine Lagarde
year’s 3 percent, “but still below the 5 percent average before the 2008/09 crisis or the 6 percent in 2010.” It said rates range from as low as 0.1 and 1.0 percent for Venezuela and Jamaica respectively, to 6 percent for Peru, nearly 9 percent for Panama, and above 11 percent for Paraguay. Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for the region, said while these growth rates are “good,” they are still “insufficient to sustain the recent pace of social progress” that the region experienced in the last decade. “Accordingly, the policy emphasis is shifting from external to domestic engines BusinessFocus May/June
developed, without sacrificing living standards, productivity is the name of the game,” he said. The World Bank’s chief economist for the region noted that achievements in the 2000s have been “significant, including macroeconomic stability, solid growth, poverty reduction, and a fairer income distribution.” But he said the challenge for economic policy going forward is to “preserve and build on past gains, consolidating the dividends of a socially inclusive growth, and doing so without the assistance of global tailwinds.” ¤
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Coordinates Training for Caribbean Investment Promotion Agencies CARIBBEAN Export Development Agency, in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agency (CAIPA), recently hosted a regional training session for Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) within the Caribbean on Investor Facilitation entitled: “Attracting FDI through Good Investment Facilitation.” The three-day hands-on intensive training session, facilitated by the Investment Climate Section of the World Bank, took place in Kingston, Jamaica. More than 30 representatives from IPAs in 18 Caribbean countries were expected to participate in the programme. This capacity-building exercise is one in a series of training sessions being undertaken by Caribbean Export within the framework of the 10th European Development Fund Regional Private Sector Development Programme funded by the European Union. Caribbean Export has targeted the continued strengthening of CAIPA as one of its priority areas of focus. As a CARIFORUM agency, Caribbean Export also manages trade development and export promotion for CARIFORUM states and has responsibilities for regional investment promotion. The agency sits as the secretariat for CAIPA. CAIPA is a regional association of 19 IPAs, including CARIFORUM agencies and IPAs from Curaçao, the Cayman Islands, BusinessFocus May/June
Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands. CAIPA aims to promote the Caribbean for investment through increased collaborative efforts among the region's IPAs. The training exercise was based on the results of the Global Investment Promotion Best Practices 2012 report, which is a biennial publication of the World Bank Group. The report evaluates IPAs' websites and their responsiveness to investor information requests, two of the most important channels for providing information to investors in the early stages of the site selection process. The report, which assesses 189 IPAs worldwide, has noted that as many as five of every six provide little or no information to investors who ask for it as a part of their site selection processes. Other studies by the World Bank and the University of Oxford have found that there was a strong positive correlation between the provision of information by the government and investor decisions to locate in an economy. In particular, in countries where the investment climate can be categorised as unpredictable and non-transparent, IPA support could make a significant difference to investors, influencing their decisions. It is against this background and in a bid to increase levels of FDIs (foreign direct
investments) to the region that Caribbean Export and CAIPA organised this event. "It is anticipated that, following the development of targeted strategies during the training to assist the IPAs to improve on their inquiry-handling processes, that the region will be better placed to attract and facilitate investment," noted Pamela Coke Hamilton, executive director of Caribbean Export. Participating IPAs include: the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority, the Bahamas Investment Authority, Invest Barbados, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), the Cayman Islands Department of Commerce & Investment, the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao, Invest Dominica Authority, the Centre for Export and Investment in the Dominican Republic, the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-INVEST), the Centre for the Facilitation of Investment in Haiti (CFIHaiti), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the Montserrat Development Corporation, Invest Saint Lucia, Invest SVG representing St Vincent and the Grenadines, the St Kitts Investment Promotions Agency (SKIPA), the Investment and Development Corporation of Suriname and invesTT representing Trinidad and Tobago. ¤
Three Caribbean Countries to Benefit from Initiative The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) says it will implement new projects in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda and Haiti that will benefit producers in these three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. IICA said that during a visit to the region recently, IICA Director General Víctor M. Villalobos, met with the agriculture ministers from the three countries to reaffirm his organisation’s commitment to providing technical support for initiatives related to food security, innovation, and agribusiness. As part of his visit, Villalobos also took part in the regional planning meeting of IICA Representatives in the Caribbean held in Trinidad in early April. The statement said that one of the projects that IICA will be supporting is the installation of biodigesters in rural communities in Antigua and Barbuda. “In that nation, officials from IICA and the Ministry of Agriculture took part in the opening of the Sea Food Festival, an activity that could serve as the basis for the joint organisation of similar fairs by the Institute and other cooperation agencies,” the statement said, noting that IICA will also be supporting a project for the management of agricultural information by phone, similar to Costa Rica’s AgroEnlace initiative. After meeting with the IICA Representatives and with the Minister of Agriculture of Trinidad and Tobago, Villalobos travelled to Haiti for talks with the minister in that country and officials of other technical assistance agencies, and to participate in the inauguration of greenhouses for smallholders. ¤
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
ASSISTS REGIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS TO RECEIVE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED CERTIFICATION
Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (CICMC) and Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) will host a training workshop for Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) management consultants during the period April 23 -25, 2013 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The training workshop delivered by the CICMC will see participation of over twenty (20) management consultants from across CARIFORUM, including Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. This training initiative forms part of Caribbean Export’s implementation of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) funded Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) relating to the development of the CARIFORUM management consulting industry. Caribbean Export has been implementing this €32.1m programme (€28.1m of which is financed by the European Union) since 2011 with the overall objective of contributing to the gradual integration of CARIFORUM countries into the global economy and by so doing, enhancing regional economic growth and contributing to the goal of poverty alleviation. More specifically, the 10th EDF RPSDP is in part geared toward enhancing competitiveness and promoting innovation among the CARIFORUM private sector in several priority industries and sectors which include the management consulting industry. In this regard, the training workshop will enable regional management consultants to advance toward the attainment of the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) qualification, an internationally recognized competencebased certification which prescribes standards for the practice of management consulting. This is important in the current environment where CARIFORUM management consulting firms face persistent challenges to their competitiveness in the regional market as well as their export capacity. This training initiative forms one part of Caribbean Export’s work in the professional services sector for 2013. Proposed for June later this year in Trinidad and Tobago, the Agency will be hosting its 5th Annual Management Consulting Business Symposium, which will focus on the development of strategic industry alliances and the exploration of opportunities for CARIFORUM management consulting firms to engage the European Union market. The Symposium will also include a training component which will build on the present initiative in the Dominican Republic.
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
2013-14 BUDGET AT A GLANCE Over the years, the amount allocated in the annual national budget has been on an increasing trend. However, in an effort to contain expenditure and improve the government’s fiscal position, the 2013/2014 Draft Estimates proposed funding for Expenditure amounting $1.327 billion, representing $130.4 million down from last year’s approved estimates of $1.457billion, but $42.3 million above the out-turn (1.285million) for 2012/13. The proposed increase over the outturn for 2012/13 reflects, to a large extent, the upward pressure exerted on the wage bill due to the recent 4% salary increase awarded to Public servants. Total Recurrent Expenditure is expected to decline by 1.6% below the approved estimates for 2012/13 to $947.1 million, but remains relatively flat at just 0.6% compared to the preliminary outturn for the same period. At $380.3 million, the proposed Capital Expenditure 2013-14 represents $114.6 million, or 23.2% decrease compared to the approved estimates for 2012-13, but a 10.8% decrease below the preliminary outturn for the year. Following is a further breakdown of the relevant sections of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2013-14, presented by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Kenny D. Anthony towards the end of April, ahead of the presentation of the Budget and the Budget Debate between the middle and the end of May:
RECURRENT REVENUE In order to improve overall predictability of cash flows during budget execution, a conservative amount of $839.9 in recurrent revenues is projected for the new fiscal year. With this amount of recurrent revenues ($839.9 million) and grants of approximately $137.9 million, government’s fiscal operations are expected to generate a recurrent deficit of $107.2 million and an overall deficit of $286.1 million. At 7.7% of GDP, the overall deficit represents an improvement over the BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May/June May/June
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outturn for 2012/13 (8.6%) and the approved estimates (9.5%) for the same period.
COST OF WAGES AND SALARIES In the 2013/14 budget, a sum of $450.9 million has been allocated to meet the cost of Wages & Salaries and Retiring Benefits. This amount represents an overall increase of 0.8% over the approved estimates for the previous year. Containing expenditure on wages and salaries was accomplished by reducing the number of funded vacant positions while
ensuring minimal disruption in service delivery by government agencies.
INTEREST CHARGES ON DEBT In the Recurrent Budget, the Government of Saint Lucia is also proposing a $141 million to meet the interest payments and other charges on debt obligations for the year. Additionally, a sum of $63.2 million had to be provided to meet debt amortization payments. When added to the Overall Deficit of $286.1 million, it results in an Overall Financing Requirement of $349.4 million.
TRANSFER PAYMENTS With respect to transfer payments, the Government of Saint Lucia is proposing to allocate a sum of $95.9 million,
representing a 17% decline from a preliminary outturn of $116.2 million. Consistent with the decision to contain recurrent expenditure at the same level as the outturn for 2012/13, the reductions are expected to be realized by a partial reduction of subsidy on the basic commodities. Currently, the subsidy on the basic commodities stands at approximately $21.9 million dollars.
ALLOCATION FOR GOODS & SERVICES Like Wages and Salaries, the allocation
for Goods and Services has been increased by 2% over the approved estimates for 2012/13, reflecting the impact of VAT on items such as rental of office, telecommunication charges and operating and maintenance cost. Downward adjustments were effected on other lines to compensate for these increases.
CAPITAL PROGRAMME Finally, Government is proposing to allocate some $380.3 million to its Capital Program in the new fiscal year. This amount is expected to be entirely funded by external sources with approximately 36% being grant funds. The outturn for 2012/13 showed approximately 21% of the capital budget was financed through the receipt of grants. ¤
Corporate and Social Partners Met to Help Shape 2013-14 Budget Ahead of presentation of the 2013-14 budget, the Ministry of Finance and related departments met with a number of corporate and social partners in preparation for the actual presentation on May 14. On April 9, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony hosted separate meetings with the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture and the Banking Association. When the Chamber of Commerce and the Prime Minister met last year, the Ease of Doing Business was the main area of concern for both parties. In response, a joint committee was established to assess the World Bank's Ease of doing Business Report and to provide recommendations to address some of the shortcomings highlighted in the report. At the social partnersâ€™ meeting, both parties exchanged views on the economy and initiatives to enhance the prospects for economic growth. The Bankers Association has been a reliable partner in the development of Saint Lucia. Two banks have partnered with the Government of Saint Lucia to help ordinary Saint Lucians recognize the dream of owning or expanding their homes through the Construction Stimulus Package. The Government said it remained hopeful that despite the challenging financial climate, the parties would find common ground on proposed policies to stimulate further investment. The Finance Minister also met representatives of other sectors, including Labour Unions, to share views on the budget and the future prospects for the economy. The Prime Minister had been meeting with a number of Government agencies six weeks ahead of the budget presentation. Â¤
Prime Minister: Dr. Kenny D. Anthony
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
The Business of the Throne Speech The Governor General’s 2013 Throne Speech outlined several initiatives planned for the 2013-14 fiscal year that are of importance to the Private Sector and the wider Public/ Private Sector business community. BF presents the following business-related sections of Her Excellency’s Speech, as presented on April 23rd 2013, ahead of presentation of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and the 2013-14 Budget Presentation and debate in May: client-centred services, the digitisation of Government data to make it more accessible, the commissioning of a modern, integrated government communications network and the phased implementation of island-wide Wi-Fi. • Government will also take steps to increase the statistical and data collection capacities in critical areas, particularly tax administration, labour market systems, land administration and tourism. PRODUCTIVITY & EMPLOYABILITY BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS & MODERNISATION Regarding reforms to promote business competitiveness: • Government will continue to make the company registration process simpler, and will pursue the timely implementation of an online registry, allowing corporate information to be searched and registered from anywhere in the world. • The introduction of a Commercial Court is also on stream and Government hopes this initiative will assist in issues of contract enforcement and bring greater confidence to Doing Business. • Government recently introduced card payment options in many Government agencies. These will be expanded while Government also looks at opportunities to introduce online transactions. • Government welcomes the suggestion of the Chamber of Commerce to create a National Forum comprising key Government agencies and the private sector, to monitor and review the ease of doing business, identify and remove bottlenecks, and to recommend changes in procedures that stymie business activity. INVESTING IN INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY • Under Public Sector Modernisation, Government will begin roll-out of BusinessFocus May/June
• Government has committed to the establishment of the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council to aid in the national thrust. RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY • Government will this year implement major initiatives in introducing r e n e w a b l e energy use in public buildings, while extending our programme to replace energy-hungry high pressure sodium street light bulbs with longer-lasting , energy-efficient LED bulbs. We will also promote the use of renewable energy in the agricultural sector through the use of biogas digesters and solar dryers. NEW TOURISM INCENTIVES LEGISLATION • Government intends to enact a Tourism Stabilization and Investment Bill which will incorporate a range of new incentives aimed at expanding our island’s tourism
accommodation plant. These incentives will exist for a period of five years only and will be similar to the sunset provisions enacted in the run up to Cricket World Cup 2007. This Bill will grant a special Tax Holiday of twenty-five years, and possibly thirty years, in the areas designated for special development. It will also grant some of the incentives that are allowable under the Special Development Areas Act, Cap. 15:29, but which are not currently available under the Tourism Incentives Act, Cap. 15:30. These incentives will be provided solely for investment into new room expansion and new properties. The underlying intention is to expand room base and prepare for the future uptake in visitor arrivals when the world economy regains its momentum. • Government proposes to introduce a Yacht Services Bill in the course of this Parliamentary Session.
INTERVENTION IN THE ENERGY SECTOR • Government will undertake a review and modernisation of the Electricity Supply Act, Cap. 9:02. Among other things, it will allow for the entry of independent power producers in the renewable energy sector and for the establishment of a new independent regulator for the energy sector. ¤
Opposition Leader Calls for Removal of VAT on Medicines Opposition Leader Stephenson King wrote Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony ahead of the 2013-14 Budget presentation, requesting removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on medication. In a letter dated April 12, 2013, King referred to citizens who complain regularly about their inability to purchase their medication in a timely manner, due to the tax. He stated that Saint Lucians are experiencing a period of “double-suffering” by first experiencing the pain of their various ailments and then experiencing the difficulty and stress that comes with “being unable to meet the exorbitant costs of their medicines.” The Leader of the Opposition in his letter called on PM Anthony “to consider the plight of the people of Saint Lucia and remove value added tax on medication in the new financial year.” King said any proposal to repeal the VAT on medication in the upcoming Budget presentation “will receive the full support of the opposition.” King said citizens are experiencing an increase in the cost of their medication “because taxes that VAT was set to replace were actually lower than the VAT itself, in some instances as much as 5% lower; and the increase in the import duties on medication just prior to the implementation of VAT naturally resulted in an increase.” ¤ Opposition Leader: Hon Stephenson King
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Caribbean Countries to Benefit From New IDB Energy Programme
Caribbean countries are likely to benefit from a new US$50 million Energy Efficiency Finance Facility being funded by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB). The IDB said that the funds would finance companies making investments in energy
efficiency and self-supply renewable energy projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. It will be supported by seven million Euros (One Euro =US$1.30 cents) from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) to mitigate risk of the facility through the provision of partial guarantees to the IDB-financed subloans, which will range in size from US$500,000 to five million. The IDB said an additional one million Euro from the NDF will provide technical assistance grants related to project identification and feasibility and engineering studies. The facility will address funding needs in the currently underserved sector of energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy generation, where borrowers often encounter high risk premiums, high collateral requirements and inadequate tenors. It will focus on projects with potential for high financial returns, including increasingly economical technologies such as smart-grid, advanced lighting and solar or biomass power. “This is a new market in which small loans can produce significant returns,” said Kelle Bevine, head of the Strategy Management Unit in the Bank’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department. “Amid increasing demand for energy in the region, we can help reduce consumption by making investments in low carbon technologies more financially viable.” The new facility aims to realise up to US$100 million in climate friendly investment and continues the Bank’s collaboration with NDF, which over the past year has provided technical assistance funding for a variety of energy audits and small-scale energy projects for companies in Central America. The NDF resources may be complemented by funding from other IDB-administered funds also aimed at incentivising climate friendly investment, including the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI) fund and the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas. ¤
Sandals Again Certified as World’s Top Environmentally Sustainable Hotel Group
For an 8th consecutive time, the Caribbean’s Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has been awarded with Platinum Certification at the world-famous ITB Berlin travel trade show in Germany, for its commitment to environmental sustainability. The award was presented by EarthCheck, which is recognised as the leading scientific certification programme in the world for the travel and tourism sector. During the hand-over ceremony, Stewart Moore, CEO of EarthCheck, lauded Sandals for its vision, leadership and longstanding commitment to environmentally BusinessFocus May/June
friendly and responsible business practices throughout its properties. He said, “Sandals is one of our standout sustainability heroes in the Caribbean and North America. It not only has more Platinum Certified properties than any other hotel group in the world, but they have continued to innovate and search for new solutions.” Adam Stewart, CEO of SRI, accepting the award for the leading Caribbean hotel group, said, “This is both a tremendous honour and a great testament to the importance we place on our environmentally-friendly practices. Naturally, we have a vested interest in protecting and preserving the unique Caribbean environment because it is our home and so we are dedicated to ensuring that it remains as beautiful as Mother Nature intended it to be.”
According to Stewart, “We’re proud to have established ourselves as one of the leaders in this area, and for that to be recognised by an authority such as EarthCheck, in a forum as significant as the ITB, is humbling.” Sandals Resorts has made sustainability and social responsibility a core part of its company’s vision and mission in the Caribbean. More recently, the group committed with EarthCheck to provide sustainability training for its staff through the Sandals Corporate University and its suppliers. The group also operates the Sandals Foundation, which, among other things, delivers environmentally-friendly programmes in the municipal areas where it operates across the region. Sandals operates luxury hotels in several Caribbean countries and has three properties in St. Lucia. ¤
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Boasting more than 13 million customers across 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Pacific including St. Lucia, the Digicel Group Limited is renowned for delivering best value, best service and the best network. As well as being the lead sponsor for the Caribbean, Central America and Pacific Sports teams, throughout these regions, the company also sponsors the West Indies cricket team. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several National Rugby teams and the Vanuatu Cricket team. The company runs a host of community-based initiatives in the countries in which it operates and various foundations that focus on education and cultural and social development. During its ten years in St. Lucia, Digicel has made a huge impact. “We arrived when the market was liberalised,” says dynamic Country Manager, Holly Hughes-McNamara. “With an aim to offer affordable mobile communication which was accessible to all, we really changed the efficiency of the market by improving contact not only on the island, but with the rest of the world.” “The big picture is that Digicel made life easy for a number of people. They can communicate quicker better and more affordably and get jobs done faster. It has opened up the market between the islands as well. “As a small market, we can’t always benefit from economies of scale so competing can be trickier - but nonetheless, we have done so successfully. We are committed to keeping St. Lucia at the forefront in terms of technology When we talk about telecommunications’ we are talking about far more than pure mobile; we are talking about broadband and new technologies such as 4G, investments that do not have paybacks in these markets yet. There is an opportunity for the Government to fast track those investments to ensure they correctly position the economy to handle the global challenges ahead. “Digicel put a cell phone in everyone’s hand. We continue to do that, to provide good employment and to work within the community. That’s our investment in and promise to St. Lucia.” BusinessFocus BusinessFocus May/June May/June
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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. Visit www.digicelgroup.com for more information.
OFFICIAL BEER OF
SLISBA Hosts 2013 Business Awards Ferrands Foods Named Entrepreneur of the Year
Minister of Commerce Hon. Emma Hippolyte Presents Award to Mr Charles Devaux of Ferrands Foods
It’s becoming more difficult every year to attract the sponsorship, but, once again, the St. Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA) overcame the odds and brought its members together from around the island to celebrate entrepreneurial and private sector excellence. It all happened at the organization’s 2013 National Awards, held this year at the National Cultural Centre in Cstries. The premiere organization representing small businesses on the island distributed awards for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) at the ceremony, which recognized the full spectrum of entrepreneurial activity in St. Lucia, ranging from agro-processing to health and wellness, from ice cream production to roadside vending. The awards ceremony was attended by the ‘Who’s Who’ of the island’s business sector, particularly by representatives of the scores of companies with a stake in the awards, having been named as nominees for the wide category of awards up for grabs. The guests – competitor nominees and non-participant alike – applauded encouragingly as each award was announced at the coveted event. Ferrands Food Products -- best known for its ice cream -- was judged the island’s Entrepreneur of the Year, while the Award for Junior Entrepreneur BusinessFocus May/June
of the Year went to Alberton Richelieu Jr of ‘Jen Moun’ Magazine. Several awards were won by a wide range of small, medium and micro enterprises doing business across the island, once again resulting in members and supporters celebrating an evening of excellence and achievement in their respective fields of business endeavour. SLISBA says its awards programme is designed “to recognize companies and individuals who exemplify the St. Lucian entrepreneurial Spirit -- individuals who, by their creativity and determination, have established and nurtured successful business ventures.” The services sector was profiled on Awards Night 2013 with several categories that recognized professionals in areas ranging from accounting to auto mechanics. SLISBA President Flavia Cherry says the annual awards ceremony aims to be the premier event representing 80% of the private sector, which is the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and which form the backbone of St. Lucia’s private sector. Cherry says this year’s awards exercise took place against a background of worsening economic times and a shortfall in corporate support. She expressed regret that some major local corporate entities weren’t able or willing to sponsor the event. But, she added, SLISBA wasn’t the least daunted by the circumstances. Over 60 nominees vied for the 22 awards handed out at the ceremony. The awards honour “companies and individuals who have created jobs, generated wealth and contributed to the economic and social well-being of St. Lucians at home, while cultivating new markets both locally and abroad.” The principle of recognizing and awarding entrepreneurs is gaining ground across the island, with all of the island’s major private sector organizations taking annual turns to all organize awards functions. These include the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce that organizes the annual St. Lucia Business Awards and the St. Lucia manufacturers Association, which also does the same. In each case, the organizers all say this approach has resulted in improving on quality of products and other improvements as more and more companies – large and medium, small and micro – take extra steps to improve products and service to qualify for nomination for the various private sector awards. ¤
EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS 2013
The Winners Small-scale Manufacturer of the Year:
Special Award – Best New Business Idea:
Agricultural Business of the Year:
Special Award – Most Outstanding Indigenous Business:
Bellevue Small Farmers Retailer of the Year:
Wings of Love Agro Business of the Year:
Plas Kassav Wholesaler of the Year:
Frank B Armstrong Health and Wellness Company of the Year:
Eden herbs & Dr. Gilbertha St Rose Barber of the Year:
Cutty Ranks Hairdresser of the Year:
Sophia’s Is Back! Travel Agency of the Year:
Hibiscus Travel Artisan of the Year:
Joseph Eudovic Market Vendor of the Year:
Andrea Charles Roadside Vendor of the Year:
Rosemond Clery Rural Woman Entrepreneur/Producer of the Year:
Coutier Fisherman of the Year:
Earnest Inglis Fisherwoman of the Year:
Ethelina Emanus-Hilaire Special Award – Ice Cream Vendor of the Year:
Paul Anthony [Mr. Wang]
Beverly Chase Kenty’s Discount Depot Special Award – Lifetime Achievement in Entertainment:
Protus Auguste (Educator) Ignatius Tison (Invader) Outstanding Enterprises in the Creative Industries:
Vel’s Multiservices Ltd Rafferty Intimates Service Provider of the Year (Professional):
Stewart and Associates Service Provider of the Year (Creative Industries):
Verge Media Service Provider of the Year (Technical Services):
Freddy’s Garage Service Provider of the Year (Food):
Hardest Hard Restaurant SLISBA President’s Award for Membership:
Tedburt Theobalds Special Award for Dedicated Service in Private Sector:
Peter ‘Ras Ipa’ Isaac Businessperson of the Year:
Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose Entrepreneur of the Year:
Ferrands Ice Cream Young Entrepreneur of the Year:
Alberton Richelieu Jr. Lifetime Dedicated Service Award:
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Small businesses with well-developed finance teams achieve faster, more sustainable growth for longer and can attract investment to help them develop, says the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). A new report from ACCA, Accountants for Small Business, says that the SME finance function plays a critical role at different stages of an SME’s growth in attracting investment and helping them “emerge from the shadows.” ACCA says SMEs need to make themselves ready and in shape to be able to receive finance and that the burden should not be solely on the lender or investor. Rosana Mirkovic, ACCA Head of SME Policy, said: “There is considerable evidence which shows growth is much stronger amongst SMEs with a comprehensive finance function backing them up. The role of the accountant in an SME setting goes well beyond the basics of bookkeeping. Their role is vital at different BusinessFocus May/June
Rosana Mirkovic, ACCA Head of SME Policy
stages of an SME’s development. “Credit providers, supply chain partners and other stakeholders need a wealth of information
form the finance team of an SME. For some investors the information they require changes after investment to focus on other aspects of the business, such as agreed milestones. Finance professionals are central to providing that insight into the business at all stages. “Day to day financial management is the key to accessing finance. By the time the owner/manager decides to apply for any kind of funding, their chances of getting it are mostly locked in by the way they’ve run their business to date. Independent research confirms that a well-run finance function staffed with appropriately trained people makes SMEs more creditworthy and investment-ready, and is a cause, not a consequence of growth. Despite that fact, most SMEs don’t take advice before applying for loans; most have no trained staff in charge of their finances; and most don’t produce regular management reports.
“While focus has largely been on who won’t lend to SMEs, small businesses have a part to play in making themselves finance-ready.” ACCA points to SME Finance Monitor statistics which show that in the UK, for example, 17.4 per cent of SMEs with regular management reporting, a formal written business plan and financially trained staff grew more than 30 per cent and 10 per cent of those companies had a minimum risk rating. Just 7.5 per cent of SMEs without that financial expertise and support grew 30 per cent and only 2.5 per cent had a minimum risk rating. Mirkovic added: “Our research, and that of others highlighted in our report, points in the same direction – the role of finance professionals is widening and taking on a more business-focused nature, which is of particular importance for SMEs. From their infancy to their eventual growth into something larger and beyond, the role of their finance function changes and adapts to suit the needs of the business. The accountants who help a new start-up get off the ground will play a very different, but equally critical role when that business is in
full, sustainable growth mode. It is for this reason that ACCA trains its members to be skilled in a broad range of abilities to make them complete finance professionals. “Of course, we would always highlight the benefit ACCA accountants bring to any
business, but the figures point to a more sure-footing for SMEs who have a rounded finance function behind them. There is
clearly a significant difference between the SMEs embracing a comprehensive finance function and those who are less committed to being financially robust in their operations, even after accounting for influences such as business size, age or sector. High-growth firms are most likely to reach their maximum growth rate just three years from registration*, which means that at such an important period of change, having a finance professional on board that can support the business from start to high growth and beyond is clearly important.” ACCA says that the SMEs have emerged as a key sector for the global economy. SMEs account for half of the world’s private sector output and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of jobs worldwide, as well as approximately one-third of all developed-country exports. ACCA also reveals that the SME sector is a major employer of finance professionals in its own right. Although only about 13 per cent of ACCA members’ careers start in SMEs, 45 per cent of members, including 54 per cent of CFOs, have at some point in their lives worked for an SME. ¤
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IN THE KNOW
NEW MOBILE TELECOMS LICENCES
Hon Phillip Paulwell, the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining
In making the announcement, Phillip Paulwell, the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, told the House of Representatives that the Government hopes to issue the licenses by July 15, 2013. He also said the licenses will be open to current mobile providers but it is hoped that at least one will be taken up by a new investor. According to Paulwell, radio frequency spectrum is absolutely essential for any application that requires wireless technologies. Paulwell said the Government will begin pre-auction activities in early April 2013 with the issuance of an Information Memorandum which will be advertised BusinessFocus May/June
The Government of Jamaica is to auction two licenses for use of the 700 MHz band, with a view to attracting new entrants to the mobile telecommunications market. internationally, as well, as posted on the websites of the Ministry and of the Spectrum Management Authority. According to Paulwell, the 700 MHz band, which is considered to be low band spectrum, tends to be more penetrative and propagates farther, meaning that the signal goes through walls more easily, giving better coverage inside buildings, and requiring fewer towers to cover a specific geographic area. “This dramatically reduces the cost of deployment, especially when compared to the costs of deployment of systems operating at higher frequencies,” Paulwell said. He also said the 700 MHz band will provide a cost-effective option to
deploy 4G technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Jamaica. “We believe that the attractiveness of the 700MHz band will bring investors in a new telecommunications entity to our shores. In Jamaica, approximately 108 MHZ of valuable spectrum is available, and the 700MHz band may accommodate a maximum of three all-island licenses. At the moment, however, only two licenses will be on auction,” Paulwell said. Both licenses will be valid for 15 years. Paulwell told the House that the licenses will be awarded to the highest bidders, determined as “fit and proper” by the regulators. ¤
Acquires Operations in Eastern Caribbean All nine insurance regulators and courts within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and The Bahamas, where the British American Insurance Company (BAICO) is incorporated have approved the transfer of BAICO’s traditional insurance business to Sagicor. With this approval, the sale of BAICO to Sagicor was finalised Friday, March 15, 2013. As a result of the transaction, over 15,000 former BAICO policyholders have had their policies recapitalised, and are once again able to enjoy their original policy terms and access their insurance benefits. Sagicor has made interim arrangements with BAICO for BAICO branches in the ECCU to provide ongoing customer support to policyholders. This means that BAICO will accept premiums and claims,
and conduct other customer services on behalf of Sagicor. Sagicor will make contact with each affected policyholder whose policy has been transferred, in order to welcome them to Sagicor, and to confirm how to continue receiving their policy related benefits, pay premiums and make claims. Sagicor will also directly contact over an estimated 1,500 persons who are owed historical claim amounts, and have surrendered payments, maturity payments, and bonuses by BAICO in order to make these payments. The ECCU governments have provided funding for these amounts to be paid. Recipients will need to sign an appropriate release as a condition of receiving their payment. Some policyholders would have allowed their policies to lapse for a variety of reasons
but the ECCU Governments and Sagicor will now focus on identifying whether a solution can be implemented for those traditional life insurance policyholders whose policies lapsed between the commencement of BAICO’s judicial management and the announcement of the sale of the traditional life insurance business to Sagicor. Once this work has concluded, an update will be provided. On June 29, 2012, the governments of the ECCU and the judicial managers of BAICO announced that an agreement to sell part of BAICO’s insurance business to Sagicor Life had been entered into and the ECCU Governments had undertaken to provide funding to assist in restoring value to the transferring policies. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
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ANTIGUA Commits to
Funding New Fleet Despite Antigua & Barbuda’s severe cash flow problems, the twin-island state has pledged US$1.5 million towards the purchase of new aircraft for regional carrier LIAT. Prime Minister Baldwin said the monies would be paid within 14 days and would be the first tranche of the estimated US $6 million total, the country plans to pay. He noted that as far as he’s aware, the fact that the country has not yet made a payment should not affect the timeframe within which LIAT expects to get the new aircraft. “We are committed. As far as I know the Finance Minister has indicated the ministry would be able to make good BusinessFocus May/June
on its obligation within a short period and will be doing it in tranches.” To date, St Vincent & the Grenadines has paid EC $8 million. St Vincent’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said, “We’ve paid in full, in fact we have paid a little more than was actually required. We paid between December (2012) and January (2013) EC $8 million and Dominica has paid EC $3 million. I have also been advised that Barbados has paid some money.” The aforementioned countries injecting funds into LIAT are major shareholders. In early January 2013, aircraft supplier ATR and LIAT jointly announced a deal for three planes valued at over US $100
million. LIAT officials said the first of the 48-seater ATR 42-600s is to be delivered in June 2013. The deal also reportedly includes the option to purchase two 68seat ATR 72-600. LIAT is systematically replacing its fleet of turboprop aircraft. It is also engaged in discussions with leasing companies for additional ATR -600s. The airline currently operates a fleet of 14 aircraft over its Caribbean network, which includes main hubs at Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad, and destinations in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St Marten, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and others. ¤
St George’s University Could be Up
One of the largest medical schools in the world, St. George’s University in Grenada, could fetch more than US$1 billion if sold, according to Reuters. The international news agency reports that “people familiar with the matter” say the university is speaking to private equity firms about a deal that could end more than 36 years of independence for the university. One of the four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential, told Reuters the Credit Suisse Group is advising St. George's University on the sale. Last year, the bank helped arrange a US$250 million loan whose proceeds were partly used to pay the university's founders a special dividend. St. George's University, founded in 1976 by Charles and Louis Modica, Edward McGowan and Patrick Adams, generates annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of over US$100 million, the sources said. Charles Modica serves as both chancellor and chairman of the university's board of trustees. Louis Modica and Patrick Adams, also sit on the board. Representatives of St. George's University and Credit Suisse would not comment. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
IN THE KNOW
Caribbean’s First Gold Refinery Expected to
Earn Billions company boasted. The refinery is expected to produce as much as 60 tons of refined gold when it is fully up and running in 2016. Initial refining is scheduled to begin by the middle of next year. It will focus on melting and producing gold bars to international purity standards of 999.9%. "We are pleased to have been handpicked by Suriname's government to construct its first gold and precious metals refinery and mint house as they push ahead with their efforts of regulating, monitoring and modernising the country's gold and precious metals sector," said Kaloti Group Chairman Munir Kaloti. It is a real testament to our international reputation and market leadership position based on more than 25 years of continuous operation in emerging markets and more than 17 years of collaboration with Suriname gold traders." He said the
The Government of Suriname has embarked on a joint venture with the Kaloti Group of Dubai to establish the first gold refinery in the Caribbean. The refinery that is being built near the village of Wit Santi, close to the country’s International Airport, is expected to start operating by next year and produce as much as US$2.77 billion worth of refined gold. President Desi Bouterse joined Kaloti Chairman Munir Kaloti in expressing high expectations of the facility. The US$20 million plant should make Suriname into a “centre of excellence for the region's gold and precious metals industry,” a joint release said. The Government entered into a joint venture with the precious metal refiners out of Dubai last year, and recently the start of the construction of the smelting and bullion manufacturing plant was announced. The Kaloti Group is one of the world's largest gold and precious metals refiners and trading houses. The company, its subsidiaries and associates employ 300 people and is also located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Miami and Istanbul and a gold and precious metals refinery in Sharjah (UAE). Suriname produces an average of 40 tons of gold a year, but until now it has had no large scale refining capacity. The new refinery will be called Kaloti Suriname Mint House and will be the first of its kind in Suriname and the region, the BusinessFocus May/June
joint venture strengthens his company’s position as a global provider of refined gold and increases its presence in the western hemisphere. President Bouterse said the joint venture is meant to maximise the value of Suriname’s mineral assets. “This collaboration will bring significant value to Suriname and its mining industry in terms of international reputation, knowledge and experience of gold and precious metals refinery and bullion trading," he said. ¤ Courtesy: CMC
US Embassy Announces Increased Visa Fees and New Processing System Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Larry Palmer said changes to the US visa application process are designed to simplify and modernise the system. From March 21, visitor visa applicants are required to pay a US $160 visa fee online with a credit card before making an appointment to be interviewed at the embassy. In the past, Non-immigrant Visa applicants booked appointments online and paid the fees in person, with cash, at the embassy. “We are trying to modernise the system to make it easier for those folks who are trying to apply for a visa and trying to renew their visas,” Palmer said. “If you read the fine print and read from start to finish, rather than making the process more complex and difficult it really makes it simple.” Embassy Consul General Mark Bysfield, at the time said, the only way to pay by cash would be at the Scotiabank branch in Barbados. He advised that those without cards could use those of friends and family members or travel agencies. The embassy estimated that, with the new service, people will now spend less than half the time they previously did at the embassy. Bysfield said having only one cashier and having everybody pay in cash slowed the process down. The new system is also expected to alleviate the problem of people who are not necessarily serious about their travel plans filling the appointment queue. “Now with paying in advance we think people will be much better at rescheduling if they are not going to be here, which then opens those appointments back up to folks with a more urgent need to travel,” Bysfield said at the time. The embassy also planned to rearrange its waiting room to allow for more privacy and extended its phone information hotline hours from one hour to 14 hours of operation per day. ¤
IN THE KNOW
Banks WARN of Possible Credit Card Fraud Caribbean Association of Banks sends out region-wide alert following recent data breach. Caribbean credit card holders are being warned of a potentially dangerous data breach. The data breach that first came to light after a recent nation-wide credit card recall across banks in the Bahamas, which is having a regional impact. According to an alert sent out to the regional media by the Caribbean Association of Banks Inc (CABI), banks and other financial institutions across the Caribbean have been impacted by the security breach “at a financial institution in the region.” Reports in the media have suggested that the breach took place at a data centre in Barbados where sensitive information on the accounts of thousands of card holders was stolen. CABI said the breach “could result in the compromise of a number of Visa and
MasterCard branded debit and credit cards.” It advised card holders that “out of an abundance of caution” banks and credit union might be contacting customers to have their card replaced.” In a bid to reassure thousands of customers across the Caribbean, CABI stressed that these measures were precautionary as, up to the point of their alert being issued, no fraud had been attributed to this case. “Our member Banks and other Financial Institutions throughout the region take client confidentiality and security very seriously and provide assurance that customer interest remains soundly protected. Your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated,” stated CABI in its media release. ¤
Growth, Jobs, Opportunities top agenda for St. Lucia in Caribbean Growth Forum Investment climate, infrastructure, skills considered key for private sector-led growth across the region Inclusive growth that generates jobs and opportunities for all citizens in Saint Lucia was at the center of discussions at the official recent launching here of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF), a twoyear regional platform for dialogue to foster higher levels of economic growth with opportunities for all in the Caribbean. The CGF is a partnership between the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Compete Caribbean, with support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The CGF involves stakeholders from the Public and Private sectors, Academia and Civil Society, as well as from the Caribbean Diaspora.
Over 200 participants joined to talk about the key factors that have the greatest potential to increase growth in Saint Lucia. Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, who delivered the feature address, said: “The Government must enact reforms that allow us to competitively and efficiently provide services to the business sector and the wider public.” The event also included remarks by Sir Dwight Venner (Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank) and a joint statement by CGF donor partners. Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean, said, "Compete Caribbean” -- as a private sector development program -- sponsors the CGF because it is confident this is an effective way to build consensus around an agenda that will support a competitive private sector driving growth throughout the region.
Andrea Gallina, CGF Coordinator for the World Bank, said: “A thriving economy that generates sustainable growth and greater opportunities for all Saint Lucians must be a shared responsibility among all stakeholders.” The CGF Saint Lucia launch followed launch of similar chapters in the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Saint Kitts and Nevis, with Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Jamaica having planned later national events. The first phase of the CGF initiative will be completed by June 2013 with the production of an Action Plan by each of the 15 Caribbean countries participating in the Forum, which will include concrete policy recommendations that would then be implemented by each country. ¤
Most Exclusive Chocolate Bar’ Hotel Chocolat's Rabot Estate bar boasts 'notes of shiraz wine, antique oak, roasted cocoa and stewed spiced plums' Hotel Chocolat, which locally manufactures and retails chocolates and other cocoa-based confections, is about to launch what is already hailed as “the most exclusive bar of chocolate in the world.” Their Rabot Estate Marcial 70 per cent dark comes from a single estate. It specifies the year of harvest, the temperature and time of roasting and the duration of the refining process. The local ‘chocolatiers’ say they want “to take premium chocolate in the same direction as fine wine” by creating that taste that will encourage the consumer to want to know more about the tastier product. Angus Thirwell, co-founder and CEO of Hotel Chocolat, says the chocolate bar displays "notes of shiraz wine, antique oak, roasted cocoa and stewed spiced plums." The single Cote Marcial bar will be available in branches of Hotel Chocolat at £3.50 for a minimal 35g tablet – or £7 for twice as much. Based at Rabot estate in Soufriere, Hotel Chocolat has pioneered the revival of the cocoa industry on the island, providing a sure market for selected farmers. The old plantation estate has been revived with a hotel to complement the experience of seeing how coco grows, is harvested and prepared in the traditional manner to provide the dark roast beans that eventually form the base of the chocolates sold to the world in St. Lucia’s name. ¤
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OPPORTUNITIES BusinessFocus May/June
CARE Celebrates 20th Anniversary Dedicated to Giving Youth a Second Chance There’s always concern about the fate of the adolescent young who fall through the widening cracks in the formal education system – especially those considered “too lazy” or “too troublesome” or for some other reason deemed unable or unsuitable to “fit” into regular classes at regular schools. Each year brings growing numbers of such students needing care across the island. They might have “done wrong” by seriously violating the school’s disciplinary code, or found “unable to make the grade” because of their “low marks” scored at the end of each academic term – or they may be considered to have adopted “bad habits” from a broken home or troubled single-parenthood. Or they may simply be found to be “too hard headed.” It just didn’t matter. They were simply either left to languish, their parents eventually asked to “take them out” of school, or they were “sent” to certain schools considered havens for the haunted, homes for the hard-headed, dustbins for the student trash rejected by the system. Over the past four decades, individuals at various levels of the catholic clergy have set out – in the name of The Father – to take better care of those the system rejected. First there was local priest Fr. Reginald John (Father John) who, some 20 years earlier, took it upon himself to “take off the streets” dozens of boys rejected by the system. Considered societal drop-outs, they ended up engaging in petty crime – theft, drugs, gambling and everything more attractive and adventurous than having to go to school every morning. In some cases they’d even been ejected from the family and ended-up begging near the island’s two Castries cinemas at the time (Clarke’s and Gaiety) or seeking petty jobs by the Castries Market on Saturdays. Or, they became what back then were derisively called “Wharf Rats,” who sought a living off the docks by “hustling” (begging) tourists, diving off cruise ships for coins, or offering to be guides – or deliverers of “whatever you want.” BusinessFocus May/June
Fr. John tried hard in the early 1970s to introduce his gathered Lost Sheep to the word and way of The Lord. He fed, clothed and housed them – and sought ways and means to keep them off the streets. But he and his efforts were alone. The rest of the church didn’t openly identify with the cause of his unwashed sons of sinners. Theocracy wasn’t concerned with poverty. Liberation Theology was being frowned upon by the pre-John Paul II Vatican. The church was frowning on the then young Fr. Patrick Anthony (“Paba”) for introducing coloured cassocks, Creole language, local guitars and African drums to altar at the cathedral. Soon the congregation started going after Fr. John. He started getting accused of doing much more than just helping the poor little boys. Soon enough, Fr. John disappeared – and the boys were back on the streets, some heading to the lock-up at the fenced Boys Centre at Massade, others heading across the Castries Bridge to the Royal Gail at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Fast-forward twenty years and enter Brother Dominic Brunnock in the early 1990s. An Irish Presentation Brother at St. Mary’s College from as far back as the 1960s, he’d been shaping boys at the island’s main secondary school for decades. Bro. Dominic had seen over the years the thousands of young persons who were ejected from or rejected by the school system. They came from every school and their numbers grew each year. He set out to do something about it – and so, with a little free help from friends, on April 26th 1993 a new institution was born to do just that. The Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (CARE) opened its doors two decades ago this year in Anse La Raye to the wretched of the education system. The classrooms were bare, but their teachers bore loads of patience – and tons of goodwill. They knew they had a struggle on their hands, but they also knew each CARE student had as much a brain as anyone else. They observed, tolerated and
understood as they reached out to those in their care. They each had a life ahead – and a skill to be found and nursed now. CARE has the tools to teach each boy and girl something they could go out into the world with to survive. They wouldn’t walk out of CARE’s doors as certificated doctors or engineers, but they would have been sufficiently cared for to prepare them for basic entry into the world of work. In its two decades, CARE has grown at all levels. It now has Centres in Castries, Gros Islet, Soufriere, the Mabouya Valley and Odsan and has touched the lives of thousands of young men and women. It continues to get voluntary help from the community, even though never enough to move it ahead as fast as its needs grow and its services are needed. For its 20th anniversary, CARE hosted a Past Trainees Pageant on April 19th at the National Cultural Centre ahead of a Special 20th Anniversary Mass at the Minor Basilica on April 26th and a fund-raising and thanksgiving dinner the following weekend at the Royal St. Lucian Hotel. At all the activities, memories of Bro. Dominic were invoked by all who knew him and of his efforts here before returning home and departing to eternity. As it turns out, the Presentation Brothers – who have been running St. Mary’s College for decades on end – are winding down their presence here. Only two are left at the college and they’ll soon be gone as the Brothers retreat from St. Lucia. But Brother Dominic will perhaps be the best remembered among them, for his active role in the education of young St. Lucians at the College, but also for his role in ensuring that St. Lucia got CARE, to take care of the countless boys and girls whose care seemed to be the last thing anyone in the world cared about. Thanks to him, hundreds who would normally have been left to find their own way now have a place where they’re taught, through the CARE motto, that “Success is achieved through striving.” ¤
The Importance of Early Childhood Education Juliet C. Brathwaite MBE The young child needs freedom to choose and repeat activities using his or her hands: the very ‘Instruments of the Intelligence.’ The hands-on activities and ‘freedom’ to use them ought to be embraced by the traditional primary school kindergarten environment in Saint Lucia where abstract bookwork with limited concrete materials remains the child’s current reality. Freedom of choice however, does not mean licence to wander around and do what you want in an unstructured manner creating disturbance and problems for other children; in fact it is completely the opposite. When a child is free to choose, free to carry out properly prepared activities that have a purpose and a built-in control of error, the freedom enjoyed by the child actually leads to self-discipline that augers well for the future. The young child actually wants to do the right thing, wants to experience inner joy and needs the freedom of the early learning environment to achieve this. If quality early childhood education is available to all children regardless of the social and economic grouping, there is not only benefit in the short term for the child but long-term economic benefits to the community at large.
The Saint Lucia National Early Childhood Policy was a long and often exacting work for many key players in early childhood education and those of us who had been involved in its fruition were delighted that the Policy was ratified by the government in December of 2012 and officially launched by the Minister of Education Dr. Robert Lewis in April 2013. The Code of Practice for Early Childhood Education Centres is now out for public reading and will soon become law and we are hoping that this necessary procedure will bring the minimum standards contained in the Code into effect as soon as possible. Both are excellent documents and will guarantee that all Early Learning Centres for Saint Lucia’s children from birth to five years of age will receive the highest quality learning experiences. It is an important fact that children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life, their coping skills and their career choices. These experiences set the groundwork for continued learning and stimulate the zeal to succeed which is carried on into adulthood. During the first three years of life children absorb and take in all that is around them in their environment, absorbing every impression and new piece of information through their senses and by becoming one with their environment; parents and caregivers together with the environment are therefore the young child’s first teachers. From three to six years of age the young child gradually becomes a conscious learner and seeks a greater experience to consolidate all of these sensory perceptions linking them to abstract experiences which allow the imagination to conceptualize ideas and realities for future society.
High-quality early childhood education helps prepare • young children to succeed in school and become better citizens; they earn more, pay more taxes, and commit fewer crimes. Reduced absenteeism and less distraction among • parents in the workforce may be a possible outcome because there is greater confidence in an accredited early childhood learning centre. Quality early childhood education forces the parent to • keep pace with their developing child, which in turn has a ripple effect of continued adult learning and increased productivity in their own environment be it work or otherwise. Indeed, universally available quality early childhood education would benefit everyone and be the most cost-effective economic investment. Are we under-investing in our country’s youngest children and therefore in our country? While this would require more public and private support, it is an investment in our future with proven returns. As all of the early childhood centres strive to provide the correct environment, undertake professional development for their staff and invest in the creative aspect of teacher-made materials, they will be offering the best experiences to the child from birth to five years. The outcome of your wise decision to keep your child in a creative learning environment for as long as possible will not disappoint you… they will become fluent readers very quickly, their conversation will be filled with real information, their grasp of mathematical and scientific facts will astound you, and their creativity will know no bounds both now and in their future, they will be a credit to their nation and above all they will ALWAYS LOVE LEARNING! It is up to you. Let’s continue to invest in our children where it counts most. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
The University of the Southern Caribbean Taking Real Education To The Next Level By Stan Bishop
They say that a good education is worth the investment put into it – both the will to succeed and the financial. And there is one such university in Saint Lucia that allows you to do just that. And despite the difficult financial times affecting the globe – and the job market – there is a place that offers you a good educational opportunity that equips you for the tough job market. Enter the University of the Southern Caribbean. Since September 2007, the University of the Southern Caribbean has been providing Saint Lucian students the prime opportunity to pursue in-class and online academic, as well as practical courses. Our courses include up to 47 undergraduate programmes, 9 Master’s Degree programmes and 2 Ph.D. programmes. However, students can complete up to 5 undergraduate programmes in Saint Lucia, including Social Work, Psychology, Behavioural Science, and Bsc. in Elementary Education. Students taking other programmes can begin such programmes here in Saint Lucia and then transfer to USC’s 384-acre main campus in Maracas Valley, Trinidad. BusinessFocus May/June May/June BusinessFocus
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The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) is open to individuals looking to take their education to the next level. Through our part-time classes, students get professional training from a faculty that comes highly-qualified. Our faculty members all have a minimum qualification level of a Master’s Degree, so you do get your money’s worth. Also, USC provides our students an interactive classroom setting that is in synch with sound and efficient group learning. Our lecturers also go the extra mile to ensure that students get extra tutorials if necessary. The University of the Southern Caribbean is fully recognized as a tertiary level educational institution by the government of Trinidad and Tobago through that country’s accrediting body, the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT). Also, USC is fully accredited by the Board of Regents, Department of Education, General Conference of SeventhDay Adventists in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. It gets even better – USC is affiliated with parent university, Andrews University, in Berrie Springs, Michigan, U.S.A. As such,
students obtain degrees their degrees from Andrews University by following the programmes listed in the Affiliation Agreement between the University of the Southern Caribbean and Andrews University. According to Yearnine Jules-Cepal, Director of the University of the South Caribbean’s extension campus in Saint Lucia, since the educational institution is run by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the rich mixture of high quality academics and positive values works to the benefit of both faculty and students. In fact, at USC, the focus is on holistic development that in turn prepares students for a meaningful living and exceptional service to the world. “At USC, we don’t just settle for just getting our students academically qualified. We also ensure that we help our students build strong character and other positive personal traits that are necessary for a well-rounded individual. At USC, we believe that a sound education goes hand in hand with a sound character,” JulesCepal tells BF. Commitment to distinction is also one of USC’s hallmarks, as is proudly emphasized in USC’s mission, vision and motto: “Beyond Excellence”. Over the past 84 years, the USC has maintained a deep commitment to the essential ideals of open, democratic governance, and responsiveness to the needs of a diverse student body. And with extension campuses in Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Trinidad (San Fernando), USC does just that. We also espouse the philosophy that is deeply rooted in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church which teaches that the true education is the harmonious development of the head, heart and hand. At USC, we offer you a modernday education at affordable rates. The university also has established relationships with local banks that make financing for students hassle-free. What are you waiting for? Why not give the University of the Southern Caribbean a call today and get the real education that equips you for the real world. ¤
STUDY AT USC SAINT LUCIA
School of Business School of Education & Human Sciences School of Humanities School of Sciences & Technology School of Social Sciences School of Theology & Religion
LMI St. Lucia Hosts First Women in Leadership Leadership Management International (LMI) St. Lucia branch has created a first in St. Lucia with the First Women in Leadership Conference which was held on the 9th March, 2013 at the Bay Gardens Hotel. The Conference was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Relations in honor of International Women’s Day and was a huge success. Over 40 women from different spheres of the society attended this Conference. The theme was “Uncover Your True Greatness and achieve more Balance in Your Life.” The purpose of the Conference was to bring women leaders together, empowered by their wholeness as women, and committed to living their vision and actively contributing to the world. A broad cross-section of women came together under one roof for a day of inspiration, information, networking and fun. The discussions were headed by LMI Licensee in St. Lucia Marcelline Chitolie, who gave an inspiring talk on “The Total Person LMI Concept which is a Plan of Action to empower one to balance all areas of their Life. She stressed on “Striking the Right Balance”, in an effort to give women the tools with which to reasonably balance their family and home, financial and career, mental and educational, physical and health, social and cultural and spiritual and ethical lives. She also took the opportunity to share with the women the excellent LMI Programs offered right here in St. Lucia especially the Leadership for Women Program and Effective Personal Productivity Program. The Conference was also addressed by Mrs. Mauricia Thomas-Francis, Country Manager of CIBC/FCIB who spoke of the world’s recession and its impact on small economies like St. Lucia. She was able to share with the women tools and skills that they can use to remain in business in those trying times. Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun, Rodney Bay Medical Centre gave a very impactful talk on health issues that may affect Women and recommended ways to counteract it. She spoke about taking care of the body in a holistic way through eating healthy, exercising and finding ways to control stress. The participants were impressed with the presentations and had an opportunity to network with each other and had a fun time with a Zumba Demonstration and Makeup Demonstration by the company Skin Science with the product line Aria. Several prizes were won from our gracious Sponsors - Diamonds International, Prestige Autos, Tapas Restaurant, Bay Gardens Hotel, Forest Springs Water, Jardin Des Fleurs, Sistah Sistah Nails, Stranz Hairdressing Salon, A La Mode Boutique and the Rodney Bay Medical Centre. The participants had such a great time that they have requested another Conference next year. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
Sandals Corporate University
Making Waves at First Anniversary
After one year of operation, the Sandals Corporate University is making great headway in educational development for St. Lucian tourism workers. Formed with the intention to allow Sandals employees in St. Lucia and other Caribbean islands greater opportunity to attain their academic pursuits, Sandals Corporate University is swiftly fulfilling its mandate. Several employees at the various resorts locally have signed on to achieve certification at various levels and are benefiting from the University's Scholarship fund. Core courses include: The Art of Selling, Customer Service, Leadership and Professional Communication. Sandals Resorts International's Regional Human Resource and Training Manager, Ryan Matthew is of the view that the company's human development thrust has been heightened by the formation of the Corporate University. "Our team members have a really good shot at fulfilling their academic potential at the resort centers of excellence, allowing greater access to higher education. We have also entered into some very valuable strategic partnerships with internationally recognized tertiary institutions," stated Matthew. Not only has the Sandals Corporate University elevated the bar of training and
development at Sandals, but it has also given the luxury included resort company a significant competitive advantage through increased service levels. So much so that SRI's Regional Director Jeremy Jones rates training as a salient pillar upon which the future of Sandals is built.
"As we continue to provide customers with higher and greater levels of luxury, the service that comes from our employees and how they deliver that service, is one of the most vital luxury inclusions. Our employees are our most valuable asset and are of paramount importance to our future growth," pointed out Jones. Employees have signed on to various professional certification programs which are the foundation for enrollment to other degree and master’s degree offerings while they work. A number of vital partnerships have been formed with prestigious institutions while several are in the pipeline.
“The strength and good reputation of the Sandals brand has been instrumental in facilitating partnerships for the Corporate University,” stated Matthew. He continued “Our Chairman, Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart has invested a lot in the development of the brand and the people who work for the brand over the last three decades.” In addition to the Corporate University, the organization remains committed to its Hospitality Training Program which targets young people in the community who are unemployed. The program exposes them to various areas in hospitality allowing them an important opportunity to consider hospitality as a career choice. Nearly one thousand young people have graduated through the program at the last count. “It’s important to ensure that we prepare our young people to contribute to the cash cow of our economy, tourism. We need to do a better job as a country to inspire our young talent to participate in the backbone of the St. Lucian economy,” Matthew declares. While the HTP program continues to prepare future tourism employees, SCU sends a clear message to future and present tourism employees, one that is true to its motto “come grow with us.” ¤
RIGHT Done to
Calypso and Calypsonians Prof. Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool Advises at CXC’s 40th Anniversary Lecture
CHALKDUST: We need to make up for the wrongs done to calypso and calypsonians. (Picture by Sharon Harding.) Professor Hollis ‘Chalkdust’ Liverpool wants some of the Caribbean’s leading institutions in education “to make up for the wrongs” done to calypsonians and calypso music. He mentioned the University of the West Indies and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). He also said key resource people throughout the region should create a book of calypsos to be used as a study tool. BusinessFocus May/June
Chalkdust delivered the CXC 40th anniversary lecture, under the theme The Calypso As A Caribbean Art Form for Institutional Studies: Resistance, Acceptance And The Journey Ahead. The event took place Tuesday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, where there was standing room only. Chalkdust was one of the first examiners for CSEC Caribbean History when the exam was first introduced in 1979. He is also the first Professor of Calypso Art. “What a journey calypso has had. It now presents CXC with the privilege and the challenging opportunity to unravel the journey from Africa to the Caribbean, from preemancipation times to the 21st century. . . . It is an art form fashioned in the womb of Africa and developed on Caribbean plantations. After 40 years of CXC, we need to make up for the wrongs done to calypsonians and calypso music by starting the reformation now,” he declared. He envisioned that the specially produced book of calypsos should reflect “musical measurement, chord patterns, major and minor keys commentary, humour, philosophy, entertainment, and male-female relationships. “It would also speak to themes such as migration, poverty, ethnicity, racism, injustice, corruption, prejudice, political development, colonialism, national independence and even
election fraud. Moreover the students will not only see empirical data relevant to all of these themes but they will be led to understand that they can use the calypso as a form of citation for projects and written essays,” he said. Chalkdust also reflected on the early years for calypso in the Caribbean, noting that it was a struggle for its acceptance as music. “It is a truism that in the era before the British colonies gained their independence, Caribbean people rejected the calypso as music worthy of any institutional study. It is true that from the pre-emancipation period calypsonians have used the calypso to resist colonials and overlords but our academics and elites have also in the pre-independence era, resisted attempts to use the art form for institutional study . . . they simply resisted attempts to bring it into the classroom,” he said. Chalkdust said part of the issue was that calypso and calypsonians were not held in high regard and this only started to change after calypsonians like the Mighty Sparrow and others started to become successful through competitions and gradually growing acceptance. He recalled personally that the “unkindest cut of all” was his case in 1968 when he was dragged before the Trinidad & Tobago Teaching Service Commission to say why he was “singing calypsos and gaining emoluments under the Crown, while employed as a teacher in the service. He said after six years of Trinidad’s independence he was charged for singing calypso and found guilty. ¤ Courtesy: Barbados Nation
Leadership Pays BIG Dividends for Smaller Firms
By Betty Combie
The importance of leadership is critical for Fortune 500 companies, but a financial leader asserted leadership is crucial for the "Less Fortunate 5,000" small- and medium-sized companies. In fact, many owners of SMEs, stated financial guru Zhivargo Laing, "rely more on their leadership skills because they do not have the luxury of hiring professional leaders and managers to head their businesses." Laing, a former finance minister of The Bahamas, noted CEOs of Fortune 500 companies "have the benefit of armies of MBAs, analysts, in-house financial experts and outside vendors to aid them in the planning, execution and strategising of their giant corporations." For smaller companies, however, "the vision, direction, recruitment and deployment of resources - human and physical, coaching and motivating of staff, strategising, raising of capital and troubleshooting, among many other things, must be done by these SME leaders." The quality of the person at the top of the company, Laing declared, directly affects the bottom line and fortunes of smaller firms: "Sound leadership of SMEs plays a significant role in their transformation to larger companies, perhaps even to future multinational corporations." "In today's challenging economic environment, leadership of SMEs is even more crucial. Owners must do their best to ensure they possess, or develop or acquire, the skills needed to steer their companies through the many obstacles to success," he said. Furthermore, in difficult economic times, Laing insists, good leaders have to manage up as well as down: "Motivated staff who share the company's commitment to customer service excellence and ethical conduct is invaluable but it is also critically important to have the ability to communicate vision and strategy effectively to skittish investors and financiers hungry for profits." Leadership is a career long commitment, stressed Laing: "Leaders of SMEs should incorporate in their ongoing corporate growth strategy, the development of their own leadership skills as well as that of their team. This investment will pay dividends for them. Whether they take some online course, attend seminars and workshops, do certificate courses, enroll in college or university or enter a mentoring relationship with a business leader, it is important that they pursue leadership development as a matter of continuing personal and professional growth." And what is the return on investment from continuing leadership training? "Higher profits, increased revenue, reduction in costs, employee retention, research and development results, increased customer loyalty, prudent capital investment and so many other critical business pursuits that depend greatly on sound leadership. SMEs in pursuit of these outcomes for the benefit of their owners, employees, customers and communities need such leadership." Perhaps most important for Laing was the expansion of horizons: "Leadership lifts the ceiling on corporate limitations." ¤
Employers have complained that the education system is not preparing persons with the requisite skills to perform their jobs well. There is evidence of repeated cases of persons leaving school not being able to apply basic knowledge and skills to the world of work. So I agree that the system is failing many of our students in this regard. However some employers have also made statements implying that they should not be the ones to train their staff in the skills necessary to do their job well; skills they which should have being acquired at school. On this I disagree. It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that their staff is competent to do the work assigned to them. This competence can be assured in different ways including a stringent recruitment process, a comprehensive orientation programme, shadowing, or on-the job training. The method used should be aimed at ensuring that the employee has the necessary education, skills, training and /or experience to do the job they are hired to do. Proper business practices require that: You identify in advance the necessary education, • skills, training and /or experience needed for each job in the workplace to be done competently. Usually you prepare a detailed job description. You hire persons who are either fully competent or • whom you are aware have competency gaps. In the latter case, you ensure that these competency gaps are filled. Employers are doing an injustice to their customers and by extension their businesses when they “unleash” incompetent staff onto their customers. Ensuring competence requires an intervention by employers involving training, monitoring performance and determining effectiveness. ¤
It’s YOUR Responsibility
Re-Examining Education Technology Designing Schools for the Future, Today By: Bevil Wooding Well intended laptops-in-schools programmes, or tablets-in-the-class initiatives morph into money-downthe-drain, or frustration-in-the-class outcomes. However, the technology per se, is seldom the cause for broken technology-in-education dreams. I usually do not have to scratch too deeply to find that failures can be traced to: teachers not being properly oriented or trained; schools not being adequately outfitted, location inappropriate technology being deployed; or relevant digital content not available. A scratch deeper typically reveals that leaders did not sufficiently invest in connecting the dots between vision and implementation.
The Technology Imperative
Technology is having a positively disruptive impact on classrooms around the world. It is being fuelled by the functionality and affordability of consumer-friendly devices and the increasing accessibility of digital content, particularly via Internet. It is clear that the education sector, ready or not, is experiencing its version of the technology revolution.
The Changing Face of Education As part of my responsibility as Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN, I spend a significant amount of time researching and developing models for using technology in education. Congress WBN is an international non-profit organization. We operate schools and other education initiatives in countries across the world as diverse as the U.S., U.K., Kenya, Zambia, New Zealand and the BusinessFocus May/June
Caribbean. In this context, positions about what is the best technology are always relative. Decisions can range from “what are the best mobile apps or tablets for the classroom?” to “do we really need to clutter the learning environment with technology?” Smartphones, smart-boards, tablets and flat-panel TVs in the class are real options in some places; but not so much in other parts of the world where the cost of acquiring and maintaining hightech gear is simply beyond the reach of schools and students. In this diverse spread of needs and wants, there is consensus on one thing: Technology is changing the face and nature of education, and schools and educators need to adapt. Yet, for every success story, there seem to be more examples of failed implementations.
There is, it seems, a disconnect between the promise of education technology in theory and manifestation of its potential in the real world. This disconnect may well have to do with the outmoded way success in education is still measured. Exam results, not holistic student development, remain the primary measure of education success. It should come as no surprise then, that the education sector’s response to the disruptive potential of technology is more akin to the public service than it is to the private sector. Adam Webster, a U.K. teacher and education technology blogger got it right when he wrote, “The problem with the real world is that it functions at a different pace and in a different way to a school. Schools don’t need to be progressive to be successful, they simply need to produce good results.” The private sector understands that innovation, efficiency and adaptability are not options, they are imperatives. Survival in today’s global marketplace mandates use of technology to remain competitive and relevant. By contrast, learning institutions seem to function under some unwritten code that obligates them to maintain stability and predictability.
Therein lies the inherent challenge with technology in education. Students are graduating into a world in which technology is inextricably woven into the evolving fabric of society. Yet, under current education models, good exam results seldom require innovation, or creativity, or technology. So unless the definition of relevant knowledge and learning is changed, educators have no real incentive to make the sweeping changes required to evolve the education system. Schools and countries must ask “Is our education system adequately preparing students for the real world?” A negative response should not be taken as an indictment, but as a mandate for decisive action.
Evolving the System It is a question we constantly ask in our schools and challenge ourselves to respond to. Ultimately, technology should be embraced because it serves the need to provide a quality learning environment. Examples at home and abroad prove that technology can transform how education content is delivered; engaging students, teachers and parents in interesting new ways in the process. Video-conferencing software can used in the class to link students with their counterparts in other countries.
Multimedia libraries can be populated with local as well as international content to supplement the curriculum and extra-curricular activity. Parents can use smartphones, tablets or computers to login to an online system to review their child’s progress and interact with subject teachers. Students can access the Internet on their own devices for research, international collaborations or even for games and social networking – just like they would in the world they are being prepared for. Still, caution is required. Real risks attend the benefits of technology in schools. Safeguards to protect users from inappropriate content have to be put in place and constantly assessed. Responsible use of technology should be communicated to students across subject areas. Additionally, strong emphasis should be placed on ongoing education technology training for teachers as well as parents. It is also important that students be taught to value digital content creation, as a counter-balance to their natural inclination for content consumption. Schools should also cater for building internal technical troubleshooting and maintenance capacity to support student and staff needs. In so doing, the system evolves to serve the technology-driven demands of education in the digital age.
Navigating the Future The truth is, though, technology has been changing education for millennia: from slates, chalkboards, fountain pens and calculators, to laptops, multimedia projectors and touch-screen devices. Through every transition there was opposition; yet with every transition the nature of education evolved. Today we are at another transition point, and if we have learnt anything from the past it is that leadership, not technology, will determine how well and how quickly we navigate to the inevitable technologydriven education system of the future. ¤
Bevil Wooding is the Founder and Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, an education-focused not-for-profit delivering values-based technology training programmes including digital publishing and eBook creation workshops. He is also Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN. Follow on Twitter @bevilwooding and facebook.com/bevilwooding
MAMPA TRAINING INSTITUTE Mampa Training Institute (MTI) is a subsidiary of Mampa Employment Agency. At MTI, our primary focus is on training and job placement. MTI/BTEC EDEXCEL Centre is a vocational and academic school. We run certificate and diploma courses full-time, part-time sandwich courses (Employer assisted time off). BTEC qualification is a highly-recognized qualification geared to industry. AT MTI/BTEC EDEXCEL Centre, we train you in the hospitality industry, business and health. All qualifications and credits gained are transferable. For people wishing to study at a university or college in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, that’s not a problem as BTEC qualifications are recognized worldwide.
At MTI/BTEC EDEXCEL Centre, We offer Hospitality Courses in: • • • •
Hospitalilty and Catering Principles (Food and Beverage) Hospitality Catering Principles/Kitchen Services Hospitality Catering Principles Professional Cookery Hospitality Skills
Business Courses: • • • • •
Management Marketing Law and Legal Work Principles of Business Administration Principles of customer service in hospitality, leisure travel and tourism • Understanding Business Enterprise • Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Health Courses: • • • •
Working with individuals with diabetes Working in the health sector Knowledge of custodial care Introduction to health and social care (Adults and Children and young people) Early years and childcare
AT MTI/BTEC EDEXCEL Centre, it’s our guarantee that we do not only train you, but also help you gain employment in the field that you may study with MTI, be it in hospitality, business or health. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
is a subsidiary of MAMPA EMPLOYMENT AGENCY.
Take Control of your future. MAMPA TRAINING INSTITUTE (MTI) / BTEC EDEXCEL CENTER Is now offering courses in the various sectors as follows: HOSPITALITY - Professional Cooking, Food & Beverage, Kitchen Services, Housekeeping, Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure Travel and Tourism BUSINESS - Management, Marketing, Law and Legal work, Principles of Business Administration, Understanding Business Enterprises, Understanding Enterprise and Entreprenership HEALTH - Medical Administration, Medical Secretaries, Knowledge of Custodial Care, Working in the Health Sector, Working with Individual with Diabetes, Introduction to Health and Social Care Duration of courses are from 4 weeks to one year. On completion, students are guaranteed interview with MAMPA Employment Agency for career development in their chosen field. For more information, please feel free to call or us: Register Now Mampa Training Institute 39 Brazil Street Castries, Saint Lucia, W.I Tel: - (758) 451 6163 Cell: - (758) 584 7262 Mampa18@hotmail.com
Music Students Benefit from ECFH Scholarship Programme
Students, Teachers and Sponsors at the School of Music
ECFH recently provided the second installment as part of its three-year Covenant with the St. Lucia School of Music for the Young Mentors Scholarship Programme, which was officially launched in 2012 with the aim of developing an avenue for the older School of Music
students to become mentors for the younger, promising students. Under the ECFH Young Mentors Programme, each year ten senior students benefit from individual lessons on their principal instrument. The scholarship package includes ensemble fees, workshops, music theory, practical lessons and examinations and provides an opportunity for the more mature students to impart the knowledge and skills acquired. The programme builds capacity and expands the community outreach initiatives by the School of Music. Among the success stories of the programme is the ‘Manmay-La Di Wai’ community-based after-school orchestral programme.
This partnership between ECFH and the School of Music has benefitted a number of musically talented youth from all walks of life across the island, and the Group is especially proud of its association with the Young Mentors programme, as it entails a rotating development aspect which ensures long-term sustainability of the School’s programmes. ECFH’s relationship with the School of Music dates back to 1989 when the former National Commercial Bank (now Bank of Saint Lucia, an ECFH subsidiary) provided a grant to facilitate the School’s opening. According to Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager, Maria Fowell, “Youth development through the arts is an integral component of ECFH’s corporate social responsibility policy and this scholarship fund initiative allows us to actively promote this cause.” ¤
Reiterates Support for The East Caribbean Financial Holding Company has continued its commitment to the Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (CARE). The ECFH recently signed its third consecutive covenant with CARE totaling $120,000.00 over three years with donations to date totaling over $350,000.00.
ECFH’s Maria Fowell (at right) with other officials observing CARE students at work.
ECFH officials recently visited the CARE Centre in Odsan to check on the students and faculty and to get a firs-thand account of the operations of the Center. Executive Director, Dr. Karleen Mason treated Senior Manager-Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mrs. Maria Fowell, Assistant ManagerCorporate Communications, Mr. Omari Frederick and Corporate Relations Officer Mr. Terrence Albert to a guided tour of the facility. Mrs. Fowell expressed the confidence the ECFH Group has in the programme run by CARE. She applauded students and facilitators for their successes thus far, especially in external exams. She felt it was not only important as a sponsor to donate money, but also visit the programme and to experience first-hand the lives impacted by the programme. Mrs. Fowell also used the opportunity to impart some words of encouragement and motivation to the students in the programme. Dr. Mason welcomed the visit of the team and felt pride in the fact that the funds donated to the Center had been put to good use. CARE has indeed touched the lives of many young men and women in a positive way. The programmes offered by CARE aim to foster positive attitudes in adolescents and to equip them with life coping skills. Students receive instruction in adolescent development programmes, English, Matha, as well as technical subjects like mechanics, carpentry and joinery, clothing and textiles and electrical installation. ¤
The Montessori Centre Age range from
18 months-12 years ( Toddler-Grade 6 )
Trained Staff in all classrooms. Small class size, individual/ small group instruction
Extra Curricular Activities includes:
French, Spanish, Yoga, Music, Creative Arts, IT, Football, Track & Field, Tennis, Swimming & Dance
Rodney Heights, Box 220, Castries Tel: (758) 452-8114 Fax: (758) 452-9409 Email: email@example.com
Central Library to be Renovated
GAMA Learning Institute Training you today for Tomorrows Opportunities GAMA Learning Institute is an authorized training partner for the International Business Training Association
The Central Library in Castries is in the process of undertaking major rehabilitation to its structure. The current state of this building is deemed to be unacceptable and, as such, the government has intervened to preserve this national landmark. This project is expected to significantly improve the working conditions and aesthetics of the Central Library, making it more conducive for staff, as well as for persons who utilise the Library. The total value of works to be undertaken in this exercise is approximately $600,000 and the proposed works include plumbing, electrical, carpentry, tiling and painting. Upon the completion of works to the physical structure, the entire Central Library will be airconditioned. Staff and members of the public are asked to bear with the contractors and the ministry during the execution of the project and are advised that some inconveniences will be caused. ¤
You can also Study: Comptia A+ PMP Report Writing Webdesign
Certificate in Accounting Diploma in Accounting Marketing Quickbooks
Sans Souci Castries • Tel: (758) 453-7719 • Cell (758) 384-4075 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Web: www.gamainstitute.com
When Training is Every Day
Q: When a company is small (just 30 people), what’s the best way to train new staff and help them to remain passionate about their work? — Name withheld, China There is always something new to learn. The day you stop learning is the day you stop living. We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints and ways of working every day. That said, the first goal of any new business is simply to survive; you need to prove that your business model works. One of the best ways to do this is by hiring excellent people who believe in your company and share your goals, and then by helping them to learn and improve their skills. This isn’t optional: if your best people aren’t growing in their careers as your business gains traction and expands, they will quickly lose enthusiasm for their work. And before you know it, you’ll be dealing with unsatisfied customers as well as unsatisfied employees. Your employees’ desire to learn gives you and other entrepreneurs a competitive advantage over larger companies. Small firms are usually new, so they attract people who are eager to try fresh approaches and have great ideas about how to do things differently, rather than employees who are working toward attaining a specific post or title. You can capitalise on this advantage by letting your people run with their ideas and with such a small team, who else will? This is exactly the kind of training and career path that many creative people want: to be able to set challenging goals for themselves and then try to meet them, even if there’s a chance that they may fail. If you give your employees significant responsibilities, you will be surprised at what they will achieve and, in turn, you’ll win their loyalty and commitment. Once you have created this culture of opportunity, your people will see that there is scope for them to move up within the company. They will then be more likely to strive to master their current positions so that they can be considered for promotion and further development. BusinessFocus May/June
If your employees need help with their technical skills, you’ll need to make up for your small budget by being smart about your training plans. Constantly improving and acquiring information technology skills is essential in many industries. I myself have been brushing up on social media and blogging techniques with the help of our social media team. It may be relatively simple to find help online: firms like General Assembly and Codecademy provide lowcost tools that you may find useful. If a number of your employees need the same training, consider alternate methods. Rather than sending 10 people to the same program, can you negotiate to bring a trainer in-house, keeping costs down? Instead of enlisting expensive privatetraining companies, can you find experts willing to give talks to your team? Can you reach out to your mentors, perhaps from contrasting backgrounds, to discuss the issues with your team? This could be more interesting—and more engaging—than traditional training.
Hands-on Training As your business grows, some of your new hires may need hands-on training. New employees at Virgin Trains learn about their jobs in a real carriage that has been decommissioned – it even includes a catering car and a train driver’s cab. But creating a practice area might not be an option for you. In that case, one of the simplest ways for you to train a new employee might be to set her up in a mentoring relationship with one of your best people. First, have her shadow her mentor for a few days. Once your new employee is ready to start work herself, ask the mentor to supervise her and continue to provide tips whenever she needs advice.
Remember to stay on the lookout for new technologies and opportunities, and arrange seminars so that you and your employees can explore them, even if you’re not sure they can be immediately applied to your business. Who knows? You could be onto the next big thing and your team will be one step ahead. As you help your people to build their skills, you’ll need to think about how to retain them over the long term. One of the best ways is to promote from within whenever possible. After all, who knows your company better? One of the examples at Virgin that comes to mind is the career trajectory of Virgin Galactic’s wonderful chief pilot, Dave Mackay. His old job? He was captain of our Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600. Now he’s in charge of taking tourists into space. That’s career progression! Whether you have 30 employees or 300, creating a culture of opportunity at your business will make a huge difference for your staff. Learning won’t be restricted to set training periods, but will happen in all areas of your business, all day long. ¤ (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: http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/ blog%3Chttp://www.virgin.com/richa.... You can follow him on Twitter at: twitter. com/richardbranson. To learn more about the Virgin Group: http:// www.virgin. com%3chttp//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 website or publication where you read the column.) @2013 Richard Branson.
LEARNING ORGANISATIONS By Faithaline Hippolyte
In today’s challenging business environment, companies would do well to embrace various concepts that will give them a competitive edge. One such concept is that of a learning organisation. Such an organisation is one which has ‘learned’ to adapt to changes in its environment. For example, after noting the vast popularity of social networking, a learning organisation would take advantage of this medium by creating a presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to connect with its customers and other key stakeholders. Continuous learning is a key characteristic of any successful organisation. The world around us is constantly evolving and companies that do not recognise the changes and adjust their behaviour accordingly; or those who do not learn from their past mistakes, will almost certainly be left behind.
A learning organisation would embrace organisational learning. Organisational learning goes beyond training and development, and can be formal or informal. It encompasses various kinds of learning activities, whether by individuals (e.g. self-study or observation); by groups (e.g. increase in knowledge gained from group interaction, or from attending a workshop); or by the organisation as a whole (e.g. knowledge gained through organisation policies or strategies). Another related concept is knowledge management, through which an organisation can capture and share its knowledge among all employees. For example members of the organisation who are experts in their field can share their knowledge with others at workshops; or an individual may attend a workshop and share the lessons learned and the handouts given with co-workers. In addition, companies should take steps to retain
their most knowledgeable staff so that these persons don’t leave and in so doing, take their knowledge with them. In order for organisational learning and knowledge sharing to be predominant in an organisation, the culture of that organisation must be in sync with such ideas. It is up to the leaders of organisations to show that they value such attitudes, for example by the pattern they set in their personal actions, in their organisational policies, and in the types of behaviour they reward. By promoting and encouraging the increased knowledge of a company’s most important asset—its employees—the organisation will inevitably grow as well. ¤ Faithaline Hippolyte is a freelance writer. She holds a B. Sc. degree in Management Studies, and is a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Find some of her other writings at www. amazon.com, including Kindle books for instant download. BusinessFocus May/June
The Role of Technology in
By: Keitha Glace I remember when my learning came from a traditional classroom setting, from looking at TV (when it was still black and white mind you), from listening to my older siblings converse among themselves, and from the usual suspects of Grimms Fairy Tale books, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mystery books. Nowadays the next generation who are growing up in this new world, have so many options of how they ‘assimilate’ all this information which is basically how they educate themselves. Often now you will hear parents of 2 year old toddlers comment on how their children know how to manipulate apps and programs on their tablets better than they can. Learning is now an interactive and engaging phenomenon; wherein doing something allows you to really get into the meat of the matter more than if you simply read it or have it read to you. Now we have folks learning how to make a dish or do some handy craft by watching a video on YouTube. So the ‘handme-down’ recipes that went from generation to generation, is now complemented by the easy access of information via the internet. Home schooling and long distance learning is now standard across many societies, thus reducing cost in many ways in today’s challenging global economies. When last did you hear of someone having a ‘pen pal’? Well this has been replaced with chat and texting to anyone who has a smart phone anywhere in the world. Now if you are having a hard time figuring out something on a website, simply click on a ‘Live Chat’ button and interact with a sales or support team member half way across the globe. Access to information and to persons who can give you information (which is all part of BusinessFocus May/June
the education process) is simply a click away. Some members of society may disagree with the above view in that they feel that technology has negatively impacted education in terms of the easy access to information out there that can be harmful to the end users and societies. Some see the decline of writing skills, closures of libraries, discontinuation of newspapers and encyclopedias – all the traditional means by which the process of education was conducted for so many generations, have now come to an end, obliterated by the increasing use of technology. The traditional forms of education however are still valid and important as part of human nature. But now the onus is on schools and educational institutions to integrate the technology which captures the students’ interests. So the importance of learning by utilising various methods is not only for the students but also for teachers and parents alike. The process of educating someone has simply grown by leaps and bounds and no longer has any geographical, age or gender boundaries. With the integration of technology and its infinite use, e.g., interactive webinars, Skype conferencing, podcasts, you name it – there are several options available out there. It is up to you to select the method that is most convenient and cost effective for you. Continue to learn and grow – it just keeps getting better. ¤ Keitha Glace is the Owner and Managing Director of GlaceGrafix. com and the St. Lucia Business Directory – Slooogle.com. She has been providing advertising and marketing services, specialising in online products and solutions for clients worldwide since 1998.
Who Works in Marketing? By Pilaiye Cenac I once used the term marketer in conversation with a stranger at the airport and I got a peculiar response. He paused, face crumpled, then asked, “A marketer? That’s something to do with selling by the market?” I dutifully looked away, silently Oh-EmGeed, then dove back into the conversation to explain, before he was called to the departure gate, that I did not sell at the Castries or Port of Spain markets or any other market for that matter. (At least not yet; don’t know what the future holds.) While a bit bizarre, it begs the question: What does a ‘marketing person’ do? Some executives believe that marketing equals sales; those qualified in marketing disagree. There’s also the misconception that marketers live and breathe an endless string of promotions – promotion accounts for only one P in the marketing mix. Marketers should build that bridge linking consumer and producer; they should sit “at the intersection of the business and the customer – the great arbiter of the self-interests of the business and the needs of the buyer” (Michael Brenner, 2012). All companies cannot afford a full marketing department/person; in some instances, a general manager, sales, operations or business development manager would try his/her hand at some marketing. A marketing department/marketer should be adept at: • Developing, implementing, monitoring the marketing strategy and plans • Managing the marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion, people, physical evidence, process) • Researching and reporting on opportunities/threats • Understanding current and potential clients • Managing client and vendor relationships • Measuring effectiveness of plans/programs/initiatives • Managing budgets • Developing new products Based on a review of vacancy advertisements, here are a few of the ‘marketing persons’ usually sought by Caribbean companies. Head of Marketing/Marketing Manager/Chief Marketing Officer: • In charge of marketing department and responsible for all areas above • Strategic, big picture thinker. Must understand how to align marketing efforts with company’s vision/objectives • Education: BSc, MSc in marketing, MBA • Experience: 3+ years in senior marketing position
• Collects, reports insights regarding customers, markets, competitors and program effectiveness to measure performance and inform business decisions • Education: Business/marketing degree • Experience: 1-2 years
Communications/Advertising Manager or Officer:
• Develops, executes, manages communications strategies (advertising, public relations, traditional and digital media etc.) • Outgoing personality
• Education: degree in marketing/business • Experience: 3-5 years in similar position
Public Relations Officer:
• Spokesperson for the organization • Uses free publicity to build and manage company/ brand image • Outgoing personality • Education: Diploma in communication, public relations, marketing or any other related discipline • Experience: 1-3 years
• Usually employed by companies with diverse product lines/brands • Given strategic direction and expected to manage all aspects of the brands in his/her portfolio with this in mind • Expected to develop and execute marketing plans within budget, to achieve financial targets • Outgoing personality • Education: BSc/ diploma/ associate degree in marketing or business • Experience: 1-2 years in similar position. Experience in sales an asset
• Responsible for maintaining good relationships with clients • Ensures satisfaction with company's goods/services, resolves issues, tracks clients activities etc. • Engages in sales in most instances • Education: basic business qualification • Experience: sales experience/experience in similar position
• Provides administrative and marketing support to marketing department/ person responsible for marketing • Responsible for hands-on, day-to-day execution • Education: certificate/diploma • Experience: experience in similar position
Other areas of marketing:
The areas below are generally outsourced, and there is greater emphasis on candidates’ reputation, experience/portfolio than on their education: • Web designer/developer • Photographer • Graphic designer: responsible for visual identity of product or service /company • Copy writers: develops scripts for radio, TV ads or text for print • Content writers: writes articles, speeches, blogs/web/ social media content etc. It appears that marketing departments in the Caribbean are quite lean, generally consisting of a marketing manager/officer and marketing assistant(s). Many companies hire someone to perform dual functions e.g sales and marketing manager and marketing and distribution manager. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
American University Of Antigua
STAYING ATOP OF THE MEDICAL FIELD
is a US$100 million development that incorporates state-of-the-art diagnostic and operating room equipment. It has served the Antiguan community since 2009. The facility features 185 beds, five operating theaters, an electronic records system, a 16-slice CT scanner, and a full endoscopy suite. AUA students receive early clinical training from MSJMC that allows them to be more fully prepared for clinical rotations when they move to the United States.
American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine is at the forefront of technology and medical research in the Caribbean. AUA’s campus was built with the latest advances in medical school technology. Universal high-speed Wi-Fi service allows students to work from their laptops, tablets, or smart phones throughout campus. The library includes a vast collection of electronic resources including thousands of articles, research papers, best-practice guidelines, and more. Any of these can be accessed from dozens of computer terminals set aside exclusively for student use. Each classroom has HD televisions, which allow students to follow their professor’s presentations from anywhere in the room. At AUA, students can take the classroom anywhere with an Internet connection. Blackboard Learn™ gives students access to lecture notes and additional materials to extend their education. Echo360 lecture capture service allows students to re-experience their classes. When they study for their exams, for example, they can replay the lectures to see if they missed anything. AUA includes a suite of high-tech laboratories that make students feel as if they are already participating in their clinical rotations. The Center for Simulated Learning is equipped with the latest training simulators for students and physicians, including SimMan® 3G, SimBaby™, Harvey®, and a birthing simulator. These simulators include the latest interactive software, incorporating challenging clinical scenarios. The Anatomy Lab includes computer stations and video systems that provide instant access to Adams Atlas, V.H.Dissector™, and prerecorded prosect demos. These systems can also project lectures and live demos on the five HD monitors. AUA is proud to be affiliated with one of the most modern hospitals in the Caribbean: Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC). MSJMC BusinessFocus May/June
BusinessFocus • May/June 2013
Beyond Antigua, students and faculty have been leading a number of different research initiatives in the United States and elsewhere. In 2012, students presented their research at distinguished conferences across the United States, including, but not limited to, the New York Osteopathic Medical Society Eastern Regional Conference, the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual National Meeting, the American College of Physicians Regional Conference in Baltimore, and many others. Not only did they participate in these conferences, but students have also had their research published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives, Pediatric Clinics of North America, and The Neurologist. AUA student Prathap Jayaram was the first author of research on hemodynamics (blood movement) and the effects of an anomaly of the vertebral artery, a major artery in the neck. The project was presented at two international conferences: the American Association of Anatomists annual meeting in San Diego and the American Association of Clinical Anatomists annual meeting in Toronto. Other projects by AUA students have included research on topics such as anesthesiology (in cooperation with the Mayo Clinic), emergency medicine (in cooperation with the Mayo Clinic), and the cellular basis of diseases (in cooperation with Tulane University). AUA Provost Dr. Seymour Schwartz has published extensively. He is probably best known for his textbook Principles of Surgery, which is considered by many academics to be the definitive textbook on the practice of surgery and is still used in most U.S. medical schools. In 2012, he co-authored the book Holystic Medicine: The Patron Saints of Medicine, an insightful examination of the patron saints of medicine and why they are associated with certain diseases or conditions. AUA faculty members have long established themselves in the international medical community through their groundbreaking research and publications. In 2012, faculty members have presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., and the Blackboard BbWorld Conference in New Orleans.
American University Of Antigua
sity of Antgua
Professor Deborah Gerrity presented “A Biopsychological Approach to Prevent Transmission of HIV” at the AIDS conference and Professor James Rice presented “Examination Challenges in a Caribbean Medical School and the Study of ‘Decision Fatigue’ in Examinations.” Dr. Naira Chobanyan, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, has more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, The Journal of Carcinogenesis, The Journal of Evidence-Based Oncology, and The European Journal of Oncology. Chair and Professor of Pharmacology Dr. Hani Morcos completed a research paper on “The Effects of Simvastatin (Zocor) on the Memory of Alzheimer’s Disease [Patients],” which made headlines in The Washington Post as well as on several health news sites in the United States and around the world. He found that nNOS (neuronal nitric oxide synthase) levels were significantly higher in the hippocampus and cortex statin, which is the result of high cholesterol. As AUA expands its campus, it continues to encourage innovation in its technology, faculty, and students. AUA can only expect further greatness. BusinessFocus May/June
BusinessFocus • May/June2013
INTERVIEW WITH AUA’S SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER DICK WOODWARD Administration in any institution is always a challenging task staying abreast of the operations of the institution, its image, marketing and of course recruitment. Once can only imagine the magnitude of responsibility and tasks that befall the administration of any university. Taking the opportunity to peer into the administrative role of an institution, Business Focus received the opportunity to speak with Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management & Chief Operating Officer Dick Woodward, who has been at AUA for seven years. He now works in two areas: academics as SVP for Enrollment Management and operations as COO. As SVP for Enrollment Management, he is responsible for overseeing marketing, new student recruitment, and is regularly involved with student affairs. As COO, he is responsible for day-to-day business routine of the company including finance, IT, administration, and registrar.
Business Focus: Why have you decided to remain in the field of education? What is your specific role within the institution? Dick Woodward: I have been with AUA for seven years. In my tenure, I have seen hundreds of our graduates go on to do great things in the US and Canada. What makes this career so rewarding is that you are giving people the chance to fulfill their dreams of becoming physicians. When I see their smiles at commencement as they hold their MD degrees in their hands, that’s what makes me fulfilled. I am the Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management & Chief Operating Officer. That means I work in two areas: academics and operations. On the academic side, I oversee marketing and new student recruitment and I am regularly involved in student affairs. On the operations side, I am responsible for the day-to-day business routine of the university, which includes finance, IT, administration, and registrar. BF: There is a perception among mainstream institutions that offshore institutions are diluting or lowering the standards of the medical field. How does AUA measure up to its mainstream counterparts or rebuff such beliefs? BusinessFocus May/June | 84 BusinessFocus • May/June 2013
DW: Our curriculum is based on US medical schools, and we have a similar two-semester schedule. Our faculty is composed of professors that have taught in US medical schools as well as renowned universities abroad. Our Provost Dr. Seymour Schwartz wrote the essential textbook on surgery, which is still being used in US medical schools. With that said, we give our students more pre-clinical opportunities than many US medical schools. When our students graduate, they are more prepared for their residencies than are some of their US counterparts. Most of our graduates are filling primary care residencies; many of these residency slots are left unfilled by US medical school graduates. There have been articles in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal recently about the dearth of US medical school graduates joining the primary care field. In some areas of the US, people must drive over an hour to see a primary care physician. We are fulfilling a need that mainland schools are not. BF: There are a number of medical schools in the Caribbean, as well as on the island. Why should students consider AUA over the longer-established schools in the region? DW: To start, we are the only medical school in Antigua and one of the few in the Caribbean to be recognized by the Medical Board of
American University Of Antigua
California, approved by the New York State Education Department, and provisionally accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions. Compared to other schools with all three of these qualifications, our tuition is much lower. We also have a high number of hospital affiliations in the US for clinical rotations. We strive to have an affordable tuition while providing a high-quality medical education. Also, if you think about it, we have only been around for nine years and managed to achieve these three qualifications that have taken decades for other Caribbean medical schools. Imagine what we can do in the next nine. BF: When recruiting, how does AUA select its prospective students? DW: We take a holistic approach to evaluating prospective students. First off, we do not require the MCAT for admissions. We require it only for matriculation. Studies have shown the MCAT has been generally ineffective in predicting personal and professional characteristics of future physicians. We want our students to become compassionate physicians, and the only way to see if an applicant can become one is by examining the entire candidate. Most important, we want to see that they have a passion for medicine and that they can thrive in a rigorous medical education program. Medical school is a serious commitment and we want to ensure that everyone who wants to enroll knows this before applying. BF: After completing studies at AUA, do students have to meet additional requirements to become a practicing professional? DW: Students have to fulfill the same requirements that US and Canadian medical school graduates do. Before they graduate, students have to pass the USMLE Steps 1 and 2, which qualifies them for the residency match. After they match, graduates go on to residency training in July. When they complete their residencies, they can go on to practice anywhere in the US or Canada. We currently have graduates practicing throughout the US and Canada.
BusinessFocus â€˘ May/June2013
Call for Teaching of Sir Arthur Lewis’ Works
Education Minister Dr. Robert Lewis is being petitioned by the island’s leading intellectual lights to put Sir Arthur Lewis’ works on the national school curriculum. There’s now a determined drive to have schools teach and students study the works of St. Lucia’s Nobel Laureate Sir Arthur Lewis. As part of activities celebrating Nobel Laureate Week 2013, the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College hosted a panel discussion focusing on the relevance of Sir Arthur Lewis’ economic theories and their application towards solution of modern-day problems. Panelists were lecturers from the various Divisions of the College named after the island’s first Laureate, as well as by the Parliamentary Representative for Micoud North, Dr. Gale Rigobert. During the discourse, St. Lucians were encouraged to delve deeply into the works of Sir Arthur, especially as his models BusinessFocus May/June
have been successfully implemented in countries like Singapore. Dr. Rigobert, however, proposed that persons focus as well on new ideas that can solve the island's economic problems. She said, “Immediately upon reading the invitation, I couldn’t help but think: here we go again, discussing the continuing relevance of Sir Arthur’s work. While this is a worthwhile exercise, my greater worry is: Since Sir Arthur Lewis, have we given thought to new thoughts, the new thinking that speaks more closely to the problems of the day? Notwithstanding all this, the fact remains that indeed Lewis’ work is so rich that we can continue to extrapolate from his original thesis.” St. Lucian-born Economics lecturer Clarence Henry also spoke of the urgency
to become economically independent as the political and economic nature of the Caribbean changes. He explained, “The reality of the new political economy is that we have fewer friends that are willing to provide a handout towards our development, as they themselves are concerned about their own development, as their growth rates also slow down. As we graduate from lower income to middle-income economies, the focus of attention among developing countries has been that of certain parts of Asia and Africa.” The college hopes to make this discourse more regular, to provoke thought and encourage new thinking among students and staff. ¤
NSDC Grads to Begin International Certification Courses with Monroe College Over 80 young people will soon receive international certification in various areas of Hospitality, through a training programme by Monroe College St. Lucia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, as part of the OECS Skills for Inclusive Growth Project. The participants attended an official orientation exercise at the National Cultural Centre on Wednesday April 10th, 2013. They will attend ten weeks of in class training in six areas: Bar Operations and Mixology, Office Administration, Food Preparation/Sanitation, Data Operation, House Keeping and Customer Service, followed by an internship. The programme is an advanced one for participants, who have completed training through the National Skills Development Centre (NSDC). Senior Vice President of Monroe College, Dr. Alex Ephrem, says this programme
stands out as successful participants will receive international certification as well as transferable college credits. “When you finish this programme you not only get a certificate, but you also get college credits. You will receive up to six (6) college credits and if you decide anytime to go anywhere in the world and continue your college education, you can transfer those credits to that institution,” he said. The goal of the OECS Skills for Inclusive Growth Project is to increase the employability of youth, equipping them with the skills, knowledge and attitudes sought by employers, through private sector driven training. Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Eustace Monrose, says the training from
Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education
Monroe College will significantly improve the competitiveness of participants. “You can gain employment throughout the world. No matter where you go and those services are required, you have the skills and you can attain employment. You become a world citizen, employable anywhere and that is critical,” he said. Participants will receive both theoretical and practical training. Through this programme, Monroe College is expected to graduate a cadre of trained, qualified young people, ready to fill positions in Saint Lucia’s vital tourism industry. Training begins officially on April 22nd for students of Bartending and Mixology, as well as Office Administration, with other courses scheduled to commence shortly thereafter. ¤
T H E
Provides St. Lucian Youth between the ages of 12 and 19 with a second chance at learning a life skill. As of September 2009 our programme will be a three year programme. The Adolescent Development Programme (A.D.P.) is taught for the first year and the Skills Programme with Certification for two years. Skills offered: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Auto Mechanics, Carpentry and Joinery, Catering and Hospitality, Cosmetology, Electrical Small Appliance Repair and Installation, Garment Construction, and Office Skills.
For registration, please contact us at: Tel: ( 758 ) 451-1510
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Vieux-Fort to be Declared ‘a University Town’
St. Helen University is the latest addition to the offshore medical schools in the southern town. Spartan Health Science University (School of Medicine) Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony wants to see Vieux Fort developed as a University Town. Dr. Anthony, speaking at the recent Southern Business Symposium, called to explore realistic plans for the economic development of Vieux Fort. Noting that plans to establish factories manufacturing garments and electronic components had failed and the collapse of the Black Bay and Le Paradis hotel projects, Dr. Anthony called for more practical solutions to the town’s economic development. The Prime Minister praised investors who’d stayed and prospered in the south, among them WINERA and the Windward and Leeward Brewery, and promised support to existing companies who continue to generate employment. Looking forward, Dr. Anthony said the quietly growing university community in the south of the island showed tremendous promise especially for housing. He said a small committee has been appointed to examine a proposal to declare Vieux-Fort a University Town. The Prime Minister said government is interested in expanding the opportunities and concessions for medical schools seeking to establish in the south. He said the multiplier effect would bring direct benefit to the housing sector as students from Asia, Africa and around the world seek accommodation. Dr. Anthony also asked Vieux-Fortians – especially those with significant portions of land – to think seriously of investments in real estate, as the housing market was starting to show signs of recovery. The VF South MP also called on Invest St. Lucia – the largest land owner in Vieux-Fort – to rethink their operations, as more land will be required for development in the south. Dr. Anthony commented briefly on the Hewanorra International Airport Development project, noting that at some point it might become the only major airport in St. Lucia. Studies on the impact of the closure of the George F.L. Charles airport are ongoing. In the meantime Dr. Anthony disclosed that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will fund a study of a north-south highway, bypassing Castries and linking the north with the east coast. He said such a highway will cut on the transfer time from Hewanorra to the north of the island. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
St. Mary's College Wins Top
Regional Science & Technology Award
One of St. Lucia’s top senior secondary schools has capped a regional prize for best creative and innovative project in the Sagicor Regional Science Competition. And, as a result, a teacher and student will benefit from a free visit to Florida as science and technology ambassadors of St. Lucia.
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The school presented a project entitled "Obstacle Detector," which assists blind persons to detect objects that could be obstacles in their way. The winning student and teacher were each presented with trophies and a monetary prize of US$500 for their school. They were also the recipients of an all-expenses-paid Ambassadorial Programme to Florida in July, with visits to the Kennedy Space Centre and the Museum of Science in Florida included in the itinerary. Eleven countries participated in the challenge: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia. The challenge focused on the application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to provide innovative solutions to make the Caribbean's schools and communities more sustainable. The competition was held in Barbados on April 12 and 13 at the Sherbourne Centre. ¤
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Governor General Promises ‘Better Quality and More Equality in Education’
Governor general Dame Pearlette Louisy says government, in its bid to promote quality and equality in education, will soon implement a system of partial school zoning. In her 2013 Throne Speech entitled “Sowing the Seeds of Opportunity” Dame Pearlette spoke of her Governments’ plans to tackle the ever-persistent problem of providing quality education to the people of Saint Lucia.
The current system places students into secondary schools purely on the basis of grades, with no consideration to where the child lives – unless on their parents’ own deliberate choice. This system has come under some criticism in the past for its inadequacies and the time has come for a change. Dame Pearlette said, “The time has come when we must change such an inefficient system of placement, which puts the burden on parents and on the state to transport students for many miles to schools outside of their communities.” Currently there exist cases where students from the south travel daily to attain an education in the north, which most times is a financial burden. Government intends to further utilise resources and human capital to remove the impression that certain schools are better than others.The zoning process will ultimately mean that students
will be spread more by geography than by grade, thus creating more equitable schools in all communities. According to the Governor General, “My Government intends to begin in the new academic year, the partial zoning of entry into secondary schools through the Common Entrance Examination. “This method will still allow students choices of schools outside of their assigned district, but will ensure that there is greater equity in distribution of students.” She however reiterated that Government will continue the policy of subsidising those students who are assigned to attend selected schools beyond their home communities. There will also be consultation on the particulars of this strategic reform to ensure smooth and effective implementation. ¤
Sandals Foundation Enrolls Students To Observe Marine Awareness
In an effort to bring greater attention to the importance of coral reefs and other marine resources of St. Lucia and the Caribbean, the Sandals Foundation has been enrolling students to observe Marine Awareness. BusinessFocus May/June
The initiative – which includes tours to marine sanctuaries, reefs and specially designated areas – targets students and visitors to the island. In St. Lucia, the Sandals Foundation spearheaded a tour for students from the Balata Primary School, and Sandals returning guests to learn about the muchtreasured marine park at the Pitons, a United Nations World Heritage Site. The Sandals Foundation’s Director of Programmes, Heidi Clarke, asserted that safeguarding the marine life of the island has tremendous economic and environmental benefits to St. Lucia. “Not only do we depend on it as a tourist attraction for thousands of divers, but our local fishermen also rely on it for their livelihood. The coral reefs also play a very critical role in protecting coastal areas from the full surge of ocean flows,” Clarke noted.
Multiple returning Sandals guests, John and Kate Brentnall, said learning about the coral reefs added value to their vacation experience. “We are thrilled to be invited on such a worthwhile tour. Visiting the marine park in Soufriere is a lovely addition to our holiday,” John explained. In keeping with its commitment to environmental preservation, the Sandals Foundation has thrown its support behind marine education and awareness in the communities where Sandals and Beaches Resorts operate. Marine Awareness Month was therefore also recognised in Antigua, The Bahamas, The Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica. The philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International has engaged students across the region in managing marine sanctuaries, promoting awareness of the invasive lionfish specifies, and investing in turtle and conch conservation. ¤
CCSS Gets ICT Boost adding some more structure to the LRC and creating an environment that can help students better focus on their studies and have a richer learning experience.” LIME is working with the Ministry of Education to make further donations to schools that are in need of computers. The Ministry is charged with identifying the schools that will get machines either for computer labs or resource centres. LIME has collaborated with the Ministry of Education on many previous occasions. Most notably, the island’s number-one broadband Internet service provider is facilitating free web access for all primary schools in Saint Lucia. The company has also put tens of thousands of dollars into the LIME Scholarship Programme, and partnered with Government on a variety of information technology initiatives. ¤ Hanson Narcisse is the Learning Resource Centre Coordinator at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School. Hanson has been at the 39-year-old Vide Boutielle institution since 2011 and says one of the things that most impresses him about CCSS is the way alumni support their Alma Mater. So, when he sought to fulfill his goal of obtaining additional equipment for the Centre, it was natural that he would reach out not only to Saint Lucia and the Caribbean’s leading telecommunications service provider, but also to the vibrant past students’ association. LIME colleagues and former CCSS students Norman Dorleon (class of 1991) and Patricia St Juste (1988) made a presentation of three computers to Mr Narcisse, Vice-principal Neil Fontenelle and a group of students in a brief ceremony earlier this week. The refurbished Dell Optiplex GX260 machines represent the latest demonstration of LIME’s commitment to education and youth development – and according to all concerned, this is a timely donation by one of the island’s foremost corporate citizens. “We at Castries Comprehensive are very grateful to LIME for this gesture,” Mr Fontenelle said. “I assure you that these computers are well received and will be put to good use. We are especially grateful that our alumni are stepping up to the plate in a big way. They recently assisted us by raising funds for tiling the Learning Resource Centre, and today’s presentation is yet another show of great school spirit.” For his part, Norman – Technical Service Manager with LIME’s Carrier Services Division – said it was a pleasure to be able to give back to the school. He also noted, however, that there are other areas in which he feels LIME could lend a hand. “I have not been back to the school in a few years. It’s great being here and getting the support from our employer to be able to help the school. We are now exploring more ways in which we can support the LRC and CCSS as a whole, by
“Building Leaders for the 21st Century” • • • • • • • •
Effective Personal Productivity (EPP) Effective Leadership Development (ELD) Effective Team Dynamics (ETD) Effective Communication (EC) Effective Personal Leadership (EPL) Effective Selling Strategies (ESS) Effective Motivational Leadership (EML) Effective Strategic Leadership (ESL)
Training Dates: Effective Personal Productivity: 24th June, 2013 – 11th July, 2013 27th June, 2013 – 30th July, 2013 Effective Selling Strategies: 26th June, 2013 – 29th July, 2013. Leadership for Women: 17th June, 2013 – 19th August, 2013 Effective Leadership Development: 9th July, 2013 – 29th September , 2013
For more information call to book for Training Clara at (758) 453-0367 BusinessFocus May/June
Caribbean Teachers WARNED: Change -- or Become Classroom Fossils!
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, as CARICOM Chairman, told Caribbean teachers they needed to change fast – or be left behind by time and progress.
Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony addressed Caribbean teachers recently -- in his capacity as CARICOM Chairman, as well as a former Teacher and President of the St. Lucia Teachers Union – during which he warned them to change -- or become fossilized. Addressing the Caribbean’s teachers unions at the 5th Regional Education Conference of the Caribbean Union of teachers (CUT) in Grenada, Dr Anthony told his audience, “For us to appreciate the challenge of the teaching profession, we must consider the following trends: Education is becoming more globally competitive; Education is becoming part of the knowledge-based economy; Education is becoming more values driven; and Education is becoming more dependent on technology as a platform for teaching and learning.” Addressing the factor of global competition in education, he said, “Worldwide, we observe that education is increasingly being seen more as an industry. Whether this is concluded to be positive or adverse, Government, as one of the principal service providers of education, should ideally be concerned BusinessFocus May/June
by the performance and outputs of this sector in a competitive global market. “However, the basic education for the local market is certainly nearly monopolistic, mainly owned, managed and directed by Government. Very few nongovernmental providers exist.” Encouraging the region’s teachers to become more versatile, Dr Anthony said, “One of the first qualities we might wish espoused in teachers of the future and the competitive learning environments they will coordinate is versatility; particularly the ability to apply their skills differentially. Teachers will have to be able to teach to suit, adapting to varied classrooms and even varied courses of study by individual students within the same classroom.” But, he added, there were factors of teacher mobility that should also concern the region’s education planners. According to the St. Lucia PM, “The presence of versatile, adaptable teachers and the rising global market also presents a risk for the Caribbean through teacher migration. “We know very well that many Caribbean islands have benefited, for instance, from the migration of many skilled teachers from Guyana. The same can also be said of North America, which has been a sink for many skilled Caribbean teachers. “The movement towards regional certification of teachers is in some way a response to this need for teacher mobility.” He warned, however, that If we are to speak of the future of the teaching profession, we must observe the trends that are impacting education both within our region and globally in a scientific way. “And while, of course, it is often suggested that reforms in an education sector should be gradual and incremental, all across the Caribbean, the rate of reform has invariably been close to a snail’s pace.”
Dr Anthony warned too that “If the Caribbean does not make radical, calculated shifts in the quality of its human resource capacity through education and knowledge systems, the region would continue to languish behind the rest of the world, and remain uncompetitive.” The St. Lucia PM advised that “The role of the teachers’ organisation needs to be seen as more transformational and less territorial. Unions should, beyond the usual interests of emoluments, have a vested interest in healthy self-criticism and analysis of their own members’ performance. “The teaching profession must therefore prove that it can assess itself and promote value propositions to the rest of the sector.” Looking ahead, Dr Anthony told the region’s teachers, “The teacher of the future, would certainly have to remain always relevant, in a world where technology reverts knowledge to be passé at an ever faster rate. “If more deliberate efforts are not made to make use of existing technology, the use of the existing teaching profession in the Caribbean risks being fossilised. “The chalkboard is being replaced by the interactive whiteboard, the library with the worldwide web, and the textbook with the tablet. And if you’re thinking of the tablet as something Moses came down from Sinai with, then perhaps you already face extinction.” He continued, “This is what you face as teachers: remaining relevant in light of the paradigm shifts that will be necessary to change our learning environments – and, by extension, the outputs of our schools.” The teacher of the future, he said, “must affirm a number of qualities and aptitudes.” He continued, “The teacher must be well trained and qualified, versatile and able to teach in a variety of environments, and certainly to be able to be creative under the low resource constraints that
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still pervade the Caribbean region. The teacher may also need to be able to teach his or her subject in a foreign language. “The teacher may find employment at an early childhood development centre, or at a tertiary or post-secondary college, and will find suitable remuneration. The teacher must be able to develop positive values and character to his or her students. “The teacher’s mission would be less to do with transferring content and more to do with promoting creative and critical thinking, good communications skills and developing character and citizenship. “The teacher must be able to analyse his or her clients and their needs and tailor teaching methods to suit; the teacher must teach smart, which to her benefit may mean teaching less. “The teacher must be technology literate, and must know how to apply useful tools within the learning environment, and particularly within a curriculum with integrated use of technology. “The teacher must understand technology as a teaching tool, as a means of analysis and management, and as a means of communicating smartly.” He concluded with the hope that many find their place in that future, “lest you become a ruin of years long gone, in a ruinous society.” According to the ex-teacher, “The choices are stark but real: becoming fossils or embracing fundamental change. If we change not, then wither away we shall.” ¤
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Single Parent Mothers Return to Classrooms Following recent structural renovations at Cellestial’s Vide Bouteille factory, a new classroom has been designated and specifically designed for accommodating trainees from the National Skills Development Centre (NSDC).
Single Parent Mothers across st. Lucia are being given an opportunity to return to the classroom – this time to learn for a job. Regional Communications Ltd, the company that produces ‘Made in St Lucia’ Cellestial branded tablets, laptops and cell phones for export and domestic consumption, has started another round of training for single mothers from the Single Mothers In Life Enhancement Skills (SMILES) programme, this time in a brand new setting. SMILES is a government initiative geared at providing not only jobs for single unemployed mothers, but also a sense of self-worth to this particularly vulnerable group.
The two-week session identifies the best of the best for apprenticeship as assembly technicians in the expanding Cellestial facility. Cellestial’s newly appointed Director of Operations, Marcia Charles, has been screening a large number of single mothers to attend this training mechanism provided free of charge by her company. “We look for potential, ambition, focus and technological interest in these ladies,” said Charles. “From this final group of ten, we expect to select a chosen few to continue in this much respected and in-demand vocation that has far-reaching career implications.” Tricia Leo, the SMILES Coordinator, views the relationship with Cellestial as “a mutually beneficial alliance.” “Cellestial is a true supporter of our efforts to bring employment and measurable opportunities to our singlemother candidates. On the other hand, SMILES acts as a quasi-recruiting agency for Cellestial, whereby we identify those ladies who will easily fit into their team and that saves time and money for the company – it’s a win-win for everyone involved,” said Leo. In February, Regional Communications Ltd received the much-coveted Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation. In the same month the company was the outright winner of Compete Caribbean’s $1.3 million grant competition that involved thousands of regional participants. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
New Online Caribbean Tourism Push Lauded Zhivargo Laing, Former Finance Minister of the Bahamas.
A former finance minister hailed the joining together of tourism organisations across the Caribbean to revamp the regional website, www.CaribbeanTravel. com as a "wonderful and much needed show of unity in an increasingly crowded global market." "This is the best way to stay competitive as competing destinations in other regions move aggressively," stated Zhivargo Laing, former finance minister of the Bahamas. "Kudos has to go out to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) for recognising the need for a common approach to marketing and a common electronic presence," he added. "As a former finance minister, I know full well that tourism is by far the biggest
driver of our economies – and as a region we have to keep moving it to another level to ensure our treasuries have the resources to look after our families and our environment – and the new www. CaribbeanTravel.com helps us do that," stated Laing. The website was created by the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), jointly owned by the official organisations of the region – the CTO representing the governments, and the CHTA with hundreds of hotels across the region as well as wider tourism partners. Laing congratulated Beverly NicholsonDoty, CTO Chairman and Commissioner of Tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Richard Doumeng, President of CHTA for the revitalised website. "We expect that our revitalised website will set a new standard for promoting our Caribbean
region and become the cornerstone of our cooperative regional marketing strategy for the Caribbean brand under the 'Life Needs the Caribbean' theme," said Nicholson-Doty, CTDC's co-chair. "This is an unprecedented level of regional cooperation between governments and the private sector in tourism," she added. Doumeng, CHTA president and CTDC co-chair, stated: "The website's advanced searching capabilities will make it easier than ever for consumers to find the ideal Caribbean destination and resort. Restaurants, attractions and other visitor activities now have the ability to showcase their properties like never before." The website launched a few weeks ago with 33 destinations, nearly 400 hotel listings, and more than 100 restaurants and attractions. ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
LIAT Plans Flights to Guyana’s Ogle Airport by Mid-Year Regional airline LIAT yesterday announced plans for flights to Ogle International Airport by mid-year as the facility was officially bestowed with regional class certification and is now Guyana’s second International Airport. The announcement was made by LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer Ian Brunton, who was also among passengers on the airline’s inaugural landing at the airport on 26 March 2013 to mark its certification. From R-L Communications Consultant Kit Nascimento, OIA board Chairman Michael Correia, President Donald Ramotar, Minister of Transport Robeson Benn, CEO of LIAT Ian Brunton and Private Sector Commission Chairman Ronald Webster.
At the official ceremony, Brunton later recalled the Ogle airport management’s announcement of plans to extend the runway to accommodate ATR series and Dash-8 series class aircraft as well as LIAT’s immediate agreement to review the possibility of beginning service to Ogle as an alternative to Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri. “We expect to be able to start commercial operations by mid this year…,” he said, BusinessFocus May/June
while underscoring the importance of the development in the growth of regional air transport. Burton shared the results of a survey conducted by his company that illustrated the benefits of flights to and from Ogle to other Caribbean destinations. Preliminary figures from LIAT’s survey showed that of the 625 persons who participated in the survey, 62% preferred Ogle Airport, given its close proximity to the city, as compared to 37% who chose the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, for their departures and arrivals. It was noted that 84% of participants were non-nationals. “It was determined that the closer proximity to Georgetown would give the
company a competitive advantage. Flying into Ogle would also mean reduced flying time… this of course would result in a significant annual fuel reduction for LIAT,” he also said, revealing that an estimated 19,300 gallons of fuel would be saved, and which would be significant at the current per gallon price of fuel. “Any amount of savings is important to us; it doesn’t matter how small,” he added. The airline’s inaugural Ogle flight was manned by an all-Guyanese seven-member crew that pulled into the airport runway shortly after 4pm yesterday afternoon and departed at 7pm to demonstrate the airport’s readiness for regional day and night flights. ¤
Sugar Beach Celebrates with Matt Damon The American actor and his Argentina-born wife celebrated their union with some 50 celebrity guests at the Sugar Beach Resort. American actor Matt Damon and Argentina-born Luciana Barrosso chose St. Lucia as the location for saying “I do” for the second time in less than eight years. According to UU Weekly, the parents of four, who first exchanged vows in December 2005, renewed their lifelong commitment to each other on April 13 in a Caribbean-style ceremony. The actor rented the entire Sugar Beach Resort for the three-day celebration, picking up a tab in the mid-six figures vicinity for the privacy it afforded. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel officiated at the romantic sunset ceremony and was accompanied by his fiancee Molly McNearney. The couple was among some 50 guests at the intimate celebration. Celebrities in attendance reportedly
included Damon's longtime friend Ben Affleck and his wife Jennifer Garner; Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky; Stanley Tucci and his wife Felicity; fashion designer Naeem Kahn and his wife Ranjana, and director Gus Van Sant. Also arriving via private jet were Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky, actor Chris Messina and his wife Jennifer Todd, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, according to a US Weekly source. The “Behind the Candelabra” star and his wife were reported to have renewed their vows at sundown in a 15-minute ceremony witnessed by friends and family including their daughters: Isabella, 6, Gia, 4, Stella, 2 and Alexia, Barrosso’s daughter from a previous marriage.
The girls were reportedly attired in lightcoloured dresses to match their mother’s cream gown, which featured a sequined belt at the waist. The actor wore a tan-coloured suit teamed with flip-flops to maintain the island theme. The guests are also said to have worn lightweight, pastel-coloured clothing in keeping with the Caribbean ambience. Following the brief service, the celebration continued with a cocktail reception and a tropical-style dinner on the beach. The 42-year-old actor and his 36-year-old wife were said to have begun preparations for the ceremony several months ago with wedding planner Bryan Rafanelli. The couple originally wed in a private civil ceremony and reportedly wanted to celebrate their union with family and friends. ¤
Port Castries Welcomed Over 100,000 Cruise Passengers in 0ne Month
Port Castries welcomed over 101,000 cruise passengers and 60 cruise ships – for the month of January 2013 alone – setting off a promising year for cruise passenger calls here. The Port, which has garnered international acclaim by being awarded the 2012 Porthole Editor-In-Chief Award for “Best Caribbean Port” from Porthole Cruise Magazine and most recently being ranked number 25 in the world, in the Autumn 2012 Cruise Insight The Global Cruise Market Magazine’s “World’s Top 50 Cruise Ports of Call” for 2011, offers cruisers a wonderful first welcome to the island.
Port Castries, which is managed and operated by the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA), welcomes over 300 cruise ships and handles approximately 600,000 cruise passengers per year. For the 2012/2013 cruise season which began in October 2012, Port Castries has welcomed over 375,000 passengers and 168 cruise liners to date. According to Ms. Dona Regis, Director of Marketing & Product Development: “The official end of the 2012/2013 cruise season is March 2013, however, Carnival Valor and Jewel of the Seas will be making year round calls which is a 50% increase from last year, so we will continue to see these liners in our port, even after the season has slowed down.
“On certain days we have had four cruise ships in Port and one tendering either just outside the harbour or in Rodney Bay, Soufriere and even Marigot Bay. Of course those tendering at the aforementioned are smaller vessels with an average capacity of 250 passengers. “We are elated that Saint Lucia as a port of call and by extension Port Castries is still ranked high amongst cruisers and cruise lines and we continue to see this with the return of vessels and repeat cruisers.” Port Castries is the dedicated cruise terminal in Saint Lucia and is home to two Duty-Free Shopping Malls. La Place Carenage Duty Free Shopping Mall which is of French colonial-style of the 18th century and is ideally located near the City Center, offers a mix of jewellery shops, clothing, local handicrafts, souvenirs and dining. The other, Pointe Seraphine Duty Free Shopping Complex offers a range of local handicrafts, jewellery, souvenirs and clothing. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
Brand to Boost Competition in
Port-of-Spain The Radisson brand, which will be established soon in T&T, may just create that competitive push the hotel industry requires. T&T-based Allied Hotels and Resorts announced through a recent press statement that Issa Nicholas, chairman of Allied Hotels and Resorts, reached an agreement with the Carlson Rezidor Group to transform its Port-of-Spain hotel, formerly called Crowne Plaza, into a Radisson brand. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest hotel groups, plans to develop five hotel properties in the Caribbean, among them is Radisson Port-of-Spain Trinidad. The statement said this new urban property would cater to both business and leisure travellers seeking a well-positioned hotel with modern luxuries. The hotel will comprise 243 rooms and offer more than 15,000 square feet of convention space for professionals, and an outdoor pool and a Caribbean-inspired restaurant for leisure guests. ¤
Giving Small Caribbean Hotels an Edge Expedia Inc, the world’s largest online travel company, is exposing Caribbean small and independent hotels to the more than 50 million travellers that visit Expedia group travel sites each month. And, according to released data from the first nine months of 2012, this partnership with a larger number of small hotel partners (defined as hotels with 50 rooms or less) has resulted in an increase in net transactions from this sector by nearly 30 percent year-on-year for that period. Small hotels represent about half of the hotels in Expedia’s direct global inventory, make up more than half of the Expedia group’s Caribbean portfolio and 74 percent of all Caribbean acquisitions in 2012 Moreover, Expedia exposes hotel partners on more than 135 mobile booking sites around the world, through its mobile apps, which have been downloaded more than 20 million times by consumers in more BusinessFocus May/June
than 220 countries and territories at a rate of 40 downloads per minute. Hotel partners also benefit from exposure resulting from Expedia Inc.’s sizeable strategic marketing investment, which totalled $1.5 billion in 2011. These investments reap big rewards for small hotels. "Expedia changed the landscape of the travel business. They pay as much attention to smaller properties like ours as they do to the bigger hotels. Expedia understands our market, their platform support us and other boutique hotels in reaching our target audience,” said Sabrina Absera, general manager of Samsara & Legends Resorts, located in Negril, Jamaica. “The most innovative tool from Expedia is the extranet, which allows us to control the parameters of our product in real time.” “Expedia is proud to have a longstanding relationship with hotel partners of all sizes around the world. By working
with the Expedia group, small hotels are benefiting from unmatched access to a world-wide market, expert advice at local levels and a large marketing investment aimed to drive traffic and visibility to their brands,” said Demetrius Canton, director, market management for the Caribbean. “We strongly believe that our growing relationships with such a large number of properties are a testament to our trusted capabilities.” “Expedia has allowed Graycliff Hotel to go to the next level due to the exposure and rate strategy that we have secured via the relationship with the company,” said Roberta Garzaroli, director of public relations for Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant. “We appreciate their partnership and what the brand represents for us.” ¤ Courtesy: Caribbean 360
in Major Cash Crunch Caribbean Airlines (CAL) is seeking financing from local banks to deal with a TT$1.4 billion (US$234 million) debt the company now faces. CAL chairman Rabindra Moonan confirmed that the airline has reached a “delicate stage” in its negotiations with a bank for long-term financing. He said the Ministry of Finance would act as a guarantor for a loan. He also confirmed that it wasn’t the first loan sought by the airline to deal with its liquidity woes. In its balance sheet for 2012, under noncurrent liabilities for long-term financing, is US$65,365,328. CAL’s cash crunch was at a critical point in February which led the International Lease Finance Corporation (from which the airline gets its commercial jets), to seek a meeting with CAL’s management to attempt to repossess the aircraft because the company was defaulting on its payments. According to its financial statements for 2012, CAL’s losses moved from US$43,647,732 in 2011 to US$83,780,546 in 2012. CAL has been constantly faced with cash flow challenges of late and is now working on a transformation plan for the six-year-
old national carrier. Last May, the company was deemed to be facing “operational risk” by its management in the face of mounting debts. One aspect of dealing with the cash crisis, explained Moonan, was to look critically at its Air Jamaica (AJ) operations and reduce the frequency of unprofitable routes. But other CAL sources told the Sunday Express that the acquisition of AJ was a “bad investment” which had cost the airline and Government more than US$100 million. The sources said the airline was actually looking at closing the Jamaica operations because they were proving challenging. Moonan, who recently returned from India having signed a code share agreement with Air India, told the Sunday Express that while CAL has “suffered heavy losses” in Jamaica, the acquisition was a government-to-government relationship and the Government should comment on it. Apart from an initial US$50 million for acquisition of routes, former finance minister Winston Dookeran had disclosed to Parliament that AJ recorded an unaudited loss of US$38.1 million ($245.2 million) for 2011.
Some of CAL’s investments (US$149 million) have had to be liquidated to address the costly operations of Air Jamaica. The government of Jamaica owns 16 per cent of CAL following the consummation of a Shareholders Agreement which was signed on May 26, 2011. CAL is also expected to announce major job cuts in its Jamaican operations. The Sunday Express obtained copies of emails from its chief financial officer (CFO) Shiva Ramnarine, sent to the airline’s management in February, which addressed the company’s critical cash flow and its attempt to manage it. The company’s current liabilities amount to US$209,988,622 from shortterm financing, unearned transportation revenue and accrued expenses. In his e-mail, Ramnarine said the company’s team “together with the finance treasury folks have been working diligently to avert an immediate cash crisis facing us. Fortunately we are well on our way to doing so and giving ourselves a bit of cash coverage relief for the next four to five months. However, it is important that we stop/check this and appreciate why we got into this situation and potentially what this means going forward for continuity. ¤ BusinessFocus May/June
HEALTH & WEALTH
WHAT IS By: Dr Tanya Destang-Beaubrun
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterised, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. It is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. ASD may be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. It is often found that some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. Some people with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus neuro-typical children. There has been research into a number of theories, including the link between heredity, genetics and medical problems. Indeed, in some families, there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities, further supporting a genetic basis to the disorder. Research indicates that other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrences of autism, such as environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent in our current environment than in the past. It is thought that those with autism (or those who are at risk) may be especially vulnerable, as their ability to metabolise and detoxify these exposures can be compromised. BusinessFocus May/June May/June BusinessFocus
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AUTISM? Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) list five behaviors that signal further evaluation is warranted: • Does not babble or coo by 12 months • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months • Does not say single words by 16 months
• Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age It is important to note that having any of these five "red flags" does not mean your child has autism. But because the symptoms of the disorder vary so much, a child showing these behaviors should have further evaluations by a multidisciplinary team. This team may include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant, or other professionals knowledgeable about autism.
The importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the management of autism cannot be stressed enough. Input from the family and caregivers is crucial , for many times the parents are the first to notice that their child is showing unusual behaviors such as failing to make eye contact, not responding to his or her name or playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways. The different types of treatments can generally be broken down into the following categories:
Behavior and Communication Approaches: One well known treatment approach for people with an ASD is called applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA has become widely accepted among health care professionals and used in many schools and treatment clinics. It encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors in order to improve a variety of skills. The child’s progress is tracked and measured.
Other approaches include: Speech Therapy – which helps to improve the person’s communication skills. Some people are able to learn adequate verbal communication skills. Occupational Therapy – which teaches skills that help the person live as independently as possible. Sensory Integration Therapy – which helps the person deal with sensory information, like sights, sounds, and smells. Sensory integration therapy could help a child who is bothered by certain sounds or does not like to be touched.
Dietary Approaches: These changes include removing certain types of foods from a child’s diet and using vitamin or mineral supplements. Dietary treatments are based on the idea that food allergies or lack of vitamins and minerals cause symptoms of ASDs. Some parents have noted that dietary changes make a difference in how their child acts or feels.
Medication: There are no medications that can cure ASDs or treat the core symptoms. However, there are medications that can help patients function better. For example, some medications might help manage high energy levels, inability to focus, depression, or seizures.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: These are not widely accepted by the Medical Community, but many parents have noted positive changes after trying these methods, Some of which include acupuncture , massage therapy , reflexology. Before starting any of these treatments, be sure to check it out carefully, and talk to your child’s doctor. It is important that society attempts to learn more about autism (its possible causes and management) and persons with special needs and to accept and appreciate what each individual can contribute. Families of these patients need support in many ways, which should be easily accessible and affordable to them. ¤ Ref: Autism Speaks WebMD
Dr. Tanya Destang-Beaubrun, MBBS (UWI), IBCLC, is the Director of Integral Health Care Medical Clinic at the Rodney Bay Medical Centre where she works as a Family Practitioner and Lactation Consultant. For more information, please contact her at (758) 452 8621 or (758) 45-DOKTA (36582). www.rodneybaymedicalcentre.com
HEALTH & WEALTH
Primary Health Care Assessed by Accreditation Canada Local Company Produces Breakthrough Health Product for Local and Regional Market
Tenderoni Foods Inc, a leading local pasta production entity, has made a breakthrough in its research and development, producing what is reportedly the world’s most nutritious pasta, based on the “miracle plant” called Moringa. Scientifically proven to be the most nutritious plant on the planet, Moringa is credited with having seven times the Vitamin C of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, three times the potassium of bananas and twice the protein of yogurt. Rudy Gurley, who jointly owns and operates Tenderoni with his wife here, said the idea to produce Moringa pasta was planted in his head by Priest Kailash of The Great Physicians International during a routine consultation between the two. “We’re extremely grateful for that and the fact that he supplied a batch of Moringa to facilitate our experimentation during the early stages,” says Gurley, a former Cable & Wireless Chief Executive in St. Lucia and Grenada. According to Gurley, “We believe we have the right formulation that delivers the optimum combination of taste and nutrients; and we use only the finest, organically grown and certified Moringa. “Health-conscious St. Lucians not keen on sacrificing taste therefore have something special to look forward to.” Tenderoni is the only Caribbean pasta-making entity known to have used a Moringa base. In fact, Gurley says he knows of “no other company in the world that’s producing Moringa Pasta on a commercial basis.” He says the export potential of the product is tremendous and research predicts strong local demand. The company expressed its appreciation to the NICE program for supporting its acquisition of key personnel that has freed management to focus on product research and development. Gurley said Tenderoni’s Moringa Pasta will be available both locally and regionally. ¤
The Ministry of Health is in the process of preparing its facilities for the endorsement of international accreditation as a core component of National Health Sector Reform. Accordingly, Accreditation Canada International, an internationally recognised health services accrediting body, has been contracted to conduct assessments of the primary health care services. The assessment included all Wellness Centres, Polyclinic and District Hospitals, Victoria Hospital, St. Jude Hospital, the National Mental Wellness Centre and Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre, and was undertaken to determine their readiness for accreditation. The assessment reports have been received by the Ministry for the facilities that were assessed. The results of the assessments inform the Ministry and the facilities concerned of their strengths and areas for improvement with respect to their processes, protocols, and standard operating procedures. A workshop to share the main findings of the assessments of each facility with peers was held at the Bay Gardens Hotel for core members to learn of each facility’s quality improvement team. The workshop shared areas for improvement and discussed the areas of strength identified and the best practices to be used to achieve them, and to commence with the development of a detailed action plan to address deficiencies identified in order to achieve international accreditation. These objectives were especially relevant, given the opening of the New National Hospital which aims to operate as a referral hospital. According to Allison Astwood, QualityManager at the Ministry of Health, “This means that patients and clients must be referred from the primary care system. They must therefore be confident that they are receiving a high standard of care irrespective of the public health facility visited, whether at the primary or secondary level. Accreditation will be the ultimate validation of the quality of care delivered by our health care facilities.” ¤
events 2013 CARIBBEAN SHIPPING EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE 13rd – 15th May 2013 – Freeport, The Bahamas This annual meeting is designed for senior executives, principals and key decisionmakers in the shipping industry. It provides a valuable forum for learning and gathering useful and current information about all aspects of shipping and is invaluable for networking and establishing new business contacts. For further info: www.caribbeanshipping.org
CARILEC'S CEO'S SYMPOSIUM 27th – 29th May 2013, Jamaica This event provides CEOs with an opportunity to further examine means to foster deeper integration amongst members, analyzing the benefits of sharing knowledge shared resources, and the collective strengthen of their bargaining power. It also provides a forum for networking with associate vendor companies. For further info: www.carilec.com
33RD ANNUAL CARIBBEAN INSURANCE CONFERENCE 2nd – 4th June 2013 – Cancun, Mexico The Insurance Association of the Caribbean (IAC) Inc. hosts this conference for over 500 delegates from 38 countries from the insurance, financial and business sectors. The objective is to provide an information sharing and collaborative forum for Caribbean insurance regulatory authorities, insurance educational institutes, actuaries and other groups with interest in the Caribbean insurance industry. For further info: www.iac-caribbean.com/conference
CARIBBEAN FASHION WEEK 6th – 10th June 2013 – National Indoor Sports Centre, Kingston, Jamaica Established by Pulse Investments Ltd. in 2001, Caribbean Fashion Week is the region’s largest, best produced, most recognized and internationally respected fashion event. The event features the Caribbean’s best designers, world famous supermodels & celebrities, important fashion press from around the world as well as local, regional and international fashion buyers. For further info: www.caribbeanfashionweek.com
TRADE & INVESTMENT CONVENTION (TIC) 12th – 15th June 2013 – Hyatt Regency Hotel, Trinidad Hosted by the Trinidad & Tobago Manufacture’s Association (TTMA), the Trade and Investment Convention is the region’s biggest business-to-business event, bringing together manufacturers, service providers, exporters, buyers, distributors, wholesalers and investors at a unique forum. For further info: www.tic-tt.com
TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN 26th – 30th June 2013 – Hyatt Regency, Miami Organised by the CHTA, this Caribbean food and beverage event and competition is not to be missed. Use the opportunity to network, polish professional skills and cheer on colleagues in competition, before a large audience of industry peers and consumer culinary enthusiasts. The event also provides education and inspiration through seminars, workshops, tastings and demonstrations, created to enhance performance, style and profitability in food and beverage operations. For further info: www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com BusinessFocus May/June
MAJOR MOVES Employers Federation President Still 2nd VP of Regional Body President of the St. Lucia Employers' Federation, Mr. Vern Gill, was re-elected to the position of 2nd Vice President of the Caribbean Employers' Confederation (CEC) for a Second two-year term at the recent CEC 53rd Annual General Meeting held in Suriname. The Board of Directors of the CEC for the term 2013-2015 is again headed by Mr. Wayne Chen, Immediate Past President of the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF), with Mr. Ferdinand Welzijn, President of the Suriname Trade & Industries Association (VSB), as 1st Vice President. The meeting deliberated on several pressing issues arising from the continuing sluggish economic activity in the region and examined ways of making the member countries' governments more responsive to the needs of their particular economies. Resulting from the deliberations, the CEC calls for the governments' concerted attention to and action on the following areas: Clear and focused national strategies for addressing the vexing issue of Youth Employment; Decisive action on establishing EPA Implementation Units as a matter of urgency, to meet the EPA provisions which become effective January 01, 2014; The monitoring and enforcement of the Core Labour Standards to facilitate market access requirements for International Trade Agreements; Focused programmes for the sustainable development of the Micro, Small and Medium Size business sectors; and intensification of the process of meaningful Tripartite Social Dialogue. The CEC feels that addressing the foregoing will be critical to the maintenance of the orderly and stable socioeconomic environment of our communities and societies and as a representative of employers on the founding committee of the Government's National Productivity Council, the Federation will focus its attention on raising the above areas at this most important forum.
CARILED appoints new Programme Director The Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED) has announced the appointment of Canadian Alix Yule as its new Programme Director. BusinessFocus May/June
CARILED’s Trinidad office warmly welcomed Yule, who will direct the six year CIDA funded Local Economic Development (LED) project within 14 Caribbean countries. Ms Yule joins the CARILED team and will first be based at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) headquarters in Ottawa, Canada. Ms Yule brings a wealth of knowledge to CARILED with over 20 years of experience in the field of international development in a number of countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. She has managed several LED and local governance bilateral projects, and has had extensive experience in Results Based Management. Ms Yule will be based at CARILED’s Headquarters in Trinidad & Tobago, and will manage operations there and at the two sub-offices in Saint Lucia and Ottawa, Canada. ¤
Jamaican named Executive Director of CDEMA - Regional Disaster Agency The former Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica, Ronald Hugh Jackson, has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Jackson, whose appointment became effective from April 3, 2013 replaces Barbadian Jeremy Collymore, who demitted office on March 31 after serving the regional disaster office since its inception in 1991. A statement said that Jackson has been extensively involved in disaster management at the national, regional and international levels. Prior to his new appointment, Jackson served as President of the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Policy Dialogue Forum and was also the cochair for the Inter American Network for Disaster Management. In 2010, Jackson received a Certificate
of Commendation from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for his contribution to the rescue and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. ¤
Invest Saint Lucia is pleased to announce the appointment of Kristel Kouly MIB., Corporate Communications Officer. Ms Kouly has several years of Marketing and Sales experience and holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing & Entrepreneurship from the University of Central Florida along with a Masters degree in International Business from Florida International University. ¤ Dr Jillia Bird named International Optometrist of the Year Antiguan Optometrist Dr Jillia Bird is the first Caribbean national to be awarded the title of International Optometrist of the Year. Dr Bird was recognised recently at the International Optometry Awards ceremony held in Malaga, Spain, for her many contributions to optometry, including her work in promoting glaucoma awareness throughout the Caribbean. The eye specialist was nominated for the International Optometrist Award by the Trinidad & Tobago Optometrists’ Association for her outstanding work in raising awareness of glaucoma in the Caribbean. An elated Dr Bird said her work in the field has just begun and is pledging to continue her work in the field to bring a greater level of awareness about the silent thief of sight, glaucoma. “I am already a faculty member for two upcoming international ophthalmology congresses in Vancouver and Tokyo. I am actually writing the courses that deal with glaucoma patients and how to get them onboard.” ¤
MAJOR MOVES NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
AS Gittens Inc.
Real Estate/ Agency/ Quarrying
Austen S.Gittens, Patsy Joan Gittens Deryck Robinson
Management and Consultancy Business
Gladys Taylor, Christopher Taylor
Kickstart Media Caribbean Ltd.
Internet /Web Design
Lyle Pauls , Russell Fast
Canada Plastic Inc.
To carry on the business of manufacturing of bags made from all types of material including nylon
Lay Peter Roserie Raywattie Roserie Douglas Vannitamby
Yenna Properties Inc.
To own, Manage and Develop Properties
Gilbert Fontenard , Pewlin Fontenard
CAYLUCIA C & C SERVICES INC.
Multi-Services Including : Ironing services, Mr. Christian Roger Porthos Laundromat, organizing vacation packages between St.Lucia and Cayenne, facilitation of entertainment, landscaping, handyman services, import & export of specialty foods and beverage products and other related services
COSOL TOURS ISLAND SPLENDOR INC.
Offering Taxi and Touring Services
Nereus Francis, Sera Eudovic
FDL Chemical Incorporated
Distribution and sales of pesticide and related equipment
ICCE (Caribbean ) Ltd.
Project and Programme Management, accredited training of OGC Best practice markets, project management services including for the construction industry, Iproperty management.
The Animal Care Centre Ltd.
Veterinary Services and Other Related Business
Dr. Jennifer Cenac- Andrew McHale Andrew
Drake Docks Ltd.
Marine Docking Company
To acquire by purchase ,exchange or otherwise ,land /immovable property in St.Lucia
Wissam Chereiki Habib Chreiki
Vibe Electric Ltd.
Selling of electric vehicles, rental of electric vehicles, harnessing natural energy
Michael Brigham Eliot Baily Anthony Wilkinson
JTREGIS GROUP (JTRG) LTD.
Education. Construction, Palm Oil Production Investments
Julius Regis Martin Regis
Taino Creations Ltd.
Wholesale of T-Shirts with a Heritage Theme
RUM & SUN LTD.
The QI Garden Inc.
Health & Wellness Services
Samantha Tuner- Girard
DESTINY SHIP SERVICES INC.
Sofia Cake Deco Supplies Ltd.
To carry on the business of wholesale and Marie Sophia Chastanet retail of cake decorating items, Andre Chastanet Confectionary and other like items
To engage in the business of providing laundry and cleaning services, equipment and related services
Terrence Elliott Erickson Raymond
American International Medical University INC.
Provide medical and management education nursing and allied services education.
Dr. Raju Saravanan Babu Dr.Subramanian Sasi Priya BusinessFocus May/June
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY
NATURE OF BUSINESS
INTER CARIB CONTRACTORS LTD.
Civil engineering works, Architectural designing and construction
Cassius Bertie Elias
Odyssey Construction Management Ltd.
Building, Construction and Management
Downtown Meat shop Ltd.
The Sale of Meat and Meat Products
Cynthia Joseph, Germaine Joseph
M & E Wholesale Ltd.
General Merchandise Wholesale
Esther Emmanuel, Marcus Emmanuel
Modern Era Construction Inc.
Construction, Sale of Building Materials
Taddeus St. Prix
MALPHRUS SL LTD.
James Everett Triplett, Jeffery Todd Malphrus Gregg Anthony Malphrus
Security and Monitoring Surveillance Organization Network Ltd. ( SAMSON)
Newton Eristhee, Vilbert Eristhee Philip Cenac
DOLPHIN COVE (ST.LUCIA) LTD.
Adventure Tourism / Touristic Park
Stafford Burrowes, Marilyn Burrowes
DeCe Properties Ltd.
Property Holding and Commercial Investment
Denis Francis Marquis, Cecilia Marquis-Trim Duane Collin Marquis
Joseph Dolor Insurance Agency Ltd.
To provide services regarding compensation for loss, damage or injury etc or anything to provide as a safeguard against loss
Joseph Sheldon Dolor
Island Treats Inc.
Wholesale & Retail Commercial Trading
Duane Collin Marquis, Christine Veronica Marquis
M4 Holdings Ltd.
Property Holding and Commercial Iinvestments
Cecilia Marquis-Trim, Duane Collin Marquis Christine Veronica Marquis
Trident Global Acquisition Ltd.
George Hunter, Peter Hunter
ST. REMY PROPERTY LTD.
Joan Devaux, Lisle Chase
Alphaâ€™s Security Services (2013) Inc.
Provision of security services and sale and rental of electronic security equipment
Alexandra Blanchard Patrick Hippolyte
Shoppers Choice Ltd.
Methodius Faucher Marilyn Faucher Garvey Faucher
To Engage in the Business of Purchase and sale of Building Material
Terrence Elliott Lucien Zozime
NCH Property Investments Company Ltd.
To Own, Manage and Developer Properties
Christopher Lubin Gilbert Fontenard
Fusion and Copper Splicing Services
Shawn Ferdinand, Yann Louis, Ricky Estwick
Kismet Clover Ltd.
Adil Sherwani Nadege Leonce
Drake Marina Village Ltd.
MOR BUSINESS ASSOCIATES INC.
Accounting and Finance
Odel Williams, Mark Moore, Maxim Adams
Architectural Moulding, Concrete Moulding
Nigel Faisal Nicholas Faisal
Sundara Home Ltd.
The ownership, development and management of property
Jason Edmonds, Agnes Edmonds Miguel Charles
Economic, Cultural and Social Development of Laborie
Augustin Barthelmy , Lynden Leonce Yves Renard
Education Creating Lifetime Opportunities