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Issue No. 82

July/Aug 2015

“Go Solar” with

Vibe Electric












Bank of William

With BOSL My Way Banking I get to handle many of my business and personal transactions that would normally be needed by visiting my branch. And with the BOSL App now I get to access my accounts more quickly and efficiently.



Telephone: 1 (758) 456 6000 | Fax:  1 (758) 456 6720 | Email:

BusinessFocus July / Aug




BusinessFocus July / Aug



No. 82


July / Aug 2015


33. First Citizens Investment Services 34. Celebrating a Decade of Trust, Service Excellence and Growth 37. Providing Investment Products Tailored to help you Achieve your Financial Goals! 38. What Our Clients Say 40. Meet theFirst Citizens Team 42. Buying Securities on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange 44. Q&A With Carole JnMarie 46. What A Difference Ten Years Can Make! 48. Maintaining a Diversified Investment Portfolio 49. First Citizens Research & Analytics 50. What you Should Know About Lifecycle Investing 52. Improving Financial Literacy! 54. Investing Myths Busted

04. Editor’s Focus 08. Strategic Oversight by Boards

Technology 10. Banking On Technology Disruption 12. US$160M C&W Investment for Barbados 14. BOSL launches My Way! 16. ECTEL Holds Consultations in Member States

17. Antigua Proceeds with Telecoms Bill and Liberalisation of Sector

18. ANSA McAL Crosses $6bn in Revenue 19. A New Way to Book a Last Minute Caribbean Hotel

Money Matters

26. IMF Approves US$40 Million for Jamaica

83. Blue Ocean Thinking for Small Businesses

28. NRDF 30. Simpson Finance

84. IMHO: Show Me The Money

55. Must Reads 56. Vibe Electric 62. Sagicor 64. Travel & Leisure 66. Come On, Managers! Let’s Manage! 67. Sentinel Security

Economy & Trade 68. Regional Labour and Employer Groups Sign MOU

69. Suriname Signs Deal with CDB to Reduce Trade Licenses Wait

70. CIBC FirstCaribbean CEO Points to PPP as

Catalyst for Economic Recovery in the Region

71. Caribbean Employers’ to Meet for CARIFORUM Discussions

72. A St Lucian Embassy in Taiwan will Open Opportunities for Foreign Investment

73. SLASPA Engages Stakeholders on Proposed Seaport Initiatives

74. EC$1.4 Million Contract Awarded for Feeder and Agricultural Roads Project

75. The World Bank is Pushing to Link the Entire Caribbean by Ferries

85. Japan Gives US$800,000 Aid Package to Antigua

86. Delia Dolor Appointed Top Post at US Magazine

86. Bahamas Signs on to Major Agreements at COFCOR Meeting

87. Baron Foods Wins Int’l Superior Taste Award 2015

87. Saint Lucia Implementing Energy Transition Strategy

88. Proper Alarm System Design 89. GTM Insurance Group Records $106M Profit in 2014

90. Develop Your Plan for Achievement 91. Wise Investments

Youth In Focus 92. Louise Victor – NYC President and Much More 93. High Commission Welcomes BCCC Scholarship Students in London

Tourism 94. Diverse Language Skills Needed for Caribbean Tourism Growth

95. SLHTA Elects New Executive

76. Study Reveals 2014 CPL Injected US$166 Million

96. Jade Mountain Named Number One

77. Mexican Embassy Discusses International

97. Lennox Dupal a Saint Lucian Success Story

In Regional Economies

Business Forum with St. Lucia Chamber

78. New India Assurance

in The Caribbean

98. SANDALS INVEST EC$10M IN Four New Restaurants

In The Know

Health & Wealth

80. Saint Lucia to Appoint Ambassador to Taiwan

99. Health and Technology

23. Bitt Co-Founder at Block Chain Summit

80. CIBC First Caribbean Enters the Aruba Market

100. Prevention Makes “CENTS”

24. Enhancements in ECCU Debt Management

81. Branson Launches Caribbean

25. IDB Approves US$27 Million for Haiti’s

82. How to Rent the Perfect Office Space

101. Events 2015 102. Major Moves 104. New Company Registrations 106. Advertisers Index

22. OECS Gets US$5.3 Million for Fight Against HIV and AIDS

Units to Improve Regional Debt Management Transportation Infrastructure

Entrepreneurship Centre

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Leadership and Ambition Key Ingredients for Success!

Management and Leadership are specific skills which are honed through professional training and experience gained in specific positions. The size of a business will dictate the depth of the Management Team who are then charged with ensuring that the staff under their Leadership work as a Unit to achieve the set objectives which would define their success and that of the business. In the world of business many people evolve into Management and Leadership positions due to personal ambition and on the job performance. Others are schooled professionally with the requisite skills for specific positions hence Financial Controllers, IT Managers, etc.

BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Advertising & Marketing Services Limited (AMS), Saint Lucia. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh Graphic Designer: Cecil Sylvester Advertising Sales: Cennette Flavien - Hudson Myers - Webmaster: Advertising & Marketing Services Photography: Cecil Sylvester | NRDF

The old fashioned approach was to work your way through the ranks and progress with opportunity or recognition for your performance on the job.

Contributors: Lokesh Singh | Alex Holder| Rashmi Menon Dr Chris Bart | Bevil Wooding | Trudy Glasgow Michelle Stephens | Samuel Rosenberg | Kris Sookdeo Trudy Glasgow | Lyndell Halliday | Brian Ramsey Trudy Edgar-Louis | Dawn French | Kezia Preville Maundy A.L. Lewis | Bevan Springer | Richard Browne Dr Azmina Long | Michael Bryant | Mallet Edwards NRDF |FCIS | Trinidad Express | Trinidad Guardian Jamaica Observer | Antigua Observer | Carib Journal CMC

To be successful in today’s world you need to be driven by ambition and strive to increase your professional skills to be more marketable as a human resource. The market is now buoyant with a new cadre of such persons and competition is fierce. Hence when you get an opportunity, your success is dependent on your levels of ambition and approach to the job at hand to define what makes you an invaluable resource.

Editorial, Advertising, Design & Production: Advertising & Marketing Services P.O. Box 2003, Castries, Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 453-1149; Fax: (758) 453-1290 email:,

Our Special Feature in this Issue Features the 10th Anniversary of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd which has grown into a regional financial powerhouse through the Leadership of Carole Eleuthere-Jn Marie and her Team of Financial Professionals in St Lucia and their other regional offices. Her success and leadership of FCIS is truly deserving of the highest accolades. This has all been achieved despite an increasing corporate portfolio, extensive travels, community service, motherhood and family life.

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.

Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor

We trust her story of opportunity, ambition and leadership and the 10 year journey of FCIS’ success will be an inspiration for the next generation of leaders.

Issue No. 82

July/Aug 2015

We hope that you will enjoy reading the other stories in the pages of this Issue of Business Focus and be inspired into action to be the best you can be and enjoy the rewards for your efforts. Happy Reading!

On The Cover: First Citizens Celebrates 10 Years. Pictured: Carole Eleuthere-JnMarie, Regional Manager s.comcom ciafo afocucus. com .stlu stluci cus. www www. www .stlu ciafo

BusinessFocus July / Aug



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Organisations store enormous amounts of data. However, many organisations and users do not back up their data on a regular basis because they don’t have the time, back up processes are too time consuming, or they simply forget to do so. The ramifications of a major data loss are so great that most companies that have the misfortune to experience it, don’t survive for more than six months afterwards. Business data is only as good as the back up system that is in place. That’s why it’s so critical to have a modern and dependable system in place to safeguard valuable business information. With Digicel Online Back Up, you can preserve and restore all of your files in a secure, offsite environment without a major capital investment. We even manage the setup and the maintenance for you, so you can concentrate on your business. Our Online Back Up solution offers the crucial protection you need to ensure the continuity of your business. Don’t leave your most valuable business assets vulnerable for another day. Why Digicel Online Back up Cost-effective with pay-as-you-go structure Ease of use Optimal business continuity Elimination of human error Scalability Largest private cloud in the region Data stored to Digicel’s Tier III data centre certified by the UpTime Institute 24/7 helpdesk provides continuous support

To get the technology you need to keep you ahead, Contact Digicel Business at 1 758 724 6001 or Complete solutions for your needs WWW.DIGICELBUSINESS.COM

BusinessFocus July / Aug



BUSINESS BRIEFS Canada Introduces New Travel System for Caribbean Nationals

Canada has introduced a revision to its new entry requirements for all visa-exempt travellers seeking to enter the country by air. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Barbados said it has been advised that effective March 15, 2016, it will become mandatory for Barbadians and other Caribbean nationals travelling to Canada to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). It said the application must be submitted online and will be available from August 1, 2015. The Ministry added that Barbadians and other Caribbean nationals of visa-exempt countries seeking further information on the new requirements may visit Canada Gazette’s website at: h tt p : / /c a n a d a ga ze tte . g c . c a / r p - p r / p2/2015/2015-04-22/html/sor-dors77eng.php.

Scotia to Acquire Citigroup Panama, Costa Rica Business

Scotiabank has announced that an agreement has been reached to acquire Citigroup’s retail and commercial banking businesses in Panama and Costa Rica, subject to regulatory approval. Scotiabank’s common equity tier one capital ratio will be impacted by approximately 15 basis points. This acquisition is in line with Scotiabank’s strategy to increase scale within its footprint and compliments its operations in Panama and Costa Rica, the bank said in a statement. “This transaction will provide a significant lift to the Bank’s market share in credit cards to approximately 18 per cent in Panama and 15 per cent in Costa Rica, BusinessFocus July / Aug



ranking Scotiabank number two in both countries in this segment.” The bank said the acquisition will nearly triple its customer base in these two countries from approximately 137,000 to 387,000, providing significant opportunities to leverage leading regional loyalty programs and key strategic alliances. Citibank’s operations in Costa Rica and Panama include 27 branches which serve more than 250,000 retail and commercial banking customers. Citibank has been operating in Costa Rica since 1968 and in Panama since 1904 and will continue to operate in these countries with a focus on its Corporate and Institutional Banking Business, and International Wealth Management Services, capitalising on its global presence and competitive leadership position in these segments. The agreement also includes the assumption of Citigroup employees from the retail and commercial banking businesses in Panama and Costa Rica by Scotiabank Panama and Costa Rica, respectively. Until the transaction receives the necessary regulatory approvals, all operations, branches, products and benefits programs will continue to operate as usual. “Scotiabank and Citibank will work together to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees,” the bank said.

talks that were attended by officials from Baha Mar Ltd, China State Construction Engineering Corporation and the ExportImport Bank of China. But Prime Minister Christie said during the talks it was indicated that “Baha Mar’s additional funding requirements had increased considerably, and now included not only funding for completion of construction, but funding to meet start up and operating expenses; funding to cover other liabilities and deferral of principal and the initial balloon payments under the loan facility with Eximbank. He said these terms were demanded by Eximbank and China Construction, and supported by the Bahamas government, as conditions to any agreement for additional funding, resumption of construction and project completion date. Christie, who described the Baha Mar project as “the largest of its kind ever to be built in a single phase in the Caribbean region, has enormous economic and employment implications for The Bahamas,” said it is 97 per cent completed even though it has missed two of the opening dates.

Jamaica Records First Surplus in a Decade

Bahamas / China talks on US$3.5 B Baha Mar End Without Agreement

Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie says talks in China aimed at ensuring the completion of the US$3.5 billion Baha Mar project ended without an agreement being reached among the stakeholders. Prime Minister Perry Christie has since said his administration has, on the advice of its lawyers including those in the United States and the United Kingdom, filed a winding up petition in the Bahamas Supreme Court against the 14 Bahamian entities that filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States at the end of June. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Allyson Maynard Gibson QC led a ten-member government delegation to the

Jamaica recorded its first quarterly current account surplus in a decade due in part to sustained reductions in oil prices, stated the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ). It’s the latest improved indicator for the island on the path to economic recovery. The current account surplus totalled US$39.4 million (J$4.6 b) for the period January to March 2015. The island mainly benefitted from imports which fell at twice the pace of the decline in exports over the period. “This marked the country’s first quarterly surplus since the period January to March 2004,” stated the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) in its balance of payments update released recently. Specifically, the current account surplus resulted from the US$544.1 million current transfers account which includes grants and remittances offsetting the goods and services deficit at US$454.1 million and the

BUSINESS BRIEFS income account deficit at US$50.6 million. “With regard to the smaller deficit on the goods sub-account, this primarily reflected a contraction of US$220.9 million in fuel imports in the context of a 50.7 per cent drop in oil prices on the world market,” stated the report, which added that the decline in oil prices was partially offset by rises in the importation of printed material, telecommunication devices and pharmaceuticals. The report also indicated that the services sub-account benefited from lower freight charges on imports as well as increased earnings from tourism in the context of growth of 5.0 per cent in stopover visitor arrivals for the review quarter. However, payments for insurance and other business services increased for the review period. “For the current transfers sub-account, the decline in the surplus stemmed largely from lower official grant inflows, the impact of which was partly offset by an expansion of 2.5 per cent in private remittances. The income sub-account was largely unchanged,” stated the BOJ.

FREE Calls for LIME Customers!

LIME prepaid mobile customers can now talk for hours for free, with the relaunch of this free talk campaign! This offer, dubbed FREE after FOUR, gives customers who talk for four minutes on a single local LIME-to-LIME mobile call an extra 60 minutes free on that call, and allows them to enjoy even more value for their money. The offer is available all day long, any time of day or night and every day of the week. “By any measure, FREE after FOUR is a fantastic offer for our mobile customers,” said LIME Marketing & Communications Executive, Sharlene Jn. Baptiste. “You pay for just 4 minutes and automatically get another 60 at absolutely no cost. The savings they will enjoy could not have come at a better time and simply reinforces the fact that it pays to be part of the LIME family. This is all about our customers. LIME continues to be provider of the lowest rates in St. Lucia, so when

you do the math, LIME customers get the most rewards.” This is not a new concept for LIME, who in previous years have offered similar Free Talk products. LIME also recently launched Big Money, which gives customers $1000 daily. With chances to win cash and free talk, LIME promises that there is more in store for customers.

IDB approves US$100 million for Caribbean energy facility proposed

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has said it will support a proposal by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to establish a multi-donor energy facility for Caribbean sustainability. The Prime Minister made the announcement at a political meeting of her United National Congress (UNC) party. She said the bank has agreed to provide US$100 million to co-finance projects in the energy sector over the next six years. “This will enable promotion of energy diversification, energy efficiency and a reliable supply of alternative fuels at a reduced cost in the Caribbean. It is very exciting because it will bring stability, security and sustainability to our region,” Persad-Bissessar said. She added that it would help Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. “Recently CARICOM declared its unequivocal support for the initiative. So you see with my government, Trinidad and Tobago is leading and energising the region,” she said.

CARICOM Pushes for Urgent Focus on Concessional Financing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque recently called for “strong collaborative action” to urgently address the criteria for access to concessional financing. He says this is vital if Small Island Developing and Low-Lying Coastal States (SIDS), including CARICOM countries, are to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the Post2015 Development Agenda. Addressing the Eighth General Meeting

between CARICOM and its associated institutions and the United Nations (UN) System in Guyana, Ambassador LaRocque drew attention to the challenge member states faced accessing concessional development financing because of their designation as middle-income countries, based on a narrow and unique criterion of per capita income. He said regional countries were being denied access to financing that would help them address formidable developmental challenges, such as their small size, inherent vulnerabilities, susceptibility to exogenous shocks and a lack of resilience. Yet, Ambassador LaRocque said, a significant portion of the high level of indebtedness of CARICOM nations was due to those shocks and the reconstruction requirements after natural disasters. Touching on a number of other developmental issues, including adaptation to and mitigation of the effects of climate change and transnational organized crime, the Secretary General reiterated the need for effective partnerships for successful outcomes. He referred to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s call for strengthened partnerships when he addressed the High Level Dialogue, attended by a number of CARICOM Heads of Government, earlier this month in Barbados. During the course of today’s meeting, delegates will discuss a number of issues such as the integration and development of CARICOM, including its Strategic Plan for 2015-2019; SIDS; Renewable Energy; Post -2015 Development Agenda, Financing for Development; Climate Change and Sea Level Rise; Violence against Children; alternative criteria to concessional financing; agricultural development and food and nutrition security; prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and pandemics; and citizen security.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Strategic Oversight by Boards: Who’s Minding the Store? Dr. Chris Bart, FCPA


woman lost control of her BMW and careened off the Florida Turnpike around 5 a.m. one morning. The car landed in the middle of a canal in the pitch dark. The woman had only a few minutes before the car’s electrical accessories would begin to fail, and not much more time before the car would sink. Frantically, she dialed 911 on her cell phone. Emergency operators shouted at her to tell them her location. She couldn’t, because she didn’t know where she was. Yet, rather than focus on getting her out of the car (“Ma’am, can you swim? Can you get your windows down and climb out? How far are you from shore? Activate your emergency flashers and alarm so we can see and hear you. Do you see any alligators?”), they persisted in trying to determine her location. The car sank and the woman drowned - with her rear window completely rolled down. This story serves as a metaphor for the way many corporate board directors seem to be viewing their responsibilities these days. They are focusing exclusively - even obsessively - on knowing a firm’s “location,” or financial status, rather than identifying the changes taking place in either an organization’s external environment or its internal competencies - and then responding in a timely fashion. Why do boards act this way? I’ve observed, and served on, several boards over the years, and that experience tells me there are a number of curious reasons for this state of affairs. The most frequently cited excuse is that, remarkably, directors often do not consider a corporation’s strategy as part of their mandate (“That’s the CEO’s job!” many quip.), and therefore allow themselves to remain uninformed about its quality and implementation; second,

BusinessFocus July / Aug



too many directors lack competence and/ or agreement about the strategy concept itself. Yet, the formulation and execution of an organization’s strategy is at the heart of ensuring every entity’s long-term survival and competitiveness. Without a clearly articulated strategy, an organization won’t have the sense of purpose and direction it needs to forge strongly ahead. And it goes without saying that if all members in an organization do not know and understand what the strategy is, they will lack the sense of mission needed to implement it in a concerted, cohesive manner. The result? Chaos and confusion. So, when things go awry, corporate directors who have failed to formulate, evaluate and revise their organization’s strategy cannot in good conscience put all the blame on the CEO. The fact that strategy gets so little attention from boards (take a look at your last four meeting agendas for proof of this) is actually not that surprising, in large part because there’s often a lack of understanding and interpretation of the term itself, never mind its components. Here is an example: A report by one “blue ribbon commission” on the role of the board in corporate strategy was found to be woefully deficient in its attempt to define its key topic. The report’s explanations were so confusing that any board member would have trouble determining whether strategy is concerned with mission, vision, goals, objectives, business definition and selection, tactics, or some combination of these. To the extent that this confusion exists in the boardrooms of our nation, it’s no wonder so little time is devoted to discussion of strategy. Adding to the definition chaos is the fact that the independent directors appointed to boards typically come from a variety

of organizations and backgrounds. Consequently, while they may use the same words, they often attach many different meanings to these terms. Rarely do they take the time to come to a consensus on how certain terms should be used. As a result, the board communication process is hampered. I have also observed that in the interest of keeping meetings moving along smoothly and peacefully, board members too often avoid debating the strategy terms that might create dissension, therefore meetings continue to focus on nonstrategic trivia.

“Buddy Boards” There’s another reason, however, why boards virtually ignore the issue of strategy. CEOs simply do not want their boards involved in such discussions. This would certainly explain why many CEOs

Dr. Chris Bart, FCPA is a recognized governance authority, the Founder of The Directors College of Canada and CoFounder of the Caribbean Governance Training Institute, both of which currently offer the Chartered Director Program that leads to the internationally recognized “C. Dir.” designation. For more information, please visit CGTI’s website: http://www. caribbeangovernancetraininginstitute. com/ or phone Lisa at 758 451 2500

prefer “buddy boards,” in which they can be assured that nobody is going to ask difficult or embarrassing questions. Indeed, many CEOs view boards that get involved in setting the organization’s strategy as an interference in their managerial responsibilities - not to mention their sense of personal power (“Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”). Former Volvo CEO Pehr Gyllenhammar is a case in point. He created such a hostile environment for any board member who dared to express views opposing his that most dissenters eventually resigned. The company ended up paying the price, though. Unchecked by anyone with a different perspective, the CEO launched Volvo onto a losing streak of unrelated diversification moves. CEOs who want to distract their boards from discussing the tough strategic issues also like to cram the agenda with items designed to dull the mind (copious slides, graphs and charts), dazzle the senses (“And now, Fred is going to give us a virtual reality presentation of the new corporate headquarters. Everybody got their 3-D glasses on?”) or induce commitment and loyalty - all within a strict three- to four-hour time limit. After all, it’s much more fun to contemplate at which luxury resort the board is going to hold its next meeting - “Make sure it’s the one with the fancy lobster sandwiches!” chimed one director I know - than focus on torturous, but essential, details of finding the right strategic direction.

Board Junkies It’s time for boards to stop allowing their CEOs to use them this way. That’s not an easy prospect; it requires board members to have the internal fortitude and personal ethics to refuse to be bullied or bribed into submission. After all, board pay and perks can make Temptation Island seem like child’s play. A corporate director I know told me he’d once held 26 board appointments simultaneously - at a time when he was CEO of one of North America’s largest industrial companies (and while he was negotiating a major merger). With average board pay around $80,000 per year per appointment, plus stipends for meetings and committees, it is not hard to figure out such board junkies’ motivation. It’s no wonder that, considering the time this CEO must have devoted to sitting on so many boards, the former industry giant ended up being overshadowed by its rivals.

Formulating strategy means determining what businesses an organization should be involved in and what methods it should use to attract and retain customers and employees. This responsibility is far too important to be left solely to the most talented of CEOs. Astute CEOs know this and use their boards as a fresh set of eyes in plotting their organization’s future. They know and accept the common sense wisdom that every organization can benefit from multiple perspectives. Such a CEO, though, must have faith in the competence of his or her board.

hard truth is that many directors are uninformed about the need to measure and monitor strategy in a proactive and progressive way. Indeed, my years of advising organizations on how to implement strategy have taught me that most companies and boards simply fall apart when it comes to measuring anything other than cash flow, revenue, costs and profits. This is not because they lack intelligence; rather, they lack the critical knowledge necessary to guide their organizations into the new economy of the 21st century.

Constructive Engagement

That means many of the Caribbean’s major and emerging corporations may end up being led by directors whose knowledge of their organization’s strategy is questionable. Interestingly, few of the Caribbean’s current cadre of corporate directors seem willing to acknowledge this.

Probably the most significant impediment to director effectiveness in the area of corporate strategy, however, is the absence of simple measures and reporting mechanisms relating to the achievement of strategy. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and directors today are simply uninformed about the status of their organization’s strategy, its mission, and its values - other than through the financial statements. But to correct this situation means developing new measures and metrics, then incorporating them into the organization’s information system. This can be expensive and time consuming. So what’s the alternative - to simply bury our heads in the sand and pretend bad things won’t happen as long as the current financial statements “look alright”? Of course not. Surely it’s better to anticipate environmental and resource changes before the proverbial wolf shows up at the door. Why, then, do boards not insist on strategy measures for their organization? It could be out of concern over what measures and metrics are appropriate. But waiting for measurement perfection is not a solution. As long as CEOs view their board’s participation in corporate strategy as one of constructive engagement, there is nothing to fear, and they can jointly explore measures that best suit their boards, adjusting them along the way as circumstances require. After all, it’s better to be 50% correct than 100% wrong. And when the measures are used for internal purposes only, there is less risk of misinterpretation by the general and investing public.

Educate Directors I contend, however, that there’s a more powerful reason why boards put little importance on measuring strategy in nonfinancial terms: ignorance. The cold,

What can be done? First and foremost, the education of Caribbean directors – especially when it comes to providing strategic oversight - should be a prerequisite to board appointments and to their continuing appointments. Also, the Regulators of publicly listed Caribbean companies should work to ensure that director education becomes a statutory requirement for all directors within the next five years. After all, investors would like to know that their organizations are being “supervised” not just by individuals with successful track records in business, but also by men and women who have the professional qualifications - and perhaps even the certification - necessary to provide sound board leadership. So here’s the big, uncomfortable question for Caribbean directors: to what extent does your board have the competence it needs to astutely assess and give effective oversight to your organization’s strategy as well as the wherewithal to engage with and advise the CEO if – and how- the strategy needs changing? If you think that there is room for improvement in the way your board carries out this important governance oversight function, you might want to consider sending them to one of the corporate governance training programs available in the region – like the exclusive three day “Chartered Director Program” that has been offered by The Caribbean Governance Training Institute since January 2014. After all, it’s not education which is expensive, but rather ignorance. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug




Banking On Technology Disruption Customer-Centered Innovation to Transform Delivery of Financial Services By Bevil Wooding


ustomers across the Caribbean look longingly at innovations in the US and other markets, such as fullservice online and mobile banking, marketplace lending facilities and merchant payment solutions. The open question is if, or when, similar facilities will become available locally. The competitive landscape in the Caribbean does not provide optimal incentive for fast-paced, customercentric, banking services innovations. Instead, dreams of Caribbean e-commerce initiatives and Internet-based entrepreneurism are often dashed at the doors of traditional financial institutions. For many, the region’s financial services status quo seems at variance with calls for greater innovation and economic diversification in the wider economy. This is a major problem that must be addressed.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



The challenge facing bank executives and policy makers is how to redefine banking models to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the digital age. Before that challenge can be addressed an important question must first be answered: Is there genuine interest in investing in technology to deliver a more efficient customer-focused banking experience, when there is so much profit to be had by maintaining the status quo? Disruption Ahead A 2014 report by Deloitte found that banks, particularly in developed countries, are facing increasing competition from alternative lenders and technology providers. It also found that they need to adapt how they use technology themselves if they want to maintain their market position. According to Deloitte, there are “compelling cost advantages” for banks that decide to upgrade their core banking

Bevil Wooding is the Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN (C-WBN) a values-based international non-profit organization and Executive Director at BrightPath Foundation, responsible for C-WBN’s technology education and outreach initiatives. Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding

systems. This despite the “significant” costs in doing so and the fact it would be a “major endeavour” that could be considered a “’once in a lifetime investment.” However, short-termism, risk aversion and a lack of suppliers are factors behind banks’ reluctance to overhaul legacy banking IT systems, Deloitte said. Deloitte reports that many banks have chosen to avoid huge overhauls to their core IT systems because they view making small changes to those legacy systems to be “the path of least resistance”. Further, many traditional banks face cost constraints that make a large scale overhaul of their legacy IT infrastructure impractical.

Reluctance to Change Obviously leaping into new systems simply because technology is available is not a practical option for banks. The need to provide improved customer services has to be balanced against security and privacy risks that attend technology-based systems. Banks have to consider the potential for reputation damage or loss of customer confidence if systems fail or are compromised. There also have to weigh the timeframe for return on technology investments. These considerations have to be carefully examined in any decision to introduce new technology into their business. “The central challenge is that banks have designed their IT systems to support processes that deliver products across multiple channels,” Deloitte’s ‘Banking Disrupted’ report said. “Bank systems are, therefore, arranged around products rather than around customers. Digital transformation, on the other hand, demands that customer data be leveraged to provide services at the point of need.” “The rich customer data banks collect often gets lost within product silos. Turning this product-centered model on its head would allow banks to serve not just customer needs but also to capture their experience and address their future expectations,” Deloitte said.

Customer-Centric Approach The customer-centric approach to new technology solutions design is exactly where the opportunities lie. Recent Accenture research shows customers still value the branch, which remains the primary sales channel. Yet bank

branches are becoming less relevant for younger customers, who are more comfortable with digital technology and less concerned with traditional markers of a bank’s trustworthiness. For example, while more than 80 percent of customers consider it important that their bank has a long track record of financial performance, this factor is less important for younger customers. “These customers want a bank that is agile and innovative, with the digital tools to connect with them on a daily basis,” according to the Accenture Digital Disrupting in Banking report. However, in emerging markets, such as the Caribbean, even this inevitable shift in customer preference may not be enough to trigger investment in more innovative banking solutions and services. “From the bankers’ perspective, they may well feel that they have no choice but to resist the forces of change until such change is inevitable or can be effected without compromising profit growth,” says Ronald Hinds, a former financial sector executive, turned technology entrepreneur. Hinds believes that in this scenario “banks will continue to be vulnerable to any business model that can authentically address customer needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.” Innovative Leadership Required Implementation of cheaper, disruptive, technology solutions may well be the saviour that banking customers have been crying out for and that banking traditionalists have been reluctant to invest in. There is a real opportunity for new, more entrepreneurially minded players to create new models for more customer-centric financial services delivery. Enabling policies are also necessary to make it easier for new providers and new service options to proliferate. There is certainly also a role for community banks, credit unions and even entirely new social micro-financing platforms, such as the eSou-Sou idea floated at the recent Forum on the Future of the Caribbean. New ventures have the best opportunity to seed disruptive technology, based on more modern IT infrastructure and customer-first approach to service delivery. But such ventures also require fresh, forward-thing, leadership initiative if they are to become a sustainable reality.

Competitive and regulatory pressure can help speed the pace of systems upgrades and modernisation projects. However, in the absence of such competitive pressure, or regulatory incentive, banks can literally afford to sustain inefficiencies and defer service improvement options. Contrary to what profitable annual reports may appear to convey, slow banking innovation is not good business. Banking inefficiencies have negative repercussions across the entire economy. Technology is a proven enabler of efficiencies, however, technology innovation cannot proceed without human leadership. As with most technology revolutions, the disruption may be uncomfortable and even expensive in the short term. However, the spoils are there for those with the foresight and courage to depart from the status quo.

Contending with Disruption On the global stage, we are already seeing convergence of traditional and emerging finance, combining the best of both worlds to make finance better for consumers. One example is the recent partnership between Lending Club, a US-based online credit marketplace and Citigroup, a global financial services giant with over 200 million customer accounts in more than 140 countries. Citi now uses Lending Club’s platform to supply up to $150 million to underserved borrowers and communities its branch network is unable to reach. There are similar opportunities for collaboration and partnership between banks and technology services firms in the Caribbean. However, it is unlikely that traditional banking institutions will muster the leadership resolve or investment prioritization necessary for such radical, technology-enabled transformation any time soon. What is more likely is that new, disruptive innovators will arise. When they do, they will greatly benefit customers and the wider economy. How quickly they come forth will depend on the initiative of policymakers and the arrival of innovative solutions that can catalyse the banking revolution customers both desire and deserve. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug




C&W Unveils the ‘new’ FLOW and Creates History in Barbados 100% Fibre to the Home to Transform Consumer Experience Phil Bentley Chief Executive of CWC

US$160M C&W Investment for Barbados New Retail Brand, Flow unveiled as company begins significant roll out


&W is investing US$160M in Barbados as the Company rolls out its new retail brand Flow on the island as part of its merger with Columbus Communications. Barbados is the first country to launch the newly combined retail brand. Niall Sheehy, Country Manager of the ‘new’ Flow, revealed a number of significant developments for Barbados. “What we have today is the product of two legacies working in unison to meet our customers’ needs,” said Sheehy. Under the new consumer brand Flow, the company has combined the strengths of the former LIME and Flow organisations and is positioning Barbados as the first country in the world with 100% Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband connectivity. The FTTH network will allow the Company to bring new and cutting edge services to its customers. As a start, customers will receive telephone (mobile and landline) video, audio, television and just about any other kind of digital data stream using Flow’s comprehensive FTTH broadband connection. Sheehy indicated that the consumers will benefit from bundling of products, new and exciting apps and the ability to access products and services from a variety of platforms, via its network. Sheehy also outlined other aspects of the company’s investments in Barbados as the Company rolls out its new consumer brand. “We have already moved into our new corporate home in Warrens (formerly the Orange Mall) and in August, we will officially transition from our Customer Care Centre at SkyMall to a new retail store under the Flow brand.


elecoms history was made in Barbados as Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W) officially launched its retail brand, Flow, for its newly combined consumer group. The ‘new’ Flow will deliver a compelling set of quad play products and services via its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) infrastructure set to reach 100% of Barbados homes by year end. This will make Barbados the first country in the world to have 100% FTTH coverage. “We are pleased to usher in a new culture of innovation and technical excellence, backed by major investments in our Fibre to the Home infrastructure,” said John Reid, President of C&W Consumer Group. With our combined strengths, Barbados consumers will have access to the most technologically advanced quad play products in the region, through our mobile, video, landline and broadband services. Reid also said that the foundation of the new Flow brand strategy was consistent with the positive characteristics of the Caribbean. “We are driven by all that is positive in the Caribbean” he said – “the people, the passion, and the drive to succeed. Against that backdrop, we commit to continue our focus on innovation, technical excellence and great customer service.”

This new retail outlet will serve as the touch-point for all our products and services of the combined entity,” he said. “Customers will still be able to access a full Flow Customer Service Centre at Windsor Lodge (formerly LIME),” added Sheehy. “These changes are part of a wider plan to ensure that our newly combined company meets our stated goal of putting the customer at the heart of what we do.”

Flow also unveiled plans to become #1 for customer experience in Barbados and the region. According to Niall Sheehy, the Country Manager for Flow Barbados, “Flow will realise this bold vision by making significant changes across our operations to drive an outstanding customer experience, which will extend beyond the obvious frontline transactions.” Sheehy said that, “in all departments and in each role the goal will be to put the customer first in every aspect of our business.”

Sheehy also informed that the company is currently transitioning all of its products and services to the Flow brand. He noted that the transition phase will take some time, during which customers may still see communications using the former LIME and Flow brands. ¤

The ‘unveil’ of the new brand, follows the announcement in March by C&W to merge its operations with Columbus International. C&W will follow this inaugural launch throughout the Caribbean on a phased, country-by-country basis over the next twelve months. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug



BusinessFocus July / Aug




BOSL launches

My Way!


he power of banking in your hands and on your time. This was the idea behind the official launch of Bank of Saint Lucia’s (BOSL) “My Way” programme. “My Way” banking is the new umbrella brand for BOSL’s Suite of Convenience Banking Services. Officials from Bank of Saint Lucia indicated that continued investments in technology and innovation enhance customers’ experience to effectively transact their banking on their own terms. According to the General Manager of Bank of Saint Lucia, Hadyn Gittens, as the largest bank in the country, BOSL wants customers to perceive banking not as an interruption to their daily routine but rather as a part of their daily lives. He stated that, “My Way gives customers the power to conduct their banking at a time and a place that is most convenient to them. It puts the power of banking in their hands.” My Way represents the Bank’s continued commitment to revolutionizing banking culture, as one which is more customer focused. My Way includes billboards, press, radio and television commercials, social media and digital media. Staff of the institution also played an integral role in the roll out of the programme with a number of employees participating in the filming of the television commercial alongside a cast of very familiar St. Lucian faces. For BOSL, My Way emphasizes convenience and customer empowerment through the use of one of any combination of convenience banking services to make their lives simpler and hassle free. The convenience suite includes: Online Banking, Mobile Banking & Mobile Banking App, ATM & Cash Dispenser Services, Debit and Credit Card Services and Point of Sale Devices & Wireless Services. My Way is one of bank’s latest initiatives and demonstrates BOSL’s commitment to delivering value in all aspects of service. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




Obtains TV License in Anguilla

able and Wireless Communications (C&W) which now operates Flow, the Caribbean’s leading communications service provider, announced that it has secured the broadcast license to operate TV service in Anguilla. John Reid, President, C&W’s Consumer Group said, “This is welcome news for our customers in Anguilla. Our successful merger with Columbus International Inc has facilitated the acceleration of our expanded portfolio from triple play to market leading quad play services.” Reid also said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to introduce the most advanced digital TV technology available today to the people of Anguilla. Our Advanced Video Service (AVS) provides state-of-the-art High Definition TV, Personal Cloud Video Recorder, parental control and allows viewers to watch TV on the go with the Flow To-Go app.” According to the Consumer Group President, “The planned launch of this advanced video service in Anguilla will provide our viewers with the region’s best TV experience and is set to transform the way people watch TV. It will be TV on demand, whenever, wherever and how the viewer wishes. Our ambition is to be number one with customers, and delivering world-class customer experiences is what we are all about.” Dubbed, “TV you can control,” Advanced Video Services is an extraordinary High Definition visual experience with over 60 HD channels available at no extra cost. AVS allows customers to: • • • • •

Restart TV programmes from the beginning Record all their favourite shows using the new Cloud Video recorder feature Watch new blockbuster movies from the comfort of their homes with our Video OnDemand service Monitor content via Advanced Parental controls Access TV on the go through our Flow ToGo smartphone application

Commenting on the approval of the TV license and soon to be announced launch of TV services, Anguilla Country Manager, Matthieu Dion said, “Anguillans will benefit from the best content, service features and the most flexible options – all accessible at home or on the go. All this is just a taste of the many innovations to come. We will deliver Anguilla’s best TV service across the most advanced network, ensuring our customers experience the great services they so richly deserve.” C&W will commence delivery of TV service in Anguilla by the end of the year. In 2014, C&W embarked on a US$7.4M network upgrade investment programme for Anguilla, as part of a wider regional investment strategy, called Project Marlin. ¤

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BusinessFocus July / Aug




Relaunches App

ECTEL Holds Consultations in Member States


he Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, ECTEL, has commenced consultations that are expected to lead to the revision of Quality of Service (QoS) Standards, to be adhered to by Telecommunications Providers in Member States.

QoS Standards ensure that consumers have access to high quality telecommunications service by setting basic minimum quality levels, for all public telecommunications services. These standards define the lower and or upper bounds of acceptability of technical issues such as transmission rates, error rates, call consumer rates and commercial issues such as access to customer help lines, billing integrity and other characteristics that can be measured and improved. The ECTEL Board of Directors mandated the consultations at its 67th meeting. The new draft Quality of Service Regulations is now available in Member States for comment until July 24th, 2015. Persons wishing to make a contribution to the consultation may do so by contacting the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission NTRC in their territory and following the instructions outlined in the consultative document. The consultation document on Quality of Service standards is available on the websites of ECTEL and the NTRCs in the five ECTEL Member States. Meetings with target interest groups and communities are also being planned to facilitate the consultation process. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




igicel unveiled its new look My Digicel App that boasts dozens of cool new features like managing your Digicel account, access to social media newsfeeds and a customer feedback portal – making it the go-to place for all things Digicel. In addition, the app is free to use meaning customers are not using a single MB of their data to access the information and content available on the app. The newly-designed app introduces a user-friendly interface that comes with a whole host of new features such as allowing customers to send top up to any Digicel phone, locally or internationally, view account information, opt in and out of plans and see the latest promotions and offers – all of which is available 24-hours a day, free of charge to customers. The app also includes social media feeds so that customers can connect with Digicel through Twitter and Facebook and take advantage of exclusive offers that are only available through the app. Digicel Group Chief Commercial Officer, Claudio Hidalgo, said; “We are excited to be introducing our newly-designed My Digicel App that makes it easier for customers to access all of our services free of cost at any time using their smartphones. The new app boasts all the great features that customers have come to know and love, as well as a host of new ones such as sending credit to friends and family at home and abroad and accessing Digicel’s social media newsfeeds for the latest updates.” “We wanted to create one place where our customers could access all things – from sending and receiving top up, to activating plans, accessing special offers and getting the latest news - the new My Digicel App does just that. The app also includes a feedback feature where customers can share their views on the app and its functionalities so that we can work to improve it on an ongoing basis,” concluded Hidalgo. ¤

New CWC Call Centre for Jamaica or Barbados

Antigua Proceeds with Telecoms Bill and Liberalisation of Sector


elecoms giant Digicel is calling on the Antigua & Barbuda Government to have a sixmonth implementation window for the new Telecommunications Bill.

In a statement, the company said it welcomed the Bill, but this would allow enough time for the Regulatory Committee to be established to oversee its compliance. “As the customer champion in Antigua & Barbuda, we are in full support of the new Bill which we believe is a great step towards further liberalisation, ensuring that the framework is in place for a well-regulated market – which will ultimately benefit customers across Antigua & Barbuda,” said Digicel Antigua & Barbuda CEO, Rob Mayo-Smith. The company said the legislation, being introduced by Telecommunications and Broadcasting Minister Melford Nicholas, will ensure that there is a level playing field for all service providers and increased competition. Digicel said this will result in more choice, better service and better value for customers. “The Minister is continuing the great work that was initiated by APUA, ensuring that Antigua’s legislation is kept current and on par with other Caribbean markets while at the same, tailored to the country’s best interests,” said Mayo-Smith. “While we believe that customers across Antigua & Barbuda stand to gain significantly from the promise of full liberalisation and a well-regulated telecommunications sector, we’re also calling on the government to put in place a six-month implementation window and a Regulatory Committee to oversee compliance and ensure that customers are getting the full benefit of competition,” he added. ¤

W By: Richard Browne

ith the introduction of a new customer service call centre in either Barbados or Jamaica, the takeover of Columbus Communications by Cable and Wireless should result in a net gain in employment rather than a net loss, according to Phil Bentley, CEO of the newly-merged company. “I have committed to bring back a 200-seat call centre to either Barbados or Jamaica,” CWC Chief Executive Phil Bentley said recently during a press briefing for Caribbean journalists, via teleconference from London. Within four months the company will be closing down its Panama-based customer service centre and opening a new one in one of the two islands, he said. The centre was not popular with many LIME customers, who wanted the familiarity of an accent based in the English-speaking Caribbean. The company also has an existing call centre in Trinidad. The decision about whether the new location will be Barbados or Jamaica will be made over the next two months, with the new centre to be up and running in about four months, Bentley said. Largely as a result of that new centre, CWC should end up employing more people than it will lose, even with the acquisition. “We will be a net increase employer across the Caribbean,” Bentley said, repeating for emphasis, “I am absolutely convinced that we will have a net employment increase across the markets.” Despite that increase, there will still be some job losses, especially where there is duplication. “There may be some issues,” Bentley said. An example is two stores next to each other in Castries, St Lucia. “We will only need one,” Bentley said. ¤ Richard Browne is the Business Editor at the Jamaica Observer Newspaper in Kingston, Jamaica.

BusinessFocus July / Aug




Crosses $6bn in Revenue

Chairman Norman Sabga and Members of the ANSA McAL Board of Directors at the Group’s 86th AGM in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Photo: NICOLE DRAYTON


he ANSA McAL Group of Companies achieved $802 million in profit after tax and for a second consecutive year crossed six billion $$ in revenue, Chairman and Chief Executive Norman Sabga told shareholders recently.

Giving highlights of the financial statements for the year ended December 31 2014, Sabga said the group’s total assets now exceed $13 billion and liquidity stood at $1.3 million. At the group’s annual general meeting at Tatil Building, Port-ofSpain, Sabga said in response to a question about liquidity from a shareholder that the group was in an enviable position “where we have too much cash.” Finance Director Aneal Maharaj later explained the group’s cash surplus position: “Cash available is close to $1 billion and I exclude the publicly listed companies in the group. There is only one borrowing third party for the group and that is last year we did draw down on a US$20 million credit line and that remains in place today.” Maharaj said the purpose of the credit line was to source US$ currently to pay overseas vendors on time. He said ANSA McAL is highly selective in how it spends the $1 billion in excess cash it has at hand. “Cash and surplus cash is not an issue. It is being selective in how we spend it.” Sabga said while the group’s financial services sector declined by 23 per cent, with local and international portfolios generating $97 million less than in the previous year, there were strong gains in the automotive, trading and distribution segments. The sectors generating the highest gross revenue were BusinessFocus July / Aug



manufacturing with $2.4 million and automotive, trading and distribution with $2.7 million. During the meeting Sabga announced that the group of companies had been re-certified as an approved employer by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). He said Maharaj had been interviewed by ACCA international and featured on the front page of its magazine. He said in the group’s annual report: “Our balance sheet has never been stronger but we are never complacent. We remind ourselves that adaptability, not just strength, is key to long term sustainability. “In 2014, your group committed investments of $184 million ($276 million - 2013) across several sectors in business improvement and new business projects. “Constant review of our governance and administration structures to verify best practice is maintained in our operations and is second nature in the group.” Reporting on the group’s performance in the Barbados market, Nicholas Mouttet, President and CEO of ANSA McAL (Barbados) Ltd, said: “We are the single largest contributor outside of Trinidad and Tobago. We have done well in the last year and that was mainly due to some consolidation and restructuring of our business in Barbados. “Despite a challenging economic environment we are bearing fruit in terms of the re-organisation of our business there.” The ANSA McAL Group is one of two Trinidad based conglomerates with extensive business interests across the islands of the Caribbean, Guyana and Suriname. ¤

A New Way to Book a Last Minute Caribbean Hotel


here’s a new way to book a Caribbean hotel. And you can even book a room tonight. HotelTonight, the global last-minute hotel booking app, has officially expanded to the Caribbean. The app has recently added the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas to its international roster.It first added hotels in Puerto Rico in 2013. “The Caribbean is a draw at any time of year, whether it’s New Yorkers escaping the winter chill or Floridians looking for a quick weekend away and additional access to great deals in these hot locations makes it even easier for people to secure a last-minute getaway,” said Sam Shank, the co-founder and CEO at Hotel Tonight. It’s a smooth, clever display and could provide a brand-new method of booking for Caribbean getaways. One can book rooms on the app for tonight or up to a week out and it takes less than 10 seconds to complete a booking on average, according to the company. ¤

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Cooking gas – both Sol and TexGas * Telephone top up – Lime/Digicel Vehicle accessories, car batteries, air fresheners * Lottery Tickets Oils and lubricants * Ice * Convenient store

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What is Digicel EYE? Digicel Business has introduced its latest Business Solutions product, Digicel EYE, which provides customers in St. Lucia always-on surveillance accessible from any mobile device anywhere and delivering peace of mind for their businesses or home. Digicel EYE is a cloud-based video monitoring system that provides a secure, high-end video surveillance platform. It is designed to work with and/or replace analog video surveillance systems mainly used by small and medium sized businesses while reducing network adoption costs which would incorporate existing hardware. Digicel EYE makes it easier for customers to keep track of their business operations without the hassle of expensive hardware installation and maintenance as it comes with round the clock customer support as well as offsite storage which eliminates the possibility of damage in the event of a natural disaster, physical damage or theft of the system.


The service leverages the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, eliminating the need for on-premise servers and storage, greatly reducing traditional hardware costs and installation time.

How can Digicel EYE help your business? Digicel EYE can be used in multiple ways:

HD Video Monitoring Allows you to view high quality video of your business, monitor multiple cameras, zoom-in on points of interest, and playback recorded video. Everywhere Access View live and recorded video from any device connected to the internet, including your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Highly Secure Video Recordings Video is uploaded directly to the cloud, off-site storage protects recordings from physical damage or hardware defect .

• Simplified installation and maintenance • No training required • Ubiquitous access • Minimal upfront costs • No IT or security staff required • Operating expense

Partnership Digicel Business is the region’s leading full services business solutions partner. Our job is to keep you ahead of the game, solve your business problems and deliver value, innovation and partnership to your business.

Contact Digicel Business today at: 1 (758) 724 6001 or BusinessFocus July / Aug



Managing the fleet: Saving Gas and Money with Vehicle Tracking


or companies with a fleet of vehicles on the road, knowing where your vehicles are is no longer the sole purpose for investigating in a vehicle tracking system. With the advancements in GPRS technology, vehicle tracking has become a component of a larger fleet management solution that has the capabilities of providing more than just the physical location of vehicles. With over 200 vehicles travelling across Jamaica on a daily basis, the Tank-Weld Group for example, relies on a state -of-the-art GPRS tracking solution from KingAlarm and Digicel Business to manage their fleet. For the construction experts, however, securing their fleet goes beyond tracking vehicles on a map; the solution facilities the management of other important factors, including fuel consumption, geo-fencing and scheduling maintenance for the vehicles. One of the most important benefits of a fleet management solution, however, is the cost-savings, which John P. Azar, Managing Director of KingAlarm Systems Ltd says ‘can practically pay for the solution.” According to Azar, “Managing a fleet of vehicles is not just about sitting and watching the location of your vehicles all day. While this is an important feature of any vehicle tracking system, businesses are realising that they lose a lot of money by not managing other aspects such as petrol usage and ‘moonlighting’ by employees.” Azar added that there are also insurance benefits for customers that install a vehicle tracking solution in their fleet. “Fleet managers will find that insurance companies offer savings of up to 15% when a tracking system is installed in their vehicles. In addition to the savings on petrol, the percentage saved often covers the cost for the solution, showing an almost immediate return on investment for businesses,” Azar said.

Contact Digicel Business today at: 1 (758) 724 6001 or



Outside of the ROI, there are a number of other benefits to be gained from implementing a fleet management solution. The system also allows fleet managers to proactively set the parameters for vehicle usage so that they can be alerted of any breach. Head of Managed Services at Digicel Business, Joe McCusker, shares some insight on how the system works: “A fleet management solution enables your company to set rules regarding the usage of its vehicular assets. You can outline the areas that you want the vehicles to travel using geo-fencing; you can set a speed limit for the vehicles and you can decide what times you want the vehicle to be used. Any time your vehicles go outside of the specified area, exceed the speed limit or are being driven outside of work hours, you will immediately receive an alert.” Gary Shurland, Human Resources Manager for the Tank-Weld Group, explains the benefits of the solution to their company. “In an environment where security is paramount, the vehicle tracking system provides a control window for us. We are able to tell our customers exactly where the truck is, and we can track the vehicle if it is stolen,” said Shurland. He continued: “We also have better control in terms of fuel control, knowing that the driver is not going off and wasting the fuel on trips unrelated to the job,” Shurland said. KingAlarm’s Azar pointed out that many companies opt to install vehicle tracking systems not only because of the peace of mind that it provides, but also due to ease of implementation. “Whether it is a large company with several trucks or just a small business with two or three cars, it is very easy to implement this solution that has so many benefits. As the system is web-based and requires minimal set-up, the fleet manager is able to monitor the vehicles remotely and expand the fleet with ease,” Azar explained.

BusinessFocus July / Aug




OECS Gets US$5.3 Million for Fight Against HIV and AIDS


he OECS Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) for HIV/AIDS has been awarded a grant from the Global Fund of US$5.3 million in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Various Ministries and organizations from across the OECS have been working and strategizing for months to secure this funding which was confirmed by the Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relation and Chair of the OECS RCM, Hon. Alvina Reynolds on 14th July and this will be made available to continue the HIV efforts within the OECS islands. The Health Minister remarked ” It’s been hard work, Ms. Joan Didier the consultant, Ms. Veronica Cenac and the team from the other countries and off-course ministers who visited us to be part of that process. And finally the product…today we got the good news that we have been awarded the amount of US$5.3 million to deal with the issues of HIV/AIDS in the region. Looking at our target population, vulnerable population, men who have sex with men, we’re looking at youth, we’re looking at stigma and discrimination all of these issues. It’s about people and how we can battle on the see when we can bring it to that point where we will have Zero infections as it pertains to HIV/AIDS. We must continue to be strategic in using the funds where it is most needed to save lives and reduce HIV and AIDS infections in the region and especially in St. Lucia.”

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Director of the OECS, RCM, Joan Didier noted that the OECS Commission through the OECS HIV/AIDS Unit has been working throughout the OECS since 2005 and receives grant funding through PANCAP, the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/ AIDS however this grant funding comes to an end in 2015. “So the OECS RCM is particularly elated because it means come 2016 we will have money for another 3 years work within the OECS. The OECS Commission is going to be the principle recipient of those funds. What this means is that the money will go to the OECS Commission and they will be the implementers. They will work through the Ministries of Health in the six OECS countries. The Ministries of health will be the sub recipients for the grant and the Ministry of Health will then work with Civil Society Organizations particularly organisations that work with men having sex with men, commercial sex workers, transgenders and young people to ensure that these populations who sometimes are restricted in their attempt to access services can have freer access to services.” Didier explained. She indicated that the OECS will soon be validated as having eliminated mother to child transmission for HIV. She noted that achieving this status is only part of the process, maintaining that status will require hard work and funding thus the funding from the global fund will help build on gains already achieved. ¤

Bitt Co-Founder at Block Chain Summit

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Withdraws 1c and 2c Coins


s of 1 July, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) will no longer issue one cent and two cents coins to the commercial banks operating within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Although the coins will no longer be issued, they will remain legal tender up to 30 June 2020 and thus can be used for purchasing goods and services or exchanged at financial institutions for face value.

Gabriel Abed

arbadian, Gabriel Abed, co-founder of the Caribbean’s first digital currency asset exchange, Bitt, is representing the region at a Blockchain Summit hosted by Richard Branson on Necker Island, BVI. The aim of the Forum, is to gather top thinkers in the world of Blockchain, Digital Currency and Bitcoin to help define the future. Abed’s invite was to “come visit Sir Richard Branson’s private island as we conclude a set of discussions highlighting critical issues and solutions that will help layout a framework for a world where humankind is fully benefitting from the amazing technology behind the Blockchain.” Blockchain is a transactional database found in crypto-currencies.

The ECCB Monetary Council took the decision to withdraw the one and two cent coins from circulation based on the low purchasing power of the coins and the significant cost of producing and handling the coins. The withdrawal of the coins will affect cash transactions only. Transactions using cheques and electronic payment, such as debit and credit cards, and wire transfers, will not be affected due to the fact that transactions using those methods of payments can be settled to the exact amount. The ECCB has prepared a set of rounding rules, which will allow retailers and consumers to conduct cash transactions with little interruption.

For cash transactions:

Based in Hastings, Barbados, Bitt offers a platform that targets the Caribbean remittance market. It got off the ground in November 2014 with a seed funding round of $1.5m to develop and expand its trading platform. Michael J. Casey, author of the Wall Street Journal publication, The Age of Cryptocurrency : How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order,’ endorsed Abed’s attendance at the Forum.

1. Only the total payment due will be subject to rounding up or down to the nearest five-cent increment. 2. Individual items will not be subject to rounding. 3. Cash payments in the exact amount due will not be subject to rounding. 4. Fees, taxes or duties will be calculated to the exact amount required by law or by contract prior to the rounding of any cash payment.

Casey, who has quoted Abed within the publication, dubbing him ‘Mr Bitt’, notes that “as we enjoy the gifts of the Caribbean over our three day stay in Necker Island, it seems fitting that someone from the region’s fledgling digital-currency industry should be present.” Since the release of Casey’s publication, Bitt has moved forward, developing some innovative solutions to address bitcoin-to-fiat volatility in a way that could help cut the remittance fees charged in the region. ¤

The ECCB has engaged various stakeholders throughout the ECCU including: Financial Secretaries, Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Commercial Banks, Non-Bank Financial Institutions, Businesses, Consumer Affairs entities, and media houses to discuss the most effective plan for implementing the withdrawal process. The ECCB will continue to collaborate with its stakeholders as the withdrawal process takes effect. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




World Bank and IMF to Help Developing Countries Strengthen Tax Systems

Enhancements in ECCU Debt Management Units to Improve Regional Debt Management


he Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries will develop new organisational structures along functional lines to increase the effectiveness of their debt management units in implementing governments’ debt management strategies.

This was one of the main decisions of the Canada Eastern Caribbean Debt Management Advisory Service (CANEC-DMAS) Project Steering Committee (PSC) when it met for its annual review meeting on 28 April at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Headquarters in St Kitts. As part of ongoing work of the CANEC-DMAS Project, ECCU countries will seek to ensure that core responsibilities of the debt management units such as: evaluating potential sources of funding; and actively managing the costs and risks associated with the composition of countries’ public debt, are undertaken more adequately. This process may require reorganisation of the units in some of the countries. The debt management units’ core responsibilities also include, active monitoring and maintenance of quality public debt data which is used to feed into the decision making process for the governments. This will therefore see the ECCU countries moving towards full utilisation of Version 2.0 of the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management System (CSDRMS), which was released in August 2014. Countries have been working towards implementation of the new version with assistance from the ECCB’s CANEC-DMAS Project. The CANEC-DMAS Project is financially supported by the government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and assists member countries in enhancing their debt management practices through ongoing technical support in the fundamental areas of debt management. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




he World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are launching a new initiative to help developing countries strengthen their tax systems.

“A strong revenue base is imperative if developing countries are to be able to finance the spending they need on public services, social support and infrastructure,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “But experience shows that with well-targeted external technical support and sufficient political will, it can be done.” Responding to country demands, the IMF/World Bank initiative has two pillars: deepening the dialogue with developing countries on international tax issues, aiming to help increase their weight and voice in the international debate on tax rules and cooperation; and developing improved diagnostic tools to help member countries evaluate and strengthen their tax policies. By further leveraging their collective expertise, the Bank and Fund aim to play a fuller role in helping all of their member countries achieve the ambitious goals that the world will be setting for itself later this year in New York. “We very much want to help developing countries raise more revenues through taxes because this can lead to more children receiving a good education and more families having access to quality health care,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “If everyone pays their fair share – even while challenging the status quo– developing countries can close their financing gaps and promote inclusive growth.” The initiative will deepen the institutions’ ongoing collaboration with developing countries to identify key international tax policy concerns and potential solutions, both at the country level and in the context of the continuing international dialogue. The institutions also plan to strengthen their diagnostic tools, developing new methodologies where needed, to enable member countries to identify priority tax reforms and design the requisite support for their implementation. This effort would complement the launch of the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) in November. ¤

IDB Approves US$27 Million for Haiti’s Transportation Infrastructure


he Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it has approved a US$27 million grant to help modernize and improve the management of Haiti’s road and ports, key sectors that are fundamental for the country’s economic development and integration. The grant is the second in a series of three programmatic Policy Based Grants (PBGs) that provide the Haitian government with budget support for policy, legal and institutional reforms of government agencies. “This grant includes measures aimed at modernizing and strengthening road sector management to improve planning, maintenance, road safety, construction and rehabilitation of roadways. It also covers modernization of maritime sector management, including policy and legal reforms governing the country’s ports,” the IDB said in a statement. It said that these fast-disbursing grants complement other larger, transportation investment projects financed by the IDB and other donors in Haiti. “The programme will benefit both the private and public sectors by providing better transport and maritime port infrastructure, lower costs and decreased travel time,” the IDB added. ¤ Courtesy: Antigua Observer

Four CARICOM Nations Named Among Countries at Risk of Heading Into Debt Trap


our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations have been named among countries at risk of government external debt crises – one of them specially highlighted among those “rapidly heading” in that direction.

Guyana, Haiti and St. Lucia are in a list of 29 countries identified by Jubilee Debt Campaign – a coalition of national organizations and local groups around the UK calling for the unjust and unpayable debts of the poorest countries to be cancelled – as facing a risk of finding themselves in debt crisis, while Dominica is said to be at “high risk” based on large external debt, a large and persistent current account deficit, and high projected future government debt payments. The information is contained in the Jubilee’s 40-page document entitled The new debt trap: How the response to the last global financial crisis has laid the ground for the next, which analyses public and private debts owed by countries across the world. Jubilee’s analysis defines countries as at risk of a government debt crisis if they have net debt higher than 30 per cent of GDP, or current account deficit more than five per cent of GDP; and future government debt payments exceeding 10 per cent of government revenue or, where projections are not available, current government external debt already over 40 per cent of GDP. The 14 countries at high risk have net debt of more than 30 per cent of GDP; future government debt payments exceeding 15 per cent of government revenue or, where projections are not available, current government external debt already over 50 per cent of GDP; and a current account deficit that is more than five per cent of GDP. “Of these, some are already likely to be back in debt crisis, but the figures are not yet available to show that they are. These are expected to have high government debt payments over the next few years; they include nations such as Dominica, Ghana and Mauritania,” the report stated. It also pointed out that Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are among 22 countries already in a government external debt crisis, with “high government debt payments leading to large amounts of money leaving their country each year, along with an overall net debt with the rest of the world”. Net debt for that group stands at over 30 per cent of GDP and external debt payments exceed 15 per cent of government revenue. No Caribbean nation was named in the list of 28 countries at risk of facing a privatesector debt crisis. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




IMF Approves US$40 Million for Jamaica


he International Monetary Fund has approved a roughly US$40 million disbursement to Jamaica after concluding its eighth review of a loan program propping up the island.

Jamaica is in the third year of a four-year US$930 million loan package with the IMF. The IMF said Jamaica’s performance “is on track and has remained strong” as structural reforms have advanced. It says

lower oil prices have improved the import-dependent country’s finances and growth is projected to approach 2 percent. In recent decades, Jamaica has had one of the world’s slowest growing economies so even small gains are seen as major improvements. Earlier this year, the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research said Jamaica was running “the most austere budget in the world.

ECLAC Study on Foreign Direct Investment Puts Focus on Caribbean


he Caribbean receives higher amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI) when compared to other developing economies, according to a newly published report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Entitled “Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean”, the flagship report was launched by ECLAC executive secretary, Alicia Bárcena, on 27 May at the organization’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile. For the first time, the flagship report dedicates an entire chapter to FDI in the Caribbean, thus placing increased emphasis on the importance of FDI for the region. FDI inflows into the Caribbean amounted to approximately five percent of GDP in 2014, compared to three percent for Latin America, and less in other developing regions. In the Caribbean, FDI is important both as a source of funds for development and as a source of foreign exchange. Nevertheless, BusinessFocus July / Aug



questions remain about the extent to which these flows contribute to growth and development in the Caribbean. Given the increasing propensity of many large Caribbean transnationals to make significant cross-border investments, the report looks at outward FDI from Caribbean countries to regional and extra-regional economies. The publication discusses recent developments in key sectors, which either attract the most FDI inflows or possess potential for increased FDI. Examples include tourism, natural resources, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, financial services, and offshore education. Potential benefits and drawbacks of FDI are examined. The report provides an analysis of the modalities commonly utilized by Latin American and Caribbean countries to attract and leverage FDI. It also looks at the extent to which these methods attract FDI, which contributes to economic growth and sustainable development. ¤

The Sponsor of EUFA Champions League BusinessFocus July / Aug



Speakers Inspire Graduates at NRDF BBA/MBA Graduation 2015


RDF hosted its third Annual Graduation Ceremony for BBA and MBA programmes at the William Jefferson Ballroom, Sandals Grande Beach Resort & Spa, on Sunday, June 28th, 2015. Speeches at NRDF’s BBA/MBA graduation events this year were underpinned by a general message of pragmatism needed for business success today, and provided hope and inspiration to those in attendance. Surrounded by friends and family, Twenty-eight of thirty-two (NRDF’s largest graduating group to date) graduates exuded excitement over what they had accomplished and what adventures lay ahead, at the ceremony which honoured their achievements. Business Leader ,Mr. Richard Peterkin, Partner at Grant Thornton, delivered the Keynote Address under the theme, “Transformational Leadership: the Key to Business Success”. Peterkin spoke to the BusinessFocus July / Aug



significance of Transformational Leaders to our era, citing their unique potential to improve the current economic climate by their ability to achieve change through influence. He said, “Transformational leaders create an extraordinary motivation by confirming their employees’ ideas and values and by inspiring them to think about various programmes utilizing modern methods…they change society by their ability to inspire others with their words, conversations, insight and initiative…Their followers have a feeling of respect, dignity and loyalty towards them”. Peterkin urged the graduands to be transformational, stating that by their ability to harness the strengths of their followers, by developing and growing their capabilities, they could catalyze the “changes needed to return the country to economic growth, lower unemployment and better lifestyles”. This year the institute recognized two valedictorians (the award bestowed on the students with the highest GPA

Mrs. Joyce Destang guest speaker at (AIB Alumni Business Mixer)

average of the graduating class).The MBA valedictorian was Mr. Wayne Auguste, local financial consultant, who encouraged his peers to “walk the talk” particularly as examples to their children; examples greatly needed in our society today. BBA valedictorian, Ms. Theresa Jn. Baptiste encouraged her peers to have a positive attitude and maintain their focus on their dreams and aspirations”.

the students to be brave but careful, be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices, to manage their revenues prudently, undertake extensive research before pursuing ideas no matter how brilliant, to value their employees and to maintain healthy, balanced lifestyles. The event was well attended by Alumni students, prospect students and invited guests.

Another key activity held during graduation weekend at NRDF, was the programme’ Annual Alumni Business Mixer. This year’s event was hosted at the Ixora Conference Room at the Bay Gardens Inn.

This Business Mixer was preceded by the private Alumni Welcome ceremony where our past graduates shared their testimonies on their experience, along with encouraging and motivating the new graduating class.

This year’s speakers were Mrs. Joyce Destang and her daughter Dr. Desmer Destang who shared some hard-hitting advice from lessons learnt on their respective entrepreneurial journeys. The mother-daughter team encouraged

Applications are open for the August/September 2015 intake. Accredited • Affordable • Achievable

Dr. Desmer Destang guest speaker at (AIB Alumni Business Mixer)

Tel: (758) 452-4253 • 724-7722 • 724-7727 Web: Email: BusinessFocus July / Aug



The second largest investment an individual makes is the purchase of a vehicle. With that comes the multitude of questions about financing such a purchase. While traditional bank financing continues to be popular in St. Lucia, the last decade or so has seen a significant increase in alternative financing through Leasing. Simpson Finance Limited, has been in existence for five years in St. Lucia and has been providing flexible lease financing options to customers. A small team of friendly, dedicated, efficient and knowledgeable representatives operate as the in-house leasing company at JQ Motors. Located at Choc Estate, Castries, Simpson Finance makes getting into the car of your dreams as easy as possible. This ideal location allows Simpson Finance to offer attractive lease packages for new and pre-owned vehicles from JQ Motors, one of the leading car dealers on the island. This one stop shopping environment makes choosing and purchasing a car as hassle free as possible. Simpson Finance offers finance and operating lease options tailor made to suit private individuals and the corporate community. Priding themselves on speed, efficiency and flexibility, Simpson Finance guarantees feedback of approval within twenty-four (24) hours.

What is lease financing you may ask? It’s simple! The Finance Lease provides customers with the flexibility of leasing the vehicle for a specified period with a deposit injection. There are several financing options available which can allow the customer to repay over a specified term. •

Straight financing allows the customer to repay the full cost of the vehicle and at lease maturity, the ownership of the vehicle is transferred to the customer. Lease with the option to purchase allows for a lower monthly repayment by paying only a portion of the vehicle’s cost over the specified term, leaving a balloon payment due at maturity. This attractive lease with the

BusinessFocus July / Aug



option to purchase provides the customer with the opportunity of choosing to: 1. Present the final (balloon) payment in full, thus allowing transfer of ownership to the customer. 2. Finance the final (balloon) payment for an additional period of time until fully paid, the ownership of the vehicle is then transferred. 3. Trade in for a new vehicle. The Operating Lease is a strict rental of the vehicle from Simpson Finance to its customer. It has an added benefit of being an “off-balance sheet” item for accounting purposes. An operating lease allows the customer to pay a refundable security deposit and first month’s rental up front. The operating lease option also allows the customer to have the first right to purchase at the end of the lease at a negotiated price. This operating lease is ideally suited for the corporate clientele, looking to either provide executive vehicles to senior management or to add on multiple units to their existing vehicle fleet. Operating leases provide the additional benefit as it relates to the resale of the vehicle after its useful economic life making a renewal of fleet purchases a hassle free transaction. Simpson Finance is also able to incorporate insurance and standard maintenance packages in the operating lease. This convenience allows customers to have this true one stop shop environment. The market for lease financing has grown tremendously over the last few years. Simpson Finance, with over twenty years of leasing experience in the Caribbean, is well suited to attend to every customer’s diverse needs.

Different from the rest: •

Simpson Finance offers flexible finance package with payment plans range from 3 years to 7 years. Each plan is personalized to suit the customers’ individual budgeting needs.

Clients can inject additional deposits and restructure their payment plan at no added cost. This action aids in reducing the payment term or monthly installment amount. Clients can pay off the lease before the end date with NO early pay off penalties incurred. Simpson Finance offers a 24 Hour feedback on approval and clients can drive out with their vehicle within days of applying.

Choc Estate, P.O. Box 279, Castries Tel: (758) 453-CARS (453-2277)

Current transport board re-registration payments are incorporated into the lease, making this motor vehicle requirement an easier process for clients.

Financing services are available to assist with motor insurance premiums and repair bills

Simpson’s specially trained team will be sure to answer all your financial questions in advance, and we will work with you to design a payment program to fit your personal financial needs.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Managing Your Small Business Finances By: Samuel Rosenberg

Every business will need to turn to their financial institution for a loan, either to see you through a difficult financial period, or to provide you with the funds so that you can expand your business and achieve greater results. Unfortunately, small businesses are often unsuccessful at achieving a bank loan at a good rate to benefit their business, so how can you improve your chances of success? To understand how you can become successful, it is better to understand what the banks require. When they are assessing your situation, prepare yourself fully so that you can present an answer to any question that the bank puts to you. After all, the bank will expect you to understand everything about your business, your competition and most importantly your finances in the past, the current, and how you intend to plan for the future. Many small businesses complain that they do not have the ability to access bank loans at good rates because those institutions are looking only at larger businesses who wish to borrow substantial sums of money. In return, the banks will often blame the result of a loan application refusal on the manner that businesses have a lack of proper financial records and often confuse their financial situation when moving money between personal and business accounts. To overcome any of the bank’s initial requirements, it is always better to open a business bank account and keep BusinessFocus July / Aug



all of your personal financial dealings completely separate. When you are able to identify all of the income and expenses through your business bank account, there will be no confusion with any personal money or accounts. Where you have to use cash in your business, it is more efficient to keep a separate fund of dollars for business use, and keep it clearly away from any of your personal currency that you keep in your pocket. All experts agree that record-keeping is essential. This achievement makes you able to assess your current and future business financial situation. There is a wide range of accounting software that is available either free or from a variety of very cost efficient online websites which allow you to record all of the financial details related to your business. Being able to easily add information about your income and expenses from your computer, mobile phone or tablet can help you stay on top of managing the finances. Managing your record-keeping regularly becomes a much easier task than trying to sort the difficulty once every six months. You can turn to an accountant or bookkeeper to help you manage your finances. Where your business grows sufficiently, you can employ this person, but in the early stages you may need to outsource to one who will work just a few hours when you require.

A key element to the success of your business is to set yourself a plan to draw a regular salary that is the same amount every month of the year until you are able to analyse your finances and see whether you can pay yourself more or less, depending upon the quality of your results. It is better to pay yourself like an employee, rather than use the company’s funds as your own expense account otherwise you will never know how the finances of your business stand. By drawing a salary, you will have planned the amount in advance and be in control of proceedings, whereas the people that use the company bank account like a cash dispensing machine, may find themselves out of business because they do not know what is going on. The key is that you stay in control. ¤

Samuel Rosenberg is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to


BusinessFocus July / Aug




Celebrating a Decade of Trust, Service Excellence and Growth

In July 2015 we marked our tenth anniversary of providing unique and superior financial service options to clients in Saint Lucia and the OECS. Our journey has been quite an exciting one. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of First Citizens Bank Limited having been acquired by the Group in 2009. Rebranded as First Citizens Investment Services we are now part of the second largest indigenous Bank in Trinidad & Tobago with an investment grade rating from S&P and Moody’s. First Citizens holds the highest-rating amongst indigenous banks in the English-speaking Caribbean and has a proven track record for providing investors throughout the Caribbean with nontraditional competitive investment solutions and excellent customer service. The First Citizens Group is one of the leading financial services groups in Trinidad & Tobago and has many accolades to its name including being voted the safest bank in the Caribbean by Global Finance in 2011 and 2012 and the “Best Bank in Trinidad & Tobago 2010” by World Finance. First Citizens Investment Services also won the award for Service Excellence in Saint Lucia in 2013 and 2014. First Citizens Investment Services is proudly recognized as the largest full service investment firm in the Caribbean providing flexible investment options, brokerage, advisory and portfolio management services to our clients with utmost professionalism and service excellence. As we mark ten years we have several reasons to reflect and celebrate, among them, our many awards, our reputation of trust and integrity, the range of investment products we offer and the peace of mind we bring to our customers. We are especially proud of efforts to promote financial literacy in

Mission: Our aim is to build a highly profitable financial services franchise renowned for innovativeness, service excellence and sound corporate governance. BusinessFocus July / Aug



Vision: To become the most competitive financial services group in the markets in which we serve. Saint Lucia through our many free seminars and one-on-one financial management advice. In celebrating this decade of success we give thanks for great partnerships and solid relationships forged. Our sincere appreciation to our employees, our Board of Directors, our regulator, the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission and our partners the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange and the Governments of the OECS, among others. Heartfelt thanks to you our valued customers, our accomplishments are just as much yours as it is ours. With your continued support, we are certain the next 10 years will be better than the last!

My Granny has had a stall at the Castries Market for 20 years now.

If her business

does not close on Saturdays, why should her bank?

Open on Saturdays, 5 Branches, 1 Bureau de Change, Online Banking, Mobanking and 8 ATMs available to serve you island wide.



Over 75 Years of Local Expertise ECCU Rated for Capital Strength A Significant Contribution to Community Investment Annually


Congrats Team St. Lucia! It is truly my honour to join with all members of the First Citizens family in congratulating the team of First Citizens Investment Services – St. Lucia on the occasion of its 10th anniversary. The continued success of our Branch in St. Lucia is particularly meaningful in light of the demanding economic environment and the sustained global challenges faced by the financial services industry. This milestone speaks to the strength of your operation and is clearly a demonstration of the value your clients place on the service you provide. It is therefore with a sense of pride in your accomplishment that I wish you Happy 10th anniversary! And may you use the valuable lessons of the past to grow to even greater heights of achievement!

Karen Darbasie First Citizens CEO

First Citizens Investment Services (St. Lucia) continues to change the investment landscape in St. Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean. I have witnessed its progressive transformation since it became part of the First Citizens Group as it continues to persevere despite the challenges encountered throughout the years. The St Lucia team has been able to use this experience in order to become a stronger organization. Over the past decade, the St Lucia team has shown that even in movement, progress comes with goodwill. I have always admired the team’s joi de vivre and their commitment to the First Citizens Group. Although the world financial crises has had an effect on our small island economies, the St Lucia team has stayed the course. The team has demonstrated its strength by making significant inroads in the St. Lucia and Eastern Caribbean financial markets. Its awards for Service Excellence in 2013 and 2014 is a testament to this fact. Even without the formal accolades, the St Lucia FCIS has demonstrated it is a solid institution and I have no doubt that it will continue to be so. Here’s to another decade of strength!

Sharon Christopher First Citizens Deputy CEO

Congratulations to the First Citizens Investment Services team in St. Lucia for delivering excellent service and shaping and developing the capital markets of the OECS over the past 10 years. You have become a leader in the securities industry and I express sincere gratitude to the team for their hard work, dedication and commitment. As a team you have faced many challenges over the past decade but you have emerged stronger and are now a major competitor in the market. Over the past 10 years, First Citizens Investment Services St. Lucia has also contributed positively to the community by being actively involved in major sponsorships and events. I look forward to greater growth and success from the team at St. Lucia as we work together to further develop the capital markets and I know that we will continue to be the leader.”

Sana Ragbir

First Citizens Investment Services GM (Ag.) BusinessFocus July / Aug




First Citizens Investment Services Providing investment products tailored to help you achieve your financial goals! Driven by our mission to be recognized for innovation, service excellence and sound corporate governance, a key focus of First Citizens Investment Services is providing investors with a lundry mix of sound investment options to aid in the realization of their personal financial goals. Two common objectives shared by most, are the dream of home ownership, and an aspiration to achieve financial freedom – a specific freedom that allows them to enjoy the golden years. First Citizens’ Home Ownership Made Easy (HOME) and Retirement Advantage Plan (RAP) are ideal options to achieve those financial goals, as both investment plans allow individuals to accumulate wealth over time, through regular, manageable monthly investments, which earn attractive investment returns. Since investment returns are paid on a monthly basis, and interest is compounded, individuals are able to benefit from the magic of compounding! This is simply when interest earned on one’s initial investment is re-invested, so that interest is earned on that interest, creating a snowball effect. When investors allow compounding interest to work over a number of years, they see how a small initial sum can grow to an amazing windfall. First Citizens Home Ownership Made Easy (HOME) This plan is geared at assisting individuals in investing towards their future home ownership, specifically to accumulate the deposit (down-payment) necessary when qualifying for a mortgage. In the St Lucia market, down-payment requirements range from 5-20% of the mortgage amount. Consider therefore a mortgage sum of EC$300,000 with a requirement for a 10% down payment. This amounts to a requirement sum of EC$30,000. It is unlikely that without a concerted effort to invest or save, that average persons would have accumulated the necessary deposit. First Citizens HOME therefore provides a viable structured investment option, allowing individuals to specifically invest funds which would be dedicated towards that down-payment and other related mortgage set-up expenses. First Citizens HOME further allows clients to invest as little as EC$100.00 a month—more depending on the customer’s investment goals, budget and current financial situation—while earning interest on their investment at a rate of 4.00%. Interest is paid and compounded monthly. The minimum contributory period for the HOME plan is five years.

First Citizens’ Retirement Advantage Plan (RAP) Planning for retirement is of crowning importance to us all. First Citizens RAP allows clients to invest as little as EC$100 a month towards retirement while earning interest on their contributions at 4.50% per annum. Interest is paid and compounded monthly. The minimum contributory period for First Citizens RAP is 10 years. With compound interest, investment returns on a RAP investment can prove very significant. Consider an individual who invests EC$200 monthly in a RAP investment for a 10-year period with a return rate of 4.50% over the 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period the individual would have contributed EC$24,000.00, however the plan would be valued at EC$30,239.61. Therefore the individual would have earned $6,239.61. Meanwhile an individual who invests EC$100 monthly in a RAP investment for a 20-year period with a return rate of 4.50% over the 20 years, would at the end also have contributed EC$24,000.00. However this plan would instead be valued at EC$38,812.44. Therefore the individual would have earned $14,812.44. Surely, the mathematics denotes that the sooner we begin investing and the longer let those investments grow the greater our investment gains. Also noteworthy is the fact that First Citizens RAP is an approved supplementary pension plan under the St Lucia Income Tax Act, which means that contributions to this investment plan, up to a maximum of EC$8,000 a year, are tax deductible.

Ask about our Fixed Income Paper (FIP) Our Fixed Income Paper is an investment secured by a debt instrument issued by a private corporation or government. This income-bearing investment is used for short-term investments which range from 30, 60, 90,180 to 365 days.

Benefits: • • • • • • • •

Investor certificates issued at start and every roll over periods No fees for encashing upon maturity Highly competitive rates of return Encashments via cheques, Bank Drafts, local and foreign Wire transfers Low minimum initial investments Fixed rates of return for the specified investment period Funds secured by a security of your choice Guaranteed safety of investment principal

Contact 450-2662 for more information! BusinessFocus July / Aug



What Our Clients Say About Us In 2006 when I had an opportunity to invest First Citizens Investment Services was the only Financial Institution in Saint Lucia that was prepared to negotiate a portfolio that appeared reasonable in the existing climate. They have remained ‘customer-focused’ and ‘customer-friendly’ and over the years have acquired a good track record to the extent that I have renewed my business relationship with them year after year. I would without hesitation recommend First Citizens Investment Services to anyone interested in financial investments.

Clement Prospere Businessman

On May 24, 2008, as I made my way upstairs the J.E. Bergasse Building to the First Citizens Investment Services’ office, formerly CMMB, I was a little nervous because although I knew that I needed an alternative way to save other than a bank account, I was uncertain of what to expect. On arrival, the security officer at the entrance greeted me with a pleasant smile as he opened the door. This was the beginning of a cordial and rewarding business relationship with First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. It did not take too long for me to realize that First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. was not just another financial institution. From my observation, the organisational culture is based on dissemination of relevant and accurate information, high quality customer service and professionalism. Hence the reason why customers are often invited to seminars on subjects which range from the preparation of income tax returns to investment securities, thereby enhancing the clients’ ability to make informed financial management decisions. In recent years I have come to look forward to the annual Budget Review Seminar and Market Outlook, during which economists from both the public and private sectors candidly discuss current local and regional financial issues and compare them to global market trends. First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. is not only about work. They organise annual activities during which staff members are able to socialise with clients. I have participated in some of these sessions and “boy, can they party!” I am now retired and look back at May 24, 2008 as the day I set the foundation for enjoying quality life during my retirement. My relationship with First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. continues to be very fulfilling. I also take this opportunity to wish the management and staff of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. Happy 10th Anniversary!

Aloysia Gabriel BSc, MBA


“After a 9 year relationship with the First Citizens Team in St. Lucia, I feel qualified to refer to them as my “Friendly Finance Family”. They are fun, focussed, responsible and reliable. As a professional I often put my clients’ needs before my own, so it is a blessing to have Shaka ensure that at least my investments are growing and in good order. Happy 10th Anniversary Family!”

Natalie Augustin Attorney-at-Law

BusinessFocus July / Aug



BusinessFocus July / Aug



Meet the First Citizens Team The small First Citizens Saint Lucia team has had some huge achievements. The team is pictured with Regional Manager OECS & Barbados Carole EleuthereJn Marie and Business Development Manager Lavern Roach.

Operations Team From left: Client Relations Officer Denise Lewis, Operations Assistant Nelissa Anthony, Operations Officer II Margaret Cox and Branch Supervisor Samuel Agiste.

Business Development Team From left: Senior Business Development Officer Shaka St. Ange, Business Development Manager Lavern Roach and Trader and Liquidity Management Cindy Jn Baptiste. BusinessFocus July / Aug



Administrative Team From Left: Administrative Officer II Petra Phillip, Administrative Officer I Alvinan Richard, Administrative and Marketing Officer Nicole Mc Donald and Clerical Assistant Jamill Gustave.


St. Lucia Mortgage Finance Company Limited Brazil & Laborie Streets, P.O. Box 455, Castries (t): 452-3464/7/8 (f): 452-6944 (e):

Our commitment has stood the Test of Time. Our Devotion is Legendary! Interest rates are at an all-time low so build Today and Celebrate Forever. At SMFC we have something for everyone: From as little as $10,000 to our “High 5�- $500,000. Come, talk to us, and together we can develop the mortgage plan that best suits your needs.

So make that call! BusinessFocus July / Aug




Buying Securities on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange

usually involves providing basic information about your investment goals, the provision of Know Your Customer (KYC) documents such as proof of address, identification. You will also be required to complete the relevant account opening forms. The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) is a regional securities market resident in St Kitts. It was officially opened in 2001 to facilitate the buying and selling of financial products in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). These financial products include stocks and bonds offered by Governments and by Corporations/Companies. A securities market as the term suggests, is a place where buyers and sellers meet to exchange securities, including stocks, bonds and other financial products. As mandated by the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC), the body regulating the operations of the ECSE, only licensed broker dealers (termed intermediaries) such as First Citizens Investment Services are permitted to purchase and sell securities on behalf of clients on the ECSE. Buying Securities on the ECSE is a Straightforward Process: 1. Research the particulars of the security you wish to purchase. The ECSE currently has listed stocks of thirteen (13) companies throughout the Eastern Caribbean of which eleven (11) are domiciled in the ECCU. Annual reports of these companies are available on their respective websites. The exchange also has a wide variety of Corporate and Sovereign Bond and Treasury Bill offerings available monthly. 2. Once you have identified a security that suits your needs you must visit an intermediary such as First Citizens Investment Services and complete the account opening process. This BusinessFocus July / Aug



3. Provide the details of the purchase of the securities, including the amount and price you wish to pay. When purchasing instruments on the secondary market the intermediary can assist you regarding the price at which the security is trading. 4. Provide funding for purchase of instrument. 5. Intermediary places bid on the market. 6. The intermediary will inform you on the outcome of your purchase, whether it was successful or not. 7. If successful, the intermediary will send you a confirmation statement stating the full details of your purchase. 8. The ECSE will also forward you a summary position statement highlighting your securities positions with them.

A securities market as the term suggests, is a place where buyers and sellers meet to exchange securities, including stocks, bonds and other financial products.

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BusinessFocus July / Aug



On Becoming First for Investment Options Q & A with Regional Manager (OECS & Barbados) Carole Eleuthere-Jn Marie Q: Ten years is a significant milestone for any organization. To what would you attribute this considerable milestone? CEJM: Our success over the last ten years, I believe, can largely be attributed to our product offering and focused commitment to customer service. We were first to market with products that were relatively new to the Eastern Caribbean, however, we were able to quickly penetrate the market and gain traction in the region because we offered investors an opportunity to benefit from rates that were typically not available through the conventional banking route with minimal added risk. Also, we have a very innovative way of doing business. We offer flexibility, superior investor returns, free advice and education and a passionate team eager to offer customers a future that they could look forward to as far as retirement and of course efficient use of the hard earned cash was concerned. Also, very importantly, we provide much needed support to the economies of the OECS through the Capital Markets. I strongly believe that First Citizens has played a huge role in creating and developing the EC capital market we have today. This is where our governments get to raise money through issuing Bonds and Treasury Bills and more importantly where the ordinary man got the opportunity and understanding that he too can participate and invest in that type of product. In the early days we hosted several mass market seminars a month on various topics from Investing 101 to Understanding Bonds and Trading on the Stock Exchange. The majority of our events are free and we always tried to cover the north and south of the island, as well as individual work places and schools. Today we still host a lot of financial education seminars as the demand is still there but this outlet I think was integral to creating the diverse retail customer base that we have today. Q: What do you see as First Citizens’ role in addressing the financial shortfalls of our region? CEJM: Our role in the capital markets is critical and necessary. Over the last 10 years we have assisted regional Governments with significantly reducing their cost of funding and very importantly increasing and diversifying the sources from which they got money. Before we entered the market most Governments were largely using commercial bank funding for their recurrent and capital expenditure requirements. This approach was creating two major problems for the region: Firstly, loan rates were relatively high and as a result the cost for the Governments as well as the expenditure allocation for the country was significant, secondly, because of the share size of these loans the banks had to deal with issues related to concentration of credit. BusinessFocus July / Aug



With the guidance and services which First Citizens Investment Services provides our regional Governments, there is now increased transparency, availability and accuracy of information for investors and this has facilitated increasing investor base and reduction in Government's cost of funds. In fact, currently Treasury bill rates are at the lowest they have been in the last ten years and that truly is a huge accomplishment and a bravo moment for most of our Governments in the region and we are extremely proud that we were able to contribute to this milestone. Q: How have women changed the management landscape? CEJM: Women are increasingly more involved in developing and playing a leading role in organizations, more particularly in the Caribbean. We recently saw the results of a Forbes report which indicated that Saint Lucia ranked in the top three Countries in the world with women in management. The top two were Jamaica and Colombia respectively. Women bring a different perspective and approach their roles from a more holistic perspective. I believe that society in general has accepted that the management style and approach of a woman is different yet similar to that of a man in many ways. Our nurturing spirit and our ability to multitask and be empathetic yet firm is definitely an asset as these have helped many women balance work and home responsibilities quite competently. I believe, however, the more women and men working together at the top, the better it will be for our region. Q: Which other female leaders in the Caribbean do you admire and why? CEJM: Certainly, since charity begins at home, I will start with the women I have total admiration for on my home turf. Our Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy is one I consider to be a truly phenomenal leader. To me, she has been a teacher, a mentor, great family friend and an inspiration. A woman of humble beginnings, yet she has so competently and confidently taken up the role of Governor General and not allowed this significant achievement to in any way change her general character or persona. Her intelligence, approachable nature, ability to communicate at all levels and general command and leadership style has forever changed the face and perception of the role of Governor General in St Lucia and honestly, I think the person who has the unfortunate task of filling in after her will have really big shoes to step into and I don't envy them at all.

Secondly I see Dr Charmaine Gardner, the Managing Director of Carasco & Son and president of 1st National Bank, as another phenomenal leader who I have always admired for her ability to effortlessly, confidently and competently transition between boardroom to entrepreneur, to advisor, to retail sales lady, to historian, educator, mother, mentor etc. She has made and continues to make strides in so many diverse professional avenues and she is still able to find time for major involvement is community service, charitable organizations, women issues, her church and very importantly family. She is always very modest about her achievements despite the many accolades that continues to be conferred on her. On the regional front, I definitely admire Sharon Christopher, our Deputy CEO (DCEO), another phenomenal leader and a true inspiration to listen to and to talk to. She too exudes confidence and strong charisma. Despite the pressures of her role as DCEO and her many other professional commitments on Boards, committee and other such engagements she always seems to be able to make time to reach out to staff and shows genuine care and concern for people. She is a great motivator who maintains very professional, high ethical standards but is equally empathetic and approachable. From a company perspective as well as a wider region perspective she is also very well respected and admired. Her genuine love and commitment to First Citizens is also extremely commendable. Q: What are the future prospects of First Citizens Investment Services? CEJM: Certainly I still see room for growth and expansion and I would love to expand the First Citizens footprint in St Lucia as well as the wider Eastern Caribbean. I would like to see us broaden the products that we offer. I also see room for more corporate bonds in the market and for greater use of equity funding. Basically, I would like to see more private companies making public share offerings and listing on the stock exchange, thus offering additional investment prospects and avenues for investing.

have us top of mind and we have clearly carved out a niche for ourselves which has enabled us to command a stable and loyal customer base. Q: How have your life experiences made you the leader you are today? CEJM: I started off in management at a pretty young age and I must say I learnt a lot from the men who were largely the managers and CEOs in positions during that time. I have had to learn from my mistakes and I have had to learn a lot of things on the job and on my own, hence I developed a keen eye and attention for details. Fortunately I feel I was blessed to have worked with few really good male leaders who were very comfortable allowing me to make decisions and take responsibility for my staff and department. These experiences I believe helped shaped the person I am today in many ways and though I had not thought of it this way before I now see that perhaps this is where my drive for financial results and accountability is coming from as well as the total commitment to whatever job I undertake. Largely my life and job experiences have been positive and much of this has been because of the confidences that was placed in me which fuelled my drive to succeed and passion for hard work and excellence. I guess that it is in this vein that I am always trying to push people to achieve their fullest potential though sometimes I think I see prospects in people that they just do not see in themselves and this can be really disappointing for me. Q: How have your previous employment experiences aided your work? CEJM: My background is in banking, accounting and auditing and what I do at First Citizens is really a hybrid combination of all of these. On a daily basis I assume various roles thus multi-tasking as well as juggling and prioritization of tasks is a regular feature on my duties schedule but I love what I do and wholeheartedly embrace these opportunities as experience and not just work.

Q: Would you say First Citizens is committed to compliance?

Q: Highlights and challenges?

CEJM: This is an understatement. Given the industry in which we operate and our fiduciary and other stakeholder responsibilities, strong compliance policies and procedures are paramount. In fact the survival of the Group's correspondent banking relationships as well as conformity with regulatory and other legislative requirements mandates that we maintain such in order to continue operations. In First Citizens, issues of compliance are dealt with at the highest level and the importance of adherence is appreciated throughout the organization.

CEJM: A definite highlight for me was when we won the Service Excellence Awards in 2013 and 2014. Our achievement of over half a billion in Funds Under Management was a definite proud moment. On a whole our client penetration and expansion in the region, especially opening the Saint Vincent office was another highlight. It goes without saying that the value and volume of the government bonds and T-Bills that we have brokered and continue to preside over every month is another indisputable achievement. I am also really proud of First Citizens being positioned as the clear leaders in the repos (repurchase agreement) and capital market business.

Q: Would you say First Citizens Investment Services St. Lucia has achieved its goal of becoming the most competitive financial services group? CEJM: Yes, definitely. We have maintained a team of go-getters. When we started off ten years ago, we referred to ourselves as a little company that dared to dream big and that dream continues for us. Today we are considered by many, as the leaders in the capital market industry. We continue to offer our clients rates that are very competitive and better than is available in the banking sector and our staff team continue to deploy innovative and flexible approaches to business. The average investor does

As far as our challenges are concerned, I think one of our biggest challenges has been earning investor confidence and educating people so they are able to reach a comfort level and confident understanding of the investment products and opportunities we offer. Another challenge which stems from our work with regional governments has been gaining the respect of these governments such that they agree with our recommendations as it pertains to debt through bonds and treasury bills and the monitoring of ratios such as debt to GDP in order to retain customer confidences and increase demand for Government debt. BusinessFocus July / Aug




What A Difference Ten Years Can Make! A Look At The ECCU Economic Performance By: Kris Sookdeo Senior Analyst First Citizens Research & Analytics

What a difference ten years can make! In 2005 the economies of the Eastern Caribbean were charging along the path to economic prosperity. Growth in the region averaged 4.98% with some ECCU member economies reporting expansions as much as 8.72% in the case of St. Kitts & Nevis and 12.49% in Grenada! (Although some of the growth was attributed to preparation for the Cricket World Cup hosted by the region in 2006). The optimism of those years would give way to the 2008/2009 financial crisis and the crippling blow it would deliver to the tourism industry – the engine of growth in the region. After 2009, the ECCU economy was hit by three consecutive contractions - 5.04% in 2009, 3.33% in 2010 and 0.18% in 2011. Now, as the dust settles, the region finds itself once again gathering speed. Estimates by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank posit growth in 2014 at 1.28%. The forecast for the next couple of years is even brighter at 2.36% in 2015 and 2.36% in 2016. Of course the level of activity varies among the member countries but, according to the estimates, every one of them will experience some growth starting in 2015. So to what do we owe this resurgence of economic activity? The global economy is beginning to turn a corner. In particular, the United States is recovering and as disposable incomes and risk tolerance improves globally, the region’s tourism sector benefits. Indeed, the recovery of the tourism sector has played a significant role in the regional recovery. Visitor arrivals have been growing fairly steadily with data from the Caribbean Tourism Organization indicating a 4% increase in 2014 (from the previous year). The total number of tourist arrivals is now comparable to the levels seen in 2005. Along with the increasing numbers of tourists, tourist expenditure is also recovering.

With a more favorable outlook for the tourism sector and increasing stability of the global economy, foreign direct investment is returning to the region, with construction of several tourism related facilities throughout the region in recent years. The region is also going to benefit from rising remittances as labor market conditions in the advanced economies improve. On top of all of this, a novel approach to improving foreign currency earnings has been resurrected. The Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) program has been around for some time but has been revamped and now several ECCU member countries offer similar (and competing!) programs. The premise is simple – for the right price you can become a bona fide national of the country.

What is a Stock? DISCLAIMER A stock is the smallest unit of ownership of a company. Owning stocks in a This company or being a shareholder of a company means that you own the company or are a part owner of it. The percentage of the company you own is determined by the number of stocks you own in relation to the total number of stocks that the company has in issue. For example, if ABC Company has issued a total of 100 stocks and Mark purchases 20 of those stocks, it means that Mark owns 20% of ABC Company. There are two types of stocks. These are preferred stocks and common stocks. Common stocks usually provide the owner with voting rights at shareholders’ meetings and the ability to earn dividends. Preferred stocks generally do not have voting rights, but if the company should be liquidated the holders of preferred stocks have priority claim on the company’s assets over the holders of common stocks. Holders of preferred stocks also receive dividends before common stockholders. Stocks are also called shares or equities. BusinessFocus July / Aug



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While the CBI program has played a tremendous role in the ECCU economies, it has attracted its fair share of criticism – money laundering concerns and the potential economic repercussions as objecting countries respond to this development. Canada, for example, announced in November 2014 that citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis would now require a visa to enter the country and that this was as a direct result of the CBI program. PetroCaribe has helped support the recovery of the ECCU by providing several members with crude oil and funding at concessionary terms. However the death of Hugo Chavez, reported foreign exchange shortages in Venezuela and now the slump in global oil prices have each raised red flags and discussions over the possibility that PetroCaribe could be relooked or repealed. Indebtedness has long been a topical subject in the ECCU. The last 10 years have witnessed defaults by Dominica, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis. With the support of the International Monetary Fund and other multi-laterals, these formerly distressed countries are in a much better economic and financial position. Earlier in 2015, Grenada reached an agreement to further restructure USD262 million in defaulted bonds. The trauma does not necessarily end there as vulnerabilities still exist. The IMF has highlighted its concerns over unsustainable public debt, financial sector stress, and weak external competitiveness in the Eastern Caribbean. Nonetheless, the region has come a long way. Economic stability brings with it the potential to earn the much needed revenues which will help to reduce fiscal deficits and reduce debt to more sustainable levels. The ECCU must use this period of growth to recover as much ground as possible and improve its ability to withstand the inevitable external shocks. If they can succeed in doing this, the next ten years look fairly optimistic. BusinessFocus July / Aug




Maintaining a Diversified Investment Portfolio What is Diversification? Diversifying your investment portfolio is the critical first step in ensuring that you minimize the risk of losing money from your pool of investments. Simply put, diversification is ensuring that you do not “put all your eggs in one basket”. How to Diversify an Investment Portfolio There are several factors to consider when deciding on how to diversify your portfolio to achieve your financial goals. Consideration needs to be given to the types and combination of assets to be included in the portfolio. The type of assets may include, but are not limited to, real estate, bonds, treasury bills, stocks and cash. How much of these assets are included in your portfolio will depend on your age, investment objectives, investment horizon (the length of time you are investing for), risk tolerance income and liquidity needs. The typical investment portfolio of 23-yearold Tracy will differ from that of John, a retired 65-year-old. While Tracy has a longer investment horizon and is likely to be more comfortable with fluctuations and short term losses in her portfolio, John is likely to be more interested in investments with a predictable/guaranteed return that preserve his capital and satisfy his income needs. Therefore, Tracy may choose to hold 70% of her assets in stocks, 20% in bonds/treasury bills and 10% in cash, while John may choose to hold 40% in bonds/treasury bills 30% in income generating real estate, 15% in cash and 5% in stocks. Further, within each asset class there are additional opportunities for diversification. For example, Tracy could decide to invest in stocks listed on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange or the US Stock Exchange or a combination of the three, which would allow her to hold investments in multiple currencies and in assets from various jurisdictions. Similarly, John could purchase a combination of St Lucia bonds, bonds issued by a US company and bonds issued by a Brazilian company. Such an approach would mitigate risks associated with holding all his investments in a single currency or jurisdiction. Your investment objectives will also determine how you diversify your portfolio. While John is more interested in having his investment portfolio generate a monthly income, Tracy may be more interested in the long term growth of her investment portfolio. As such she would be willing to include assets with greater growth potential, such as stocks and real estate rather than fixed income assets and cash in her portfolio. Tracy may decide to accumulate the deposit for her first home (and first piece of real estate) by contributing monthly to an investment account that is designed for that purpose. Conversely, in addition to bonds, T-Bills and income generating real estate, John would have likely, previously established a retirement

BusinessFocus July / Aug



investment account as part of his retirement planning. In some jurisdictions, like St Lucia, these retirement accounts have added tax benefits. In diversifying their portfolio, both Tracy and John should consider their need for cash in the event of an emergency. While stocks and real estate provide an opportunity for increased long term growth, in the event of an emergency these assets less readily converted to cash. The emergency may occur when stock prices are down and selling would be done at a loss. Similarly, market conditions are not always opportune to sell real estate as evidenced by the collapse of the US real estate market. In addition, selling real estate takes time and it’s not likely to get a ready buyer for a sale of a house or commercial building. It’s always advisable to get the assistance of a financial professional when choosing a diversified investment portfolio.

What are Treasury Bills? Treasury Bills are short term government debt obligations with maturities of up to 365-days. They are discount instruments issued at a price less than the principal value and are offered via a competitive bidding auction process. To illustrate, a $100,000 365-day Treasury Bill issued at a discount rate of 6% would cost an investor $94,000 (excluding commissions and fee). If the investor holds the instrument to maturity they would earn $6,000 in interest. The ECSE’s primary Treasury Bill market is very active with many offerings monthly. Contact First Citizens if you wish to learn more.

First Citizens Research & Analytics Expert Advice on Financial and Economic Matters The Research & Analytics team forms part of First Citizens Investment Services located in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The team of 6 individuals is responsible for thought leadership within the First Citizens Group. The department’s duties are wide-ranging and cater to the needs of every client – both internal and external. Our coverage of the international and regional economies allows us to provide expert advice on financial and economic matters, particularly in the Caribbean region. In our mission to educate and promote the capital markets in the region, members of the Research & Analytics team frequently take part in various seminars and other media events, giving expert views on economic and financial topics. The department utilizes rigorous methods in order to accurately produce economic forecasts as well as company valuations, which are then used to inform the strategic and tactical decision-making process. We also provide fixed income valuation services for clients and are responsible for producing frequent publications, which clients utilize to aid in their investment decision-making process. These services are all aimed at understanding the underpinnings of the regional Caribbean economies and capital markets to encourage growth and development.

Experts in Capital Market Services We see the nurturing and growth of the capital markets as integral to the development of the Caribbean. Growing the capital markets is our passion, and finding creative solutions to your financial challenges is our field of expertise.

Our Clients: • • • • •

Governments Publicly listed corporations Privately owned businesses State enterprise Individuals

Capital Market Services offered: • • • • •

Analysis and due diligence Structuring Pricing Syndication/distribution Documentation

At First Citizens Investment Services we combine creativity and imagination with an extensive analysis of our clients’ needs.

Unique solutions to each client and each situation • •

Bond issues Commercial paper

• • • • • •

Structured transactions Private placements Initial public offerings (IPOs) Cross listing Corporate finance Mergers and acquisitions

With First Citizens Investment Services you have access to local, regional and international markets through our in-house full-service brokerage and bond trading desk, and through international partners. First Citizens Investment Services is the only full-service brokerage business in the Caribbean. Our involvement in trading bonds, managing portfolios and providing research to the market enables our team to arrange and price transactions that properly reflect current market conditions. We structure the best deals for both issuers and investors in a timely and professional manner.

Contact any of our branches: St. Lucia (758) 450-2662 Trinidad (868) 622-3247 Barbados (246) 426-2020 St. Vincent & The Grenadines (784) 453-2662 BusinessFocus July / Aug



Life Cycle Investing:

What You Should Know! Life cycle investing can be likened to the stages of metamorphosis. Each stage of life is unique and has different attributes for formulating your investment portfolio, similar to a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Life cycle investing speaks to developing a lifelong investing plan, tailored to the various stages of your life. It is advantageous to view investing as a lifelong process and here we provide some sound financial and investing advice for each stage.

The Caterpillar Years: 20s and 30s Your 20s and 30s are for accumulation. Similar to a caterpillar which consistently consume as much as possible, at this age you should be concerned with amassing as much money as possible. Time and physical ability is on your side, in that, you are able to work longer and harder to attain income and accumulate savings and can afford to take higher levels of risk. Your savings can then be invested in products for future expenditure such as higher level education, first home, and retirement. Again similar to the caterpillar that consumes as much food as possible as it gets ready to molt, you are amassing as much savings and quality investments to prepare for the upcoming stages of life. Your investments will have long timeframes to both accumulate and earn interest. For example, by depositing $100, monthly in a First Citizens Retirement Advantage Plan, at age 22, your $51,200 contributions will grow to $157,307 by retirement age of 65. So concentrate on accumulating and investing now, your future self will thank you!

The Chrysalis Years: 40s and 50s At this stage you’re like a caterpillar in its cocoon, in that you are forming a solid financial position. There is increased financial knowledge and maturity which allows you to strengthen your financial pupa. Your 40s is the decade to fortify your investing plan. You should be focusing on reducing your debt levels and also significantly increasing your investment portfolio. Investing activities such as increasing your retirement investments to suit your retirement lifestyle and making substantial investments in relatively safe products such as government securities. Your 50s should be concentrated on maintaining your financial cocoon. This is in preparation your forthcoming retirement. You now have a lower risk tolerance as you have less time available and are less likely to recoup if you encounter financial difficulty or loss. Therefore you should seek out lower risk investment products such as certificates of deposits or money market funds.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



The Butterfly Years: 60’s and Beyond Like a butterfly would emerge from its cocoon, so beautiful and majestic, so should you enter your latter years. You should be financially secured and prepared for retirement and life away from the long-term employment. At this stage, it is pivotal that you are smart with your accumulated wealth. You are extremely susceptible to time and risk. Therefore adequate planning of how to utilize your amassed wealth is essential. Retirement planning experts have suggested a 4% annual withdrawal threshold from your retirement accounts. This should cover your lifestyle and ensure you are covered from your entire retirement. Investment products such as, Fixed Income Paper with monthly income at First Citizen Investment Services, provides the security and liquidity you would need to live as you have grown accustom to. Lifecycle investing can provide the course for a sound investing plan. Ensuring that your investments at each stage of your life fits your available timeframe, risk tolerance and ability is a valuable strategy. Meet with a financial advisor to tailor your investing to you at your life stage.

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Family Business...

The St. Lucia Civil Service Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Castries: Tel: 452 4807/8/9 Fax: 458 2636 Vieux Fort: Tel: 454 9774 Fax: 454 9778

The Family the Cares and Shares BusinessFocus July / Aug



Improving Financial Literacy! It’s your money, but do you know how it works? How many of us take time to understand how money works? How many of us get all the financial terms or take time to properly manage our money? Just like we learn English, Math and other subjects we should also take the time to learn about financial management. First Citizens Investment Services from inception has been educating the public with lessons about how they can achieve long-term financial success by understanding how money works. We have understood that the possession of knowledge and understanding of financial matters is key to a person maintaining financial health. Hence we have spearheaded efforts to increase financial literacy through various means, most notably our several seminars aimed at addressing financial matters. Our financial education programmes are wide ranging and spread knowledge of basic and more sophisticated financial markets. This knowledge is also an effective tool in ensuring more financial inclusion of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, and help fight poverty and inequality. First Citizens has spared no resources when it comes to ensuring Saint Lucians become more financially literate. Our campaigns encompass all cross sections of persons in Saint Lucia. Following are a list of the annual seminars carried our by First Citizens in order to promote financial literacy and educate the public about how financial policy decisions can impact them. Market Outlook Seminar: Held in January/February this seminar allows persons to learn the economic outlook for the year for Saint Lucia and the region. We feature experts from our Research & Analytics department as well as local economic experts.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Saint Lucia Budget Review Seminar: Following the St Lucia Budget presentation First Citizens hosts a free seminar on the topic “How does the budget affect you?” where the public gets an opportunity to ask questions and listen to analyses of the figures and policy issues of the year’s budget.

ECCB Savings & Investment Course: First Citizens supports the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Savings and Investment Workshop every year by supplying the tutors and allocating team members to assist with the planning of the event. We often team up with the ECCB to encourage and promote financial education, particularly during Financial Literacy Month marked in October.

Young Professionals Seminar (YPS): Held during the month of April, which is also Youth Month, this seminar promotes the understanding of basic economic terms and early financial planning by young people ages 18 to 35. Women’s Seminar: Started as an event to encourage women to take control and manage their finances our annual women’s seminar has grown over the years and is highly anticipated. This one-day only event takes a holistic approach to empowering women in all aspects of their lives and features regional as well as local speakers on various topics. School Campaigns: In October 2013 First Citizens held a road show called CommonCents to tertiary level schools promoting financial education. In 2014 with MoneySmarts we concentrated our efforts on primary schools. The aim is to get the youngest among us to begin to think about how money works. To be added to our mailing list and receive information about our free seminars email:

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Investing Myths Busted: Change Your Money Mindset

We’ve heard them all. We’ve heard from our parents, friends, teachers, pastors and that smart guy on the street, countless myths surrounding money and investing, that make it all seem like an unsolvable mystery. We all have good intentions when it comes to our financial development; however these common placed fallacies, misjudgements and misunderstandings regarding money and investing can actually hamper our financial health. Here, we seek to bust three money and investing myths. 1. Investing is only for people with a lot of money or for millionaires This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions and is usually the first response to the question “Do you have any investments?” The definition of investing speaks to money, interest rates, returns and timeframes. There is no reference for a threshold to be able to invest. It is valid to consider the size of the investment, as it is one of the determinants for your returns. However, there are many affordable and easy ways to invest. There are investment products tailored to suit practically any pocket. For example, retirement investment plans offer investing opportunities starting at minimums of EC $100 a month. In addition, it takes as little as EC$50 to purchase shares on the Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange (ECSE). These types of products make investing accessible to virtually everyone. 2.

It’s too risky to invest Many people shy away from investing as they have deemed it too risky. They have heard awful stories of questionable investment schemes, corporate failures and debt defaults. It would be misleading to ignore that risks do exist and therefore it is pivotal to be a smart and realistic investor. A smart investor takes the time to understand the basic principles of investing and seeks financial advice to develop a sound investing plan. Smart investors keep track of their investments, continuously adjusts their investment plan to suit their needs and the investing environment and looks out for warning signs with each investment. A realistic investor takes into consideration the risk-reward ratio. The risk-reward ratio refers to the relationship between the risk level of an investment and its potential returns. In a nutshell, the higher the risk, the higher the expected return,

BusinessFocus July / Aug



while the lower the risk, the lower the expected return. It is up to you, the investor, to determine the return that you desire while being cognizant of the level of risks your investment is exposed to. 3. Put your money in the bank… that’s the best place for it! This was true about 60 years ago. There were fewer options to save money and interest rates also allowed our grandparents to keep their money in the bank and attain a good enough return. However, with current reducing interest rates existing at banks, a regular savings account may actually result in you losing money over time. This is because the interest earned may not sufficiently compensate you for inflation and service charges and transaction fees. This does not mean you should hurry down to your bank and withdraw your funds. That would be premature and impractical. However, you should seek out higher interest yielding investment opportunities such as bonds, fixed income repurchase agreements, treasury bills and stocks, bearing in mind your risk tolerance and investment objectives. These are options generally offer better returns and may well be the best place for your hard earned money. We could continue to debunk every myth regarding money and investing, however, as an investor you will need to consciously recondition your mindset and eliminate these misconceptions which can hamper your financial development. Seek the assistance of a financial expert and ask him/her to provide you with the necessary information to invigorate your mindset and help you develop an investment portfolio that suits your needs.

multiple industries. Both possess mercurial personalities and have often treated others harshly.


Volume 12

By: Lyndell Halliday

Elon Musk – the next Steve Jobs?

business executives at his companies as well as his closest friends and family. Consequently, Vance’s Elon Musk is the only biography on Musk to have been written to date in which the author had direct access to the renowned entrepreneur and other insiders.

On April 30th, renowned eccentric billionaire and business leader Elon Musk strolled onto a stage in front of a packed auditorium in Los Angeles, California and gave a sharp, powerful 20 minute presentation in which he unveiled his latest initiative – Telsa Energy. Telsa Energy offers an aesthetic and compact home battery storage device at significantly lower prices than existing competing products. Musk’s highly anticipated presentation earned glowing reviews throughout the business and technology press. Some compared Musk’s enthralling presentation style, the accompanying electric atmosphere, deft marketing and hordes of adoring fans to the effect of another legendary technology CEO – the late Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, Elon Musk - the CEO of fast growing electric car manufacturer, Telsa Motors and upstart aerospace company SpaceX – has attained an iconic celebrity CEO status. But who is Elon Musk and how did he rise to this prominence? Ashlee Vance attempts to tell the inside story in a just released biography entitled Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, published by Ecco (May 2015).

Vance’s Elon Musk is more than just a biography on its namesake. It is also a detailed chronicle on two pioneering American companies – SpaceX and Telsa. In addition, the writer offers the inside story on the e-commerce giant PayPalwhere Musk was a co-founder and solar energy provider, SolarCity - of which Musk is a major investor.

by Lyndell A. Halliday BSc., MBA, CMA

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance Ashlee Vance is a business journalist who has written extensively for the Bloomberg Business Week, New York Times and the Economist magazine. Had it not been for Vance’s unyielding resolve, this insightful 400 page biography may not have seen the light of day. Scores of other journalists had long sought out Musk seeking his collaboration on a biography. But the elusive Musk had always refused to cooperate. Vance likewise was turned down on several occasions but persisted and the entrepreneur, impressed with Vance’s persistence, eventually relented. Musk agreed to let Vance interview the

SpaceX is an aerospace company based in California that designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spaceships. SpaceX is particularly focussed on the objective of designing and building fully reusable spacecraft. Since its founding, SpaceX has significantly disrupted the dynamics of the aerospace industry with a relentless determination to drive down costs and push the boundaries of existing technology. In similar vein, Telsa Motors through the pioneering use of lithium ion batteries in electric cars has redefined the electric car market. Both these companies are considered major success stories today, but Vance reveals just how precariously close both companies once came to failure. In fact, Telsa Motors was hours away from bankruptcy at one stage. Their turnaround was a product of Musk’s genius, unflinching resolve, tireless work ethic and perhaps above all else: his willingness to risk absolutely everything! Vance also details the personal side of Musk including his relationships, his difficult childhood growing up in South Africa, his subsequent emigration to America and his early business failures. Although Vance’s admiration for Musk is clear throughout the text, the author discusses in detail Musk’s failures and character flaws as much as his triumphs and accomplishments. On several occasions, Vance compares Elon Musk to Steve Jobs noting that they are both revolutionary entrepreneurs who questioned the status quo and disrupted

Vance paints a portrait of Elon Musk as a passionate, driven visionary with a evangelistic fervour who is motivated not out of a desire for wealth or success but a deeper altruistic aspiration to save the world. Musk holds the firm belief that that the future of the human race and the planet is at risk. SpaceX then is not just an aerospace company, building and launching rockets to deliver space cargo and launch satellites. It is a company with a vision of one day getting man to colonize Mars – because its founder is convinced that the human race must become a multi-planet species in order to ensure its survival. Similarly, Telsa Motors is not merely a luxury electric car manufacturer. Its mission is to make the electric car affordable to the masses so that one day it becomes as ubiquitous as gasoline powered cars and then eventually displaces the internal combustion engine altogether, thereby helping to combat the problem of global warming and saving the planet. Overall Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk provides a captivating account on an insurgent and inspirational business leader and icon who may not yet have reached the zenith of this career and mission. Clearly, many more books will be written on this magnate. In the meantime, this biography is highly recommended.

Lyndell Halliday is a business executive who has served in a range of leadership roles across the Caribbean. He is currently employed as the General Manager of Automotive Art (St Lucia) Ltd. Mr Halliday is also a part time facilitator at the National Research and Development Foundation where he teaches Leadership, Strategic Operations Issues and Business Ethics and Social Responsibility for the Australia Institute of Business MBA and BBA programmes.

BusinessFocus July July / / Aug Aug BusinessFocus

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Vibe Electric, Spearheading the Solar Revolution in Saint Lucia!

With renewable energy expected to account for 25 % of total worldwide electrical production by the year 2020, countries the globe over are blazing a new trail. From Egypt to Singapore, Germany to the USA, the rush is on to ‘go green’. Of all these new and effective technologies entering the market, one in particular stands out among the Caribbean countries as being especially well-suited to our needs and our environment. Enter the world of solar power. With solar PV (photovoltaic) systems in the region producing an average 60 percent more electricity than the international standard, it was only a matter of time until this exciting technology hit the shores of St. Lucia. BusinessFocus July / Aug



“The Caribbean region must break its addiction to fossil fuels now, just like the rest of the world is doing, in order to ensure our sustainability and our ultimately our survival,” said Michael Brigham, a passionate man who, with partner Eliot Bailey, share the role of Managing Directors at Vibe Electric Ltd., the leading solar design/install specialist company on-island. He explains that St Lucia’s conversion to renewable energy is no longer a matter of if but of when, adding that this process is centered around education, because once the basics of the simple technology are understood, adoption becomes inevitable. “When energy consumers take time to learn the facts, it quickly becomes very clear why the world is so excited about clean, reliable and cheap solar

power. Vibe Electric endeavors to lead the charge in educating St Lucians as to the possibilities available in the world of making your own clean power rather than having to experience the guilt and expense of buying carbon based power.” With solar energy still a relatively foreign concept to the island, we inquired as to how Vibe is stepping up to the plate to stimulate discussion about the potential of solar energy becoming a more regular feature throughout the island, among business and homeowners alike. Mr. Brigham says that Vibe has been on a national renewable energy awareness campaign since inception and the company is finalizing plans to intensify its efforts greatly in the coming months. “We have participated in live radio programs, public mall displays, energy awareness shows, and various other educational segments including lots of one-on-one meetings with home and business owners across the island. We find it disturbing that so little is known here about the

simple process of making clean electricity from the sun, especially since it’s become such a boom in the rest of the world.” The team at Vibe Electric has established strong ties with Bajan and Jamaican counterparts as well as direct links within the OECS, CREDP, World Bank, OPIC, USAID and The Carbon War Room, (an organization founded by Sir Richard Branson) for the purpose of coordinating and disseminating information throughout the country. Since the incorporation of Vibe in

February 2013 by its 10 year old and top rated, parent company LucianStyle Development Corp., considerable headway has been made in the local renewable energy market, with the team having sold five fully electric and truly incredible Nissan Leaf cars, participated in the installation of two fast EV (electric vehicle) charging stations, and installed a total of over 200kw of solar panels on nine different properties and counting throughout the island. But it doesn’t stop there. Vibe Electric is currently in the bid/design/finance stages on many other systems for well-respected business and homeowners the nation over, initiatives which will undoubtedly help to amplify and solidify the company’s presence on the local stage. With reliability playing a key role in the sustenance of any initiative, we asked Mr. Brigham just how reliable the products

and services provided by Vibe Electric are, and how they compare to what similar companies in more developed countries are using. “Vibe Electric has by far the largest and the most experienced solar design and installation team in St. Lucia,” he said. “We have the largest installed solar capacity of any private company on the island, and our team has racked up decades of experience working around the world (mainly in the US and UK) before assembling in St. Lucia. We use the absolute best equipment available;

including German inverters and hurricaneproof mounting systems. Our systems require almost no maintenance and are also fully warrantied to produce the power stated for up to 25 years”. “We are driven by a mission to help St Lucia change,” Brigham expressed, “we are not only focused on short-term profits. We take a lot of pride in our work and we wish to create an environment of faith in our technology. As such, our company is committed to going above and beyond the call, utilizing the latest and most advanced products available and providing customers with the top-notch service we are known for.” But just how cost effective is making the switch to solar? If a consumer wanted to go entirely off LUCELEC’s grid, they would also need to have a battery back-up system installed to cover nights and other

times when the sun isn’t shining. “This can drive up the costs quite a bit, and often isn’t necessary,” the Vibe director says, “Most people decide to produce a percentage of their electricity needs and remain connected to the grid for the balance. This is the most cost effective way to start saving immediately”. Of course, we would like to think that people would switch to solar simply because it is the right thing to do to save our environment for future generations, but Mr. Brigham says the solar market didn’t really explode until a few years ago

when it became so much cheaper than traditional sources. He added: “We can now say that one of the biggest reasons people convert to solar is because of the massive savings incurred; with rates per watt costing up to 75 % (seventy five percent!) less than buying through the local utility company.” As the finite nature and environmentally harmful consequences of burning petroleum products become more globally known and regarded as fact, it’s exciting to imagine the Caribbean’s annual $9 billion expenditure on oil going to more productive and beneficial endeavors. The widespread embracing of cheaper renewable energy is expected to make the region more competitive in the production of goods and services and simultaneously reduce the Caribbean’s expenditure on petroleum and petroleum products. BusinessFocus July / Aug



The team at Vibe Electric is highly optimistic about St Lucia’s role in this ongoing regional energy revolution, and stand firmly by their vision of St Lucia becoming a beacon for other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to follow. “It is almost naturally expected that St. Lucia will lead the solar energy charge in the sub-region, particularly within the OECS, by way of it being the most developed country among these nations.” Recently the government of St. Lucia has also made a very strong move towards lasting change in signing us up as one of the 10 islands to take part in the Carbon War Room’s ‘10 Island Challenge’. Considering that Vibe Electric is in the forefront of this national electricity revolution, they will without a doubt assist with shaping St. Lucia’s leadership role in the region. Michael continues, “The saving grace that this planet has now, that we didn’t have before, is a cheaper reliable alternative to fossil fuels, effectively eliminating all excuses to not do the right thing. As the future marches on and there will always be industries which are forced to update and to change and this is the era of the energy sector. It is estimated that trillions of dollars will be divested from fossil fuels into the renewable energy sector over the next few years. And we, for one, will not miss the fossil fuel era.”

BusinessFocus July / Aug



“St Lucia is an incredible country with an immense potential to benefit from the green energy revolution, starting right now. The businesses and citizens need to embrace the change and begin the process of saving tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars by going solar. We have all the best ingredients to create a cleaner and economically stronger nation that will be looked up to by the rest of the world. Not embracing this change would be devastating to our already hurting economy and to our reputation as an eco-destination. These are exciting times and we do not want to be left behind.�

No we certainly do not

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Goals -

To become the premiere green energy provider in St. Lucia

• • • •

Instill market acceptance and product confidence in a new product Build a strong professional reputation for Vibe Electric in the community Become the one stop shop for all of St. Lucia’s green energy consumers To have good relationships with key suppliers of our products (vehicles, solar pv systems, wind turbines, accessories)

General Benefits -

Harness the POWER of the sun • • • • • • •

Instant Savings on your Electricity bill Eventually generate ‘FREE’ electricity from the sun Become electrically independent (self-sufficient) Raise the value of your property Locked in bill, protection from ever-rising electricity costs Lower your carbon footprint, reduce dependence on fossil fuels Contribute to the conservation of the environment

Vibe Electric Benefits -

Local, reputable company • •

• • • •

Only fully authorized ‘Solar solution dealer’ on the island Official Schuco Dealer - Schuco solar products are second to none, manufactured in Germany and exceed all global standards Sleekest and sexiest panels available make our installation aesthetically pleasing Our mounting system is patented and guaranteed to be more durable and more ‘invisible’ than the competition Unique real-time monitoring systems Zero money down financing terms that help you to start saving instantly

Contact Vibe Electric anytime for a free no obligation evaluation.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



DID YOU KNOW . . . That the National Water and Sewerage Commission (NWSC) is responsible for regulating the delivery of water supply services and sewerage services throughout Saint Lucia?

Billy’s Cleaning

• Upholstery Cleaning • Janitorial Cleaning Service • Post Construction Cleaning • Carpet Cleaning • Sanding and Polishing of Hardwood Floors • Window Cleaning • Hygienetech Mattress Treatment • Vehicle Detailing and Cleaning • Industrial Cleaning of Kitchens for • Restaurants and Hotels • Rotovac Carpet and Tile Cleaning • Mold and Fungus Treatment

That the NWSC has the power to establish and approve tariff schemes; receive and consider applications for the provision of a water supply service and a sewerage service, as well as handle customer complaints?

National Water Sewage Comm If& you didn’t know, well now you know! P.O. Box CP 6307 Sans Souci, Castries Saint Lucia Tel: (758) 456-0790 Fax: (758) 452-4862 Email:


BusinessFocus July / Aug



Sagicor Brings ‘Wise Financial Thinking’

with Donald Austin at Helm Establishes New Company to Service Eastern Caribbean

As the Caribbean reaffirms its economic standing, thanks to the resurgence of tourism and other industries, Sagicor Group has maintained its position as one of the leading institutions in the Caribbean despite a sustained recession which has affected the entire the region. With that, the Group, which has been in operation for 175 years, has formed and launched Sagicor Life Eastern Caribbean Inc, with none other than Donald Austin at its helm. This separate entity will undertake the management of all Sagicor’s Eastern Caribbean assets and businesses from St. Kitts to Grenada. Austin is well known for his sterling leadership of Cable and Wireless Communications in the Caribbean’s technology sector. Speaking with Business Focus Saint Lucia, Austin said Sagicor was both proud and thankful to have maintained a position of trust and respect among its customers almost 200 years after establishment. He cited the Company as being a secure, stable institution for its many valued customers, giving trustworthy advice and at the same, providing world-class financial solutions and competitive returns on the investments of its shareholders.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



“Sagicor strives to ensure a strong future for centuries to come by delivering on our brand promise of “Wise Financial Thinking” through a prudent approach to our business operations,” Austin said. He went on to note that as the Company forges towards operational excellence and stable returns, it must continue to guarantee success by being customercentric. “Our customers are number ONE to us, whether it is in satisfying their financial services needs or as it pertains to the needs of the communities in which we operate. If there is one reason for our success, it is our attention to detail when it comes to our customers. Our commitment and understanding of their needs are paramount to earning their loyalty and thus enabling us to grow even further,” Austin said. In 2013 the transfer of British-American Insurance Company Limited’s traditional insurance business to Sagicor Life Inc was finalised. Subsequently, a new entity was incorporated in St. Lucia with the Company’s management in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, all reporting to Donald Austin as CEO. He told Business Focus that all

of Sagicor’s Eastern Caribbean business is being transferred into this whollyowned subsidiary, Sagicor Life (Eastern Caribbean) Inc. Once this is completed across the region, it is expected that up to 25% of the shares of this entity will be listed on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange within approximately two years. Citing insurance numbers in Saint Lucia, Austin underlined that some 25 percent of citizens in St. Lucia have life insurance, leaving a comfortable 75 percent for potential market growth. Added to this, he said Sagicor was already working on providing Mutual Funds to the region so that citizens in the Eastern Caribbean will have another avenue for investments. This is expected to be offered through a subsidiary company - Sagicor Asset Management (Eastern Caribbean) Ltd, which will allow Sagicor to offer customers a full financial package. That means that should Sagicor’s existing or potential customers come into a lump sum of cash or seek to set aside some income for savings, the company can invest it for them across the region and even in the USA or emerging markets, to give them a better return. “We have a

very experienced team that was formed in 1997, who are very willing and able to help potential customers across the region. Over the years they have delivered returns consistently above other market players or benchmarks for the industry,” Austin said. Staying true to his calling, Donald Austin was sure to mention the advancement of technology in the Caribbean as being one of the most considerable pillars in the Sagicor Empire today. He cited technology as moving at a “mind-boggling pace” in the region with the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on all industries being considerably dramatic. Some of these technological developments are being eyed for infusion into the insurance industry as a whole, with Sagicor of course being very much out of the starting blocks on this front. “We have our CariCARE Cards which allow instant claims settlement for our Group and Individual Health customers so that they do not need to have all the funds when they visit their health providers. Their claim is verified on the

spot and they pay only their portion of the bill (usually about 20%), resulting in immediate satisfaction to our many customers. We are also upgrading our internal systems to deliver faster and better service levels to our customers. When these upgrades are completed, clients can look forward to convenient online transactions over the internet and via their smartphones” he said. Sagicor serves many customers with diverse needs and requirements. But this diversity also manifests itself as a key strength, with the Company having to be constantly interfacing with its customers and the various markets to develop products and services that are relevant for the environments in which it operates. Recently Sagicor launched its Maximum Protector product in St. Lucia and St. Kitts, and re-launched it across the rest of the Eastern Caribbean. Maximum Protector gives customers a life insurance product with medical and health benefits included, without the need for medical tests, if they are between the ages of 18 and 55 – a truly great product for the region. Sagicor is also in the process of

formulating another new product, which will be launched in the next few months. Questioned about what next to expect from Sagicor, Austin said this was greatly dependent on the needs of new and existing customers. He is confident in his ability to lead the Sagicor Eastern Caribbean office to give of its best through a decisive peopleoriented vision that would stimulate and convince. In the meantime, the Eastern Caribbean as a whole remains a major market for Sagicor with many opportunities for growth. “My vision is for us to create a self-sufficient entity that is uniquely relevant and sustainable. So I want you to visualise with me a functional, selfcontained entity, which will make and execute decisions locally, while leveraging our regional experiences and expertise. I envisage that this new entity will put the customers’ needs FIRST at all times while upholding Sagicor’s vision,” Austin said.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Your Journey with a Difference… only with Travel and Leisure Centre As a modern-day travel management company, Travel & Leisure Centre Inc. has established a strong footing in St Lucia’s travel industry and at their first year anniversary, Managing Director, Mr. Adrian Popo, reflects on his journey from the inception of his idea to its conceptualization and foundation. Adrian’s 19 plus years of experience in the hospitality industry enabled him to carve out the groundwork for offering comprehensive travel services where their main focus is not only limited to travel but also to encompass other aspects of travel and hospitality. At Travel & Leisure Centre Inc, travel is considered as a package which also includes hotel accommodations, car rentals and travel insurance, apart from booking tickets at competitive prices. Having worked as an eminent part of the hospitality and travel industry in Saint Lucia, Adrian wanted to take his passion a step further by setting up his own travel business and to cater to his clients’ needs in a manner which was not available from his counterparts. He was able to act upon his idea when his aunt Mrs. Sophia Chastanet of Sophia’s Cake Décor, located at Gablewoods Mall encouraged him to BusinessFocus July / Aug



follow his intuition and probed him to consider taking up a commercial space at Gablewoods Mall - And thus, Travel and Leisure was opened on June 07 2014. Adrian wanted to expand the realm of a travel agency by offering comprehensive travel services that is not restricted to booking online tickets for their clients. He introduced the idea of corporate travel management and stresses on the fact that travel and leisure go hand-inhand. He explains the reason behind choosing the company’s name as ‘Travel & Leisure Centre’ is that he wanted his clients to experience travel as an easy and accessible commodity. Initially, the company only concentrated on corporate travel and from the beginning of 2015, a greater emphasis was imparted to the leisure aspect of their clients’ travel. Their idea of entertainment travel has been greatly appreciated especially during the CPL matches since the clients can just contact the agency regarding which match they would like to attend and Travel & Leisure Centre will make all the necessary arrangements from the flight tickets and accommodations to the match tickets and transportation to the venue. Their upcoming entertainment travel package event, the Crop Over Carnival in Barbados,

which begins on Aug 1st, has already garnered considerable interest amongst customers. Next on the TLC Event Callendar is Caribana - Canada, Labor Day Parade – New York, Nottingham Carnival – London, World Creole Music Festival – Dominica , a Thanksgiving Shopping Spree – Miami & LA and various New Year’s staycation packages. Applying for international visas is definitely not an easy task and at Travel & Leisure Centre, they exactly know how to help their clients by offering stressfree and hassle-free international visa application assistance and appointment services. Visa applications to the US & UK are usually an elaborate procedure and often applicants feel misguided and lost. Travel & Leisure Centre assists clients through the entire process of visa application, which starts by helping them prepare the necessary documents required for the procedure, duly filling out their application forms and later on, developing a travel package which not only includes airline tickets but also involves accommodation arrangements and travel to and from the embassy. The other major services offered by the agency includes sports recreation, cruises and honeymoon travel.

Adrian reflects that his mother and wife have been instrumental in the setting up of Travel & Leisure Centre. He currently operates the agency along with Ms. Bernice Jean, Operations Manager. With their combined expertise of 35 years in the hospitality and travel industry, their clients are able to enjoy a unique and hassle free travel experience. TLC operates with an additional two young and energised team members, Sanchez Popo who handles the general administration and Adrian’s daughter Makaella Popo who oversees various e-marketing and promotional initiatives. As Adrian goes in-depth on how he set up his company, he also points out to the lack of awareness and knowledge on the part of young entrepreneurs who do not understand the dire need to get the right financial guidance for establishing their business. He says, “Your bank plays a vital role in understanding your business module and to advise you on what type of banking services and products will allow you to grow and sustain business and to best serve your customers. One of the oldest banks in St Lucia was unwilling to provide me with the necessary advice and technical support and during this dilemma, CIBC FirstCaribbean with their superior business development services, offered me the guidance and support that helped me achieve my dreams and for this I will always be thankful to them”.

This travel agency wants to really push forward the St Lucian heritage which is the prime reason why their company logo is based on the colours of the St Lucian flag. Adrian wants Travel & Leisure Centre to become more regionally known in the next five years and has been working towards this vision through the help of his corporate customers. Their increasing number of international clients is a strong indication of this, with15-20% of their customers being from Northern America, UK and Trinidad. As a growing number of their walk-in customers are from the south of the island, the agency’s future outlook is to open an office in the south, so that it provides easy access to his clientele. Adrian adds, “This makes it clear that there is a greater need for our kind of comprehensive and personalised service which is not offered by our competitors.” They are also working towards effectively networking their brand on a larger scale and also to make greater strides in the use of e-marketing platforms. At Travel & Leisure Centre Inc. once you dream about it we’ll get it together for you hence our tagline “one destination in mind….yours!”

• International Student Visa Assistance • International Student Medical Insurance • St. Lucia Visa Applications • Hotel Accommodation • Group Bookings • Travel Insurance

• Airline Ticket • Airport Transfers • Cruises • Visa Appointment • Passport Application • Driving Class Registration

#23 Gablewoods Mall, Sunny Acres Tel: (758) 453-1-Fly (359) (758) 713-0-Fly (359) (758) 487-0-Fly (359) Email: Web:

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Come On, Managers! Let’s Manage! By Mallet Edwards


What is Performance Management?

Keep Monitoring and Assessing…

’is high time we begin showing, almost on a daily basis, our expressed commitment to the conduct of Performance Management. Any manager who is worth his/her salt must know that performance management is that continuous process of identifying, measuring and developing the performance of the workforce. It involves a never-ending process of involving employees in the setting organizational goals and objectives, always mindful of the fact that all organizations, be the government agencies, NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) or business enterprises revolve around PEOPLE. It renders imperative, therefore, managers and/or supervisors to observe; and immediately document employee performance, so that coaching can be given and feedback received.

Managers and supervisors, once you have been in the habit of continually monitoring and assessing the progress of your workforce you will know whether their knowledge, skills and abilities equip them suitably for the tasks assigned. You will know their strengths and their weaknesses. You can readily identify areas that need improvement and take the necessary follow-up action. The net result is that the more formal performance appraisal or performance review becomes easy.

Regular Communication This means, managers and supervisors that you have to have regular sit down/ face to face conversations with your employees to ensure that:(a) They fully understand that they have a contribution to make to the furtherance of the goals and objectives as hitherto referred, (b) Contribute to said goals that have been made explicit, and (c) Contributions are duly recognized and rewarded, always bearing in mind that rewards can be both financial and non-financial. Clearly, the emphasis here is on continuous manager-employee communication. BusinessFocus July / Aug



Show Some Interest… Managers, it behooves us to show interest in our workers. Let’s get to know more about our employees and so build stronger work-related interpersonal relationships. Let’s ensure that the employee understands the link between what he/she does and the success of the organisation. Let’s provide them with the necessary assistance and/or training required to facilitate adjustment to change. Let’s help them define career paths. Let’s Motivate… We will see greater worker motivation to perform, increased commitment to the organisation, and heightened interest in remaining on the job. And you know why? As managers we have made our employees feel engaged in the decisionmaking process. They feel involved in the business of the enterprise or agency with which they have chosen to associate themselves. They feel encouraged and indeed empowered to make suggestions

to management for changes and improvements. It’s all About People… Remember, managers! We get the job done through people. We all work within an organization which is a coordinated unit consisting of people who are expected to function on a continuous basis to achieve agreed goals. Needless to say, there will be challenges. And that is where our human skills come into focus… the ability to understand, communicate with, motivate and support other people, both individually and in groups, especially since managers get things done through people. Then is when our conceptual skills with be tested…that mental capacity to (a) diagnose complex situations, (b) identify problems, (c) develop solutions, (d) evaluate solutions, (e) select the best solution, (f) organise a plan of action, (g) execute the plan of action, (h) integrate new ideas into existing processes, and (i) innovate on the job. It is the people within the organization, the managers and employees who will make the business what is it is. This Article is provided by:

• Access Control • Close Circuit Television Installation (CCTV) • Mobile Patrols All products and services are available across the length and breadth of St. Lucia and most are conducted on a twenty-four (24) hour basis, seven days a week.

Burglary & Fire Alarm System

system uses telephone lines, computer software and we have trained Dispatchers to monitor our customers’ security systems and we call the appropriate authorities or representatives in the event an alarm signal is received. All emergency alarms are received by our central monitoring station and a team of Dispatchers and a response routine is followed.

We Offer: • •

Total Automated, tamper proof electronic security solutions 24 hour monitoring through our Central Monitoring Station Highly skilled trained dispatchers and Rapid Response Service Password protection.

The two systems offer you three forms of protection:burglary, fire and emergency. The systems can be installed by two methods, either hardwire or wireless and can consist of one, to any number of keypads, which provides full control of the system’s operation. Various sensors such as motion detectors provide adequate coverage and protection over a specific perimeter area, along with magnetic contacts and glass-break detectors which

It protects you and your home or establishments from intrusion, burglary, theft, fire and personal emergencies.

secure all vulnerable entries & exits. Unlike the above described burglar alarm system the fire alarm system is slightly different. It comprises of a selected number of strategically placed smoke or combustion detectors designed to provide early warning in case of a fire. Both systems are programmed automatically to transmit alarm or status messages over the phone line to our Central Monitoring Station. The fire protection portion of your system is always on and will sound a fire alarm message to the Central Monitoring Station and will uniquely sound at keypad (s) and the external siren.

24 hour remote monitoring of your premises providing you with “Peace of Mind”. Identification of exact point of alarm. Able to upgrade or expand the system. Remote assistance in case of personal emergency. Continuously checks the health of your Security System with daily 24hour test. Six months warranty.

Benefits to Users:

Left to right front row: Miss Veronica Fanus Divisional Manager - Hewanorra International Airport, Mrs. Esther Eudoxie - Chief Executive Officer Miss Edgitha Joseph: Divisional Manager, George F.L. Charles Airport Left to right Second row: Mrs. Sylvia Anthony - General Manager Mrs. Melissa Cherubin, Accounts Officer Back : Mr. Anderson Melius, Alarms Manager

SENTINEL SECURITY CO. LTD. SENTINEL SECURITY CO. LTD. a home grown company, is one of the leading Security Service Providers here in St. Lucia, and has been doing so for over thirty-one (31) years. We offer a wide range of State of the Art Electronic Security Solutions, and we also proudly provide Aviation Security at the islands’ two airports.

Products and Services The company provides the following products and services: • • •

Highly trained Aviation Screening Officers Burglary and Fire Alarm Installation 24 hr Central Station Monitoring and Response

CENTRAL MONITORING STATION The Central Monitoring Station (CMS) generate remotely providing the preplanned customized response to cater to individual needs. The Central Monitoring

• • • • •

SENTINEL SECURITY CO. LTD. offers you the comfort of knowing that home is protected and secured at all times.

SENTINEL SECURITY CO. LTD. SUNNY ACRES, CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA TEL: (758) 452-4242 / Fax: (758) 453-2635 EMAIL: BusinessFocus July / Aug




Regional Labour and Employer Groups Sign MOU


(from left to right) David Massiah, President, CCL; Paula Robinson,

he Caribbean Employers Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to identify areas where common legislative and regulatory principles having regional application are essential. The MOU will also allow for the two parties to co-operate on formulating legislation as well as facilitating the establishment and operation of business and the free movement of labour within the Caribbean Community (Caricom). They also agreed to uphold and advocate for the principles enshrined in International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions addressing the elimination of child labour, forced labour and discrimination; and the right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively. The Social Chapter of the Economic Partnership Agreement entered into by the European Union (EU) and Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) countries in 2008, refers to the obligations of each member state to implement the rights and principles inherent in the eight Fundamental Conventions of the ILO. The MOU was signed at the ILO’s Brussels Office, which CEC and CCL officials were visiting as part of a study tour to gain insight into social dialogue mechanisms within the European Union. “We are delighted to host the signature of such an important MOU. Social partners have a key role to play in strengthening regional integration processes and it is just great to see that in the Caribbean, workers and employers’ organisations are committed to working together on issues of utmost importance for the future of the region,” said Claire Courteille, Director, ILOBrussels Office. “This could set an example for other parts of the world,” she added. BusinessFocus July / Aug



The study tour forms part of a larger project funded by the European Union, executed by the ILO and implemented by CEC and CCL to build their capacity in order to contribute to the formulation of economic and social policies at a regional level. CEC and CCL representatives participating in the study tour come from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica and T&T. They are accompanied by Anne Knowles, Senior Specialist, Employers’ Activities and Ms. Paula Robinson, Senior Specialist, Workers’ Activities from the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean. “The Caribbean Congress of Labour is truly pleased to be a part of this significant study tour. The opportunity to observe and experience the workings of social dialogue in another jurisdiction will surely go a long way in encouraging the Caribbean social partners to support and promote an effective social dialogue system in our region. “The Caribbean Congress of Labour is very confident that these engagements with the social partner organisations in Brussels will surely help to deepen and strengthen the regional integration movement. Signing this MOU with CEC on the legislative agenda marks an important milestone in our cooperation,” said CCL President David Massiah. CEC President, Wayne Chen said the Caribbean Employers Confederation (CEC) notes this historic MOU that heralds a new level of co-operation between business and labour in the Caribbean that will enhance business sustainability, investment and job creation. “We now urge our national governments to move expeditiously to implement the appropriate laws and regulations that will enhance regional integration and business development,” he added. ¤

Suriname Signs Deal with CDB to Reduce Trade Licenses Wait


uriname has signed two historic agreements with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for projects to improve Suriname’s implementation of both the European Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The two projects will assist in transforming Suriname into a more competitive economy, increasing its export earnings, and making the country more attractive for investment. The projects, to be implemented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Suriname Business Forum, are being funded through two grant facilities – the CSME Standby Facility and the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and CARIFORUM) Standby Facility. “With the support of the Caribbean Development Bank, CARIFORUM and the EU, we will be able to accomplish some important goals with these projects,” said Minister of Trade and Industry, Don Soejit Tosendjojo. “These grants through the Trade Facilities will allow us to bridge the gap between world trends in Trade Facilitation and our current system, as well as prepare ourselves to deal with the increasing challenges of operating in competitive world markets.”

The Ministry will implement a grant from the EPA Standby Facility which will help determine the requirements for establishing an Electronic Single Window (ESW). The ESW will allow importers and exporters to submit all of the documentation needed to obtain licenses to trade online. Currently, applications for trade licenses must be submitted in hard copy and manually processed. Depending on the volume of applications received and the extent to which forms have been filled correctly and accompanied by the required certificates, it can take up to a month to obtain a license. The establishment of an ESW will allow all applications and processing to be done electronically thereby significantly reducing processing time to as little as 48 hours. “These two projects, when fully implemented, will in a tangible way demonstrate how the region’s trading regime can be used to create sustainable economic opportunities for our people”, said Edward Greene, Division Chief, and Technical Cooperation Division of the Caribbean Development Bank. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug




L-R: Nigel Holness, Managing Director, Jamaica; Rik Parkhill, Chief Executive Officer; Irene Markus, Managing Director, Wholesale Banking; Berisford Grey, Executive Director, Corporate Investment Banking

CIBC FirstCaribbean CEO Points to PPP as Catalyst for Economic Recovery in the Region


nfrastructure development and renewal in the Caribbean will be a catalyst for economic recovery and sustainable growth in the region Rik Parkhill, CEO, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has said. In this regard, he said, tourism and energy are “ripe for unlocking and provide ready opportunities for some of those partnerships to take place”. Speaking at the Bank’s 3rd annual Infrastructure Conference, at the Hyatt Ziva Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Mr. Parkhill said that “the tourism infrastructure in many territories – such as hotel plants, airports and cruise terminals – are in desperate need of renewal or rebuilding.” He said, too, that deteriorated road networks need to be repaired or replaced. Noting that the governments of many regional countries with their relatively fragile economies and stretched budgets cannot undertake major capital works projects alone, Mr. Parkhill emphasized the value of Public Private Partnerships. He said that the governments of the region “have seen the value of and are more and more placing greater emphasis on PPPs to finance national infrastructure development.” Mr. Parkhill said that “in the 16 tourism-dependent economies in the Caribbean, stay over arrivals increased 7 percent, ranging from a small 1 percent decline in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to a whopping 50 percent surge in the Turks and Caicos Islands.” He also said that “the economic potential of renewable energy – solar, wind, hydro and geothermal sources – remains largely untapped.” Of the 17 markets in which CIBC FirstCaribbean operates, the economies of only two – St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – contracted during 2014 and Mr. Parkhill said that

BusinessFocus July / Aug



the Bank will continue to take the lead through events like the conference “to play an active role in bringing all the stakeholders together to promote PPP arrangements that will spur economic growth in the region”. He said that “with most of the economies of this region heading out of recession and showing signs of growth, this is an opportune time for PPPs to take deeper root in the financial landscape of the region”. Nigel Holness, Managing Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Jamaica, said that the Bank has “seen where cooperation between the public sector and the private sector and the financial services community has been integral to charting a course towards economic recovery across the region”. The Bank, he added, is taking a lead role in bringing the parties together. CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, he said, “with a regional footprint in 17 Caribbean countries, has a pivotal role to play in the efforts at shoring up our island economies.” He said that the conference presentations and panel discussions were “carefully crafted to offer clarity on how and where to commit capital, explore the intersection of the many business drivers and how they are shaping the future of infrastructure delivery and investment returns.” “Together with you, we will seek to address the concerns and find solutions to ensure the continued development of the Caribbean infrastructure and by extension regional economies”, Mr. Holness told conference attendees. ¤

Caribbean Employers’ to Meet for CARIFORUM Discussions


hirty-four representatives from nineteen Employers’ Organizations from the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean participated in a regional Forum entitled “Facilitating Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in Regional Development and Integration Processes”, recently held in Barbados. As part of an EU-funded Project, implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to strengthen the capacity of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) to play a greater role in regional policy making, participants at the Forum were asked to identify key issues of importance to Employers’ Organizations at the national and enterprise levels, so that CEC can effectively lobby an advocacy strategy on their behalf. Each organization presented on a key area of particular concern or importance to their country/territory, including: • • • • • • •

Legislative focus to support the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Social Chapter, which incorporates the core ILO Conventions; Review of regulatory barriers, to develop an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises; TVET institutions – matching skills training to employment needs; Climate change and enterprise resilience; Migration issues in relation to building a Caribbean Single Market Economy; Institutionalizing tripartism at both a national and regional level, to ensure a systemic approach to input from Employers’ Organizations on social and economic policies; Productivity and competitiveness, particularly in small and medium enterprises.

Other topics discussed at the Forum included Migration and Free Movement of Labour; International Trends Affecting Employers and their Organizations; and Social Dialogue Mechanisms. Findings from a recent study tour to Brussels were presented on the subject of Regional Tripartite Good Practices and Strategies for National Input. ¤

CARICOM Convenes National Consultations on Single Jurisdiction for Companies


he Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat has kicked off a series of national consultations across Member States which was initialized in Saint Lucia. These consultations are to discuss the Draft Framework Policy on the Single Jurisdiction whose aim is to create a seamless space within which companies can do business. The establishment of a single jurisdiction would allow businesses in Member States participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), to register anywhere in the CARICOM Single Market (CSM). Once registered in one participating Member State, businesses wishing to operate in another State, would not need to undergo a similar process. This initiative is expected to facilitate easier access to cross-border commercial opportunities for companies, creating possibilities for economic growth and increased employment in Member States. The draft policy was developed by the firm, BKP Development Research and Consulting, under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) CSME and Economic Integration Programme. It addresses incorporation of companies, securities, bankruptcy and other law-related areas. In the consultations, staff of the CARICOM Secretariat CSME Unit will be soliciting feedback from public and private sector representatives on the efficacy of the policy and seeking recommendations for possible improvements. The first round of consultations took place throughout the month of June in Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, and Trinidad and Tobago. Consultations in the remaining Member States will be conducted in August. These national consultations are vital since the creation of a single jurisdiction would be of significant benefit to those wishing to exercise the Right of Establishment under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




A St Lucian Embassy in Taiwan will Open Opportunities for Foreign Investment

Assesses Regional Urban Development


Senator Hon. Stanley Felix

fforts to advance land and urban management in the Caribbean region is underway, as the Caribbean Urban Forum (CUF) seeks to address specific policy issues with the Caribbean urban sector.

At the fifth CUF held recently, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal, Senator Hon. Stanley Felix said urban development must be examined within the context of the island system. “This examination must take into consideration factors such as our resource based population growth and distribution, social needs, housing status and employment demands,” he said. “Our urban centers must be responsive to the demands of the population as well as the desires of visitors and commercial opportunities. The success of our urban centers will therefore be measured by the number of persons who voluntarily choose the city as the best option to live work play and visit. This then brings us to the much focused area of land use planning.” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Physical Development, Joanna Raynold-Arthurton highlighted the benefits of CUF5 to the Saint Lucian public. “As the Ministry of Physical Development embarks on the launch of major initiatives such as the National Sight and Services Program, the revision of the 2007 National Land Policy, the development of the National Land Use Plan and the revision of the Draft Building Code, this forum creates an opportunity for professional development for Saint Lucian planning professionals and students that will enhance their capacity to make more meaningful contributions. The forum will also set the stage for increased awareness and education of the public on the importance of land management and other land use planning issues.” The theme for the CUF5 is “Island System Planning.” The theme takes into account the unique pattern of urbanization in the Caribbean, and the tailored solutions that are needed to address them. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug




Ma Ying-jeou, right, meets Alva Baptiste

oreign Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste has defended government’s decision to open an embassy in the Republic of China (Taiwan), stating that it will be used to strengthen bilateral ties with Asian countries.

Baptiste stated that the embassy will do more than just serve the needs of Saint Lucians, but its presence will help to attract more investments from the region. “Taiwan certainly has a model that could work and we can learn from and therefore, we wanted to maintain a strategic presence in the Asian region. We believe that at this juncture Taiwan would have been the most suitable location for us to establishment that presence,” he said. While he admitted that the Taiwanese government will be assisting with the operations of the embassy in the first year of its establishment, he said the issue of cost will not be significant afterwards. The reason for this, he explained, is because plans are already being made to have employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to staff the Embassy for now to reduce cost. According to the Minister, the cabinet is yet to discuss the appointment of an ambassador. However, he said the candidate will most likely have to be a competent, qualified and experience individual or trained diplomat. “We have also sought the assistance of the International Organization for South-South Cooperation which deals with investment and they have indicated their willingness in cooperating with us in attracting investment in our country,” he added. ¤

The briefing session entailed a presentation of proposed initiatives for the island’s seaports in support of improving the ease of doing business at the island’s ports of entry. The interactive briefing provided an avenue for discussion between the attendees and Management of the Authority, regarding the introduction of various measures designed to improve operational efficiencies and customer service at the seaports. The proposed initiatives which focused on reforming the current labour regime and the operating hours aim to strategically reposition Port Castries as a thriving portal to the global customer by leveraging and modernizing the port’s assets. Stakeholders commended SLASPA on the proposed plans and provided positive and constructive feedback regarding the implementation of the initiatives, particularly the upgrade of the port to offer flexible operating hours, extending the service times beyond the current 8-hour day. This enhancement is expected to add value and service convenience to seaport customers and the public at large.

SLASPA Engages Stakeholders on Proposed Seaport Initiatives


he Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) recently hosted a briefing with Castries Seaport stakeholders which included representatives from St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Customs and Excise Department, Trade Unions and other members of the business sector and Government Ministries, at the Coco Palm Hotel, Rodney Bay.

According to the General Manager, Mr Keegan Cox, “These initiatives are by no means set in stone and SLASPA has taken the approach to involve stakeholders at every stage to ensure that the Port can reposition itself to take advantages of future opportunities.” Mr Cox reiterated consistently that stakeholder involvement is vital to the success of the Port and invited representatives to be part of a Stakeholder Committee to move the process forward. ¤



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EC$1.4 Million Contract Awarded for Feeder and Agricultural Roads Project


he Feeder and Agricultural Roads Project ((FAAARP II) of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport (MIPST) moved one step further when a contract for Consultancy Services for the Technical – Economic Feasibility Study and detailed Engineering Designs and Environmental Impact Assessment was signed. Following an International Open Competitive Tender process which commenced in December 2014, the No Objection was issued by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KAFED), and an award was made by the Central Tenders Board on May 13th 2015. The successful bidder is the consortium of NARCO Engineering Consultants and FDL Consults INC. The contract is valued at EC $1,418,237.50 inclusive of VAT. This consultancy will be entirely funded from Grant Funding received from KAFED.

5. Bazille Road, Dennery South 6. Mardi Gras, Dennery North 7. Fond Desir, Dennery North 8. Piat Roads, Gros Islet 9. Minea – Pelouge Extension, Micoud North 10. Morne Bois Den, Vieux Fort North 11. Praslin Minee, Micoud North 12. Vigier – Cacoa, Vieux Fort North 13. Viancelle – Mouclay, Vieux Fort North 14. Viancelle – La Source, Vieux Fort North 15. Bwa Grand Fond, Vieux Fort North The Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport is particularly excited about this development as it represents a very important step in bringing much needed relief to the farming community.

This project is intended to examine approximately 38 Km of feeder and agricultural roads that the Government is desirous of rehabilitating. These roads are primarily located in the Islands South East, and are listed as follows:

The MIPST recalls that FAARP I which was completed in 2012 brought tremendous relief to the farming community. The MIPST appreciates the important link that exists between good farming roads and high yields and quality agricultural produce.

1. Cacoa – En Bamboo – Savanne, Vieux Fort North 2. Grace Woodlands – Vielle Litre, Vieux Fort North 3. Main Traverse – Belmont Road, Dennery North 4. Patience Lombard – Mt. Eole, Micoud North

The consortium was represented by Mr. Gilbert Fontenard of FDL Consult INC. The consultants have 46 weeks to submit their report, while Mr. Fontenard expressed the hope that the exercise would be completed way ahead of schedule. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug



The World Bank is Pushing to Link the Entire Caribbean by Ferries

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he World Bank is driving the process to link the entire Caribbean by ferries with the results of an initial assessment being described as promising. The Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean Sophie Sirtaine says the findings are worth further consideration so a feasibility study will be done. She warns however that establishing a regional ferry service will initially require significant subsidies from the government. “We are however trying to see if we can develop it as a public private partnership so as to minimize the impact on the fiscal situations of countries but that still requires a lot of work. At this stage we believe it is be possible to optimize the existing ferry systems that we have, that are not co-ordinated.” The World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean Sophie Sirtaine, speaking at a press briefing ahead of the recent Caribbean Growth Fund Meeting in Saint. Lucia. According to her Caribbean leaders and the private sector have identified proper transportation, an improved investment climate and skills set as the focal points for stimulating regional growth. “The forum has actually led to about 600 referrals across the different Caribbean countries. Progress of implementation is varied in some countries. The process is ongoing however and we continue to support it to try to get the maximum impact.” The Caribbean Growth Fund engages all critical players including the public and private sectors, academia, the youth and civil society in the dialogue on stimulating economic growth. ¤ source: trackingenergy4all.worldbank

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BusinessFocus July / Aug




Study Reveals 2014 CPL Injected US$166 Million In Regional Economies


mid difficulties being experienced in several regional economies, the recently launched third edition of the Caribbean Premier League is seen as a major economic boon to help jumpstart the regional economies of host countries.

According to an independent Economic Impact study on the tournament last year, it revealed that a total of US$166 million was injected into the Region’s economy during the 2014 tournament – a significant increase of 58 per cent on 2013. According to the study conducted by SMG-Insight/YouGov, one of the world’s leading sports measurement, research and analysis companies, showed a breakout across each of the eight markets as follows: Antigua and Barbuda – US$13.8 million Barbados – US$28.7 million Grenada – US$13.3 million Guyana – US$24.5 million Jamaica – US$25.1 million St Kitts and Nevis – US$26.3 million St Lucia – US$13.9 million Trinidad and Tobago – US$21.1 million With an investment of over US$25 million to date, the CPL is the world’s second biggest T20 cricket tournament – behind the Indian Premier League – and is set to continue growing in 2015 and beyond.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



The study also revealed that last year host country for the finals, St Kitts and Nevis, reaped significant benefits with a whopping US$25.1 million invested in the local economy – second only to Barbados with US$28.7 million. Key findings in the report show: incremental spending by regional and international fans totalled US$47.4 million (excluding accommodation and airfares); an estimated 217,176 regional and international spectators watched CPL 2014 live; the international TV audience increased to 65 million in 2014 from 36 million in 2013, with 29 broadcasters from around the world airing the games live; over 21,500 international visitors (approximately 10 per cent of total spectators), attended CPL 2014, spending US$7.9 million; thousands of new jobs were created in tourism and travel across the Region by CPL and more than 156,000 jobs positively impacted and the tournament’s high profile international broadcast media campaign (which encouraged tourism in the Region) generated US$4.47 million in advertising value. CPL’s CEO, Damien O’Donohoe had said that “These results are fantastic and are a testament to CPL’s significance as an economic driver in the Region. While we have always said that the Caribbean is without doubt the natural home of T20 cricket, we are very proud to say that CPL is now a truly international event – appealing to fans and players from around the world – and one that the people of the Caribbean should be very proud of.” ¤

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Mexican Embassy Discusses International Business Forum with St. Lucia Chamber

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exican Ambassador in Saint Lucia Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno recently met with Executive Director of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Brian Louisy, to discuss the upcoming International Business Forum which will be held in Cancun, Mexico from the 9th to the 11th of September, 2015. ProMéxico is organizing this event in collaboration with the Government of the State of Quintana Roo, the Secretariat of Foreign Relations and the Secretariat of the Economy. ProMéxico is the Mexican Government’s trade and investment promotion agency that supports the export activity of companies established in the country and coordinates actions to attract foreign direct investment to Mexico. The Business Forum will consist of a series of business meetings, seminars, sectoral panels and the exhibition of Mexican global companies with the principal objective of promoting economic development and regional competitiveness through the increase of trade and investment between Mexico and the countries in the Caribbean Basin. It is anticipated that the Cancún Forum will include the participation of approximately 500 business owners, 50 buyers from the Caribbean Basin, 150 Mexican export companies not to mention participation of Mexican Trade Commissioners from Guatemala, Miami, Cuba, and Colombia, accompanied by their buyer missions. Products and services to be promoted in the business meetings will be focused on several economic sectors. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug



Assurance... When you Need it Most in Saint Lucia Following more than 30 years of operating through their principal agents, New India Assurance Company Ltd. has established a full fledged branch. The Company opened its doors in the Computer World building in Bois D’Orange earlier this year with the endorsement of local insurance heavyweights as well as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Kenny Anthony. New India will maintain its arrangements with the agencies, building upon the more than threedecade-long relationship by arming the agencies with the necessary tools. “As the industry evolves, we need to be more organized and have specialized professionals to deal with specific areas. By opening this branch, we complement our agencies as well by providing them with expertise and being able to attend to their requirements in a more efficient manner,” said Branch Manager Sugumar Appusamy. He told Business Focus Saint Lucia that New India Assurance comes armed with the necessary platform to attend and fulfill the needs of not only their agencies, but also other stakeholders - viz - brokers, solicitors, garages and to comply with the stipulations of the Regulators and Government authorities. Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony officially opened the branch office in the presence of Mr Ashwath Narayana, MD of New India Assurance Co (T&T) Ltd, Mr Claudius Francis, President of Saint Lucia Senate & Insurance Council and Mr G Srinivasan, Chairman of New India Assurance. BusinessFocus July / Aug



Speaking about the existing competition and pricing of the local insurance market, Mr Sugumar said competition in Saint Lucia, much like elsewhere in the Caribbean and the world, is a boon and not a bane to the industry and the insuring public. He underlined that more than 20 insurance companies were registered in the island to serve a population of fewer than 200,000 people, compared to the mere 28 insurance companies registered in India to serve a 1.2 billion people population. “There is no field in the world without competition. Competition makes the industry mature and gears the insurers to provide innovative products to the customers. Healthy competition is always welcome,” he said. Saint Lucia’s insurance market place has been described as a “mature” and “evolving” one, standing as a positive reflection of the island’s economy. “The concept of insurance is the same everywhere. The standard coverage of Vehicle Insurance, Home Insurance, Property insurance etc. is handled in more or less the same way. There are niche products like Petrochemical refinery risk underwritten by our our offices in the Gulf -- knowledge of which would be a helpful tool when it comes up in other parts. Similarly the natural disaster - 2006 Tsunami, which occurred after hundreds of years in Asia was handled by us efficiently with our Japanese experience. In this part of the world, hurricanes are common, the experience of which would be a feeding factor when tackling similar occurrences elsewhere,” Mr Sugumar said.

New India Assurance is now in its 97th year of operation, beginning in 1919 and has a desk at the LLOYDS, UK – the citadel of Insurance – for 95 years. Its operations in Japan and Australia have been in existence for more than 60 years and in the Caribbean for close to 70 years. New India spread across the globe and has its majestic presence in 28 countries with Guyana and Myanmar standing in line with Saint Lucia as the newest establishments. Statutory approvals have been obtained for Qatar & Canada. “We have a very strong presence in the Gulf and we operate in almost every continent. We have a saying that the sun never sets in New India. More than the sheer size and spread of our company, we value our rating, the credentials and the image a preferred Insurer,” Mr. Sugumar said. The testimony of New India’s assuring presence is the number of awards it is said to have received. These include the prestigious “Golden Peacock” award for corporate governance received for the past two consecutive years. It also boasts the best claim settler award. “Awards aside, our strength and stability has been certified as A- (Excellent – Stable outlook) continuously by AM Best, the global rating agency. With impressive solvency margins and net worth, we can underwrite risks of any magnitude,” Mr. Sugumar revealed. Yes, New India’s Assurance is there when it is needed the most...

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BusinessFocus July / Aug




Saint Lucia to Appoint Ambassador to Taiwan


wo new ambassadors from the R.O.C’s diplomatic allies in the Central America and Caribbean region will soon be posted to Taiwan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said recently.

Yeh De-guey , a counselor from MOFA’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said that the new Guatemala and Saint Lucia ambassadors to the R.O.C. had both been appointed recently by the two ally governments, respectively. The Guatemala government has informed its Taiwanese counterpart of its choice for its new ambassador. MOFA has sent the applicant to the Presidential Office so that the President can confirm the appointment, he noted. The final announcement of who the new ambassador is and when the ambassador will arrive in Taiwan to assume official duties will have to be announced by the Guatemala government, Yeh added. Yeh noted that the Saint Lucian government has also decided who will be the ally’s ambassador to Taiwan. However, the appointment will have to undergo internal procedures within his or her own government including going through an upcoming cabinet meeting before finalization, Yeh said. The new Guatemala ambassador is to fill the vacancy of ex envoy Arturo Duarte, who left Taiwan recently to take up the top envoy post for his country to Mexico after finishing his three-year tenure in Taiwan. Meanwhile, the Saint Lucian ambassador will be the first ambassador the ally has sent to Taiwan since the country recently opened its embassy in the R.O.C. The Caribbean nation opened its embassy in Taiwan on June 4 in a concrete move to show strong bilateral ties, making the R.O.C. the first country in Asia in which Saint Lucia has established an embassy. Saint Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984, but switched recognition to China in 1997. In 2007, after 10 years of relations with Beijing, the then-ruling United Workers Party government renewed ties with Taipei after coming into office. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug



CIBC First Caribbean Enters the Aruba Market


aving received its license to operate in Aruba earlier this year, CIBC FirstCaribbean recently took another step towards establishing a full-time presence in the Dutch Caribbean country, with the opening of a Representative Office in Oranjestad.

The official opening of the office was attended by Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Rik Parkhill, Managing Director for the Dutch Caribbean Mr. Pim van der Burg, and several members of the bank’s staff in Curacao, from where the office will be managed. The Representative Office is the first step which will be followed by the opening of a modern full service branch in 2016, offering a wide range of services to Retail, Platinum, Wealth Management and Corporate Banking clients. CIBC FirstCaribbean already has a presence in the Dutch Caribbean market through offices in Curacao and St. Maarten. The bank has had an interest in the Aruba market for some time, and has participated in large Corporate Banking transactions in that country. Recognizing the potential of the Aruban market, therefore, CIBC FirstCaribbean decided that the time had come to take the next step by establishing a presence there. Until the full scale branch is opened, CIBC FirstCaribbean employees from Curacao will travel to Aruba periodically for meetings with clients. The official opening was attended by Angel Bermudez, Minister of Finance of Aruba, who welcomed the new banking presence to Aruba. To mark the occasion, as with all of its other territories, CIBC FirstCaribbean took the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to becoming involved in worthy causes in Aruba. To this end, Mr. Parkhill and van der Burg used the occasion of the opening of the Aruba representative office to hand over a cheque in the amount of AWG 2500,- to the Casa Cuna Progreso Foundation. The foundation runs an orphanage which houses children up to the age of six-years-old. The donation cheque was received by Mr. Carlos Albertus, Vice President of the Board and the Director, Mrs. Quilin Arends, pictured at right. ¤

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson

Branson Launches Caribbean Entrepreneurship Centre


ichard Branson and Virgin Unite-founded Branson Centre of EntrepreneurshipCaribbean (BCOEC) has launched a non-academic online skills training programme to increase its intake of potential entrepreneurs across the region. The new initiative, dubbed Branson Centre Caribbean Online, offers an open and on-demand training platform delivering ‘world-class business concepts’ for regional entrepreneurs. The centre utilises a combination of technologydriven tools and interactive virtual communication with entrepreneurs and mentors around the globe to carry out 12 weeks of training with the participants. Since the launch of the programme in February, the non-profit institution has supported roughly 500 local entrepreneurs in growing and scaling their

businesses for positive economic impact. Lead partner for the programme is Virgin Holidays. Currently, the centre trains 329 Jamaicans in various areas of entrepreneurship under the online programme and is now looking to expand its foothold into Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St Lucia and British Virgin Islands. “Up until July 24, we’ll accept registration for the online training programme after which they will be eligible to apply for Cohort 9 of the Official Entrepreneurship Programme in September,” Partnership and Communications Manager Melissa von Frankenberg told the Jamaica Observer in a telephone interview last Wednesday. “The online programme is free, and following the training the participants’ entrepreneurial skills will be tested through the submission of the business

pitch decks and pitch videos. That’s where a fee of US$60 is charged for the review and individuals who receive scores higher than 70 per cent will be admitted into Cohort 9 of the Official Entrepreneurship Programme,” she added. Prior to the establishment of the online platform, start-up entrepreneurs seeking help with their business model would be required to attend training sessions at the institution’s Montego Bay headquarters once per week for 12 weeks. Von Frankenberg noted that while 80 per cent of the participants would make it to the training sessions, it somewhat limited the institution from capturing a larger group of local and international entrepreneurs. “The expansion process looks really good, some islands better than others but I’m not able to say as yet which ones. However, it looks as if we will be in the first island by the end of the year,” said von Frankenberg. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug




How to Rent the Perfect Office Space By: Trudy Glasgow


ecuring the office space that is right for your business will not happen overnight. As a business owner, one must consider various factors before searching for the right office space. Here are some tips to help you narrow your search and get the office space that is most suitable for your business. 1. What do you want? : Write your wish list of what you would like in your office. Consider the type of business that you have and how long you would want this office space for. How many rooms would you like? Do you want a bathroom? Kitchenette? Do you want it furnished or unfurnished? Consider the plan for your office space. Is your office going to be move-in ready or did you have to do renovations? Are you able to get the size of the office that you want and can afford? Your office space has to be carefully laid out with adequate space for the business that you have. 2. What’s your style? : How will you decorate your office? Do you want your office to be in a particular colour, décor or style? If it isn’t, do you have the option of changing this after discussions with your landlord/lady/real estate agent? Have you considered the furnishing? How many rooms you will need? 3. Suitable accommodation: Do you want an office with a view? Do you have certain decorative preferences? Do you want to be close to other offices that have similar businesses to you? Does your office reflect your own sense of style and the image that you want for your office? 4. Location, location, location: Your office needs to be in a location that is convenient for your customers to reach you. Where is your office located? Is it in the meat packing district? On a hill?

BusinessFocus July / Aug



In the middle of a swamp or dessert? Downtown? In the city centre or on the outskirts of town? If your office is difficult to get to, your customers may seek out a business that is more accessible and conveniently located. 5. What rent is in your budget? : You may have thought about your location but what about your rent? There is no point having an office space that is beyond your price range with too much space that you are not utilising. How much are you willing to pay for your monthly rent? Any good accountant will tell you that it is a numbers game. You have to consider your projected income and expenses to determine what you will be able to afford in rent. Have a price range based on your financial health that you will consider and do not deviate from it. 6. A decent landlord/ landlady/ agency: A good relationship with the real estate company and/or the landlord/landlady can make such a difference. If something goes wrong in the office space, you need to be able to report it quickly and get it resolved with ease. 7. Parking: Are there adequate parking facilities available for your customers? Are most of your customers going to be using public transportation? If so, this may not be as much of an issue. Customers can be fickle and if they cannot get to see you with ease they may move onto another business where this is possible. 8. Outstanding bills from previous tenants: Ensure that all outstanding bills have been settled before you move into the premises. Ask your landlord/landlady/ real estate agent to make enquiries and produce evidence of same. If not, check with the different utility companies yourself that all bills have been satisfied before you sign your lease agreement.

9. When is the rent due? : Be clear about when your rent is due and method of payment. Is it the last working day of the month? The first working day of the month? The first or last day of the month? The middle of the month? Rent should be paid at the stipulated time. (If you are having difficulties meeting your rent, indicate this to your landlord/lady/ real estate agent. He or she is more likely to be understanding of a short delay of a day or two if you did not have them to chase you for the rent. There may be late fees added on but this would have formed part of your lease agreement.) 10. Your lease agreement: Read your agreement carefully. If you do not understand anything contained in it, please consult a lawyer and ask for clarification. Before you sign ensure you understand all of the terms and conditions of your agreement. Some agreements provide parking, include a utility such as water and others strictly ban animals, candles and any variation in the lease agreement can be made upon agreed of both parties. Ms. Trudy O. Glasgow, B.A (History), LL.B (Hons.), B.V.C, LL.M, P.C.H.E, is a practising attorney at the law firm of Trudy O. Glasgow & Associates and a courtappointed mediator in Saint Lucia (and has also taught law at University level in the UK). Ms. Glasgow is the current Vice President of the Bar Association of Saint Lucia and sits on various boards including the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF), Legal Aid Board and the Rotary Club of Gros Islet. She writes a weekly legal column, Simply law, in The Voice newspaper and recently published a book which is a selection of her articles with some new material. ¤


any small businesses argue that they do not have the time, talent or resources to undertake strategic planning. Significantly, the persons who traditionally would be involved in such sessions are the ones running the business on a day-to-day basis. Because of these daily priorities and the need to constantly adapt, strategic planning is seen as a luxury in the face of cash flow challenges, customer complaints, technology disruption, competitor rivalry and other such business realities. It is however, this everchanging environment that necessitates small businesses undertake some form of strategic planning or blue ocean strategy to redefine their industries, capture untapped opportunities and generate sustainable business success through new customer growth. So is strategic planning or even blue ocean strategy necessary for the small business? Strategic planning looks at the business’ vision and reason for being. It is futuristic and helps employees, partners and investors visualize where the business is heading and what success looks like, by defining goals and objectives and allocating resources to get there. Unlike the business plan, which focuses on the short term, the strategic plan uses various tools such as the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and Michael Porter’s Five Forces analysis to brainstorm, provide direction and develop organizational alignment. Strategic planning is sometimes criticized as being inflexible and more suited for larger businesses. The criticism has extended to the call for more strategic thinking rather than strategic planning. However, the agility and close-to-the-

Blue Ocean Thinking for Small Businesses By: Michelle Stephens ground nature of small businesses, allows them to respond to opportunities from new operational patterns, customer feedback and general market developments. Take for example, the emergence of e-commerce (online stores) as a sales and distribution channel. For small businesses this presents an opportunity to reduce costs, increase value to customers and expand sales revenue while maintaining long-term goals. By engaging their suppliers and customers, the small business is able to assess the potential of this new channel. If strategic plans are developed effectively, it can provide a roadmap to goal achievement while allowing for adaptive opportunistic market responses. On the other hand, Blue Ocean Strategy, the business model coined by W. Chan. Kim and Renee Mauborgne in their book by the same name, is a mindset shift away from competing directly with competitors, to creating new or uncontested market space that makes the competition irrelevant. It is the simultaneous pursuit of a differentiation and low cost strategy, with clear focus on the big picture. Think Apple iPad – iPod – iTunes or the Nintendo Wii. Apple’s iTunes online music store made Napster (the illegal music file sharing program) and the CD irrelevant by entering the digital music space as a provider and distributor of content. Apple in using blue ocean strategy created an integrated value proposition – quality sound, choice and personalization across multiple channels (hardware, software and content); not competing directly with PC in the case of the iPad or MP3 players with the iPod. Likewise, Nintendo pursued the non-gamer segment with the Wii, while at the same time not directly competing with Sony’s Playstation or Microsoft’s Xbox. Nintendo sought

to create a value proposition around simplicity, functionality, and interactivity for the traditional non-gamer. In the Caribbean small businesses continue to benchmark the competition, while not bad; what the blue ocean strategy calls for is value innovation by looking at what the competition is NOT doing to secure customer growth and increased profitability in highly competitive and declining markets: 1. Don’t fight the market: move the market boundaries by thinking differently about how you can serve the un-served market. 2. Focus on the user: what value can you bring to capture customers and non-customers? 3. Test your ideas: Use the strategy canvas tool contained in the Blue Ocean Strategy book to map the activity in the current market space (ie what the competition is competing on and where it is investing); then identify the offering level customers receive across all the competing factors. Once graphically depicted, a value curve depicts the blue ocean strategy move that the business can use to reorient focus from the current competitors and customers to uncontested market spaces and noncustomers. 4. Execute: moving from idea to strategy to execution is a challenge for many businesses due to limited resources, the small business has to therefore prioritize to maximize customer value. For small businesses, there needs to be a marriage of strategic planning with blue ocean strategy to ensure focus around a common goal, whilst seeking to create new market space by reimagining industry boundaries. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




IMHO: Show Me The Money By A. L. Dawn French


have always held the firm belief that a stool stands better on four legs than on one. Let me confess right from the start I am no economist but I do know the power of my dollar and I have always been of the opinion that Saint Lucia’s economy would be more resilient had our economy stood on the four pillars of Agriculture, Entertainment, Manufacturing and Tourism. Then I learnt the phrase Creative Industry. Of late there has been the move towards just such a diversification of the economy; as I note the renewed vigor in Agriculture and the focus on the Creative Industry. One is born with a talent or not. What I do in the shower and my dogs join in the chorus cannot be called singing. If I am a singer then what is Shirley-Ann Cyril Myers? I say this to illustrate the point that one does not need to be “taught” one’s talent. It manifests together with your two front teeth. The Master/ Apprentice relationship is there to instill discipline and direction. Shirley-Ann Cyril Myers does not need to be taught to sing but she has been taught control of the formidable talent that she possesses. In the new era of Creative Industries one does not need to be taught their talent. One writes or does not. One sings or does not. We as creators of an artistic product must take a step back

BusinessFocus July / Aug



and look at the art through the cold lens of business. How does an actor in Saint Lucia use the craft to pay the bills? That is the ultimate goal. With the formation of the Ministry and the already established Cultural Development Foundation there is potential. But as artists we must take the bull by the proverbial horns. In 2014 the Chamber of Commerce conducted a two week/four day workshop on the use of social media as a business tool. I don’t live in a crab hole. I know of social media but saw no use for it in my personal life, but as a tool for my books? The idea intrigued me so I signed up. Of the twenty persons in attendance the tourism sector was in the majority, the creative industries were represented by two people: Alcina Nolley – jewelry maker and instructor and Dawn French – writer. I was disappointed then and I am still disappointed. We cannot write a book, record a music album, create a painting, and then move on to the next creation. We must market the product, seek partnerships and generate the sales. This brand new world is called Creative Industry. The Agriculture, Manufacturing and Tourism Industries all have one thing in common: they are businesses and are run along the principles of business. The Creative Industry is a relatively new concept but for us as artists it is imperative that we too view our creativity as a business. It is this attitude which has

garnered sales in excess of 3,000 copies of my book “The Common Cents Approach to Managing Money” • •

Billboard stated that in 2013 the music industry made $15 billion in the USA alone. Gartner, Inc. stated that the Gaming industry worldwide made $93 billion in 2013, up from $79 billion in 2012. This includes video game console hardware and software, online, mobile and PC games. estimates that the US Motion Picture Industry ticket sales were $10.90 billion for 2013; this does not include the spin off from merchandising that follows a movie, nor are these worldwide figures.

In 1849 gold was discovered in California, USA, the gold rush followed and many became wealthier than Midas. In 2012 the government of Saint Lucia made the Creative Industry part of its economic policy. In my humble opinion (IMHO) the gold rush has started --- what are we as artists doing about that? ¤

Dawn French has been writing all her life but has recently started publishing. Her works are available at dawnn-books

Japan Gives US$800,000 OECS Eyes Development of Aid Package to Antigua Biometric Swipe Card


The deal was signed by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Japanese Ambassador Yoshimasa Tezuka and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan Takashi Uto.

he Antiguan Government signed a grant worth US$800,000 with Japan as assistance for disaster reduction equipment and improving fishery equipment and machinery.


Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Japanese Ambassador Yoshimasa Tezuka and Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashi Uto inked the deal.

Dr Didacus Jules Director General

he Organization of Eastern States (OECS) Commission has announced new measures to make the free movement of people even easier.

Director-General of the OECS Commission, Dr. Didacus Jules, said the regional integration movement is progressing admirably. “We have a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way as well,” he said. “I think we need to take a balanced perspective, and the truth is, within the overall project of Caribbean regional unity, the OECS is far ahead.” In the OECS, there is no need to obtain a skills certificate to move and live in any member state; and a driver’s license allows citizens to drive anywhere in the sub-region. Dr. Jules said the Commission is taking integration one step further with a biometric swipe card that will make travel between member states hassle free. “We have already designed a single biometric ID card that contains all the information that is required so that in the near future, with the issuance of these cards, people from the OECS will not even have to fill out immigration cards to move – you just swipe and you move.” The OECS recently celebrated the 34th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre. ¤

Browne said many of the fisheries facilities provided by Japan would be upgraded with the funds. “Many of them have ice facilities that are not working and after receipt of this grant, we’ll be in a position to provide new ice facilities in which we can provide ice at a subsidized rate to our fishermen,” Browne said. The Prime Minister told the Japanese delegation the country will continue to support Japan in the international arena. “We continue to support you in the international forum, even on the controversial issue of whaling and we do so knowing that you have been a good development partner to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda. You can be assured of our continued support as we continue to collaborate on many international issues, including the issue of reform of the United Nations,” Browne said. Uto meanwhile, speaking through a translator, said Japan is willing to provide assistance to Antigua & Barbuda despite its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita ranking that restricts the country from receiving financial assistance from several countries. “The Japanese government has said that the policy, which is also inscribed in the new development cooperation charter that Japan will provide assistance considering the vulnerabilities particular to small island countries and we will provide assistance regardless of the GDP per capita level,” Uto said. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug



Bahamas Signs on to Major Agreements at COFCOR Meeting Delia Dolor Appointed Top Post at US Magazine


ptown, a U.S. magazine which celebrates the luxury lifestyle of professional and influential urban consumers has appointed UK/St Lucian media personality Delia Dolor as its new Editor at Large.

UPTOWN’s editorial content highlights the best in home décor, automotive, technology, fashion and jewelry, fitness, health and beauty, travel and leisure, food and wine, sports and entertainment, and arts and culture. Featured on the cover of the current issue is U.S. talk show host, Queen Latifah, but previous covers have included Hollywood stars, Taraji Henson (Empire), Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Idris Elba (Luther, Obsession). Ms Dolor’s page, “Delia’s Escapades” features the best of Caribbean luxury and lifestyle which includes jewellery, travel and leisure, fine dining, spas, and real estate. She will also feature exclusives with Caribbean and Hollywood personalities and celebrities. Dolor, who presents shows in the UK and is the Executive Producer and Presenter of the popular television show, The Dolor Factor, says, “Bringing the best of the Caribbean to the U.S. in print, as The Dolor Factor is presently broadcast in the U.S. and enticing readers including Hollywood stars to the Caribbean, is exciting. My aim is to showcase the islands’ unspoilt riches.” UPTOWN magazine’s Editor in Chief, Isoul Harris: “Delia Dolor has become a force in the Caribbean luxury travel world and we are happy to have her join us as Editor-at-Large. We are sure that she will bring an interesting Caribbean perspective to the pages of UPTOWN.” UPTOWN magazine’s Publisher added, “Delia Dolor is that rare talent who understands both the editorial and business side of media and we look forward to partnering with her on travel related programs.” ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Hon. Fred Mitchell, Foreign Minister of The Bahamas (c) signs three agreements during the COFCOR Meeting in Saint Lucia. COFCOR Chairman and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saint Lucia Hon. Alva Baptiste (l) and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque witnessed the signing


he Bahamas signed instruments of accession to three agreements at the the occasion of the 18th meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) in Saint Lucia. The Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell signed on to the: •

Agreement establishing the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS);

Memorandum of understanding for the sharing of intelligence among member states of the Caribbean Community; and

Memorandum of intent between the government of the United States and member states of the Caribbean Community on co-operation regarding the development of an advance passenger information system (APIS).

The signing was witnessed by Saint Lucia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of COFCOR, Alva Baptiste, and SecretaryGeneral of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin LaRocque. ¤

Baron Foods Wins Int’l Superior Taste Award 2015


aron Foods is proud to announce another win at the International Superior Taste Award 2015 for its innovative Banana Ketchup product. The award ceremony was recently held in Brussels, Belgium on June 04th, 2015. The Superior Taste award ceremony brings together global food and beverages manufacturers to review their modern and ingenious developments in the food and beverage industry. This Banana Ketchup product, was also recognized at the Top Innovations of Anuga 2013, Taste 13 competition. Baron Foods has continually demarked itself by the quality of products we offer. Our Banana Ketchup was first launched a few years ago and has been recognized globally for its unique flavor profile. We are very pleased that our Banana Ketchup has been granted with a 2 Gold Star award which is classified as a “Remarkable” product with marks between 80% and 90% under the Superior Taste Award judging criteria. In addition to this, Baron Foods is once again the only company within the Caribbean region to have attained another award from the International Taste & Quality Institute (iTQi). In the previous year, our West Indian Hot Sauce was also the recipient of a Gold Star award from the iTQi. Capturing this eminent award has allowed the Baron brand to catapult further into the international market arena. This achievement came as no surprise to the individual who spearheaded the operation, the company’s very own Managing Director, Mr. Ronald Ramjattan. “Baron Foods is a name synonymous with innovation in the processed food industry,” said Ramjattan. “Our foodstuffs have been bringing Caribbean creativity to the rest of the world for decades and the most sophisticated thinking in delivering quality products to markets both regional and global, all of which is attributed to the hard work that is rendered when it comes to attention to detail in formulation and packaging.” Baron Foods represents a dynamic and reputable manufacturing company with plants located in three (3) Caribbean countries. The company currently manufactures over 150 products, certified against FSSC 22000:2010, which includes exotic and gourmet sauces, condiments, spices, flavorings, low fat mayonnaise, salad dressings and drink cocktails. The company is export oriented and currently serves markets in the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, Guyana and the entire English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking islands of the Caribbean. ¤

Saint Lucia Implementing Energy Transition Strategy


he Government of Saint Lucia through the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology is moving steadfast to implement the National Energy Policy (NEP).

The NEP provides the appropriate policy and legislative environment, to utilize greater renewable energy to the extent possible. The aim is to lower the cost and price volatility of electricity and to reduce Saint Lucia’s dependence on imported oil. In pursuit of the island’s energy target, Government has recognized the critical need to understand the current grid system on the island and the availability to integrate renewable energy sources. As a result government has sourced consultancy services from the Carbon War Room and the World Bank to investigate the island-wide grid system and potential scenarios for deeper renewable penetration with collaboration from the lone electricity provider St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd (LUCELEC). On July 8, 2015 key stakeholders involved in Saint Lucia’s energy transition will meet for a one-day workshop to share results from current studies and align knowledge to ensure agreement upon a process to support St. Lucia in it’s energy transition. This process is supported by the Carbon War Room and Meister Consultants Group. Saint Lucia is seeking to achieve renewable energy target of 35% renewable energy generation by the year 2020. Government is committed to creating a sustainable energy future and to begin using more of the island`s indigenous energy resources. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




Proper Alarm System Design Cutting Corners Can Sometimes Cost More By Brian Ramsey


n February 2015 there was a burglary of a Pawn Shop in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in which the burglars escaped with US $3.5 million in cash and jewels. The burglary was only discovered the following morning when the employees arrived for work and this is in spite of the fact that the premises had electronic security systems. No electronic security system can prevent a burglary as they are designed to alert individuals that a burglary is taking place or to provide evidence after the burglary has taken place. The issue then becomes how could the burglars have broken into the premises, taken the items and then left and no one was alerted. This incident highlights the increasing knowledge and consequent professional approach of Caribbean burglars and the fact that in the design of an electronic security system one has to take into account all possibilities. Many times when persons are looking at premises they view a wall or roof or window and form the opinion that it is solid and therefore impenetrable. They then, when designing the electronic protection, do not electronically cover that area because of their opinion that the area is too hard for someone to get through. At times the non-coverage of an area is the result of a customer trying to reduce the cost of the electronic security protection or of a security company

BusinessFocus July / Aug



trying to lower the cost of their quotation so that they can get the job. Often the view of impenetrability is based on their opinion that they cannot break through the wall and so they assume that no one else can but the question should really be, can I break through that wall or window if I had the correct tools and sufficient time. In the case of this particular burglary, the cash and jewels were in steel safes inside a concrete vault room. This vault room had electronic protection on the door leading into it and the premises had CCTV. So the uninitiated might again ask how could these burglars break in undetected and get to the valuables and then escape without the alarm system notifying anyone. For this burglary the thieves came through the roof of the building and then used drills to bore a large hole through the slabs that form the top of the concrete vault room. Once inside they used portable blow torches to cut into the steel safes. After gaining access into the safes they removed the valuables and then left via the route that they had used for entry. Before making their exit they made sure to remove the DVR that contained the images from the CCTV cameras. Many individuals would have thought that steel safes inside a completely concrete room provide a very secure environment, especially with alarm protection on the

door to the room. Burglaries such as this one however demonstrate the weakness in thinking that steel and concrete alone are sufficient for protection. As we stated earlier in this article, the question to be asked by the designer of any security system is “can I break through that wall or window if I had the correct tools and sufficient time�. These burglars have

Brian Ramsey has a B.A. in Accounting & Management, along with an M.B.A. in Finance and over 29 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Limited which operates in Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago and is the parent company of Alternative Security Services (St. Lucia) Limited. He can be contacted at

shown that you can and it is to be noted that they did not interfere with the door that had the electronic protection thus not triggering the alarm system. One should not lose hope however and think that it is impossible to protect their valuables; it merely requires the appropriate design of the electronic security system. In this situation it appears that the designer only considered the possibility of someone breaking into the room through the door. If however an electronic security system includes vibration sensors on the walls and roof then the burglars would be detected as soon as they attempt to drill through the concrete roof. Thus there would have been notification of the burglary attempt before the thieves manage to enter the room and so give responding agencies the opportunity to be on the scene before the thieves can get to the valuables. Another detection device that could be incorporated into the design would be a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) Beam placed inside to room to detect anyone who enters the room from any side once the alarm has been turned on. We would not however recommend relying solely on a PIR as this detects when the intruders are already inside and they could “grab and go” before response arrives. Often in the urban areas in the Caribbean there is significant building rumble as a result of the passage of heavily laden trucks and/or vehicles with excessively loud sound systems. Some persons are concerned about the high number of false alarms that may be caused by this passing external vibration and so are reluctant to recommend or install vibration sensors in commercial urban settings. While this may be a valid concern it should not deter persons from using such sensors as these sensors can be adjusted to reduce their sensitivity to such external vibration. Where the sensors are set with reduced sensitivity then they should definitely be combined with another internal detection device such as a PIR, so that there is double layer protection. There are also other detection devices that can be incorporated into the security system to provide the protection through alerting of intrusion attempts. The overriding theme however must be that one should not assume that because you cannot determine how to break into a place that no one can, rather one should identify all possible entry points and seek to ensure that these are covered. ¤

GTM Insurance Group

Records $106M Profit in 2014


Members of the GTM Board of Directors at the company’s 90th Annual General Meeting.

he Guyana and Trinidad Mutual (GTM) Fire and Life Insurance Company Limited on 24 June 2014 held its 90th Annual General Meeting, declaring a GY$106.6 million after tax profit for the year 2014.

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ram Singh, in his report, stated how pleased he was to report that the company has made a surplus of revenue over expenditure of GY$327 million before the adjustment for the policyholders’ liabilities, compared to GY$187.4 million in 2013. He added that after the adjustment for policyholders’ liabilities, the company made a net profit after tax of GY$106.6 million for the year 2014, compared to GY$31.5 million for 2013, this represents an increase of GY$75.1 million or 238 per cent. Singh highlighted that the company had performed fairly well notwithstanding the economic and other challenges facing the Eastern Caribbean States, in which the company operates offices. The company recorded a GY$67.88 million or 5.4 per cent growth in premium net of reinsurance and a GY$78.58 million or 5.4 per cent growth in total revenue amounting to GY$1.53 billion. The Chairman noted the members of staff of any organisation are its most valuable assets as he acknowledged the performances of those members of the company’s sales team who have excelled and the sterling efforts of the administrative team during the year 2014. Awards were presented to insurance advisors who excelled in their sales efforts. The GTM Quality Award went to Bernadette Charles from St Lucia. Charles was the only person to qualify for this award from the company’s Caribbean Offices. The GTM Quality Award is presented to insurance advisers who sold a minimum of 35 life policies and maintained a 90 per cent persistency for two consecutive years. Other awardees in this category were Hansraj Singh, Peter Bryan, and Anthony Semple. The Chairman’s Award for the 2014 Sales Person of the year was presented to Guyana’s Hansraj Singh. The Chairman’s Award is presented to an Insurance Advisor who receives the Sales Person of the Year Award for both companies in the same year. The Sales Person of the Year for Caribbean Offices was presented to St Lucia’s Bernadette Charles. Charles won a total of three out of four awards available to the Caribbean Offices. The GTM Group operates regional offices in Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent in addition to main offices in Guyana. ¤ BusinessFocus July / Aug




Develop Your Plan for Achievement By Trudy Edgar-Louis

and some areas of needed growth. Use this information to build on your strengths and to select challenging goals for growth.


• Where do you Want Your Organization to go?

oals create the confidence that comes from knowing where you and your team are going and how you intend to get there. Goals serve as a filter to eliminate extraneous demands. Goals bring to life a sense of order and purpose that sustains desire and motivation over a long period of time. Goal setting is the most powerful tool at your disposal in the development of your organization. Used effectively, goal setting principles can greatly enhance your skill as an effective motivational leader. Throughout history strong leaders and organizations, armed with specific goals and the force of commitment, have shaped the destinies of millions. You and your organization can leave an imprint on the lives of others by setting worthwhile goals and committing to their achievement. Your organization is a unique entity. No one outside your organization can choose the direction in which you will grow. You and your team members must dream your own dreams, identify your own goals, and design your own destiny. It is important to define a logical starting place and an ultimate destination where your goals program will lead you. There are three (3) simple steps that you can follow to move your organization from where it is now to its desired destination.

• Where Does Your Organization Stand Now? Spend some time in honest assessment and evaluation of your present level of growth in the various aspects of your organization. Organizational evaluation helps you gain insight into your present situation. You will discover some outstanding strengths BusinessFocus July / Aug



Once you have defined your present status, next decide where you want the organization to go. Identify ultimate goals for you and your team – goals that define your leadership style and the results you wish to achieve from your effort. Next, identify a number of intermediate milestones along the way to those ultimate goals. Those shortand intermediate-range goals involve all aspects of your organization – from people and productivity to maintenance and inventory. Carefully coordinate them so they are mutually supportive and so each one builds organizational growth and progress. Where you want the organization to go may also include the long-range career plan you choose to pursue. Perhaps your career goal is to hold one of the top leadership positions in your company for a specific number of years before retirement. To support achievement of that career goal, set specific department or team goals for this year – goals that represent your appropriate contribution to the overall goals of the organization. Success in your present job brings you closer to success in your long-range career plan. Defining where you and your organization want to go is a continuing process. Looking far into the future toward ultimate goals includes carefully choosing where you and your team want to be next year, next month, or by the end of this week or even day.

• How will you Reach Your Destination? When the first two steps have been completed, begin to develop workable plans for reaching your destination. Just as a travel agent must know when and where you want to begin and where you

want to go before arranging reservations, you need to know where to begin and where you want to go. As you develop plans for achievement, include both short-range and long-range goals. Shortrange goals are those that can be achieved in a relatively brief time frame. Begin by setting goals you and your team can achieve within the next two weeks. Each short-range goal you achieve generates a feeling of accomplishment, energizes your motivation, and increases your team’s belief in your leadership ability. Also establish long range goals that provide overall direction for the organization. Long-range goals may take six months, a year, or several years to achieve. Plan to reach them by setting short-range goals that move you closer to their ultimate attainment. It is valuable to sit down and think about what you and your team have achieved so far, to consider where you want to go in the future, and to envision the strategies you will follow in pursuit of those ideals. ¤

Trudy Edgar-Louis is the LMI Licensee for St. Lucia and the OECS. She represents one of the leading US based Performance Improvement Companies, Leadership Management International. She can be contacted by email: expandoecs@ or 758-284-7736 for more information.

Wise Investments


By: Kezia Preville

s financial uncertainty plague many of our firms today, more businesses are forced to actively seek the illusive sure investment opportunity. We toy with the idea of financial risk versus reward and learn to adapt as the ever-changing market environment keeps us on our toes. But, what truly makes a good investment? For a family of four, it could be a new house providing security and equity for future goals or a luxury car for a recently liberated grad student hoping to make a big impression at his new job. In the financial sector, a smart investment is reliant on potential risk, projected return on investment, and analysis of valuation and growth factors among other areas. All valid points. But, what about protection? I mean physical protection of our actual bonds, cash, important documents, electronic records and other valuables? Theft prevention is high up there up as banks employ intricate access control systems and time locked mechanisms with powerful CCTV to safeguard investments. But ever wondered how fires are kept at bay? What sort of investment is needed

to safeguard from fires for instance? Yes, I know that is what insurance is for some might add‌.but, a sure way to see all our investments go up in smoke, is to overlook proper fire protection. Much like historical galleries storing priceless paintings and libraries with sections of history which can only be handled with white gloves, so too are bank vaults vulnerable to flames and in need of maximum protection. An investment in a combination of active and passive fire protection methods is essential in minimizing risk. Fire resistant cabinets, wall linings and fire retardant walls, make up some of the passive methods employed. Such robust materials keep harmful flames away from fragile yet invaluable items. These act as the front line of protection against fires. However, installing a fire suppression system as well, will guarantee complete protection as its ozone friendly emissions leave no residue and there is no risk of over pressuring the system. Such clean systems have gained popularity as they offer a wide margin of safety for persons in the vault or room protected at the time. As we work towards a more secure financial future, be sure to take time to assess all threats – even those in the

physical environment which can have a devastating and lasting effect. Before you look beyond the horizon for that silver lining which promises future security, learn more about how you can protect the things you value most. Always seek professional assistance before proceeding with any investment and know the risks, to make a smart choice! ¤

Kezia Preville is the Business Development Manager at Regional Fire & Security Ltd which operates offices based in St. Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago; the location of its parent company. She currently manages the St. Lucia office, now situated in Rodney Bay and can be contacted on info. or (758) 451-3473 for more information. BusinessFocus July / Aug




Louise Victor – NYC President and Much More

Y SPEAK Spotlight With Maundy Lewis By: Maundy A. L. Lewis

Who is Louise Victor? Louise Victor is a woman with many roles in society some of which includeMarketing Executive at Digicel, Model, Beauty Queen, Youth and Community Advocate, Cultural Enthusiast, President of the National Youth Council, Director of Public Relations for Red Carnival Band.

I am however very passionate about involvement in community work, youth development work, sports, arts and culture, pageantry , marketing , public relations and communications. •

3 must read books- The Power of Positive Thinking, The Four Agreements, The Gifts of Imperfection

3 wishes for your country- greater professional opportunities for technical and vocational inclined individuals, an urgent and major decrease in youth unemployment, greater investment and employment opportunity in the manufacturing industry.

In 10 years, what would you like to have achieved? To have contributed and been part of a major revolution in the social landscape of my generation

Advice for the Youth: It is our opportunity to teach other young people around us to have a healthy disposition. It’s okay to be involved in other things but the ultimate importance is striking balance and knowing there is a time and place for everything. Apply yourself in everything you are involved in - if you commit - commit to the end. ¤

Highlight from Y Speak interview As the National Youth Council President, criticisms have been levelled at Louise for not being a role model because she parades in skimpy (bikini) carnival costumes. Her response: Being one’s authentic self is not something that our society advocates, far less embraces. Standing out as an individual is not encouraged and people are expected to conform. Of primary importance to me is the ability to be aware of oneself and to have a healthy disposition. I am confident in my prowess and beauty (both in and out) as such my development and growth are guided accordingly. I serve well. I work hard. I play harder.

Getting to know Louise •

Passions - Through a deep selfactualization process not too long ago I recently affirmed my greatest passion as ‘growth’-personal growth.

BusinessFocus July / Aug



Maundy A. L. Lewis is a Communications Officer in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports. She is also the host of “YSPEAK”, a youth-centric programme aimed at highlighting youth and their endeavours, which can be viewed every Monday at 6:30 PM on NTN. She currently serves on two state boards and is a representative on the UNFPA Barbados and OECS Youth Advisory Group. She holds a BSc in Economics minor in International Relations and is currently pursuing a law degree via the University of London External Programme.

Two Saint Lucian Students’ Research Papers Win Prizes in Taiwan

High Commission Welcomes BCCC Scholarship Students in London


he High Commissioner to Saint Lucia, Dr Ernest Hilaire, hosted an elegant reception at the offices of the High Commission of Saint Lucia in London, to welcome and congratulate the 41 recipients of the full tuition scholarships offered by the BPP University, in collaboration with the British Ca¬ribbean Chamber of Commerce and RISE Saint Lucia Ltd.


wo Saint Lucian students, who are now preparing for graduation from their respective universities in Taiwan, were amongst a group of young scholars who won prizes in a recently concluded student paper competition organized by the International Cooperation Development Fund (ICDF).

Dr. Hilaire welcomed his com¬patriots to London and extended words of wisdom born from his own personal struggles when he was a young student from St. Lucia, aspiring to be great in this big city. He encouraged them not to be overwhelmed but rather be com¬forted in the knowledge that this opportunity had opened doors to a new world and a great future, stating “Saint Lucian’s who come to Britain to study have always suc-ceeded and failure is not an option”. He told his young guests “Make your families, who have sacrificed a lot to enable you to study proud of your endeavours and Saint Lucia will be proud of you too”.

Deja John of Castries, a senior International Business and Trade student at Ming Chuan University and Danley Medouze of La-Resource, Vieux -Fort, a senior Tropical Agriculture student specializing in animal science at National Pingtung University won prizes for ‘outstanding work’ in two different categories of the competition.

Mr. John Kennedy, President of the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce Saint Lucia, attended the event and at the invitation of the High Commissioner was hap¬py to say a few words. In his remarks he said “When I first met you all, it was at the Sir Arthur Lewis College at an event organised by RISE and this was just an idea.

The competition rules asked for students to present papers on their own topics, linking it “with Taiwan ICDF issues to provide experience and strength of Taiwan, which can be applied to allies or developing countries in their economic and social advancement.”

“The next time I met you was at the airport as you waited to board your flights to London, then these 41 Scholarships had become a fact.

Participants were given five (5) categories to choose from; Agriculture and Fishery, Business and Management, Engineering and Science, Public Health and Medicine and Others. John entered the ‘Others’ category while Medouze entered the Agriculture and Fishery category. They each received $5000 NTD (National Taiwan Dollars) for their papers. Danley and Deja would like to express thanks to their families, friends, professors and other individuals who assisted them. Their papers will soon be featured in the Journal of International Coorperation (JIC). ¤

“Now I meet you in London and your courses have begun and these Scholarships are a reality. Work hard, study well and make the most of this fantastic opportu¬nity and the fantastic life ahead of you that you all will have”. Mrs. Juliette Wagner-James, Dep¬uty Dean of the BPP University, who initiated this opportunity, shared with the students the as¬tounding value of the Scholarship programme at £1,500,000 (EC$6 million) and said that after having had the opportunity to get to know them since their arrival, she was confident that among them were people facing a bright future. “We have leaders and entrepre¬neurs of the next generation with¬out a doubt”, she said, as she smiled back at her grateful audience. BusinessFocus July / Aug




Karolin Troubetzboy

Diverse Language Skills Needed for Caribbean Tourism Growth Says Karolin Troubetzboy Re-elected President of SLHTA and President Elect of SLHTA


By: Bevan Springer t’s time for stakeholders in the Caribbean’s hospitality industry to more broadly represent the multicultural nature of the region and serve the growing diversity of visitors to the Caribbean by learning to speak more than one language. The call was made by the President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) Karolin Troubetzkoy who sees much potential ahead for the development of the Caribbean human resource. Troubetzkoy, Operations Director of leading St. Lucian resorts Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain and President-elect of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), said that in St. Lucia plans are in the works to offer more hospitality specific language courses such as Portuguese, Spanish, French, and German. “These, of course, represent some of the key languages from our current and potential future source markets,” said Troubetzkoy, who added that even Russian and Mandarin should not be forgotten as some parts of the region BusinessFocus July / Aug



draw travellers from the former Soviet Union and China. Troubetzkoy, who was recently re-elected as President of SLHTA for a third term, believes tourism is the key to unlocking sustainable economic growth and development in the Caribbean: “It is the only sector today which collectively offers the opportunity to attract foreign investment, grow employment in significant numbers, support local producers and manufacturers, preserve our environment and attract international attention to our entertainment talents, arts and culture, “ she asserted. Addressing the SLHTA’s annual general meeting, she urged stakeholders “to challenge ourselves to grow the sector, strengthen linkages and nurture fledgling industries which also show potential for growth over the long term like agroprocessing, service-based industries, niche-based manufacturing and the creative industries.” St. Lucia, she contended, needed to “explore more aggressively how we strengthen our competitiveness through reduced taxation, greater human capital

development, more efficient business processes, reduced bureaucracy and a collective commitment to more innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable business practices.” Troubetzkoy, known for the quality of her staff training at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts, underscored: “Without a doubt, the development of human resources is the key to unlocking productivity and business improvement processes, particularly in hospitality. As such, we need to gear our staff members and our work system towards productivity improvement on a daily basis.” Emphasizing the need for a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce to ensure a competitive edge and a culture that places priority on the acquisition of knowledge and skills, Troubetzkoy posited: “Despite the fast pace at which change occurs in the industry, the irony is that one thing never changes. Guest expectations are still focused on having an experience of a lifetime...if we can’t treat our guests well here and deliver the expected service standards, some other tourist destination will be happy to.” ¤

Elects New Executive


he Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association Inc (SLHTA) held its 51st Annual General Meeting under the theme ‘Tourism - Engage; Educate; Empower’. The theme highlights the SLHTA mandate over the year to engage, educate and empower its members and by extension the people of Saint Lucia. In addition to the SLHTA’s AGM and Tourism Linkages Tradeshow, it was also an election year for the Association, which would witness the election of a new Board of Directors for the next biennium. Therefore, the SLHTA is proud to introduce to you our New Board of Directors for the year 2015 to 2017. The SLHTA’s Board of Directors will assume the following posts and responsibilities and will direct and oversee the work of the Association and secretariat:

President – Mrs. Karolin Troubetzkoy First Vice-President – Mr. Sanovnik Destang Second Vice-President – Mr. Daniel Belizaire Chief Executive Officer (SLHTA) – Mr. Noorani Azeez Representative for Small Properties (Small Hotels, Inns, Bed & Breakfast Establishments& Guesthouses) – Ms. Cheryl Skeete

Representative for Large Hotels – Mr. Kashmi Ali Representative for Luxury Villas and Vacation Rentals – Mr. Mark Ozawa Representative for High-End Boutique Hotels – Mr. Ross Stevenson Representative for Independent Restaurants and Food & Beverage Distributors – NA Representative for Airlines, Travel Consultants, Destination Management Companies – Ms. Erwin Louisy Representative for the Yachting and Maritime Sub-Sectors – Mr. Sean Devaux Representative for Ground Transportation & Cruise Sub-sectors and Tour Service Providers (Automobile Rentals, National Taxi Union, Tourism Taxis & Cruise related businesses) – Mr. Corey Devaux Representative for Utility Companies, Statutory Corporations & otherwise unrepresented Service Providers – Mr. Roger Joseph Representative At Large for Banks, Professionals, Educational, Training Institutions & Other Allied Members – Mr. Bob Hathaway The Director of Tourism – Mr. Louis Lewis BusinessFocus July / Aug




Jade Mountain Named Number One in The Caribbean


he influential travel magazine, Travel + Leisure, again announced St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain as one of the Top 100 Hotels in the World and Number One in the Caribbean.

Jade Mountain’s latest recognition by the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2015 is the fourth time and third year in a row readers have cast top votes for St. Lucia’s storied resort. The magazine listed Jade Mountain as the number one Caribbean resort which defines the very best in travel. Much of Jade Mountain’s success can be attributed to the continuing direct involvement of owners Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy in the daily operations of this privately-owned, independent resort. The couple’s passion and limitless enthusiasm inspire their resort team which includes major-domo butlers assigned to each guest to look after the resort experience around the clock from arrival to departure. “Travel + Leisure readers are incredibly savvy travelers who in addition to luxury, look for sustainable and responsible practices, so this is very high praise indeed. And, we are delighted at the guests’ responses to our resort into which we invested so much of our time, resources and passion,” said Karolin Troubetzkoy. “But you have to remember our staff, of which we are most proud, are world class in their technical skills and world leaders in genuine hospitality and warmth.” Crediting her husband Nick Troubetzkoy’s vision and creativity in designing and building the stunning mountainside resort, where every room has a view of the twin Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage site, she also points to their deep commitment to sustainability: “Nick wanted to ensure everything was sustainable, which is why the tiles in the infinity pools as well as on many of the walls, were made from recycled glass; the stone was carved by local masons and, among many other sustainable products, the furniture was lovingly carved by local craftspeople.” BusinessFocus July / Aug



She is also proud of the way the twin resorts have contributed to the betterment of the communities which surround them: “With our sister property Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain employs almost 500 people overwhelmingly from local communities, and that’s the way we like it. In fact we have multiple generations of families working here and it’s fun to see younger staff being instructed by their grandparents on the way we do things at the resort.” And it doesn’t end at the resort. The Troubetzkoys are active in local and regional issues with Karolin at the helm of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association which comprises private sector players in the tourism sector. Next year, she will also take over the presidency of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association which shapes regional policies for its greatest revenue earner, tourism. “It’s important for us to give back to our country and to our region, and these are just some of the ways we can contribute,” said Karolin, who is also involved in charity and community work. Nick Troubetzkoy, the resort chairman, architect and builder, started his love affair with St. Lucia and the Caribbean with the opening of Jade Mountain’s sister property, Anse Chastanet in the 1970s. His revolutionary architectural approach produced the stunningly bold and unique Jade Mountain which opened in early 2007 on its perch on a mountain top overlooking St. Lucia’s landmark twin Piton peaks glittering in the azure Caribbean Sea. There are 29 suites in total, which are called sanctuaries. In 24 of the sanctuaries, an extravagantly sized private infinity pool seems to be floating out into nature. Jade Mountain also runs an organic farm and there is an onsite chocolate laboratory making chocolate from its own estate grown cocoa trees. Guests have privileges at the adjoining sister resort Anse Chastanet with two beaches, additional restaurants and excellent resort activities including jungle biking, scuba diving, hiking and bird watching. ¤

Lennox Dupal

a Saint Lucian Success Story A Caribbean Jewel in Hotel and Tourism Management


nown for his strong personality and influential presence in Hotel Management around the world, Lennox Dupal has retired from a long-standing career in the hospitality industry that began in 1971.

Dupal, is best known locally for his contribution to the evolution of the Sandals brand on the island, holding the post of General Manager for Sandals Halcyon – the second of three Sandals properties in the island - since 2002. Chief Executive Officer for Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart recognized Dupal for his passion for the development and professional growth of Sandals Resorts, underlining numerous successful senior executives in Saint Lucia and elsewhere who has progressed under Dupal’s guidance. A look into this influencer’s life reveals humble beginnings in 1971 at the Holiday Inn St. Lucia as Night Auditor. Dupal often speaks of having held a position in almost every department at junior and senior levels known to exist in the hotel industry. In 1972 Lennox accepted a job with The Steigenberger Cariblue Hotel as an assistant Front Office Manager and by the time he left the hotel chain in 1985, he had worked his way to the position of Food & Beverage Manager. By 1981 Lennox took study leave from the resort to pursue a two-year degree program in Hotel and Business Administration at the Hotel Fachschule in Heidelberger, Germany. There he not only armed himself with an education but became proficient in the German language and also did brief tours in Asia covered Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan Indonesia and Thailand, After graduating, he secured an internship at the chain’s flagship Steigenberger Hotel Frankfurter Hof in Frankfurt, Germany. By 1985 when he returned to Saint Lucia Lennox continued his stint with the Cariblue Hotel until later that year when he advanced to take over the coveted position of Hotel Manager at the Jolly Beach Resort in neighbouring Antigua. Three years later in 1988 Lennox returned to St. Lucia and took over the position of Hotel Manager responsible for the Food and Beverage Department at Le Sport. A mere few months later, he accepted an offer to work for The Ramada Corporation as Hotel Manager in Kuantan, Malaysia – stories from which he never fails to produce. Six months later he was promoted to the position of General Manager – a position he held for two years. Malaysia is the birth country of Dupal’s only daughter – Consuelo, who has also established herself as a leader in the tourism industry. After many years of working in resorts the Saint Lucian Lennox was offered the opportunity to be General Manager of the

business hotel ‘The Holiday Villa’ in Kuala Lumpur, a position he held for four years. The 450-room city hotel boasted meeting and conference facilities for about 5000 persons. Nineteen years ago, in 1994 Lennox returned to the Caribbean and took over as General Manager of the Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua for a second stint, which was interrupted by a severe hurricane in 1995. He returned to St Lucia and eventually joined the Sandals chain in 1996 at the spanking new Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa as Hotel Manager. It was that same year that Sandals Halcyon was acquired. Two years later he was transferred to Sandals Montego Bay where he worked as Hotel Manager for two years. He was later transferred to Sandals Negril in 2000 and after a brief stint he was asked to take over Grande Pineapple Negril (formerly Negril Gardens) as General Manager – also part of the Sandals chain. Another two years had passed before Lennox was transferred to Beaches Sandy Bay as General Manager – a position he held until his final transfer to his homeland in 2002 to take over the General Management of Sandals Halcyon; a position he held until May 2015. He has led Sandals Halcyon to the being recognized as one of the leading hotels within the Sandals chain with a high repeat guest factor and guest service scores and has been honoured on several occasions by the company’s Chairman himself – Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. Dupal prides himself in being an example of the rewards of hard work and determination. His decades of dedicated service and experience gained in the hospitality industry starting from humble beginnings growing up in the fishing village of Gros Islet and working his way to the highest levels of leadership worldwide is a success story worth emulating. His journey and achievements is a reflection of the possibilities available through opportunity, ambition and a commitment to being the best you can be. We salute and recognize his achievements as a true tourism professional and wish him a great life in the ‘new chapter’ of retirement. BusinessFocus July / Aug






Young St. Lucian Chefs Excel at the andals Resorts International continues to invest while offering high levels of luxury in Saint Lucia. The company’s latest move will see the completion of an EC$10 million restaurant project at the Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Spa & Beach Resort.

Regional Director for Sandals in the Eastern Caribbean, Andre Dhanpaul says the restaurant project will elevate the already high level of culinary offering at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. The new culinary experiences at the Pigeon Island resort will include the newest Sandals signature Indian Cuisine Restaurant – Bombay Club, the Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant – Kimonos, the World-Class Sushi Bar – Soy and a recent Sandals invention – The Gourmet Caribbean Jerk Shack. He added, “close to 40 direct and indirect construction jobs will be created, while dozens more will be added upon the completion of this gourmet culinary expansion, the Sandals Regional Director said.” Dhanpaul said Saint Lucia is still regarded as one of the resort chain’s most intriguing destinations and a true home for the luxury resort company. “We have been here for 23 years and a number of the employees who started with us are still playing a vital role in the organization. We are inspired by their contribution and the appeals of Saint Lucia’s mystique,” Dhanpaul said. This addition will bring the number of specialty restaurants at Sandals Grande St. Lucian from six (6) to ten. “We believe that we have to keep reinventing ourselves as we move forward. Customers are looking for different experiences and are certainly becoming more demanding,” Dhanpaul said. He added that tourism continues to be a competitive business globally, requiring constant innovation to succeed. ¤

BusinessFocus July / Aug




he St Lucian culinary team not only did us proud but also exceeded expectations with their performance at the ‘Taste of the Caribbean’ competition held in Miami in June this year.

The youngest chefs of the group were Martha Hippolyte, 27 who works at Coconut Bay Resort and Edna Butcher, 21 employed with Cap Maison. Both obtained gold medals; Hippolyte for the Cheesecake Competition and overall win and Butcher for the Junior Chef of the Year Competition and overall win. Butcher was also inducted into the Hall of Fame and received US$2,500 from the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation. “It was a wonderful experience overall, but then there’s nerves; I got really, really nervous but I pulled through. It was very exciting to get the result that I won overall,” said Martha Hippolyte. “It was a very good experience. It was also my first time in doing an international competition. I learnt what not to do and what to do although I had the knowledge of competitions already Caribbean wide,” said Edna Butcher. Saint Lucia also achieved five silver medals racked up by Caron Jean from Cap Maison for the Surf & Turf Competition, Refer Leonce also from Cap Maison for the Chef of the Year Competition, Gilry Samuel for the Pastry Chef Competition, Mario Alexander from Delirius Bar for the Bartender Competition and Team Saint Lucia for the Team Competition. ¤


Health and Technology


By: Dr Takira Glasgow

here are three billion internet users in the world and the world population just exceeds seven billion persons. Computers allow rapid access to information or misinformation. The internet is the space where many are influenced to make health related decisions in a positive or negative way. Scholarly articles which can be viewed via specific search engines and news from representative organisations are relatively accurate; other sources are merely starting points for conversations with your doctor. Until quite recently, one of the benefits of membership to professional organisations was receipt of full print journals, full of current research, information and protocols. These glossy paged treasures were read diligently at first arrival, then later glimpsed at and stored on overflowing shelves. The associations have updated their interfaces and their expenditures, providing online-only versions; no worries exist about shipping and handling or delay in receipt, but access depends on computer literacy and a robust internet connection. Similarly, medical doctors and dentists have started to incorporate electronic health records into, and between, their medical practices to centralise patient data and to allow easy connectivity between health centres or multi-physician practices. In the past, the absence of self management tools and access to education precluded the effective treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Decisions on treatment options were made based on a single reading in a doctor’s office every two to three months. Now that we know that clinical inertia and nonadherence increase the time to target levels, progression to complications is not inevitable. Wireless technology has been integrated into home glucose and blood pressure monitors and data is uploaded to a tablet or computer programme; the files can then be shared with a physician within seconds. In addition, continuous monitoring of medical conditions is increasingly available for home use and

this elucidates trends and elevations for more effective use of medications and avoidance of misdiagnosis. In fact, a recent study indicated that up to 40% of persons with high blood pressure at a doctor’s visit actually have normal blood pressures at home and therefore should not be diagnosed with hypertension. Sleep apnoea monitoring and foetal monitoring also have significant potential for application of continuous monitoring technology. Remote monitoring devices are life-saving for persons prone to hypoglycaemia, children, the elderly and patients in ICU. A parent can monitor their child’s blood glucose via an app while he or she is at school. Caregivers can assist their elderly relatives from a distance with safe, independent living. A device strapped to a patient’s wrist and chest can transmit electrocardiograph readings and vital signs via wifi to a physician’s mobile device. New technology promises portability, ease of use and increased adherence. Another example is the artificial pancreas which is a self-contained device that requires little or no calibration and is an integration of continuous glucose monitoring and the Minimed pump that detects hypoglycaemia. This will revolutionise diabetes management for persons with type 1 diabetes who may have previously felt interrupted by insulin injections and by strict meal plans, throughout their work days or personal lives. The latest trend is wearable technology, the sort first dreamed up in futuristic comic books, which contain electronic biosensors. Wristband fitness trackers and smart shoes detect biometric data, as well as heart rate, breathing, temperature, the number of steps, and sleep body position. Naturally, information is transferred to mobile devices, which give the option of connection to social media, incoming calls, emails and text messages. The forums, apps, and social networking services that support health-conscious groups, enable shared experiences, collaboration and support.

The most remarkable new technological devices include: 5. Inhaled insulin (inhaler) - this is an example of a novel and painless method of administering a known medication, previously injected daily or via an insulin pump. 4. Nerve stimulation implant- stimulates the nerves of the brain to decrease dementia, the stomach to suppress appetite or the neck to reduce blood pressure. 3. Google contact lenses- detects blood glucose levels throughout the day and feeds back to a monitoring device. 2. Wearable technology bras for detection of breast cancer. 1. Painless blood tests from one drop of blood, a billion dollar idea that we will wish we had thought of first. These new devices may or may not integrate seamlessly into our daily lives. There is potential for increased self-monitoring of disease and fitness conscientiousness which will increase interest and motivation in healthy living, increase interactivity and encourage early detection of disease. Well, at least among the tech-savvy three billion. ¤ References: BMJ-British Medical Journal. “Shift work linked to heightened risk of type 2 diabetes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014. Diabetologia. “Black women working night shifts have an increased risk of developing diabetes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2015. University of Edinburgh. “Stress raises risk of mental decline in older diabetics, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2010. Ranabir, Salam, and K. Reetu. “Stress and Hormones.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism 15.1 (2011): 18–22. PMC. Dr. Takira Glasgow is a medical doctor with her office at Tapion Hospital. She also serves as the Treasurer of the SLMDA with memberships of the SLDHA, AACE and CES. BusinessFocus July / Aug




Prevention Makes



By Dr. Azmina Long & Michael Bryant

n an ever-changing world, the more astute amongst us have taken a refreshed approach to investment in our future. It would be fair to say that in the past, such investments were usually referred to as money management. Every interaction we have had with our advisors in the past, has probably been connected with pensions, savings and investments. Planning for retirement and old age has been a purely financial concern and since the more money one has, the better health care one can afford, this made sense from a health perspective. At the risk of generalizing, those born in the years after the end of WW II - the so-called “Baby Boomers”, who went on to succeed and make money, certainly enjoyed their success, but in many cases at a cost of overindulgence. They aimed for a comfortable retirement based on prudent investment, paying off their mortgage and purchasing significant health and life insurance. They had the money, as it were, to pay for the excesses of the past 40 years. They were actually investing in healthcare rather then health; curative rather than preventative. So what is the new trend and why are today’s shakers and movers smarter than the boomers? It’s simple. They invest not only in financial terms but in their health and the health of their family. Not healthcare as a priority-health. The sheer quantum of gymnasiums and spas together with health retreats, globally, are an indication of this trend. In 2013, the European Commission published a paper on Investment in health, making the observation that health is a pre - requisite for sustained economic growth. (http://ec . e u r o p a . e u / h e a l t h / s t r a t e g y / d o c s / swd_investing_in_health.pdf) Governments and the corporate world must invest not only in healthcare and health insurance, but also in helping to provide healthy lifestyle choices for citizens and employees. • • • • • • •

A healthy workforce or population results in: Higher Productivity Less lost working days Less pressure on healthcare services Less pressure on social services More bottom line Free investment in care for the less well off

BusinessFocus July / Aug



All of which = Economic growth and as a result more governments and more businesses are investing in health because they see health as an asset. This asset can be nurtured by: • • • •

Educating people to make more routine visits to doctors and dentists and to always utilise the availability of screening tests. Providing Physical fitness facilities. Handling stress/Relaxation. Making sure employees have time off and take holidays. Advice and education on good diet & digestive health*

In essence there are two primary benefits and objectives for the individual. The first is to be able to live longer. The second is to live better. People are far more focused these days on the quality of life as they approach their senior years. The desire to live out one’s later life in reasonable health is a compelling reason for investment in one’s health. It is evident in the past decade that virtually every hotel, high street, community centre, sports club and educational institution have either added or enhanced fitness facilities ( including Yoga, meditation and Pilates) and all manner of restorative activities. In a few cases but not yet enough, the addition of a nutritionist handles the digestive health requirements. What we need to see is the corporate world to support this cause and to provide similar benefits. Larger concerns such as banks, insurance companies and larger corporations have no excuse for not providing these essential facilities and smaller businesses can use local gyms and spas to provide corporate memberships.

It all makes good cents. Dr Azmina Long has been in the dental profession for the past 37 years. She has worked with the Government of St Lucia in the Public Service from 1980 and also in the UK. She studied in the UK and in Texas where she earned her Master’s Degree in Public Health. She’s also a proud Rotarian. Michael Bryant is a marketing consultant and principle of “Altered Image”, providing e-marketing and e-commerce solutions for businesses in the Eastern Caribbean and the Middle East. Michael has lived in Saint Lucia for over 20 years but is originally from the UK.

events 2015

Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum, CHIEF 2-4 October, 2015, El Conquistador Resort, Puerto Rico CHIEF 2015 is offering the platform to learn expenditure reduction and enhance revenues in a new way. It offers innovative educational sessions lead by multi-industry experts, an interactive trade show showcasing the Caribbean’s best vendors, and engaging industry roundtables with one-on-one discussions with our knowledgeable panelists. Their educational tracks (Operations, Sales And Marketing, and Go Green & Improve Profitability) will cover the entire gamut of how to run your business in a more efficient and effective way. The interactive trade show floor will include live demonstrations and exclusive discounts on products and services provided only to CHIEF attendees. For further info:

FCCA 22nd Annual Cruise Conference & Trade Show 05 –09 October, 2015 at Cozumel, Mexico The annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year to meet with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is because of the unique forum provided by the Conference that nearly 1,000 cruise industry partners, including approximately 100 cruise executives, attend each year. For further info:

Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum CREF 2015 19-21 October 2015 at the Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe & Convention Center, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Regional policy is increasingly renewable-friendly, capital is available, the price of technology continues to fall – and the price of oil is trending upwards. As the largest and longest established renewables event in the Caribbean, CREF provides a compelling mixture of world-class content and superlative opportunities to meet all the key participants in this rapidly emerging renewables market. Whether you are a regional policy-maker or an international developer, a regional utility or a multilateral active in the Caribbean, CREF is a must-attend event, which will be co-hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic. For further info:

Caribbean Tourism Organization(CTO) - State of the Industry Conference 20-23 October, 2015 – World Trade Center – Willemstad, Curacao During two full days of passionate exchanges delegates at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) will exchange ideas with leading Caribbean and international tourism experts on a range of elements that are critical to the development and success of the sector in the region. This year’s conference will be held under the theme: ‘Realizing the Vision; Positioning Caribbean Tourism for Major Change’. For further info:

BusinessFocus July / Aug




Ms. Alana Mathurin has been appointed to the position of Marketing and Member Services Manager at Caribbean Electric Utilities Services Corporation (CARILEC). Ms. Mathurin holds a Bachelors Degree in Management from the University of Wales and is a Certified Business Professional in Marketing, a certification from the International Business Training Association in Dubai. Prior to joining CARILEC, Ms. Mathurin worked in the Maritime Sector, in the capacity of Marketing, Sales and Events Manager for IGY Rodney Bay Marina. She also served on the Yachting, Ferry and Cruise Subcommittee and Atlantic Rally for Cruisers committee of the Saint Lucia Tourism Board (SLTB). Ms. Mathurin’s specialization and experience in Customer Relationship Management, Mass Event Planning, Sales and Marketing, provides an ideal platform for the efficient and effective functioning of CARILEC’s Marketing and Member Service Department.

Christopher Elliott - General Manager, Sandals Halcyon Beach Hotel With over twenty years experience in Hotel and resort Management in Canada and the Caribbean, Sandals Halcyon Beach Hotel welcomes Christopher Elliott to its helm as General Manager. Elliott was previously the Hotel Manager at Sandals Grande Antigua and Sandals Regency LaToc. He has also held the position of General Manager of Sandals Carlyle in Montego Bay, Jamaica during his almost 10 years with the company. BusinessFocus July / Aug



Stephenson Charles - Pastry Chef, Sandals Regency LaToc St. Lucian Stephenson Charles has been appointed to the post of Pastry Chef at Sandals LaToc becoming the first native to hold the office in the company’s more 20-year history in the island. Charles’ appointment took effect from June 1.

Gale Jean Baptiste – Head of Human Resource, OECS Gale Jean-Baptiste is a strategic, commercially driven, senior Human Resource (HR) leader. During her 20 year career in HR, she has held several leadership positions within global organisations such as Yahoo! and British Petroleum, as well as several small to medium size businesses. She has a reputation for developing and managing high performing HR teams across Europe, the Middle East and the Americas and has spearheaded major HR initiatives driving significant change within multi-faceted corporations. Gale’s last assignment was Head of HR for Yahoo! Middle East where she spent 4 years integrating recently purchased into Yahoo’s global business. With HR responsibility for Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai she worked as part of the Yahoo! Middle East Leadership team to grow and exceed business results. Prior to this, she headed Talent Acquisition and its related HR Programmes, including Reward & Compensation, Talent Development and HR Business Partners across Europe. She managed a team of just over 30 employees across 9 counties.

Passionate about HR, Gale believes the success of any Organisation is dependent on the ability, skill and passion of its Leaders. With that in mind, she focuses on executive coaching and leadership development to transition Leadership Teams from delivering good results to delivering exceptional results. Gale obtained a fellowship to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development in 2005 and holds a Post Grad in Human Resources.

Donald Austin appointed as new CEO of Sagicor Life ( Eastern Caribbean), Mr. Donald Austin was appointed Chief Executive Officer, Sagicor Life (Eastern Caribbean) effective March 1st, 2015. Prior to this, Donald held several senior management roles with regional responsibility throughout his career. These have included Executive Vice President – Government, Legal & Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Communications at LIME and President of Cable and Wireless Barbados. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of LIME Grenada and LIME Dominica and a current Board Member of LIME Barbados, Sagicor Funds Incorporated and Sagicor Asset Management Inc. Donald holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Electronic Engineering from the University of Bristol and a Master of Business Administration from Manchester Business School. He is also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

MAJOR MOVES Ms. Theresa Daniel is a seasoned media and communication professional having worked throughout the region extensively. Ms. Daniel has worked as Senior News Editor of the leading newspaper- ‘The News’; with CDERA as Information and Communication Officer (Montserrat Evacuees Project); Communication Officer at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, attached to the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE); Communication Officer in the Department of Health in the British Virgin Islands; and as a Communication Consultant with the National HIV Project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, among numerous other assignments. As ECTEL’s first Corporate Relations and Communications Officer, Ms. Daniel is tasked with managing the corporate relations and communication portfolio of the only multi-state telecommunications regulator in the world. She holds a Diploma in Mass Communication and a BA (Honors) Degree from the University of the West Indies and an MSc in Social and Public Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Troubetzkoy elected next CHTA President The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), has elected Karolin Troubetzkoy as President-elect for the 2016-18 biennium. She will spend the next year working closely with current CHTA President Emil Lee before taking office in June 2016. Troubetzkoy currently is First

Vice President of CHTA, President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association and Executive Director, Marketing and Operations of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain Resorts in St. Lucia. Troubetzkoy was elected by acclamation at CHTA’s AGM which was held in conjunction with the annual “Taste of the Caribbean” culinary competition in Miami. Troubetzkoy has served as President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) since 2010 and is a Director of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and the Chairperson of the Tourist Board Marketing Committee, where she has been an active member for the past 20 years. Troubetzkoy is the Chairperson of CHTA’s Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and is also a Board member of the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC). Troubetzkoy has been spearheading the marketing and day-to-day operations of the award-winning Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts for more than 30 years. Troubetzkoy is a past recipient of CHTA’s Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Award (2012), St. Lucia Hotelier of the Year Award (2006) and Crystal Award for services to the hotel industry from the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association. She holds a degree in Business Administration with majors in both Tourism Marketing and Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, Germany.

Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina welcomes new Manager Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina, Saint Lucia is pleased to welcome Daniel Canas as the property’s new

General Manager. He joins the dynamic team at Capella from Garcha Boutique Hotels, where he was tasked with opening their first property in Chile. With more than 30 years of experience in the international luxury hospitality sector throughout Latin America, Asia and

the United States, Canas brings highlydeveloped skills in Customer Service, Quality Assurance and a passion for Food and Beverage Operations. Before joining the team at Capella, Canas spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry both in the U.S. and abroad, including Australia, Mexico and Singapore. His hotel experience encompasses successful tenures at a vast number of brands ranging from the Renaissance Hotel, Chile and also with the Intercontinental Hotels Group in Central America and Mexico. “The team at Capella Hotels and Resorts is eager to begin working with Daniel as he brings a vibrant approach and global vision to the property,” said Kit Pappas, Chief Operating Officer, Capella Hotel Group. “With proven success from his previous managerial roles we are certain that Daniel will be an asset to our already wellestablished team in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean.”

Paul Ash – General Manager, IGY Rodney Bay Marina Paul is delighted to join IGY as the new GM at Rodney Bay Marina after a successful career in the British Army. He is an operational logistician with a background in the port and maritime sector, distribution, HR and training. He served in the UK and Europe as well as the Near, Middle and Far East. Previous appointments include; strategic logistic planner in the UK Ministry of Defence, head of the UK’s only dedicated military port, Director of Logistics of a large multi-national operation, head of the UK’s Defence School of Transport (the largest training organisation of its type in the world) and head of the Army’s Reserve logistic organisation. Paul is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK and of the Chartered Management Institute UK.

BusinessFocus July / Aug






Alex Auto Parts Inc.

Retail of Auto Parts

Kaiser Alexander

Andrew Southertn Caribbean Consulting Ltd.

Technical Design Consultancy

Andrew Loren Southern

Autozone Ltd.

Servicing, Repairing of Vehicles and all Other Functions That a Garage Would Offer

Errol Charles

Believe Ltd.

Retail and Spa Services

Julia Elizabeth Leone

Bleux Inc.

Business Consultancy, Commercial Enterprises and Property Holding Company

Peter I.Foster, Alison Gajadhar

Butcher & Associates Inc.

Project Management & Consulting

Claudius Roger Vinter Butcher

Cap Estate Garden Weddings Inc.

Weddings, Business Function, Cocktails, Anniversary

Carole Louison, Priestley Louison

Caritel Communications Ltd.

Information & Communication Technologies

Edison Edward

Cashwise (St Lucia) Inc.

Financial Services

Mark Anthony Wilson

Cul De Sac Habour Pilotage Ltd.

To Provide Marine Pilot Services for Commerical Vessels

Clark C.Smith, Keith E. St. Clair

Daniel Investment and Development (D.I.D Ltd)

To Invest in Different Business Sectors in St. Lucia

Unatha Daniel, Michael Daniel, Denver Daniel, Fern Daniel, Anna Daniel

Excel Fashion Inc.

Sale of Shoes and Accessories; Sale of Furniture, Other Household Accessories

Zuber Ibrahim

G & J Brokers Ltd.

Brokerage & Associated Services

Genevieve St. Lucy, Jessica St. Lucy

Gafsons Investments (St.Lucia) Inc.

Real Estate Development, Property Sales and Management

Omar Feisal Sattaur Gafoor

Good Vibes Investments Ltd.

Real Estate Company

Parakeet Investments Limited

Greentec Ltd.

Selling Inputs for Farming and Farming Equipment

Hugues Vidril

Island Sounds Ltd.


Angus Christopher

Italian House Creativity Ltd.

Brokerage, Rent and or Sale of Apartments

Adrette Hippolyte, Ugo Favi

Kimw Inc.

Clothing Design & Food Establishment

Kim Noel, Rowald Derrick

Landings Resort Management Company Ltd.

Management Company

Phil Rider, Wes Hall, John Rittenhouse, Tony Moore, Ken Jaffa, Peter Devaux

Loco Lizard Inc.

Amusement Park and Children Games

Della Sylvrine Weaver, Kibwe Akin Weaver

Neira’s Kitchen Inc.

Catering Services and Food Manufacturing

Neira Richards

Number Nine Inc.

Photography, IT Consultancy

Joshua Vernor

Richfond Service Station Inc.

Retail of Petrol and Other Petrol Products Benedict Adjodha, Jennalyn Adjodha, Marcelline Adjodha

BusinessFocus July / Aug






Samuels Customs Services Inc.

Customs Brokerage Services

Naje Samuel

Solo Footwear Inc.

Sale of Shoes and Accessories; Sale of Furniture, Other Household Accessories

Rimoun Esber Issa

Summit Investment Holding Company Ltd.

All Types of Business, Not Banking & Insurance

Allison Cai, Adrian Uy, Stephen Uy

The Alumni Association of the Saint Lucia To Enhance and Maintain Links Among Seventh Day Adventist Academy Inc. Members of the Alumni and Between Alumni and the Saint Lucia Seventh Day Adventist Academy

Victor Maurice, Anselma Calderon, Rose Mary Desir

Trayvis (Saint Lucia) Ltd.

Property Development, Building Construction, Property Sales and Management

Philippe Ricardo Valbon

Tuscany Island Enterprises Ltd.

Clothing Accessories & Motor Vehicle Import

Osman Billoo

Twicebourne bullachee Ltd.

All types of Business Excepting Financing, Banking and Insurance

Anthony Francis, Thomas Francis, Anthony Florius

Veterinary Medical Centre (Saint Lucia) Ltd.

Veterinary Hospital, Clinical, Surgery, Nutrition and Diagnostic

George Joseph

Villa Joli Ltd.

Property Holding

Co. Direc. Ltd

Watts Up Inc.

Property Holding Company

Richard James Watts, Natalie Sarah Watts

Yello (St Lucia) Ltd.

Provide Internet, Electronic, Mobile and Print Directory Other Advertising Products and Services

Donald Randolph French, Mark Macfee

Zik Heavy Equipment & Aggregate Services Ltd.

Heavy Equipment Services, Sale of Aggregate material

Isaac Joseph, Shernel Joseph

BusinessFocus July / Aug





1st National Bank


Axcel Finance


Bank of St Lucia


Billy’s Cleaning Supplies


Carasco & Sons




Cool Breeze







Inside B

Dr. Azmina Long


EC Global Insurance


Ernst & Young


Fast Cash St Lucia Ltd




First Citizen’s Investment Services


Gentle Care


Guyana & Trinidad Mutual Ins


Harris Paints

Outside B

Island Style Tile and Bath



Inside F

Massy United insurance


National Water & Sewage Commission


New India Assurance




Poseidon Investment Ltd


Renee’s Construction


Royal Bank of Canada


Sagicor Life


Scotia Bank


Sentinel Security


Simpson Finance


St Lucia Civil Service Co-op Credit union Ltd


St Lucia Mortgage & Finance


St Lucia Motor & General Ins.


Travel & Leisure Centre Inc.




VIBE Electric


Windward & leeward Brewery

BusinessFocus July / Aug




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St. Lucia Business Focus 82  

Our special feature in this issue is the 10th Anniversary of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. which has grown into a regional powerho...

St. Lucia Business Focus 82  

Our special feature in this issue is the 10th Anniversary of First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. which has grown into a regional powerho...