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The bi-monthly magazine for decision makers No.48 • July/August 2013



An industry that continues to grow

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BF No. 48


DECEMBER 2010 JANUARY 2011 • Issue No. 35



Cover Story: Occasions Party Rentals The Evolution of Events


Editor’s Focus


Business Briefs

Business Tech



Environmental Focus


Antigua’s Reef To Ridge Project


World Environmental Day


Renewable Energy Meeting

Galvanises Support among SIDS

Health & Wellness


ILO Pilot Programme on

HIV and AIDS Launched


A Look into Social Media


MSJMC Receives High Marks for PAHO


LIME Selects Métier For Project

Vulnerability Assessment

Portfolio Management Solution


A Look into Smart Phones

Money Matters


IMF Completes Final Review Under The Stand-By Arrangemet


ECCB Review 2012/2013

Economy & Trade Focus


HAVANA - Preserving The Past, Looking To The Future


China’s President Calls For More Co-operation



WTO to Review Trade Policies of OECS


Member States in 2014



Barbuda’s Blue Halo Initiative

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BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013

Tourism Focus Bizz Buzz Events Page Major Moves New Company Registration


BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Regional Publications Ltd (RPL) in Antigua and Barbuda.

of services required to create a successful event. Indeed, this season is a most busy one for many of these stakeholders, some juggling as many as three events in one night, all running concurrently. The growing number of events, complete with its patrons attests to the growth of this niche industry within Antigua and Barbuda.

We often employ the term “the grand event” without fully digesting its depth. Indeed, with the evolution of culture, and of course technology, events in and of themselves have generated an industry of their own, with a network of niche professions growing in spite of a challenging economy. Whether a corporate function or a wedding, an event is no longer a simple affair with the idea being to create a production of sorts where the ambience is impressive, and the experience unforgettable. In order to achieve this, event planners are hired, venues are scouted, caterers screened, and equipment from lighting and sound equipment to tableware are rented. In essence a network of business takes place that is often overlooked by the attendee. Creating an industry where networking becomes two-fold and paramount to its success, varying stakeholders are able to profit from a single event. From a single event, stakeholders may include event planners, lighting and sound rental companies, complete with the personnel to operate such; the deejay; musicians and entertainers; caterers and service staff; companies that provide tableware and furniture; décor may stretch into local retailers making a profit from sales, including customs and other parties who stand to profit from the imports. In addition to the obvious stakeholders, there are others who are overlooked that profit nonetheless – the salon stylists and barbers; clothing and accessory retailers; and manicurists. Yes, all this business from a single event. As we celebrate the Carnival season, now inclusive of the evolved and more established pre-Carnival events, we recognise the surfeit 4|

BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013

Regional and international bodies, for example, can host festivals, events, corporate meetings and banquets on the island knowing the competence and availability of stakeholders to produce a high calibre event, on par with international events in other parts of the world. Another popular event that takes a chunk out of this industry is a wedding. In fact, even weddings and bridal affairs have evolved, with regional and international brides selecting Antigua and Barbuda for their special moments. Entire weddings have been coordinated without the bride so much as stepping foot on island thanks to the capable and professional wedding coordinators who are able to make the couple’s vision a reality. In this issue of Business Focus we acknowledge the investors in this industry who have assisted in keeping Antigua and Barbuda abreast of the event industry. We invite you to take a look at the various careers that have been borne out of such an industry, which continues to survive the challenges of the economy. We also take an in depth look at one of the leading party rental companies, Occasions Party Rentals Ltd., which provides just about any equipment needed for an event, and also exemplifies the importance of networking in such an industry as this.

Publisher: Lokesh Singh Editor: Lokesh Singh Graphic Designer: Deri Benjamin Advertising Sales: Gilda Alexander • Ann-Maria Marshall Evol Desouza • Shari Dickenson Cover Photography: byZIA photography Photography: byZIA photography Joseph Jones Johnny Jno Baptiste Editorial Contributors: Zahra Airall • Carel E. Hodge Gemma Handy • Arica Hill T. D. Pryce • Mark Browne Fayola Jardine • Marcella Andre-Georgés Regional Publications Ltd Bryson’s Office Complex, Friars Hill Road, P.O. Box 180, Suite #5A,St.John’s, Antigua

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 mail: E Website: Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialised fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication. On the Cover: Occasions Party Rentals The bi-monthly maga zine for decision mak ers No.48 • July/August 2013

In our pursuit to provide you with current trends in the business world Business Focus invites you to provide us with your feedback which is always welcome. Our apologies for the errors which appeared in our last edition and any inconvenience caused. We invite you to turn the pages and be informed and entertained as we offer you a variety of upbeat and current trends in the world of business. Do remember that the magazine is also available online at



An industry that continues to grow

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BusinessFocus • July/August 2013



A release by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at its Plenary session held in Oslo in June stated that it is not yet satisfied with progress made in Antigua and Barbuda. “Despite Antigua and Barbuda’s high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and CFATF to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, the FATF is not yet satisfied that Antigua and Barbuda has made sufficient progress in implementing its action plan, and certain strategic deficiencies remain. Antigua and Barbuda should continue to work on implementing its action plan to address these deficiencies, including by continuing to improve the overall supervisory framework. The FATF encourages Antigua and Barbuda to address its remaining deficiencies and continue the process of implementing its action plan.” A statement was issued by the Minister of Finance Hon. Harold Lovell addressing the release by the Financial Action Task Force on Antigua and Barbuda’s AML/CFT Action Plan Implementation. It stated that the FATF Sstatement was accompanied by the placement of Antigua and Barbuda on the dark grey list of countries that still have deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) programmes. This outcome is a consequence of Antigua and Barbuda not having fully completed the implementation of its AML/CFT action plan. Minister Lovell’s release went on to say that in February 2010, the FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) endorsed Antigua and Barbuda’s action plan, which included interventions intended to address all AML/CFT deficiencies and improve the country’s overall supervisory structure. However, a number of issues have prevented full implementation of the plan. 6|

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Thus, to date, eleven of the fourteen reforms countries and offer cable television, highhave been completed. speed Internet and telephony services. The three outstanding issues relate to the implementation of amendments to the Banking Act (which is a uniform piece of legislation in all the OECS States), establishment and entry into force of Guidelines for the Co-operatives Societies Act, and restructuring the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) to include enactment of stand-alone legislation for the entity.

With the completion of the transaction, Columbus’ retail operations now span eight countries across the region, pass more than 750,000 households and businesses and serve in excess of 550,000 retail customers, further strengthening the Company’s position as the leading triple play service provider in the Caribbean.


Minister Lovell’s statement outlined some of the reasons for the delay and reassured the public that “The Government remains committed to ensuring that Antigua and Barbuda continues to build a strong AML/ CFT regulatory regime for its financial sector. The Government is currently in the process of fully implementing its AML/CFT action plan as it paves the way for Antigua and Barbuda’s removal from the FATF listing LIAT has implemented a security surcharge by year end.” on tickets in response to rising security demands and spiralling security costs.


Columbus International Inc. (“Columbus” or the “Company”), a diversified telecommunications provider in the Caribbean, Central America and Andean region, has completed the previously announced acquisition of Kelcom International Limited and certain of its related companies (together “Kelcom”).

The new tax comes a month after the airline introduced and started flying the first of its new ATR airplanes. “This arrival... marks the first of seven such arrivals which will take place in 2013 and 2014, revolutionizing the LIAT service to the Caribbean and taking regional air transportation to another, higher level,” said Dr. Jean Holder, Chairman of LIAT as the plane landed in Antigua for the first time. The new security surcharge of US$1.25 per one way trip applies to all passengers, including children and infants, on all LIAT flights.

Heightened airline and airport security over the last 10 years has resulted in rising security demands on airlines. Additional security measures at many airports have Kelcom operates under the name Karib Cable been introduced including extra baggage and is the leading cable system operator in searches and increased security around St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and aircraft while on the ground. Antigua. The company also holds a host of telecom licenses in Barbados where it is in Over the past several years security the early stages of network deployment. Karib costs have been climbing and LIAT has Cable’s fiber-deep HFC cable systems pass been absorbing these costs in an effort to approximately 110,000 homes and employ cushion the effects on its customers. With 300 telecom professionals across the four the introduction of the security surcharge,


No. 40

LIAT hopes to recoup some of the additional security costs.

said the changeover will be seamless and will not disrupt services to clients.

The main objectives of the CAB-I (2013) are to:

The carrier says that it now joins more than 100 airlines worldwide which have introduced similar charges since 2001.

“This is an entirely amicable separation which will see us continuing to work closely together with our former colleagues to meet the needs of regional companies with operations in the OECS. The name over the door may have changed but our relationships and commitments have not,” he said.

• Make homeownership affordable by reducing construction costs by at least 15%

“Grant Thornton will continue to service clients to the highest quality standards. Our clients will continue to be serviced b y the partners and staff that they have come to know and depend upon and we will work closely with PwC, where appropriate, to serve those clients with regional connections.”

• Build confidence in the economy via government policy


Effective July 1, former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partners in St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Kitts have begun to operate under Grant Thornton International Ltd.

“We have been colleagues for many years and we will continue to work closely together, as appropriate, to serve clients within these islands,” Hatch said. “Uppermost in the minds of all parties was to ensure that our arrangements meet the needs of the key stakeholders- the local marketplace and those regional clients with local investments – as well as the practices themselves. All of us are confident that we have achieved that.” Charles Walwyn, managing partner of Grant Thornton practices in Antigua and St. Kitts,

• Create employment in the construction sector

Under the initiative, potential and existing homeowners/participants are entitled to government incentives, including zero ABST on all building materials procured locally as well as reduced rates from the local ROUND TWO FOR CONSTRUCT financial institutions, insurance companies, aggregate suppliers, architects, attorneys, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and contractors registered with the ABIA.


Marcus Hatch, territory senior partner of PwC East Caribbean in Barbados, stated that PwC in the Caribbean is currently engaged in a transformation of its business in response to the changes affecting businesses in the Caribbean and across the globe. “We have seven firms that are investing heavily to create one strong Caribbean network, supported by a common vision, and centralised systems and tools. The Barbados-based firm of PwC East Caribbean will be part of the new Caribbean network, but the St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts partners will not be joining and will instead pursue a future with Grant Thornton.” He noted that PwC’s clients will continue to be served under PwC’s standards.

• Stimulate economic activity

The programme applies to citizens, non-citizens, residents, non-residents. Noncitizens and non-residents can apply under the CAB-I (2013), however a copy of the NonCitizens Land Holding License must be submitted along with the standard documentation. All suppliers and service providers desirous of participating in the 2013 CAB Initiative must first register with the ABIA to be eligible for CAB-I (2013) benefits.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), has re-launched the successful Construct Antigua and Barbuda Initiative (CAB-I) 2013, beginning June 17, 2013 with March 31, 2014 the last date for applications.

The ABIA is positive that the re-launch of the programme will encourage more residents, non-residents and the Antiguans and Barbudans in the Diaspora to start home construction as soon as possible, and encourages all existing and potential stakeholders to participate.

CABI continues to be rooted in the principle of stimulating economic growth through increased construction and related activity. The 2011 Initiative was very effective in its overall goal to assist with jumpstarting national economic recovery. Over 311 applications for residential construction projects have been received and to date 258 applications approved, amounting to an estimated $ 130 million in applications.

BusinessFocus • July/August 2013




Part 1

SOCIAL? By Marcella André-Georges

When some people hear the term “Social Media” they think of people “wasting” time on Facebook, incessant pings or beeps on a hand held device, unspeakable hours spent watching videos on You Tube, and surprisingly for many in the Caribbean region quite a bit of confusion about the purpose of twitter. These ideas encapsulate only a tiny percentage of a percentage of what social media actually is and how its power can be successfully harnessed through its usage. Often it is touted that we are living in an age of technology and there is no turning back. This truth bears much consideration especially now as the real time benefits of social media have begun to upstage radio, television, newspapers and magazines. Today, you can literally connect with the world from the palm of your hand since any and everything can be accessed by devices that fit comfortably into one hand, a pocket, a handbag or knapsack. Social media is beginning to lose its position as traditional media’s busy and complicated cousin and it is earning its place right alongside mainstream Media. Blogs, Facebook updates and Twitter hashtags have become the go to source for news, opinions and information as it happens. These relatively cheap platforms with their amazing ability to cross all borders and break barriers is also what makes social media the marketing tool that is creating internet sensations, making obscure brands visible, and creating millionaires of ordinary people. Local and regional businesses still have not accepted, understood or taken advantage of the benefits that this vastly 8|

BusinessFocus • May/June 2013

expanding and changing suite of tools has to offer. As we move forward in this rapidly expanding universe fueled by a virtual world based in technology, it is important that you are clear on the meaning of “social media” A loose definition of the term would read; “Social media is the set of interactive platforms, sites and technologies that allow a high level of engagement, exposure, and content to be shared by and with a vast cross-section of people.” Usain Bolt’s speed is no match for the pace with which social media changes. While social media emerged initially as a way to be social through online platforms, it has now emerged as an excellent marketing tool that has allowed businesses to build their brand presence, attract new customers and engage their clients in a meaningful way. As a result of the growth in social media, an entire language consisting of key terms, concepts, names and the like have become commonplace. Banal words such as tags, feeds, threads, alerts, posts, links, have taken on new meaning, while terms such as ROI (return on investment) SEO (search engine optimization) B2B (Business to Business) B2C (Business to Client) hash tags, podcasts, RSS (really simple syndication), avatars, blogs, are now part of our vocabulary in social media discourse. Here are some interesting facts about the current state of Social Media culled from American thought leader and consultant on digital media and social media marketing Jeff Bullas from his site

• One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ( This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)

The report, in its 5th year of publication, contains 43 pages of facts, figures and comparisons as a result of a survey of 3000 people. Here are some of the findings.

• Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site

• 86% of marketers believe that social media is important for their business.

• More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices

• Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important tools for marketers, with 92% using Facebook as one of the elements in their marketing mix.

• YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011) • YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month (These YouTube stats don’t include videos viewed on phones and embedded in websites) • Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day • Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at 16 days. The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, published by the Michael A. Steltzer on his website “The Social Media Examiner” revealed a number of facts that should lead any business owner, entrepreneur, social organization or individual who has not yet maximized their potential on social media to take action now.

• 89% found that increased exposure was the top benefit of social media and this exposure was closely followed by increased traffic to the business. •Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs and YouTube were the top five platforms used with Facebook leading the pack. • You tube holds the top spot for future plans. In summary almost everyone you know is using one or several social media platforms and more people are beginning to focus on the science of what makes various platforms work so well and how they can put this knowledge to use. Unless your purpose for using social media is purely recreational, it is important to have a strategy that guides your presence online. To create and maintain an impact, it is


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important first of all to plan your social trajectory. Is it to drive sales, loyalty, retention and awareness? Knowing your purpose is important. What is your rationale? Choose selectively where you would like to make your presence felt. Currently it is estimated that there are over 500 social media sites in existence. Clearly most of them remain obscure and may eventually fade into non-existence. Go to where your people are. In practice most companies maintain a presence on three to up to eight sites; the most popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Another important aspect of building your social media brand is paying close attention to what your followers, readers and members are saying. With this interactive media, you have a direct link to the thoughts, concerns, suggestions and desires of those who you wish to target. This aspect is priceless in its possibilities. As with most goal setting techniques, you must also choose a parameter of evaluation. How will you know that your brand is

gaining acceptance and engagement from a wider audience? Is it through “likes” and follows? Is it through engagement on the page? Learn to listen to what your audience is saying. Create a plan and BE human. Social media is not about pitching out your brand in an automated and cold way, it is about engagement with people. In part two of Social Media, I’ll break down the platforms for you and provide insight that will lead you to decide where your time will be best spent. Have you gotten Social? If not, now is the time. This article brought to you by NiaComms. Purpose driven to achieve excellence. NiaComms is a purpose driven service business that is responsive to a clients’ expectations of competence and excellence; Their services include Specialized Training, Social and Traditional Media Marketing, Copywriting, Special Events, Meeting and Event Organisation, Hosting and Management.



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KingstOOn Showcases Talent in Animation LIME Selects Métier For Project Portfolio Management Solution

Leading Caribbean telecommunications company, LIME, took another step towards streamlining its operations through partnership with Project Portfolio Management firm, Métier - The PPM Company. LIME recently announced that it selected Métier to provide a centralised project portfolio management (PPM) solution for its Project Management Office (PMO) that will help the telecoms firm account for all projects and resources spread across the region. The telco is implementing Métier’s PPM-as-a-Service and PMO-as-a-Service offerings, while Métier’s PPM Central® software will serve as a centralised repository for data, enabling standardised reporting. By implementing PPM Central, LIME will gain enhanced visibility into its portfolio to optimise resource management and project collaboration. LIME will accelerate the benefits of PPM for its growing portfolio by leveraging Métier’s cloud consultancy, PMO Central®. “Implementing Métier’s technology and service is the right move for us here at LIME. We are confident it will enhance our ability to build, connect and serve our customers wherever they are in the Caribbean,” said Steve Fradella, LIME’s Vice President of the Program Management Office. “We manage all kinds of projects, doing anything from purchasing vehicles to building networks, in 13 countries. PPM Central provides us with an elite suite of management tools and metrics, enabling a more efficient workforce and greater visibility into our operations. This leads to continuous process improvement and greater value for the communities we serve,” he added. LIME is the Caribbean’s largest telecommunications company, delivering Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment services in fourteen Caribbean countries.

Jamaica opened its doors to the global animation industry through KingstOON, a two-day animation conference and festival held in June to promote job opportunities among talented youth and to position the island as the next animation hub. KingstOON, brings together international and Jamaican industry leaders, universities, businesses, Government officials, animation professionals and amateurs, students, and young dreamers with the aim of showcasing Jamaica’s growing crop of local animators and visual artists. Other regional territories such as St. Lucia also sent representatives to the event. As animation skills are transportable, any individual with animation skills can service clients globally from anywhere. Entertainment companies such as Disney Animation, Nickelodeon, and Sony Imageworks outsource the production phase of animation to countries such as India, Korea and the Philippines. According to industry data, to generate a 10-minute clip requires, on average, 120 people. Animation is not just about drawing, it includes a sound-track, voices, script, editing, storyboard development and production management. The first day of KingstOOn featured panel discussions and workshops on available opportunities in the industry. Day two will saw local and regional animators displaying their work in the industry and related fields, as well as the announcement of the winners in the KingstOOn Animation Competition in several categories, including Best Script and Storyboard, Best Experimental Animation, Best Character, and Best Final Animation Product. Some of the global leading companies in animation, including Toon Boom, Bento Box, the Shadow Gang, and A&S Animation, are participating as panellists, competition judges and trainers. KingstOOn is also attended by key colleges specialized in animation, including Sheridan College (Canada), Seneca College (Canada), and the Columbus College of Art and Design (US). KingstOON is an initiative of the Government of Jamaica, in partnership with the World Bank, the Government of Canada, JAMPRO, and Toon Boom Inc. The event is also organized in collaboration with leading Jamaican universities and training programs, including The University of Technology (UTECH), UWI, and The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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Let’s talk smartphones: Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, Nokia Lumia, HTC One, Nexus 4, Motorola RAZR i, Sony Xperia, and the list goes on. Purchasing a mobile handset is no longer as simple as casually visiting your local telecommunication provider to buy one. The emergence of the smartphone has resulted in a wide variety of mobile phone options that are sure to spin your head. As if the vastness of the selections isn’t enough to boggle your mind, manufacturers are also becoming increasingly clever at marketing their brand of smartphone very attractively. Even if you’re not in the market for a new mobile gadget, there are more than enough TV commercials and online ads to convince you that you’re missing out. On top of that, friends and family transform into smartphone marketing machines as they battle to convince you that the smartphone they’ve chosen for themselves is the best one. Then there’s the elephant in the room - acquiring a smartphone can cost you a small fortune. 12 |

BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

Take a deep breath and allow me to offer a few tips that will assist in parting the fog. Before attempting to choose a smartphone, do your research. Make a list of the specific mobile phone functionalities that are most important to you. In other words, what do you need your smartphone to do for you? You will require the basics such as text messaging, music, photos, e-mail and Internet access, which have become standard features for any smartphone. If you’re a business person, other basic needs will include scheduling and video conferencing apps such as Skype. But what about data storage - how much space do you need your smartphone to have? 8GB? 16GB? 32GB? If you’re big on entertainment media - music, video and games, your decision in this area is particularly important. Another issue concerns the battery life of your smartphone. Keep in mind that the more data you utilize, the faster your battery dies. How regularly do you charge your phone? Is it often that your battery life depletes while you’re without your

charger? If your answer is yes, then it will be quite important that you choose a smartphone with sufficient standby and talk time hours. A smartphone with power saving options is also a good idea. This feature minimizes power usage when your battery is low, thereby giving you some extra time to get to your charger. After taking care of the essentials, you can then get down to the fun stuff - apps and features. Remember, no two smartphones will have exactly the same kind or same number of features. Your task is to choose a smartphone that includes the features you covet the most. A word from the wise: The mobile phone industry is very competitive. Manufacturers release newer and smarter phones every few months. Trying to keep up with the latest technology will contribute a lot towards the head spinning we discussed earlier, in addition to burning a hole in your pocket. That’s our next item on our list of considerations - the price of a smartphone. And this is a biggie. Smartphones are generally expensive. Some run in the hundreds of EC dollars, while most of the latest and higher end ones run in the thousands. Also

consider that you will have to pay for the data plan you intend to use with your smartphone, whether it’s prepaid or postpaid. How much are you willing to spend? If you’re on a tight budget but interested in partaking in the joys of technological advancements in smartphones, don’t despair. There are a few albeit less popular but reliable brands such as BLU and Alcatel that you can choose from. There’s so much more we could talk about - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, location services, online backup, anti-virus software, file sharing, voice command, accessibility options and the list is almost endless. Alas, time and space do not permit, but the bottom line is this: educate yourself on what’s available and by a process of elimination choose the phone that’s right for you. Finally, another wise word: a smartphone is an investment. Be smart, and protect it with a reliable case. Fayola A. Jardine holds a degree in Information Technology and is a co-owner of Data Management Solutions Ltd. which is a software development company that specializes in payroll solutions.

BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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IMF Completes Final Review

Under The Stand-By Arrangement performance criterion on the central government budget expenditure arrears accumulation. The waiver was granted on the basis of the temporary and minor nature of the deviations from the programme’s objectives and the corrective measures undertaken by the authorities. After the expiration of the SBA, Antigua and Barbuda and the IMF will continue to maintain a constructive policy dialogue. In accordance with Fund policy, Post Program Monitoring (PPM) will now be initiated. The 36-month SBA was approved on June 7, 2010 for an original amount of total access equivalent to SDR 81 million (about US$121.9 million).

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has completed the tenth and final review of Antigua and Barbuda’s economic performance under a programme supported by a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The completion of the review enables the immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 16.875 million (about $25.4 million). This is the last review under the SBA, which expired on June 6. Government officials have said owing to strong implementation by the authorities, the Fund-supported programme has been successfully completed. The government reports that the aims of the programme were largely achieved despite considerable challenges. The fiscal deficit dropped from 18 percent of GDP in 2009 to just over 1 percent in 2012. Fiscal adjustment and debt restructuring have put the debt ratio on a downward path with the debt ratio dropping from 102.5 percent of GDP in 2009 to 89 percent of GDP at the end of 2012. Additionally, the economic recovery is picking up speed with improvements in the tourism and construction sectors. Much of the adjustment under the programme has come from cuts in public spending and investment, while tax revenue targets for 2013 have been met largely through one-off payments of back taxes. Another risk looms in the expiration of debt relief and upcoming payments due to foreign creditors. Further improvements in the collection of tax revenues are necessary to allow the authorities to meet their targets and while making needed public investment. In particular, the elimination of tax exemptions and a broadening of the tax base could help. In completing the review the Executive Board approved the authorities’ request for a waiver of nonobservance of the 14 |

BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

Following the Executive Board’s discussion, Ms. Nemat Shafik, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated: “The recovery in Antigua and Barbuda is starting to take hold, with tourism and construction returning to pre-crisis levels. Nevertheless, risks to the macroeconomic outlook remain, given the dependence on imports and tourism from advanced markets, and vulnerability to natural disasters. “The authorities’ have successfully implemented their programme, supported by a Stand-By Arrangement, under very challenging circumstances, and the economy is now better positioned for a robust recovery. Fiscal consolidation and debt restructuring have reduced the debt ratio and arrears, while structural reforms have improved revenue administration and public financial management. The strong first quarter fiscal performance puts public finances in a good position to achieve 2013 targets, consistent with the goal of reducing the debt ratio to 60 percent of GDP by 2020. “Fiscal consolidation continues to be achieved largely through expenditure contraction, at the expense of public investment, jeopardising the sustainability of further adjustment. Contingent liabilities and rising external financing needs in 2014 and beyond may also require additional adjustment. In light of these challenges, continued efforts are needed to improve revenue administration, rationalise tax expenditures and move forward with civil service reform. “The resolution of Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank (ABIB) is now expected by end-June 2013. This will be critical for sustaining confidence in the banking system, and will release resources to advance reforms in banking supervision, regulation and the consolidation of the indigenous banks. The government has taken important steps to operationalise the asset management company to take over the residual assets from ABIB’s resolution. “Antigua and Barbuda will continue its close policy dialogue with the Fund under the post-programme monitoring framework.”

The Caribbean Investment Forum 2013

The third annual Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) 2013 was held in Trinidad in June. CIF is attended by chairpersons, board members, chief executives, managing directors and chief financial officers of leading global companies, heads of governments, ministers, and regional and international business investors. The third annual Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) 2013 builds on the success of CIF 2012, with an even more exciting cast of regional and international speakers discussing Caribbean investment opportunities. Last year’s forum brought together more than 500 business people and government ministers for two days of high level talks and information sharing.

The convention celebrated its 14th anniversary this year. TIC is sponsored by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, First Citizens and the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago. CIF 2013 is presented by invesTT, Trinidad and Tobago’s investment promotion agency, whose mission is to significantly and sustainably grow the nation’s non-oil and gas sectors.

Government of Antigua And Barbuda Treasury Bill Auction

This year, the CIF offered participants the chance to hear from more than 100 local, regional and international speakers and panellists, with unparalleled networking opportunities to meet and discuss new business and investment prospects. Plenary sessions focused on critical issues such as entrepreneurship and innovation, while parallel sessions focused on key investment industries in the Caribbean, including: maritime, agribusiness, creative industries and tourism. Attendees had the opportunity to network and discover new business and investment prospects. They also learned about emerging market trends in the Caribbean and the Americas, heard success stories and learned about current business developments and new approaches Latin American buyer attendance at The Trade & Investment Convention was also on the upswing for 2013, as Argentina, Brazil and the Dominican Republic brought delegations from leading businesses from their countries to conduct trade on the showroom floor. Buyers, (businesses seeking suppliers of goods and services from exhibitors on the tradeshow floor), were also registered from Poland, Panama, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Belize, Canada, the United States of America, Curaçao, the UK, Saint Maarten, Peru, Venezuela and as far afield as the United Arab Emirates. Representatives from these countries included distributors, exporters, importers, manufacturers and service providers interested in several local sectors such as agriculture, construction, energy, paper and printing, packing and labelling and food and beverage. According to Anthony Aboud, executive chairman of TIC, “TIC has always received tremendous support from our local manufacturers and businesses and so it is even more rewarding to know our foreign counterparts understand that for anyone serious about doing business in T&T, TIC is the place to be.”

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda issued its second security on the RGSM for 2013 of Ten Million Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$10m) on June 27, 2013. The 365-day Treasury Bill is being auctioned on the Regional Government Securities Market using the primary market platform of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE). In the event there is an oversubscription in the T-bill issue, the GoAB is willing to accept up to an additional Five Million Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$5m) of the oversubscribed amount. The T-bill is being issued to assist with the government’s shortterm cash flow management requirements. The lead broker for the issue is First Citizens Investment Services Ltd. St. Lucia. A competitive uniform price auction methodology will be used with an offer rate of 6.5 per cent. BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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ECCB Review 2012/2013 The Honourable Sir K Dwight Venner presented a review of the performance of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) for the 2012/2013 Financial Year on Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 8 p.m. on radio and television stations throughout the eight ECCB member countries.

Within this context, the ECCB concentrated its efforts in the following areas over the course of the financial year: • Financial Stability;

The presentation was designed to inform citizens of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) about the policies, programmes and activities the Bank undertook and facilitated in the reporting year in fulfilling its mandate of maintaining the stability of the EC Dollar and the integrity of the ECCU financial system. The presentation focused on the significant economic and financial issues that affect the everyday lives of ECCU citizens.

• The development of Money and Capital Markets;

Below is an excerpt of Sir Dwight’s presentation. In keeping with the transparency and accountability requirements of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), as set out in the ECCB Agreement of 1983, I am pleased to report to you on the Bank’s performance for the financial year ended 31 March 2013. This has been a very challenging year, as we are now into the fifth year of feeling the impact of the global crisis which began in the last quarter of 2007. The effects on growth, employment, government revenues and the debt of member countries have been marked and have dramatically illustrated the openness and vulnerability of our very small economies. In light of these challenges, the Monetary Council, under its own mandate and in collaboration with the OECS Authority through the joint committee of both institutions, has responded to these circumstances through three fundamental approaches: 1. An OECS Economic Union; 2. The ECCU Eight Point Stabilisation and Growth Programme; and 3. The introduction of a work programme coordination initiative. These initiatives are the critical responses to the structural factors of very small size, openness and extreme vulnerability of the ECCU economy. The Monetary Council has recognised that the long term trends of the economies towards low growth, which has been exacerbated by the global crisis, must be arrested and a new broader based economy must be constructed within the single economic and financial space, created by the OECS Economic Union Treaty. 16 |

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• Monetary Stability;

• The provision of technical assistance and support in the areas of fiscal and debt management; and •

The facilitation of the balanced growth and development of the member countries as set out in Article 4(4) of the ECCB Agreement.

FINANCIAL STABILITY In the area of financial stability, the Bank paid particular attention to the safety and soundness of the banking system which had been seriously affected by the global crisis. There was a significant increase in non-performing loans and a reduction in the earnings of the banking system. In response, the ECCB has increased the number of bank supervisors and intensified the supervision and regulation of the banking sector. The objective has been to stabilise and consolidate the sector as set out in Point 7 of the ECCU Eight Point Stabilisation and Growth Programme. The Bank has been assisted tremendously by the work of a Task Force, which included the ECCB, the Ministries of Finance, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Bank. Following a comprehensive diagnosis of the entire financial system, the Monetary Council approved a Resolution Strategy, which is now being implemented with technical assistance from the IMF and the World Bank. This initiative is being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The objectives of the Resolution Strategy are to stabilise and to consolidate the financial sector through: the creation of a single financial space and the consolidation of the regulatory authorities, the banking sector, and the insurance sector in the space.

Four new institutions will be established to implement this programme:

and Development. It also participated in the Caribbean Growth Forum, a World Bank initiative.

1. The Resolution Trust Corporation;

The Bank specifically addressed private sector issues with its involvement in the establishment of an OECS Business Council, a representative body for all private sector interests in the currency union.

2. An Eastern Caribbean Stabilisation Fund; 3. An Eastern Caribbean Deposit Insurance Corporation; and 4. An Eastern Caribbean Credit Bureau. The very important and systemic task of resolving the CLICO/ BAICO collapse continued with the work of the Core Committee on Insurance guided by the Monetary Council Ministerial Subcommittee on Insurance. Substantial progress has been made with respect to restoring the value of the traditional insurance policies and policy holders have received substantial pay-outs over the year.

MONETARY STABILITY Monetary stability has been maintained as illustrated by the continued strength of the currency. This can be ascertained by the following key indicators: •

The backing ratio which has averaged 96.0 per cent over the last financial year, substantially in excess of the legal limit of 60.0 per cent;

The Real Effective Exchange Rate which is within the boundaries set out by the Bank;

The import cover ratio which averaged five months and was in excess of the IMF’s benchmark of three months;

The inflation rate has remained within the low single digit rate; and

The levels of liquidity in the banking system have been fairly high.

MONEY AND CAPITAL MARKET DEVELOPMENT In the area of money and capital market development, the highlight has been the performance of the Regional Governments Securities Market (RGSM) on which six of the eight ECCU member governments are issuing regularly at favourable rates. With respect to debt management the ECCB continues to provide technical assistance to member governments through funding from CIDA.

FACILITATION OF GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT In keeping with its mandate to facilitate growth and development, the Bank addressed the broad macro-economic and strategic issues through the work of the Task Force on Growth, Debt

The Bank has also advocated a three-pronged approach to stimulating and sustaining increased growth rates over the short to medium term. These include: 1. An externally funded stimulus and social safety net programme for increased growth and employment; 2. The development of a lead transformational sector with the capacity to put the economy on a path to sustained growth and development; and 3. A cluster of major projects at the national and regional levels to lay the foundation for broad based, diversified and internationally competitive economies. The projects will cover: • Transportation; • Energy; • Environment; • Education and Skills Training; • Research and Development; • Information Technology; and • Governance.

ECCB’S FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE With respect to the financial performance of the ECCB, the Bank realised a profit of $5.2m compared with $11.7m in the previous year. As at 31 March 2013, the Bank’s total assets stood at $3.7b, an increase of $395.6m, when compared to the position last year.

INTERNAL RESTRUCTURING In its thrust to strengthen capacity and increase efficiency, the Bank is sharpening its focus on: • Leadership and Management; • Staff Training; • Procurement; • Upgrading its Information Technology Systems; • Creating a Statistical Data Warehouse; and • Strengthening its Policy and institutional Framework to fit the new Economic Union Environment. Conclusion Our success within the near and medium term will depend on the urgent completion of the OECS Economic Union project and the collective and collaborative approach to our challenges by all of our citizens. BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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HAVANA Picturesque Morro Castle affords excellent views of the city

PRESERVING THE PAST, LOOKING TO THE FUTURE As frosty relations between the US and Cuba continue to thaw allowing American tourists greater freedom to travel to the Caribbean’s largest island, fears have abounded that Antigua and Barbuda could lose out on visitors from its largest source market. Others say any move which lures more holidaymakers to the region is a coup for all. Gemma Handy spent 10 days in Cuba’s cosmopolitan capital city to sample what this intriguing isle has to offer. Standing atop a seawall halfway down the Malecon, a four-mile esplanade which hugs Havana’s

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coastline, a fisherman in cobalt blueby pants Gemma gyrates Handy his hips to an imaginary salsa beat. Here in this effulgent city of anachronisms, music is everywhere. It pulsates from bars, restaurants, homes and offices, permeates walls, floods supermarkets, and infects all it meets with its irresistible pump. Watching the shimmying angler, with a beam as big as Baltimore, it’s impossible not to wonder: Are Cubans born with rhythm in their feet? But while the island’s world-famous music is a pervasive theme, it’s just a morsel of what this cosmopolitan capital has to offer.

Today more tourists than ever are flocking to what has become one of the region’s hippest hotspots, keen for a glimpse of this once covert nation, characterised by coup d’etats, revolutionary heroes, socialism, cigars and stigma. And as frosty relations between Cuba and the United States continue to thaw, allowing American holidaymakers greater freedom to travel to the Caribbean’s largest island, fears have abounded that small economies like Antigua could lose out on visitors from its largest source market. Others believe that ongoing reform in Cuba itself will open the floodgates for vacation-starved Cuban tourists here – and boost interregional investment to boot. One thing is for sure. The Communist republic boasts a unique tourism product, quite unlike any offered by its Caribbean neighbours. While some may lambast Cuba’s authoritarian regime, it can be credited with a low crime rate, litter-free streets, and vehicles driven as sedately as a road safety advertisement. Economic hardship in the 1990s, precipitated by the collapse of Soviet assistance, means the island’s quintessential classic autos are ubiquitous.

of all races hold hands, share jokes, homes and lives. Political slogans daubed on decaying walls and billboards are abundant – ‘Gracias Che’ shouts one, ‘Defendiend el Socialismo’ entreats another. At Plaza de la Cathedral, the cathedral itself is something to behold. In front of it, a trio of locals in garish national costume smoke cigars the size of cucumbers. Here in the pedestrianised tourist hub the buildings appear as distressed as in the outskirts, but purposefully so. And indeed, millions are being spent on achieving just that – without the risk of impromptu crumbling. Rebuilding works have reduced some areas to rubble-strewn walkways, girdled with deep trenches, which you enter at your peril. Windows are adorned with vibrantly painted shutters, flashes of colour complementing crimson bougainvillea. Around the corner in Obispo, copious book stalls are testament to Cuba’s highly educated populace. One sells copies of early 1960s ‘Revolucion’ newspapers depicting everything from a triumphant Fidel to a provocative Marilyn Monroe to grotesque images of a South African massacre.

The downside to Cuba’s quintessential classic cars is the pollution which pumps unfettered from exhausts.

Car parks are reminiscent of 1950s drive in movies. The drawback is the pollution. Noxious black fumes which pump unfettered from Buicks, Cadillacs and Pontiacs are the downside to this charming nod to yesteryear.

Sculptures by eminent Cuban artist Jose Fuster have created a mosaic city cute enough to eat.

Among the eclectic collection of literature, battered paperbacks predictably tell the story of Fidel and Che Guevara, intermingled with Plato’s Republic, Danielle Steel novels, Robert Browning poetry and Arthur Miller plays.

Along the length of the Malecon, couples congregate, laugh against the sinking sun, and canoodle. Homosexuality is prevalent and tolerated. Come nightfall, the numbers of loitering pedestrians soar.

A peek through a stack of old vinyl 33s reveals Silvio Rodriguez and Fred Astaire. This beguiling motley market, laid out atop wooden cobbled streets, is a veritable browser’s paradise.

On a balmy day like today, skirts are short, hips sway and smiles are aplenty. The streets are fun, flirtatious, alive. And the people on them as diverse as the island itself – passersby

On a nearby street corner a clown flirts with a young girl in a purple dress. Opposite, shoppers emerge from the Museo del Chocolate clutching small boxes, their sheepish grins giving away the sugary contents of their purchases. BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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Cuba’s rigorous reforestation programme means more than 25 per cent of its terrain is now covered by woodland

Small girls, budding salsa dancers flanked by parental guardians, emerge from a doorway, their black satin dresses teased by the wind as they make their way through sundrenched streets enveloped by historic buildings in hues of dusky pink, cheddar yellow, creams and pastel lime. Cubanstyle salsa, also known as ‘casino’, remains an integral part of popular culture. Casa de la Musica, in the district of Miramar, is a prime spot to catch a performance by the country’s hottest dancers – before testing one’s own skills on the dancefloor later on. This year up to three million foreign tourists are expected to visit Cuba, thousands of them Americans on US governmentapproved licences. And for many, no trip would be complete without paying homage to the legendary Buena Vista Social Club musicians. A handful of surviving members still take to the stage every night at some of the world-famous act’s former haunts. Café Taberna puts on an exhilarating, goosebumpinducing show every night of the week. The enthusiasticallypoured mojitos means it usually culminates in an infectious mass conga, comprised of musicians, tourists, even giggling waitresses and chefs, still in their white hat and checks. In central Havana, restaurants are two a penny and choices today far less sparse than a decade ago. Cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean influences. Staples include stew, beans and rice, yucca root, and plantain. Inside numerous bars and hang-out joints, men cheers noisily to the ‘revolucion’ before swigging. Museums like the Museo de la Revolucion are a tangible testament to Cuba’s proud past. Exhibits range from shot-down US spy crafts, to a bullet-ridden wartime Land Rover driven by Fidel Castro, to an armoured vehicle fashioned from a tractor by villagers for use by Che’s troops. The streets are animated, vibrant, proud. But in Parque Central they reveal a darker side too. Beggars are everywhere. Is this because Castro’s Communism doesn’t in fact cater to all, or because human beings are, by nature, opportunistic and Parque Central is a tourist magnet? An A-board in a side street invites passersby to a performance of Bellini’s opera. I go up a wide staircase and through a double door at the top, expecting it to open into a grand theatre. It does not. Two-thirds of a modest airy room is taken up with chairs facing a peeling grand piano. The dusty windows vibrate from the traffic outside. Brown curtains are held in place with nails. In Havana, the arts are as much a part of life as black beans and cigars, thanks to the Communist ethos of keeping prices low to make them accessible to all. There is no podium and no microphone. But the room’s 20 |

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powerful acoustics quickly reveal modern technology to be redundant. The hour-long show comprises a series of solos and duets, the anguished facial expressions as striking as the performers’ vocal dexterity. Eyes are surreptitiously wiped. A bus rattles past outside but does nothing to disrupt the reverie inside our operatic cocoon. At the end of each ode to love lost or unrequited, a heart spurned and broken, there is thunderous applause. The finale prompts a standing ovation. And a feeling of having shared something very intimate, as if we are no longer strangers, united in this room where magic was made. A short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, treelined streets give way to behemoth mansions and sprawling Embassy buildings. Welcome to the Hollywood of Havana. First stop is a visit to the home of Jose Rodriguez Fuster, one of Cuba’s most popular artists. Here, Fuster’s signature childlike depictions in bright, primary colours have formed a mosaic city cute enough to eat. It’s like stepping into an Enid Blyton book. His fluid style and Cubist-like way of incorporating a profile into a full-faced figure have earned him the nickname, the ‘Picasso of the Caribbean’. Happily, the neighbours – including the community’s hospital - have not been left out of this orgy of glee; throngs of equally gailyadorned homes line the streets outside. In and around this enchanting city, every corner conceals a wonder. Grinning in the back seat of a lovingly preserved Chrysler, we come across a forest of colours so green they take one’s breath away. Curtains of leaves from baobab trees sweep the ground in every shade from lime to black, like verdant ghosts. It’s as if Mother Nature has hung her laundry out to dry on the banks of the Almendares River. Cuba’s rigorous reforestation programme means more than 25 per cent of its terrain is now covered by woodland. On the drive back to the airport after 10 astonishing days in this city of marvels, more roadside political slogans implore Cubans to defend ‘socialismo’. These now appear less to do with politics than maintaining Cuba’s ‘Cuba-ness’. In the early morning light, people are packed like sardines on public buses heading off to another day’s work. Many may speculate as to what the future holds for Cuba once its ailing revolutionary former leader is no more. But for now, while an aura of uncertainty is apparent, most of its inhabitants appear insouciant and largely buoyant. As we chug up the freeway in a scarlet 1950s Buick, another billboard simply states, ‘Te amo esta isla’ - ‘I love this island’. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. The streets are majestic, poignant and blossoming with hope.

The perfect setting at the Trade Winds Hotel, Dickenson Bay on the popular north coast. Serving international and regional cuisine on the terrace overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Breakfast and lunch are uniquely served all day without time limit. Open daily and continuously from 7am until 11pm. Romantic dining atmosphere and first class cuisine. This cosy restaurant is available for private functions and conferences. Reservations Tel: 462-1223 Trade Winds Hotel Dickenson Bay

BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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ACCREDITATION: F a c i l i t a t i n g W o r l d Tr a d e

In June the Antigua and Bureau of Standards (ABBS) joined with the ILAC, IAF and other accreditation and standards institutions in recognising World Accreditation Day (WAD) 2013 under the theme “ Accreditation: Facilitating World Trade”. A Joint Statement from ILAC and IAF Chairs Peter Unger and Randy Dougherty stated that this year the focus was on the important role accreditation plays in facilitating trade around the world, both within and across national borders. The Joint Statement continued: Nowadays, globalisation means that most of us enjoy and rely on a vast number and range of products and services supplied from overseas. International trade represents a significant share of the gross domestic product of most countries — latest figures from the World Trade Organization (for 2011) put the dollar value of world merchandise trade at $18.2 trillion and the value of world commercial services exports at $4.1 trillion. At the same time, all countries and all market sectors have seen an increase in the number of voluntary and mandatory technical regulations, standards, testing, inspection and certification procedures. Generally, these are introduced to meet the legitimate requirements of quality and safety that consumers, businesses, regulators and other organisations demand of goods and services, whatever their country of origin. It is vital, not only for individuals and organisations but for national and international economic health, that products and services can cross borders to meet global demand without causing undue risk to the health and security of individuals or the environment But in these challenging economic conditions it is also vital that these same regulations and standards - which can vary from country to country - are not prohibitively costly or burdensome to businesses and that they do not represent technical barriers that prevent access to domestic markets or export opportunities.

inspection, and calibration. It does this through a process of transparent and impartial evaluation against internationally recognised standards and other requirements. Businesses that supply or receive accredited conformity assessment results can show credible evidence of conformance with international standards which can be used to distinguish them from their competitors. Indeed, an increasing number of organisations, in both the public and private sectors are specifying accredited testing, inspection or certification as a precondition to tendering for contracts. In addition to increasing potential markets, accredited conformity assessment can save businesses time and money in other ways. For example, by providing a basis on which they can make efficient and informed choices about suppliers, allowing them more time to concentrate on business development. Furthermore, as accreditation is recognised internationally, it can open doors abroad equally as well as those in the domestic market. The primary purpose of both IAF and ILAC is to establish multilateral arrangements between their member accreditation bodies based on mutual evaluation and acceptance of each other’s accreditation systems. These arrangements enhance the acceptance of products and services across national borders by removing the need for them to undergo additional tests, inspections or certification at each country of entry. This helps to reduce bureaucracy and the costs to businesses and contributes to operational efficiency. Accreditation therefore acts as catalyst to national economies in two ways--by helping domestic companies pitch for business abroad and by promoting confidence in imports from other countries.

Accredited conformity assessment is one tool that is helping businesses not only to comply efficiently and effectively with regulations and standards but also to gain competitive advantage from doing so and to expand into new markets, including those overseas.

The multilateral arrangements also provide governments and regulators with an internationally recognised stamp of approval to demonstrate compliance with standards and other requirements. With confidence in the conformity assessment process underpinned by accreditation, standards can be used to support a lighter touch approach to regulation, which in turn means that businesses spend less time tied up with bureaucracy.

Operating in the public interest across all market sectors, accreditation determines the technical competence, reliability and integrity of conformity assessment bodies, which are organisations that check conformity and compliance with standards and regulations through testing, verification,

Major events, press campaigns, workshops and seminars will take place in conjunction with the celebration of World Accreditation Day in over 90 countries to raise awareness of the value that accreditation plays in supporting global trade. For further details, contact your local accreditation office.

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MORE COOPERATION Between China And The Caribbean

China’s President Xi Jinping has called on China and Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean to push bilateral friendly cooperation to a higher level. “Antigua and Barbuda is an important cooperative partner of China in the Caribbean,” Xi said during talks with Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, adding his country appreciates Antigua and Barbuda’s precious support on issues concerning China’s core interests. The Chinese president said this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Antigua and Barbuda, and called on the two countries to use the occasion to seek even closer cooperation. Noting Antigua and Barbuda will hold the rotating chair of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, Xi said China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the Caribbean country. Xi said China values the cooperation proposals put forward by Antigua and Barbuda related to people’s livelihoods and tourism, and is ready to exchange with the Caribbean nation and learn from each other on environmental protection and ecological conservation. Xi was on a trip to the Caribbean arriving in Trinidad and Tobago for a three-day state visit, the first by a Chinese head of state since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1974. During his stay in Trinidad and Tobago, Xi met with a host of leaders of the Caribbean countries. 24 |

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Besides Antigua and Barbuda, Xi held talks with leaders of other Caribbean countries having diplomatic ties with China, including Barbados, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname and Jamaica. Spencer, for his part, said Xi’s visit to the Caribbean is of historical significance to the development of ties between the region and China. The Antiguan leader thanked China for its precious aid to his country and lauded the Asian nation for its efforts to develop relations with Antigua and Barbuda on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. PM Spencer expressed hope the two countries can strengthen cooperation on economy, trade, culture, and multilateral issues. He added his country wishes that China realises the Chinese dream as soon as possible, saying China’s development will bring opportunities for his country and the Caribbean. Following talks Xi held with Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, on expanding bilateral cooperation, the two countries signed several cooperation deals. The Chinese president also met with the parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, calling for legislative exchanges between the two countries. After leaving the Caribbean, Xi travelled to Costa Rica and Mexico for state visits, then on to the U.S. state of California for a summit with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.

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to Review Trade Policies of OECS Member States in 2014 OECS Member States are to undergo a review of their trade policies by the World Trade Orgainsation(WTO) in June 2014 and their preparation for this is being boosted by assistance from the OECS Secretariat’s Geneva Technical Mission and its Trade Policy Unit. Programme Officer at the OECS Secretariat Alicia Stephen says the trade policies of the OECS Member States are reviewed by the World Trade Organisation every six years: “The assistance that we give to the Member States helps to co-ordinate their participation because the review process

involves extensive data collection on trade policy, trade performance and it goes through a range of issues such as standards, health and food safety, competition policy, price control, investment , sector policy, tariffs, non tariff measures etc. So we assist the member states by helping them to gather all this information as well as mobilising resources and accessing technical assistance so they can provide the information and participate in the drafting of the final report which is the review of their trade policy.” The Trade Policy review for OECS Members States is one of the requirements of the WTO membership and is meant to assess the compliance of countries with WTO rules and integration in the multilateral trading system. The last review was conducted in 2007. Stephens spoke to the OECS News Link about the benefits of such a review to the OECS Member States: “The good thing about the review is that it is not the basis for any sort of action to be taken against Member States if they do not comply. What the review does for our Member States is that it gives them an assessment of where they are in terms of their ability to implement the commitments that are set out when they signed on the WTO and it also gives them a global view of their Trade Performance not just in terms of figures but in terms of the reforms they have undertaken since their last review. The review also looks at emerging issues such as competition policy and trade facilitation which are not yet within the ambit of the WTO but is there to signal to the Member States in a certain way what their state of preparedness is to engage in those other issues. It also reviews specific sectors that are important to the OECS Member States such as Tourism, Agriculture and Manufacturing Services, and assesses what the policy environment is for businesses within those sectors.” The OECS Trade Policy Unit says each OECS Member State is required to prepare a statement on its trade policies. The OECS Secretariat also prepares a regional trade policy report while the WTO prepares a statement on each member state’s policies as well as the OECS trade policy. To date, member states have identified focal points for the review and have begun collecting data for the country statements.

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BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013


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The Barbuda Halo initiative, a project spearheaded by Ted Waitt and Dr. Ayana Johnson of the Waitt Foundation is designed to comprehensively zone Barbuda’s fisheries industry and foster its sustainable management resulting in more and bigger lobster, conch and fish, healthier ecosystems, improved fishing catches, and strengthened ocean-based livelihoods. The Barbuda Blue Halo initiative is a comprehensive ocean zoning project launched in collaboration with local government and the Waitt Foundation with a goal of sustainable management.

The Blue Halo Concept: Comprehensive ocean zoning and sustainable management of fisheries that: 28 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 28 July /August 2013 2013

1. Is based on the best available scientific, social, and economic data, 2. Heavily engages the community in the planning process, 3. Minimises impact on fishing livelihoods, and 4. Includes sanctuary zones (no fishing) to conserve fish populations and habitats.

Project Goal: Manage ocean resources sustainably, resulting in more and bigger lobster, conch and fish, healthier ecosystems, improved fishing catches, and strengthened ocean-based livelihoods.

Approach: Develop zoning, implementation, monitoring, financing, and enforcement plans for the waters within 1 league (3.45 miles) of shore that are under jurisdiction of the Barbuda Council. Potential zone types could include: various types of fishing, fish sanctuaries, scuba diving, shipping lanes, aquaculture, boat moorings, and offshore energy production.

Focal species: lobster, conch and fish that are targeted for commercial and cultural use. Focal habitats: those that support focal species: coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses.

Collaborating Partners: - Barbuda Council - Codrington Lagoon National Park

Potential Outcomes:

- Barbuda Fisheries Department

Accommodate a variety of activities, while supporting ecological integrity and productivity;

- Local community (including fishermen, exporters, tourism operators, and the public)

Demonstrate a commitment to sustainable resource use, thereby building an international reputation as a leader in ocean management and as a premier eco-tourism destination;

- Scientific and legal researchers

Address problems of illegal fishing by foreign nations;


Ensure sustainable fishing for future generations of Barbudans.

Planning phase Jan - Dec 2013. Implementation to begin Jan 2014.

- Waitt Foundation

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A N T I G U A ’ S


To get an understanding of the Ridge to Reef project funded by the Sustainable Island Resource Management Mechanism, Tricia Lovell, Demonstrations Project Coordinator was interviewed. AH:

What is the Ridge to Reef Project?

TL: The Ridge to Reef Project is one of four Demonstration Projects under SIRMM. SIRMM seeks to develop an island system approach to natural resource management in Antigua and Barbuda. The Demonstration Projects are designed to, as the name suggests, demonstrate sustainable resource management at local scales. The Ridge to Reef Project is based on the southwest coast of Antigua and aims to demonstrate resource management at the watershed level. The project not only includes natural systems on the land but recognises the important relationship between on-land systems and activities and the marine environment…”Ridge to Reef”. Therefore the boundaries of the project area also include marine and coastal systems as well (mangroves, seagrass, and coral reef) along the biodiversity significant southwest coast. AH: What are some of the educational activities that Ridge to Reef focuses on? TL: The Ridge to Reef project undertakes education and outreach at two levels: 1. 2.

Mass media and general public awareness, and Targeted approaches

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By Arica Hill

The project developed a number of education packages on the ecosystems of the southwest coast, as well as posters and brochures. These were distributed to science teachers both at primary and secondary levels. The education packs include information on resource persons or specific government agencies that could be contacted in order to deliver talks or lead field trips to various sites. As a direct result of the packs being distributed, a number of teachers contacted me and the Fisheries Division to request tours to mangroves and deliver talks to classrooms. The project also developed a short documentary which has aired on the local television station and which is available to schools upon request regarding the importance of adopting an integrated approach to natural resource management. Additionally both the Ridge to Reef Demonstration Project and the larger SIRMM project support the annual summer camps undertaken by the Environment Division both in terms of monetary donations and through the provision of experts to lead field trips to the demonstration site. Many school children have benefitted from this partnership. Resource packs are also still available upon request. AH:

Can you mention any success stories?

TL: I think probably one of the most significant contributions of the Ridge to Reef Demo Project so far, besides the education and outreach that we do and continue to engage in is the development of resource maps for the southwest coast of Antigua, including not only the terrestrial

habitats and resources but the marine and coastal as well. It is very difficult to manage our natural resources and undertake integrated development planning if we don’t know what we have, where the critical habitats or resources exist and how terrestrial and marine systems integrate. This project was successfully able to present a baseline for the terrestrial and marine resources for probably one of the most important areas in Antigua and Barbuda in terms of biodiversity. And this was done with the input of the communities in that area. The Ridge to Reef Project as well as the SIRMM Project sets as one of its policies the need to engage communities in management and so far we have been successful in doing that and we hope this will grow in some of the upcoming activities we have planned for the Demo Project. AH: Are there any upcoming projects or programmes planned? TL: We are currently working with one community group in the southwest area in order to enter into a partnership arrangement for the management and operation of the Wallings Forest Reserve area and the Interpretation Centre that is on site and was built by another project. Because this is still in negotiation I would not want to say too much about it but in my mind if this is successfully implemented as we envision it would be a major accomplishment for the nation and a demonstration of how successful co-management arrangements between governments and communities can result in resource conservation for the benefit of all. AH: What would you say are the greatest opportunities and challenges for Ridge to Reef? TL: One of the greatest challenges to the project was just the size of the area. The Ridge to Reef Project area is vast. It actually includes three watersheds on the southwest coast: Everything from the tops of the mountain chain on the southwest out to Cades Reef. Coupled with that, many of the assumptions about the available data for the area going into the project were incorrect so we did experience a number of delays, particularly in generating the baseline maps. Because of the size of the area, we also experienced some budgetary constraints, with budget line items being insufficient to cover the breadth of work required to develop the kind of management system initially envisioned for the project. We then had to do quite a bit of adaptive management throughout the project. But in the end we believe we are on the path to success. The SIRMM Project as a whole has been favourably reviewed by individual evaluators, who have been impressed with many of the adaptive management strategies we have been able to utilise in order to get a product that we can all be proud of. AH: Is there anything that the public can be involved in? If so, what? TL: Nothing specific at the moment but I would just urge the public to listen out for notices regarding consultations for various project activities, not only for Ridge to Reef but also other demonstration projects and the wider SIRMM Project.

Co-Operative Credit Union Ltd.

Growing your savings for future sustainability Summer Club • Special Savings Club that runs from September to June • Save $50.00 or more each month • Gain a special interest • Members allowed to join the club in October but must make two (2) months installments

Permanent Shares • Strengthens your credit union’s financial base • Members receive dividends on their shares • Purchase permanent shares at E.C $5 per share

Educational Savings Account (CFESA) • Special Savings Program designed to help parents/guardians save towards their children’s education • Opening Minimum $550.00 • Monthly Installment $50.00 • Plan matures when the child turns 18 years • Interest rate is 5% per annum • Special conditions apply

Retirement Account (CFIRA) • Special Savings Program designed to help members save towards their retirement • Opening Minimum $1100.00 • Monthly Installment $100.00 • Plan matures at age 60 years • Interest rate is 6% per annum • Special conditions apply

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ACTIVITIES WELL RECEIVED National celebrations to mark World Environment Day were met with much enthusiasm. The Environment Division coordinated national awareness by partnering with various agencies within the Government ministries as well as with members of the financial sector. The celebration began with an early morning snail hunt across the island with two teams simultaneously hunting in Jolly Hill and Burma. Due to insufficient volunteering, the Cooks site was not covered. Teams consisted of representatives from the Establishment Department, the Royal Police Force, Antigua Barbuda Development Bank, Plant Protection Unit and the Environment Division. Approximately 2000 Giant African

Snails were collected between both sites during the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Celebrations continued with a variety of media interviews emphasizing the theme for World Environment Day: Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Food Print. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Housing, Lands and Environment, Mr. Robelto Isaac delivered a feature address on behalf of the Hon. Minister Hilson Baptiste to commemorate World Environment Day. A presentation of certificates to the various institutions that participated in raising awareness to World Environment Day was made to commend their efforts. Most notably were the St. John’s Cooperative Credit Union, Antigua Commercial Bank, and the Antigua Barbuda Development Bank. The St. John’s Cooperative Credit Union used green ribbons to create World Environment Day pin-ons, which were distributed to staff and customers. They also created a small display, which highlighted the theme for World Environment Day. Staff members of Antigua Commercial Bank were decked out in green uniforms to highlight World Environment Day in addition to recycling money boxes to decorate their offices and grow plants. Instead of using commercial tea bags, ACB utilises locally grown tea-bush plants that are also used as decorative plants. Antigua Barbuda Development Bank participated in the early morning snail hunt and also used the opportunity of World Environment Day to have their entire team wear green uniforms. The Caribbean Union Bank also wore green with a stronger focus on reducing paper waste within the office as part of World Environment Day. Royal Bank of Canada and RBTT are both globally a part of the Blue Water Project, which aims to provide drinkable, swimmable, and fishable water for all. Blue Water Project activities will begin next week. The theme for World Environment Day coincides with the culmination of Agriculture Week and the launch of the Buy Local Campaign within the Ministry of Agriculture, Housing, Lands and Environment. The Environment Division encourages residents to continue awareness to the protection of the environment by adopting eco-friendly lifestyles that conserve the environment; buying locally; becoming energy efficient and reducing food waste.

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What is a “fashionista”? Simply defined, a fashionista sets trends and breaks moulds. Embracing individuality and one’s personal style is beautiful. And this is exactly the motto that Fashionista stands by, here in Antigua and Barbuda. Their years of experience in business, legal, culinary and design has allowed these women to streamline their services to clients, offering a wide array of services in vogue with current and cutting edge style. At present the group consists of five individuals - friends and sisters - who each have a unique eye for the creative and have all had valuable experience in their specific creative and business roles in the company. The Fashionista Team comprises of Fashionista Marketing & Public Relations Manager, and hair stylist Jody Francis LLB; Fashionista Merchandising & Accounts Manager, and Eyelash specialist Nezia Florent BA; CEO of Lovely Island Cards, W.E.D. Events Coordinator, Make-up Artist & PR Assistant Janelle Williams BSc; Cullinary Director, Marketing & Distribution Assistant, and Make-up Artist Leslienne Williams BASc; and Creative Director of W.E.D by Fashionista, & The Black Roots Coalition Rhonda Williams BSc. Notably, this team of experienced and educated career women recognised the growing market of cosmetology, design and fashion within Antigua and Barbuda and created Fashionista as an all inclusive entity. In fact, this season is usually their busiest with clients requiring elaborate, exciting and lasting 34 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 34 July/August 2013

makeup and accessories for Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Admitting that Fashionista has grown beyond their expectations over the years, largely through word of mouth, they offer a variety of services that are specific to the brands they have launched throughout the past few years as interest in their services grew. The Carnival Fashionista brand, which started it all, specialises in stage and carnival makeup, costume adjustments, custom footwear and specialised hair services. “Under this brand we have been able to expand our services to offer costume design, backdrops and props for stage productions,” explains makeup artiste and creative director Rhonda Williams. The Little Black Box offers myriad custom services to ensure that each client’s style is one of a kind. Under this label, they provide custom clothing design, custom fascinators and ready to wear clothing, as well as image consulting, clothing sourcing, and personal shopping services. “We have gotten so much interest in this offering as Antigua is a very small place and very often partygoers are appalled at the prospect of showing up to the year’s summer soirees in the same outfit as others. We take the stress out of planning your summer wardrobe by creating funky, fresh designs for the discriminating taste of customers who desire one of a kind attire at an affordable price point.”

A few years ago, the team launched W.E.D. - Weddings, Events & Décor by Fashionista, which specialises in bridal makeup, photo editing, website design, event planning, culinary services and decor for special occasions. “We pride ourselves in providing an affordable, elegant and comprehensive alternative to the various make up/hair and event planning vendor options available on island. We realised, through research and experience, that a concise wedding package with W.E.D. by Fashionista takes the hassle and cost out of planning your wedding or party with a vast number of individual vendors.” To their credit, and having built an extensive and loyal clientele over the years, Fashionista admits they have not appreciably felt the challenges of the economy’s plummet over the last few years, notably, around the same time they would have gone into business. Arguably, style and fashion can be sought at any price, and they remain a step above the competition as they cater to trendsetting clients. “From the onset, we have always been mindful of the ‘bigger picture’ in terms of ensuring value for money for our clients, and so the economic downturn has not been too much of a stumbling block. We are truly grateful for the support that our clients have shown us thus far and we in turn endeavour to provide a unique and personal experience that very often is hard to find or financially taxing to achieve with other businesses.” Adding social media such as Facebook and Instagram to their word of mouth advertising, they’ve seen an increase in clients. With this in mind, and the ease with which clients can post and share customer reviews, maintaining a high quality product is of the utmost significance. “All in all, we understand what it is like to be the customer, and in turn we make it our utmost goal to treat every individual who contacts Fashionista for a service in the way that we would want to be treated.” Expanding their services, Fashionista has added a few other novelties to their list of products and services provided. For one, Lovely Island Cards, a sister company of Fashionista, created by Janelle Stuart-Young launched this year and offers an amazing array of custom cards, wedding invitations and printed stationery that, unlike store-bought cards, offer a personal, heartfelt and unique touch to any special day or event. “We also have two new ventures on the horizon which aim to meet the growing needs of our clients who value looking great and feeling healthy just as much as they love marching to the beat of their own drum so look out for them in 2014,” adds Rhonda, excited. The Black Roots Coalition brand offers all natural organic products for hair and skin made from the most unprocessed, natural and local ingredients that bring out the best in skin and hair. “Fashionistas can be naturalistas too! ... For naturals who want to transition from processed hair to long and healthy natural hair we also offer virgin hair sourcing and styling services by appointment with our resident hair guru

who has styled the coiffures of Antiguan locals, songstresses as well as clients in the UK.” The next addition for this dynamic team is The Alpha Male brand which caters to the gentleman of quality who wishes to stand apart from the crowd. Under this label they specialise in suiting for weddings and offer consultations on styles that work for the individual’s personality and body type. For further information regarding services and products, contact a Fashionista representative at fashionista.mod@ or visit their Facebook group ‘Fashionista’ for photos, website, and twitter details. BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • July/August • July/August 20132013 | 35|




OPEN DATA READINESS The Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology on July 1st 2013, operationalise an Open Data Readiness Unit (ODRU) which will manage the governments open data initiative. The move follows the release of findings from an Open Data Readiness Assessment, carried out by officials from the World Bank, the International Development Research Centre of Canada, and the Caribbean Open Institute. Overall the assessment found that Antigua and Barbuda is in a position to move forward quickly with an Open Data initiative. Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology Dr. Hon. Edmond Mansoor said that the recommendations and action plan put forward by the ODRA team will also be adopted and replicated regionally. Dr. Mansoor added the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will apply to the World Bank for funding under their Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) to assist with implementation. ICT Operations Officer at the World Bank, Anat Lewin pointed out that by putting out an ODR initiative, Antigua and Barbuda would not only lead the Caribbean in the supply of Open Data, but it could also use its first-mover advantage to harness the skills and enthusiasm of people throughout the region to generate data applications which would benefit Antigua and Barbuda.

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According to the findings of the assessment, “In addition to reputational and transparency benefits, an Open Data program could lead to greater business efficiency and competitiveness in Antigua and Barbuda, both in absolute terms and relative to other countries in the region, in key areas such as tourism and foreign inward investment, and to community engagement in addressing public service improvement. Again, Antigua and Barbuda could have a first-mover advantage.” Additionally the report noted, “Existing modernization and digitization programs already underway for financial and other process would make it possible for Antigua and Barbuda to be in the top class globally in Open Data for government transparency- particularly if financial transaction data were to be released. Since the data is already centralized and digitized there would be no technical difficulty in doing so.” Open Data is the idea that the Government should make available to others as much as possible the non-sensitive, non-personal data which it collects in the course of its operations. The data would be available in “raw”, machinereadable form for reuse for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Personal data and other sensitive data will of course continue to be fully safeguarded.

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HURRICANE SEASON It’s that time of year again.

few years without any direct hits from major hurricanes.

Schools are going on vacation. Pre-carnival fetes can be found left, right and center. The days are a little longer and the place is getting really hot. That can only mean one thing… Hurricane Season.


Anyone who has lived in the Caribbean for more than a year would know this fact only too well. Antigua and Barbuda has had more than its fair share of windstorms, but has enjoyed a

If you wait until a storm has been named to start to do largescale preparation for its passage, you may already be too late. A tropical system starts as a depression then, once it strengthens, can become a storm, then a hurricane. The table below shows the various wind speeds and storm surges associated with storms.

Depending on a variety of factors, having formed, a hurricane can be upon this twin-island nation in as little as two weeks or even less. So don’t let Hurricane Jerry spring upon you before you fix your house roof. The storm names for 2013 have been released and appear below.

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CHECKLIST You will need to ensure that you have property insurance and that your payments and property values are up-to-date. If you attempt to do this after a storm has been named, the insurer may not be willing to cover you. This applies to buildings and automobiles and, as obvious as it sounds, ensure that you have hurricane (or Acts of God) coverage on your policies. Property value is particularly important for homeowners as they tend to insure their homes for the cost they paid to build it. This may sound logical enough, but costs change with time. So if you built a house for $400,000 back in 1992, odds are that the same house would cost close to twice as much to rebuild in 2013. This creates two challenges for homeowners. Firstly, not everyone keeps tabs on rebuilding costs. So determining a rebuilding value may require the services of a property surveyor. Some insurers in Antigua will provide that service free of cost. The second challenge is quite interesting. If you insure your home for $400,000 and suffer a $50,000 loss, then the expectation is to receive payment of $50,000. However, if your home’s actual value was $800,000, the insurer will treat your home as only half insured ($400k / $800k) and, as such will pay no more than half of the claim ($25,000). Not to mention that your excess will still have to come out. Excess is the first amount of every loss for which the policyholder is responsible. Storm Watch Pointers If a storm does hit the island, a few things are likely to happen. For safety reasons, the power may be turned off. This will tend to create a challenge for foodstuff, lighting and communication. That being the case, stocking up on nonperishable foods, and drinking water as well as batteries, flashlights and candles would be advisable. If you have a landline, ensure that at least one of the phones in the home is not electricity operated. You may want to invest in a solar charger for your cellular phone, and keep a battery operated radio with extra batteries on hand. Depending on the severity of the storm, certain businesses may remain closed for a few days right after its passage. So it would be a good idea to top up your fuel (Gasolene/diesel), medication, toiletries and cellular phones. If you get paid based on the number of hours you work, then you’ll be glad that you have a savings. You may not go to work because of a storm, but you will still have to pay the rent, loan and bills after it has passed. If you have no emergency

money set aside, now may be the time to start stashing something away. If you need materials and handymen to batten down your home, try to arrange them well in advance of the date the storm is forecasted to hit. Materials quickly run in short supply and labour costs have been known to sky-rocket when these tradesmen are in high demand. Depending on your situation and the strength of your home, you may need to find a hurricane shelter, especially if you live near to the coastline. Your closest police station or radio station should have a list of shelters on hand. Familiarize yourself with this list and determine which shelter you will choose at least 3 days in advance of the storm’s arrival. This is particularly important if you have pets as not all animals socialize well with other people. Finally travel may be interrupted when a storm is lurking nearby. If you are scheduled to take any trips a storm may force you to change your itinerary Big Bad Wolf? As scary as it may sound, sometimes hurricanes are just what the doctor ordered. Note the following benefits. 1. Boost to the Economy. Strange as it may sound, whenever a natural disaster passes, the injection of cash from the Insurance sector can be quite significant. Nobody wants to suffer a loss, but who couldn’t use a little extra cash for doing some repair work or selling building materials? 2. Burying the Hatchet. Quite often neighbours, friends and relatives have disagreements which cause them to stop talking. When a natural disaster strikes, fairly often life takes on a whole new meaning and people tend to reach out to one another to offer assistance. 3. Quality Time. In this Microwave era where everyone wants everything right now, there seems to be less and less time for loved ones to spend quality time with one another. Enter a hurricane. With no TV, no fetes, and the government mandating that everyone stay at home, the bonding time can be priceless. The hurricane season has been known to bring with it some frightening tales of “water coming into the room… and the dish running away with the spoon” but the experience does not have to be terrifying at all. Once you act early and smartly you should be fine. Just remember to respect the hurricanes, and you should live to talk about them.

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BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013

Events The Business Of

The main event! There’s so much that goes into even the smallest or most intimate event, but as invited guests and patrons all we see (and should see) is the finished product. It’s amazing really the number of events that even occur in Antigua and Barbuda, and at this time of year, the pre-Carnival season that flows into Carnival is riddled with events. From the fetes to mas, there is money to be spent and of course, money to be made. Outside of this season, however, events may very well outnumber the days of the years, as corporate and business events are planned, weddings, birthday parties, charity events, parties, balls/prom, socials, tournaments, exhibitions, church functions and the list goes on. In some cases, professional event planners are hired to organise everything from the largest amenity to the smallest detail – most importantly, they take the stress away from the host.

There are so many things to be considered when planning – When to have it? Where to have it? Who will cater? Who will entertain? Who will clean up? Who will deejay? Who will video- and photograph? What decorations should be used? What’s the budget? And this is only from the host’s perspective. On the other hand, the invited guests and patrons also ask themselves a series of questions when attending an event – What to wear? How to style my hair? Do I need new shoes or accessories to go with this outfit? Can I afford to attend? The best part of it however, is knowing that once the questions have been answered and the decisions made, the event was a success and persons in attendance would have had a wonderful time. After all, nothing beats word of mouth recommendations!

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Lucinda Lake Michael - Event Planner, bringing it all together

Unquestionably, weddings and events in general have taken on a life of their own in Antigua, as established event planners pride themselves in reinventing new ways to give clients the weddings they dream of or events that will be talked about for years to come. Bringing over 20 years of experience to the table, Lucinda Lake Michael of Occasions Party Rentals Ltd. looks forward to the challenges new clients bring, the creativity that is invoked and the general satisfaction that comes from knowing that her team has been able to deliver exactly what a client needs, even surpassing their expectations. Business Focus got the opportunity to sit down with this very busy career woman who rarely gets the opportunity to sit, and peer into the demanding life of an event planner. Business Focus: What sparked your interest in event planning? 42 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013 42 • July/August 2013

Lucinda Lake Michael: When I was in Canada, I had to coordinate my sister’s wedding. She was in Prince Edward Island and her fiancé in Vancouver, but the wedding was taking place at our Grandmother’s in Nova Scotia, so I ended up planning everything for them. I came across a store pretty much like Occasions, and thought to myself, this is what I want to do. ... I returned to Antigua and started Occasions Party Rentals Ltd in 1995. BF: There has been a rise in event planners. What would you say is the greatest misconception in this industry? LLM: That it’s easy. I see the economy changing and getting harder and people thinking, “Oh I can do it”. And while it’s not rocket science, there is a bit of a science to it, because the devil is in the details. Not everyone pays attention to the details, and so, the ones who are not professional give the best event planners a bad name. They’re also the ones who

try to undercut the professionals because they think it’s easy. It’s only later on they realise it’s a lot of work and why we charge the way we charge. I think people think that you just wake up one morning with a design idea in your head and you wave a wand. BF: What can the client expect from you, as an event planner, in the process from first contact to final execution? LLM: It’s a process, with a series of consultations, where you take lots of notes so you fully understand their concept. Then you do your research, here and via the Net, to get an idea of what is available locally and what may need to be imported. It’s not a process that takes a day or two ... especially if it’s an extensive budget, you really need to make sure you’re giving the customer what they want, and you’re not blowing up something simply because they tell you they have a big budget. You find out the things that are essentials to the client, and then those things that are ‘treats’. After doing this, I let it percolate in my head for a day or two, discuss it with my team, as we have a lot of equipment and they may remember something we have available for the client’s vision. You also need to speak with service providers, and that may mean spending an hour or two with them ... and each time you do that, that’s your time ... and time is money. So the hours do add up, and it’s not just a one-time meeting that’s that. BF: Do you only cater to high end clients?

LLM: That’s another misconception right there. We work with a range of budgets ... from extensive to practically no budget at all. In some ways, these are just as exciting. You know, especially for a wedding, you want to make it special, particularly when you see that the person genuinely does not have the pocket to accommodate an elaborate moment, so it challenges us to find creative ways to give them that pizzazz. Like a beach wedding we did, instead of purchasing bottled water for the guests, we suggested snow cones instead, using flavours that reflected the wedding colours ... so you get the flare inexpensively, while still being practical by hydrating your guests, and adding a local Caribbean flare ... For another wedding that was low budget, their colours were fuchsia and lime-green, and her father lived on a farm; in the middle of the farm were these ponds that had pond lilies which were in bloom at the time, so we asked him to cut them the morning of the wedding and we used those for the centrepieces. ...We do not discriminate, and we do cater to smaller pockets. BF: What are some of the challenges faced by professional event planners? LLM: For Occasions Party Rentals, we do provide rental services, so maintenance can be very expensive. We’ve had tableware, such as cutlery and glasses go missing ... and this is actually more collateral damage to us than chipped or broken items. ... We also have to combat the environment we’re in ... I remember we almost lost a tent due to high winds at one event.

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Another thing, is that sometimes you have the persons claiming to be planners call you to pick your brain ... then they take your ideas give it a cheaper value, present it to their clients, and when it’s too late, realise that they can’t deliver. ... We’ve actually had to bail couples out of such situations in the past. Trust me, we’ve learned a lot through trial and error ... so now, the initial consultation is free, but I won’t divulge a detailed proposal until a deposit has made. BF: What do you do to stay abreast of your competition? LLM: We try to attend conventions and workshops, both local and off island, whenever we can. As much as possible, we are dedicated to keeping ideas fresh and current. I’m always on the Internet or watching TV shows which focus on events. You know, when I watch movies, I’m more focused on how they may set up an event in a scene. With some of these shows, I look at how we can take an elaborate idea and create a similar ambience on a constrained budget. 44 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 44 July/August 2013

We also consider ourselves trendsetters. When I did my own wedding, (yes, I planned my own wedding), it was an evening wedding, something that just was not done; and we were the first to have those lighted ice cubes and other lighted accessories that people had never seen. We’re also the first, and only, to have the air conditioned portable toilet units on the island. BF: What advice would you offer to persons seeking an event planner? LLM: Do your research. Ask around for referrals. Ask the event planner for past clients, and contact them to hear their experience with that planner. Seek someone with experience, especially for emotionally charged events, like weddings. ... At the end of the day, our role as event planners is to ensure that client does not have the stress, that we relieve them of that, and they show up and enjoy their event.

Monday - Friday • 8am - 4pm

T: 481-3781/2 • 726-3660 BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • July/August • July/August 20132013 | 45|



Every Party is an Occasion Scotia for a few years until being posted in a New Brunswick branch, until she became homesick. Before she left Canada, however, the concept of event planning was cemented as she planned her sister’s wedding in Nova Scotia. With her sister in Prince Edward Island and the groom-to-be in Vancouver, Lucinda was charged with the task of preparing and coordinating the event. “I remember coming across this store that offered these different services ... event planning, decorations, just about everything ... and I thought, this is what I want to do when I come home. I did not want to work for anyone.”

Reflecting on the growth of a concept into the leading party rental business, General Manager of Occasions Party Rentals Ltd. Lucinda Lake Michael is both humbled and grateful. It continues to take her breath away that she’s been in business almost 20 years doing something that she absolutely loves and still looks forward to, as each event if different, for as their logo reads: “Every party is an occasion.” Studying in Canada, at first the Dalhousie University then Saint Mary’s University (SMU), event planning was not at the forefront of Lucinda’s mind, as she’d selected courses that would have prepared her for a career in law. She did, however study human resource management at SMU, but a career in law began to seem more distant as she joined the World Bank Management Training programme, where she stayed in Nova

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With a spirit of entrepreneurship and determination, Lucinda returned home in April 1995 prepared, having attended a few conventions and purchasing some equipment and supplies. The company was established and her first wedding took place that August - the wedding of her good friend Andrea Weekes. Today, Occasions Party Rentals (OPR) is arguably the first call persons make when planning an event. Offering a wide range of services which makes them a one-stop shop, they assist clients from conceptualization of an event to its execution. “It’s a full service, and what we try to do is make it three-tiered where we can, one, rent the equipment and deliver. Second tier is where you say that you have some things that are organised, so we offer partial assistance with equipment and decor. The third tier would be where we plan the event and provide all the equipment,” she explains.

Equipment and services provided include event planning, decor and custom-made items, tableware (cutlery, dishes, linen), furniture, tents, and portable toilets. Notably OPR is the only company on island that offers the air conditioned mobile units. Capitalising on the obvious need for such services they provide, acknowledging that in the past persons would borrow chairs and tables from churches and friends, OPR offers a one-stop solution to rental needs for events. With a capacity to accommodate 800 in one style of furniture, and a capacity of 500 for weddings, with the largest tent measuring 40x100 feet, you may have attended a number of outdoor and garden weddings, where you would have enjoyed the comfort and ambience of their services. In fact, they have quite an impressive portfolio to their credit, including many government events, such as launches, banquets and conferences. They’ve provided and assisted in planning events for the visiting US Army, in conjunction with the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, the visiting medical ship, and a few other national events. In fact, they were instrumental in providing the equipment for the state funeral of the late Sir VC Bird. She laughs now as she remembers the logistics it required to coordinate equipment for both the service and burial. Since the funeral, they expanded a number of their equipment, but the most notable expansion is the Splash Antigua venue just above Miller by the Sea at Fort James. Given the limitations that persons are often faced with in venue selection, OPR seized the opportunity to offer clients another option. Since its opening just over two years ago Splash has hosted numerous wedding ceremonies and receptions, banquets, corporate functions, community events, concerts, fetes, and parties. In spite of the challenges with the country’s trying economy, Lucinda is confident that they’ll be able to expand on Splash in

the coming years and looks forward to building the business. Husband and Chief Financial Officer Daryl Michael added, “Investing in this area of the Splash project first was the right thing to do... not only do we have a place to offer clients, but in terms of financial management, we’ve cut down on venue expenses.” With a dedicated team, and reliable persons they subcontract, the main focus of OPR is to provide exceptional service from rental to event planning. “I’m most satisfied when the client is happy ... we’re pleased when the clients are able to experience the concept they had in mind. ... In fact, we just hosted our first children’s party at Splash, and both parents called and sent emails expressing how pleased they were with the decor and service. “I like what I do ... and every time, every event is different. Everyone has different tastes and budgets, ... and we do work with any budget ... from the elaborate to the almost nonexistent. We do not discriminate, we believe that money is never supposed to be a reason an individual can’t have a special moment. ... We treat every event special,” Lucinda declares. But like any industry, it is not all fun and games, and does come with its risks. One of the greatest misconceptions is that their venture is a cheap one, and when giving a quote there are many aspects that clients may not take into consideration. For every piece of equipment, for example, that has to be transported, they must be cleaned before arrival, and then again upon return; delivery includes gas for transportation; for items such as linen, they must be ironed, and that involved hiring extra staff dependent on the numbers being catered for and washing all dishes, glasses and cutlery before and then after use - this incurs the additional cost of paying APUA electricity and water; for the fragile items, there is always the risk of chipping and breakage with means replacement costs. Additionally, over the years they have had to deal with items going missing as guests may not only damage tableware, but decide to walk with a few souvenirs (and this includes everything from the glasses and plates to cutlery and linen napkins); in some cases, they take the decor as well. “It’s a very labour intensive industry. ... Clients do pay a refundable damage deposit. You learn in this business, so we have had to reinforce this over the years, as you’d be surprised to know that missing items create more collateral damage than chipped or broken items.” But at the end of the day, supported by a credible team, and having established profitable relationships with other service providers, Occasions Party Rentals Ltd continues to be a leading rental and event planning company, consistent in providing quality service and new concepts.

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The Art of Networking Living in even the smallest country, like Antigua and Barbuda, competition in any industry can be intimidating, cut-throat, and challenging. Arguably, it may be even more amplified when the number of persons per capita may not be able to fuel the growing number of competition. But for Occasions Party Rental Ltd., it’s their positive perspective that turns the competition into a healthy network with mutual benefits. Following the adage, “always enough for need, but never enough for greed”, networking has proven to be a staple in the success of their business. Lucinda Lake Michael remembers people asking her at different stages of her business’ growth if she’d add catering and other services to the OPR portfolio. “I’ve never been a greedy person, so I do believe that everyone should get a piece of the pie, and when you leave it open so that everyone gets a piece, then no one feels like you’ve left them out.” Looking at the network she’s developed with caterers, she notes that whenever someone takes their business to a hotel that may offer catering as part of the package, a lot of good caterers are left out. “With the advent of Occasions, you could now go to someone’s house, or go to beach and create an event that looked ... professional... so we had different caterers coming to us ... as a result they got business, and we got business, so we work along with a number of different caterers.” 48 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013 48 • July/August 2013

But it doesn’t stop there. Over the years, their professionalism and attitude of inclusion has created an extensive network with florists, cake decorators, taxi and transportation operators, lighting and sound companies, drink companies, bands and deejays, fabric companies, makeup artistes, photographers and videographers, generator providers and costume makers. In 1996, and for an additional two years, OPR collaborated with other service vendors to host Antigua’s first wedding exhibition. The event saw vendors in all areas, including airlines, who were offering honeymoon packages, and jewellers who had bands and other items of interest for the occasion. On the downside, however, Lucinda notes that some vendors and clients may believe that OPR only works with one set of service providers, which is not the case. Once the vendor operates with the same ethics and professionalism as OPR, they are willing to work with them. “At the end of the day the client will feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth and even more.” In fact, one of the perks that may accompany the decision of hiring an event planner, is that their relationship with other service providers may afford the client a better deal, that may not have otherwise been offered had the client approached the vendor personally. Today, OPR’s regular clientele includes various vendors who network with them, along with competing vendors. Some of OPR’s regulars include a number of established event planners such as Debbie Smith, Tracy Guerrero, Paul Afflack, and Marcella Andre; along with various hotels such as Carlisle Bay, Jumby Bay and The Verandah Resort. Not believing in hostile competition, on their list of networking vendors is Wadadli Events, which offers similar equipment rentals. “We actually have a really good relationship with them, and we’ve sub-contracted each other ... If we’re running short on equipment, they’ll assist, and vice versa, if they need assistance, we offer. BusinessFocus • July/August BusinessFocus • July/August 20132013 | 49|



Making a ‘Splash’

Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Fort James Beach, whether the sun’s rays cast glistening crystals atop the soothing rush of the waves, or its gradual decent cascades orange hues along the shore, Splash Antigua absorbs this ambience. Offering yet another and much needed venue for many an occasion, this location is just the beginning of a long term plan to develop a part of Antigua’s landscape into an entertainment centre. Covered with its white majestic tents, this venue has housed many events from weddings to birthday parties, transforming its interior to befit any occasion. But unknown to many, this was not the original intention for Occasions Party Rentals when they first broke ground at this charming location. Its 50 | BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013 50 | BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

name gives way to the original intent of constructing a water park. “We wanted to take the business (Occasions Party Rentals Ltd) a step further ... and we know that people are always looking for activities in Antigua for families, and it’s limited ... most activities are geared towards the tourists, so we wanted to [create] a small water park and that’s where the idea of Splash came in,” General Manager Lucinda Lake Michael explained. Having gone in search of the perfect location, and discussing the concept with her family, the idea evolved and grew into a full blown theme park. Aside from a water park with slides

and water games, they’d incorporated a bowling alley and concert area to their original design. Opening their doors two years ago, and feeling the effects of the economic downturn like so many of their business colleagues, their vision for a water park was delayed, but in no way terminated. Rather, they capitalised on the phase of the plan that included a concert and venue rental area. Beginning with a few private parties, Splash has since evolved into a much used venue for several events, to include concerts, corporate events, wakes, receptions and wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, and fetes to include Blue Jeans, the Rotary Colours Fete, and most recently, the T-Party, hosted by performing artistes Tian Winter and

Claudette CP Peters in May. With their resources and availability of venue, Occasions has also hosted its own fetes, with a much talked about Old Year’s/New Year’s party, which will return this year, and will be adding Vintage to their line up this summer. Catering for a more mature crowd, and teaming up with DSC Promotions, Vintage is scheduled for 26th July at Splash, with an entertainment line-up to include the Tonic Band, the renowned Laviscount Brass, world famous Chiki’s Hi-fi, Black Stallion from Trinidad, Winston Soso from St. Vincent and Antigua’s very own Monarch King Short Shirt. If you’ve never experienced Splash, this may be the perfect event to attend and visualise your event there. BusinessFocus • July/August 2013 | BusinessFocus • July/August 2013 | 51



Occasions Party Rental - The Team ago. As Fate would have it, Lucinda was seeking someone to join the team in the customer service capacity, just as Dornaly was changing jobs. “Dornaly is like a one-man operation in the office,” Lucinda noted. “She is meticulous, highly efficient and very professional.” Having learned the intricacies of the business, and appreciating the level of professionalism and vision of her general manager, Lucinda added that Dornaly handles quotes and is able to answer just about any inquiry a potential client may have.

As the General Manager, Lucinda Lake Michael accredits the success of Occasions Party Rentals Ltd., to her hardworking staff and by extension the persons she sub contracts on certain jobs. “Occasions would not be where we are without them,” she states. Chief Financial Officer Daryl Michael added, “We has a very dedicated team who is just as invested in the business’ success as we are.” Although they have has to downsized, the core team continues to work along with Lucinda, keeping abreast of its growing clientele and the changing tides of the economy. Her core is comprised of Chief Financial Officer and husband Daryl Michael; Customer Service Representative Dornaly Simon, Supervisors Herbert Murray and Denise Persaud, and her mother Elnora Lake who now acts as an advisor. “I can remember when I first started the business, my family was hands on ... I can even remember my nephew who was so small at the time helping to wipe down chairs,” she laughs. “I’d call on my brother, George, and his friends to transport equipment and assist with the lifting.” Although Denise has been with her for almost 20 years, it was Denise’s husband, Joshua, who was Lucinda’s first employee. “We had no trucks to transport the equipment back then, only my brother’s tractor, so Joshua would drive that and assist with the heavy duty equipment,” Lucinda explains. A year later, Denise was first employed for domestic assistance, but with the growth of the company and recognising her efficiency and potential, there was an easy and eventual transition into the company, and she is now supervisor of ????. “She has a natural gift for decorating ... and is very instrumental now in decorating. We come up with ideas together, and she executes a lot of it now, once we’ve developed the concept.” Herbert joined the team after Denise’s husband, as Lucinda recognised the need for expansion and “muscles” with the delivery and general set up and maintenance of equipment. Today Herbert supervises the transportation, erection, striking and general maintenance of their equipment. Long time friend Dornaly joined 52 | BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013 the team around eight years 52 |

BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

Around six years ago, her then unofficial financial officer became a more pronounced staple in the company. Husband Daryl resigned from his accounting position at another company and came onboard at the chief financial officer when Lucinda became pregnant with their son, Jordan. “The first few months were trying for me especially with the demands of the company ... so Daryl resigned and joined us so he could assist me in more than his normal capacity,” she explained. Noting that he’s always been behind the scenes, especially with managing the company’s Books, his value to the company has been essential. “He’s responsible for all finances - the collection and payouts - and he definitely keeps us in check with the budgets that we work with.” Daryl has had no regrets in this business move, and notes that “it allows me more time to spend with the family ... Besides, placing more time and effort into something that is yours proves to be more profitable.” Lucinda laughs as she shares they sometimes butt heads over this, as his business-like mind and her artistic mind clash when it comes to the selection and execution of certain areas, such as the decor. But she regards this as a good challenge, as it forces her team to not only stay within budget but become creative with creating a client’s vision on a smaller budget. “Sometimes she may want to make a decision that is just not financially viable or cost effect, so yeah,” Daryl laughs, “we do clash at those moments ... but other than that, it can be fun working together.” For the most part, Lucinda also adds that Daryl is very understanding when it comes to clients calling at all hours to confirm and discuss details of upcoming events. Even though the country’s economic challenges have spiralled down to businesses such as hers, and she has had to let go some of her staff, Lucinda continues to praise them, noting that many of them have gone on to form alliances, making themselves available to be subcontracted to wait on events that require a larger waiting and cleanup staff. As a perfectionist, the persons she surrounds herself with also exercise the same professionalism which she’s built her business upon. Noting that she’s never truly advertised and “word of mouth” has been her most prominent medium

for almost 20 years, she attributes this to her core and subcontracted teams who maintain the high standard she’s set for the company.

take pride in the final product and ensuring that our clients are satisfied.”

“We’re like a family, and ideas are tossed around before final decisions are made, so everyone is very involved ... we all

Catering for the Community Occasions Party Rentals Ltd., has not taken for granted the importance of giving back to the community. Although the economic constraints experienced by most over the last few years have caused them to tighten their belts somewhat, OPR continues to support certain groups and organisations whenever possible. Hailing from their own community in Newfield, they have not neglected the support they’d received when their business was started. With most of her original staff also hailing from the Newfield Community, OPR has assisted in training a number of individuals who have since moved on to work in other service industries having left OPR with the necessary professionalism and business etiquette taught. In 1995 after Hurricane Luis devastated the island, OPR donated tents to the Newfield Primary School which was severely damaged. Until its restoration, these tents housed the school. To this day they continue to support school events when possible. If you can remember the years when LMR orchestrated the Carnival senior section in town, OPR provided the tents, stage and chairs for this project in the first three years. This act of kindness provided seniors in the town area a vantage point to enjoy the Carnival parade comfortably. The Rangers Football Club is also one of their pet charities.

Over the years, OPR has donated their equipment and time to several charities such as Breast Friends. “I must say, that we have helped many charities, and it is done with a sincerity. ... so we don’t always keep track of the numbers of people and organisations we assist. ... We’re happy to contribute when we can.” One of the charities close to Lucinda Lake Michael’s heart is the St. John’s Anglican Cathedral Restoration project. “I think that as one of our national structures, it’s a shame we’re taking this long to restore such a historical fixture. ... We’ve been playing our part, donating equipment and offering our venue, only charging outside costs, for various fund raisers to assist in its restoration.” Another charity they’ve assisted with over the years is raising prostate cancer awareness with Dr. Dwayne Thwaites. OPR contributes the tents and other equipment that allows Dr. Thwaites and his team to offer free prostate cancer screening. Evident in their pursuit to dispel the fear men associate with getting tested, this venture has been a success as the number of men who come forward to be tested increase every year, with several being saved from early detection. While they continue to be mindful of who they sponsor and the causes they support, Occasions Party Rentals Ltd is a company with a heart, that seeks to return the good karma their community has shared with them. Indeed, the economic constraints have made the process a more selective one in the past few years, but they continue to give back to various communities and charities when they are called upon, strengthening community ties and supporting causes they believe in.

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LIGHTING THE WAY WITH JUGHEAD Now trying to bring more “light” to the general public, they were contracted by Mary John, who brought the world renowned reggae group Third World to Antigua at the Airport Hotel in which Endarbo was asked by the lighting designer of the group to tour with them to the neighbouring islands, as a few of the Leeward and Windward Isles did not have the services or the expertise. This gave their business that forward step into the fledgling entertainment market. Their next major gigs were the Sweet Cry Freedom concerts of the mid-90s, and the handing over ceremony of the leadership of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) from the Late Dr. Sir Vere C. Bird to the Hon. Lester B. Bird. “We foresaw a gradual increase in business and decided to incorporate our service and created a company named Stage Lights LTD. Members of the business were: Leroy “Jughead” Gordon, Franklyn “Endarbo” Cabey, Ingram Gordon, Ivor “Percy” Davis, Veronica Yearwood, and Jacqueline Yearwood.”

It creates the ambience, the excitement, the mood and brings the drama to the stage. It’s the lighting – an element that has moved passed just the theatre and made its prominence felt at everything from intimate settings to first class stage performances. And this is what Jughead Theatre and Show Lights continues to bring to any event. Now spearheaded by son Ingram Gordon, Jughead Lighting began with his late father Leroy “Jughead” Gordon, whose interest in lighting began with the steel pan well over 60 years ago. One of the first members of the Harmonites Steel Orchestra, Jughead along with members Leon “Kuma” Rodney and Franklyn “Endarbo” Cabey sought knowledge from the entertainment manager of the cruise ship, Cuncard Countess which they played upon, to teach them the art of the theatre. Wanting to evolve the culture of pan playing and thus productions, they learned lighting, prop design, sound engineering and other theatre related services. During their peak, Harmonites performed at the 1979 Superbowl half time show, and it was opportunities like these which encouraged Jughead and Endarbo to do lights more extensively within Antigua, so they got in with the Harambee Open Air Theatre Company and working with Mr. Moitt continued to practise their trade. It was in the 80’s where they got their big break, and the then Minister of Culture and Carnival Senator Bernard Percival gave the trio their big break to operate the stage lighting for Antigua’s Carnival up until 1997. Ingram remembers being eight when his father took him along to the shows, ushering him into what would become the family trade. “It was a very special bonding moment for me and him.” 54 | BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013 54 | BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

The Company lasted from mid-90s to 2001 when differences between the members saw the splitting of the company. With the encouragement of his sisters and mother, Ingram and Jughead opened a new lighting company – Jughead Theatre and Show Lights – as of May 2nd 2001. “We slowly grew the business, and because of his (Jughead’s) reputation, we provided lighting services for Royalty, political parties, business retreats for corporations, shows such as Red Eye, Power Rumble, Colours fete, Aloha, Blue Jeans, LOL, Girl Power, Jesus Party, T Party, CKHS Queen of the Forms, Naughty or Nice, Flags fete, Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Independence Celebration, Independence Homecoming Banquet, Labour Day celebrations at Fort James and Ffryes Beach, Jam Session, Antigua and Barbuda Sports Fishing Association, Myst Carnival, Dynamics, Pure Passion, Rum-ULous, Old Year’s night celebrations at Jolly Beach, Verandah, and Jumby Bay.” In 2009 the government of Antigua and Barbuda took a bold step and hired home grown service providers to provide service for Antigua’s Carnival, and with two other home grown companies, they entered into partnership and formed J.L.S, which provided the lights, sound and truss roof for Antigua’s Carnival. In 2012 Stonewall Reloaded and Jughead Theatre and Show Lights travelled to Miami to provide services for the 2012 Miami Carnival held at the Sun Life Stadium formerly known as the Dolphin Stadium. Today, under the leadership of Ingram, the company provides lighting services for plays, concerts, corporate events, political rallies, and parties. “We also do environmental lighting, which

is up-lighting, and enhancement of foliage and structure which lends towards a theme of an event.” Their services also extend to design and procurement of supplies of lights; stage and event management; and to date, corporate events, where a corporation would wine and dine their top management or outstanding employees. Jughead Lighting has also provided services for a party of visiting Royalty, in which a small section of Cirque Du Soleil was brought in for entertainment, and the night climaxed with thirty minutes of fireworks; as well as concert lighting for Kymani Marley at the 2012 Antigua Sailing Week. At this Ingram laughs and adds, “Hey, he is the son of a legend, just like me!” Ingram attributes his wide and impressive portfolio to his dedicated and skilled team. “Let me use this medium to say Itruly love my team. They are very understanding. I have three supervisors, Simone Gordon-Charles, my sister and one of the oldest member, follow spot operator and nononsense person. Jelani Liverpool, my left hand. Akeem Cabey (son of Franklyn “Endarbo” Cabey, and owner of his father’s business Endarbo’s Lighting) my right hand. My mother Curlita Gordon, my sister Dail Gordon and my uncle Steve Desouza are the voice of reason. When I have a dilemma, they are my go to. My line staff are Triston Gordon,

Nayim Sealey, Yannick Backer, Sean Ashby, Chris Harris, Tishan Charles, Reneisha Gordon (my daughter), Marcus Francis, Jahari Proctor and Kae Toya Lee-Bramble, who is in the UK at this present moment, and Andrew Blackman, who is in Cuba.” Always looking at ways to up the ante, keeping in mind the size of the market and economy, there are definitely plans for expansion in the future, by broadening their product line for concerts and corporate events and adding AutoCAD designing and implementation of lighting for houses of worship. “We’re also looking to revitalize the house party scene by providing deejay lighting and working those lights with renowned home grown deejays to provide a package deal for persons who are seeking that combo.” With over 28 years of experience, Jughead Theatre and Show Lights continues to provide professional services in the lighting industry complimented with great customer service. “I see lighting as a means of expression and not a money making affair. It is more than flashing lights … The subject being lit is the show, not the lights. We are to enhance the subject, whether an artist at a concert, or a palm tree at a corporate event, not the brand of the equipment used or the amount of equipment used.”

27 years

L e t t h ere be light! THEATRE & SHOW LIGHTS

Production. Installation. Sales. Service


TEL: 461-3030 • CELL: 772-1301 • 781-6969 or 770-7806

Em a i l : j u g h e a d . l i g h t s @ gm a i l .c o m BusinessFocus • July/August 2013 | BusinessFocus • July/August 2013 | 55



EVENT PLANNING Tips It’s evident that events in Antigua and Barbuda have long since lost the “throw-together” appeal and have since evolved into competitive productions. In fact, some may liken a successful event to a theatre production, where it is necessary to create the right performance and ambience for the right audience. Long gone are the days where any old venue or band can be chosen for the event. No sir! Today, to avoid a “flop”, which could inevitably mean the demise of the business (from the host to the contracted businesses), there is an art or rather a science to narrowing down all the fine details that will come together in a successful event. Here are a few things that one should consider when planning an event. When Should I Have this Event? Timing is everything. Try hosting a public event on the night of Soca Monarch, and you might as well prepare yourself for an epic fail. Similarly, if you’re planning an epic sweet sixteen the same night a famed entertainer is scheduled to perform in Antigua, then be prepared to wipe your sixteen-year-old’s tears, when hardly anyone makes an appearance. The decision about when to hold your event is determined in large part by what type of event it is. Ask yourself, is the event 56 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 56 July/August 2013

better suited for the day or evening? Do you want to hold it during the week or on a weekend? If your event doesn’t have a deadline, would it be best to hold it during a specific season or time of year? Make sure to check that your event doesn’t overlap with any other event or major holiday. Find the right Location and Venue Are you going to hold your event indoors or outdoors? Outdoor events can be a nice change but have several major considerations, the weather being number one on the list. Think tents/marquees, portable flooring, electric generators and space heaters in addition to a well thought out contingency plan. If you’re catering for an upscale event, make sure that the flooring is suited for the heels that your female guests will be sporting. Also, be aware that speeches and audio visual presentations are notoriously difficult to stage outdoors. Be sure to take into consideration the impending winds that may overturn buffet tables, your screens, and any décor. Ask yourself if suitable parking is available? Is it easy to find or are you best to include a map in your invitation? Consider Unique Environments Hotel meeting rooms can feel rather unoriginal and the thought of a unique environment can immediately add interest and

excitement. Consider retreat centres, cruise ships or yachts, museums, stately homes, sporting venues, colonial buildings or estates and theatres. Realize that many of these venues work well for special functions. Make sure you do your homework beforehand and abide by the “Meeting Planner’s Golden Rule” ... never select a venue without having seen it in person! Setting The Stage and Planning your Entertainment The programme plan you choose stems from the purpose and participants. Your four main considerations include:

1. What is the main emphasis of the programme – educational, business or social?

2. What is your financial criteria – generate revenue, break even or is it a company expense?

Hire A Professional Photographer The event photographer has certainly carved out his niche in Antigua and Barbuda. Not only do these photographs offer you, the host, a great opportunity at advertising for the next event, but the patrons enjoy the momentum of a personal paparazzi, and look forward to seeing themselves and others on Facebook when the photos are posted. A photographer is a great addition to almost any event. Guests appreciate a visual reminder of the fun time they had at your affair. Arranging to have family portraits taken at an employee appreciation event shows your employees that you care about them as individuals. Guests at more formal affairs enjoy having their pictures taken while they’re dressed up for a night out. Decide whether you want a photographer to roam among your guests taking candid shots, to set up in a central location to take posed shots, or both.


What are your participants’ expectations?

Entertain The Group


What is the optimum ratio of education and business to social programming?

Participants look forward to the entertainment segment of a programme. They want to have fun, enjoy themselves, and let their hair down, particularly after stressful and demanding sessions. So guess what? Your participants’ stress reliever now becomes your stress maker. You have a true responsibility

Create The Right Atmosphere One key to a successful special event is to seek out entertainment or decorations that are unique and fun to spark excitement and add the right ambiance. Think outside the box and consider all sorts of amusements, anything out of the ordinary. Novelty is the key to your success. Keep in mind that entertainment to rave about can also come in the form of an elaborate coffee bar or startlingly beautiful champagne fountain. Remember to check all decorating plans with the venue in advance because many have restrictions on what they allow. For example some establishments forbid helium balloons, others have fire, height and noise restrictions. Create A Memorable Theme Creating a theme for your event helps make it easier to organize food, decor, and other accessories, such as giveaway items. Select a theme that fits your participants and the purpose of your event. Look at fetes such as Blue Jeans, White Fete and Aloha – notably each respective theme has boutiques catering for the ensembles that will be worn to each fete, and patrons look forward to the denim challenge, black lights, and beach wear every year. Integrate The Theme Don’t consider a theme unless you are prepared to follow it through your entire event. Don’t limit it to a few posters on the walls, which just add lip service rather than real ambiance. For the most impact, integrate it before, during and after the event. Reflect your theme in your invitations and in any party packs guests take home. Your theme should complement the tone and content of your event.

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to choose the right entertainment for your group. For your all-inclusive event, you’ll have to decide which deejay will be right for your audience, who will play the type of music your crowd will appreciate. The same thing goes for your band, dancers and the like. Hire The Right Talent As you think about hiring your entertainment talent, find out where and for whom they’ve previously performed. Make certain that you view a demo video or check their references with a couple of phone calls. If you have a large, very important function coming up, try hiring them for a smaller function to see how it goes or ask if they are performing at any public event you can go and watch. Assess for the quality of their performance and the audience reaction. Putting It All Together Have production meetings or phone meetings with everyone involved in your event. Write up a detailed run sheet of what every person is doing in the event. Make sure everything is put in chronologically and in 24 hour time. Email a copy of this run sheet to ALL suppliers for the night so they know what else is happening around them. This can be particularly important when you get the occasional supplier who will make their own mind up as to how much time they need to do their job but they have no idea how the time changes they create affects others on the team, so make sure you’ve spoken to everyone about how much time they need to prepare, how long they perform and what else will be affected by these time constraints. You certainly don’t want guests arriving with the food, or for there to be a lull while the live band sets up or tests their sound. And if this sounds all too overwhelming for you, no need to worry, just hire an event planner!

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Venue? Check! Food? Check! Drinks/Bars? Check! Music/Entertainment? Hmmmm … This may warrant a pause as your entertainment plays a large part in whether or not your event will be a large success. And for some folks, depending on the event, it is the entertainment that will ultimately become the deal breaker, name maker or career sinker for you and your event – no pressure. If your event is a corporate one or even one where a mature audience may be in attendance, you certainly wouldn’t want to hire one of the deejays who only know how to play hard core dancehall, riddled with profanity. Your visiting corporate guests may not understand the culture, and might find this quite offensive. You also may not want to hire Flames or Red Hott, where one of their controversial tunes might be played in their line-up – as sweet as the melody may be, some folks might be quite turned off with the lyrics, and not want to engage in business with a company who thinks “kick een she back door” is socially acceptable, especially at an upscale event. Perhaps, Laviscount Brass might be more suited for a more mature and sombre audience. Most steel orchestras on

Asher Otto and the Itchy Feet band. Photo courtesy Justin ‘JusBus’ Nation.


island are also excellent for setting a sombre mood with a cultural accent as they play both classical and contemporary on their pans. Then there’s also Kutting Edge, a band that fuses all genres, and in place of a lead singer, has a pan as its lead instrument. Featuring renowned pannist Aubrey “Lacu” Samuel and an all-start cast (Gavin Christopher on keyboard, Dalma ‘Boogie” George on drums, and Wayne “Squasher” Nathaniel on bass) this band takes you down memory lane with classical and contemporary hits from the 80s, from pop and R&B to sweet Calypso, adding their own cutting edge arrangements. There’s also the Roland Prince Quarter, known for their smooth jazz, providing perfect ambient music for dinner and a relaxing evening. But if you’re looking for bands with a more contemporary sound, able to give your audience anything from hits of the 80s in reggae and pop, even rock, and bring you right up to the present with smooth covers, there are several on island that can offer you such a selection. For starters, there’s the popular Itchy Feet, featuring Asher Otto, 17°61° featuring Kimmy and Mel B, TKO featuring Laurena Davis, and Power Union featuring Patrice Martin. BusinessFocus • July/August BusinessFocus • July/August 20132013 | 59|



Any of these bands can take your audience on a cool groove, giving you a range from soul and jazz to rock and reggae and everything in between, each bringing their signature style. Any of the aforementioned bands are great for anything from corporate events to weddings. Now if it’s something more catchy that you want, with a mixed crowd of persons who are definitely coming to jam until the morning, this is where Flames and Red Hott may come in. You may also want to grab the attention of patrons by featuring some of their favourite local artistes, such as Tizzy and the El-A-Kru (the featured artiste/band at White Fete), Tian Winter (featured artiste at Myst’s Heelz), and Claudette Peters (the featured artiste at Blue Jeans). Between these sets however, the deejay(s) you hire can make or break the mood of the evening. What you want

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to avoid is a deejay who plays for himself and not you or your audience. And, irrespective of age, there are in fact several deejays capable of playing exactly what you wish. For the public events you may want to grab a deejay that has his/her own following as well, as this may help give your event a little push. You’ll notice that for some events, the flyers feature the deejays who will be playing. Your best bet, however, when hiring your band or/and deejay is to attend an event where you can listen to and watch them perform, as well as watch the way the audience responds to them. Once you’ve seen them and you know the audience you’re catering for, it will be easier to match the entertainment to the event to make it a successful one.


SOULJAH Turning the mix into a business

Antigua’s top female deejay, Damara Phillips has literally put her own spin on the entertainment business carving out a niche in the events market. She is not only known locally, regionally and internationally as a stylish spin master, but is also a sought after graphic designer. It’s very rare indeed to find an event these days that is not plastered to lamp posts, tree trunks, buildings and your windshield. In “getting the word out” the demand for promotional flyers and posters has certainly taken on a life of its own, and Damara has seized the opportunity to create her own entertainment empire under the label Sistah SoulJahs. Surrounded by music as a child (her father owned Zodiac nightclub), it is no surprise to family and friends that Damara has engrossed herself in the world of music and entertainment. Well-known sound Wardadli SoulJahs took her under their wings when she was younger. Her friend Eta James later joined her as an MC, and adding four other females to the equation, Sistah Souljahs has since become a prominent sound in Antigua, their first official gig being in 2006. They’ve competed in sound clashes across the island and Caribbean, and are the 2012 Wadadli Island Clash Champions.

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throughout the years assisting when I fall short. In October of 2012 I made the decision to finally register both entities, Sistah SoulJahs Graphix & Sistah SoulJahs Entertainment. I since have contracted two female designers who reside in the United States and I also have an admin assistant.”

Damara has also played solo for notorious events such as Heelz, Blue Jeans Fete, We Come to Fete, Nocturnal, Margaritas, H2O Wet Fete, Girl Power, Rum U Lous, Geek Fest and many other smaller events. She’s also travelled on more than one occasion, as a group and solo to places such as Anguilla, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent, Dominica, New York (Bronx & Brooklyn) & Maryland (Baltimore), as a result of networking online and self-promotion. Her passion for graphic design was sparked in high school when photographer Gemma Hazelwood introduced her to Adobe Photoshop, which she quickly learned and manipulated to assist in creating a virtual yearbook for her graduating class in 2005. Gamal Goodwin of G Productions became her mentor and in 2007 she was selected for a job at the Sun Printing and Publishing as a graphic artist.

You may have seen her work around the island, in newspapers, on flyers, ads, posters and even album covers. To her portfolio she has added the Burning Flames Band album art for CD “U Pan U Own” 2009; the HPTV billboard by the St. Johns public cemetery; “ZANG” logo for a CTV channel; a few LIME billboards and banners, through “Yuniq Designs”; art work for H20 Wet Fete 2010; all of NMI “Margaritas” flyers; bumper stickers for Kiwanis Club; AGHS 125th anniversary magazine cover; various magazine ads for local magazines; ads for the Blue Waters Hotel; ads for Lipstick and many more. “Currently my prime client is the Community First Co-operative Credit Union. I was contracted in January of 2013 to handle their desktop publishing. If you are a member, you may notice some of the signs and brochures have changed drastically since the beginning of the year.” Developing her two passions into reputable businesses, the journey has not been an easy one. “Some people have no idea how much time and energy goes into being a DJ/ Entertainer, especially time and they say time is money.

“I also acquired a part time position at another design firm “Yuniq Designs” under the mentorship of Taslim Gordon, who also contracted me in the future when I left Sun.”

I spend a lot of time with my music. I spend a lot of money on equipment, and maintaining them. At this point I really cannot see myself doing anything else. I live, breath & sleep music. ... They have some ‘get rich quick’ and ‘just come’ promoters who are up to no good, so I have to protect myself and my business/brand.

With Sun’s downsizing and eventual closure, Damara found herself a little stunned, and even doubted her skills when she was one of two artistes let go during the downsize.

“I merged it as a business because I think it’s the only way people in Antigua and Barbuda will take you serious and compensate you for what you are worth.”

“I resigned [from another job after that] and ever since then I have never worked for anyone else, solely depending on revenue gained from my designs and gigs. It was not easy at all but my brother Shari, who I live with, has been very supportive

In growing her business Damara took it upon herself to attend workshops and classes geared towards bettering herself, and Sistah SoulJahs. In fact, it was through some of these programmes that she saw a need to create one of

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her business packages for small businesses. “I realized there are a lot of small businesses in Antigua … but never heard of some of them. To me, if they had a real brand and better promotional material, or any at all, I think their businesses would be a lot more successful. These were people with great ideas but no identity/image for their business. “I know it’s hard as a small business ... branding isn’t cheap! At least it shouldn’t be, that’s a note to upcoming designers,” she laughs. “I made a vow to myself to help self-employed/small businesses establish themselves. I put together a package for people who fall under that umbrella.” Basically the package affords new businesses with the start-up tools needed – Logo, Business Card Design, Flyer Designs and Website Design – all at one affordable price. “Being my own boss is a good feeling. Don’t get me wrong it’s more work, it’s tough, I have no days off or sick days, I have set backs, I have the bad days when I just want to lay down and do nothing, but just the satisfaction you get at the end of the day is worth it to me. When you can say this is mine, my bread and butter, I built this!” To see more of Damara’s work you can visit:

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“If there were parties every day, I would be so happy to play with the children every day,” laughs Mandie Braithwaite of Shawanda Party Planners, soon to be re-registered to Shawanda’s Wadadli Activity Team (S.W.A.T.). Children’s parties can be a blast, especially for the children, but it can also be a lot of work, as most parents can attest to. Capitalising on a favourite past time for children and turning into a business, this entrepreneur has created a brand of children’s events and is a much sought after event planner for many children’s parties. In the business since 1996, Mandie notes that she was among the first in Antigua and Barbuda to up the ante with children’s events and evolve the planning into a business. “I collated a team of very talented and animated people to perform in the business as party entertainment clowns. With myself as the team leader, I taught the group to face paint and balloon twist. Their natural ability to interact with children and adults alike was and still is a major success.” Adding fun party games, team building and prizes for the winners, Mandie expanded her business to cater to the growing demands of her clients. To her assortment of fun and games, she’s since added Disney Characters of every mascot you can think of, with several packages to choose from along with inflatable play sets or bounce castles. Her packages also include photography and video clip keepsakes. But does something that seems so minor – it’s a children’s party after all – stay afloat in Antigua, especially in a challenging economy? To say her business has catered to thousands of children’s events since 1996, Mandie is absolutely confident of the market for this type of business. Apart from regular clients who call on her services annually, SWAT has supplied characters and services to birthday parties from age one to 19; entertained children at weddings; political fun days, Embassy Kids; Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day parties; hotel staff children, corporate and business promotion events; Rotary children; Children’s Carnival; and fund raisers. As a full-time employee at another establishment, however, juggling responsibilities can sometimes be taxing, and one of her greatest challenges. But with a carefully selected professional and creative team, although she wishes she could be at every event, Mandie attributes the success of her business to the dedicated team who works along with her. Adding her competitive and affordable rates, SWAT has been able to remain atop of their game. On average they cater to about 120 parties per year. But of all the events, her most gratifying is when the company gives back and makes their annual visit to the Children’s Ward in the hospital. Undoubtedly, part of childhood has always been the parties one would attend. Making a business out of this, Mandie has created unforgettable memories for many children throughout the island. “I absolutely adore working and playing with children in particular which has also encouraged adults to revisit their childhood and bring out the Peter Pan in them.” 64 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 64 July/August 2013

COCOROSE Guesthouse + Reception H a l l

HOSPITALITY SERVICES INC. Our full-service approach enables our clients to relax and enjoy our labour. 1. Housekeeping hospitality services 2.

Private Events Management


Property Management

4. Housekeeping cleanup before and after events

We Accept Emergency Calls P.O. BOX 1459

MOBILE: 268.720.8866

/ 726.1094 “We are confident in our ability to fullfull your needs”

Located along the lovely southern coast of Antigua , Coco Rose is the ideal guest house to spend your vacation away from home. Each room has a private patio that provides a breathtaking view of the panoramic views of Antigua 's lush country side. Tranquil Cottage Spa in-room services are also available. Relax, Retreat and Rejuvenate. Located on the ground floor, Coco Rose Reception Hall offers a large facility that can cater to up to 200 guests for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, banquets and all other occasions. Coco Rose Reception Hall opens up to a garden/parking area that is just steps away from the beach and the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea , a perfect setting for photos. The beauty of Coco Rose is that it is a family run operation, so they can be flexible and accomodating to your specific needs.

All you have to do is show up! TEL: +1 (268) 562-6104 • CELL: +1 (268) 770-1088 • EMAIL: Urlings Village Antigua

P.O. Box 2237, Seaview Farm Village, Antigua

Tel/Fax: 268.560.9664 • Office: 268.560.9664 • Cell: 268.764.0294 or 268.773.4105 Email:

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10 things to think about when planning

your wedding

by Mark Brown of Agenda Design Concepts

1. Everything in a wedding costs money! EVERYTHING!! It is important that you’re financially prepared for the costs involved in pulling off a great event. It need not be one where you invite everyone you know, as in any case these usually turn out to be disastrous both logistically and on the pocket. Let’s not have Champagne ideas on a Mauby budget! 2. Find your Venue. More often than not, unless you are planning towards an exact date years in advance, the availability and choice of venue will drive the actual date of the wedding. Choosing the right venue will most certainly take time. When both the ceremony and reception venues have been chosen, the whole day will then fall into place. 3. Intimate weddings are always best! As a spin-off from the budget issue you need to always consider the number of guests you can afford. There is no need to try to invite everyone as it is impossible to do so given the size of the venues available on the island. Furthermore, it is always advisable to have a manageable number of guests; concentrate on delivering the 66 |

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best possible experience to your guests so that they all leave with wonderful memories that will forever define your special day. 4. What is your personal style? One should always consider the mood you want to create and consistently apply it throughout every aspect of the event. Do you want a Classic wedding, an Avant-garde one, something whimsical? What ever you choose let it be a true reflection of who you are, as your family and close friends who are sharing the day with you both know you and would be able to identify anything foreign to your personalities. The day is yours, customize it! Choosing The Dress
will be one of the most fun and exciting parts of the whole wedding preparation process. No matter what shape or size you are, there are a multitude of dresses to be found. Grooms-wear, ushers, bridesmaids, pageboys and every other member of the wedding party also need to be considered, so be prepared to spend some time making sure the complete wedding party is coordinated.

5. Employ the services of a qualified Event Planner to assist you in making your dream day a reality. Please note that unless they are involved in the industry on a regular with much experience, aunties, best friends and family members do not count. This is not the time to give those not knowledgeable about events the responsibility to try to manage your event. It is not as easy as it looks!

Agenda Design Concepts is your specialist design company, providing venue decoration expertise for weddings, corporate events, private parties, stage and retail merchandising. With over a decade of experience in the industry, their team of Visual Artists and Event Planners will style your Event from concept to completion......What’s On Your Agenda?

6. Your colour scheme is important. One rule of thumb is that when using intense colours, include a neutral. Try not to get over-excited with flamboyant names for colour like Eggplant, Tangerine, Chartreuse etc. It is very difficult to source these outside of garment; fabric and the shades usually differ from different suppliers. Try to stay close to the pantone colour chart as this is a more universally recognised range. Many times the simple names of colour are over sensationalised.


7. Do not skimp on food and beverage, and great ambience, which is self explanatory.

Upholstered and carpet cleaning • Cleaning of wall, glass , Mildew

8. Always make arrangements for a Honeymoon. It should be mandatory that you make provisions for some R&R after the rigours of being intimately involved in the planning of your wedding. It would be fabulous to visit a destination that you would not ordinarily see, but it can be equally rewarding to do a staycation if this is what the pocket can afford. Whatever you do make the time for some 1on1 with your life partner and savor every moment before your return to everyday life.


SPECIALIZING IN: Janitorial and Commercial services Cleaning of all tiled surfaces • Post Construction Clean up

9. Final Touches. Everyone’s wedding is unique to them so it is difficult to put into words exactly what final touches you will need to take care of. Things to think about are seating plans, order of service, rehearsals, speeches, readings, poems, thank you gifts, first dances, music, time lines, transportation, children, favours, return of rentals, thank you cards, etc. 10. Have Fun! Hopefully your wedding will be a one-time event except for the renewal of vows later on in your walk together. Embrace every moment of the planning as sometimes the journey is the destination.

Email us at

Call us at 268-562-7585 or 268-728-1634

When using intense or bright colours, as a rule of thumb, always include a neutral.

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The Eco Wedding trend Merging art with design, Agenda Design Concepts caters to the chic and eco-friendly as well. If you’re a bride who is on the “Go Green” trend, then having such a wedding event is simpler than you could have imagined. The trend of having an environmentally friendly wedding has really become popular in a global environment where care and personal responsibility for the environment has come to the consciousness of many. We see the effects of global warming can be seen through the losses in one of our major natural resources – our beaches. With this, many people have made it their business to lessen their carbon footprints even through the sacred act of marriage. Here in Antigua we are fortunate to have many resources to which we can turn in a sustainable way in the wedding industry. With the phenomenon of the ‘Green’ wedding, more and more couples are opting to go as green as possible with their event. As the premier event designers on island, we at Agenda see this as a viable avenue not only to the preservation of our natural environment but as a vehicle for our creativity. The green wedding can become challenging as one still has to put together the elements in an aesthetically pleasing way, but the availability of resources here are endless. Our approach is to leave our clients “Green” with envy. From the use of Bamboo which can be found in many areas on the island to the blossoms of the Flamboyant trees which are spectacularly saturated with colour in the dry season, the use and re-use of articles and objects have the potential to excite the imagination of any wedding guest. The Calabash, Coconut Palm, washed up shells and driftwood at the water’s edge, the bits of broken bottles and glass sculpted by wave action to the artist’s use of used bottles in creating glassware, the substitutes available for the conventional elements make for great conversation as well as practical use. One just needs to look around and try to imagine an alternative purpose for that which seems to have served its time and original purpose. You will find that there is always new life to be found in an otherwise ‘expired’ object. Take the plunge and go Green! 68 |

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No one really wants to do it. But for those who venture this messy, but necessary road, the rewards can be endless. We’re talking about sanitation here. Admittedly, it may not be the first thought when one thinks business, but for a select few in Antigua and Barbuda, some successful businesses have arisen out of the mess of others (pun intended). It always amazes me that the things we have in common as humans, are the very things we’re most embarrassed about – going to the bathroom. But we ALL need to. Now, you’re at an event, and nature calls, what are you going to do? Find the nearest bush? Well, the men might, but for the women, you’re most likely to return to an annual event that offered you the comfort of a portable potty. When planning an event, sanitation must be taken into consideration, especially if you expect to have female guests, and serve beverages. If you’re using an indoor venue that comes with bathroom facilities, you may want to inquire if the use of their facilities is included in your overall cost. It may sound obvious, but some venues do charge extra for bathroom use, also dependent on the number of guests you may have. In their eyes, while you are already renting the space, the number of guests may kill their water and electricity

bills. You may also want to inspect the facility to make sure your guests will be comfortable using the facilities as well. Having an outdoor event? Not a problem. There are several companies in Antigua and Barbuda, such as SaniPro, and Occasions Party Rental (who offers air conditioned units) that provide such equipment. And most portable toilets these days are also equipped with running water and sanitizing liquids to wash your hands after use. In fact, several mas troupes have employed such services on the road for Carnival Monday and Tuesday, so their revellers are comfortable while jamming through the streets of St. John’s. Like any good party, one of the biggest headaches afterwards is the clean-up. Especially if you’re using an outdoor venue, you’ll want to be environmentally friendly and leave the area as clean as you found it. Should you wish to avoid this headache, cleaning services on the island are available to manage this leg of the event. Some hosts even hire these companies to be present during the event to avoid the unsightly overflow of garbage bins, or scattered litter on the ground. So if you haven’t thought about it, when planning event, you need to keep in mind even the messy details so your event will be hailed a success.

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In essence, this is exactly who a “promoter” is - a marketing manager. Just as any corporate company may hire a marketing manager to brand their business, these promoters must brand not only the event they’re promoting but themselves. A taxing niche in the entertainment industry, promotions have evolved in Antigua and Barbuda over the last 20 years, as veterans and newcomers all seek the same end result - a well attended and much talked about function. In the business for well over 20 years, Roger Perry took up the challenge while at university in Canada. Reading for a bachelor in marketing, he’d made a bet with someone who wagered that a Black promoter could not produce a successful rock concert. Needless to say Roger took up the challenge, exceeded expectations and began his career in concert and event promotions. Returning to Antigua, he became one of the first persons to produce a sound clash (between Stonewall and Exorcist), which today is one of the most anticipated events amongst deejays and their supporters. Collaborating with Don Charles, Roger was a principal promoter behind the Sweet Cry Freedom concerts. On his label Kiwi Fly Productions he hosted the Shaggy Concert at 70 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 70 July/August 2013

Millers by the Sea in 2003, which had close to 10 thousand patrons. One of the annual concerts he was also known for was Total Togetherness, which featured artistes such as Beenie Man, Alison Hinds and Barrington Levy. As a promoter, he’s even worked with and brought Grammy Award winners Dru Hill to Antigua. He considers this one of the best productions he’s ever seen, as the group brought their own lights and effects for the show, which then urged him to up his game. Another artiste he’s brought to Antigua is Sean Paul, the year Teenage Pageant was rebranded to Teen Splash. That year Roger was hired by the CDC to oversee the marketing for the Carnival activities. He’s gathered quite an impressive portfolio, which included being tour managers for artistes such as Kevin Lyttle, and travelling to various countries for shows as near as St. Kitts, for their music festival, to Nigeria and Japan. He’s mixed with royalty in life and the entertainment industry. With Da Bhann, they’ve even opened for the Marley Family in Disneyland. Notably, promoting has evolved over the years, and although Roger has since ventured into other markets, he’ll still don his promoters cap, coming off of the most recent NBA all inclusive.

One of the younger promoters who cannot be ignored is Chalita Rose of the Marketing Machine, who can also attest to the wide range of celebrities that one establishes relationships with in this industry. For him, he’s always had a love and passion for advertising and events management as early as his years at the Antigua State College, when he worked part time at The Source. “This is where I started to advertise and market on a larger scale. ... and in the fall of 2003, I left for Atlanta where I got training in marketing, events management and promotions.”

poor product, short-changing both the artistes and deejays they hired and the persons who paid to come out to their event. ... I’ve seen it in some cases, where there is little to no communication, and a promoter may use an established artiste’s name to promote an event, but no contracts were signed, and sometimes the managers of the artistes were not even contacted. What then ends up happening is that the artiste doesn’t make an appearance, and people blame this entertainer, not realising that the promoters had not handled their business professionally and properly.”

To his credit, The Marketing Machine, in collaboration with The Source, is known for its production of Soca Therapy, which includes six massive events all within the two-month span of the Carnival season. These include Girl Power, the Blue Devils J’ouvert Troupe, and the more popular LOL and Red Eye.

Another risk Roger points out is the incoherence amongst promoters. “We do not have the population to man several events in one night ... I’ve been flown to other islands to promote events, and one thing I’ve noticed is that some of these islands have associations, where the promoters network ... they work together and establish something like an event calendar and respect that protocol ... so if one promoter is hosting an event tonight, that’s the only event, another promoter will host his event on a separate night. ... But here, sometimes we have as much as three/four events in one night sometimes and we have a population of maybe three to four thousand persons who go out regularly.

Promotions today have evolved into use of the social media and more elaborate flyer and poster distribution. In fact, as part of their general marketing services, The Marketing Machine offers clients web design, graphic design, Facebook advertising and branding and brand development services to their clients. While it can be taxing for some promoters, Chalita enjoys the challenges as he seeks “the next big thing. ... It’s about finding the need for our patrons while simply supplying their demands ... stay[ing] focused on offering our patrons a great experience.” With his years of experience, as he exits this industry to focus on his family and other ventures, Roger notes the risks that some promoters face, such as financial risks - another reason that makes promoting instrumental to the success, and eventual payout of an event. “I’ve lost investments due to the weather for example ... sometimes it would rain cats and dogs, and we’d still have to pay the artistes we contracted even though we’ve had to postpone or cancel a concert.” He also acknowledges the increase of promoters in Antigua and Barbuda, some of whom give genuine and hardworking promoters a bad name. “Some of these new guys are simply looking for a ‘get rich quick scheme’ and end up delivering a

Cognisant of the industry getting worse if promoters do not start co-ordinating events, Roger says while he may host an occasional event, he’s definitely leaving the industry to the younger ones, and is confident that some of them will continue to give promoters a good name. For Chalita, he attributes the success of The Marketing Machine to his reliable and able staff, the Stage management crew, bar managers, sponsors and business partners The Source. “Our future plans are to continue to create great events, exporting Antiguan talent across the region and the world. “This is what I love to do,” states Chalita. “I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

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LEFT: Mr. Jamale Pringle; Managing Director, & RIGHT: Mr. Marlon Francis; Director Missing is Mr. Hamish Pringle; Director

Francis to arm themselves with the pertinent organisational, accounting and enterprising skills needed to take the bold step of expanding their small scale operation. As a result of their forward thinking, they created what is now one of the most recognized event management company on the island, Wadadli Event Services (WES), a company capable of transforming your imaginations into realizations. Although they continued to offer musical entertainment, the WES team, up the ante as they realised that the industry was heavily saturated. In addition with the changing economic climate, they quickly realised the need for increased creativity with possible expansion if they were to stay abreast of their competition. Today, this event planning and management company offers clients a “one-stop” shop where every event from a back yard gathering, corporate dinner, church function or large scale concerts can be supplied with the most simple or elaborate equipment or service. For any function, clients have at their disposal the rental of chairs, tables, linens, tableware, tents, stage, lighting and sound equipment. In addition to equipment rental, catering, decorating, musical entertainment, video services and event management are also available. It all began with a genuine love for music, providing clients with the basic sound system and deejay service along with providing a tent for small gatherings. After having performed and covered many small scale events, it became the realisation that Antigua lacked the much needed equipment and service of an Event management company. It was therefore the brain child of three, ambitious, determined young men, namely Jamale and Hamish Pringle and Marlon 72 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 72 July/August 2013

Over the years, you may have seen their many tents, stages, tables and linens around the island at various events such as the Antigua Fishing Tournament, Wadadli Day, Antigua Sailing Week and the Staycation Street Fair just to name a few. Their services have also enhanced many a corporate event in the business and service industry serving companies such as Brysons Insurance, Bank of Nova Scotia, ACB Bank, The Pink Mongoose, Sandals Grande, Jumby Bay Resort and many government functions. School graduations, Fashion

Shows, church functions and many other intimate family functions held throughout the island are no stranger to our clientele.

colleagues, and the trust of the public to place their memories in their hands, they bring quality products and atop notch service to the forefront to all their contracts.

With the increasing number of pre-Carnival fetes been organised, and realising the evolution of events in Antigua, adding the service of a stage with the option of a truss roof is another innovative investment which has since serviced many events throughout the island. The intricate apparatus has since become the backdrop of many events such as APUA Power Rumble, LOL, Red Eye, and the more recent event “Stage” which featured a regional if not international soca artiste. To date, the company offers the largest stage at 60x40ft, complete with truss roofing to accommodate its size thereby allowing adequate covering. Thinking that this would be too large for your event, or don’t know what size of equipment suits your needs? Not a problem, as we accommodate stages from as small as 8ft along with 10ft tents. Our efficient and knowledgeable team is more than welcome to offer you recommendations suited to your needs.

Continuing to promote quality services, Wadadli Event Services is committed to providing clients with the equipment, services, and innovative thinking necessary to make their “imaginations come alive.”

Contact us: Tyrell’s Main Road Tel: 268-726-7374 or 268-562-6871 Email:

With their ongoing passion in the pursuit of excellence, along with offering great service to customers, they decided to once again broaden their spectrum to include becoming the promoters of two of their own fetes-ALOHA and FLAGS – which continue to gather momentum, cementing their place as two of the top pre-carnival fetes. This provides WES with an outlet not only to showcase their creative abilities but to also exhibit their products and services, as the crowd is seen as potential clientele. Whilst relying on their networking skills to enhance events around the island, its often necessary to sub-contract various other service providers, for lighting, decorating and security services. In so doing, WES creates employment for many outside their immediate employ, and ensures that at the end of the day their business is of benefit to not only their clientele but the society as a whole. Staying abreast of the competition, however, has taken on a business spin, where crucial alliances are formed all in the greater scope of providing clients with the best service possible. Gaining the respect of their more established BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • July/August • July/August 20132013 | 73|



Bringing the heat in Entertainment with Lava International

There is no acronym, but if you were to add symbolism, you’d agree that they’ve been blazing a hot trail in the entertainment services. Lava International Ltd., takes its name from the heated circumstances that coincided with the decision to start the company, when the Montserrat volcano became very active. Arguably, one could say that like that natural activity which causes people to respect the force of nature, so too has Lava gained the respect of many in their industry.

Always having a passion for music, although he doesn’t play any instruments, founder and owner of Lava International Martin Mansoor, knew he’d always be engrossed in the music industry. Growing up around his father’s business, Hitachi Centre, Martin’s knowledge of music grew from mere appreciation to a wide span of technical experience and training. And although he shifts between his duties at Hitachi and Lava, he maintains a very hands-on involvement in the maintenance and repair of not only the equipment for Lava, but many of the sound equipment and instruments on the island, specialising in setting frequencies as well. Since being established in 1997, many would have enjoyed the sounds produced by their equipment at hundreds of events over the years, including Sailing Week for the last three years. In fact, in collaboration with Jughead Lighting and Stone Wall Entertainment, Lava is the “L” in JLS which provided the roof, and some of the sound equipment and services for Carnival productions. To date, Lava International Ltd., provides clients with generators, bar counters, temporary fencing, stage lighting and sound equipment, light towers, stage covers (up to 40x60ft), and stages able to hold to weight of a car and other heavy duty equipment. A sound company, it is able to provide cherry pickers and forklifts for the delivery, set up and striking of their equipment.

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In June, Lava International offered patrons a front row seat to experience the full extent of their products and services when they hosted their first solo event, the concert Stage, which featured local artistes Claudette CP Peters, Tian Winter, Drastic, Ricardo Dru, and the Burning Flames, alongside regional and international artistes Farmer Nappy, Patrice Roberts and Machel Montano. With the encouraging feedback they received, and patrons still raving about the execution and smooth flow of the show, fans will be happy to know that Lava has every intention of making Stage an annual event, and plans are already in place to increase their concert portfolio. With their business growing, long time friend Jahmal Thomas, who would assist in the past, officially came on board as Lava’s manager last September to ensure the smooth continuance of business, from initial contact with clients to the actual set up of equipment and services. In fact, this adds to the growth of Lava’s clientele, as what they initially offer clients is “turn key” operation, complete with trained technicians, delivery and set up staff. Dedicated to not only providing top quality equipment and service of international standards, Lava is also committed to its returns to the country. Noting that their recent production, Stage, generated employment for over 100 people, with a large portion of the marketing for the event remaining within the island as some of the posters and flyers were done right here. As much as is possible, they attempt to source their needs right here within Antigua, which in essence, creates a ripple effect within the economy. With the potential to cater for festivals and concerts on an international level, Lava International continues to provide clients with professional services needed to evolve their event from just an event, to a phenomenal production that will be talked about in the coming years. BusinessFocus • July/August BusinessFocus • July/August 20132013 | 75|



Local Chefs Showcase the Pride and Passion of the Destination

Two New York based, Antiguan and Barbudan chefs, joined more than a dozen Caribbean Culinary Masters in spicing up the Caribbean Week celebrations in New York City. Shawnee Braggs and Melvin Myers participated in a programme of cooking demonstrations that showcased the culinary heritage of the Caribbean, as well as the flavours and aromas of the region. The week-long showcase of Caribbean culinary talent was part of Bloomingdale’s Department Stores’ ‘Fashionable Happenings’ staged at various store locations throughout the tri-state area. Chef Shawnee Braggs, introduced shoppers to the simple pleasures of preparing Caribbean cuisine. Drawing inspiration and passion from her grandmother Mrs. Rose Aska, Shawnee created rose skewered shrimp to honour the family matriarch who taught her how to cook. Known throughout the Diaspora for his precision food carvings, Chef Myers carved the Antigua and Barbuda destination logo and the Bloomingdales logo as part of an elaborate display. In addition, Chef Myers demonstrated how to prepare bow-tie fried dumplings with bruschetta and codfish cakes with peppered papaya vinaigrette. Chef Myers began his culinary journey 76 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••Julyy/August 2013 76 July/August 2013

at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI). He now caters for many government agencies, businesses, parties and themed events throughout the United States. “The cooking demonstration programme in collaboration with Bloomingdales, is an effective way to showcase the sights, sounds and aromas of Antigua and Barbuda and helps to increase visibility and generate business from Bloomingdales’ clientele.... Once shoppers sample the cuisine, it helps to solidify a connection with the destination and propels awareness and interest in what the destination has to offer,” said Derede Samuel-Whitlock, US Tourism Director. Junior Steel Pan Ambassadors, 12-year old Dehnique and 10-year old Akheel De Freitas provided musical accompaniment to the 2-hour cooking demonstrations.

Tourism Awareness Campaign PSA

The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority has initiated a local Tourism Awareness Campaign with the release of a new Public Service Announcement titled, “Pieces of the Tourism Puzzle,” which will air on local media via ABS television and the Karib Cable Network. The strategic concept behind the campaign is to reinvigorate the public’s appreciation of the industry and its contribution to the economy. The tourism PSA is geared towards a younger demographic, yet it demonstrates to the entire community how we as citizens within the country are at the core of the tourism product, and each play an integral role in providing the vital services that visitors come to experience when visiting the destination. In positioning the theme for the PSA, Marketing Manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Charmaine Spencer said the theme, ‘Pieces of the Tourism Puzzle’, is also an appeal to the social media generation. It was used as an example to show how today we are all inter-connected and when we work together in a positive direction our best is manifested; if we continue to send a consistently positive message about our island product then it will be seen throughout the world.”

The PSA also features local soca celebrity, Tian Winter, which helps to make it easily identifiable and also timely for Antigua’s upcoming Carnival festivities. The Tourism Awareness Campaign was launched in preparation for the next winter tourist season. The timing of the launch aims to provide awareness to better develop our tourism product during the traditionally slow season. The campaign’s catch-line includes the famous tagline associated with Antigua & Barbuda’s Tourism: ‘the beach is just the beginning’. And, it reinforces the point that, “the rest is up to me and you”.

CARIBBEAN WEEK 2013 HAILED A SUCCESS Caribbean Week 2013 in New York is being hailed a huge success. This annual celebration is organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to highlight the sights, sounds and flavors of the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda joined over 30 Caribbean countries in promotional activities that brought together decision makers in the Caribbean’s tourism, travel and investment fields. The week of events included a number of business meetings and networking opportunities as well as a range of experiential events that appeal to consumers, media and the travel trade. The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism delegation led by Minister John Maginley, created a strong presence at the conference showcasing the destination at the promotional events. The contingent also included Mr. Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) and US Tourism Director, Derede SamuelWhitlock. The Tourism team utilised key opportunities to increase destination

awareness and present business opportunities to travel industry representatives and potential investors in the tri-state area, the largest source market and most accessible US gateway to the destination. The team also participated in the Caribbean Vacation Mart at the New Yorker Hotel. Hundreds of New Yorkers, including scores of Antiguan and Barbudan nationals, stopped by the destination booth to learn more about attractions and accommodations that the destination has to offer and to take advantage of special promotional offers. Minister of Tourism, Hon John Maginley said “We had a very successful week engaging investors, media consumers and the trade on product developments and the range of business opportunities that the destination has to offer.... Each year we use this opportunity bolster our presence in one of our largest source markets by ensuring that we keep the spotlight on Antigua and Barbuda as one of the most diverse offerings in the Caribbean.”


has been the destination partner with NBC6 South Florida on the campaign; which is in its sixth year running. The Ultimate Honeymoon campaign is seen as another initiative by the ABTA to complement the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation’s, integrated marketing plan, which includes continuing to promote Antigua & Barbuda as a leading destination for romance, weddings and honeymoons. The Antigua and Barbuda brand was showcased throughout the extensive multi-media campaign that included television, direct marketing, on-line marketing, and social media. The aim of the promotion is to directly reach consumers interested in travel, weddings and honeymoons, while they are in the planning stages of this milestone event. The Ultimate Honeymoon campaign ran from March, 2013 until the end of June, 2013. Couples had the opportunity to enter to win airfare compliments American Airlines and a seven night all-inclusive honeymoon getaway at St. James’ Club, an Elite Island Resort in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) partnered with Elite Island Resorts, NBC6 South Florida and American Airlines for the Ultimate Honeymoon campaign 2013. This is the second year that Antigua & Barbuda BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • July/August • July/August 20132013 | 77|



The annual Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) Tourism Awards Gala The annual Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) Tourism Awards Gala, held at Sandals Grand Antigua Resort saw winners in several categories. Here they are;

Tourism employee of the Year from a non hotel – Sharon Horsford, a sales associate at the Jewellers Warehouse

Tourism Personality of the Year 2013 Vorn Johnson, shuttle driver from Sugar Ridge

Tourism Personality of the Year 2013

Excellence in Customer Service Award –

Latoya Cabral, bartender at Sandals Grande Antigua

Eli Fuller and Adventure Antigua

Hotel Employee of the Year – Julius Jarvis,

Hotel supervisor of the Year – Stephen Georges,

Maintenance technician at Curtain bluff

Concierge Supervisor at Sandals Grande Antigua

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Partnership in Tourism award, Dennis Thomas and

Young Chef of the Year – Junior Magloire,

Dennis’ Cocktail Bar and Restaurant

Chef de Partie at Jumby bay

Julian’s Award for the most promising Chef,

Chef of the Year – Mark Smith,

Eustace Cabral, line Cook at Galley Bay

Pastry Chef at Curtain Bluff

Sustainable Tourism Award, Ava Mason and the

Young Hotelier of the Year. Andre Roberts, Food and Beverage

Green team at Sugar Ridge

Manager at Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort

Lifetime Achievement award – Calvert Roberts, Retired General Manager at Curtain Bluff

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ILO Pilot Programme on

HIV and AIDS Launched

Minister of National Security and Labour, Sen. the Hon. Dr. L. Errol Cort says the country has made significant progress in dealing with the challenges presented by HIV and AIDS in the workplace. Minister Cort was speaking at the launch of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Pilot Workplace Programme on HIV and AIDS. Twelve local business enterprises agreed to be a part of the pilot programme and take part in the one-day workshop and officially sign the Memorandum of Cooperation. The workshop, facilitated by ILO Consultant Mrs. Madhuri Supersad had the objectives of increasing participant’s knowledge of the ILO’s framework response to HIV and AIDS and in particular, the ILO Recommendation No. 200 concerning HIV and AIDS and the world of work. Assistant Labour Commissioner Pascall Kentish said the pilot programme hopes to make the Draft National Workplace 80 |

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Policy on HIV/AIDS one that is a living working document. The individual workplace policies not only benefit companies but also the country on a whole. Dr. Cort said it allows businesses to save money and ensure that workers are productive. It also ensured the prevention, care and protection of rights for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Arlene Martin of the Employers’ Federation agreed with this sentiment saying that HIV and AIDS affected persons in their most productive years. She too thanked the business enterprises who agreed to take part in the pilot programme. Ms. Martin cautioned however that many businesses will not respond unless they are legally obligated to do so. The business enterprises who have signed the Memorandum of Cooperation and were present at the workshop are; Antigua Public Utilities Authority, A.S. Brydens, Antigua Port Authority, Sandals Resort, Antigua Commercial Bank, the Antigua Distillery, the National Solid Waste, Carlisle Bay Resort, Courts, LIAT and the Bank of Nova Scotia.

MSJMC Receives High Marks for PAHO Vulnerability Assessment The results of an assessment of the hospital’s vulnerability in Antigua were presented at a workshop on safer hospitals in disasters, organised by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Country Office. The assessment was carried out during the period March 6th to 8th using the Hospital Safety Index tool developed by PAHO/WHO, as part of the organisation’s technical support to help strengthen national hospital emergency preparedness and disaster resilience in Antigua & Barbuda. The collaborative agreement between the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and PAHO also encompasses further development of the emergency management programme for healthcare facilities through an all-hazard approach to address potential humanitarian needs in future crises and disasters and to comply with the core capacities outlined in the International Health Regulations. Director of Administration & Head of Disaster Services at MSJMC, Gary Thomas, highlighted that having a safe hospital is both an essential healthcare as well as a commercial requirement; the most expensive hospital is “the one that fails”. “I hope that the findings of our hospital’s vulnerability assessment will serve as a basis for cooperation among all of us to foster the protection and safety improvement of this critical segment of the country’s infrastructure.” Mr. Thomas added that “ensuring that our hospital remains safe is a duty of the overall system as only safe hospitals save lives. The continuity of a functional hospital in emergencies is a prerequisite for stability and economic development and a very powerful symbol of social advancement.” Tony Gibbs, a Fellow of the Royal College of Engineers and

one of the PAHO consultants who conducted the vulnerability assessment said: “The dedication and enthusiasm of the team of hospital personnel associated with maintaining the premises and preparing for emergencies was evident throughout the 3-day exercise. The leadership of Mr. Gary Thomas, director of Administration, was outstanding. Mr. Thomas is knowledgeable, quiet but firm in manner and commands the respect of his staff. What was obvious is that Mr. Thomas and his team not only talk and write but actually implement what is being preached. Mr. Gibbs continued, “Procrastination is not a characteristic of the management. Throughout the visit the cooperation of the staff was impressive. It is not surprising that the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre has received the highest mark to date of all hospitals in the Caribbean assessed by PAHO’s Hospital Safety Index.” MSJMC received a score of eight (8) out of a total of ten (10) points. Determining the Hospital Safety Index is a new way of managing risk in the health sector. It is a comprehensive tool for identifying structural, non-structural and functional vulnerabilities in healthcare facilities. It also allows a health facility’s level of safety to be monitored over time. The Hospital Safety Index was developed through a lengthy process of dialogue, testing and revision, over a period of two years, initially by the Pan American Health Organization’s Disaster Mitigation Advisory Group (DiMAG) and later with input from other specialists in Latin America and the Caribbean. BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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PAHO/WHO urges countries of the Americas to work toward 100% voluntary altruistic blood donation

Only 41% of donations in Latin America and the Caribbean are voluntary and altruistic, the safest way to collect blood

In Latin America and the Caribbean, only 41% of blood supplies are obtained through voluntary altruistic blood donation, the safest way to collect blood, according to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). On World Blood Donor Day, June 14, PAHO/WHO called on countries in the Americas to work to achieve blood supplies obtained 100% from voluntary altruistic donors. In 2011, only 3.8 million (41%) of the total 9.3 million units of blood collected in Latin America were altruistic donations, that is, neither paid for nor donated to replace blood used for relatives or friends. In the Caribbean, 56% of blood donations were altruistic. Ten countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have achieved 100% voluntary altruistic blood donation. PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne said countries have made great efforts to improve the availability and safety of blood supplies in the Americas. However, while annual donations have gone up, the quantity of voluntary altruistic donations in the region has not increased significantly. She said more public education and promotion of blood donation are needed to ensure safe and ample blood supplies. 82 |

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María Dolores Pérez-Rosales, PAHO advisor on blood transfusion and organ transplants, said countries also need to improve the integration and sustainability of their national blood programs and improve their ability to estimate their needs for blood and blood products. “They should also work with health staff to improve the blood donation experience to encourage people to donate regularly,” she said. Most blood donations in Latin America and the Caribbean are obtained from “replacement donors,” that is, donors who must give blood before a family member or friend undergoes a medical procedure. In addition, many countries use blood from paid donors. According to PAHO/WHO data, blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis viruses are much more common in the blood of paid and replacement donors than in voluntary altruistic donors. This is because both paid and replacement donors are more likely to hide risky behaviours from blood bank personnel than are people whose only motivation is to give the gift of blood. In 2011, nearly 83 million blood donations were collected worldwide from voluntary altruistic donors, an increase of

nearly 8 million donations over 2004, according to WHO data. About 60 countries collect 100% of their blood supply from voluntary altruistic blood donors, but 73 countries still collect more than 50% of their blood from replacement or paid donors. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are working with support from PAHO/WHO, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Society of Blood Transfusion and the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations to increase the safety and sufficiency of blood supplies through increased voluntary altruistic blood donation and screening. Some of the countries’ achievements in this area include: •

Aruba, Bermuda, Canada, Cuba, Curaçao, Cayman

Islands, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Suriname, the United States, and the French Territories (Guadeloupe and Martinique) currently collect 100% of their blood supplies from volunteer altruistic donors. • More than 99% of blood units collected in Latin America and the Caribbean are screened for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis, and 92.5% are screened for T. cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. One blood donation can save at least three lives. Transfusions are often needed to manage complications during pregnancy and childbirth, to treat children with severe anemia, and for people with chronic illnesses. Transfusions are also used during heart surgery and organ transplants, in cases of traumatic injury, and as part of cancer therapies.

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events2013 events 2011




FIME INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL EXPO Centre, Bridgetown, Barbados 10 -13 June 2011 Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference BMEX is the premier annual exhibion for the Barbados Manufacturers Associaon to promote products August 7 -9, 2013 and services “Made in Barbados” and is an opportunity for Barbadian and Caribbean Manufacturers and At FIME the sole purpose is to provide persons with the largest selection of medical products available entrepreneurs to establish and garner new links. anywhere at anytime. For further info: Miami Beach, Florida For further information visit

TRADE & INVESTMENT CONVENTION (TIC) 2011 June 15-18 2011 • Hya� Regency • Port of Spain, Trinidad Business Opportuni�es begin in Trinidad and Tobago at the Crossroads of the Americas! The Trade & Investment Conven�on (TIC) is the Caribbean’s largest business-to-business event. TIC brings together manufacturers, service providers, exporters, buyers, distributors, wholesalers and CARILEC Renewable Energy/ Regulatory investors in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean’s largestForum. economy.Theme: It’s a unique forum that really works! TIC connectsan Buyers and Sellers to create new business partnerships! More than US$400 million “Progressing Integrative Approach in deals over the last decade! For further info: www.�c-�.com September 15 - 18, 2013 Renewables in SIDS CARIBBEAN FASHION WEEK (CFW) Barbados For- 21 further visit 18 Juneinformation 2011

Naonal Indoor Sports Centre, Jamaica The Caribbean region’s largest, best produced, most recognised and internaonally respected fashion event. For further info:


September 30 - October 3, 2013 ILTM Americas opensJamaica the doors to the Hotel, Americas community of the luxury travel industry in a time-effi23 – 25 June 2011 Pegasus Kingston, Jamaica cient format; introducing select international suppliers to exclusive Americas buyers through bespoke apAn annual gathering of over 500 accounng and finance professionals and business leaders from the pointment programmes and networking sessions. ILTM Americas is the solution to growing your business Caribbean to be hosted by the Ins�tute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ). The conference across precise, lucrative markets. theme, “Third to First, Going the Distance”, will highlight the cri�cal issues that need to be addressed The Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico. ifFor accounng and finance professionals in the region are to remain relevant in a changing global further information visit

environment. For further

TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN 22-26 June 2011 Hya Regency, Miami, Florida The 2011ANNUAL edion of Taste of the Caribbean is expected to be much improved and larger event with 20TH FCCA CRUISE CONFERENCE &aTRADE SHOW more teams, a consumer oriented food fair, greater desnaon markeng opportunies, television Septembernew 30 -compeon October 4, 2013 coverage, categories and the involvement of more junior chefs. 20th Annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show For further info: For many cruise executives, destinations, suppliers and tour operators, the annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year to meet with key industry players, analyze CANTO – 27th ANNUAL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION trends and discuss current issues Cartagena De Indias Convention Center, Colombia 10-13 July 2011 Toraricavisit Hotel, Paramaribo, Suriname For further information

The Caribbean Associaon of Naonal Telecommunicaon Organisaons (CANTO) was founded in 1985 as a non-profit associaon of telephone operang companies in the Caribbean. Now with over 104 members in 31 countries, CANTO is the leading telecommunicaons trade organisaon in the Caribbean and is also recognised internaonally for its leadership in the industry. For further info: 84 |

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the appointment of His Excellency Mr. Brian Challenger as Antigua and Barbuda’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Latin America. Ambassador Challenger will serve as the country’s representative to a number of Latin American countries to include the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Republic of Venezuela. In commenting on his appointment Ambassador Challenger expressed the following reaction: “I feel extremely honoured and humbled that the Prime Minister and Government of Antigua and Barbuda have entrusted me with this great responsibility. I endeavour to represent my country to the best of my ability. I look forward to this exciting and challenging opportunity to serve my country at this level as Antigua and Barbuda seeks to expand and deepen relations with the countries of Latin America.” Ambassador Challenger, a national of Antigua and Barbuda, has previously served in a number of capacities at both the regional and international level, including most recently as Chief Executive Officer of LIAT. Mr. Challenger previously worked at the OECS Secretariat in Saint Lucia, in addition to holding a number of positions within the Public Service in Antigua and Barbuda. He has also served as a consultant to various regional governments and institutions. His educational background includes training in Political Science, Aviation Law and International Relations. The appointment of Ambassador Challenger constitutes a part of the thrust of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to strengthen its relations with Brazil and other Latin American states.

Antigua and Barbuda has welcomed the new Executive Director of the Caribbean D i s a s t e r Emergency Management A g e n c y ( C D E M A ) Ronald Hugh Jackson. Jackson, the former Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica, replaces Jeremy Collymore, who demitted office on March 31 after serving the regional disaster office since its inception in 1991. He previously served ODPEM as deputy director general, senior director of the Preparedness and Operations Division and as regional coordinator for the southern parishes.

Director of the National Office of Disaster Services Philmore Mullin said he is sure the CDEMA Coordinating Unit will rally around the new executive director and that he will build on the legacy left by Mr. Collymore. “Coming from a disaster office, he has the working knowledge of some of the challenges we face and I believe he will be able to address most of them. He will have Antigua’s support as we move forward”, Mullin said. In 2010 Mr. Jackson received a Certificate of Commendation from the Caribbean Community for his contribution to the rescue and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. Mr. Jackson holds a Master of Science Degree (M.Sc.) in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Resource Management from the University of the West Indies and a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc.) in Physical Planning and Environmental Resource Development from the University of Technology.

Jackson has been extensively involved in disaster management at the national, regional and international levels. At the national level, he lent his expertise to the coordination of the national response to the impact of hurricanes Charlie, Ivan (2004); Dennis and Emily (2005); Tropical Depression 16 and subsequently Tropical Storm Nicole (2010) and most recently Hurricane Sandy (2012).

Barbara N Williams has been appointed as the Deputy N a t i o n a l Authorizing Officer (NAO) for the European Development Fund (EDF).

Prior to his appointment as Executive Director, he was a member of CDEMA’s Technical Advisory Committee, President of the IDB Caribbean Policy Dialogue Forum, the co-chair for the Inter American Network for Disaster Management and represented CDEMA member states on the Hyogo Framework for Action Mid-Term Review Committee and Post-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action Committee.

In her new position, in addition to her regular duties as the Implementation Coordinator for the CARIFORUMEU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), she is also responsible for the preparation and submission of programmes and projects under the EDF; the coordination, monitoring and assessment of projects and programmes funded through the EDF and ensuring

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MAJOR MOVES the proper execution of projects, programmes and disbursements of EU funding at the national level. Ms. Williams holds a MBA in Business Administration from the University of Leicester and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the University of the West Indies.

Ambassador John Ashe E l e c t e d President of the 68th Session of The UN General Assembly The General Assembly has elected by acclamation John William Ashe, the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, as President of its sixty-eighth session. Following his election, the incoming President said that no undertaking, since the Organization’s founding 68 years ago, had been more fundamental than addressing the relationship “between us human beings and this planet we inhabit”. In eighteen months, the post-2015 development agenda, one of the United Nations’ most ambitious projects, would be launched. If “we are to rise to the task”, he said, the General Assembly must to be equally as bold, ambitious and collaborative. Announcing the sixty-eighth session’s theme, “Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage!” Mr. Ashe called on Member States to “forge ahead with dogged determination”. Three high-level events on the agenda would be held to discuss contributions of women, youth, and civil society; human rights and the rule of law; and SouthSouth and Triangular Cooperation.

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In addition, three thematic debates would take place on the role of partnerships; ensuring stable and peaceful societies; and water, sanitation and sustainable energy in the development agenda. Offering his congratulations, SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to Mr. Ashe’s “impressive experience”, which included co-Chairmanship of the Bureau for the Preparatory Process of the Rio+20 Conference, Chairmanship of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) and Group of 77, as well as service on the governing bodies of major United Nations environmental agreements. The new President not only shared the Secretary-General’s passion for sustainable development and his concern about climate change, but was a trusted partner with personal integrity, the latter most important in diplomacy “where one’s word is the most valuable currency.” Mr. Ashe’s strong presence was akin to a “force field”, Mr. Ban continued, describing how delegates would gravitate towards the Ambassador to seek a consensus. He had been the “go-to person” when discussions had broken down, including the 2002 Summit for Social Development, and the Rio+20 negotiations. The SecretaryGeneral looked forward to the new President presiding over the upcoming session “when we push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and begin shaping our global vision for the post-2015 future.” A n t i g u a n Optometrist Dr. Jillia Bird r e c e i v e d worldwide recognition when the World Council of Optometry (WCO) awarded her with its International Optometrist of the Year Award

at its annual Awards Gala in Malaga, Spain. This annual award recognizes an optometrist who has shown outstanding commitment and contribution to both the profession of optometry and the community at large. Dr. Bird is credited with helping create a flamboyant and successful glaucoma awareness movement throughout the Caribbean extending into several Latin American countries. Following an early career stint with the Barbados Eye Studies - Dr. Bird was Optometrist to the Barbados Eye Study from 1989 -1991- she became a leading activist for glaucoma awareness in the Caribbean. Showing relentless drive and enthusiasm in mobilizing Caribbean and Latin American nationals to become more aware of the silent nature of the disease, she was named Caribbean Coordinator for the World Glaucoma Week Committee from its inception in 2008. She was also nominated for Caribbean Optometrist of the Year in 2009 and was previously nominated for WCO’s International Optometrist of the Year in 2010 before winning it in 2013. Ms. Marisia James was appointed B r a n c h Administrator with Sagicor Life Inc, Antigua with effect from January 1, 2013. Ms. James is a financial s e r v i c e s professional with 16 years experience. She spent the greater part of her career at ABI Bank Ltd. where she has covered roles in areas such as Customer Service, Corporate Affairs and Risk and Compliance. Her most recent position of Assistant Manager, Risk included providing technical and administrative support to that department.

NEW COMPANY REGISTRATION Name of Company Better Choice Limited

State Bau Limited

Nature Importers, exporters, buyers, sellers of wholesale & retailers in all forms of goods Developing, marketing and selling of housing and real estate schemes

Spinaround Limited

Real Estate

Project Rescue (John 3:16) Inc

To promote the gospel of Jesus Christ & providing social, educational & economical assistance to persons in need Consultancy services, brokerage, travel website & online agency

Silver Star Company Limited

D.W Water Sports and Safari Tours Inc. Shail Enterprises Limited Cloud 9 Rentals Ltd

TFLA Company Ltd Kaizen Corporation Limited

T.W.R Group Inc

Cove Marketing Limited

AnT’Gan Beverages Limited SIMAVI Limited

Jet ski rentals and safari tours Sale of goods Car rental, tent rental, water trampoline & other water sports rentals Providing financial services to business & individuals Car rental, travel , tours, tourism and real estate services Development, financing, operating of hotel & other hospitality properties, the establishment & operation of call centers, the restoration of historical sites and their development into a tourist attraction. Public relations and marketing consultancy

The processing, brewing and bottling of dirnks Holding real estate

Directors Adolphus Iwiji Samantha Benjamin

David Kendrick Paul Khullar Pedro Corbin Heather Nanton Donald Ward Louise Geiger Jahvline Mortoban Hilroy Brann Nigel Clarke

Sandra Louise Williams

Dianne Perreault Winston Henry Prakash Menghani Jane Jack Edmund Lake Thomas Anthony Kathleen Roberts

Wilson Gonsalez

Charolette N. AndrewsWilliams Huw C.T. Williams Stephen R. Marley-Ham Jeanette Rosen Victoria Bell BusinessFocus • July/August 2013

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NEW COMPANY REGISTRATION Superyacht Challenge Antigua Ltd

Yacht events

Caribbean 600 Antigua Ltd

Yacht events

Lex and Sons Car Rental Corporation Tire Place Ltd

Rental of Motor Vehicles

Pelican Consultants and Financial Services Company Limited Complete Buyers Boardwalk Inc

Tropical Hardwood Limited

Astro Energy Group Limited Blue Moon Construction and Maintenance Services Limited Orange Hotel & Resort Ltd

Orange Services management Company Ltd

Orange development Company

Orange Residential Villas Ltd

Orange Reserve Ltd

Henley Estates Antigua Limited New Energy Limited Caribbean Premium Motors Ltd

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BusinessFocus •Julyy/August 2013

To sell, used & new tires, accessories and other associated products Financial and business consultants Online research services with the option to purchase items from the advertised retail stores Import & export sales supply & distribution of hardwood products and accessories Energy and commodity trade Construction, property development and property management Hotel, Resort holding company, management and all related activities Management company, provision of services, rentals and development within the Pearns Point community Property holding company for property situated at Pearns Property holding company for villa plots & residential dwelling houses at Pearns Point Property holding company for condominiums situated at Pearns Point Consultancy & Real Estate Manufacture & supply of all alternative energy systems Car distributorship

Paul Deeth Pearson Stan Paul Deeth Pearson Stan Alex Hughes Fitzroy J. Sargeant

Yvonne Cassell Daryl Benjamin Aubrey Zachariah

Anestasia Bristol Cillin Noel Linroy Frasier Johnathan Chau Robert A. Barrett R. Darien Barrett George W.W. -Thornburgh Albert Hartog Ben De Jonge Albert Hartog Ben De Jonge

Albert Hartog Ben De Jonge Albert Hartog Ben De Jonge

Albert Hartog Ben De Jonge Andrew Taylor Franz Bigler Francis R. Hadeed Andrew A. Hadeed

’ with my fully customized android

With our newly upgraded network, you can download boundless applications to suit your every lifestyle and browse even faster (268) 727-2782

for us and for you... welcome to the new home of Caribbean Alliance Insurance

Reaching out from Antigua, our expanding footprint stretches across the Caribbean Region, delivering the same level of unparalleled insurance cover to all our customers.

Rated A- (Excellent) at A.M. Best Company Regional Head Office: Cnr. Long & Temple Streets, P.O. Box 1609, St. John’s, Antigua • +1 268. 481. 2900 •

Business Focus Antigua Issue 48  

We often employ the term "the grand event" without fully digesting its depth. Indeed, with the evolution of culture, and of course technolog...