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T h e q u a r t e r l y m a ga z i n e f o r d e c i s i o n m a ke rs No.58 • Nov/Jan 2015/16

Your Comfort is Our Business Visit Us Online -


No. 58


Nov /Jan 2015/16


Ashley Furniture Homestore : your

Comfort is our Business.


Editor’s Focus


Business Briefs

70. Antigua & Barbuda Welcomes Hundreds Of New Citizens 72 World Bank Proposes New Directions To Boost Trade In The Region 74. Caricom Convenes National Consultations On Single Jurisdiction For Companies Youth in Focus 84. Fostering Youth Entrepreneurship Environmental Focus 86. solar Energy Training For Antigua & Barbuda

88. Small Islands Call For

Business Tech 10. Beyond Connectivity 12. A Guide To The Successful

Breakthrough In Bonn


14. A “Caribbean Innovation” 16. Broadcasters Must Embrace Convergence

18. ECTEL Launches New Publications As 15th Anniversary Celebrations Continue

Money Matters 34. IMf: China, Tumbling Commodity Prices Threaten World Economy

36. 10 Habits to Develop

for Financial Security

In The Know 44. The Official Launch Of The Oecs Business Focus Magazine.

Business Spotlight

Platinum Accounting Solutions Nobrac Westrading Ltd Kenneth A Gomez

48. Antigua-China Friendship

Association At Celac Forum


Tourism Authority’s Uk Office Cops Travel Award

Book Reviews

Economy & Trade Focus 66. Antigua & Barbuda’s Pm Rejects New Tax Haven Blacklisting 68. The Climate Is Right In The Caribbean: Caribbean Investment Summit 2015

BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

Tourism Focus 90. Antigua & Barbuda

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96 Major Moves 98. Events 2014 100. New Company Registrations

Development and Progress for the Benefit of All! We are now into the final quarter of 2015. It has been a year filled with excitement and expectations from a relatively new Government that has promised to deliver much. The economic progress report on Antigua & Barbuda has rated the country as the fastest growing economy in the region and 2016 looks filled with promise. Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his Cabinet of Ministers need to be credited for their efforts in promoting Antigua & Barbuda and attracting major private sector investments and effecting major infrastructure projects being the catalysts for generating these results.


Business Focus magazine is published quarterly by Regional Publications Ltd (RPL) in Antigua and Barbuda. Publisher / Managing Editor: Lokesh Singh Editor: Martina Johnson Graphic Designer: Deri Benjamin Advertising Sales: Gilda Alexander • Ann-Maria Marshall Evol Desouza • Shari Dickenson Cover Photography: Gemma Hazelwood Photography: Martina Johnson • Gemma Hazelwood Editorial Contributors: Lokesh Singh • Martina Johnson Dr Chris Bart Bevil Wooding • Brian Ramsey • Dana Niland • Samuel Rosengberg • Brian M Francis • Bevan Springer • Sir Ron Sanders • Anije Lambert • Phil Rose Caribbean Export Lyndell Halliday • Michael Milligan Government of Antigua & Barbuda • Antigua Observer • CMC Caribbean News Now • Jamaica Observer • Trinidad Express • Trinidad Guardian

Lokesh Singh Publisher/Managing Editor

The former United States President Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Clearly PM Browne and his Cabinet agreed on a plan and have worked their plan for the benefit of all of the citizens. In the private sector, we welcome the projections for our economy as this will surely result in increased investments and business growth. Entrepreneurs are known for being risk oriented. However, such risks are only taken after careful business and financial planning and a keen eye for opportunity. The community is filled with success stories of persons who have started their small business from humble beginnings and excelled over the years and we need to be proud of their achievements. In this Issue, our Special Feature is dedicated to the father and son team of Elvon and Russell Hadeed – owners and operators of the popular Ashley Furniture Stores. His growth from operating his small business GiGi Industries Ltd to negotiating and operating such a large franchise is a major success story. What is more commendable is his decision to invest in succession planning by grooming the next generation of his family with the requisite training and leadership to take over the business and continue the family legacy for the future. We also feature and recognize the fortitude of Caribbean Union Bank and APUA INET as upstart businesses which have challenged the status quo and have grown rapidly despite being relatively new and against aggressive competition to become household names in the community in a very short period of ten years.

Regional Publications Ltd Bryson’s Office Complex, Friars Hill Road, P.O. Box 180, Suite #5A,St.John’s, Antigua

+ 1 -268- 462- 7680

 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: The Father and Son team of Elvon & Russell Hadeed, Owners and Operators of Ashley Furniture Store

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We also hope that you will enjoy reading the rest of the interesting content in this issue of the Magazine and wish to extend our sincere best wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year in 2106 filled with opportunities for growth and continued success.

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an 2015/16 No.58 • Nov/J

Your rt Comfo is Our ss Busine

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Business Briefs Antigua-Barbuda and Kuwait Sign New Debt Servicing Agreement

Browne also used the opportunity to invite the chairman to pay a visit to Antigua and Barbuda.

The new agreement signed will see Antigua and Barbuda making twice yearly payments on the outstanding debt to the Kuwait Fund and it also paves the way for the reengagement of the Fund in Antigua Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister and Barbuda and opens avenues for the Gaston Browne and first Deputy Prime formulation of measures for debt relief. minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Board for the Kuwait The Kuwait Fund has provided loans to Fund for Arab Economic Development Antigua and Barbuda for the construction Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al- and renovation of the parallel taxiway at Sabah, signed off on a new financial the airport, All Saints Road rehabilitation arrangement to service Antigua and and the American Road to Airport road construction. Barbuda’s debt to the fund. During the discussions Sabah signaled his country’s delight in reengaging Antigua and Barbuda and expressed happiness from the members of the board of the fund that Antigua and Barbuda is taking a bold step in reengaging the fund. The chairman also indicated that Antigua and Barbuda can now begin to explore ways in seeking more partnership with the fund and invited the Prime Minister to seriously consider this proposal Browne said that he welcomed the opportunity to rebuild strong ties with Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. “By being here today it shows Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to rebuilding friendships and reestablishing trust, which was a key principle in his election campaign. One of my government’s priorities is to correct past wrongs, fulfill past obligations and set Antigua and Barbuda on a better path,” he said. The Prime Minister thanked the Chairman for the invitation for Antigua and Barbuda to reengage the fund; however, he cautioned that Antigua and Barbuda’s reengagement would be based on partnerships and investments that have tangible benefits for Antigua and Barbuda without incurring additional national debts. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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St Lucia Courting Investors, Tourists in Saudi Arabia In a move to expand its business and tourism presence in the Middle East, the government of Saint Lucia has established the Office of the Honorary Consul in Saudi Arabia. The Government has appointed Halla Walid Al Juffali as Honorary Consul based in Jeddah, where she will represent Saint Lucia. To prepare for her new role, Juffali recently took a tour of the island and met with many of its government officials and agencies and major national institutions. The Office will begin operations on November 1, 2015, at which point its first activity will be the organization of a major training workshop with travel agents. Its other activities will include investment and business promotion.

USAID Launches $12.5M Caribbean Marine Biodiversity Project

The United States Agency for International Development and The Nature Conservancy have launched a major new project aimed at protecting critical marine ecosystems in the Caribbean. USAID launched the $12.5 million Caribbean Marine Biodiversity Program on the Grenadian island of Carriacou. The five-year initiative “seeks to improve the management of marine protected areas (MPAs); reduce threats to the environment including coral reefs, mangroves, and sea grass beds; strengthen fisheries management, and promote sustainable livelihoods for coastal residents in four seascapes across five countries,” according to a US government statement. “While we appreciate the tremendous beauty of this Grenadine seascape, we are very mindful that it is currently under threat,” US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Larry Palmer said at the launch. “Several reef-building species are acutely endangered or at risk of extinction. These changes have had an increasingly negative impact on the ability of the reefs to remain healthy such as spawning grounds and natural barriers that protect against storm surges and sea level rise,” he said. “Economic sectors like tourism and fisheries, which depend heavily upon the quality of the marine environment, are particularly affected.” The CMBP is being funded by a $10 million investment by USAID, along with a $2.5 million contribution by the Nature Conservancy.

Business Briefs

No. 40

IDB Grants Barbados US$10M to Boost Job Creation

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $10 million loan in an initiative to reduce poverty and create jobs in Barbados. The program aims to alleviate the country’s poverty and unemployment rates through a program comprised of three components. Firstly, the program will work to expand and consolidate the Identification, Stabilization, Enablement, and Empowerment (ISEE) Bridge Program. The initiative will also aid 8,000 unemployed Barbadians through improved employment services, better local labour market information demanddrive technical training programs. Finally, the program aims to create an efficient Management Information System (MIS) that will connect programs enacted by Barbados government agencies, thereby strengthening the government’s coordination and accountability capacities. The new program will cover 250 additional houses – amounting to approximately 2,000 individuals – over the course of a four-year period, focusing on the following disciplines: personal identification, education and human resource development, family dynamics, and health promotion.

New IDB Study Analyzes Significant Drop in Exports from Latin America and the Caribbean

After three years of stagnation, exports from Latin America and the Caribbean started to fall in 2014, and the decline has steepened in the first half of 2015, according to the 2015 edition of the InterAmerican Development Bank’s Trade and Integration Monitor, which was launched on Oct. 16. The negative performance, caused in part by China’s deceleration and the consequent slowdown in demand, together with declining prices for commodities exported by the region, has led to the most significant reduction in exports since the 2009 trade collapse. The Trade and Integration Monitor 2015 analyses the region’s current trade outlook and underlines the urgent need to promote public policies aimed at stimulating trade diversification in a context characterized by greater exchange rate volatility and prospects of higher international financing costs.

Saint Lucia’s Citizenship By Investment Initiative to Start in January 2016

The policies that will be implemented in this effort include the financing of day care programs, school meals, textbooks, uniforms, remedial learning courses, and certain health promotion services.

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony delivered a stirring opening address to the Global Citizens Forum in Monaco on Thursday, October 8, 2015.

The IDB will provide $5 million of the loan from its ordinary capital, with a matching $5 million contribution from the China co-financing fund.

During the course of his speech to the elite gathering, the Prime Minister announced that Saint Lucia will be accepting applications for citizenship by investment as of 1st January 2016.

Dr. Anthony described himself as a jealous guardian of Saint Lucian citizenship. However, he noted that the time had arrived to think beyond the traditional approaches to deal with the myriad problems facing small states, and that “offering citizenship through investment has now also become a viable alternative.” The Prime Minister informed the gathering of citizenship lawyers, wealth managers, marketing agents, investors and VIP’s that Saint Lucia, by accepting new citizens, would not just be offering citizenship but would be offering an identity, a people and Saint Lucia’s place in the world. He stressed that new citizens must enhance Saint Lucia’s global standing and ensure that the country’s proud heritage endures. In his address, the Prime Minister outlined the principles and characteristics of the programme to be implemented by Saint Lucia. He observed that the legislation establishing the programme was supported without political rancour, with the blessing of both Government and the Opposition. The event is also attended by a number of lawyers and professionals from Saint Lucia.

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 7

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

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

to a consensus on how certain terms should be used. As a result, the board communication process is hampered. I have also observed that in the interest of keeping meetings moving along smoothly and peacefully, board members too often avoid debating the strategy terms that might create dissension, therefore meetings continue to focus on nonstrategic trivia.

“Buddy Boards” There’s another reason, however, why boards virtually ignore the issue of strategy. CEOs simply do not want their boards involved in such discussions. This would certainly explain why many CEOs prefer “buddy boards,” in which they can be assured that nobody is going to ask difficult or embarrassing questions. Indeed, many CEOs view boards that get involved in setting the organization’s strategy as an interference in their managerial responsibilities - not to mention their sense of personal power (“Nobody is going to tell me what to do!”). Former Volvo CEO Pehr Gyllenhammar is a case in point. He created such a hostile environment for any board member who dared to express views opposing his that most dissenters eventually resigned. The company ended up paying the price, though. Unchecked by anyone with a different perspective, the CEO launched Volvo onto a losing streak of unrelated diversification moves. CEOs who want to distract their boards from discussing the tough strategic issues also like to cram the agenda with items designed to dull the mind (copious slides, graphs and charts), dazzle the senses (“And now, Fred is going to give us a virtual reality presentation of the new corporate headquarters. Everybody got their 3-D glasses on?”) or induce commitment and loyalty - all within a strict three- to four-hour time limit. After

all, it’s much more fun to contemplate at which luxury resort the board is going to hold its next meeting - “Make sure it’s the one with the fancy lobster sandwiches!” chimed one director I know - than focus on torturous, but essential, details of finding the right strategic direction.

Board Junkies It’s time for boards to stop allowing their CEOs to use them this way. That’s not an easy prospect; it requires board members to have the internal fortitude and personal ethics to refuse to be bullied or bribed into submission. After all, board pay and perks can make Temptation Island seem like child’s play. A corporate director I know told me he’d once held 26 board appointments simultaneously - at a time when he was CEO of one of North America’s largest industrial companies (and while he was negotiating a major merger). With average board pay around $80,000 per year per appointment, plus stipends for meetings and committees, it is not hard to figure out such board junkies’ motivation. It’s no wonder that, considering the time this CEO must have devoted to sitting on so many boards, the former industry giant ended up being overshadowed by its rivals. Formulating strategy means determining what businesses an organization should be involved in and what methods it should use to attract and retain customers and employees. This responsibility is far too important to be left solely to the most talented of CEOs. Astute CEOs know this and use their boards as a fresh set of eyes in plotting their organization’s future. They know and accept the common sense wisdom that every organization can benefit from multiple perspectives. Such a CEO, though, must have faith in the competence of his or her board.

Constructive Engagement Probably the most significant impediment to director effectiveness in the area of corporate strategy, however, is the absence of simple measures and reporting mechanisms relating to the achievement of strategy. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and directors today are simply uninformed about the status of their organization’s strategy, its mission, and its values - other than through the financial statements. But to correct this situation

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

Educate Directors I contend, however, that there’s a more powerful reason why boards put little importance on measuring strategy in nonfinancial terms: ignorance. The cold, hard truth is that many directors are uninformed about the need to measure and monitor strategy in a proactive and progressive way. Indeed, my years of advising organizations on how to implement strategy have taught me that most companies and boards simply fall apart when it comes to measuring anything other than cash flow, revenue, costs and profits. This is not because they lack intelligence; rather, they lack the critical knowledge necessary to guide their organizations into the new economy of the 21st century. That means many of the Caribbean’s major and emerging corporations may end up being led by directors whose knowledge of their organization’s strategy is questionable. Interestingly, few of the Caribbean’s current cadre of corporate directors seem willing to acknowledge this. What can be done? First and foremost, the education of Caribbean directors – especially when it comes to providing strategic oversight - should be a

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

Dr. Chris Bart, FCPA is a recognized governance authority, the Founder of The Directors College of Canada and CoFounder of the Caribbean Governance Training Institute, both of which currently offer the Chartered Director Program that leads to the internationally recognized “C. Dir.” designation. For more information, please visit CGTI’s website: http://www. caribbeangovernancetraininginstitute. com/ or phone Lisa at 758 451 2500 BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 9



CONNECTIVITY The Future of Caribbean Broadband


igital dreams are too often shattered by unreliable broadband connectivity. Attempts in the education sector to integrate technology into the classroom are frustrated when broadband speeds are too slow. Similarly, business and government sector attempts to realize the benefits of video conferencing, mobile apps and cloud computing fall short when broadband service is inconsistent or unaffordable. Broadband is the fuel for the modern, digital economy. Yet for many countries, devising a structured approach and to national broadband development remains quite a challenge. Studies have shown that the Internet and the broadband access that connects us to it, generates tangible economic value for almost every sector at a national, regional and global level. Investments in broadband at a national level have also been linked to growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the Caribbean, however, reports from agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Telecommunications Union reveal that progress in providing faster broadband access varies significantly across the Caribbean. This is in spite the fact that the economic and social benefits are well acknowledged. Further, even though broadband proliferation is expanding rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, the region still lags behind the world’s most advanced nations in terms of coverage, access and adoption of information and communication technology services delivered through fast networks. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Connecting Broadband to Development By: Bevil Wooding

There are also great differences in the level of broadband planning and implementation across the region. States is facing challenges in achieving greater coverage and uptake. In fact, the majority of English-speaking Caribbean countries have no documented national broadband plan at all. Even among the few countries with a published national plan for broadband development, implementation is inconsistent at best.

Market Realities

At the regional level, CARICOM has developed a Digital Strategy master plan, and more recently has been promoting the notion of a Single ICT Space. However, neither initiative has sufficient detail, resourcing, or momentum to guarantee coherent implementation. For instance, there are no official broadband speed definitions or broadband penetration targets for the region. One reason for this dilemma is that integration across the critical areas of infrastructure development, consumer pricing, and affordable access to devices remains largely a national issue. With most countries recording cellphone penetration rates in excess of 100 percent, mobile-broadband has been touted as the future of ubiquitous broader

access. Mobile broadband, however, is no panacea. Conversion of spectrum allocation, a necessary technical prerequisite to achieve faster mobile speeds, has been slow across much of the region. This highlights the continued importance of fixed broadband networks as a supplement to mobile networks. Although prices have been falling in recent years, cost remains a major hurdle for consumers. Broadband users in Caribbean pay far more for slower service than consumers in OECD countries, where households have more disposable income. In some cases, high trade tariffs make imported access devices such as computers, smartphones and wireless devices more expensive for businesses and individuals, further limiting the expansion of broadband usage. These market realities have the combined effect of creating unhealthy turbulence for consumers, innovators and entrepreneurs to realize the promise of the digital economy.

Capacity to Execute

A more holistic approach that must be taken for the region is to keep pace with global trends. Each country starts with different competitive advantages and

disadvantages in terms of how it can utilize broadband to create economic and social progress. While most analysis would reasonably focus on those differences, there most critical variable in my opinion is the difference in leadership approaches. All countries should have a well-defined strategy for broadband development. However, it is not sufficient to just have a plan. A plan must be complemented by the capacity to execute. Good execution can correct for deficiencies in a Plan. Conversely, a great plan with poor execution will ultimately fail. The countries that have done well, like Korea and Sweden, have demonstrated a long-term commitment to building a broadband based economy. They are constantly studying, reconsidering, course correcting and moving towards that goal.

Enabling The Future

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union and the Caribbean Network

Operators Group have been on related campaigns to raise awareness of critical internet infrastructure to Caribbean Internet Economy. The CTU in particular has highlighted the urgency of updating outmoded regulatory policy and reducing the barriers to roll of infrastructure and the introduction of new market players. Their efforts need to be joined by more consistent action and resourcing from the region’s governments and private sector actors. The major telecommunication firms have all announced multi-million dollar infrastructure investment plans for the region. Not unexpectedly, these plans prioritize investments where returns can be best guaranteed. It is left to public policy to ensure that access to broadband is equitable and affordable. The challenge is to accelerate to a future where the equity and affordability of broadband access paves the way for economic growth and social progress. Only then can we have an environment in which our students, entrepreneurs, innovators and citizens can truly leverage the opportunities afforded by broadband

to shape the future of the region. As the writer William Gibson noted, “The future is already here. It is just not evenly distributed.”¤

Bevil Wooding is an Internet Strategist at Packet Clearing House, a US-based technology research firm. He is also and Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN (C-WBN) a faith-based based international non-profit organization and is responsible for C-WBN’s technology education and outreach initiatives. Twitter: @bevilwooding Instagram: abrightpath



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ou have a great business idea and want to share it with everyone, but when you wonder if you can join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs, you may consider which characteristics are required to run a thriving business? Fortunately, you may already share many of the attributes of good leaders and the remainder can be learnt through education, finding a suitable mentor and matching these to your goals and targets. Of the many traits shared by successful entrepreneurs, self-motivation, risktaking and finding and adapting your particular niche, are clearly boxes to tick on your list. When you begin your business, you will almost certainly be working long hours and every day of the week, because you will wish to go that extra mile to assist your success. This is why you must be self motivated which includes a considerable amount of hard work, not just in the early days, but perhaps for years to come. You will be directing both yourself and your business as you won’t have a boss to turn to, to listen for specific instructions and act upon those. How often have you seen a great idea and wished that you had invented it first or brought the goods or service to market? As a successful entrepreneur, you will be seeking a niche product or service which matches the needs of sufficient individuals or businesses that can provide BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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you with sufficient customers and long-term profit. Which gaps in the marketplace have you seen and identified as being the best niche for you to adapt into a profitable business, no matter how small your local market, village or island is? We all take risks from time to time, but successful entrepreneurs often take larger risks, to achieve substantial targets. You must not be afraid to fail when you take larger risks. When you consider other successful businesses and business people, what risks did they take to enhance their business? When you take substantial risks, not everything will work out in the way that you would planned, but the most successful individuals will

because you have created a competitive advantage in your business and your people. Because you are investing in yourself, you will always maintain the 100% effort required and always appear accessible as you build your trustworthy reputation. By being closely involved with mastering negotiations you will learn how to take time away from your business and learn how to balance your business and family life so that both prosper. This in turn, helps you to become a successful.¤

learn from previous failures and projects and find solutions to their problems. By taking your business seriously and preferably, doing what you enjoy, you will be able to plan everything in meticulous detail. By managing all of your money wisely and always asking and never being afraid, you will learn how to beat your competition and ensure that your customer focus and shameless selfpromotion gathers the best social media response. By staying ahead of technology and building your business team to the best that it can be, you will become the industry expert that everyone turns to

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

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From left: to right George James Project Manager, David Winter PWC President, Craig Nesty, Executive Director, Austin Andre and Hilbert Alexander Spectrum Engineers, Clementine Josephs Administrative Officer, Vida Williams Clerical Assistant and Kiyanna Edwards Research Analyst (Photo by Jim Stewart PWC Vice President and Project Manager).

A “Caribbean Innovation”

For National Spectrum Plan Administration


n important milestone was achieved in Dominica this year: the deployment of the much anticipated “Caribbean Solution” for telecommunications management.

The fast pace of change in telecommunications and the constant growth in technologies involved often require that multiple operational duties are managed simultaneously. The iTMS is a crucial step forward.

This innovative software system was designed and built over the last three years with the assistance of a number of Caribbean states including the NTRC in Dominica, NTRC in Grenada and MICA in Montserrat. Now for the first time regulatory authorities and commissions across the region have a system that meets the exacting demands of smaller Caribbean states region wide.

Craig Nesty, Executive Director, at the NTRC in Dominica stated that the “iTMS far exceeded my expectations. The iTMS vision for a system designed to reflect Caribbean spectrum management practices and operations has been achieved.”

The “integrated Telecommunications Management System” (iTMS), now in use at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) in Dominica, is the most advanced software available for managing the unique and complex challenges faced by smaller regulatory authorities all across the Caribbean. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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George James, Senior Spectrum Engineer and the NTRC Project Manager for the innovative software contributed; “the iTMS is even more promising than we originally perceived”. In 2012, the NTRC selected PW Consulting as the software design/build partner. The system enhances the commission’s ability to: manage all aspects of spectrum use on Dominica; create a “knowledge

repository” on all frequency use and; optimize duties around the spectrum allocation and occupancy for all of the customer types that the NTRC serves. The NTRC is responsible for managing all of Dominica’s valuable spectrum resource, telecommunications licensing and the allocation of spectrum frequency. Spectrum is the scarce resource that enables internet connectivity, mobile phones, aircraft and shipping communications plus broadcasters on AM, FM, and TV frequencies, along with a host of other telecommunications practices. The integrated telecommunications management system (iTMS) Go-Live date was July 29, 2015. The Canadian company, PW Consulting that built and installed the system celebrated the milestone with the NTRC staff in Roseau, Dominica.¤

BusinessFocus / Mar BusinessFocus Jan Nov / Jan | | 1515


Broadcasters Must Embrace Convergence

Embert Charles, Managing Director of ECTEL


egulation is designed to create a level playing field for the development of competition by defining the right balance between competing objectives such as: consumer interests; investment incentives and; the long term growth and development of the communications sector.

Addressing broadcasters at the Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the ECTEL Managing Director stated that the broadcasting sector in the ECTEL member states has grown exponentially, but there are many challenges which have resulted from the technological convergence in communications.

Those are the reasons why it’s easy to understand the view of the Managing Director of Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority Embert Charles, said the growth of the broadcasting sector in the Caribbean will depend in part on the introduction of regulatory measures, which are integrated, independent, and safeguard against anti-competitive integration.

These challenges include provision of new content related services by the traditional telecommunications service providers and the change in impact of additional content from social media platforms.

Charles also concluded that any new legislation for the broadcasting sector must make provision for universal service obligations related to geographical coverage, regional content and national emergency broadcasting BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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The members of the CBU who met in Grenada August 17 – 21, 2015, discussed among other issues, digital transition and the convergence of broadcasting and telecommunications. Presenters from regional agencies including the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and the Caribbean Office of the International

Telecommunications Union (ITU) Office in Barbados also shared perspectives on the topic. Broadcasters were advised to prepare for the impact of the digital switchover and the current high levels of advocacy by the telecommunications providers, for the reallocation of additional spectrum resources from broadcasting services, to international mobile services. The 46th annual meeting of the CBU brought together public and private sector broadcasters from the wider Caribbean region. Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell also addressed the official opening of the assembly. The Grenada prime minister also officiated at the induction ceremony of Rose Willock (Montserrat) and the late Terrence Holder (Guyana) into the hall of fame of the CBU. ¤

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 17


ECTEL Launches New Publications As 15th Anniversary Celebrations Continue


s technology use increases and telecoms companies embark on expanding through mergers and offering packages of a wide variety, it has been revealed that Grenada and St. Kitts/Nevis are the only ECTEL Member States that have reached international standard for broadband affordability to date. That’s according to the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority’s (ECTEL’s) Director of Finance and Economics, Cheryl Hector. The official discussed this at the launching of a 2014 Broadband survey that was conducted in ECTEL Member States recently. This result is among a number of highlights of the survey. Hector noted that from the survey results, TV was the most popular ICT device used within the household and TV services were accessed mostly via digital or analog cable TV. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Telephone coverage was relatively widespread among the Member States, as less than 10 per cent of household respondents indicated that they had no access to fixed, or mobile telephone service. The percentage of households with fixed Internet access varied widely among the Member States with the most prevalent mode of access being via an ADSL modem. The main reasons cited for not having fixed Internet access by those households without, were that the cost of access was too high and the fact they could access the Internet on their mobile phones. These households would be more inclined to sign up for fixed Internet, if the monthly fee was more affordable. Reliability and price remained the two most important factors considered, when households selected their Internet

service and very few households switched service provider, in the two previous years. The Broadband Access and Use in The ECTEL Member States was one of two publications formally launched by the multi-state regulator, among activities to mark its 15th anniversary. The media launch in Kingstown, St. Vincent also saw the release of the Annual Electronic Communications Sector Review. The main highlights of the Review indicate investment in the sector topping $110 million, fixed broadband penetration up to 17 per cent, the launch of 4G mobile broadband in all ECTEL Member states and local voice call volumes being recorded at 1.1 billion minutes. Both the Broadband Access and Use in ECTEL Member States and the Annual Electronic Communications Sector Review can be accessed on the ECTEL website at ¤

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 19


ECTEL Is Investigating Alleged VoIP Blocking By Digicel Embert Charles, Managing Director of ECTEL


he Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) said it is aware of allegations in the media that telecommunication provider Digicel is blocking its customers from using voice over Internet protocols (VOIPs) such as WhatsApp. Embert Charles, managing director of ECTEL said although it has not received formal complaints from any of the affected people, the body has been given copies of letters circulated in the media in St Lucia. Charles, however, said that ECTEL -- the regulatory body for telecommunications in Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines “has written to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (NTRCs) asking them to provide reports…We are examining the veracity of that as evidence to go further”. In St Lucia, Jadia Jn Pierre-Emmanuel, the press secretary to Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, brought the issue to the fore after an attempted WhatsApp call to a relative was reportedly blocked by Digicel on the weekend. Jn Pierre-Emmanuel received a message from Digicel saying that the company “couldn’t place call because your phone’s cellular network prevents WhatsApp calls. Try connecting to Wi-Fi and call again,” St Lucia Voice newspaper has reported. The communications specialist noted that she has an EC$500 (one EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) monthly plan with Digicel BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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and is making the case that the company should allow her to use her data as she sees fit. Similar complaints have been made in Antigua but Digicel denied blocking the calls and blamed it on system weaknesses which it said it would seek to address. Some telecommunications providers in the region have argued that VOIPs such as WhatsApp, which they describe as over the top (OTT) service providers, use data without paying and this is affecting providers’ business.

meeting of regional telecommunication association, CANTO, in 2014 and 2015 that they believe subscribers across the Caribbean should be allowed to use data as they wish. Charles said this is still the position of telecommunication ministers within ECTEL. “This was reiterated at the CANTO meeting in Miami this year, and the ministers were very adamant that the providers should not block over the top services.

Charles said ECTEL wrote to Digicel about the situation a year ago, telling the company that based on ECTEL’s policy of net neutrality, “It is improper to block these services where people use data for innovative purposes”.

“In fact, they were very specific this year and they have asked the providers, through CANTO, to come up with a plan to resolve the situation very soon, and certainly before the next CANTO meeting comes up,” Charles said.

Net neutrality refers to the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

The ECTEL official outlined the steps consumers can take to lodge a complaint if they feel their service providers are blocking VOIP calls.

Asked if it’s illegal for telecommunications providers within ECTEL to block VOIPs, Charles said, “It is legal for any provider to safeguard their networks. If, in their view, the contract they have with the subscribers is being breached -- and consumers should be aware of their contracts -- then they have that right. “But, if you are providing a data service, then in this day and age of convergence, there is no reason why a service that is using data should be blocked.” The situation persists even as telecommunications ministers from across the region said at the annual

“Unlike what has been happening, your first step is to engage your provider and indicate that the service is being blocked. If the provider indicates to you that it is not, then you have to prove that it is not being blocked. You continue to document these cases. “Your next stage, and even simultaneously, you can go to your local NTRCs, in the case of ECTEL, and once we have that evidence, we can call in the provider to ask them to explain,” he told CMC. Charles said that ECTEL has met with Digicel and their regulatory officials, who have said that the company is not blocking OTTs. ¤



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BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 21


C&W Networks Launches New Submarine Cable


h o l e s a l e telecommunications service provider C&W Networks has announced that Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) has completed the commissioning of the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS). The 3,728-mile long submarine cable connects Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, Curacao, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and then terminates in Jacksonville, Fla. PCCS is owned by a group of five major telecommunications operators consisting of Cable & Wireless Communications, Setar, Telconet, Telefonica Global Solutions and United Telecommunication Services. “This is a very exciting development for the region as it further strengthens and expands the region’s telecom infrastructure,” stated Paul Scott, president of C&W Networks.


network boosts connectivity and increases the availability of broadband services. PCCS is C&W Networks’ fourth international submarine cable landing in the U.S., and its third in Florida. This new system further enhances C&W Networks’ ongoing commitment for ecosystem diversity and industry leading network resiliency. PCCS is a state of the art, multi-100 per second network with enormous scalability. Scott added, “We are very excited to be part of this new submarine cable system. It allows us to provide our carrier customers more traffic routing possibilities, ensuring complete georoute diversity to the U.S. East Coast. Besides additional ring diversity, PCCS also provides a new, geographically diverse cable landing in the U.S. in Jacksonville, Florida, as an added layer of redundancy and network interconnection.”

With an ultimate design capacity of 80 terabits per second, the PCCS submarine

Expedia Group Reports Rapid Increase In Caribbean Mobile Bookings


ata released by travel company Expedia group reveals an increase in mobile bookings within the Caribbean market, with a growth of more than 55 per cent in the first half of 2015 when compared with the same timeframe in 2014. Major markets reporting a growth in mobile transactions in the first two quarters of 2015 include: — Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: nearly 55 per cent increase — San Juan, Puerto Rico: more than 50 per cent increase

cent increase — Castries, St. Lucia saw an over 40 per cent increase in bookings. According to Expedia, these Caribbean bookings are also unlike any other markets because the largest share of Caribbean mobile purchases occur in the 31 – 60 day window, while all other markets feature same-day bookings as their largest mobile share. “Today’s technology has revolutionised the way we do business,” said Demetrius Canton, director of Lodging Partner Services for the Caribbean, the Expedia group.

— Montego Bay, Jamaica: nearly 50 per BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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promotions, [Bahia Principe Hotels in the Dominican Republic] has generated nearly 120 per cent growth in mobile bookings during the first half of the year when compared to the same time in 2014,” an Expedia release said. The Expedia group provides hotels with access to travellers worldwide through more than 150 websites in more than 70 countries worldwide, in addition to a myriad of mobile sites and apps, from brands such as Expedia,, Hotwire, Egencia, Travelocity, Venere and Trivago.¤

Apple, Google Bring Smartphone Functions To Car Dashboards


laying deejay with voice commands will get easier next fall as some best-selling cars get updated with software that integrates smartphones into the dashboard.

Neither system has been tested yet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said spokesman Russ Rader. The institute studies both human and mechanical factors in trying to reduce the number of vehicle crashes.

With the 2016 model year, Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto will turn cars as affordable as a base model Chevy Spark into rolling robotic assistants that give directions to nearby restaurants or play the latest hits with commands as simple as “Play Ellie Goulding.”

Consumers increasingly want to use their smartphone while driving - without running afoul of the law. For the last few years, drivers of most new cars have been able to speak to their phones and have audio stream through a car’s speakers using the nearly ubiquitous Bluetooth wireless standard. However, doing so can require fiddling with the phone, like holding down the home button first.

The Associated Press (AP) recently tried out both systems on a 2016 Honda Accord. As with phones, voice-activated car technologies don’t always work as intended, bringing up inaccurate directions or failing to open an app, for example. But, according to AP, overall, the two systems are convenient and incredibly intuitive. Both CarPlay and Android Auto should give drivers more time to keep their eyes on the road compared with the automakers’ own voice systems, which can require multiple steps and looking at on-screen menus. Still, as with any system that requires driver input, there are concerns about distraction. “Anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving is not something you want to engage in,” said Kathy Lane, a spokeswoman for the National Safety Council, a nonprofit organisation created by Congress to promote safety.

Both CarPlay and Android Auto allow voice commands to be turned on with a touch of a steering wheel button. Phones need to be plugged into the USB port, where the phone is kept charging and powering the in-car entertainment. You can access maps, voicemail, phone contacts and music apps using a touch screen embedded in the dashboard - no need to grab your phone. One wrinkle is that Apple reserves voice commands for its proprietary apps phone, maps, texts and Apple Music. That means the magical ability for iPhone users to ask the digital voice assistant Siri such complicated tasks as “play the top song from 2011” will only work if you’re paying $10 a month for Apple Music. (It’s Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” if you were wondering.) The less restrictive Android Auto will allow you to use apps like Spotify as long as you specifically tell it to “play

Aerosmith on Spotify,” or set Spotify as the default music app. A Spotify subscription also costs $10 a month. The 2016 Honda Accord EX with manual transmission is the lowest trim on which Honda is offering CarPlay and Android Auto support. At $25,480, the EX is $1,315 pricier than the Sport trim, and includes things like a moon roof, keyless remote and a better touch-screen display. Volkswagen’s entry level 2016 Jetta 1.4T at $17,680 offers CarPlay and Android Auto as part of a $995 technology upgrade that includes a larger touch screen and rearview camera. Some automakers believe that such features could motivate buyers to move up the trim level, rather than to more expensive models. “It’s going to provide a good benefit to the Accord shopper,” said Jay Guzowski, manager of product planning for mid-size cars at American Honda Motor Co. General Motors stands alone in offering CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment on cars as inexpensive as the Spark - the 2015 version retails for upward of $12,170 - and as high-volume as its Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu sedans and Silverado trucks. Chevrolet marketing director Steve Majoros calls the decision “revolutionary,” and one the automaker hopes will improve its market share. “CarPlay and Android Auto are about to really hit the mainstream,” said Kelly Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer. “We’re talking about some 40 to 50 models that’ll have it in probably the next 12 months or less, which is maybe about 20 percent of the entire car market.” BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 23


Your Comfort is Our Business BusinessFocus Nov Aug /Jan /Oct || 24 24 BusinessFocus

Your dining room, kitchen and bedroom don’t have to be drab to be practical. “Your home is a reflection of the kind of person you are,” says Russell Hadeed, managing director of Gigi Industries Ltd and the first and only Ashley Furniture Homestore in Antigua. “We try to make the space you occupy comfortable and exciting,” adds Hadeed, who works alongside his father Elvon Hadeed, co-founder of GiGi Industries Ltd with his late brother Aziz Hadeed. Ten years ago the father and son inked the deal for the Furniture Homestore, and today, they say they’re proud of their accomplishments and ability to meet the needs of their hundreds of customers.

BF: When did the business get started?

“There’s fashion in furniture too. There are numerous different designs, styles and colours so a lot goes into setting up a living room area than just picking up any piece of furniture and putting it there; and Ashely furniture brings life and an elegant uniqueness to living spaces,” young Hadeed boasts. Although this year is the 10-year milestone for the partnership between Ashley Furniture and the Hadeed’s original furniture store GiGi Industries Ltd, the latter has a much longer history in Antigua. Russell tells the story of how it all got started and how demand changed the face of the business.

family built a reputation for quality furniture

with excellent customer service. Whatever furniture needed repairs, we did it and we grew and grew until in RH: Gi Gi Industries Ltd was started by 2000 when we moved into where we my father Elvon Hadeed and my uncle are now on Factory Road, Paynters. Aziz Hadeed in 1979 out of a small house in Radio Range. One year later they moved the business to the All BF: Were you involved in Saints Road location, next door to The management by that time? Omaha Bakery, where they specialized in the manufacturer of PVC pipe outdoor RH: Yes. In 1998 upon completion furniture, Rattan living room and of my studies in the United States, I dining sets and locally manufactured returned to Antigua to work side by side with my father in the family business. mattresses. I quickly recognized the potential to BF: Why did they invest in this grow Gi Gi Industries by supplying homes and businesses in a rapidly type of business as opposed developing Antigua and Barbuda. We to food of something else? put down the new showroom and warehouse facility where we are now. RH: At the time there was high demand, This new location featured a 10,000 sq not only to buy furniture, but they ft furniture showroom, the largest of also provided upholstery services. its kind on the island. Gi Gi Industries The business continued to grow with Ltd had developed a whole new image dedicated management, expanding specializing in quality indoor and its product range to include wooden outdoor furniture and accessories. bedroom sets and upholstered living We started carrying the full line of room furniture for sale to the local bedroom, living room, dining room and Antiguan market. Gi Gi Industries Ltd office furniture because before we were remained at that same location on All only specializing in mattresses and pipe Saints Road for 20 years, where they furniture.

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 25


BF: So, what inspired the expansion at that specific time in the history of the business? RH: People were tired of the old pipe furniture and we saw the demand for change. So, with a vision of constant improvement to the business, I initiated business relationships with many of the largest furniture suppliers in the industry and in 2005 became the first local retailer of Ashley Furniture in Antigua but is wasn’t a full Ashley Furniture Homestore until 2014. Of course we kept Gi Gi Industries because the business is still strong and it has its own market.

BF: It sounds unusual that you have two furniture businesses in the same place competing with each other. Explain the differences and how both are relevant and successful. RH: The business relationship between Ashley Furniture and Gi Gi Industries Ltd over the past 10 years was very productive and fruitful. That’s why when the opportunity was given to Gi Gi Industries to partner with Ashley Furniture in opening the first and only Ashley Furniture Homestore in Antigua, we embraced it with great enthusiasm. Ashley is the number one selling furniture brand in the world with more than 575 Homestores across 123 countries. We made that next step in the evolution of Gi Gi Industries Ltd on 27th November, 2014 when we opened the Ashley Furniture Homestore in the Gi Gi Industries Ltd building at Paynters.

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The similarities between Ashley Furniture and Gi Gi Industries Ltd made the decision to open the Ashley Furniture Homestore very easy. Both are family owned businesses with father and son working together; both are committed to quality and value in each and every product they sell, and finally; both are focused on consistent satisfaction of the customer. Ashley’s vision is “We want to be the Best Furniture Company” and this is our ultimate goal as well.

BF: Are there differences in the products? RH: Gi Gi industries handles mostly outdoor, offices, bedroom, living and dining room furniture, but on a more promotional price point, at a lower price range. Ashley focuses from promotional to middle price points which are a few hundred dollars more. Together, the businesses cater for all and in many instances they intersect in terms of prices. What you get in Ashley Furniture Homestores is a different quality and the design is superior and although the price point isn’t always necessarily higher, it is an exclusive product which you will only get at the Ashley Furniture Homestore. I assure you, that you would not find these products in any other furniture retailer in Antigua. They are exclusively designed and sold by Ashley Furniture Homestore. Also, at Gi Gi Industries, we still do upholstery repairs and we import all our fabrics. We can recover and upholster any type of furniture, big or small, no matter how complex it is. We have a good staff of seamstresses and workmen; and usually the turnaround time of getting things done is about two weeks. It is still a very strong part of the business.

BF: The showrooms are very attractive, it’s obvious much thought and work go into the layout. Explain the process on how you select the pieces that you put together.

RH: The design of the store is very unique. We think about the design, we consider different spaces and room shapes, the colours and everything, right down to the service of the customers. If a customer walks into our store, they do that by choice, so we have to offer them excellent service, unique, unmatched shopping experience which they cannot get anywhere else in Antigua and value for money. The display is to give the customer the opportunity to envision how the pieces of furniture and accessories would look in their homes or workplaces.

BF: This is the 10th anniversary of the partnership with Gi Gi Industries and Ashely Furniture, and in celebrating this milestone, you want to reintroduce Ashley to Antigua. So, tell us about the product line. RH: The Ashley Furniture Homestore features several different lifestyle categories for the customer to choose from, for example Contemporary, Vintage Casual, Traditional, Old World and Urbanology. The store also has an Ashley Kids section with Youth focused furniture for your little boy or girl, and don’t forget the Ashley Sleep Centre, with mattresses, to suit every budget, are on display: from Extra firm mattresses to Pillow top mattresses, to Memory Foam mattress.

Don’t forget “The Works” section where you can get a Sofa, Loveseat, Coffee Table and 2 End tables, an Area Rug, 2 lamps and 2 pieces of wall art all for one very low price. Similarly “The Works” offers a Queen Headboard, Footboard and rails, a queen base and mattress, a dresser, a mirror, a nightstand, a comforter set with pillows and a pair of lamps for a very affordable sum. We also offer an unlimited array of accessories from mirrors, lamps, rugs, wall art, comforter sets, plants, vases, to complement that special piece of furniture in your home. And we lay these out in the store to show people how creative they can be with their pieces.

Remember, how you lay out/design your home is a reflection of who you are, your personality and more. And, you want your house to feel like a home, warm, comfortable a place where you can relax and unwind.

BF: Apart from you and your dad, who are some of the other frontline people who drives the organization of the showroom?

RH: Ashley Furniture Homestore Operations Manager is Mrs. Trilda Camacho. Sales Representatives, Mrs. Cassandra Southwell and Miss. Olivette Frederick. And they’re the best staff. They take the customers interest seriously and they really love what they do, that’s why they excel at it.

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FEATURE BF: So what’s it like working with your dad? RH: We’re great partners. He is still involved and interested in the business. And, he is a very important part of all that we do and we are supportive of each other, and bring together great ideas also he’s semi-retired. I talk to him all the time about new trends in the market and challenges.

BF: What are the challenges? RH: Because we are a small economy it is very difficult when you look at prices you may see on television and other bigger markets, which buy in volume, don’t have as much duties that we have, shipping cost is much less, so all these added costs and red tape impact how we operate. But, it has been getting better because much of this is being streamlined now.

BF: Many businesses complained about the global financial crisis and the impact it had here from 2008. In fact, several businesses folded. How did you manage to survive and even expand into a full Ashley Furniture Homestore at a time when people were cutting back on spending?

BF: To what extent have things changed? RH: Significantly, I’d say. People are able to spend again more than in 2008 and 2009 and the public reaction to Ashley furniture has been very good. And it is our aim to continue to enhance the shopping experience.

BF: Earlier you mentioned changing market trends, what’s trending now? RH: It was rough for us from 2008 to The challenge in every business also is to always be innovative and dynamic, and change for the better. We must listen to our customers and what they are asking for. We have to try to fulfill their needs. The furniture market right now is just like the clothing market, it’s so fashion forward now from season to season, every year we have new products. This year Ashley has upgraded their styles significantly and the quality is excellent. The designs, like I said earlier, are unique. There are warranties associated with the product so there’s a great after sale service because we honour all warranties… that isn’t really something we have to utilize much because the quality is good and the product will last. But the warranty gives the customer peace of mind.

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2012 because one, construction slows down and people are not earning the income that they used to first thing they cut out obviously are the luxury goods. People may have asked themselves whether they needed new furniture. Some pushed and used a mattress longer than they really wanted to, those are just examples.

RH: What’s trending now is something we call Vintage Casual which is more of a casual, laid back, relaxing looking furniture. They come with deep plush seats, very comfortable in beiges, greys and a little bit of colour. They are moving away from darker colours and finishes to lighter tones like grey tones, beiges, wash white and more coastal and earth What we did however, was to push our colours. upholstery and repair business so those who didn’t want to or couldn’t afford to BF: Ashley furniture has strong change their furniture, they were able to brand name recognition in the get it redone for a fraction of the price, world and many people tend even though what they really wanted was to think it’s very expensive. something new. Another thing we had to do was reduce the middle and high end- How do you get the public to value products. We had to adapt to what overcome that perception and was going on in the country. visit the store?

RH: That’s where our reputation that we developed over the years comes in. Gi Gi Industries is a very strong, established business and people know us. Ashley is recognized worldwide so it attracts people. Some people may just come to look around, window shop; and that’s when the perception changes, it is high quality but not all the pieces are priced as high-end. There’s something for everyone. Whatever product slows down in sales, Ashley stops carrying it so that the inventory is always fresh and people like that. What keeps people coming back is what we call “The Ashley Experience”.

BF: How did you decide which sort of charity initiative upon which to embark? RH: For Ashley headquarters, that’s the project they’ve always chose for October to always give back and that’s because a majority of our clientele are women and it’s good to find something out of all we do, to give back to them. We’re doing a big promotion where the store goes pink and we’re donating a percentage of our sales to Breast Friends,

a local cancer awareness association. Also, we are holding a draw to give away 10 mammograms from Belmont Clniic. We want to bring awareness to this disease because not enough people pay attention to it. With breast cancer, once you diagnose it early, you can get it treated. So, we are encouraging people to get screened and not take it for granted. We’ve done other donations to other charities, but this year we are all doing the full scale PinkTober throughout all the Ashley Furniture Homestores.

For some, a sofa may be just a sofa and a lamp may be just a lamp. But at Ashley Furniture Homestore, we know that these things are so much more. They are a personal choice, a reflection of who our customers are and how they bring their style to life in their homes. We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident to find their style and express it, to be surprised by the small choices that make a big impact, and to wake up each day feeling like there is no place they’d rather be than home…and that’s what we give to them.

BF: What are your opening hours? RH: We open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm and on Saturday it’s 8:30 am to 1 pm. We looked at extending the hours on Saturday but for the staff, they work hard during the week, they need their time off, and they have off Sundays also. Giving back to the community is important to the Hadeed family. For the month of October, Cancer Awareness Month worldwide, Russell said 10 customers were the beneficiaries of the community service venture that focused on healthy living practices.

Staff promoting Cancer Awareness

BF: We’re mere weeks away from Christmas, what’s in store for your customers?

colours, and choose sizes and styles which again, are unique to the Ahsley Furniture Homestore.

RH: We have new products coming in, and already have unique products in stock. Customers can also go through our catalogues and add their own touch to furniture they like. They always have the opportunity to order their specific

Not everyone has huge homes/living spaces. And Ashley Furniture has tips to suit the needs of all. The focus of their bedroom design blog however, highlights ways to maximize small spaces while still keeping things stylish.

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 29


Small bedrooms do not have to be small on style. Our top bedroom design tips will transform a small space into a comfortable and relaxing retreat:

Organization is Key Clutter in your bedroom will make it feel substantially smaller. When purchasing your bed, look for one that has storage drawers built into the base. If you already have a bed you love, purchase rolling under-bed storage containers and hide them with a chic bed skirt. A Bed that Serves a Dual Purpose If there’s not enough space to have a separate seating area in your bedroom, invest in a tufted headboard or lots of throw pillows to lean against when reading or watching TV. Design Vertically Not only will tall, narrow dressers take up less floor space, they’ll also create a stylish bedroom design that draws

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the eye up. The same goes for tall headboards, floor lamps and floor-toceiling drapes. Keep It Light Keeping the major design components in the lighter color spectrum will help create a small bedroom design that feels airier and bigger. Consider adding a mirror above the headboard or opposite a window to bounce natural light around the room. Like many homeowners , you might be struggling to choose between purchasing a sectional or a sofa and separate chairs. Well fret no more. We have a few tips that should help reduce the stress and make your decision much easier.

RH: That’s where our reputation that we developed over the years comes in. Gi Gi Industries is a very strong, established business and people know us. Ashley is recognized worldwide so it attracts people. Some people may just come to look around, window shop; and that’s when the perception changes, it is high quality but not all the pieces are priced as high-end. There’s something for everyone. Whatever product slows down in sales, Ashley stops carrying it so that the inventory is always fresh and people like that. What keeps people coming back is what we call “The Ashley Experience”. For some, a sofa may be just a sofa and a lamp may be just a lamp. But at Ashley Furniture Homestore, we know that these things are so much more. They are a personal choice, a reflection of who our customers are and how they bring their style to life in their homes. We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident to find their style and express it, to be surprised by the small choices that make a big impact, and to wake up each day feeling like there is no place they’d rather be than home…and that’s what we give to them.

BF: What are your opening hours? RH: We open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm and on Saturday it’s 8:30 am to 1 pm. We looked at extending the hours on Saturday but for the staff, they work hard during the week, they need their time off, and they have off Sundays also. Giving back to the community is important to the Hadeed family. For the month of October, Cancer Awareness Month worldwide, Russell BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 31 said 10 customers were the beneficiaries


BF: What about the living room. For many, it’s a tough task deciding what type of furniture is best suited for their home. RH: You have to choose what suit you, what you love. And you have to make sure it fits comfortably into the space you have because you don’t want clutter. You can have beautiful furniture, but a poor layout spoils the whole appearance and you won’t appreciate what you have.

Ashley Furniture, goes even deeper with its tips. Before committing to a sectional or separate seating, consider your: Lifestyle. Is the atmosphere in your space cool and casual or is it formal? Does your family spend the evening lounging together in the living room in front of the television, or are they more reserved and prefer chatting with guests? A sectional is ideal for stretching out and marathonwatching your favourite shows while a sofa and chair is more conducive to a less leisurely lifestyle.

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Room’s layout. If your space is L-shaped or otherwise oddly laid out, you might think that you have no choice but to go with separate seating options. But, if you’d really prefer a sectional over a sofa, don’t settle for your second choice so quickly. Take careful measurements of the room and make a trip to your local Ashley Furniture HomeStore. An associate might just be able to find the perfect sized sectional for your awkward little space. Personality. Many homeowners make a hobby out of changing out their spaces

with the seasons. If you find yourself swapping your bedroom’s accent chair with the dining table’s head seat—or making other switcheroos on a whim— you’ll probably be happier with a sofa and separate chairs. If you’d rather design a space once and forget about it, then a sectional might be the ideal fit for your personality. The Gi Gi Industries and Ashley Furniture partnership is a merger of ideas from two generations – father and son.

While Russell is now the more open of the two men, his dad Elvon, who was the frontline man for decades, is pretty friendly and happy when it comes to talking about his business experiences with customers over the years. He, according to him, has interacted with thousands of people seeking advice on how to decorate and reorganize their homes. In reflecting on the past, examining the present and preparing for the future, he says “Our success is a result of our commitment of providing outstanding quality and customer service to each and every one of our customers. We have worked only to improve and meet the demands and needs of our community and will continue to be committed to this. At the same time, I would like to personally thank all our faithful customers who have patronized our business over the years.�

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hina’s slowdown, volatile financial markets and tumbling raw-materials prices have raised the risks to economic growth around the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded. In an assessment of threats published as top finance ministers and central bankers meet this week in Turkey, the IMF warned that the problems could lead to “a much weaker outlook” for global growth. It urged wealthy countries to continue easy-money policies and “growth friendly” tax and spending programmes. Some emerging-market countries, meanwhile, should let their currencies fall substantially to support their exporters and economic growth, while also enacting reforms to make their economies more efficient, it added. The Chinese economic slowdown, though long anticipated, “appears to have larger-than-previously-envisaged” repercussions in other countries, the IMF said. China’s troubles have sent the prices of raw materials such as oil and copper into a freefall, pinching Brazil, Russia and BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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other commodity exporters. The report did not revise the fund’s economic forecasts for this year, last updated in July, though it concluded that “downside risks have risen.”

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned China against manipulating its currency to give its exporters an unfair advantage. “We are going to hold them accountable,” he said.

The IMF expects the global economy to grow 3.3 per cent this year, little-changed from 3.4 percent in 2014; the U.S. economy to grow 2.5 per cent, versus 2.4 per cent in 2014; the 19-country eurozone to grow 1.5 per cent, nearly double 2014’s 0.8 per cent; and China to grow 6.8 per cent, down from 7.4 per cent last year.

The IMF is also worried about the potential fallout if the US Federal Reserve decides this year to raise the short-term interest rate it controls, pinned near zero for 7 years. Higher US rates would likely lure investment out of emerging markets to America and drive up the value of the US dollar. That could shake up global markets.

Some economists expect Chinese growth to decelerate even more - to below 6 per cent. The Chinese stock market has been falling since mid-June, and on August 11, Chinese authorities unexpectedly devalued China’s currency, the yuan.

It could also squeeze emerging-market companies that have borrowed in US dollars and would have to scrounge up more money in their local currencies to meet the payments.

They said they were responding to signals from investors that the currency was overvalued. But skeptics feared it was a desperation move to give Chinese exporters a competitive advantage - and a sign the economy was weaker than anybody realised.

In June, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde advised the Fed to delay a rate hike until 2016. She argued that the risk of raising rates prematurely - and damaging the US and global economies - outweighed the risk of waiting too long and allowing inflation to creep up.

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10 Habits to Develop for Financial Security

By Phil Rose

Our small, day to day money habits are what will make the distinction between financial stability and precariously hanging in the balance. If you pay keen attention to the average amount of money you will earn throughout your career, the majority of persons earn more than a million dollars over this period but very few of us actually become millionaires. Millionaires? How did I reach this conclusion? Anyone earning an average of $2,100 a month for 40 years has earned a million dollars. Note the use of the term average. This is because I have made allowance for the fact that you may not start off at $2,100 a month but over time your salary will grow either through added skills, inflationary increases or job changes. So how come there are not more millionaires? Not everyone will be a millionaire but most of us can be financially stable and achieve security particularly for retirement. It is the money habits that we practice that often make the difference.

is to save towards our financial goals first, pay bills and then think carefully about spending the money which remains. We often postpone practicing good saving habits until we think life will be easier. This is a flawed notion because the moment your income increases, the demands on our money tend to increase as well.

But what money habits should we adopt to ensure that we move smoothly along Set Future Goals the road of financial security? Here are a A good start for saving for the future is few simple tips: to develop five 1 year plans. By doing it in increments of one year at a time Change your Mind-set it actually looks achievable. This plan We all know that once taxes are deducted should clearly outline the specific money and bills have been paid our salary can goals you would like to achieve in this seem miniscule which makes the idea of time and what is required in order to saving for our dream home or retirement achieve those goals. For instance, you seem rather daunting. However, the can decide to save a certain amount of road to financial prosperity requires a money each month for the designated change in mind-set. For instance, rather time period as an emergency fund or for than spending the remainder of your a down payment on a new house. take-home pay you should take another deduction in your paycheck and put it Develop Heuristics. towards your greatest financial goals. Too many of us spend money, pay bills and While I was in school I learned of a term then save what is left. The best approach in behavioural finance called heuristics. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Basically heuristics refer to decisions that we as individuals may develop based on rule of thumb strategies. For instance, what if not spending over a $1000 on the latest phone or gadget was as simple as following a simple rule which restricts you from spending over $200 on something that isn’t crucial to your life? Simple rules like the one just mentioned are simple to follow and easy to create; besides, doing so can help you to foster great savings habits. Creating a heuristic does not have to be considered a complicated or difficult task. You can create simple heuristics such as buying lunch only twice a week. We all know the saying “Antiguans do not cook on Weekends.� This does not have to apply to you. Avoid using a basket or creating a list each time you go to the supermarket or store helps you to stay within your budget. Keep Good Records We all know how much is actually going into our bank account, but not enough about what is coming out or even what

we spend it on. Employees often express awe and astonishment when they review their pay stubs and compare it with the figure reported in the Year-To-Date column. They appear bewildered and question what they did with the majority of the income they earned. In this technological age it is very simple to track our expenses. There are many apps that can be downloaded and you can even use Microsoft Excel to download a budget template which enables you to set your goals and in turn save. For the not so technologically savvy, you can use a regular book and simply make note of your expenses during the relevant time periods. Simply think of yourself as the Chief Financial Officer of your personal affairs or that of your household. Free yourself of debt. Every individual is in debt at some point in their life. On the other hand, if you have bad debt, not student loans or mortgages, but credit card debt, which carry high monthly interest rates, reducing and eliminating it and breaking the habit of being a debtor should be of the utmost priority. I always advise clients to develop a plan to get out of credit card debt in the shortest possible time. Credit Card debt is a serious damper on your saving and retirement goals. A credit card should not be used as an excuse to make impulse purchases. If you are someone who cannot help but use your credit card constantly whether it be on shoes, bags or clothes you should adopt private mind tricks. For instance, create a sleeve from a brown paper bag and draw a picture of a goal you may have, whether it be attending college, a new car or your very own home. By placing the card in the sleeve, each time you feel the need to use it you will be reminded about your goal and hence think twice about your purchase. Practice frugality

Therefore, there is very little that can be considered outside of his price range. Despite this he still lives in the same home he bought more than 50 years ago and up to recently drove a 2006 Cadillac. That rule of changing ones car every 5 years does not apply to him.

he earns from doing various stand up jobs in Vegas. A habit he developed as a child working two jobs.

Calculate your Personal Credit Score Credit scores are used by banks to determine how much you can borrow and how long a repayment you can have. Scores are normally out of 850. The Take on Retirement Now Credit Score Estimator will give insight If you are in your twenties or thirties, into where your credit stands today and retirement can seem light years away, how changes you make will affect your and preparing for it may not seem like score a priority now. It may even appear a bit intimidating. Factoring in the prices of Consult an expert parties these days (an average of $150 per person, not mentioning VIP), saving There are often times in life when for that downpayment on your dream consulting an expert can reap significant home and then setting aside funds for benefits. Even if you think you are necessities, it appears that not much can practicing good money habits, getting be left to save towards retirement. Act advice from an expert or someone your wage and not like your friends. If qualified can help to keep you on the your friends who work for more, live at right path and may even open up avenues home and have no children are going to which you hadn’t considered. VIP, go with another friend who is going A professional can offer an objective eye to regular and meet up after. when we as individuals are unable to But, remember that compound interest is because we are too emotionally involved your friend and the later you start to save to make really good or sound decisions. the more you will be required to save. Your commitment to good saving habits Thankfully, the earlier you start to save should not be put off until tomorrow but the more time your money will have to started immediately. These habits will lead to a richer, more fulfilling, satisfying compound and grow. life. For instance, if you are 30 and you decide to set aside $500 a month in a savings Recently a young lady consulted me in account earning 3% interest, that $500 a respect to getting a budget done as she month would turn into over $290,000 in was trying to save the down payment for 30 years. On the flip side, if you were to a vehicle. She has three bank accounts, wait until the age of 40 to save towards two of which she has ATM cards for but retirement, you would need to contribute the third none. Advised her to use the almost $900 a month to achieve the same account not tied to an ATM account to goal. This is as a result of your money save. She used to but she has a shopping having less time to grow hence minimizing addition and would stand in line and withdraw the money in order to buy the impact of compound interest. clothes. Obviously control had to be taken away from her - Solution, throw a Augment your earnings. box and take the last hand. There are two methods of increasing your net worth. Either save more or spend less. But earning more money does not necessarily correlate with a higher net worth. Usually increased earnings are associated with increased spending. It is the concept of “Have more, spend more.” This should change to “Have more, spend same”. If you were living without it why do you now need to spend it?

To become a millionaire one must practice frugality. We often hear individuals say that affluent individuals are usually the cheapest. This is fairly accurate since most millionaires tend to live well below their means and save the majority of their income. There are a few avenues available in which one can take to earn more income. Warren Buffett, investor, philanthropist One way could be by taking on a second and successful entrepreneur, ranked as or part-time job doing something that Phil Rose has a Masters in Finance and is third wealthiest person in 2015 has a net you love. Former late night show host, Jay a Financial Analyst. worth of approximately US$68 BILLION. Leno claims that he lives solely on income

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NobRac is All Things Energy. It is a new and exciting retail/ distribution center launched on 28th September 2015. The company’s objective is to provide top quality products from leading manufactures, along with top of the line service within this new and exciting Green revolution. With LED lighting being its flagship product, NobRac is the authorized distributor for such leading LED manufacturers as CREE, Verbatim, Maxlite, LED Living Technologies etc. The company has also teamed up with Carmanah for Solar LED street lighting, Exel for ECO Green Hand Dryers, Leviton for electrical switches and controls, Pioneer (Parker Davis) for DC Inverter air conditioning and HVAC systems and Intermatic for electrical protection and timers to bring to the public of Antigua and Barbuda exciting products that are on the cutting edge of technological advancements. And to top that off the store will also be marketing and selling digital signage and the related content management services. With the propelling advancement in technology today there are many options for consumers to generate renewable forms of energy while at the same time reduce their demand or consumption of energy. NobRac, the first of its kind in Antigua and Barbuda, has brought to the public the latest in technology, knowledge, service and support to help consumers play their part in energy conservation. Unlike a general or electrical hardware BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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store, NobRac is All Things Energy. With an in-house Techspert in LED Lighting and electronics supported by an array of contracted technicians, the company offers its customer knowledge-based solutions. Customers may visit the store and consult with the sales team or can request a comprehensive on-site survey for both residential and businesses. Businesses, hotels, government, statutory bodies, large residence etc. can be furnished with a comprehensive proposal that compare current energy consumption to proposed reduced consumption completed with a return on investment analysis. NobRac will handle the entire supply chain – from consultative survey to product supply, installation, commissioning and testing

and after-sale service and support. NobRac conducts free weekly in-house informative workshop style group seminars that are opened to the entire public. This is anyone’s opportunity to learn about the energy conservation products we sell, particularly LED Lighting. Please call us to reserve a space. The AKHIMO Group Inc., formally AKHIMO Caribbean Limited, has been doing business in Antigua for the last 16 years and has a reputation for bringing quality products to its customers at the best prices and backed by excellent customer service. The company is owned and managed by K. Oswald Carbon and Wayne E. Carbon. NobRac is the newest venture for AKHIMO and as such is one of 2 other subsidiaries

(eec Central Distributors and AllSource Imports). The manager of NobRac is Marcus Franker. Mr. Franker has over two years experience with LED technology and is regarded as Antigua’s premier Techspert in this area. Previously, he was the owner and manager of Electronic World for 10 years.

established relationships high up on the supply chain. This enhances our ability to not only provide the highest quality and technologically advanced products but will facilitate us to be able to provide excellent customer support and warranties.

distribution center. We can provide you with an array of products that will not only help save you money but also, in the case of LED lighting, can improve your lighting quality at the same time. At NobRac, we not only illuminate, but we enlighten on ‘All Things Energy’. Now you can save

The manager, Marcus Franker said “this up to 80% of your lighting expenses. venture is actually very exciting to us and As an authorized dealer or distributor for we want you (the public) to experience this the lines we market and sell, NobRac has too. Visit us at our newly appointed retail/

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How to Combat Fraud Before It Rears Its Ugly Head Small and medium-sized entities (SME’s) are most susceptible to fraud due to the fact that they often don’t have effective internal controls. Don’t get me wrong, large companies are still susceptible to fraud occurring however they tend to have the resources: financial, human and operational to combat fraud before it raises its ugly head or can use these resources to investigate it! This is not the case with smaller organizations. In fact trying to cover every possible contingency in your business could lead to top-heavy management and a large team which you have to pay for on a monthly basis. No business-owner wants this problem on his head! Nevertheless, implementing effective internal controls within the organisation, both large and BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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small, could remove the opportunity and motivation for fraud and theft. By having the systems in place to discourage errors and identify mistakes and irregularities within a quick period of time, you are able to discourage fraud in the first place and, if that fails, you can take corrective action to minimise losses.

As the Owner/Manager/ Managing Director/CEO/ President, here’s a wakeup call: all fraud starts with YOU! Harsh but true. It’s your duty to become proactive to minimize the inherent risks within your company. Inadequate


procedures, procedures left unchecked, overly trusting management all lead to ineffective controls and opportunists taking advantage. According to a 2014 Report published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (“ACFE”), it is estimated that the typical organization loses 5 percent of its revenue to fraud each year. Can your company afford this? I think not.

Each internal control procedure should aim to accomplish at least one of these eight criteria, according to a CPA Australia report, and these questions should be answered in the affirmative:

in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles? Again, preventing and combatting fraud within your organization starts with YOU.

• Completeness: are all records and Make the decision today to design the transactions included in the financial internal controls needed to strengthen reports of business? your organisation’s systems or contact us for a free 15-minute consultation on how • Accuracy: are the right amounts we can work together to achieve your Let’s look at how effective controls can recorded and are they in the correct objectives. assist in the fight against fraud in your accounts? company. First of all… • Authorisation: are the correct levels of authorisation in place within the What are internal controls? organization with respect to approval, payments, data entry and computer Internal controls are methods or access. procedures adopted in a business to: • Validity: are the invoices recorded for • safeguard the company’s assets; work performed or products received and has the business actually incurred • ensure that the financial information the liability? is accurate and can be relied upon by Management or other stakeholders, • Existence: Do the assets and liabilities both internal and external; actually exist in the organization? ======= PACCS Inc. is a dedicated team of • ensure compliance with all financial • System errors: this one is tricky, professionals, committed to helping and operational requirements, laws and but are system errors being rectified Non-Bank Financial Institutions, Hotels, other governing statutes; and expeditiously? Statutory Organizations, Growth-Oriented Companies and Business Owners as well • essentially assist in the achievement • Segregation of duties: Are certain as Visionary Entrepreneurs and their of the business’ objectives and overall functions kept separate within the teams generate and manage their internal vision. Company? For example, the person control systems and processes and create, taking cash receipts does not also do the plan and track uncommon strategies to in the system or does not do create unconventional profits and massive How can you set up control recording the banking? growth! For a free consultation please contact us at procedures to prevent • Presentation and disclosure: Are fraud? timely preparation of financial reports BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 41

DOES YOUR HOME NEED A MAKEOVER? From time to time, we have always wanted to do a few changes around the house, some renovations, or simply a change in scenery. Here at Westrading Company Ltd, we are offering customers a wide variety of products to choose from that will help you achieve that goal. Westrading Company Ltd. Is the leading tile supplier for all tiles to suit every budget including high-end tiles from the Italgraniti Group that have a lifetime warranty.

Our friendly and professional staff will be happy to give you a tour of our facility and show you all the possibilities we have for you to redecorate, renovate and give your home a new look.

Do you know that they have expanded their products to include the following:

a GREEN Antigua and Barbuda.

· · · · · ·

LG air conditioners Home appliances Bathroom hardware Kitchen and bathroom cabinets ready for installation Garden tools and irrigation equipment Various household items

In addition, Westrading Company. Ltd. is proud to say that they are environmentally aware in providing more energy efficient air conditioners and bringing in more modern energy saving equipment to encourage citizens to build

Natural Stone

We will have special offers and discounts throughout the entire store for our year end through February 16, 2015.



Co. Ltd.

The largest inventory of... Ceramic, Porcelain, Clay, Glass and Marble Wall & Floor tiles in Antigua & Barbuda SPECIAL ORDERS ON REQUEST. FREE ISLAND WIDE DELIVERY Cassada Gardens P.O. Box 780, St. John’s,Antigua E: BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Tel: 268 462 9425/6/7 Fax: 268 462 3189

ATTENTION: ALL HOME OWNERS Is your Home Insurance at current Market Value? Underinsured means Underpayment Whether your house is currently insured and/or you are in the process of building, come in today for a free inspection and quote from Kenneth A. Gomez & Sons. One of our professional staff will visit your property with you and suggest an approximate market value to ensure that you are safe and secure in the unlikely event of any disaster and at all times of year. We will be able to inform you of our many different extensions and add-ons in our policy that is available to you with all the benefits associated with that coverage.

For a limited time only, November 2nd to February 29, 2016, we are giving $100 off for the first 10 lucky participants (special terms and conditions apply). In addition we are giving $200 off the 34th person that meets our criteria. If you are buying new items, renovating your house or doing any general improvements inside and out, you will receive a gift voucher entitling you to an extra 15% off your purchases at Westrading Company Ltd.

You will also be eligible as one of four (4) lucky winners for $250.00 gift voucher from 1st Choice Foods. This raffle will be drawn on Friday, December 18, 2015.


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THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE OECS BUSINESS FOCUS MAGAZINE. (l-r): Gordon Charles (Chairman OECS Business Council), Dr. Didacus Jules (OECS Director General) and Mr. Lokesh Singh (Publisher of OECS Business Focus)

August 6, 2015 marked the official launch of the first ever OECS Business Focus Magazine; and the maiden edition, as will others to come, provides a comprehensive look at economic activities across the OECS region. It covers areas such as Youth Entrepreneurship, the OECS Preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference, the Renewable Energy Sector and Business Development Strategies for Small Businesses. Within the context of promoting consumer and investor opportunities within the

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OECS economic space, the Magazine’s first edition parades a feature on Business Development strategies for small business; offering tips in areas such as getting close to the customer, collaborating with key partners and understanding the market. It also contains a special feature on the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Advanced technological approaches are also highlighted in the OECS Business Focus Magazine such as the use of drone surveillance to help speedup network

and connectivity restoration following hurricanes and other disasters. The Magazine is hailed as an additional voice for the entrepreneur and the consumer. The OECS Commission expects that over time the OECS Business Focus Magazine will provide comprehensive coverage on economic activity as well as developments in critical economic sectors across the single space.

Gordon Charles chairs the OECS Business Council which plays a significant editorial role in the OECS Business Focus Magazine. At the launch he noted, “This initiative presents a significant step in the direction that the OECS Business Council sees for the development of relationships between the public and private sector.” “We are all aware of the Business Focus Magazines in Antigua and Barbuda and in Saint Lucia. I can tell you that there are many businesses which will open this document and go through it from front to back whenever a new issue is sent out because it provides vital information on the markets, your competition and on opportunities. Now this new iteration of the magazine provides a wider scope.” The OECS Business Focus magazine was launched via a virtual platform which engaged the participation of the corporate sector and media from throughout the region. OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules said the OECS Commission intends

to make the OECS Business Focus Lokesh Singh of AMS, is the publisher magazine the central mechanism for the of the OECS Business Focus Magazine: dissemination of business intelligence “As a Caribbean person…It has been my dream to produce Caribbean Business on and for the OECS. Focus. I guess the OECS Business Focus “In today’s brutally competitive global is a step towards that reality…. I want to business environment, the rapid pay special attention to the advertisers dissemination, the free and easy in the business community across the access to information and ideas is an region who supported this project often decisive factor in succeeding without seeing a physical copy. We sold or failing. In fact so critical is the flow an idea and we have surpassed the of information and intelligence that expectations which we projected for Bill Gates has written a seminal book this project.” entitled “Business @ the Speed of He added, “I think what we are going Thought,” said Dr Jules. to deliver across the region is going to The OECS Business Focus is the product impact significantly on trade, investment of a new partnership between the OECS and development. It is meant to serve as Commission, the Eastern Caribbean a catalyst for opportunities available… Central Bank, the OECS Business Council the possibilities are limitless for us to (which is an autonomous private sector explore and exploit.” umbrella body) and Advertising and Marketing Services Limited (AMS) The link for the OECS Business Publishing. This partnership represents Focus Magazine is an amalgamation of the best strengths amsstlucia/docs/oecs_business_focus. of key economic organs of the OECS integration project and the private sector.

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 45



By Billie Bowe


here once was a time when entrepreneurship was considered a platform for men, period. But now the times are changing. More and more women are emerging in the field of business and leading the way as CEOs of their startup companies. Working alongside many ambitious businessmen, women of today are becoming successful entrepreneurs by breaking free from their traditional gender-specific roles. Female business owners have created a name for themselves (and made loads of money) in every industry – from fashion to shipping and even technology. Recent studies have also shown that female entrepreneurs are contributing to more employment in their countries and are generating market revenues. The successes of business-savvy women have sparked other women’s interest in starting their own small businesses. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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But it is not all a bed of roses for women to start a business. There are many obstacles faced by the women because of their gender in male-dominant fields. Here are the top five challenges faced by women entrepreneurs of today: 1. Lack of Support: When a female starts a business, she may not be taken seriously, resulting in her “advice” or “tips” being taken lightly. She may not be viewed as an “expert” when compared to her male counterparts. Even family members and friends may cast doubt and consider the small business idea, dream or actual business, a hobby or something to pass the time with. It is here when women have the opportunity to debunk that myth. Being assertive, confident and believing in your business starts with you. If you don’t believe, how can anyone else? 2. Limited funding: Although many small businesses don’t require investors, most of them do. For those that do, the

process can be difficult. Raising capital for a business is a complicated process regardless of gender. However, it still can be problematic, as investors who are behind the curve, may look for maleled companies they believe can grow because they have a misconception that women are unable to do so. A way to combat this challenge is by having a solid business plan backed by real financial projections, not fantasies. Have faith and confidence that your business plan will get you the money. 3. Emotions: Somewhere along the line of history, or perhaps in the way some of us were raised, our belief is that we are to be nice and please everyone. This is a mistake, as it gives the impression that you’re seeking others’ approval. While we shouldn’t shy away from our emotional being, as women in business, we should seek ways to release that emotional attachment to our businesses, which may be holding us back from making tough decisions. We also have a hard

time saying “NO” to certain demands and conditions, which can affect the overall success of the business. 4. The dreaded three words – work life balance: Most women who aim to start their business are also running their families alongside. “Momtrepreneurs” are not able to neglect their motherly duties solely to run a business, and herein lies the challenge. Missing out on special occasions with their families can be emotionally taxing, as guilt starts to rear its ugly head. Balancing the time between the family and the business is the key to achieving success not just in business but also in overall life. Carving out your day down to the second may help keep things in balance. But remember to be flexible because, as in life, businesses are changing constantly. 5. Fair of failure: According to several studies, the fear of failing is the top concern for many women aiming to start a business. Experts believe that we need several failures in our lives to achieve that one success. One “yes” after 100

“nos” will make the entrepreneur more successful than if they never asked at all. Determination and persistence will keep women in the game instead of on the sidelines as cheerleaders. The future is bright for women. It is estimated that women will flourish and establish more startups in the coming years. Several pieces of research show that female-driven businesses are expected to make up 50 per cent of the business network in the next 10 years. Women wanting to lead the way as entrepreneurs and looking for ways to overcome the above-mentioned hurdles should look to a mentor or coach who possesses a proven system with rapid results. Whether male or female, a shot in the dark approach will likely miss its target. As women continue to break barriers, they are positioning themselves to achieve the financial freedom and grow their dream businesses to the height of success.

Billie Bowe has been a successful senior manager in human resources for the private sector for more than 10 years and is the president and CEO of Benchmark Consulting Services Ltd, a management consulting firm, in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Crab Hole


Win, lose, or draw, there’s no debate. Crab Hole Liquors stores as the undisputed best choice for replenishing your homes, stores or yachts. With 20 years of Success under their belts you can be sure to find all that you want at your convenience. Come in and see for yourself, the lowest prices and the best service are guaranteed. Champagnes, wines, gins, rums, vodkas, sodas, and a large selection of beers can be packed and boxed as you wish. The stores have a great selection of Supermarket items.

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overnor General of Antigua and Barbuda and Patron of the Antigua China Friendship Association, Sir Rodney Williams, were offered the opportunity to speak at the fifth China-Latin America and Caribbean Region People to People Friendship Forum in Hangzhou, China held from September 15 to 17, 2015. This forum is jointly sponsored by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Counties (CPAFFC), China-Latin America and the Caribbean Friendship Association, Friendship Federation of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the People’s Republic of China and Zhejiang Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Antigua and Barbuda continues to strengthen its relationship with the People’s Republic of China with the recent formation of the Antigua China Friendship Association (ACFA). The Association, which is a voluntary non- profit organisation, has as one of its objectives to promote cultural ties and exchanges between both countries. President of the Association, Lady Sandra Williams, remarked: “The Association is currently working on its blueprint for fundraising activity which will partially facilitate our goal of developing educational, cultural and technological links between the two nations.” Other executive members of the Association are Lady Joan Shoul (Vice President). Ms. Amaya Athill (Secretary),

Mr. Trevor Parker (Public Relations Officer), Mr. Clement Samuel, Mrs. Asha Christian Phillip and Ambassador Anthony Liverpool. The mechanism of China-Latin America and Caribbean Region People-to-People Friendship Forum was established in 2007. Since then, the Forum has offered a significant platform for the friendly exchanges between China and Latin American and Caribbean Region. In July of 2014, the Forum became one part of the mechanism of China-CELAC Forum, which aims to provide more scope to jointly develop future collaborative opportunities. This vision is suitably captured in the ACFA’s motto, “Bringing our People Together.”



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


Volume 12

By: Lyndell Halliday

Elon Musk – the next Steve Jobs?

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

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

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

by Lyndell A. Halliday BSc., MBA, CMA

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

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

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

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

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An Interview with Brian Stuart-Young

journey towards becoming a truly digital banking service. First, make the entire customer experience digital, from the on-boarding of clients and educating them about new products and services, to self-service banking and reporting. This will allow our professional personnel to allocate more time to innovate and address financial solutions for clients. Second, customize information to suit each client and provide better advice through digital channels. Third, give customers more control with digitalized self-service tools, personalization, and reporting. BF: What type of steps must be taken to restructure a financial institution in this manner?

Chairman, Board of Directors, Caribbean Union Bank BF: As a founding shareholder, what was the concept of starting a new indigenous bank in 2006 and how has it evolved? CUB was conceived in a banking environment that was over-stocked with financial institutions but understocked in providing financial services that would support and assist the life styles and demands of a growing digital community. Its first intention was to provide technology-driven services to certain niche areas of the banking sector that were not being readily supported or initiated by the established banks. It was perceived that Banks, both locally and internationally, had been abdicating certain roles and responsibilities traditionally performed by regulated banks to non-financial institutions, who became the innovators of payment services such as remittances, ecommerce and even micro-finance facilities. CUB had been designed to compete in the provision of these payment and other special financial services under the BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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umbrella of fully regulated financial institution. Our business focus has varied over the years but the shareholders in 2015 elected a new Board and recommitted themselves to returning the role of CUB to accomplish its original plans, albeit needing to be updated to meet the current trends and demands of the modern banking population. BF: How does CUB plan to differentiate itself within the banking sector? CUB identifies that we are serving a growing digital society, which is also eager and willing to make and receive payments online. Given that local customers under 40 years, especially young professionals, are digitally savvy and already willing to pay to overseas vendors for products online, CUB’s goal is to initiate and enable local consumers and the local businesses as well as government offices, to use digital solutions for online and mobile services. CUB will focus on three key aspects in its

CUB’s first step to transforming itself to respond better to the needs of clients is to justify its restructuring to its regulator, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, and the Ministry of Finance, indicating the economic benefits that will be derived through the delivery of services that will encourage financial equality. The Bank will establish a blend of brick-and-mortar branch service with digital capabilities. What is key is for CUB to ensure its services are seamlessly integrated. If a customer begins a service transaction on his or her smartphone, that customer should be able to complete it on a laptop, tablet or in person. If a customer provides personal data once to CUB, that information should be available across all networks and channels of the bank and not repeatedly obtained. It requires a new blend of customer service with automation and digitized processes to enable the “just in time” services that customers want. BF: Will the path towards a modern bank require new technology and investments or can it be achieved with strategic relationships?

It will, largely because the use of electronic financial services, produce an audit trail. One of the obstacles faced by traditional lending service is that the loan is disbursed in cash. The use of technology can facilitate a faster review of the application for micro loans and will allow the disbursement to be made on a card or phone which can make payments at approved merchants to satisfy the loan request, and there is a proper audit trail established.

In the highly competitive financial services market occupied by domestic commercial banks, credit unions and several digital disruptors in the remittance, cash advance and crypto-currency spaces, it is essential for the modern bank to truly embrace technology. CUB is well positioned to meet the service challenges and is able to also draw upon strategic partnerships held with modern card and mobile processing services, versatile payment platforms and alternative payment systems such as the homegrown solution known as SugaPay. CUB has harnessed technical attributes from strategic partners to provide payment solution services that will enable the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) to significantly improve the community’s time and effort involved in paying GOAB taxes and fees. The Bank will be able to facilitate Government online and mobile payments, G-commerce, for the making of payments to and receiving benefits from Government. These transactions can be made through a SugaPay stored-value card or mobile service, and would therefore be a more attractive payment mechanism for GOAB departments, and merchants in general, to accept transactions from consumers. CUB will leverage its relationship with the SugaPay product to use its payment platform powered by a local processing centre to provide various stored value services including the crediting of a card for payroll purposes and the debiting of a card for payments. As a

closed loop payment service its charges are significantly lower than branded card services and will be attractive for payment acceptance by most merchants, including gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants. But it can also be used for a variety of social functions including school fees, medical fees, church donations and charities, entrance fees and subscriptions. The prime advantage of a CUB SugaPay stored value card is that it is not directly connected to your bank account and therefore your bank account cannot be compromised – your exposure to having your card details fraudulently copied is only limited to the funds you have approved to be stored on the card. You do not have to be a CUB account holder to have a SugaPay card, but an account relationship as a cardholder or a merchant will offer convenience as the issued SugaPay card can be loaded or settled directly with your CUB account; and in a seamless manner the card is connected to your identified cell phone, which can access all notifications of credits and debits and give SMS alerts for any transactions, thereby providing an extra layer of security against fraud. Your registered phone will access a virtual mobile banking service for your card, encouraging financial inclusion to a broader spectrum of bank product users with added services such as microfinance lending and savings and by establishing a loyalty programme that rewards usage. BF: Will technology-driven banking services increase opportunities for Micro Finance?

BF: As a ten year old institution, CUB will have experienced some of the most challenging financial environment circumstances that have occurred locally and worldwide, how do you see the future? Our Governor of the Central Bank, Sir Dwight Venner, frequently reminds our sector that what may be seen as a bank’s assets are really its liabilities towards its depositors, and our fiduciary duty is paramount to manage risks and safe-guard our customer deposits. It is advice that our Board takes very seriously and it requires us to operate within high standards of governance and compliance with best banking practices. As a small bank we have the ability to be nimble and responsive. We do not have a head office elsewhere to which to refer matters. We now have a Board with three local bank professionals as well as members with other professional disciplines, and we have shareholders committed to strengthening the Bank’s operations and to attracting additional capital to maintain compliance with the new Banking Act. CUB is blessed with an experienced and versatile local management and staff, who are sensitive to the needs to adapt to the changing face of the institution and to adopt the skills and services necessary to execute excellent customer relationships. We wish CUB to be known as an “engagement bank”, which is about taking banking to your customers, when and where they need it, and doing so in a way that delights customers, not frustrates them with challenging processes and policies. We want fans not just customers. That is engagement banking!

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services in the market. It has had to redefine itself on a few occasions and in doing so it has obliterated the proverbial box.

Acting General Manager, Mrs. Karen Harris-Quinland

Caribbean Union Bank Christmas Social


A Resilient and Resolute

As I reflect on my time as part of the CUB family, I see a financial institution that aims to live up to its core principles of being resilient and resolute. Birthed in the most challenging of circumstances, CUB has had to ‘grow up fast. ’ At the tender age of four, it came face to face with the global financial crisis and has had to endure the same BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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challenges as its more mature and established counterparts, many of which have been heavily supported by their regional and international head offices. As with any organism in the early stages of development, the Bank has embarked on the journey of self- discovery defining how it could be a dominant player in the delivery of excellent financial

And, at the heart of its mandate to “Realign and Re-position” is the very people upon whose shoulders, Caribbean Union Bank now stands: the CUB family. These are the shareholders whose vision of a bank catering to an untapped market characterized by exceptional service delivery invested in a local financial institution. These are the customers who have placed their trust in us to create a safe haven and an investment vehicle for their wealth. These are the directors who have been at the helm navigating the institution through tumultuous waters at times. These are the many stakeholders who have partnered with us through the years and who continue to lend their support. Most importantly, these are the employees of Caribbean Union Bank who have been at the forefront of building the institution in spite of the challenges and sacrifices and who themselves are the epitome of resilience. With only 10 short years in our development cycle, it would be folly to declare that we are a ‘mega’ bank. However, what we can declare is that we have demonstrated a resilience to the obstacles which have been before us and through innovation we are resolute to forge ahead. Through the confidence of our shareholders, we resolve that we will seek avenues to strengthen

CUB school visits during Financial Information Month

our balance sheet. We resolve that we will push the envelope and embrace technologies which will underpin our service excellence. We resolve that we will forge strategic alliances with partners and develop synergies to optimize our operations. We resolve that we will demonstrate that we too have a contribution to make as a local indigenous bank to the economy of Antigua and Barbuda. We resolve that we will continue to serve you in the years to come. Today I stand with the rest of the CUB family, thanking you for your support throughout the years and praying God’s blessings as we move forward resilient and resolute.

CUB participates in Financial Information Month

CUB participates in Charity Golf event


FRIAR’S HILL RD 481-8278 | JOLLY HARBOUR 481-8265 | BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 59

Staff of CUB


CUB Experience

“I have been with the bank from inception and through the years I have developed a great relationship with the staff. As a customer for 10 years I feel like part of the family. I enjoy working with a local bank that provides face to face, personalized service and local decision making. CUB has been good to me and my business.” Dane Roberts, Contractor “As a first-time home owner, I was nervous. By providing sound advice and sensible options I could work with, my loan officer instilled me with confidence and helped make one of my biggest dreams a reality. Her deep understanding of the building process and the choices BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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available to me made her very pleasant to work with. She was innovative and results-focused, friendly, punctual, and simply good at her job.

I was fortunate to work with Caribbean Union Bank and I recommend them to my colleagues, family and friends. I’ve heard that getting a mortgage is a painful process; thankfully that was not my experience. I am grateful to my loan’s officer for an effortless process.” Inga Challenger “Working with the CUB Merchant services team has been a very welcoming experience. After installing our new wireless POS terminals, our business

has thrived. With the ease of use and the control from any location, we have saved time and money, as well as provide our customers with convenient service which they love. The before and after sales service from the Merchant Services team of professionals has been of a high standard and has been a pleasure to deal with. The ongoing support and reassurance that we’re able to pick up the phone and ask any question at any time, with any problem dealt with in a prompt manner. Pelican Safari highly recommends CUB to anyone looking to upgrade their POS terminals or just to have professionals look after such an important part of their business. I would like to take the time to thank all the team for their support and for their high

quality of service and we will continue to recommend and give them our business in the future.” Almond Peters Pelican Safari “Back in December 2005, it was and still is an excellent choice for us in making Caribbean Union Bank our bank of choice. The management and staff are professional and we remain pleased with the level of service which allows us a sense of security when conducting our affairs. We continue to enjoy the convenience of banking with Caribbean Union Bank, and so we congratulate them in their tenth year of operation. We therefore wish the Bank much success.” Lawrence & Johnette Gonslaves Friar’s Hill Service Station “CUB has been a blessing to me as a customer. I live in the US but take care of my aged mother in Antigua. Through CUB’s product offering of online access to

savings and checking accounts I can easily disburse funds and exercise the control I require to facilitate the monthly financing of my mother’s home and health care in Antigua without ever leaving my desk in Tennessee. The additional option of receiving funds from CUB in US dollars that can be drawn on a US bank is a product offering I would recommend to any Antiguan living abroad. The staff at CUB has always gone above and beyond normal customer care to meet and facilitate my monthly financial needs. They are not only competent, informative and fully compliant with financial regulations and controls, but also pleasant, prompt and commendably careful in satisfying all requests. Thank you CUB.” Gene Nanton Registration Coordinator “I started banking with CUB because of the friendly atmosphere and convenient location. The professional customer

service and efficient modern banking services has kept me at CUB. A great banking experience where not only your needs but your wish list is also fulfilled.” Lenox Eric Looby Managing Director LL Supply Ltd “I recently closed on a mortgage loan through Caribbean Union Bank and I was extremely pleased with the procedure. My loan’s officer was great. She kept in constant touch with me, step by step, and followed up with all loose ends-minute by minute-to ensure all paperwork was in order and understood. CUB managed every detail. My officer was completely professional, honest and extremely hardworking. It’s easy to understand why their tagline is “Banking…The Better Way”, I readily recommend them to anyone who asks.” Avery Jonas

CUB is proud to sponsor the Bethesda Sports Club, 2015 winners of the ABCA 2 day competition BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 61




he Caribbean region’s ability to cash in on a potentially lucrative, international export trade in fish and seafood is being held back by huge gaps in measures to protect food safety and animal health, experts, according to industry experts. And, the Officials who are investigating food handling policies in 10 Caribbean countries for the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), are set to propose a new regime for sanitary and phytosanitary – SPS – measures in CARIFORUM states. Since starting their work in April, Jamaican SPS expert Dr. George Grant and international legal consultant Chris Hedley of the United Kingdom have discovered that in most instances compliance with globally established standards are voluntary. They agree this is a worrisome development that stops member states from tapping into niche markets overseas and boosting foreign exchange earnings. There are also either no legally binding protocols managing food safety BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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throughout the region or where they are practised they are disorganised and informal, the experts stated. “It’s the prerogative of the government, or the official, competent authority to develop a system whereby the food safety measures can be validated, inspected and can be regulated,” Dr Grant added. In two months of national consultations on SPS measures sponsored by the European Union in a number of CARIFORUM nations, Dr. Grant said there are no documented and transparent protocols for ensuring safe food handling and monitoring food processes. Several Caribbean nations are yet to include these standards in their national regulatory system, something that has long been mandatory in many of the developed nations to which regional fisheries and food industries might seek to export. But the two-man team of veterinary expert and lawyer are developing a region-wide set of food safety and environmental safeguards which they

hope to unveil for adoption in late August. Dr Grant also said, “The set of protocols we are developing is to have them formally presented and documented so that countries can use them as guides to developing their own particular protocols and practices.” As they travelled through Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states and the Dominican Republic which make up the CARIFORUM group of nations, the team assessed benchmarks for food safety in individual countries. The news of the progress towards SPS compliance is encouraging. The experts note that most fish processors have implemented the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) standard for fish and fish product exports. But as the Caribbean fishing industry and food makers seek to take advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to gain access to markets in European Union, there is an extra layer of requirements based on official controls. The EU is requiring exporting nations put enforceable legislation in place in each

country to govern the SPS standards. Through an EU-funded CRFM project, supported by the InterAmerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), the team is hoping to establish a uniformed set of procedures across the industry. “The question of where to draw the level in terms of how strictly you regulate food safety is really very much a national policy decision,” Hedley said. He cautioned that the process can be complicated, costly and potentially counter-productive: “We don’t want to over-regulate and sort of crack a nut with a sledgehammer, if there are not substantial food safety problems. “The more you regulate food safety and the stricter and more you demand in terms of that side of regulation, the more expensive products become, the less people are able to meet those requirements and they may be forced out of the business,” Hedley stressed. The aim, according to the legal experts, is to step up protection measures, level the playing field, manage the risks involved in food protection and facilitate trade across the Caribbean. “There is no end point to that, it’s not like there is a single target we’re going to aim for and then that’s it - we can rest on our laurels. New challenges [are] arising all the time. It is a continual process of improvement,” Hedley added. Yet, compliance is critical to the effectiveness of the new standards. “[The EU] want to make sure that the legislation is properly in place in the country, that with all these requirements are not just voluntary but with specific legal requirements to implement these food safety procedures and that they are sort of penalties in terms of not complying with them. So the businesses that don’t comply with them can be taken out of the licensing process.” SPS legislation will need to be backed up by a system of government checks, controls and monitoring systems, the SPS legal expert continued. As the two-man legal team sifted through the paperwork – or lack of it – among Caribbean fisheries processors and exporters, another team of environmental monitors has been travelling the region, inspecting processing plants, cold storage facilities and testing laboratories. But the experts are anxious that the drive towards SPS compliance is not seen solely as jumping necessary hoops in the export trade. Hedley suggests that even if the region becomes compliant there is still no guarantee there would be an appetite for their goods in the EU. For Dr. Grant, another often overlooked beneficiary is the Caribbean consumer who can rely more safely on wholesome food from the sea. Fisheries managers, officials, scientists are expected to meet in Barbados on August 24 and 25 to pore over technical documents the SPS experts will produce, and their recommendations. Hedley describes it as tool kit or resource paper which can be taken forward. “This is a technical assistance project providing technical documents; actually they have to be developed in the real world politics and law and national sovereignty and go through the proper processes at the national levels and at the regional levels.” BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 63


$125 MILLION SET FOR 5 NEW FILMS IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA INCLUDING ONE ABOUT BOB MARLEY’S EARLY LIFE Golden Island Filmworks Sets Up Unprecedented $125 Million Equity Financing Agreement with Government of Antigua & Barbuda.

economy and foster employment and growth. The films that will be produced through this arrangement range from “Rebels”, a story of four unique individuals from tough upbringings in the 70’s who come together as friends to discover and contribute to the rise of iconic musician, Bob Marley, to the launch of the “Nick Carter: Killmaster” espionage franchise, based on the longest-running franchise in US book publishing history, producing 261 books over 30 years and selling more than 30 million copies.

Esteemed producer Rudy Langlais (“The Hurricane,” “Sugar Hill”) and his partners, Caribbean social entrepreneur Valmiki Kempadoo, Toronto-based producer Don Allan and veteran multi-disciplined film executive Neil Sackerhave closed an unprecedented equity financing agreement with the government of the Caribbean island that will see $125 million committed to an initial slate of five feature films and launch Antigua & Barbuda’s long-range commitment to film production. The agreement was recently announced in Toronto by Golden Island’s principals. The deal comes through the newly created venture, Golden Island Filmworks, an independent feature film finance and production entity run by Rudy Langlais, who was born in the West Indies, and his partners Sacker, Kempadoo and Allan. The first five feature films, individually budgeted between $20 million and $85 million, against a cumulative budget of $250 million, will be produced through Golden Islands Filmworks in Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador at Large Dr. Joseph (Joey) John, who for eight years had been enticing Rudy BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Langlais to make films in the Caribbean, was instrumental in structuring the Antigua-based venture and will continue to work on all components and phases of development and production associated with the film slate. Ambassador John is currently Special Consultant to the Prime Minister on the Citizenship by Investment Program and Investment. Through this venture, Antigua & Barbuda aims to establish itself as the centre for film production in the Caribbean. A portion of all films on this slate will be shot in Antigua, which will inject tens of millions of dollars back into the local

PM Browne enthusiastically introduced the new venture: “Welcome to the start of this new day in the history of my nation, the Caribbean and worldwide cinema - the further transformation of Antigua and Barbuda as the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean through the power and art of film. We are welcoming the leading directors, actors and filmmaking technicians of the world to Antigua and they are coming to create exciting films that capture the beauty, mystery, history and complexity of our country, our history, our people.” While, Rudy Langlais said, “My partners and I had a dream more than 10 years ago, that the Caribbean, which has produced brilliant statesmen like Alexander Hamilton, Nobel Prize-winning poets and

novelists, Walcott and Naipaul, legendary athletes like Sobers and Richards and Bolt, and perhaps the world’s greatest cultural icon in Bob Marley, should add its “voice” now to filmmaking. We have wanted to join our colleagues around the world to share our stories and join in telling stories together. Now that time is here. Exciting films will come of this collaboration.” And Ambassador John added, “Of all the projects that I have had the privilege of bringing to Antigua, this project has the potential to create the biggest impact on both the economy and the social transformation of Antigua. It brings a whole new industry into Antigua that will affect tourism and culture.” Speaking at the announcement event, Sacker stated, “It is an honor for me to be partnered with Rudy, for whom I have tremendous respect and friendship, and with Val and Don who were instrumental in putting this groundbreaking deal together. We are looking forward to making this venture a success for the government of Antigua and are committed to the highest creative and business standards for this incredible slate of films - each of which are distinctive and iconic stories that, at the same time, are marketable to the largest possible audience from Gen Z to Millennials to Baby-boomers to the older generations.” The agreement was facilitated by industry legal veteran Eric Weissmann and Lizbeth Hasse and Erin Brinza of Creative Ind collaboration with the government of Antigua & Barbuda, headed by Prime Minister, Prime Minister Gaston Browne. The dynamic arrangement serves as a first-of-its-kind film financing model that uses funds generated by the Antigua Citizenship Investment Program. Funds collected from the highly sought after citizenship program will be invested into the $125 million film slate.



SATURDAYS 9:00AM - 1:00 PM

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DUTY FREE STORE at the airport Friars Hill Road St. John’s, Antigua Tel: (268) 480-3200

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Prime Minister of Antigua Gaston Browne


he Antigua & Barbuda government has dismissed a move by the District of Colombia in the United States to label the island as a tax haven and said the issue should be raised with President Barack Obama. “Further, as the Prime Minister in the quasi-Cabinet of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with responsibility for services, I similarly reject the listing of nine other member states,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said. Browne said that Antigua & Barbuda and CARICOM countries “have all worked diligently to comply with the requirements of the Global Forum on international tax matters initiated by the Organisation for Co-operation in BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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Economic Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force. “None of the CARICOM member states is now classified by these watch-dog institutions as tax havens,” he said, noting that in Antigua & Barbuda’s case, as in the case of other CARICOM states, “We have in force Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the United States and we have agreed, at great cost to our governments and financial institutions, to co-operate with the US Internal Revenue Service through the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. “Through these two mechanisms, US government agencies have all the information they could possibly need to satisfy themselves that our jurisdictions are not ‘tax havens’. ” Browne said that the action by the

District of Columbia is ill-informed. “It is as harmful to our jurisdictions as it is unjust. It will scare away US investors and it continues a pattern of smearing the reputations of our financial services industry,” he said, adding that he has instructed the island’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, “to take up this matter with the mayor and Council of the District of Columbia and with relevant members of Congress since Congressional approval is necessary before the proposed Act can become law. “I will also propose to my colleague Heads of Government in CARICOM and the wider region that we should collectively raise with President Barack Obama what amounts to yet another unjustified assault on our financial services industry that will harm our economies. We cannot let this matter rest,” he added. ¤



he Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Min Zhu, said while economic growth in the region continues to strengthen, it remains fragile and uneven. In an address at the opening of the 2015 main High Level Caribbean Forum in September, the IMF official said the region faces, among other things, possible consequences from the impending rise in US interest rates, the slowdown in China and South America, the opening of Cuba to US tourists and other challenges. “Although the recovery in the United States looks robust, growth prospects have deteriorated in many parts of the globe compared to a year ago.” He said in several emerging markets, such as Latin America, Canada and Europe, the economy “still looks fragile”. He added that the Caribbean Forum is one of the key platforms for the region. “For expanding our mutual understanding and for collaborating ….It is good then that the 2015 Caribbean Forum keeps the focus on growth, this year in particular on financing growth. This is exactly in line with efforts by the international community right now to secure sustainable development. Indeed, our quest for growth must be cast firmly in the context of “sustainability” ― growth that is durable and equitable, and that safeguards the environment.” Concerning the role of the international lending agency, Min said the aim is to boost economic resilience in members as they seek to growth objectives. He said the IMF will “deepen our policy advice on the macro-aspects of key topics related to achieving and financing the SDGs—infrastructure provision, inclusion, and vulnerabilities facing small states”.

The lending agency will also enhance technical assistance to strengthen domestic revenue potential; build capacity and institutions and address the special needs of fragile and conflictaffected states. Regarding Small States, he said the Fund has continued analytical and policy work. “As you know, the Executive Board met to discuss the second policy paper in February, and work is ongoing to integrate the substantive findings related to fiscal policy frameworks and competitiveness into our programme and policy work.” Some of the issues to be discussed at this annual high level forum with the focus on “Financing Growth”, include the region’s energy sector, the role of regulatory reforms in the sector and how to boost foreign investment in the sector. In focusing on the financial sector, delegates will consider ways to improve access to credit and recent developments with correspondent

banking relationships and implications from the global regulatory environment for the region. According to Min, the areas to be discussed are critical issues in the region “given the importance of the financial sector, both domestic and international, in many Caribbean countries, as well as the significant efforts underway, and progress achieved recently, to restore financial soundness and sustainability in some parts of the Caribbean.” The Caribbean Forum, now in its 4th year was held for the first time in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The event brings together prime ministers, finance ministers, central bank governors, and other high-ranking officials as well as senior officials from the IMF, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank and donors. ¤ BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 67


THE CLIMATE IS RIGHT IN THE CARIBBEAN: CARIBBEAN INVESTMENT SUMMIT 2015 The Caribbean Investment Summit 2015 under the theme The Climate is Right in the Caribbean, was held in London, UK on September 10, 2015, co-organized by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies. It brought together seven of the Caribbean investment promotion agencies, and more than 100 investors and key stakeholders, in an effort to attract FDI into a portfolio of investment ready projects in the Caribbean. The opening ceremony, that was emceed by Courtney Fingar, editor in chief of fDiMagazine (of the Financial Times), was officiated Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie. The Prime Minister noted the importance of hosting the event in London highlighting that based on the 2014 Wealth Report “…London had more ultra-high net worth individuals than any other city in the world in 2013, and will continue to maintain its pre-eminence for the next decade.” The Prime Minister also reiterated to the investors at the forum the 4 main reasons why the climate is indeed right for inward investment in the Caribbean. He noted that the Caribbean has recovered well from the financial crisis, that there are significant opportunities in renewable energy, there has been increased efforts in the region to strengthen human capital to support the attraction of FDI and that innovation and public private partnerships are being used to attract FDI, noting several examples of this happening in the Bahamas and across the region.

Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) highlighted for those present the results of 2 studies undertaken on investor perception in the region. He noted that based on the findings, investors came to the region to take advantage of the market access and the political and economic stability the region provides. Mr. Andrew underscored the fact that the Caribbean is second only to the OECD countries in Trading Across Borders and Protection of Investors indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report of 2014. He also noted that as many as 81% of existing investors are reinvesting or plan to reinvest in the Caribbean and that 71% of investors polled would be likely or very likely to recommend the Caribbean host country’s business climate.

The plenary session also saw opening remarks from the Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke Hamilton, who emphasized the continued role of her Agency in promoting and supporting a collaborative approach to attracting FDI into the Caribbean. Coke Hamilton highlighted the success of the region in supporting successes such as Grace Kennedy, Digicel and Tucker Energy Services (TES). She noted the many reasons investors have chosen the Caribbean highlighting that “…among their top priorities are location, openness of trade, infrastructural developments, a skilled labour force, economic and political stability, and flexible incentives.” McHale Andrew, President of the Caribbean Association of Investment

The opening ceremony was followed by break-out sessions where the investment promotion agencies from the Caribbean were able to discuss the details of their country’s investment ready projects in the areas of renewable energy, business process outsourcing, niche tourism and other strategic investment opportunities. The discussions were guided by panel moderators, namely, Frank Comito, CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association, Yoni Epstein, President of the Business Process Outsourcing Association in Jamaica, Johan Sydow, CEO of Sitek (focused on renewable energy) and Mark Williamson, leading the other strategic investment opportunities discussion. The Investment Summit also presented

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an excellent opportunity to collaborate with fDi Magazine of the Financial Times in the hosting of a reception and the presentation of awards to Caribbean IPAs who ranked among the top 10 in fDi Magazine’s recently announced Caribbean and Central American Countries of the Future ranking. Among the top performers in the region was the Dominican Republic, receiving recognition for its Connectivity, FDI Strategy, Economic Potential, Cost effectiveness and Business Friendliness; Trinidad who was the winner for Cost Effectiveness and among the top 10 for its FDI Strategy, Connectivity and Business Friendliness; Barbados, who ranked among the top 10 for FDI Strategy, Cost Effectiveness and Human Capital and Lifestyle; and Jamaica, the winner of FDI Strategy and among the top 10 for Connectivity and Business Friendliness. Also receiving awards for FDI strategy and Cost Effectiveness were: the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada. The Investment Promotion Agencies present at the event were as follows: the Bahamas Investment Authority, BelizeInvest, the Centre for Export and Investment in the Dominican Republic, the Centre for the Facilitation of Investments in Haiti, the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, Invest Saint Lucia and Jamaica Promotions Limited (JAMPRO).

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ver 300 immigrants from the Caribbean region and internationally became citizens of Antigua & Barbuda in the last quarter of 2015, under the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act 2015.

since it is about “1,000 who applied.” The amendment, which was valid until September 15, was extended until December 31 to give other immigrants who qualify, an opportunity to apply for their citizenship after paying to regularise their time.

Under this amendment, the individuals, who had gaps in their time as lawful residents over the past seven years and prior, were allowed them to pay to regularise their status and qualify for citizenship.

He noted that in the past “although many had spent as much as 12 to 17 years in Antigua, when they made the application under the previous administration, they were told that there were gaps and they had to start all over again. We considered that to be really rather unjust, and as a consequence, (we) went to the Parliament, changed the law providing amnesty.”

Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst said government raked in about $480,000, but stressed that the focus was not on making money, but mainly on ensuring government corrected “wrongs” against many immigrants who, for reasons beyond their control, had gaps in their time. This recent batch of 300 plus new citizens, brings to total approximately 600, the number of new citizens welcomed with December 2015. Hurst said there are hundreds more applicants still awaiting their citizenship BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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The chief of staff said he projects another 200 applications by the new deadline, but that number could be more if the prospective new citizens can come up with the funds needed to regularise their status. “We think a few more will come forward. Certainly, if 1,000 have come forward since March, it strikes us that more will come forward as long as they can raise the funds to cure those gaps.”¤


he CARICOM Central Bank Governors group has approved the application of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) of Antigua & Barbuda to be admitted as an associate member of the Caribbean Group of Banking Supervisors (CGBS). In this regard, as an associate member, the twin island will enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of core membership. In addition to Antigua & Barbuda, the membership consists of banking supervisors from 15 other territories namely Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, St. Maarten, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, and Trinidad and Tobago. The CGBS, established by CARICOM Central Bank Governors in 1983, is mandated to enhance and coordinate the harmonisation of the bank supervisor practices with a view to bringing them in line with internationally accepted practices. The banking body is a regional grouping under the Basel Committee for Banking Supervisors, and its chairmanship, currently held by Jamaica, is restricted to the different CARICOM member Central Banks as the CGBS is a creation of the CARICOM Central Bank Governors.¤



ndustry figures and government officials from across the Caribbean fishing industry wrapped up two days of talks in Barbados in the latter part of the year, acknowledging they were at the very early stages of introducing a new regime for safe seafood for local and international consumption. The two-day meeting was part of a European Union-funded project to help CARIFORUM countries introduce laws, regulations and a governance system to guarantee safe seafood for export to EU markets and beyond. “Developed countries – the EU, United States, Canada … all have standards that you must meet in order to export to their market,” said Milton Haughton, CRFM executive director. “In our countries we may not meet all those standards currently and so we want to put in place the systems which are quite complicated to be able to enter those markets to satisfy their requirements so that our products can be exported.” The EU is requiring exporting nations put enforceable legislation in place in each country to govern SPS standards. “The experts here (were) discussing the regulations, the human resources (and) the institutional arrangements that are required to monitor, evaluate (and) test for various pathogens, and to ensure that we do have a good system in place that meets with international best practice.” Haughton said. So far, compliance with globally established standards in the region is voluntary – a worrisome development that experts say is stopping member states from tapping into niche markets overseas and boosting foreign exchange earnings. A two-month long assessment by international consultants has exposed

large gaps in legally binding protocols managing food safety throughout the region. The meeting discussed how to introduce a region-wide set of food safety and environmental safeguards which were presented for review by a team of legal and scientific consultants who moved through the region assessing the state of industry over the last two months. As they travelled through CARIFORUM group of nations – the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Dominican Republic - a team of consultants from Jamaica, Britain and Iceland inspected processing plants, cold storage facilities and testing laboratories. The CRFM head expressed the hope that adopting SPS measures region-wide could also have spin-off benefits for local consumers. “It’s not only about exporting and earning exchange; it’s also ensuring that our people have healthy and safe fish and seafood to eat,” he added. “Given the challenges that we have in this region for economic development, employment and earning foreign exchange, we have to make use of all the resources that we have including ensuring that we can get good prices for our fish and also have safe fish and seafood for our own people.” Belize, one of the region’s leading fish and seafood exporters, is hoping to learn from other CARIFORUM countries represented at the meeting while offering to sharing information with smaller exporting nations that would help improve food safety standards. “For the first time, we’re having a forum where we could start discussing (SPS) issues as a region,” said Delilah Cabb Ayala, SPS Coordinator for the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). “Each country has been looking at their own legislation, trying to ensure that they

make the necessary amendments, just to be able to have access to the EU and the other trading partners with which we are currently trading.” Last year, Belize exported an estimated US$44 million in shrimp alone from total exports worth US$64 million. Cabb Ayala said the regional effort to harmonise SPS rules across CARIFORUM will be a “lengthy process” but with nations such as Belize ahead of others, she is hoping that proposals will emerge that “take into account all the different levels that we are dealing with within the region. She continued, “(This) meeting to ensure that we have harmonised procedures is a good thing. Additionally, it allows for technical experts to bring to the fore their current situations, and at that level try to come up with proposals that can actually be implemented at the national levels.” The two-day meeting posed questions regarding primary and secondary legislation, including coming food safety laws and protocols, processes for appeals, and procedures for licensing, export and controls. The meeting considered strategic priorities at the national and regional level and began discussions on a governance structure for food safety and fisheries. The officials also considered how to integrate their work into the development of the fledgling Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) based in Guyana and the progress towards the setting up of national health and food safety authorities. The project, which is being carried out by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and supported by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), aims to ramp up food safety standards to enable CARIFORUM fish exporters to take up trading opportunities under the EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).¤ BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 71


CARIBBEAN SEEKS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SUPPORT TO EXISTING INVESTORS from reinvestments but these figures are not monitored nor incorporated as FDI. The training of the IPAs forms part of a broader initiative to develop a reinvestment programme for CAIPA and to track reinvestment figures within the Caribbean.


argeting existing investors to reinvest in the Caribbean and creating linkages in the domestic economy between investors and local suppliers to drive investment growth were issues at the centre of the strategy recommended to the region’s’ Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs). This was done at the recently held workshop facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) in St. Lucia. During the workshop, 22 representatives from 11 IPAs across the Caribbean region were exposed to best practices in facilitating existing investors and in key account management. “It takes up to three years to secure an investment from a greenfield project,” noted the CAIPA President, McHale Andrew of Invest Saint Lucia, “but it can take as little as one year to secure additional investments from an existing investor.” BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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The CAIPA president added, “With the current challenges of reduced promotional budgets and a demand for increased foreign investment and jobs, it seems logical that we seek to engage further with those investors who have already partnered with us.” The training forms a part of initiatives undertaken through the provision of funding assistance by the Inter-American Development Bank under a Regional Public Goods Programme entitled “Support for Foreign Direct Investment in the Caribbean.” The project is jointly financed with Caribbean Export and CAIPA. The main objective of this project is to assist the CAIPA in the positioning of the region as a location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to present the Caribbean as a single investment destination. During the workshop, it was highlighted that already a significant portion of investments into the region comes

Preliminary results from a survey of existing investors, which forms a part of this project, indicates an interest or plans by more than 50 per cent of existing investors to expand within the host country or within the region. Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Coke Hamilton noted, “The region’s best ambassadors and attractors of new investors are our existing investors. We treat them right, and we are already halfway to reaching our investment, jobs and export targets.” This initiative will see the development of strategies within regional IPAs to address the needs of existing investors and to assist them in expansion plans across the region. Participating IPAs included: Invest Barbados, the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA), the Belize Trade & Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), Curacao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX), the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), the Centre for Facilitation of Investments in Haiti, Invest Saint Lucia (ISL), Jamaica Promotion Corporation (JAMPRO), InvestSVG (St. Vincent & the Grenadines), the Investment and Development Corporation of Suriname (IDCS), and InvesTT (Trinidad & Tobago).¤

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By: Brian M. Francis (Ph.D)


n a previous column, I lamented the fact that an economy comprises various distinct components with massive amount of interactions among them so much so that developments in one segment tend generally to affect outcomes in others. And that is particularly true in the case of the financial sector, which this author deems the heartbeat of the economic life of a country given the nature of activities undertaken within that imperative element of our economy.

Brian M. Francis (Ph.D) Senior Lecturer Department of Economics University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, P.O. Box 64 Bridgetown, Barbados Telephone Work: (246) 417-4276/4279 Fax Work: (246) 438-9104

Consequently, the widespread changes taking place within the financial sector in the OECS have not gone unnoticed by me and hopefully would not have escaped the attention of all and sundry, particularly those charged with the responsibility of regulating, promoting and protecting this vital sector. For example, walking through the smaller towns in the OECS highlights the changes that are about to happen. Buildings which used to house prominent banks are now left vacant with hundreds of unemployed bankers in the region. The bad news is that the number is growing. In the prevailing environment we as a people have an important decision to

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make. Do we want to continue with the status quo or do we demand change— change that is designed to restore stability in this critical sector that can redound to the benefit of individuals, businesses, governments and the economy as a whole? To demand change, we have to recognise and accept that banks in the OECS and indeed the wider Caribbean are in desperate need of a real “shakeup”. This means we have to undertake a comprehensive re-evaluation of the existing banking models in the region, who those institutions serve and, equally important, how they serve. In short, our banks are faced at the moment with the simple choice of “innovate or die.” What is amazing in the present environment is that the USA’s financial sector is experiencing an incredible change following the 2008/2009 global financial crises that witnessed the “crash” of key banks in that country. Today, as a result, banking is no longer just for “banks”. Financial technology firms known as Fintech are now popping up and fast becoming major players in the financial sector. The importance of the Fintech tale in the context of the financial sector in

the OECS and wider Caribbean is that new innovation is allowing banks and other financial institutions to unlock the resources needed to be mobilized to the sectors which need them mostly. But for such successes to be replicated here in the region, progressive thinking, visionary bankers who will lead the sector beyond rubber-stamping and bureaucracy must rise up and be counted. After all, our banks ought not to forget they are working for the people who are entrusting them with their hardearned money. Service levels which are abysmal in too many instances and the almost complete neglect of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector have to be addressed as a matter of urgency before any real changes can be realised in our banking system. You know, as often as we dare, any calls made for meaningful changes in the OECS and wider Caribbean, irrespective of the nature of the changes; talks of all

sorts of constraints emerge and occupy front pages. Clearly, with respect to the creation of a new banking era in our region, the critical factor cannot be one of limited financial or other resources; it’s a matter of will, period! In recent discussions with a hard working small entrepreneur, your humble servant was told not only has this person been waiting for two months to get a bank account opened, but when he went to a credit union for a small loan which was secured by two vehicles and excellent cash flows, he was declined for no good reason. Is that how banking should be conducted? Is that how risk takers ought to be treated by our financial institutions? Is that scenario a model for success or clear failure when it comes to entrepreneurship and the advancement of such innovations?

They make it simple and easy to transact. And, most importantly, they demonstrate they want their customers’ businesses. Do the banks operating in the OECS and the wider Caribbean function in such manner? Are those practices the norm in the region? No wonder why the banks here are closing down one after the other. Where do we go from here, Mr. Banker? Are you not aware that we are indeed in a new banking era? What changes are you prepared to undergo in order to remain relevant and make your rightful contribution to national development through effective services to your customers and by extension the countries of the OECS?¤

Operationally, it is quite evident that banks in other parts of the world remain open late hours to facilitate customers.

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Rhodesian Ridgebacks are natural watchdogs and because they were originally bred to hunt lions, they do not easily back away from a perceived threat.

USING DOGS FOR HOME SECURITY By: Brian Ramsey – Alternative Security Services Limited


hroughout the Caribbean, it is very common for homeowners to have dogs and most times when asked why they will respond that it is for the security of their home. Many persons however often ask what type of dog is best for securing their home. In reality, almost any breed will protect their home turf, including the common mixed breed dogs. There are, however, certain breeds that are known to be especially good as protection dogs. Among the dog breeds that are good for home protection are: • Bullmastiff – This breed is known for its physical strength, protection instincts, courageousness, and extreme family loyalty. If an intruder crosses its path, a Bullmastiff will typically use its strength to knock them over or block their path. The breed is very docile in a family environment however, and makes a great household pet. • Doberman Pinscher – Considered among the smartest of dogs, Dobermans are very fast and also loyal, fearless and alert. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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• Rottweiler – This is an intelligent dog that learns quickly plus bonds with its owners. It will stand and protect its owners and their property. Their very size is often enough to scare off an intruder. They can however be strong willed and need firm leaders. • German Shepherd – German Shepherds are not only beautiful to look at but very intelligent and learn quickly. These dogs like being around people and are very calm dogs but will quickly react to any threat they perceive to the home or family. • Rhodesian Ridgeback – Ridgebacks are natural watchdogs and because they were originally bred to hunt lions, they do not easily back away from a perceived threat. They have a very independent nature and so must be trained and the owner must be a firm individual. They are said to be selective in their barking so when a Ridgeback barks, it needs to be taken seriously. Now whichever breed of dog you acquire or even if you get a mixed breed dog, there are certain things that should be

done in order to ensure that you have a good watch dog. If you get a puppy one of the first things to do is to train the puppy not to be friendly with strangers. Now this can be difficult to do especially if you have little children because everyone wants to play with the cute cuddly puppy and have their friends play with the puppy. Very soon the puppy gets the idea that everyone is their friend and someone who has entered the yard has done so to play with them. A certain amount of play with the puppy is inevitable and indeed is good for the puppy to help it exercise its muscles and to help it bond with family members. However as the puppy ages you should begin keeping it away from people other than immediate family, so that it begins to understand that not everyone is its friend to be played with. While training the puppy that not everyone is their friend is important, it is equally important that you give the dog obedience training. You do not want a dog that is “bad, no one can come in the yard” but then you cannot control it, so obedience training should be a must. Obedience training for dogs can start at any age but it is best if it is started while the dog is a puppy.

Now there is one type of obedience training that some people give to their dogs without realizing and it is a type of obedience that is not good. Very often people have dogs and when visitors come to the gate the dog naturally goes to the gate and begins barking at the visitor. The owner comes out and immediately tells the dog to “go to the back or go in the kennel�. Over time the dog obeys but eventually some dogs when they see people at the gate will automatically go to the back because that is what the owner has unconsciously trained the dog to do. The better approach is to pat the dog so that it is rewarded for alerting you and then take the dog to the kennel. Another issue that some people ask about is if they should give their dog aggression training. For most people it is not necessary as having a dog barking at strangers and baring its fangs is enough to scare off the common thief. In some situations however, especially if the individual is in a neighborhood where there have been burglaries of houses with dogs or the individual has a specific threat, then aggression training is warranted. For the average dog owner the purpose of the training is to give the dog the confidence to stand its ground when it engages a stranger. Most of us have experienced the situation of having a common mixed breed dog barking at us and one simply stamps your foot or shouts at the dog or waves a stick and the dog backs off. Aggression training gives the dog the confidence to stand its ground when confronting a stranger even if that stranger makes some overt move at the dog. The aggression training should never involve physical harm to dog. Once homeowners have acquired dogs and raised them so that they are not friendly to strangers, there is a dilemma that many face and it is the dilemma of having guard dogs and entertaining guests. The practice of locking away the dogs is often the action chosen by the homeowner whenever he has to entertain persons at home. This practice however then exposes the homeowner and his guests to the possibility of a home invasion robbery. There are several more secure choices that a homeowner can make in this situation. If the activity involving the

The Bullmastiff is known for its physical strength, protection instincts, courageousness, and extreme family loyalty.

guests will occur inside the house, the homeowner can release the dogs once all the guests are inside. Thus the dogs will continue to patrol the yard while the homeowner and guests engage in their social activity. If the homeowner frequently has social activities that involve the guests being both inside and outside the house then the homeowner should consider dividing his yard in such a manner that the dogs can be left to roam and protect a section of the yard while not being able to enter the part of the yard where the guests are being entertained. In dividing the yard in this manner it is important to use chain link fencing or steel grilles so that the dogs can see into that area. Thus if anyone enters that area while the guests are inside the dogs can alert the residents through their barking. Undoubtedly dogs are a good form of home security and it can be any breed of dog including a mixed breed dog. The key however to having a good protection dog is the training that is given to that dog and the training should start from an early age.¤

Brian Ramsey has a B.A. in Accounting & Management, along with an M.B.A. in Finance and over 29 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Limited which is the parent company of Alternative Security Services (St. Lucia) Limited. He can be contacted at Amalgamated Security operates in Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 77




ntigua & Barbuda has received a grant of US$234,255 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) towards the cost of the Enhancing Private Sector Competitiveness through the Implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Project. The grant was issued under the CARIFORUM-EU Standby Facility for Capacity Building and through the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). EPA Implementation Coordinator, Barbara Williams explained that the project will focus on building the capacity of the private sector to trade under the EPA Agreement, while at the same time ensuring that Antigua & Barbuda fulfils its legal obligations in a timely manner as outlined in the Agreement. The major outputs of the project are the development and implementation of a Services Sector Policy Expansion Plan aimed at creating a more enabling environment for the advancement of the services sector particularly tourism including Spa and Wellness, Information Communication Technology, and Culture. The grant will be administered by the CDB and the government said it intends to apply a portion of the sum to eligible payments under contracts procured under this project. Payments by CDB will be made only at the request of the state and upon approval by CDB. It will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Financing Agreement BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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which “prohibits withdrawal from the financing account for the purpose of any payment to persons or entities, or for any import of goods, if such payment or import, to the knowledge of CDB, is prohibited by a decision of the United Nations Security Council taken under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.” The government also indicated that no party, other than the government, shall derive any rights from the Financing Agreement or have any claim to the proceeds of the Financing. The following consultancy assignments will be procured under the project: (a) Consultancy services for Legislative Drafting; (b) Consultancy services for the

development of a Services Sector Policy and Expansion Plan. It is expected that these would be procured during the period September 1, 2015 to February 28, 2017. Consultants from Antigua & Barbuda and other member countries of CDB, as well as EU Member Countries, which are not CDB Member Countries, and other countries which are eligible under EU procurement provisions, will be eligible to participate in these procurement opportunities. The Office of the National Authorizing Officer (NAO), EPA Implementation, The Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industry, is the Implementing Agency for the project. ¤



Ambassador to the twin island state Ren Gongping


he Chinese government is seeking to assure residents the recent downturn in the country’s stock market will not affect its support for Antigua & Barbuda.

Ambassador to the twin island state Ren Gongping said China is still an economic giant and still influential in the world’s economy.

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“China is still an engine of the world’s economic development. It contributes 30 percent of the world’s economic development, and we are trying our best to ensure this engine is in good condition, so we can contribute more to the world economy in the future,” he said.

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The diplomat said the country, which is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, has to slow down in their efforts to have sustainable development and have economic reform.

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He said the new blueprint for China’s development that was launched this year, known as “the new normal status of the economy,” had projected a shift in the nation’s growing speed. “First, the economy has shifted gear from the previous high speed to a medium-to-high speed growth. Second, the economic structure is constantly improved and upgraded. Third, the economy is increasingly driven by innovation instead of input and investment,” he explained. Despite the slowing of the growth rate of the Asian country to about 7 per cent, Ambassador Ren said both countries have enjoyed a “rewarding year”, with rapid development of our bilateral relations. We deepened political trust, promoted pragmatic economic cooperation and strengthened culture and people to people exchanges. China and Antigua & Barbuda have partnered on several major projects in their 30 plus years relationship, to include the new VC Bird International Airport terminal, the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium and the Wadadli Power Plant among others.¤

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olombia’s agribusiness sector generates about 6.2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), playing a key role in the growth of the country’s economy. According to the National Statistics Department (DANE), the exports in agribusiness grew by 10 per cent compared to 2013 and its products have reached more than 127 countries. Pocolombia, the Colombian government promotion agency, has played a fundamental role promoting the country as a world-class exporter due to its portfolio diversity. The agency offers complementary services such as attendance to industry tradeshows in Colombia, participation in business matchmaking forums securing relevant leads, and the elaboration of commercial agendas, among many others. Colombia continues to position itself as a strategic partner for the Caribbean market, showing a sustained growth over the last few years. Agribusiness exports reached US$192.2 million representing an increase of 15.5 per cent compared to 2013. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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In addition to bananas and flowers, the fastest growing sub-sectors of the country, in June 2015 the agribusiness and agricultural exports of sugar and honey, oils and fats, confectionery and bakery, among others, have contributed to a 6 per cent increase in sales of Colombian products in the region. The availability of land and water resources, variety of climates favouring crop yields and its geographical location allows the country to offer a diverse range of products such as fruits, vegetables and flowers all year long. Colombia is the largest exporter of flowers in Latin America and the second in the world after the Netherlands with over 1,500 varieties of flowers and 7,200 hectares cultivated. Due to its enviable logistical position with access to several markets worldwide, Colombia has established itself as an export platform for logistic hubs. Colombia has 13 free trade agreements and three partial agreements in force that allow the country access to more than 45 countries and 1.5 billion consumers in markets such as United States, Europe Union, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

Colombia current opportunities exist in products such as yuca, yams, citrus juices, flowers and raw materials for the bakery industry. The free trade agreement with the United States benefits trade with Puerto Rico. In June 2015 the protocol that improves market access conditions for Goldenberry fruit was signed and on July 30 of the same year the first shipments arrived to the country. “The products in process of accessing the United States market include avocado in the agricultural side and beef in the livestock sector. We have made significant progress regarding these products admissibility and hope to consolidate it in the remainder of this year,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Procolombia. In terms of connectivity, Colombia offers access to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The country has more than 16 shipping companies offering services to 56 ports in the Caribbean, such as Caucedo, Kingston, Havana, Oranjestad, Point Lisas, Pointe a Pitre, Port of Spain, Rio Haina, San Juan, Willemstad, among others.¤

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inance Minister Perry Christie said he remains confident that the Bahamas economy will continue to show growth as he discussed the recent credit ratings by two United States-based rating agencies.

Christie told his country’s Parliament that one of the essential, fundamental differences in the assessments of the reviews by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s (S&P’s) “relates to each agency’s views on prospects for the Baha Mar project and its implications for economic growth and fiscal prospects”.

Prime Minister of St. Kitts/Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris (left) and US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS Larry Palmer sign the FATCA documents for St. Kitts/Nevis. The St Kitts/Nevis government has signed the agreement with the United States to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which will see the twin island handing over information to the American government about its citizens with bank accounts in the federation. Enacted by the US Congress in 2010, FATCA targets noncompliance by US taxpayers using foreign accounts. It requires foreign financial institutions to report to the Internal Revenue Service information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Larry Palmer welcomed St. Kitts/Nevis’ “commitment to enhancing global financial transparency by improving international tax compliance”, noting that every year, tax evasion deprives governments of all sizes of much-needed resources to fund public services and investments.” “Today’s signing marks a significant development in our nations’ collaborative efforts to combat offshore tax evasion - an objective that mutually benefits our two countries,” he said. “FATCA is yet one more example of the deep and substantial ways in which the economies of St. Kitts/Nevis and the United States are linked.” A statement from the US government said this kind of information exchange is a top priority, as access to information from international financial institutions is critically important to the full and fair enforcement of American laws.¤ BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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The government has been moving to get the US$3.5 billion project open even as the developers have filed for bankruptcy in the United States. Christie told legislators that while S&P “does place some emphasis on longer term economic vulnerabilities, their main focus is on the short term impact of the Baha Mar delay. “Indeed, they hold the rather pessimistic view that the project will not be completed quickly and that, once completed, its performance will be hindered for some time.” Christie said, “Let there be no doubt, either in this Honourable House or among the Bahamian public, that the government is firmly committed to a timely resolution of the Baha Mar matter and the completion of the project, in a manner that will serve the best interests of our country. “Despite that, S&P takes a dim view of prospects for the project and suggests that, as a result, real GDP per capita in The Bahamas will barely grow at all over the next several years.” Prime Minister Christie said that such a downbeat assessment simply does not match up to reality. And, in fact, it also flies in the face of some of the evidence that S&P itself presents in its report. “It is widely acknowledged that a prime prerequisite for a solid credit rating, strong investor confidence and buoyant economic growth is a sound and sustainable public finance framework.” Christie said the government has been working diligently over the past three years to effect critical reforms to the major components of the fiscal accounts, on both the expenditure and revenue sides. “To that end, we have been pursuing a detailed and transparent Medium Term Fiscal Consolidation Plan designed to gradually reduce and eliminate the deficit and return the Debt-to-GDP ratio to lower, more desirable levels,” Prime

Minister Christie said, adding that the “plan is working and we are seeing very concrete fiscal progress. Christie said that it is most unfortunate that S&P failed to fully and properly account for the “government’s proactive and dynamic growth agenda in its analysis, to the same extent that it acknowledged the success of our fiscal plan. “I dare say that, if it had, its conclusions would have justifiably been more positive,” Prime Minister Christie said, noting that following the S&P report, “CIBC World Markets put out its own assessment of economic and fiscal prospects in The Bahamas in which it concluded that our economic recovery continues and will be buttressed by the ongoing strong recovery in the US. “The pace of tourism activity has picked up and should continue to grow. They cite the decline in the national rate of unemployment to 12 per cent in May of 2015 and the fact that youth unemployment, while still high, has

nonetheless fallen from 31 per cent to 25.3 per cent. “CIBC goes on to assert that we have succeeded both in bolstering revenues with VAT introduction and keeping the growth in expenditure low. These developments, they claim, underlie their so-called ‘bullish’ views about our prospects. In their words: “The Bahamas appears to be moving in the right direction.” Prime Minister Christie pointed out the Moody’s assessment also takes a somewhat more positive view of the economic and fiscal prospects. “They also cite the important progress that we have made in terms of fiscal consolidation, underpinned by successful VAT implementation, and assert that this will contribute to the stabilisation of the debt ratio which, having peaked in 2014, is poised to decline steadily going forward.” Prime Minister Christie said that while Moody’s sees the Baha Mar delay

as leading to a postponement of its economic impact, they go on to forecast that real economic growth of over 2 per cent, and up to 2.5 per cent per year, can be expected in the two years following its opening. “The Moody’s report goes on to favourably review our fiscal policies, stating that the introduction of the Medium Term Fiscal Consolidation Plan has presented clear guidance on the policy framework that the Government is pursuing to improve the public finances.” The finance minister indicated that his administration has a clear vision of the policy framework that is required to both redress the public finances and bolster growth and employment. “We are actively and doggedly pursuing the various multi-faceted policies that comprise that framework. I am confident that we are on the cusp of a stronger, more prosperous and modern Bahamas for all Bahamians,” he told legislators.¤


Social Security is mandatory for the self-employed. Self-employed persons are independent contractors who render services on their own account. These persons include, but are not limited to: farmers, taxi/bus drivers, graphic designers, web developers, lawyers, accountants, mechanics, doctors, consultants, vendors, hairdressers, barbers, caterers, nail technicians and tattoo artists. Even if you have an employer and you own your own business, you are now mandated by law to pay on your self-employed earnings.

Self-employed persons are entitled to the following Social Security benefits: Sickness, Maternity, Invalidity, Survivors, Age Pension and Funeral Grant. Self-employed persons can declare insurable earnings up to the Social Security ceiling of $6,500 per month. Self-employed persons must register by completing the necessary registration form, available at the Social Security Office. Please contact the Social Security office at 736-3000/1/2/3 for more information or contact us at BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 83



By Anije Lambert


uring a very heated intellectual debate, my colleagues and I ventured into a discussion, concerning various societal issues in our region and the topic of youth and development came up.

We started our conversation with the cultural shift in our society, the changes in fashion and music, the level of crime amongst our youth and finally, we faced our fears and actually asked ourselves the main question of whether or not the region has an adequate amount of opportunities for our young ones. According to statistics coming from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in a recent report entitled Youth our Future: The Imperative of Youth Employment for Sustainable Development we see that on a global comparative scale our region has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. One prime example, can be extracted from the case study of Guyana. The CDB report states that Guyana’s youth unemployment rate is estimated at 40 per cent and due to this factor, the country suffers greatly from high levels of migration. It has been reported, over 80 per cent of the country’s graduates have migrated to more developed countries in the search of employment and better opportunities. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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With such troubling statistics, one must question what exactly can be done to help resolve these issues while simultaneously creating more opportunities for our youth in the Caribbean. Across the region, it is vital for states to find ways to retain our next generation of leaders, and the vehicle which can be used to reach our goals is by fostering entrepreneurial spirit regionally. Through entrepreneurship, the youth would have the opportunity to participate in the following benefits:

Independence: When individuals venture into entrepreneurship, they are immediately forced to take responsibility of their actions; they are cognizant of the fact that entrepreneurship equals risks. They realise that their destiny lies in their hands and dependency takes no precedence on their path of success. Venturing out pushes young individuals to stand on their own feet, and learn how to use the resources that they have to benefit them as much as possible. Individuals are no longer dependent on the public and/or private sector for employment. Not only have they created employment for themselves, but they have gained financial independence. Innovation: In fostering entrepreneurship regionally, we are also fostering Innovation. In order for a product or a service to stand out, entrepreneurs are forced to come up with creative and unique methods to increase sales as much as possible. It is evident this technologically advanced generation is brimming with new ideas that change our entire modus operandi. Youth today are challenging the status quo and their innovative ideas reduce our dependence on archaic methodologies and obsolete systems. When great ideas are successfully implemented, the effects are not only on the micro level but the scale reaches and potentially benefits the macro-societal level.

Economic Stimulation: Entrepreneurship will always lead to economic stimulation. Businesses will profit from the sales and services provided; thus leading to wealth creation. Job creation occurs when businesses provide employment opportunities for the wider population. Government spending increases, since majority of revenues come from the taxes rendered by the private sector. In addition, more and more companies are jumping on the corporate social responsibility bandwagon whereby a percentage of the company’s revenues goes to charitable cause and the development of various communities. Even though we have identified some reasons as to why Caribbean countries should foster youth entrepreneurship; our next question is how? In the Caribbean, only four of our countries Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Suriname are subscribed to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the largest research project in regards to collecting data concerning entrepreneurship. Through this source, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica have been praised for having a generally positive response to entrepreneurship. From this data pool, and the preliminary results of the Guyana Youth Entrepreneurship Study the top four responses were:

About the Author: Anije Lambert is the founder of Project Development Consultancy, a research assistance organisation located in Guyana, South America. The company is responsible for working alongside some of the largest Market and Social Research Organizations in the world. You can get in contact with Anije via email:

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 85



The development of a sustainable and clean energy supply on the Caribbean Islands is making great progresses. Particularly the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) stands out with the completion of the first phase of 3 MWp sun2live solar PV on the grounds of the V.C. Bird International Airport in early October of a total of 10 MWp, which will be finalized in the upcoming 6 months. The 3.86 hectare-sized sun2live solar PV installation on Antigua will play a pivotal role in the local governments energy management, as the generated power shall almost entirely cover the energy consumption of the newly build passenger terminal of V.C. Bird International Airport. In fact, it will produce up to 4.645 MWh per annum and therefore save 3.019,25 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The UKbased renewable energy company PV Energy Ltd., a joint venture of the clean energy provider The meeco Group, is realizing this ambitious project. But the airport construction is just one piece in the puzzle of several further sun2live and sun2roof solar PV installations that shall be implemented by PV Energy across Antigua and Barbuda. In this, the installation of top-tier solar energy solutions does not only include the executi on of the physical site work, but also the training of the local partners. Hence, PV Energy took the initiative to BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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conduct capacity building workshops for the engineers of The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and the Ministry of Energy in order to ensure the correct application and maintenance of the solar systems. “The sun2live solar PV installation at the airport site is the first of this kind on Antigua and Barbuda”, explains George Kitoudis, Project Manager of PV Energy. “Energy storage is also new to the island. The purpose of this training was to offer our Caribbean partners an insight into the operational properties of energy storage. For the stability of the grid a battery back up system is necessary due to frequency adjustments. The comprehensive training on the role and functioning of t he battery back up was essential for the APUA engineers.” Proving its strong commitment towards its local partners, PV Energy provides the best experts for the trainings. Prof. Dr. Ing. Rico Wojanowski is one of them. The German professor and successful entrepreneur is specialized in the field of design, engineering, procurement and construction of cross-border largescale energy solution projects. Prof. Wojanowski offered the APUA members the opportunity to exchange deeper technical data. As he is very experienced in the field of battery / storage designs, he

will also prepare the terms of references for the storage installations for Antigua and Barbuda. The agenda of the capacity building workshop included various topics, such as the use of a storage system to improve general grid stability issues, the impact of the renewable energy generation on the grid, the stability and cost efficiency for different hybrid PV power plant models as well as the day-to-day func tioning of batteries. Furthermore, PV Energy is currently conducting the hands-on approach of the training for the APUA employees at the airport site, where the operational team is working along with the subcontractors on the ramming and mounting of the structures, the assembly of the modules and the connection of the cables of the PV installations. As a pioneer for solar power on Antigua and Barbuda, PV Energy is raising and empowering the awareness of renewable energy solutions and encourages the environmental stewardship. Through the capacity building PV Energy demonstrates its full engagement towards the local community and contributes to the modernization and development of the national economy as a result of bringing new employment opportunities and developing local expertise to operate and accurately maintain renewable power sources.



he 16 Caribbean member governments of CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) completed their catastrophe insurance portfolios for 2015/2016. All 16 Caribbean members renewed their hurricane policies; while the 13 that had earthquake policies renewed those; and another 13 obtained excess rainfall coverage – an increase of five over the eight countries that purchased excess rainfall policies for the first time last year. CCRIF’s first Central American member, Nicaragua, purchased hurricane and earthquake policies and discussions are proceeding with other Central American countries for hurricane, earthquake and excess rainfall coverage. The addition in 2014 of excess rainfall coverage to the CCRIF suite of insurance products provided early demonstration of its value: four payouts totalling US$3.4 million were paid to three member governments under their excess rainfall policies. One of these payouts was made to Anguilla after the passage of Hurricane Gonzalo, which did not trigger that country’s hurricane policy – which is based on wind speed and storm surge.

The other three payments, including a second to Anguilla, were due to two trough systems that were not part of a tropical cyclone and which caused considerable damage to the affected countries. Barbados and St. Kitts & Nevis were the other two recipients of payouts for excess rainfall coverage last year. CCRIF recognises the increasing economic and financial pressures faced by member governments and continues to seek to minimise premium costs and offer preferable options for member countries. For the 2015/2016 policies, CCRIF offered a premium package that included a 50 per cent discount for hurricane and earthquake policies and a 15 per cent discount on excess rainfall policies. This rebate was a way of providing a benefit to member countries based on CCRIF’s positive financial performance. Also, for hurricane policies, the facility offered to lower the minimum attachment point (or deductible) to a return period of 10 years. This means that CCRIF would begin to pay for losses resulting from a storm that statistically occurs every 10 years and therefore would increase the likelihood

that a country would receive a payout. Member countries also were provided with the option to lower their policy exhaustion point, which is the severity of the losses that trigger the maximum payment. A lower exhaustion point makes the maximum payout more likely and increases the value of any payout made on the policy. The rebates and lower attachment/exhaustion points were well received by member governments. Although the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a below average number of storms during the Atlantic Hurricane Season which ends on November 30, this still means that there is a likelihood of six to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes and up to two major hurricanes occurring in the Atlantic this year – any of which could have major impacts in the region. CCRIF policies provide a measure of surety for member countries and are an indication of the importance they place on proactive ex-ante disaster risk management and planning. ¤

BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 87



Flooding In Dominica


t the opening of the latest round of United Nations climate change talks, the chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Amjad Abdulla urged developed countries to act expeditiously to address the climate crisis that is impacting economies across the globe. Abdulla noted that the group of 44 smallisland and low-lying coastal states are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as he highlighted the August 27 devastating floods and mudslides in Dominica which left over 20 people dead, several missing and scores homeless. In a statement he stressed, “As if further evidence was needed to illustrate the urgency of the climate crisis, (in August) NASA released findings that show the world may already be locked into one metre of sea level rise, putting many small islands and low-lying coastal states (not to mention major cities such as New York, Shanghai, and Mumbai) at risk for severe flooding, if not total inundation, by the end of the century.” He said it is critical that the Paris Agreement can deliver emissions BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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commit to scale up the provision of support to realise the level of ambition required and maintain trust in the process.”

pathways capable of stabilising global temperatures at well below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

In a more direct reference to latest occurrences, he said, “Third, as our recent experience with Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in the Pacific and Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica in the Caribbean as well as droughts, heat waves, and other climate impacts have shown, climate change is already here and will, in all likelihood, only get worse in the years to come.”

“The Paris Agreement must do much more than create new processes; it must demand performance. There is much room for improvement in the draft text and we look forward to advancing this priority here in Bonn,” he said at the meeting.

He added, “Indeed, there are some impacts that we face that cannot be addressed through adaptation. To address these devastating impacts, such as sea level rise and ocean acidification, among others, an international mechanism to address Loss and Damage must be a central element of the Paris agreement.”

Second, he noted, leaders know that tackling climate change and adapting to its impacts will require a minimum of US$100 billion per year by 2020. He urged, “Developed countries must deliver on this commitment and further

The official said Loss and Damage, which results when climate impacts exceed the limits of world adaptation measures, as has been acknowledged in the Warsaw decision and laid out the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, should therefore

be treated as a separate and distinct element of the agreement, as it is the intention that the agreement address unavoidable, irreversible and permanent losses. “We feel that a superficial agreement that seeks to placate and pretends to take meaningful action, while failing to address the needs of the particularly vulnerable, equates to having no agreement at all. We are staring at a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle climate change in Paris. But if we don’t work in earnest this week and in the days that follow, I’m afraid it could slip away to the peril of small islands.” Meantime, according to some nonprofit organisations, NGOs, the most contentious issue at the UN climate change talks appears to be making some headway, with both rich nations and vulnerable countries putting forward ideas on how to pay for the costs countries incur as a result of warming temperatures.

A UN-backed report earlier this year predicted climate adaptation costs for Africa alone could soar to US$50 billion per year by 2050, and warned small island states will have to take steps to protect their economies that may even involve moving population centres to cope with rising sea levels. But who will pay to repair the damage caused by more frequent storms, coastal erosion and drought, remains one of the biggest questions facing UN negotiators. Rich nations such as the European Union and US are reluctant to become locked into a mechanism that could make them liable for the huge and rising costs incurred by poorer states. But some NGOs now think the deadlock between rich and vulnerable countries over the issue is starting to ease, with both sides apparently putting forward a vision of how loss and damage could fit into a global deal on climate change due to be signed in Paris at the end of this year.

The US in particular was showing unprecedented “positive vibes” on loss and damage, Julie-Anne Richards, international policy manager for the Climate Justice Programme, said. “We’ve seen over the last few days developed countries, particularly the US, engaging in a positive spirit, asking questions and seeking to understand what’s behind the vulnerable countries concerns about loss and damage and their proposals on loss and damage,” she said. Specifically, Richards said she was encouraged that a group of developed countries, including the US and the European Union, presented a proposal of how loss and damage would sit in a global deal. However, significantly, the EU and US want loss and damage outside the “core” legally binding deal, in a second section known as the “COP decision”. ¤

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ANTIGUA & BARBUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY’S UK OFFICE COPS TRAVEL AWARD The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority’s UK & Europe Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jean-Marc Flambert accepts the Star Caribbean Tourist Office award on behalf of the team)


ard work, dedication and determination over the last 12 months earned the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority’s United Kingdom’s (UKs) Office this year’s Travel Bulletin Star Award for Star Caribbean Tourist Office, during the Travel Bulletin Star Awards held in September in the UK. The Travel Bulletin Star Awards 2015 is the UK travel trade’s most prestigious awards programme rewarding every sector of the tourism industry. Now in its 19th year, the awards that are voted on exclusively by travel agents, serves to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence by acknowledging those suppliers that have flourished over the past year and have provided the best products and services possible to UK travel agents. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA), Colin James said, “In a business that relies so heavily on networking and building relationships, this endorsement and recognition by our travel trade partners is extremely telling and a testimony to the hard work of the UK team.” BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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This is the first time that Antigua & Barbuda has won the award. The other finalists were: Bahamas, Barbados, The British Virgin Islands, Grenada and Jamaica, with St Lucia as runner-up. Jean-Marc Flambert, UK & Europe Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the ABTA, said, “We are just honoured that we have been recognised for the hard work that the office has been doing over the last year, led by Joel Henry who has responsibility for Business Development, and who is at the forefront of our travel trade programme.” Within the last 12 months the ABTA’s UK office has revamped its online training programme which was awarded the Travel Agent Choice Training Programme in 2014. The UK Tourist office has conducted 40 travel agent educational workshops and destination training sessions with various tour operators, planned 80 travel agent visits, and has organised with trade partners a variety of incentive programmes and competitions to encourage sales to the destination. Samantha Fowler destination manager for Hayes and Jarvis, one of the travel companies that has partnered with

the tourist office on destination familiarisation trips said, “Since gaining valuable knowledge we have noticed a significant increase in both our booking conversion for the island and general island numbers in terms of visitors seeing an increase Year-On-Year of over 100 per cent.” She added, “In order to confidently sell, agents definitely need to experience, which is evident given our recent hike in booking numbers.” The destination’s major European markets of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Holland are responding positively to marketing activities as travelers’ interest in the destination is reflected in tourism arrivals, published as of July 2015, up 2 per cent with 52,427 visitors. Speaking ahead of the World Travel Market 2015 which was scheduled to take place from November 2 – November 5, the ABTA said it would ensure a high profile presence as the destination uses the world’s leading event for the travel industry to launch major promotions and create a buzz around Antigua and Barbuda’s 60th Carnival Celebrations to be held in the summer of 2016. ¤

CARIBBEAN AIRLINES TO STOP FLIGHTS TO LONDON CHTA ANNOUNCES REGIONAL TOURISM AWARDS Antigua’s Neil Forrester named as National Hotel Association Executive of the Year The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) recognized the stars of the Caribbean hospitality industry at the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), which took place Oct. 2 – 4, 2015 at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico. Those honored, include: • Caribbean Tourism Employee of the Year: Andre James, Hyatt Regency Trinidad • Caribbean Tourism Supervisor of the Year: Lissa Cuffy, Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort •Caribbean National Hotel Association Executive of the Year: Neil Forrester, Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association •Caribbean Allied Member of the Year: William “Bill” Clegg, Choice Hotels International “These individuals reflect the true spirit of Caribbean tourism professionals. We are proud to have these four individuals representing the Caribbean region by demonstrating exemplary skills and going

above and beyond their job description to enhance the overall guest experience,” said CHTA President Emil Lee. National Hotel Association Executive of the Year Neil Forrester is the General Manager of the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) and vice president of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE). He was recently named to the Board of Trustees of the CHTA Education Foundation (CHTAEF) for a three-year term where he will be involved with awarding scholarships to Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and professional development in the tourism and hospitality field. Additionally, he will cultivate relationships with potential corporate and individual donors. Forrester has over 30 years of industry experience having started his career in finance with Hilton International and EuroDisney in France and then InterContinental Hotels in Africa before transitioning to the position of General Manager in Gabon. Various positions subsequently took him to the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Texas before arriving in Antigua in 2001. He has been with the AHTA since early 2005

CARIBBEAN Airlines (CAL) will discontinue flights to Gatwick, London, from January 10, 2016. Without quantifying what the route had cost the company since it was launched, CAL chief executive Michael DiLollo recently announced that it was “millions” of dollars in losses which became “quite onerous” on the State airline. He said in an interview with reporters at CAL’s Piarco head office that the discontinuation of the service to London would immediately impact positively on CAL’s bottom line. However, there will be some job loss. DiLollo said the problem with servicing the route was the antiquated fleet of two Boeing 767 aircraft which were acquired for it. In addition, it was a fiercely competitive route. He said it was not an easy decision, given its support by customers during the route’s busy period, but the decision was supported by a detailed review of the route by two consultants. DiLollo said CAL also managed to exit from the lease of the aircraft without cost to the company. BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 91




ntigua & Barbuda could see financial gain with the launch of a new schedule by regional carrier LIAT that opens the door for more locals to travel and to let in more visitors. The company has announced plans to initiate its winter schedule earlier than usual, due to “the acceleration in the fleet transition process, and the unfortunate situation which currently exists in Dominica”. A press release from the ‘Caribbean Airline’ indicated there would be increased flights between Antigua and Puerto Rico. “Antigua and San Juan will benefit from a daily non-stop operation between the airline’s hub and Puerto Rico, allowing customers to arrive at midday, with a


mid-afternoon flight back to Antigua, at 8:10 pm, and arrive back into Antigua allowing for connection to the US,” LIAT just after midnight. said. Dominica was devastated by Tropical Additionally, the company has announced Storm Erika late August, resulting in another non-stop flight will operate from numerous deaths and destruction of Antigua to San Juan three days a week, property, including the main airport starting October 27. The flight will leave which remained closed up to two weeks after the disaster.¤


he Caribbean may be missing an important opportunity by not fully tapping into the growing volunteer tourism or “voluntourism” market, according to veteran community development expert and non-profit advisor Kwayera ArcherCunningham. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit leader, Archer-Cunningham, who travels frequently between her Jamaica and New York offices, said many tourists are traveling to the region with a desire to have a positive impact and make a difference in addition to having fun.

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“Unfortunately, too often there are not enough avenues that are visible for visitors to figure out how they can help before they leave and go back home,” she lamented. “Many people have great intentions. They want to figure out how they can make the region a home away from home, not just by enjoying the beach, but also volunteering for an hour or helping a school - whether by contributing towards the cost of a computer or a smart board,” said Archer-Cunningham.

The expert, who specialises in community and organisational development, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship, believes that the hospitality industry, especially hotels, should be encouraged to establish strategic partnerships with local and regional media to increase awareness of the social and philanthropic needs within the destination. “We need broad communications channels so that people traveling to the Caribbean - either single or multiple destinations - receive the information and access they need to make decisions about how they can contribute their time, dollars and energy,” she commented. According to Carrie Kahn, National Public Radio’s international correspondent, more than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about US $2 billion each year. Archer-Cunningham’s firm Global Ase facilitates social transformation by creating strong relationships between the people who want to help and people who need help.¤



eaborne Airlines will be introducing a nonstop service between the carrier’s hub in San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and Antigua & Barbuda’s newly inaugurated VC Bird International Airport, effective December 13. “The flights will provide convenient connecting opportunities to Seaborne’s sizeable portfolio of airline connecting partners at San Juan’s Munoz Marin Airport,” the company said in a statement. “In tandem with connections to other Seaborne flights in the Caribbean, and connecting partner airlines Air Europa, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines, passengers will be able to connect to 33 destinations in the Americas and Europe.” Seaborne said all flights will be operated

by 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft, with service operating four times weekly on a year-round basis. To celebrate the new nonstop service, Seaborne is offering a promotional fare of $128 each way, inclusive of all taxes and fees. “We are excited to make Antigua the 17th airport served by Seaborne Airlines in the Caribbean,” said Seaborne CEO Gary Foss. “I expect visitors and residents of Antigua and Barbuda alike to appreciate Seaborne’s award-winning customer service, commitment to low fares and connectivity to our airline partners.” Meanwhile, Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., touted Puerto Rico’s strengths as a first-rate destination. “Our alliance with Seaborne continues



egional Caribbean airline LIAT has announced strong networkperformance figures, in terms of passenger numbers, revenue and yield, for July and August compared with the same period in 2014.

The airline’s positive performance has resulted in the best month for LIAT in recent years with a net profit declared in July.

The airline did not disclose overall exact figures or specific-dollar revenues generated from individual destinations, except to state that it recorded “profits well over a million dollars for the two months.”

— The Barbados-Guyana route, which saw strong growth in both revenue and passenger numbers versus July 2014.

Average load factors for the month of July were just under 76 per cent, the company said in a statement. Meanwhile, revenue per available seat mile, a key aviationperformance indicator, has shown growth of 16 per cent in the past year.

Highlights contributing to this strong performance include:

— The Antigua-Dominica, BarbadosSt. Vincent and Tortola-St. Maarten routes also performed well and showed “impressive” growth. — Of the 17 destinations served by LIAT, the top-five destinations with the biggest increase in passenger arrivals were:

to strengthen the connections between Caribbean destinations and our position as the leading air access hub of the region,” she said. “With this new route between San Juan and Antigua and Barbuda, we expand our reach toward new markets in the area and provide more options for travellers who want to visit multiple destinations during their vacation.”¤

Guyana arrivals increased by 62 per cent; Tortola saw growth of 32 percent in passenger arrivals; Barbados saw arrivals increasing by 15 per cent; St. Maarten arrivals increased by 15 per cent year-onyear; and Antigua saw a steady growth of 9 per cent. The best-performing route for LIAT was Barbados-Guyana, which nearly doubled its revenue year-on-year, followed by Tortola-St. Maarten, which generated an additional 57 per cent of revenue yearon-year. “The new nonstop routes, which were launched in mid-July, are already developing well, with load factors on all routes averaging over 73 per cent and showing positive trends. The highest load factors were on the new BarbadosTrinidad and Barbados-Guyana nonstop services, achieving well over 80 per cent, and the highest yielding route was Tortola-San Juan,” the company said. The strong performance has been coupled with a growth of 8 per cent in daily aircraft utilisation, which is the measure of hours flown daily by LIAT’s USATR aircraft fleet. BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 93




ithin weeks of its June 26th official opening ceremony, the Antigua-based Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean, Medical Pavilion, treated its first emergency patient, and shortly afterwards began caring for another two. The man at the helm of the Medical Facility, Dr Tom McGowan, who did not go into specific details of the treatment given, also revealed 25 people were also seen in consultation and they are going through the various processes of getting ready for treatment. “As you may know, Radiotherapy is a very complicated procedure and you just don’t arrive and land on a machine and get treated. We have to go through the phases of simulation and treatment planning which requires very sophisticated software and also highly specialised and well trained staff,” Dr McGowan explained. The medical expert assured that the Centre can handle cases on a large scale. “The facility will be catering for patients from outside of Antigua and Barbuda because as an entity of the OECS, our mandate is to serve people from all of the member states and we are also able to take clients from outside of the OECS since it is a regional resource located in Antigua,” Dr. McGowan explained. BusinessFocus Nov /Jan

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He also announced plans to set up satellite clinics in the other member countries where patients can first receive their systematic therapy and then get the radiation treatment in Antigua. The American MD highlighted the list of cancers that the Medical Pavilion is capable of treating; noting that most of the commonly known cancer related illnesses can be treated and controlled at the Centre. “The primary groups are individuals with Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Cervix Cancer, patients with Rectal, Lung, Gastric and Esophageal Cancer as well as Brain Tumors and I mean most Cancers can benefit from our radio therapy,” he said.

planning and assessing of the patient’s information in regards to the radiation. There is also a General Electric Bright Speed CT Scanner which takes images of the entire body to help with the planning and execution of the treatment. Dr. McGowan who is a certified Radiation Oncologist expressed his enthusiasm with the Medical Facility and noted that the services provided will be of world class standards. The physician said that the most remarkable thing about the Medical Pavilion Antigua is that patients from across the region now have an Internationally Accredited Centre right “in their back-yard”.

Dr. McGowan further explained, “In addition to the patients that I’ve just mentioned, we are also able to treat individuals with some types of Leukemia; not all Leukemia because some can be very complicated but we can treat many sub-types of it as well,” and we can also look after persons with Lymphoma.”

“Within the region, and because of our location, because Antigua is a regional hub, people can get here easier. They can get here easier and be treated and more so the individuals who are here no longer have to leave the island to seek medical attention abroad, they can get treated right at home,” Dr. McGowan said.

The Cancer Centre is equipped with the latest in modern cancer treatment equipment such as the Elekta Infinity which is a Treatment Machine, the TPS Monaco 5.0 Mosaic, which is a super computer programme that helps with the

He assured the general public that the Antigua and Barbuda Cancer Centre and Medical Pavilion will make a huge difference in the quality of life, the cure rates and the types of surgeries that a patient needs to have. ¤



ales of industrially processed food products—including fast food and sugary beverages—have been rising steadily in Latin America and are fuelling increased obesity rates throughout the region, according to a report published by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). The new report, “Ultra-processed food and drink products in Latin America: Trends, impact on obesity, policy implications,” shows that per capita sales of these products increased in Latin America from 2000 to 2013, even as such sales were declining in North America. The increased consumption was strongly correlated with body weight increases, indicating that these products are a major driver of growing rates of overweight and obesity in the region. “Ultra-processed food products and fast food are occupying a larger and larger share of what people eat and drink in Latin America, with very negative results,” said Enrique Jacoby, PAHO/WHO advisor on nutrition and physical activity. “These products are not designed to meet people’s nutritional needs. They are engineered to have long shelf lives and to create cravings that can completely overpower people’s innate appetitecontrol mechanisms and their rational desire to stop eating. So they are doubly harmful: they are quasi-addictive and thus increase overweight and obesity, while replacing whole fresh foods that are the foundation of a natural, nutrientrich human diet.” The report examines sales of products including carbonated soft drinks, sweet and salty snacks, breakfast cereals and bars, candy, ice cream, sports and energy driks, fruit and vegetable juices, bottled

teas and coffee drinks, spreads, sauces and ready-to-eat meals. From 2000 to 2013, per capita sales of these products increased 26.7 per cent in the 13 Latin American countries studied (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela). Sales of the same products declined 9.8 per cent in North America.

“These markets are growing because of population growth, urbanisation, and increasing incomes. But countries’ trade, regulatory and fiscal policies are equally important. They determine the pricing, availability and affordability of foods. Along with marketing and changing lifestyles, these are the major determinants of what people choose to eat.”

Data also show that the increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods strongly correlated with increasing body weight in the 13 Latin American countries. In countries where sales of these products were higher—including Mexico and Chile—people had higher mean body mass.

Reversing the trend To slow the rise in consumption of ultra-processed foods and increasing rates of obesity and overweight in Latin America, the report recommends that governments, the scientific community, and civil society organisations support and implement policies to protect and promote healthy food choices.

Where sales of these products were lower and traditional diets still prevailed—such as in Bolivia and Peru—mean body mass was lower. Both body mass and sales of ultra-processed products, however, were rapidly rising in all 13 countries studied. According to the report, these trends stem from changes in the international food system brought about by globalisation and market deregulation, which have increased the penetration of foreign and multinational food corporations into national markets. The report presents data from 74 countries worldwide that show a strong correlation between sales of ultraprocessed food products and market deregulation, as indicated by the Index of Economic Freedom. “Latin America and other developing regions have become attractive markets for industrial food processors, especially as high-income markets become saturated or even begin to reduce consumption of these products,” said Jean-Claude Moubarac, a nutrition expert at the University of São Paulo who carried out the PAHO/WHOcommissioned study.

These include information and education campaigns but also regulations on pricing, incentives, agriculture and trade that protect and promote family farming, traditional crops, locally sourced fresh foods in school lunch programmes, and domestic food preparation and cooking skills. These measures are in line with PAHO/WHO’s 2014 Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents, which also calls for strict limits on marketing of unhealthy food products to children. “It’s not too late to change these trends,” said Jacoby. “Food cultures based on family meals and unprocessed or minimally processed foods are alive and well in Latin America, but they face a serious threat from aggressive marketing and changing lifestyles. We need educated consumers to create demand for better and healthier food systems, and we need governments to play an active role in creating such systems through regulations and incentives. These actions are critical to reverse the negative impact of globalisation on diet and health.”¤

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Captain Arthur Senhouse – new Director of Flight Operations, LIAT LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, announced the appointment of Captain Arthur Senhouse as Director Flight Operations (DFO) effective September 01, 2015, with responsibility for all aspects of the airline’s flight operations. Prior to taking up his current role, Captain Senhouse was the Chief Pilot – a position he took up in February 2014. He was responsible for the pilots and line operations. Captain Senhouse joined LIAT in April 1987. Since then he has held a number of senior positions within the company including Training Captain on the Twin Otter aircraft. He also served as Chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA). Speaking on his appointment, the new DFO said: “I am humbled by being chosen to head one of the most complex departments within the airline industry. I have joined the management team of LIAT when the airline is at the crossroads of completing its fleet renewal programme and totally reinventing itself into a Caribbean entity we can be proud of. I’d like to thank LIALPA, which I led in 2012, for providing exposure and training consistent with our line of work. I will work tirelessly to ensure that LIAT continues long after I’m gone so that, just as I dreamt to fly a LIAT aircraft; other Caribbean boys and girls may live that dream.”

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Rodinald Soomer – the NEW CEO of CDF

Moreno reelected as IDB President

The Barbadosbased CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) has a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who will lead the organisation through its second funding cycle, 20152020.

Colombian Alberto Moreno has been reelected to another term as president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Eight Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries – Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago – are members of the bank.

He is Rodinald Soomer, an Economist, who was previously employed in the Division of Economic Affairs with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, from May 2005 to August 2015, where he headed the Economic Development Policy Unit. Soomer holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and a Masters Degree in Economics from Britain’s York University with a specialization in Project Analysis, Finance and Investment. With the CDF, Soomer’s key responsibility will be to provide direction and leadership to the CDF’s planning, strategy development and implementation processes. These include identifying funding sources, quantifying resource requirements, designing strategies to approach potential contributors and development partners, and administering appropriate policies for the sustainability of the Fund’s capital. He will play the lead role in negotiations with regard to resource mobilization and in advocating the CDF’s vision and mission within the CARICOM region and the donor community.

Moreno began his new term on October 1st that was founded in 1959 and is regarded as one of the leading sources of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Board of Governors, which re-elected Moreno, comprises top policymaking body, comprises finance ministers, central bank presidents and other highranking officials from its 48 member countries. Moreno is the fourth president in the IDB’s history. He was preceded by Felipe Herrera of Chile (1960–1971), Antonio Ortiz Mena of Mexico (1971–1988), and Enrique V. Iglesias of Uruguay (1988– 2005). The IDB said that Moreno’s first two terms at the IDB were characterized by reforms to speed up its operations, boost its efficiency and better evaluate its development impact. IDB also added, “Under his leadership, the IDB launched several initiatives in areas such as climate change, renewable energy, citizen security and access to digital technologies. He also built numerous strategic partnerships with public and private allies.”


Galina Sotirova - New World Bank Country Manager for Jamaica Galina Sotirova has assumed duties as the new World Bank Country Manager for Jamaica from July 1st, 2015. In her new position, Sotirova will lead the World Bank’s day-to-day dialogue with the Jamaican government, key stakeholders and development partners, and foster a strong partnership to help Jamaica achieve the goals of promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and reducing poverty. A Bulgarian national, Sotirova joined the Bank in 1994 as a human development specialist and has held various positions in several regions of the Bank, her most recent assignments being country manager for Burkina Faso and country operations advisor for the Caribbean. 

 Sotirova holds graduate degrees in International Relations, Economics, and Public Policy from the University of Sofia, John’s Hopkins University SAIS, and the London School of Economics. 

 St Kitts & Nevis Appoints Ambassador to CARICOM In a brief, yet very symbolical ceremony held at the Office of the Secretary General of CARICOM in Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency (H.E.) Lionel Sydney Osborne presented his credentials to Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, signalling his official accreditation to the regional body.

In his remarks to the Secretary General, Ambassador Osborne highlighted that the commencement of his journey as an Ambassador to CARICOM, is indicative of a fresh start for the relations between St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean Community. H.E. Osborne further assured the Secretary General, that the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis were committed to the regional integration movement and fostering a new era of solidarity with member states. “We subscribe to the idea that we all achieve more when we work together. In St. Kitts and Nevis you will find a solid partner,” Ambassador Osborne noted. Cuba appoints first Ambassador to USA since 1959 Cuban diplomat José Ramón Cabañas presented his credentials to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to officially become the first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the island to Washington in over half a century. Regarding the Cuban diplomatic mission’s short term plans, he explained that they will continue to spread the truth about the island, promote new relations and clarify all the remaining obstacles to normal relations between the two countries. Cabañas, who graduated from the Raúl Roa García Higher Institute of International Relations (ISRI) in 1983, became head of the then Cuban Interests Section in the United States in late 2012. Following the announcements of December 17, 2014, he was one of the participants in the talks held in Havana and Washington for the reestablishment

of diplomatic relations and the reopening of embassies. Since July 20, when the reestablishment of diplomatic ties came into effect, and through to his appointment, the diplomat served as interim Chargé d’affaires of the Cuban Embassy in Washington. During his over 30-year career, Cabañas has served different roles in the North America section of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, as well as in other missions abroad. He was Ambassador to Austria, representative to the UN agencies in Vienna, head of the Department of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad and served as Deputy Foreign Minister before his appointment in Washington. Republic Bank Ltd announced the appointment of Nigel Mark Baptiste, as M a n a g i n g D i r e c t o r Designate of Republic Bank Ltd and President and Chief Executive Officer Designate, of Republic Financial Holdings Ltd. He currently holds the position as the bank’s deputy managing director. Baptiste will replace David Dulal-Whiteway upon his retirement from the bank, which takes effect on February 11, 2016, after a distinguished career of 25 years. Baptiste’s career with Republic Bank spans 24 years during which time, he successfully progressed from junior management to executive management, leading diverse functions within the group, including the bank’s retail, corporate and overseas functions and as a director on several group boards. Business School’s Advanced Management Programme. BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 97

events 2015 events 2015/16 THE CARIBBEAN HOTEL INVESTMENT CONFERENCE & OPERATIONS SUMMIT CARILEC Engineering and Occupational Health & Safety Conference

Nov 12-13, 2015, San Juan, Puerto Rico JulyHotel 26th—29th, 2015, Atlantis Paradise IslandSummit Resort in Nassau, Bahamas The Caribbean Investment Conference & Operations (CHICOS) is the region’s This event is organized for the professionals in the field of Engineering, must attend hospitality and tourism investment conference. CHICOS is organized by HVS Health and Safety and Disaster. The theme ofand thisTourism year’s conference “Engineering co-hosted byand a partnership with the Caribbean Hotel Associationis(CHTA) and thefor Safety Organization and Sustainability: A The World of Opportunities”. Thewith conference sessionstowill Caribbean Tourism (CTO). event provides attendees the opportunity include suchwhile as ‘Embracing themost vision through trends new technologies’, ‘Grid significantly also expand theirtopics network learning the important that can impact Analytics: Technologies and applications’, ‘Power System Planning and Engineering their investment decisions. Modeling Tools’, ‘Demystifying Smart Grid’, ‘OHS has Management Systems The Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference the & Operations Summit proven itself as theand International Standards’, etc. Dr. Henry Cloud, Clinical Psychologist and Leading premier hospitality conference in the region. CHICOS is tasked with showcasing the many Consultant will head the webcast on July 26th different exotic islands and spectacular hotels throughout the Caribbean chain. For further info: For further info:

CANTO 2015 - 31st Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition CARIBBEAN WEEK IN CANADA 2015

July 26-31, 2015, Hyatt Regency, Miami, Florida CANTO 2015 will focus on the theme “Improving Lives through Broadband 15-19 November, 2015, Toronto, Canada Innovation”. Caribbean ICT stakeholders, including CANTO members, are expected The region’sto tourism development has announced expanded for be involved in importantagency discussions that will takeanplace in 2015.programme These discussions Caribbean Week Canada and for the first time ever the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), will play a very important role in obtaining information and statistics that will show its member countries partners take the Caribbean message to travel agents in new an clearly theand situation in will the Caribbean. In addition, CANTO 2015 will showcase markets in Ontario by visiting Burlington andbooths London. Alsothe ofconference interest thishall, yearwhere is an all industry exhibition which boasts 80 plus within lunches luncheon where will will network with industry executives. Principal Research Associate and attendees coffee breaks be served. of the Conference Boardinfo: of Canada Jennifer Hendry will speak at this event on trends in the For further industry, with particular reference to the Caribbean. Parliamentary Association (CPA) - 40th For furtherCommonwealth info: Annual Conference of the Caribbean, the Americas and the

Atlantic Region 2015 CARILEC LINESMAN 25 July to 1st Aug, 2015SYMPOSIUM – British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) will host the 40th annual conference of the 17-22 November, 2015, Americas St. Lucia and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Caribbean, CARILEC will be hosting the 2015 in Saint Association (CPA). The Linesman opening ofSymposium the conference willLucia take with placethe on tagline July 27, “Empowering2015 the Linesman… Protecting Lives”.Democracy The main topics covered in this symposium under the theme: ‘Promoting and Good Governance: A Unified will include US. OSHA Regulations affecting Electricity Utilities, Hazard ID Approach’. Deliberationschanges will take place from July 25Electric until August 1. The conference and Mitigation, BestthePractices for Line Crews, Bridging the women Gap: Field & Office andthe willNew include eighth conference of Commonwealth parliamentarians, Safety duringregional Storm Work. executive committee meeting, plenary sessions, the annual general meeting For further info: and the regional youth parliament. For further infor:

9TH WORLD ALLIANCE FOR RISK FACTOR SURVEILLANCE GLOBCaribbean Association of Pharmacists - 35th Annual AL CONFERENCE (WARFS) 2015 Conference

18th-20th November, 2015
St. John’s, Antigua 09 – 16 August, 2015 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana The American University of Antigua will hosting the is 9tha WARFS in St. The Caribbean Association ofbePharmacists network Global of care Conference providers dedicated John’s, Antigua. This will be the first WARFS conference to be held in the Caribbean region. to improving the health and well being of people. The association achieves this by The WARFS fostering 2015 conference a series learning of very interesting conferences heldthe in membership countries a culturefollows of continuous and improvement among around the world since 1999. in pursuance of the advancement of the profession of Pharmacy. Members aspire For further info: to practice Pharmacy with a social conscience and commitment to the growth and

development of the people of the Caribbean. The year’s theme is ‘The Pharmacist - A Vital Link in Providing Quality Health Care’. For further info:

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BusinessFocus July / Aug



events 2015 events 2015/16

CARIBBEAN TRAVEL MARKETPLACE 2016 CARILEC Engineering and Occupational Health & Safety JanuaryConference 21-23, 2016 – Atlantis Paradise Island, the Bahamas

Caribbean Marketplace the Caribbean’s largest,Resort most important longest-standing JulyTravel 26th—29th, 2015, is Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau,and Bahamas tourism This marketing event. Over two daysprofessionals of business in meetings, 350 Caribbean travel event is organized for the the fieldover of Engineering, Health suppliersand andSafety 250 international and domestic buyers from over 20 countries conduct business and Disaster. The theme of this year’s conference is “Engineering for negotiations that generate future travel to theof Caribbean. Caribbean Marketplace presents Safety and Sustainability: A World Opportunities”. TheTravel conference sessions will the opportunity to secure bookings from major through global markets at the beginning also include topicswholesale such as ‘Embracing the vision new technologies’, ‘Gridof the year.Analytics: Technologies and applications’, ‘Power System Planning and Engineering For further info: Modeling Tools’, ‘Demystifying the Smart Grid’, ‘OHS Management Systems and International Standards’, etc. Dr. Henry Cloud, Clinical Psychologist and Leading ConsultantST willLUCIA head theBUSINESS webcast on July 26th 7TH ANNUAL AWARDS For further info:

2015 - 31st Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition JanuaryCANTO 23rd, 2016, St Lucia The St. July Lucia26-31, Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture will host the St Lucia Business 2015, Hyatt Regency, Miami, Florida Awards CANTO as the grand finale event in St Lucia’s Nobel Laureate Week honouring business 2015 will focus on the theme “Improving Lives by through Broadband excellence on the island. The goal of the awards continues to be, rewarding and celebrating Innovation”. Caribbean ICT stakeholders, including CANTO members, are expected top performing companies within Saint Lucia’sthat private TheinAwards have brought much to be involved in important discussions will sector. take place 2015. These discussions prestigewill and play attention to the many winners and nominees over the years, testament to the high a very important role in obtaining information and statistics that will show regard the awards its independent adjudication process are held by all. will showcase an clearly theand situation in the Caribbean. In addition, CANTO 2015 For further info: exhibition which boasts 80 plus booths within the conference hall, where all lunches and coffee breaks will be served.

CAPACITY CARIBBEAN 2016 For further info: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) - 40th

Feb 9-10, 2016, San Juan, Puerto Rico Annual Conference of the Caribbean, the Americas and the Celebrating its 10th year running in 2016, Capacity Caribbean is the only wholesale Atlantic Region telecommunications event for the entire Caribbean market. The event aids to unite the local telecommunications with–international service provider. 25 July to 1stmarket Aug, 2015 British Virgin Islands For further Theinfo: British Virgin Islands (BVI) will host the 40th annual conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary MIAGREEN EXPO & CONFERENCE Association (CPA). The opening of the conference will take place on July 27, 2015 under the theme: ‘Promoting Democracy and Good Governance: A Unified Approach’. Deliberations take place from July 25 until August 1. The conference February 9th – 11th, 2016, Miamiwill Airport Convention Centre include the eighth interactive conferenceconference of Commonwealth women to parliamentarians, the This is awill one-stop, all-inclusive and marketplace provide the US, Latin meeting, sessions, the annual general meeting Americaregional and theexecutive Caribbeancommittee with access to the plenary ever growing, green, renewable & sustainable markets.and the regional youth parliament. For info: further infor: For further

Caribbean HARDWARE Association& CONSTRUCTION of PharmacistsTRADE - 35th Annual 48th CARIBBEAN SHOW Conference 095th – 16 August, 2015 at the GuyanaSuites, Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, GuyanaPuerto Rico February – 7th, 2016– Hilton Embassy Dorado del Mar Beach Resort, The Caribbean Association of Pharmacists is a network of care providers dedicated The Caribbean Hardware & Construction Trade Show with Lawn and Garden Exhibits is the to improving the health and well being of people. The association achieves this Rico by prime time and place for face-to-face sourcing and trading. Visit us and learn how Puerto fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement among the membership is the 3rd largest market of products supplied by the United States with more than $16 billion pursuance of land the advancement of show the profession of Pharmacy. Membersexhibition aspire importedinfrom the main every year. Our is the largest and most complete to practice with a social and and commitment the growth of its kind in all thePharmacy Caribbean, with a totalconscience of 225 booths more thanto4,500 buyersand from development of the people of the year’s is ‘The gathering. Pharmacist - A Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Basin areaCaribbean. alone! YouThe can’t misstheme this industry Vitalinfo: Link in Providing Quality Health Care’. For further For further info: BusinessFocus July / Aug | 97 BusinessFocus Nov / Jan | 99



































































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