The quarterly magazine for decision makers No.59 • Feb-Apr 2016
NELSON’S DOCKYARD NATIONAL PARK V i s i t U s O n l i n e - w w w. b u s i n e s s f o c u s a n t i g u a . c o m
AQUARACER CALIBRE 5
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BF Feb - April 2016
CONTENTS FEATURE 18.
Youth Focus 82. C reating The Absolute Bond: Project SYNC
E xperience It: Nelsonâ€™s Dockyard National Park
Environmental Focus 84. S tudy Finds Lack of Policies to deal With E-waste
Tourism Focus 85. O range Limited On Track For Year86. 87.
In The Know 08. Talent Management: An Emerging New Board Responsibility
Business Tech 10. Digicel Business Achieves Cisco Gold Certification In The Caribbean 12. Digicel Business Milestone: 10 Years of Digicel In Antigua & Barbuda
ANJO Insurances Falmouth Branch
Money Matters 50. B udget 2016 60. ECAB Purchases, Assumes Certain Assets and Liabilities of ABI Bank 62. N ew Anti-Money Laundering Certification Program Launched
Economy & Trade Focus 64. T he Best Years of CARICOM Lie Ahead: New Belizean Envoy
66. CARICOM Urges WTO to
Add Trade to New Global Deals
70. I s Funding Really The Issue 72. Should Caribbean Businesses Be Concerned About Terrorism
76. Economic Climate Forces Oil and Gas Giants
78. A&B Leads Neighbours In Work-related Human Development 80. A mnesty Period Extended for NonNationals 81. E conomic Advisory Committee In Place for Antigua & Barbuda BusinessFocus Feb /April
88. 89. 90. 91. 91. 92. 93.
End Completion Antigua & Barbuda Boasts Lowest Airfare In The Caribbean Antigua & Barbuda Achieve Positive Sales Blitz for Upcoming Tourism Season Ministry of Tourism Announces Bright Future For Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, Antigua Sandals Grande Antigua Part of the Economic Fabric of the Nation T alisker Whiskey: The Trans-Atlantic row InterCaribbean Airways Makes Its Inaugural Call Barbuda Named Amongst the Top 10 Destinations to Watch In 2016 Airlift Into Antigua & Barbuda Increases L iat launches New Routes With Caribbean Helipcopters Charter Agreement
Health & Wellness 94. PAHO Says 2015 Saw Progress,
Challenges In Health In The Caribbean 95. Sagicor Unveils Unique Endowment Plan to Mark 175th Anniversary 95. Antigua & Barbuda Ratifies the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 96. The Case for Workplace Wellness
New Company Registrations
PRESERVING AND PROTECTING OUR HERITAGE! National Parks and particularly Nelson’s Dockyard which reflect so much of our history and diverse economic activity with yachting at its core and hence have committed to making this our Special Feature in this Issue. These gifts of nature and manmade edifices reflect our rich, colonial history and heritage. The Government and authorities need to be commended for their vision in the restoration and preservation of these national assets. The positive impact through the growth of the yachting, heritage, weddings and honeymoon sub-sectors will far outweigh the initial financial investment. Not to be understated is the importance of imparting this history to our future generations.
LOKESH SINGH Publisher/Managing Editor
Antigua & Barbuda as a Caribbean nation is blessed with an incredible topography which encompasses gentle rolling hills with fantastic views everywhere and an amazing collection of fabulous white sand beaches. With the addition of sun and sea, it has evolved as a tourist paradise and has been aptly labelled as “the Islands Where Land and Sea Make Beauty”. With these important assets and strategic location, a focus on tourism as the engine of economic activity has positioned us as a leading world tourism destination, winning several awards and accolades.
In this regard, we are pleased to note the importance being placed on Heritage Tourism and more specifically our
We further recognise the efforts of Sandals Resorts and Digicel for their investment in the economy as they celebrate major milestones in their years of operations. Their economic contributions to national development have helped to position us at the pinnacle of the hospitality and technology sectors. The Prime Minister has delivered a record setting National Budget and we are pleased to share the details of his pronouncements. It is our hope that this Budget will further stimulate growth and development of our economy towards positioning us as an economic powerhouse in the region. We hope that you will enjoy reading the rest of the interesting content in this issue of the Magazine and wish you continued success with your business efforts. Happy Reading! •
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: Melissa Sebastien Advertising Sales: Gilda Alexander • Ann-Maria Marshall Evol Desouza • Shari Dickenson Cover Photography: Ted Martin Photography: Ken Issac • Martina Johnson • National Parks Authority Editorial Contributors: Martina Johnson • Chris Bart • Brian Ramsey Vaneem Joseph • Koren Norton • National Parks Authority • Yves Ephraim • Anije Lambert • CMC Jamaica OBSERVER • Caribjournal • Caribbean 360 • Washington Post • Cntraveller.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org E Website: www.businessfocusantigua.com 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 National Parks Authority The quarterly magazine for decision makers FEBRUARY/APRIL 2016 | BUSINESS FOCUS • The bi-monthly magazine for decision-makers | www.businessfocusantigua.com
The core industry of sun, sand and sea has however spawned several niche opportunities which have grown in stature and added significant options and opportunities by an ever demanding cadre of tourists.
We tip our hats off to our talented and brave team of Antiguans who participated in the Talisker Whiskey Trans-Atlantic Row for the first time and created history; reinforcing our potential as a Sports Tourism destination. They are deserving of all the national accolades.
No.59 • Feb-Apr 2016
NELSON’S DOCKYARD NATIONAL PARK V i s i t U s O n l i n e - w w w. b u s i n e s s f o c u s a n t i g u a . c o m
BusinessFocus Feb /April
BUSINESS BRIEFS At the time of the agreement, LIME was seeking to conclude its merger with Columbus International/FLOW in Antigua & Barbuda and other regional countries. “Until that time we will continue to run the company exactly as we are doing today. No changes at all. What we need to do is to really focus on this year’s profit, that’s what we signed up for,” Bentley added. Liberty Global, which is controlled by billionaire John Malone, said it would fold Cable & Wireless into its LiLAC business unit, which it spun off with a tracking stock in July 2015. Combined, the entities will have 10 million subscribers of video, broadband Internet access, and fixed and mobile phone service. MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR DEAL REACHED FOR SALE OF C&W International cable TV company Liberty Global should be wrapping up negotiations to buy Cable & Wireless Communications by the end of June this year, nine months after the two companies started talks on the sale. C & W, a London-based telecommunications company which trades in the Caribbean as LIME, is being sold for US$5.3 billion, in a stock and trade transaction.
The deal extends to the businessman’s European cable empire deep into Latin America. It is said the acquisition will add scale and management depth to Liberty Global’s operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The combination is also estimated to create cost savings in excess of the $125 million per year that is targeted to be saved due to Cable & Wireless’s acquisition of Columbus International in November 2015.
Chief Executive Officer of the company, Phil Bentley told LIME workers in Antigua of the development in November 2015. Bentley told staff, via a video broadcast, that the proposed sale will bring about immense benefits to the company and the customers it serves. “Offers like this do not come around very often, and in joining forces with Liberty Global, we think the company’s fortunes will fare better. We think we will grow faster and will be able to invest more and be better able to serve our customers,” Bentley said. He further explained, the transaction with the largest international Cable TV operator in the world, will not be not complete until the second quarter of 2016.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
FLOW LAUNCHES IN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA, A WADADLI HELLO It’s official – LIME is now Flow. The phased launch of the newly refreshed retail brand – Flow – across the Caribbean has now reached Antigua & Barbuda, the eighth market to be rebranded. The transformation from LIME Antigua and Barbuda to the new and refreshed Flow heralds the start of a new and exciting era for the brand, which underscores the successful integration of
Cable & Wireless Communications and Columbus International Inc. “The new dynamic Flow brand encapsulates everything that is positive about Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean; the beauty of the region, the warmth of the people coupled with their passion and drive for growth and development in a culture of excellence where we strive to be the best,” said Joe Mathieson, country manager. Antigua & Barbuda stands to benefit from the combined strength of both companies as the new organisation brings together 150 years of Cable & Wireless’s legacy and tradition of expertise, with the innovation, agility and customer-focused spirit of Columbus. “The new look and focus provides us with the momentum and unique opportunity to create a new future with Flow. Our customers, employees and partners will experience a totally transformed culture and way of doing business. Our aim is not just to meet but to exceed their expectations as they interact with us on a daily basis,” Mathieson said. He continued, “The organisation aims to deliver the most comprehensive portfolio of telecoms services anywhere in the region. this includes a complete transformation of service delivery including the introduction of our new concept retail store designed to offer customers a new and enhanced experience with all the bells and whistles.” Further to this commitment, the new Flow marked the occasion of its entry to the Antigua & Barbuda market by throwing open the doors of its brand new Flagship Market Street store in the heart of St. John’s. Hundreds of patrons were invited to take advantage of the exciting offers that were unveiled on smartphones with the Alcatel Pixi3 for only $169. Customers who purchased an iPhone 6 were rewarded with triple data. Joshua Stewart, head of Customer
BUSINESS BRIEFS Operations, reiterated the organisation’s new direction and focus on excellence by saying, “Today is a demonstration of our renewed focus on delivering more value to our customers, to ensure they always remain at the centre of everything that we do. As we continue our seamless transition, all previously LIME branded top up agents and retail outlets will continue to provide convenient and efficient top up services to our customers.”
previously excluded and underserved populations, and safeguard the stability of the financial system. “We are delighted that the IDB has become the first regional development bank to join the Better than Cash Alliance, because we share the organisation’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion as a way to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives,” said Bernardo Guillamon, manager of the IDB´s Office of Outreach and Partnerships. The IDB has worked with a number of countries throughout the region to help them transition to digital payments for government transfers to low-income families.
IDB JOINS PARTNERSHIP TO ADVANCE DIGITAL PAYMENTS The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, a partnership of governments, companies, and international organisations that work to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments in order to drive inclusive growth and reduce poverty. Membership in the Alliance will contribute to further the IDB’s efforts to promote the financial inclusion of low-income people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), with the aim of improving their economic security and enabling them to increase savings and assets by harnessing innovative payment technologies.
In addition, the Bank has encouraged governments to use new technologies, such as tablets and ATM machines, to provide financial education and simplify bill-paying for consumers who previously did not have access to banking services. Such policies not only promote financial inclusion but result in cost savings and greater efficiency for governments. The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the IDB Group, through its Technology for Financial Inclusion Programme, TEC-IN, has partnered with more than 15 institutions in the region to develop business models—including the use of mobile technology and the development of merchant networks—to expand the access to payments, savings, and microcredit services, which for some individuals represent a first-time experience.
The new partnership will promote knowledge sharing and the development of digital payments ecosystems, by bringing together key public and private sector actors. These efforts will expand the access and use of quality and affordable financial products for
Dr. Didacus Jules Director-General OECS
LIAT REMOVES FUEL SURCHARGES LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, will be removing the fuel surcharges on all new tickets booked, effective March 1, 2016. Chief Executive Officer David Evans said oil is now trading at a 12-year low, ending a decade of high jet fuel costs, which has impacted the price of tickets. “We are committed to offering our customers the most affordable fares so our Finance team regularly reviews the fuel surcharge levels and whenever changes are decided upon we announce them to the market, Evans said. “In this vein, we reduced the fuel surcharge by 50 percent at the beginning of 2015 and it will now be completely removed from March 2016. This will mean that fares will fall by an average of 5 percent. So, beginning 1st March, customers will only have to pay the airfare and any applicable airport and government taxes when they book a flight,” he said. While the price of oil has been trending downwards, Evans explained that the effects of crude oil price reductions take some time to impact on the cost of aviation fuel. “The jet fuel price to LIAT is on average 90 per cent higher than the crude price and it takes on average three to six months for the crude oil price reductions to be applied in the region,” he said. Evans said the surge in oil prices since 2003 had turned fuel into one of LIAT’s largest costs.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
IN THE KNOW
TALENT MANAGEMENT: AN EMERGING NEW BOARD RESPONSIBILITY
So what does this new oversight responsibility for their organization’s talent management involve? At the most basic level, it involves Board members more actively deploying their #1 behaviour when engaging their CEO on this topic, which is of course, to ask questions, and more specifically, questions about the quality and effectiveness of their organization’s talent management practices. Such areas of inquiry should
By Dr. Chris Bart
n days of old, the Board’s responsibility for managing the talent of their organization began and ended with their top executive, the CEO. Any other responsibilities for “talent management” fell to the CEO. That’s because up until the governance implosion of 2001, it was the governance ‘party line’ that the Board had responsibility for only one employee, the chief executive officer. But a lot has changed since that time. Boards of publicly listed corporations in the United States and elsewhere must now take responsibility, through their audit committee, for the direct hiring, supervision and compensation of an internal auditor. And an examination of the causes for the collapse of such firms as Enron, WorldCom and Tyco has revealed that they could not have happened without the complicity of the Chief Financial Officer, or CFO. BusinessFocus Feb /April
Companies with outstanding human resource practices have been found to have a significantly higher market value, profitability, and employee productivity/ engagement when compared to those organizations not so concerned with their talent. Additionally, market analysts increasingly cite an organization’s ‘total management and leadership strength’ — and not just the CEO — as one of their key considerations in making their recommendations to buy or sell a stock. When companies have “profound leadership depth AND breadth”, the reward is robust sales and profitability. Accordingly, while Boards in the past have been reluctant to extend their leadership attention beyond the CEO for fear of overstepping their bounds, they now need to change that point of view. Indeed, failure to do so could put their organizations at extreme competitive risk.
As a result, savvy Boards take a deep interest in who their CFO is and demand increased oversight when it comes to his recruitment, compensation, and termination. Other than these major changes, however, most Boards’ interest in their organizations’ “talent management” has remained relatively low. Until now. A recent study of over 1000 company directors identified talent management as being their most significant strategic issue, beating out the usual ‘hit list’ of concerns such as competition, technology, regulation, and risks. There’s also recent hard evidence to support this change in thinking. Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between the quality of an organization’s talent management practices and its financial performance.
Dr. Chris Bart, FCPA is a recognized global governance authority, the author of two best sellers, and CoFounder of the Caribbean Governance Training Institute. The Institute is currently providing throughout the Caribbean an intensive 3 day corporate governance program leading to the prestigious, internationally recognized, Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation. For more information visit CGTI’s website: www.caribbeangovernancetraininginstitute.com or phone Lisa at 758 451 2500
include the company’s effectiveness in: attracting, assessing and hiring top talent; developing, rewarding and retaining talent; and aligning talent tightly with the mission, vision and values of the corporation. Research has shown that the more effective an organization is with respect to these areas of talent management, the more successful it is. Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review has also shown that when it comes to talent management, most Boards would give their organization an “F”! This, of course, begs the question of what Boards should do to turn this situation around. A useful starting place is for the Board to request a “talent assessment” of their organization, on an annual basis, with sufficient time allocated on the Board agenda to give the assessment results a thorough discussion. The Human Resources and Compensation Committee should lead the talent assessment process on behalf of the Board, setting out the parameters and expected outcomes of the evaluation, perhaps beginning with the talent management practices listed above. For those doing this for the first time, it’s usually best to begin by simply asking the CEO to self-report on the state of the organization’s current talent management practices. But beware of the CEO who concludes the enterprise has no talent management issues or problems. It’s a telltale sign of a CEO who feels he cannot be totally forthcoming with his/her Board. That’s why a truly robust talent appraisal process must ultimately engage and gather the opinions of the rest of the senior management team, preferably through an anonymous survey. Their “collective responses” on the organization’s talent management practices can then be compared with those of the CEO and used to identify areas of contention and concern. It is especially important to keep in mind, however, that the goal of any talent assessment conducted by the Board is not to lay blame but for the Board to help the CEO turn his “F” talent management grades into “A’s”! To do so, the Board must, at a minimum, ultimately figure out how to how to factor talent management issues into the design of the CEO’s compensation if such issues are ever to be corrected or improved. After all, what gets rewarded, is usually what gets done! So here’s the big, uncomfortable question for Caribbean directors: to what extent does your Board currently understand both the importance of effective talent management to your organization’s success and the quality with which it is currently being carried out? 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 currently available in the region – like the 3 day Chartered Director Program currently being offered by The Caribbean Governance Training Institute. After all, it’s not education which is expensive, but rather ignorance. •
ACHIEVES CISCO GOLD CERTIFICATION IN THE CARIBBEAN Digicel Business, one of the region’s leading Business Solutions provider, has announced that it has retained its Cisco® Gold Certification as well as the Master Cloud Managed Services Provider designation for its operations across the Caribbean – the highest levels of partner certifications from Cisco. “We are thrilled to have retained these certifications, which make Digicel the most certified telecoms partner in the Caribbean and speak to the credibility and competence of our team of over 140 highly trained ICT experts across the Caribbean,” said Martin Carroll, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Digicel Business. Carroll added, “This is very important to us and our customers. Delivering scalable, innovative and reliable solutions to our customers that will help them to drive efficiency and increase their bottom line form a huge part of our focus at Digicel. However, the other equally important aspect for us is to provide them with a world class support system – and this is what we’ve been able to do using Cisco’s customer satisfaction best practices and marketing support.” To earn Gold Certification, Digicel Business – in its operations across the Caribbean – has once again succeeded in meeting the rigorous standards set by Cisco in terms BusinessFocus Feb /April
ALSO CERTIFIED WITH MASTER DESIGNATION TO PROVIDE CISCO-POWERED CLOUD AND MANAGED SERVICES
of networking competency, service, support and customer satisfaction. As a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, Digicel Business has met the requirements for attaining the broadest range of expertise across multiple technologies by achieving Cisco advanced specialisations in the areas of enterprise networks architecture, security architecture, collaboration architecture, data centre architecture, and service provider architecture. In addition, Digicel Business has integrated Cisco Hybrid IT, the resale of cloud and managed services, into its offerings, which ensures high customer satisfaction in collaboration with Cisco. Meanwhile, the Master designation to provide Cisco-powered Cloud and Managed Services adds to Digicel’s extended range of over 640 accreditations, further cementing its commitment to helping its customers to increase efficiency and maximise profits. “More and more companies – especially MSMEs - are seeing the benefits of outsourcing their day-to-day IT management and computer support, and that is where Digicel Business comes in. By delivering end-to-end Managed Services which includes provisioning, management and maintenance of the products and services offered together
Martin Carroll, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Digicel Business
with Cisco and backed by our Tier III certified data centre, customers can now focus their capital on building their core business rather than investing in IT assets,” added Carroll. The Cloud Master Service Provider designation also recognises Digicel Business’ investment and commitment to providing cloud and managed services at Cisco’s highest standards. The shared goal is to help businesses and organisations realize faster time to value. These certifications will see Cisco continuing to provide Digicel Business with access to comprehensive sales, technical and lifecycle services, training and support for its customers. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
Antigua’s student population the most technologically advanced in the region. • T he Digicel Kick Start programme which develops aspiring young footballers and exposes them to Premier League coaches. • T he Digicel/NBA Jumpstart programme which helps hopeful young basketballers to improve their game through training from NBA-certified coaches. THE MANAGEMENT TEAM LR - Khem Hughes (Technical Manager), Terry-Ann Benjamin (Human Resources Manager - North OECS), Clement Samuel (Digicel Business manager), Rajkumarr Venkataraman (Chief Technical Officer), Rob MayoSmith (Digicel Antigua CEO), Joanna Spencer (Finance Controller), Patrice Christian-Simon (Marketing Manager LTE), Janice Sutherland (Commercial Director - North OECS) (not shown)
Celebrating ten years of bringing the best value, best data speeds, best network and delivering best service in Antigua and Barbuda, Digicel has remained on the cutting edge of technology with the introduction of innovative products such as, the fastest speeds with 4G mobile data, LTE home Internet, best value calling plans and more recently, a suite of business solutions to meet today’s demands - Integrated Services, Managed Solutions, Cloud Services and network services to name a few. The launch of Digicel in 2006 signalled the age of mobile diversity and competition within the Antiguan and Barbudan telecommunications market. In 2012, the team continued to revolutionise the telecoms arena in the Antigua & Barbuda when they became one of the first countries in the world
to introduce 4G LTE, transforming how both consumers and business’ utilised modern technologies. With continued investment of close to U$S10 million dollars, customers are benefitting from a more robust and dependable LTE network and the fastest Internet speeds in the Caribbean. Digicel’s key principle is focused on not just investing in a market but giving back to that country and they have remained committed to growing communities in Antigua and Barbuda. Nowhere is this more evident in the number of cultural and educational activities that they continue to support including; • T he G.A.T.E initiative which saw the nation’s high school students benefiting from LTE technology as part of their daily studies – making
• T he Digicel Halcyon Steel Orchestra – one of Antigua’s premier pan bands. • B eing dedicated sponsors and benefactors of numerous charities, educational and special needs causes across Antigua and Barbuda. Digicel also supports a number of local and regional sporting bodies, including the West Indies cricket team and Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association, whilst being a prominent figure during Antigua and Barbuda’s many festivals and national celebrations. Today, Digicel is the complete communications and entertainment provider in Antigua and Barbuda thanks to its commitment to serving the people of this nation. This was possible through the unwavering support of its customers, coupled with the commitment of a talented and dynamic team focused on delivering the best value, best network and best service every day. A telecoms operator is nothing without its customers and Digicel thanks them for the honour of serving them for the last ten years. •
THE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS TEAM BACK – LR – Craig Daley, Herbert Joseph, Clement Samuel (Digicel Business Solutions Manager), Claude Deon Francis, Michael Roberts, Stephen Fane FRONT – LR – Annwareen Ramdin, Asha Christian-Philip (Customer Experience Manager), Davia Richards
T O W N H O U S E R E TA I L T E A M Kaiyah Samuel, Latoya Lamothe, Monique Dublin, Thomas Henry
THE MARKETING TEAM
H I L L S PA R K R E TA I L T E A M
LR - Jahmorie Henry (Marketing Executive), Shelana George (Social Media Executive), Patrice Simon (Marketing Manager LTE), Karen Michael (Marketing & Commercial Executive), Troy Byrne (Sponsorship & PR Manager), John Wuilliez (Graphic Designer)
Cora Lawrence, Shamaise Peters, Sherry-Onn Browne-Nicholas (Retail Store Manager – Hills Park Store), Sharry-Mae Josiah, Jamal Parillon, Terry-Ann Stevens (Retail Development Manager)
M A R K E T S T R E E T R E TA I L B R A N C H
M A R K E T S T R E E T R E TA I L B R A N C H
Digicel Retail Sales Executive, Nikisha Josiah, assisting a customer.
Digicel Retail Sales Executive Linden Joseph assisting a customer at the top up machine at the Digicel Redcliffe Street store.
NEW PERSONALITIES JOIN DIGICEL’S BRAND AMBASSADORSHIP PROGRAMME To commemorate its tenth anniversary, Digicel has announced the addition of two new Brand Ambassadors – Renee Edwards-Ambrose and Brucella Marsh-Sutton. These successful young women join the Digicel family; bringing with them a wealth of experience in the areas of entrepreneurship, motor sports and media and entertainment. Renee Ambrose built her company, Lady Horse Power Farm, by successfully competing in the male-dominated field of motor sports as a mechanic and drag racer on both a local and regional circuit. She manages to achieve notable success in her field but also gives back to her community by encouraging young women to follow their dreams in whatever area of life they choose to participate. Brucella is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s most popular media personalities and has built up a track record of being an excellent
Yudy la Salsa, Dj Jime, Brucella
journalist for the past decade. She now utilises her expertise in the tourism sector where she promotes Antigua and Barbuda’s vast offerings to both local and international audiences. They join the team of current Digicel Ambassadors who epitomise the vibrancy and values of the brand namely: • D J Jime – entrepreneur,
• Y udy la Salsa – Radio personality who’s a favourite within the Latin community,
TJ Da DJ
• T J Da DJ – Popular radio personality, • H alcyon Steel Orchestra Grassroots community band
• Ricardo Drue – Soca star Digicel takes the opportunity to welcome both Renee and Brucella to the Digicel family and is delighted to support their continued involvement in the community. •
LTE DATA NETWORK
BusinessFocus Feb /April
ANJO INSURANCES FALMOUTH BRANCH
Anjo Insurances established 1928 in St. John’s, Antigua has been providing insurance services to the people of Antigua and Barbuda for over 87 years. Proudly they were the first Insurance agency to become part of the National Parks Landscape some six and a half years ago. In June 2009 its satellite branch doors opened on Dockyard Drive, English Harbour in the old Anchorage Commercial Building. As years passed, growth of business within the community of St. Paul’s and surrounding areas created a demand for more staff to service the clients. A bigger location was required. In November 2013 they relocated to their present location on Falmouth Main Road in the Hawkins Building which sits just below Monks Hill. Like its Main Office in Woods Centre and its other Satellite Branch in Jolly Harbour this fully functioning branch opens five days a week from Monday to Friday. Branch hours are 9am to 2:30pm They offer all types of Private and Commercial Insurances along with new, renewal and claims insurance transactions on behalf of their principals Massy United Insurance Ltd. formerly United Insurance Company Limited.
Their two friendly, efficient, knowledgeable staff here at the Falmouth Branch have a combined insurance experience of over 33 years. They make sure you get the best, highest quality insurance coverage for your specific needs. Come and meet them...
MRS. NNOLIKA JOSEPH BRANCH ADMINISTRATOR INSURANCE UNDERWRITER AND THE COMPANY’S MARKETING REPRESENTATIVE Mrs. Joseph wears many hats and has been with the Company since 1993. Recognised by many as the face of the branch she was instrumental in spearheading the establishment of both satellite branches, Jolly Harbour in 2003 and Falmouth in 2009. Today, she manages the Falmouth branch along with the assistance of a full time staff member Ms. Angelica Carr. When Mrs. Joseph is not busy with her clients she is developing new business through marketing initiatives and the coordinating of company sponsored events.
Anjo Insurances has a well deserved reputation for prompt, efficient, excellent customer service and fast claims settlements. In addition to their insurance expertise, as agents for Massy United Insurance their A.M. Best International Rating of A- Excellent reaffirms their company’s ability to meet their financial obligation to its clients who may suffer losses. Make a trip to the beautiful National Parks area, visit their office on Falmouth Main Road next door to the famous Sweet T’s Bar & Restaurant and Bailey’s Supermarket. Go through their doors and have your insurance needs met at an affordable price or call the office numbers 268-4803093 or 268-480-3095. Remember… ‘having good insurance pay$ ...seriously!’ • MS. ANGELICA CARR INSURANCE UNDERWRITING CLERK CREDIT COLLECTIONS CLERK Ms. Carr also functions in multiple roles and has been with the Company since 2006. With her warm welcoming smile and dynamic personality coupled with her professionalism, the dynamic team at this office is complete.
EXPERIENCE IT: NELSON’S DOCKYARD NATIONAL PARK Every country is endowed with certain resources, whether manmade or natural, which need to be preserved and protected for the benefit of future generations.
That protection can be multi-faceted, to include efforts to prevent degradation from overdevelopment, or from the ravages of nature. Future generations deserve the right to enjoy these natural/heritage sites, just as we do today. In Antigua & Barbuda the National Parks Authority (NPA) is responsible the preservation, protection and restoration of these special features that make the twin-island stand out from all others in the Region. Apart from the social/cultural benefits associated with preserving these resources, if managed in a responsible manner, they can generate significant economic activities that benefit the immediate communities and the national economy. The most significant natural and historic features of our twin island are located within the confines of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park; an area that is renowned for its rich heritage, natural beauty and pristine, scenic landscapes. The Park spans 15 sq. miles to include the picturesque coastline that stretches from Mamora Bay to Carlisle Bay within which some of the islands richest natural and historic sites can be found. These include replicas of our slave monuments at Middle Ground, and the Shirley Heights Fortifications. The Park also includes
BusinessFocus Feb /April
the Great Fort George, (Monk’s Hill), the Nelson’s Dockyard, the only fully functioning Georgian naval dockyard in the World, military cemeteries and numerous historic ruins. In addition to the above, the Park also includes The Pillars of Hercules (a spectacular natural rock formation); the Windward Beach fishing trails, with its natural landscape and diversified species of fish, which makes it ideal for diving; numerous natural trails that connect our military fortifications, and some of the islands' finest beaches and natural coastline. All of these resources need ongoing protection and preservation. This unique combination of features informed the decision to create a world class tourism destination and the leading yachting centre in the Caribbean. The Government, having recognised the importance and the value of the area, established the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park.
ANN MARIE MARTIN NATIONAL PARKS COMMISSIONER
Chronicling the history and importance of the Park for Business Focus, is National Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Martin, while sitting in her cool office, enjoying the gentle sea breeze passing through, and with her frame backing the sun pouring into the room.
that required preservation, while creating an economic zone that would play a major role in national economic development. This necessitated the creation of a Sustainable Development Plan that would play a key role in creating the necessary synergies.
BF: Many people do not really understand the tremendous importance of the work you do, tell us what you do, and how.
Sub-section 10 (2) of the Antigua and Barbuda National Parks Act, 1984 made provision for the National Parks Management and Development Plans.
AM: Let’s start with the Legislative Framework. To assure consistency with the principles established for the Park, A National Parks Act was passed into law a number of years ago. The Act includes a number of clauses, designed to provide a lasting legal framework for a park systems in Antigua and Barbuda. Under the provisions of the National Parks Act, the Antigua National Parks Authority (NPA) was created in 1984 as a ‘self-financing Crown Agency to operate and manage national parks in Antigua and Barbuda.’ BF: Tell us about the area that was declared the country’s first National Park and what does the management of this area involve? AM: The nation’s first National Park, Nelson’s Dockyard was established the same year the Authority was created, 1984. The Park was conceived with two main objectives in mind: - p rotecting important natural and historic resources; - c reating an economic engine for Antiguans and Barbudans Careful planning was necessary to ensure that the NPA balanced the need to protect the delicate physical resources
The Development Plan articulates how the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is to be developed and managed, consistent with the intent of the National Parks Act. The plan has several key sections to include: - The Park Boundary - Economic Development and Tourism, - The Future Land use Framework, - Interpretation Plan, - Investment Programme. BF: What’s the core of the plan? AM: The core of the plan is the future land use framework which describes the intent of the National Parks Authority (NPA) for the on-going use and development of lands within the National Parks. The land use framework sets out policies to guide the National Parks Authority in making decisions on applications submitted for the development of projects within the confines of the park. BF: Why a development Plan? AM: It’s important for many reasons which I’ll outline:
protect the important natural and historical features of the Park, and to manage these features so as to encourage enjoyment and appreciation by residents and Park visitors. • To create a unique, world-class tourism destination premised on the Park’s natural scenic beauty, heritage sites and a thriving yachting industry. • To create a sound environment for economic development within the Park. • To maintain and improve the quality of existing residential environments within the Park • To provide services and facilities to communities and businesses within the Park consistent with the objectives of the plan. While some may question the need for the National Parks Authority, one only has to look at our capital city, St. John’s, and note the rapid destruction of historic buildings, in the name of development. In contrast, within the Nelson's Dockyard National Park, we have been able to find the right balance between economic development and preservation of our heritage. We have proven that these two concepts – development and preservation- can co-exist. BF: Why a land use Framework and Zoning Plan? AM: The National Parks has a land use pattern, consistent with the objectives of the development plan. It seeks to maximise the quality of life for residents and businesses within the Park and
• National Parks Authority needs to BusinessFocus Feb /April
Pillars of Hercules
maximises the attraction of the Park to world class tourism markets. By law, the Authority is mandated to be guided by these policies in making decisions on applications for development, designing and implementing Park development programmes and community services in the Park. The land use designation falls under the categories of: - Natural/ Historic Resources: Agriculture, Conservation, Wilderness Conservation, Heritage and Recreation. - Economic Development: Commercial, Residential, Rural Residential, Tourism, Tourism/Residential, Yacht Working Areas and Dockyard Heritage/ Commercial. The policy of the Authority is to encourage development consistent with its land use policy. It endeavors to ensure that all applications are consistent with the land use patterns as provided in the development plan. BF: There must be a high demand for commercial and other real estate projects in the area given the attractions there. Isn’t this a threat to the mandate of the Authority? AM: The Management of the Park’s resources is becoming increasingly challenging due to the rising demand for approval to develop new residential and commercial projects within the confines
of the Park. Public pressure mounts and negative criticism have become commonplace when the Authority is forced to deny applications that do not align with its zoning plans. At the end of the day, the Authority has a responsibility to base its decisions on what is best for the community and country, and not just the individual or entity making the application. Fortunately, under the National Parks Act, any development within the confines of the Park requires the prior approval of the National Parks Authority. So, though the developer may receive approval from the Development Control Authority (DCA), work may not proceed without NPA’s approval. There have been endless attempts to override our authority but we have remained resolute in ensuring that all new developments conform to the overall framework and zoning plan. Despite the criticism, I must add that over time, the NPA has garnered more public support, from those who appreciate the need to balance new developments with the need to preserve our heritage. Today, the National Parks is on the verge of receiving World Heritage Status, as a result of careful planning and management of its natural resources. BF: Tell us about the Economic Development and Tourism activities or plans. AM: The Nelson’s Dockyard National Park was given a mandate to create a World Class Yachting Sector. An objective
assessment would reveal that we have achieved our mandate. English Harbour has become the mecca for yachting in the Caribbean. It hosts some of the finest yacht charter shows in the world and also the world’s largest fast net race, Caribbean 600. In addition to that, the annual Antigua Sailing Week, the Antigua Classic Regatta, the Nelson’s Pursuit and the Super Yacht Challenge are major sailing regattas on our sailing calendar. No other Caribbean island can boast of hosting so many successful regattas within a calendar year. BF: To what do you attribute this level of success or achievement? AM: The success achieved results from collaboration between the Authority and its yachting partners. While the Authority provides the physical resources to host the various events, it is the experience and the uniqueness of each that contribute to the growth of the regattas. Over the years, we have witnessed the passion, loyalty, commitment and hard work of those involved, and for that we are thankful. During the months December to April, more privately owned and charter vessels assemble in Antigua than in any other island in the Caribbean. Antigua placed emphasis on developing its yachting sector, long before other Caribbean islands, and has developed a competitive advantage over the years. An important aspect of the vision was the development CONT’D ON PAGE 22
HONORABLE ASOT MICHAEL
MINISTER OF TOURISM, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INVESTMENT AND ENERGY OF ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming you on behalf of the Antigua & Barbuda National Parks Authority to our beautiful islands which include the world famous historic Nelson’s Dockyard, a true national treasure.
the yachting season into the summer months for increased business activity. The Government has also abolished the duty on the importation of yachts to ensure that more yachts will be based here during the winter season.
Along with its unsurpassed sailing conditions and natural harbours, Antigua and Barbuda is truly the Mecca of Caribbean Yachting. Each year we welcome thousands yachtsmen and some of the most beautiful yachts to our shores.
To further support the yachting industry, we have revamped our customs processes to accelerate clearance of spare parts and specialised equipment.
The success and longevity of our industry are directly linked to the Historic significance of Nelson’s Dockyard and the efforts by the National Parks Authority to preserve this wonderful part of our culture and heritage. They have done so in a unique and sustainable way by ensuring that Nelson’s Dockyard, which is the only 18th Century Georgian Naval facility, is in full working operation. Our efforts to preserve this part of our cultural heritage will culminate this year. The National Parks Authority is working towards the achievement of “World Heritage Site” status for Nelson’s Dockyard and the surrounding environs. This will be a major accomplishment in attracting international funding and will be a major PR boost for Antigua and Barbuda. The next major initiative will be to create a duty free enclave within the Falmouth and English Harbour. This will serve to extend
Special concessions have been granted to the ships that transport yachts to allow them to operate from our port. To better cater to the needs of the yachting industry the Government has allowed for the expansion of fuel services to provide the low-sulphur diesel, which is critical to the efficient operation of the luxury yachts. The latest improvement to our yachting industry being a newly commissioned reverse osmosis plant with a 400,000-gallon daily capacity, which will solve the water shortage, that has affected us in the past. The success that Antigua and Barbuda enjoys in the yachting industry is due to our efforts to preserve the cultural integrity of all the historic and cultural facilities within the National Parks, while at the same time making it as friendly as possible in all areas of operations. I truly believe that our historical ambiance, renowned services, and the warmth of our people have created a winning formula. • BusinessFocus
of a private/public partnership in respect of developing marina hotels and dry dock facilities. It is noteworthy that the Park has witnessed significant investment from local investors, who wish to capitalise on the available opportunities. BF: How many businesses operate within the Dockyard area? AM: There are approximately 120 registered businesses within the area and they all contribute to the economic development of the Park and the national economy. A key to the development of the yachting sector is the availability of ancillary services such as first class engineering, sail-making, wood work, varnishing, refitting works, and dry dock facilities. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, with the assistance of the Canadian Development Agency, invested considerable sums to develop the infrastructure within the Park. These infrastructure projects include expansion of the marina, and of the public dock, developing navigational channels and markers and navigational charts; restoration of key historic buildings, creation of underwater trails, tree planting, and a sewage treatment and waste disposal plant. As well, work included construction of public bathroom facilities; maintenance of the Pigeon Beach, roadsides and basketball court, as well as street lighting. BF: Apart from being among the first in the region to develop a yachting sector, how has Antigua been able to remain a step ahead of the others in the sector, competition must be “stiff” as we say in the Caribbean? AM: Antigua has developed a competitive advantage over other destinations, due in part to the several marinas located within the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, which is renowned for its landlocked harbours, safe hurricane shelter, beautiful beaches, and safe, clean and peaceful environment. A large number of yachts make Antigua their base for the winter season because of the great facilities and other services, the easy entry and exit into the marinas that cater to the growing charter yacht and private yachts.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
This thriving yachting sector brings approximately 3,600 yachts to Antigua annually. These magnificent floating hotels decked with all their modern facilities and amenities are based in the National Parks all year round and are serviced by the most qualified varnishers, marine engineers, sail makers, welders and riggers. Taxi drivers, laundry attendants, fruit and vegetable vendors are also part of the service industry and benefit from the yachting community. What makes the yachting industry so compatible to the National Parks development plan is that these vessels move in and out of the Park without compromising the integrity of the area. Due to the limited impact on the environment, the yachting sector represents environmentally friendly tourism. BF: Sustaining market share must be a challenge, while the issue of security must also be extremely important. How does the Authority manage? AM: In an effort to sustain its market share and meet the demands of the sector, the National Parks Authority has formed strategic alliances with a number of Government and private sector agencies. These include the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, ADOMS, Customs and Immigration and the Marine Trade Association. The Authority is currently engaged in joint security surveillance with the Police Force and the Defence Force, to ensure that the destination is one of the safest in the region. The National Park continues to commit its resources to ensure that safety and security are at the forefront of the agenda. We continue to work with the other authorities to ensure enhanced security through our CCTV initiatives. This system is constantly being upgraded and serves as a major tool for solving crimes that may be committed within the National Parks area. Because would-be criminals are aware of the existence of the CCTV system, there has been a decline in criminal activity in the area. BF: What about the plans for the Hydrographic survey of the area?
AM: I was coming to that. Presently, the UK Hydrographic Office is commissioning a modern hydrographic survey of Falmouth and English Harbours. ADOMS provided the technical assistance for the project and the National Parks provided the financial resources and accommodation as its contribution to the project. Antigua and Barbuda now has the most updated electronic charts within the region. All yachts entering the National Parks can avail themselves of updated satellite imaginary of both Harbours. BF: Many residents see the Dockyard Park as an area for “foreigners” “tourists”. But the history it holds is valuable to locals and its operations contribute much more to the economic, social and cultural development of this country. Elaborate on this.
AM: Let me start by saying this, as the yachting sector expanded over the years As the yachting sector expanded over the years, the procedures for clearing Customs and Immigration lagged. The Authority facilitated a range of changes to these procedures, and has worked closely with the Marine Trade Association and key Government agencies in this regard. Both Customs and Immigration responded favourable to the interventions, and instituted changes to the bureaucratic process of yachts being cleared through our Ports of Entry in the Falmouth and English Harbour Area. We can confidently state that updated procedures are more in keeping with modern day yachting practices. Today, this sector contributes significantly to the national GDP, while creating
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hundreds of jobs. Unfortunately, sufficient effort is not assigned to documenting and quantifying the contribution made to GDP. This is an exercise that we know should be undertaken soonest. Despite the absence of this data, we can safely state that the yachting sector, to include crew and guests, contribute significantly to our nation’s revenue base. On entering our waters, port dues, landing fees, berthing, and other fees are collected. Some yachts expend large sums on other services such as varnishing, engineering, sail repairs, laundry, groceries, and chandlery items, to name a few. The livelihood of many Antiguans has significantly been enhanced, due to the growth in the sector. As the island’s foremost tourist attraction, hundreds of visitors
Yacht Services Department
from cruise ships and hotels as well as residents visit the Park on a daily basis, creating economic activities for our vendors, taxi drivers, restaurateurs and gift shops. As well, the NPA generate revenues by way of entrance fees charged to all visitors. These visitors enter our Park to experience our history, culture and natural environs, and this serves to enrich the visitor experience. If our locals come down here for a tour and learn about the history here, their perception would change. It is important to learn our history and to pass it on to generations so it is not forgotten. We must also know it and become ambassadors for our country. In terms of business, numerous guest houses, hotels, restaurant and over 100 ancillary businesses are located within the confines of the Park. And I’d like to reiterate the point that as the area develops into a vibrant economic region, there is increasing pressure on us to facilitate the development of related business activities. But we have a great team of skilled and qualified staff and we are mindful of the implications of development, and how it will impact the communities that lie
within the Park. This underscores the need for close collaboration with all stakeholders, to ensure that we all work as a team to promote development in a sustainable manner, for the benefit of all. It is not, and cannot be “we versus them”. This is a challenge, and one that the national Parks Authority is ready and willing to undertake, recognising that it has a critical role to play in the continued development of the yachting sector, while simultaneously protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of Antigua and Barbuda. The Nelson's Dockyard is indeed a magnificent place that lies in the heart is one of the oldest Marina’s and one of the top marina facilities in the Caribbean, attracting over 100, 000 visitors who come to enjoy the fauna, beautiful beaches, historic sites, high end restaurants and bars and shopping. Also within the marina is the Copper and Lumber store hotel with its beautiful Georgian architecture. It has won several awards including the Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the past two years. This prestigious award was based on the consistent, earned outstanding feedback received from Trip Advisor travellers.
The Dockyard also has a state of the art sound and light show and magnificent panoramic views. But what fascinates me the most about the national parks is how it has been able to preserve the integrity of the natural beauty and rich heritage of the park and create that perfect harmony between all its users. BF: If there’s one thing that you can point to that has led to the National Parks becoming the success that it is today, what is it? AM: The hidden secret behind this success story is a group of indigenous Antiguans who have the passion and insight in creating the Nelson's Dockyard National Park into a Living Park. The Park is a living example to all Antiguans that if given the opportunity and support they can make significant contribution to the development of Antigua & Barbuda. •
CARRYING THE MANTLE WITH PRIDE,
THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN The employees of the Nelson’s Dockyard are a dynamic, loyal and committed group. They are all very passionate with regards to preserving the nation’s important historic and natural treasures for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. The total staff complement of National Parks Authority is eighty (80) people. There is a strong fusion of essential skillsets, knowledge and experience working towards one common goal that has gained the NPA the reputation as one of the best managed and highly productivity Statutory Corporations in Antigua and Barbuda. There is very little doubt that the NPA is the foremost heritage site within the region, soon to gain World Heritage status. The management team consists of individuals who are well respected; with most of its members contributing individually well over 25 years of service to the organisation. The synergy among the team players and their mutual respect for each other are clearly the main reasons they are successful at what they do. They’re also well-trained and dedicated.
The culture has been cultivated by a leader who strongly believes there is a need for Intellectual development and as such fostered extensive training, funded by Authority. Succession Planning is an Integral Part of the organisation’s culture. That is why at the National Parks, each member of the Management team is assigned to coach and mentor a competent young person who has the ability and ambition to be second in command. Also engrained in their psyche is that they must transfer their knowledge and skills to benefit the National Parks. Hard work and accountability are encouraged and have become an important driving force and indicator of success at the Park and these tenets are demonstrated and encouraged at all levels. It is not uncommon to witness a Manager engaging in mooring a yacht stern, raking the yard, cleaning the washroom or serving and cleaning tables. Whenever there is a gap, regardless of position, employees automatically roll up their sleeves and get the job done. They are no boundaries when it comes to carrying out the duties.
Because the main industry and income earner is seasonal, employees spend long, hard-working hours ensuring their tasks are completed on time. They also go beyond the call of duty. During the summer months, a yachting clerk takes a position in the Maintenance Department and a tour guide takes up the positon of gate keeper, filling in during off days and holidays. This ensures that the National Park is able to carry out its functions during the summer when its income generating level is extremely low. THIS IS THE TRUE NATURE OF THE ESTABLISHMENT. Employee involvement and high performance and productivity are encouraged and incentivised by the Authority’s reward and incentive programmes. National Parks employees benefit from a matching thrift fund, a medical plan, annual bonuses, birthday gift awards, educational training and development programmes. The need to empower its people through educational training and development has rebounded to the benefit of the organisation with well trained, competent, motivated and loyal teammates who are proud to be part of the Authority’s family. As a government institution the Authority believes that it is part of its role to train and empower citizens and residents for the benefit of the nation as a whole. As the NPA makes the push for the area to get World Heritage status, it has identified deficiencies in some key areas and identified suitable candidates to be trained in the area of Conservation Architecture and will provide all the resources necessary. The future of the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park looks promising. The Management is steadfast and resilient in steering the course. Creativity, passion and innovation will continue to be the driving force and will guide the policies and programmes of NPA and thereby empower and shape the next generation of leaders to secure our island’s rich heritage and to create economic wealth for the country. • BusinessFocus
CELEBRATING OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE: OUR GEORGIAN DOCKYARD AND WORLD HERITAGE RECOGNITION Long before the United Nations Education and Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared in September 2000 that its members states, which includes Antigua & Barbuda, should ensure environmental sustainability is set as one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the framers of the National Parks Authority Act Cap 290 (the Act) understood the importance of protecting the ecological and the integrity of the cultural heritage of Antigua and Barbuda. In fact this goal forms the basis of the first listed function of the National Parks Authority which is obliged to “preserve, protect, manage and develop the natural, physical and ecological resources and the historical and cultural heritage of Antigua and Barbuda”. Many in Antigua and Barbuda view the National Parks more particularly the English Harbour, Falmouth Harbour, the Nelson’s Dockyard and their environs, only as the home to Antigua and Barbuda’s thriving yachting sector which is a vital part of our State’s tourism product. Mention the world-renowned Antigua Sailing Week and some would recite tales of long ago fetes, watching BusinessFocus
Alincia Williams-Grant Senator, Secretary and Legal Advisor for NPA
the start of the race from Shirley Heights while enjoying a scrumptious breakfast, or the just recently held Third World Concert. It may come as a surprise to many that the National Parks, particularly the Nelson's Dockyard, houses the Only working Georgian Dockyard in the world. Yes, the only one on the world and a well preserved one to top it off. Consequently, one would understand why our Parks Commissioner, Mrs. Ann Marie Martin, our resident archaeologist, Dr. Reginald Murphy, and the rest of the team at the National Parks Authority, including the Board of Directors are continuously motivated to ensure that the Authority’s plan to surpass the vision of the framers of the Act, is realized. Their work is driven by a passion to showcase and celebrate the cultural heritage of this State on an international level. The plan: to bring worldwide recognition to Antigua and Barbuda’s rich history by securing a listing of the Nelsons Dockyard as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The application was submitted in January 2015. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places that are deemed to have cultural or
natural significance and so should be preserved for future generations not just in the country they are located but for the international citizenship. The Sites must therefore have outstanding universal value. The designation is a coveted one and is achieved only on the country’s satisfaction of one out of ten selection criteria as explained in UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. A simple task it is not. Currently there are only 19 countries in the Caribbean, which enjoy the prestigious designation. Undoubtedly, tremendous work is put into such an effort especially where sustainable development remains a key component of the selection process. This has to be balanced with the capitalist’s appetite to yield returns through development, which often is accompanied by destruction of natural habitats and cultural heritage. A reality which the Authority’s World Heritage Committee was reminded of at its visit to Paris in December 2015 during the International Council on Monuments
and Sites (ICOMOS) World Heritage Panel where a meeting was held to discuss the Dockyard’s nomination for possibly gaining World Heritage Status in 2016. Prior to this, during August and September 2015, an ICOMOS World Heritage Committee Inspector was on island to conduct an onsite evaluation as part of the final stage of the application. During this time, meetings were held with staff and management to assess the Authority’s structure, operations and legal framework. Physical inspection and verification exercise of the entire Dockyard facility and Park boundaries were also conducted and formed a basis of discussion in the Paris meeting. This is a part of the final stages of selection process. Excited by the prospects, the Authority is dedicated to achieving this goal. Imagine the boost that this designation would have to our Twin Island State. Free media exposure would lead to thousands if not more, of tourists each
year wanting to be a part of the Nelsons Dockyard World Heritage Site experience. The economic spin offs would yield “jobs, jobs, jobs” and even more opportunities for entrepreneurship development nationwide not only in the English Harbour area. Another worthwhile consideration is that UNESCO World Heritage Sites in developing countries can apply for a preservation grant to help with the maintenance and upkeep of the site. It is in within our grasp; and the National Parks Authority with the support of the Minister of Tourism, Honourable Asot Michael, and the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, is doing its best, including strengthening the legislative and regulatory framework, building human resource capital, and private sector joint ventures, to ensure that this goal is realized within the year. A decision on the application is expected from ICOMOS in July of 2016.
Although the MDGs have now morphed into the SDGs, the importance of ensuring that all countries have sustainable environment programmes remains a major priority internationally. We all in Antigua and Barbuda can feel confidently assured that the National Parks Authority’s mandate to preserve, protect, manage and develop is being vigorously pursued and guarded in the ever-evolving world. Article written by: Senator Alincia Williams-Grant Legal Advisor and Secretary to the Board National Parks Authority •
We encourage all residents of Antigua & Barbuda to rally behind this effort.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
THE DOCKYARD MARINA AND PORT FACILITIES Antigua and Barbuda boasts of the only working Georgian 17th century naval dockyard, Nelson’s Dockyard. Since the passing of hurricanes Luis and George, which caused severe damage, extensive restoration has been done to some of the forts, namely Fort Berkley, Block House, the sea wall, Officers Quarters and the Museum, Shirley Heights, Clarence House and many other buildings within the National Parks. Preservation of these historic structures continues to be of great importance. Most of these buildings have since been totally restored mainly from funds collected from user fees, yachts and visitors to the National Parks. For the manager of Yacht Services and Restorations Departments, Marinus A Smith, it is a unique opportunity to work on restoring historic buildings. “One would have to be well trained and well skilled because you would have to understand the building style of the period. The Clarence House project of which I am team member is the big project currently running.” The Yachting community and other visitors alike are highly respectful of the history of the Nelsons Dockyard and so they continue to seek to coexist.
“Within the Yacht Services Department we are responsible for the operation of a full service marina. We process all entry and exit documents and records for all vessels within the National Parks. We maintain all Aids to Navigation within English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour,” he said. The Yacht Services team comprises of Senior Dock master Sherwin Mascall, Oniel White- junior dock master, Jolene Jacobsoffice manager, Lynette Richardson- senior clerk and Samantha Walsh- senior clerk, and Germaine Edwards- junior clerk. Sherwin and Oniel are responsible for delivering all the services within the marina to the Yachts, communicating with all incoming vessels and cleverly and safely directing them to the designated berth. Jolene, who handles the billings, receipts, filling, emails, and scheduling of timetables, reports directly to Marinus. Lynette, Samantha and Germaine, handle the processing of documents and the collection of all applicable fees. The departments have been in operation long before Marinus became a member of the NPA; he started out on the grounds in 1982, fresh out of school. “I became supervisor of the Operations 1998/1999, then consequently, manager of Yacht Services and Restoration which for about 15 years.”
In a brief Q and A with Business Focus (BF) magazine Marinus Smith (MS) addresses the issue of a succession plan. BF: Is there a succession plan? MS: Yes there is. Over the years I have participated in and gained from many positive developments with the organisation. It is general policy for the NPA to seek out young, intelligent individuals for training in management and leaderships positions. Every member within my department has been given the opportunity for continuous training that would bring equity to the department. I have a young and dynamic team which has embraced the vision of the NPA and they are equipped with the skills and knowledge for the continued success of my departments and the National Parks Authority. BF: How important is your role to the operations of the Authority? MS: Given the task as manager I have to ensure that the objectives and the vision of the National Parks Authority are met in the delivery service by all staff members. Developing and maintaining a high quality facility for our customers, creating new revenue streams while maintaining our customer base. I must promote vigorously, the mission of the NPA among our partners and customers through international agencies, brokers, charter shows and printed media. There’s emphasis on attracting new international events to our facility, implementing and maintaining high standard aids to navigation within the port. We must also ensure a safe and clean facility to work and to welcome out visitors. •
MARKETING THE NATIONAL PARKS AMIDST AN EVERCHANGING MARKETING LANDSCAPE Elouise Francis, Head of the Marketing Department is strict with her marketing plan and keeping up with trends. Her plan serves as a guiding document for the numerous marketing programmes for the National Parks Authority. Its strategy focuses on the current needs and desires of identified park customers. The Park has a plethora of outdoor recreation choices, historical and cultural features, museums, yachting facilities and services and hospitable people to meet customers’ needs. The primary marketing objectives are to increase visitation and to communicate a cohesive and effective marketing identity. In the upcoming fiscal year, marketing efforts will continue to be geared more towards online marketing and online content including social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. Francis noted in her strategy plan “We will give potential visitors using our website more tools for researching and planning their trips. In addition, we will continue to take advantage of partnerships with yachting, cruise and other tourism entities, to continue working together to effectively promote our tourist attraction, yachting facilities and services.“
MARKETING HIGHLIGHTS Talisker Whisky Cross Atlantic Challenge One of the biggest, if not the biggest, event so far this year, is the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Chllaebge. During the first quarter of the year, the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel and the National Parks Authority, partnered with Atlantic Campaigns to host the finish of the Talisker Whisky Cross Atlantic Challenge. Several teams of rowers made the journey across the Atlantic ending in the Dockyard where they were met by family, friends, well -wishers and organisers. A new record was set by the first place team, Ocean Reunion finishing the 3000 mile race in 37 days, while RowLike A Girl also set a record as an all female team to complete the challenge, in 40 days. Another record — this year, it is the first time that Antigua and Barbuda has a team in the event. Team Wadadli may not have come in first place, but it certainly didn’t finish last, and while the four rowers braved the seas and weather, residents dipped into their pockets to raise funds to donate to the St John’s Hospice. The country as a whole and the Dockyard benefitted considerably from the media attention that the event attracted and increased traffic throughout January 2016.
WEBSITE & INTERNET Increased fan base through the various offerings on social media has grown attention on the National Parks Authority by over 50 per cent and it is still growing. The NPA’s website receives approximately 3,000 hits monthly. We: - U pgraded both NPA and the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel’s Websites - Initiated training to manage CLS Trip Advisor Business Listing - A dded new flexible features to adapt to new technologies. - C ontinued engaging fans on via Social media outlet. SPONSORSHIP The NPA has provided financial sponsorships to schools, Government Ministries, churches and many other organizations. In the past year, the Authority gave monetary gifts specifically to many individuals seeking healthcare services in Antigua and overseas. The Copper and Lumber Store also played a vital role in the providing not only accommodations, dinners, food supplies and equipment for national events, but for over five years, the Authority has proudly sponsored two football teams. As a result of these sponsorship endeavours, a more positive image and relationship has been cultivated between the Antigua community and the Authority. COPPER AND LUMBER SEAFOOD FRIDAY Seafood Friday has grown well beyond the proportions of its original intent when it was introduced several years ago. Today it is regarded as a must go to activity every Friday within the Nelson’s Dockyard compound. Initially, it was done during the peak tourist season, with breaks in the off season. But demand has been so significant, particularly among locals, breaks have become a thing of the past. The activity is listed on the calendar of events on Antiguanice and tourism magazines that benefit from the contributions of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Office. Seafood Friday guarantees traffic from the ordinary Antiguan and Barbudan through BusinessFocus
NPA Marketing - Copper and Lumber Hotel
“The Park strives to produce top-rated affordable events for all ages”
the Dockyard and as a result we have seen increased inquiries about the hotel and the other various offerings that the property offers, like dinners, weddings and graduations, among others. ECONOMIC & INDUSTRY OVERVIEW The global tourism marketplace has been in a state of change for the past decade, and this has not been due only to recent economic conditions. Several factors impacting travel and tourism are: the internet, emerging markets and destinations, socio-demographics, traveler interests and expectations, concern about the environment, personal safety and even energy and political issues. The emergence of the internet is the most profound travel trend that has affected consumer behavior. The digital landscape has resulted in media content that is personal, portable, searchable, social and interactive. It is less about mass media interactive and consumers have become more sophisticated in the way they communicate and connect to digital media—anytime from anywhere. As a result the world is open up to travel and destinations face the challenge of increase competition. The task at hand is to continuously work at making our
products and experiences stand out amid aggressive competitors and seemingly unlimited consumer choices. ADVERTISING The overall goal for advertising is to attract a diverse mix of visitors to the Park. To reach this goal, we incorporate a call-toaction in all advertising. Marketing Staff will seek out advertising opportunities with targeted publications which will help us reach out to our niche groups. These opportunities may include consumers, historical and nature enthusiasts, outdoor recreationalists, yachting and shopping visitors. Advertising will direct these target markets to landing pages on our Website, where customers can find the information of specific interest to them. We will thrive to generate sufficient interest through mediums such as local Radio and TV, and the internet. Strategy: - D rive traffic to Park’s www.nationparksantigua.com. - G enerate marketing leads and requests for trip-planning information. - P romote distinct segments of the Park offerings: yachting, tours and sightseeing (heritage tourism); museum educational programs and multi-purpose show (cultural tourism) •
A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AWAITS ONE AND ALL The Nelson’s Dockyard along with the National Parks Authority is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s main tourist attractions. The Park attracts in excess of 100,000 visitors annually ranging from cruise ship passengers, hotel stay-over guests, yachtsmen and our local residents. The contribution made to Antigua & Barbuda’s Tourism Product is quite significant. The Visitor Services component of the Park comprises the Nelson’s Dockyard Tours, the Interpretation Centre and the Gift Shops. The Department is headed by Mrs. Alicia Daniel who has been in the employ of the Authority for 23 years and is supported by three Junior Supervisors – Ms. Tracelyn Weste, Ms. Desiree Batchelor and Mr. Wendell Bachelor who has responsibilities for the Interpretation Centre, the Gift Shop and Dockyard Tours respectively. A cadre of young people makes up the Visitor Services Team. A total of (17) persons carry out the duties and responsibilities of the department at the Nelsons Dockyard and the Interpretation Centre. The Interpretation Centre at Dow’s Hill, the Shirley’s Heights and the Blockhouse overlooking the Nelson’s Dockyard are other points of interest. A visit to these sites is just the beginning of a journey to explore our past and appreciate the efforts that have been made to preserve and protect it all for visitor enjoyment. The park focuses on the development of the nation’s youth. Annually, individuals with an interest in the field are recruited to serve as Interpretation Officers and in other Customer Service roles. Training is continuous as employees are expected to deliver quality customer service in keeping with industry standards. Unfortunately BusinessFocus
some of the individuals trained have short tenures with the organisation, primarily because most of our recruits are high school graduates who have plans to attend university. The Visitor Services Team is also trained in First- Aid and CPR certified by the American Heart Association. This is important as we interact with hundreds of visitors on a daily basis. In the event of a medical emergency the team is able to offer First Aid until advanced help arrives. ADMISSION: The Park has an all-inclusive entrance fee that allows the visitor to access and experience history at its best. US$8.00 or EC$20.80 for overseas visitors US$ 3.00 or EC$8.10 for local residents Children under 12 are complimentary. Special arrangements can be made for school, church and community groups. THE NELSON’S DOCKYARD: Visitors to Nelsons Dockyard are treated to tours through the yard where the historical, architectural and cultural assets of the park are highlighted. Hear the tales of the past as you revisit scenes of the 18th century Dockyard and view first-hand the restoration and adaptions that have been made today. A visit to our museum is a must, to see some relics of the British era. Oh, don’t forget the trail tours. For the visitor with a more relaxed schedule, a hike on one of our many trails is sure to be a refreshing first-hand experience. The Fort Berkeley Trail to the harbour’s entrance and the Middle Ground Trail that ends at Pigeon Point, are just two that are easily accessible from within the Dockyard.
THE INTERPRETATION CENTRE: History and technology collide and unfold into an interesting and entertaining presentation entitled “Reflections of the Sun”. View six periods of Antigua’s history in sound and light and listen as the sun tells the story of the past. The show is complimented by a guided tour on either of our viewing platforms. Ahhhhh! The view is spectacular. Enjoy a 360 degree view of the park as the Tour Guides step back in time and retell the story of how the British protected the island, the Sugar Trade and Her Majesty’s ships from the French. Weddings, Cocktails or Dinner Parties — the Interpretation Centre can be transformed to create that memorable event. GIFT SHOPS: Looking for that unique gift or souvenir to take back home? Be sure to visit the Restoration Gift Shops. One is located at the Nelson’s Dockyard – the bottom floor of the Museum Building and the other at the Interpretation Centre. You are sure to find that perfect souvenir that will remind you of your visit to the park. A variety of books that feature our history and culture are also featured. Stop by and avail yourself of the opportunity to enjoy some of our local publications on our history and culture. No, the National Parks is not just for the visitors. In 2014-2015 the department welcomed approximately 125,000 overseas visitors. Approximately 60,000 residents visited the park and enjoy its facilities. As much as we welcome our overseas visitors to experience our history and culture, we long for our residents to be aware of our history and own it. Antigua is ours. The National Parks has been given the mandate to preserve, protect, manage and develop the natural physical, historical and cultural heritage of Antigua & Barbuda. This is to be done in a sustainable manner for enjoyment, economical benefit and future generations. At the Park, we treasure these attributes. They are our assets. They are what we have and who we are. As ambassadors in this business called Tourism, the Visitor Services Team shares our way of life with the visitors but as Antiguans we must appreciate it and take care of it so that the visitors can enjoy it. •
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HERITAGE DEPARTMENT, NATIONAL PARKS The heritage assets of Antigua are enormous and most of them cluster in the southernmost point of the island in the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. As the first area to be colonised by the British in 1632, it has developed a long and rich historical legacy of over 190 natural and historical sites, including over a dozen of sugar estates, 20 fortifications, guard stations and coastal fortified batteries, the British Naval dockyard in English Harbor, historic Bat’s Cave, the Antigua Apollo Mission Station, seven pre-Columbian or prehistoric sites, and much more. The Heritage Department in the National Parks shoulders the responsibility of managing all things “heritage related” within the Parks. In addition, the 2004 Amendment of the National Parks Regulations adds considerably more responsibilities beyond the National Parks. To fulfill its objectives, it has to work closely with all of the other Parks’ departments. Heritage management obligations involve much more than managing the Dockyard Museum which receives hundreds of visitors daily. To ensure that the heritage sites are not compromised, the department must be included in planning, policy decisions, implementation, enforcement, research, archaeology, education, collections BusinessFocus
management, structural surveys, monitoring and documentation and much more. As some departments have overlapping interests, Heritage works closely with the Restoration department for planning and managing restoration projects and with the vital Environmental department, and both conduct field research and monitoring activities. Monitoring and documentation are essential as all activities within the protected area will have an impact on the site. Within the historical core, anything that may impact the authenticity, aesthetics, physical structures, and archaeological sites within the Parks, or what is referred to by UNESCO as the Outstanding Universal Values that define the site including the scenic landscapes, must involve an evaluation prior to commencement of work, and supervision and monitoring by the Heritage and Environmental Departments during the process of work. Both departments therefore assist in the review of building permits to ensure that archaeological sites, the building guidelines, zoning restrictions and Parks Policies are adhered to. Archaeological research is an important activity and this is generally conducted in the summer months. To maximise this work and to benefit from overseas resources and expertise, the Heritage
Department has established a partnership with the Historical and Archaeological Society and the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda as well as a number of professors and graduate students from overseas institutions. Each summer season, archaeologists from a several North American universities, including California State Chico Campus, Farmingdale State University New York, City University New York, Lake Head University Ontario, and many more, gain valuable field experience and course credits in archaeology and much of their research takes place within the Nelson’s Dockyard National Parks. Their efforts and the resulting data provide new historical information, artifacts and publications that have placed the National Parks on the cutting edge of scientific research. Education and the dissemination of information are also important activities that are being developed and expanded in light of the World Heritage application and current Tentative Listing. Numerous radio shows, television documentaries, museum exhibitions, presentations at a number of local schools and at international conferences and universities, academic publications, and presentations are done annually by Dr. Murphy and his fellow researchers. In addition, the department works closely with NGOs and other agencies and
Ministries of Government, including Tourism, Education and the Royal Antigua Barbuda Police Force (forensic unit) providing technical assistance and information voluntarily. As the Nelson’s Dockyard moves closer to nomination as a World Heritage Site, the role and responsibilities of the Heritage Department will have to be expanded. Already we have begun to build capacity and to improve both methods and quality of service in all respects. All plans for the site are being evaluated and with the assistance of an expert ICOMOS conservation architect from Cuba, a new Conservation Management Plan is being developed. The zoning regulations and building guideline of the Park are also being strengthened. In addition, new Heritage Laws for Antigua have been drafted as we seek to place our site and island on the world stage.
The Heritage Department of the National Parks is a small unit with a large mandate. It plays a crucial role in all affairs of the National Parks. Its most recent activities include assisting with the planning and restoration of Clarence House, the archaeological survey at Great George Fort on Monk’s Hill, research, preparation and writing of the World Heritage Application Dossier, and the recent stabilisation of the Betty’s Hope windmill. Research, monitoring and documentation are daily activities and the workload is enormous, but for Parks employees who work in the footsteps of great historical personalities and with the diversity of physical remains and artifacts of a rich and diverse past, it is a labour of love and an exciting and rewarding experience. •
THE RESTORATION OF CLARENCE HOUSE ANTIGUA Few buildings in the Caribbean can boast the pedigree of Clarence House, English Harbour. Once home and residence of Royalty, naval commanders, commissioners and governors, Clarence House is set in a picturesque location overlooking English Harbour and the Naval Dockyard on Commissioner’s Bay. It was built in 1783 and massively altered in 1803 and has been described as a fine example of Palladian Style architecture in a Caribbean setting. Today, it still remains a majestic and excellent example of a colonial Great House from an era long gone. In the 1990s, a series of hurricanes severely damaged the building. Termites quickly invaded the open unused building and ravaged the structure, nearly reducing it to rubble. Several studies and restoration efforts were launched but no major progress was made. In an attempt to stimulate the restoration effort, a registered charity was set up with the Charity Commission in the United Kingdom by concerned Antiguans, residents of the UK and the National Parks to facilitate fundraising efforts. This was a timely event as Sir Peter Harrison of the Peter Harrison Foundation, a highly successful businessman, philanthropist, long-time friend of Antigua, visited Antigua and won the Antigua Sailing Week in 2012. To mark his achievement and in an effort BusinessFocus Feb /April
to contribute to the development of the Dockyard, Sir Peter became a trustee of the project and its donor. With funding from the Sir Peter Heritage foundation restoration began of creating an outstanding site and place of beauty, that presents the finest in Caribbean/ Antiguan architecture; a fitting tribute to the history of the site and island and those who built the numerous outstanding structures throughout the dockyard and on the ridge at Shirley’s Heights. The restoration committee was activated and the best Antiguan craftsmen, stonemasons and foremen experienced in restoration work selected. The restoration and project management team includes: architect Andrew Goodenough; Quantity Surveyor, Richard Watson; Engineer, J. Oliver Davis Jr.; Restoration and Project Managers from the Dockyard, Marius Smith and Michael Flermius; and Oversight for Historical Authenticity, Trustee Dr. Reginald Murphy. Parks Commissioner, Ann Marie Martin has been the driving force behind the project, in that she negotiated the funding for the project and is the focal person in ensuring its successful implementation. The staff of the National Parks plays an active role in ensuring the restoration is of a high degree of accuracy and authenticity. This is not a patch or repair
project, but a full restoration using the finest materials and only the best workers with significant experience in restoration, which is vastly different from modern construction. Another important aspect of the project is the involvement of apprentices. In partnership with the GARD Center, young people are given the opportunity to work along with the stone masons and tradesmen to gain insights and experience into the trade and to perhaps stimulate a new generation into restoration arts. To date, the work is running smoothly and still within budget, despite the numerous costly surprises. It is beginning to take shape as the interior wood lining and moldings are now being installed. The stone work is in the final stage of completion and already the “wow factor” has been achieved as one admires the crisply cut lines and delicate, perfectly cut stones. All the white limestone on the outside of the building had to be replaced. Matching stone, low in fossils, hard but not crystalline, was donated by Mill Reef and other volcanic stones of similar mineral content and colour were cut from large blocks of stone recovered and saved in the seawall restoration project in 2004. Since much of the furniture that once adorned Clarence House’s original interior has been lost over the years,
photographs were sourced and pieces from the termite damaged originals were secured and authentic copies of the original pieces of furniture are now being replicated by the talented craftsmen. These craftsmen did most of the work in the restoration of Betty’s Hope windmill and many of the gun carriages, anchor crosses and capstans in the restoration of the Dockyard. The goal of the restoration team is to present a unique collection of Caribbean mahogany furniture in a celebration of Caribbean heritage and craftsmanship. Clarence House will be used for high end events, including weddings, conferences, and small exclusive State functions. Formerly a property excluded from management by the National Parks, it has now been fully integrated into the
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park and will be maintained and managed by the Parks Authority. It can also become a major asset of the future World Heritage Site with the “ Wow Factor” that the National Parks Authority and Government envisaged. There are no other historical houses open to the public in Antigua with the potential for heritage tourism as great as that of Clarence House. In sum, this project has returned Clarence House to its rightful place among the most important and richly endowed cultural assets of Antigua & Barbuda. This has been done, suing local skills, local material and driven by local zeal and vision - something of which we can be proud. •
SECURING OUR HERITAGE, PROTECTING OUR PEOPLE Meet Clement Solomon, Head of Security for the National Parks Authority Mr. Solomon has over 36 years of Law Enforcement experience. He has a team of four (4) National Parks Security Officers that he manages. This number is augmented by subcontracting additional security. As head of security, Mr. Solomon’s duties entail the protection and safety of National Parks property including that of its tenants and to ensure a safe environment for visitors and residence in the park and the general public. There are two (2) pieces of regulations which govern the National Parks Authority: 1 T he National Parks (General) Regulation No. 48 0f 2012. 2 T he National Parks (Trade) Regulation No. 9 of 2014. The National Parks (General) Regulation, lays out activities for which persons have to seek permission to engage in certain activities. It also prohibits activities such as the use of public lands or property within the Park, the construction of building or other structures, the removal of natural objects, pre-historic or archaeological artifacts and buried relicts. The National Parks (Trade) Regulation section 3 states “A person shall not carry on any business within the Park without a license obtained for that purpose from the Authority. BusinessFocus Feb /April
The regulation also sets out seven classes of licences. The individuals or businesses must apply to the Authority for a license and if granted they will have to pay a specified fee for the class of business that they are engaged in. The license is valid for one year. The Security Department is responsible for having persons adhere to these two (2) pieces of regulation. The Security Department has conducted training for its Security Officers and other employees of the National Parks Authority: tenants and their employees in Fire Safety. This training helped to sensitise the participants about Fire Safety, and the use of the fire extinguisher to suppress a fire in its initial stage. This training was conducted by the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda Fire Brigade Fire Prevention Unit. The Nelson’s Dockyard National Park has within its confines a port of entry which is the Nelson’s Dockyard. Sharing this space of the port is also the historical Nelson’s Dockyard shipyard. Operating as a port of entry there must be certain security protocols. The Security Department is responsible for the enforcement of these protocols, and additionally to implement measures to mitigate security breaches. The department has at its disposal a CCTV system. This system is very helpful to the department and affords it the
opportunity to assist the Police in the fight against crime. In addition to this initiative there is a Joint Task Force which comprises personnel of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force as well as the Antigua and Barbuda Coast Guard. The operation of the Joint Task Force and the utilisation of the CCTV system have gone a long way in keeping criminal activity in check in the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. The National Parks Authority Security Department has formed an alliance with the Law Enforcement Agencies in order to provide security of the highest level, with a view of making the National Parks a safer place. The National Parks Security Department is responsible for the security of the various landmarks which are: Nelson’s Dockyard National Park - 15.94 miles in area, Devils Bridge - 245 acres, Fort Barrington - 34.5 hectares and Green Castle Hill - 35 hectares. The Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is the busiest of all the parks with its historical sites and marinas making it a yachting heaven and it also provides numerous opportunities for other businesses. The department’s plan is to have all of its Security Officers certified during this year and to have ongoing training for them to improve levels of their competency. •
THE ENVIRONMENT UNIT WITHIN THE NATIONAL PARKS AUTHORITY For many people in Antigua & Barbuda, caring for the environment means not littering, doing beach clean-ups and beautifying roadsides and villages. While these things should be an important part of our civic pride and concern for the health of our communities, the environment is much more than that. At National Parks the environment is everything – the reason for the Parks existence and the resources that it was established to protect. At least, that is the opinion of the Head of the Environment Unit, Dr Brian Cooper. For him, the environment includes not only the rocks, soils, plants, birds and animals that occupy the land area of the various Parks, but also the marine life included within the Parks’ marine areas – the corals, fish, turtles, sea grass and mangroves. He explains that these things do not exist in isolation but live and interact together in what scientists call ecosystems. These ecosystems are vital for our survival. The Environment Unit at National Parks is charged with providing the Authority with the guidance and technical expertise to assess, monitor and understand the various ecosystems within the various parks and to provide management plans for their protection. With over ten thousand acres to manage, this is a huge job, especially as it includes some over 20 miles of the most scenic coastline in Antigua as well as land
which is considered very valuable for development. Such development is not always compatible with the Authority’s conservation mandate. UNDERSTANDING THE PARKS’ NATURAL RESOURCES One of the fundamental jobs of the Environment Unit is to discover and document as precisely as possible just what these natural resources are. Are the Parks home to any plants or other forms of life that are not found anywhere else – what scientists call endemic species? This is very important to know, since if these are destroyed by accident, fire or bulldozed away for building development, those species will have been lost from the planet for ever. This may not seem like a big thing, but such species are part of our national heritage and are something that are unique to Antigua & Barbuda. They form part of our national identity in a similar way to how our historical sites are part of that identity also. In order to identify and document these resources, the Environment Unit commissioned a vegetation survey of all four National Parks, this was conducted by Antiguan botanist, Kevel Lindsay during 2012 to 2013. Plants are usually the key species for a particular ecosystem. Kevel discovered that in Nelson’s Dockyard National Parks alone there are at least 750 different species of plants, belonging to 116 families. Nearly
200 of these species are trees – the rest being shrubs and herbaceous species. He considered over 80 of these species to be very rare and a further 140 species to be rare. There were three very special plants which he considered as extremely rare and a handful more that he could not identify, or were previously unrecorded for Antigua or Barbuda. So we can see that the National Parks possesses a considerable wealth of plant biodiversity. This is not surprising, considering the large number of wild places still left in the park and the variety of its ecosystems. More recently the Unit has started to identify its marine resources. This is more demanding as it requires diving gear and a boat, so work was started close to the Dockyard, where the Unit is based. In 2013, in Windward Bay, which lies just between the entrances to English and Falmouth Harbours, the Unit’s Environment Officer, at the time, Ruleo Camacho, was able to identify 13 species of coral in a small area just off Windward Beach. What added to the excitement was that most of the coral was recovering surprisingly well from the degradation that has hit most of our coral reefs since the 1980s. It was very reassuring to find healthy coral right next to the two busiest harbours in NDNP. Another study has been identifying the organisms called lichens that are often found growing on rocks, the bark of some trees and sometimes on their leaves as BusinessFocus Feb /April
ENVIRONMENTAL UNIT CONT’D
well. These lowly organisms are similar to coral in that they are an association of two quite different organisms, living as one organism. A lichen is composed of a fungus, which provides the body of the organism and either a green alga or a cyano-bacteria, which supplies energy from sunlight in the form of carbohydrates from photosynthesis. This enables lichens to survive on very exposed surfaces, with minimal moisture or soil. There is a great deal of interest in these hardy organisms to see if they hold secrets that can help us adapt to the more severe droughts that are predicted to be part of our changing climate. The collection and identification work is being done by Don Chapman, a lichenologist, who is attached to the Natural History Museum in London, UK. He has just recently finished his second visit to Antigua & Barbuda and there may be new species of lichens to add to the list he has identified for these islands.
wild places and the variety of wildlife they contain, whether it is fields of Turks Cap cacti, standing up like large toy soldiers, or watching how gracefully a 2000 pound leatherback lays its eggs in a hole in the sand.
The wonderful coastline of the NDNP also provides suitable nesting habitat for several species of sea turtles – all of which are on the endangered lists of the international body that keeps track of global biodiversity. Beaches such as Barters and Windward attract Hawksbill females to lay their ping pong ball-sized eggs, while Rendezvous is a favourite of the huge Leatherbacks that like to have a lot of pure sand to use for their nests. The Antigua and Barbuda Sea Turtle project which was started in 2009 by the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) has been assisting National Parks by monitoring these beaches for turtles during their nesting season.
Other features of the environmental education programme provided by the Environment Unit include talks and field trips to schools on request. There are also occasional seminars at the Dockyard or sometimes in town, on special environmental topics relating to the National Parks. In addition, the Unit is in the process of developing an environmental exhibit at the Dockyard museum, which will feature the various ecosystems found in the NDNP.
A major purpose of the National Parks is to provide opportunities for locals and visitors alike to get to know more about both Antigua & Barbuda’s history and culture as well as to experience the beautiful scenery and tranquillity of our BusinessFocus
National Parks is grateful for the assistance over the years by a group of gentlemen from the English Harbour area, who call themselves the “Tot Club”. On certain weekends they spend their time marking and keeping clear a number of trails in the vicinity of the Dockyard, so that others can walk these trails and discover for themselves just what the NDNP has to offer. There is also a small booklet available describing the trails, the historic buildings close by and the plants to be seen along the way. By appointment, the Environment Unit will provide guides for tours along any of these trails for groups who may be interested in learning as much as they can without getting lost!
The excellent recovery of the coral reefs in Windward Bay has already been mentioned, but its variety and healthy status stimulated Ruleo Camacho, who had observed it, to suggest that it would make a very suitable site for an underwater snorkelling trail – something that other parks and marine reserves have developed, but which has not been tried in Antigua. An initial approach
to the design of the trail was tried, but required excessive maintenance and cleaning of the underwater displays, so a new approach has been developed. The project has found financial support from the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Programme and it is hoped that the under-water trail will be in operation by the middle of 2016. The Unit hopes that this new feature will be greatly enjoyed by locals and visitors and that it can be especially beneficial to our older school children who are competent snorkelers. The trail guide will be available for purchase, for those using the trail and it will also be available to teachers for use in their classes where appropriate. Mr Camacho, who is now a graduate student at the University of Maine, has also used Windward Bay for his research project and has been working with the local fishers to agree to a no-fishing zone in Windward Bay so that it can be used as a replenishment zone for other fishing areas outside the Bay. His research suggests that the Fisher’s agreement to reduce fishing in the area has resulted in some significant gains in reef health and fish abundance – even in just one year. MANAGING DEVELOPMENT TO SERVE THE NATION AND THE PARK More than two-thirds of the area of the NDNP is privately owned. Although much of this land was originally considered agricultural land, in recent times, there has been a large demand for such land for up-market development as tourist villas and other tourism related projects. This has put considerable pressure on the previous designations of these park areas as Wilderness or Conservation zones. National Parks is therefore under obligation to see that development is managed in such a way that only minimal damage is done to the natural resource base of the Park.
Junior Supervisors - Environmental Unit
The Environment Unit therefore has an important and time consuming role in working with both the developers, the Development Control Authority and the Department of the Environment to see that the National Parks’ Development Plan and its regulations, as well as national environmental laws are observed in both the design of the development and in the execution of those plans. It is in the execution of developments that major damage to existing resources can be done despite good, approved plans. There have been many instances where developers have changed plans in midstream or have ceased implementation having cleared land, leaving unsightly scars on hillsides and thereby damaging the aesthetic values of the Park. The Environment Unit has been seeking to improve the Authority’s General Regulations so as to include attention to the marine environment as well as for the functioning of Park Rangers, which is a very necessary next step in seeking better management of the Park’s historical and natural resources. To this end the Unit has been working with the legal team working on the implementation of the Blue Halo Project in Barbuda, when their assistance was kindly offered by the director of that project. There had previously been collaboration in harmonising the legislation for the operation of the Barbuda National Parks Authority and its Antigua counterpart. It is hoped that the revised Regulations for the National Parks Authority will be ready for approval later in 2016.
be minimal and the Environment Unit has taken a lead role in assisting other Departments where waste is handled to improve the proportion of recycled waste being separated and collected. A programme that has focussed on improving collection and separation from the yachts and other boats using the Nelson’s Dockyard Marina has been running for some while in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Waste Recycling Company (ABWREC), but separation of other waste streams has not been achieved to any satisfactory degree. Jasiel Murphy, the current Environment Officer and manager of the Unit’s recycling project is hoping that in 2016 increases in the collection of plastic bottles (Code 1 and 2), aluminium drink cans and waste lubricating oil can be achieved.
WASTE MANAGEMENT ISSUES
Another issue that the Environment Unit has been called upon to investigate has been reports of poor water quality at one or other of its beaches. In collaboration with Dr Linroy Christian at the Fisheries Laboratory, the Unit has been monitoring water quality at various locations in English and Falmouth Harbours, including sampling from Pigeon and Galleon Beaches. So far, the results do not indicate any consistently unsafe levels of harmful bacteria, but there have been some spikes, which indicate occasional pollution events. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to pin down the source of such events as they appear to be quite short lived. It is intended that this monitoring will continue, focussing on the periods of maximum activity in the two harbours.
A National Park should be able to demonstrate best practices in its environmental management operations. This includes how it deals with waste. Recyclable materials sent to the sanitary landfill from the National Parks should
The information provided above suggests that, since its establishment in late 2011, the Environment Unit has made a number of significant accomplishments.
CHALLENGES FACING THE ENVIRONMENT UNIT
“THE WORK OF THE NPA-EU IS PRIMARILY FOCUSED ON THE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES” However, as Dr Cooper has indicated, much remains to be done. Work in the Parks marine areas needs to be expanded, the education programme needs to reach out to more schools and to a wider section of the public and developments within the various parks needs to be more closely monitored. Restoration of degraded areas has not been attempted yet and there are still serious problems with roaming livestock in the NDNP. All of this work requires the input of more resources. The Unit has been fortunate in obtaining some donor funding in the last year or so, which can help considerably in reducing the burden on the National Parks Authority itself, whose resources are severely limited. The Unit also needs additional staffing and their training in specific areas of scientific field work and environmental management. The recruiting and training of Rangers, who can provide regular monitoring of our historic buildings and natural resources, would also help considerably in making sure that Park regulations are more closely followed by its residents and visitors. For instance, the Unit is aware that some persons are removing plants, such as the Turks Cap cactus and some of our native orchids from the park for use in landscaping. This needs to be stopped, but to tackle this kind of problem, 24/7 type of monitoring and the assistance of the public is required. Those who visit the parks and enjoy their beauty and healthful tranquillity, would like to see these amenities preserved for the enjoyment of generations to come. The Environment Unit hopes it will be able to continue and expand its work of preservation and management, so that this can be a realised. •
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GOING BEYOND THE WALLS OF NELSON’S DOCKYARD, THE FUNCTIONS OF THE GROUNDS AND MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT Visitors entering the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park cannot help but notice how well maintained and immaculate the facilities are kept. If you journey not far away to Pigeon Beach, one of Antigua’s most popular beaches, you will find both beach and bathroom facilities are well maintained. Likewise, on your way to Shirley Heights you will notice that the sides of the roads are beautifully manicured. These well-kept surroundings add to the attraction of the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, which has the largest number of restored Georgian buildings within the Eastern Caribbean. This Department is managed by Michael Flermius, who has an overall 29 years of service with the National Parks Authority (NPA). He and his staff are responsible for the daily upkeep of the Park surroundings; ensuring that the landscape is pleasant and attractive to visitors; ensuring their safety as well as providing proper waste management. This means the Department’s role goes beyond just the walls of the Nelson’s Dockyard since the National Parks Authority covers 21 square miles of Antigua and includes Pigeon Point and Half Moon Bay beaches, Fort Berkley, Block House, Shirley’s Heights, Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre, to name the main sites. The Maintenance Department conducts bi-annual inspections of all buildings within Nelson’s Dockyard and an annual inspection of the historic structures within the National Park.
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Grounds and Maintenance NPA
Flermius explains, “My role in the Department is to inspect and detect key areas that are in disrepair and in need of immediate attention. After inspection, a detailed plan of the scope of work for the particular area is prepared and that plan would cover the cost, labour, timeframe, and materials etc. that are necessary. “ The plan is then placed in the Department’s annual budget for approval. Upon approval, the Department is responsible for implementing and managing the project. “In addition, the Department is also responsible for overseeing all external construction work done on park buildings such as that presently being undertaken by the Clarence House project. The Department also facilitates the maintenance concerns of our leased tenants as well as the daily maintenance requests of other Park Departments.” The Water Surveillance Programme is also one of my responsibilities in this Department,” he added. While all the Departments of the NPA work together as a team to achieve overall success, Flermius said it is the Department of Grounds and Maintenance upon which everybody else depends. “The first thing a visitor sees when they enter Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is the beauty of the historic buildings in a garden-like setting and it is the comfort and safety of these surroundings, in addition to the excellent service, that will leave a lasting impression on them. The quality of these impressions will determine whether or not the visitor returns. The department therefore plays
a pivotal role in the overall quality of the National Park’s experience, which the Authority would like to be unforgettable,” he stressed. “In the maintenance of these old buildings”, he added, “it is paramount that the correct restoration techniques and high quality materials are used in addition to excellent carpentry and stone masonry skills. The work has to be of the highest standards and precision. This is evident as we observe the Immigration Building with its beautiful wood finish, move past the restored 18th century Copper and Lumber Store building with its sturdy and beautiful woodwork and then to the newly renovated Visitors Services complex with its bathroom facility, which is maintained in spotless condition. PROJECTS UNDERTAKEN Some of the projects that have been undertaken by the Grounds and Maintenance Department are described below include THE DOCKYARD ENTRANCE PROJECT: This was a huge project which saw the complete transformation of the Dockyard Main Entrance. The project sought to create a more visitorsfriendly atmosphere. Work on this project included creating a lobby area for our visitors, a newly constructed security booth, redesigning and reconstructing the roof valley which was in a very dilapidated condition, demolishing existing shacks which housed the vendors and designing and constructing separate Vendors Stalls for their comfort, constructing an office for the Visitors’ Services Manager, upgrades to the post
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“THE FIRST THING A VISITOR SEES WHEN HE/SHE ENTERS THE NATIONAL PARKS IS ITS SURROUNDINGS” office, significant renovations to the bathroom facility, installing an emergency exit to the bank and resurfacing the inner roadway to the park. The building work was complemented with new beautiful landscape work in the passageway past Admiral’s Inn, leading into the main gate of the Dockyard. IMMIGRATION, CUSTOMS AND PORT AUTHORITY COMPLEX PROJECT: In an effort to present a more appealing look to the complex, significant upgrading was undertaken. This included creating additional office spaces for the supervisors of the immigration and the port authority as well as additional service space for the immigration office. This project was masterfully done to conceal unsightly wiring, cables etc. The entire complex was repainted in a livelier colour, ceiling fans were installed, counters were re-stained and varnished, unsightly walls were re-panelled and an information monitor was installed to provide quality service. Wayne skirting and baseboards were installed, doors and windows trimmed and picture frames etc. were displayed on the walls to give an attractive look. COPPER AND LUMBER HOTEL REFURBISHMENT AND UPGRADE: The Copper & Lumber Hotel is one of the Parks’ oldest buildings and as such needs constant upgrade. Therefore major work was continuously carried out to include completely demolishing and reconstructing some of the bathrooms, repairing floor boards, replacing windows, rewiring some of the rooms, retrofitting the building with lighting fixtures, BusinessFocus Feb /April
repairing old furnishings, repainting the rooms, repairing bathroom vanities and cupboards, gutting out and refurbishing a few kitchens, re-shingling some of the attic rooms etc. ADDITIONAL PROJECTS COMPLETED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, INCLUDE: The Horsford Hill Vendors Mall Project, The Pigeon Point Bathroom Facility, Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre upgrade, The Park lighting project, The Dockyard Police Station Renovation Project, Waterfront Deck for Copper and Lumber Store Hotel and The Refurbishment of the Yacht Service Office. Few persons realise that the Dockyard is able to store a large quantity of potable water for emergency use, which has been very useful during times of water shortage. The Department has recently refurbished this storage cistern which is found under the Officers’ Quarters building. This water is regularly inspected and treated with chlorine to make sure that it is safe to use. With droughts forecast to be more prevalent and severe as a result of climate change, such a facility is of considerable value especially in the case of a fire occurring when the hydrants are dry. FUTURE PROJECTS A few projects have been proposed, but are subject to Board approval. These include a National Parks Nursery, a Recreational Park within the Dow’s Hill area; complete renovation of the Old Officers’ Quarter’s Building and the acquisition of a 30 cubic yard Compactor Bin to reduce costs in garbage disposal as well as to assist in rodent control.
RESTORATION, A VITAL PROCESS TO KEEPING THE PARKS ALIVE The materials for daily maintenance of Park buildings are usually sourced from the various hardware stores in Antigua. Materials for specific special projects such as Wallaba shingles and Greenheart lumber are normally imported from Guyana through a local agent. Other special materials for special projects such as the Clarence House project are imported. However, the special white limestone rock that is being cut and dressed for use on the outer walls of Clarence House are sourced from the Mill Reef Quarry, while the dark volcanic stones being used on the lower part of the building, the walkways and the steps are stones that have been sourced from within the National Parks, that is, some have been salvaged from the seawall project years ago while others have been found within the surrounding areas of the Dockyard. When asked about what enabled the Department of Grounds and Maintenance to have been able to have such success with so many complex projects that obviously required a great deal of careful management, Flermius responded that “what it really comes down to is proper planning and having a dedicated team. “We have some of the best craftsmen in the region,” he said with obvious pride. •
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NATIONAL PARKS AUTHORITY– A SELF FINANCING INSTITUTION INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND: The National Parks Authority was ushered into being in 1984 as a statutory body by Act of Parliament. The National Parks Act Cap. 290 (the Act) specifically speaks to the structure and governance of the National Parks Authority as well as the policies and objectives on various matters, but not limited to: • T he development and use of land in the Park; • M aintenance and protection of natural resources and sensitive environmental areas; • P rotection and conservation of heritage resources and archaeological sites (including buildings, structures and views); • P rovision of transportation;
• P rovision of economic opportunity in the form of accommodation, culinary and other related activities. The National Parks Authority is intended to be a self-sustaining entity and thus the Act authorises the management to engage in certain commercial activities to fulfill such mandate. Section 12(1) of the Act authorises the authority, from time to time, with the approval of the Minister to borrow, secure or raise money by the issue of debentures or debenture stock, or other security, for all or any of the following purposes: • The provision of working capital;
• T he fulfilling of the functions of the authority under the Act; • T he provision of capital for the expansion of and addition of fixed assets; • T he redemption of any debenture or debenture stock or other security that the Authority is required or entitled to redeem; • A ny other expenditure properly chargeable to capital account. The prevailing economic environment compels the management of NPA to be creative in order to find revenue to carry out its mandate. Despite the challenges NPA has been able to successfully navigate the tumultuous economic conditions with revenues of approximately EC$11.5M in 2014 and at the same time keeping expenditures in line with revenue. SOURCES OF REVENUE: The main sources of NPA’s revenues are: Yacht services, visitor services, lease rents and other enterprises. • L ease Rent: The development plan includes the restoration of buildings which in turn are leased to a number of yachting and tourism related businesses. • E ntrance Fees: The unique features of the Park attracts large amount of visitors to the Park. The Authority is able to develop tour packages and create the environment for visitors to enter and enjoy the Park
Restoration of Joiner's Loft Building
• R etail Enterprise: The Park operates two gift shops which offer uniquely branded items of Antigua & Barbuda and the Park. • M arina Facilities: The Authority operates the oldest existing marina in the Caribbean which offers 35 berths in addition to 14 berths on its new super dock facility. The facilities also offer water, electricity and Wi-Fi services • H otel Facilities: The Copper and Lumber Store Hotel is a boutique and unique hotel with 14 (fourteen) rooms. It offers visitors a unique experience of staying in traditional 18th century accommodation. The facility is the hub for all sailing events in the area. Copper and Lumber Store Hotel also caters for weddings and the popular Friday night seafood event. The Parks is opened all year round but its economic activities are seasonal with 80 per cent of its revenues being generated during the winter season from December – April. An estimated 125,000 individuals and 3,600 yachts visit the park annually. Additionally, several small cruise ships usually make calls to the Park during the winter season. BUDGETING: Prior to the commencement of its financial year all heads of the departments are engaged in detailed consultation at which the department plans for projects are presented, discussed and adopted or deferred in the context of the constraints. All approved projects
National Parks Board on Site Visit
along with their associated costs are then compiled, documented and presented in the Authority’s budget. The budget is then presented to the Board of Directors and the relevant Ministry for ratification and approval. Implementation of plans and projects will then take place together with the normal monitoring and periodic evaluation. The National Parks Authority has been lauded as one of the better managed statutory organisations, especially for the way in which it has allocated its financial resources. NPA has gained a reputation for its fiscal prudence and has received many commendations for its commitments to meeting its statutory obligations to State Insurance, Social Security, Medical Benefits, and the Inland Revenue Department. The Antigua Public Utilities Authority has gone on record as stating that the Authority is “one that meets its monthly obligations”. SOME KEY FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO NPA’S FISCAL PRUDENCE ARE: • Aligning budget to programmes in the budgetary process • Monitoring of financial performance • Setting goals and meeting targets • T imely completion of Financials Statements: Monthly statements are produced to the Board • Cost efficiency • A doption of a culture of accountability and continuous improvement
• P eriodic process re-engineering leading to completing projects on time and within budget
environment therefore dictates that the Authority has to be prudent in the way it manages its limited resources.
• C ontinuous monitoring of vehicle usage/mileage
RESTORATION AND MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME:
• C reating the best value for money and elimination of waste • N etworking with local suppliers who provide services and goods at reasonable prices • S ocial responsibility and network management • Continuous training of employees • G ood will from international agencies and other public sector partners, and the yachting fraternity USE OF RESOURCES: Most of the revenue that is collected is pumped directly back into the Parks Heritage based and environment programmes. Although the Government does not directly subsidise the Authority, NPA receives the necessary duty free concessions, which are helpful in reducing the costs with respect to the important functions that the Authority performs. The Authority is fully cognizant of the fact that all governments have limited financial resources and therefore government and quasi government organisations must prioritise how very scarce resources are spent, for example on education, health, infrastructure, etc. The prevailing circumstances and
The majority of the structures within the National Parks are old or in ruins which make the task of maintenance and restoration arduously continuous. Fifteen percent of NPA’s revenue is spent on restoration and maintenance. This is separate and apart from its capital projects. CAPITAL PROJECT: Over the past 12 years, the Authority has restored four major buildings in the Dockyard: The Joiner’s Loft, the building which houses A&F Sails, the Paymaster’s Office and the Working Mast Shed. The super-dock facility was built approximately 2 ½ years ago. Except for the super-dock, funding was provided from the operational budget. The super-dock was financed through a low interest loan of 4% from one of our benefactors. NPA was also successful in negotiating funding, in the form of small grants, for some smaller projects from the private sector. Additionally, NPA also successfully negotiated a major grant to completely restore Clarence House from Sir Peter Harrison Heritage Foundation. Clarence House was the Governor General’s former country residence that prior to the restoration efforts remained derelict for decades.
A SELF FINANCING INSTITUTION CONT’D
School children at the Dow's Hill Interpretation Centre
Visitor Services - Dow's Hill Interpretation Centre SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP The Authority also understands its role as a social partner and is involved in a number of community projects and events. NPA is well known for its generosity towards community oriented programmes in the area of sports and education. The Authority provides a number of kiosks for local vendors for little or no cost. A vendor spends an average of EC $2 per day in the high season and $1 per day during the summer months. Among other things, the National Parks Authority maintains the Pigeon Point beach facility, the community basketball court, roadsides, street lighting and CCTV cameras as well continually support the Cobbs Cross Primary School. A SUCCESSFUL MODEL The Nelson’s Dockyard National Parks model has been extremely successful and has been used as a model for sustainable development. It is known for using best management practices, financial prudence in its sustainable development plan and creating a successful park structure. It is well known for its well-defined budgetary process and its careful implementation of its programmes in an efficient and cost effective manner. BusinessFocus
The Authority has been able to successfully form alliances with a number of private sector partners and donor agencies to assist in the effective execution of its planed programmes and activities. Over the years, the Authority has able to carry out a number of major capital projects without increasing its debt. The execution of its programmes enables the Park to make a yearly surplus at the end of the year which is mandated by law to reinvest into capital projects. CHARTING THE WAY FORWARD The National Parks Authority has positioned itself as a strong self-financing institution. It has been able to create and sustain an economic engine that powers economic activities and job creation for many Antiguans and Barbudans. As it charts it way forward it is mindful of the uncertainties of the global economic climate and the vulnerability of small island economies such as ours. To continue to foster sustainable growth, it will strategically align its plan to secure its completive advantage as a World Class yachting destination and achieve World Heritage Site Status. To achieve this is no simple task but with its sound framework and track record, there is much optimism forging ahead. •
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Prime Minister Gaston Browne
REBUILDING A STRONGER, SAFER AND PROSPEROUS ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
In January 2016, Prime Minister Gaston Browne presented the annual Budget, revealing that the Recurrent expenditure for fiscal year is estimated at $1.079 billion while recurrent revenue is estimated at $852 million.
• P ensions and Gratuities, budgeted at $64 million
Recurrent expenditure excluding principal payments is estimated at $732 million, which is about 5 per cent above the $699 million estimated in Budget 2015.
• T ransfers and grants, budgeted at $100 million
Accordingly, he said the government projects a current account surplus of $120 million for fiscal year 2016. This compares with a current account deficit of $49.3 million in Budget 2015. Recurrent Expenditure comprises the following categories: • S alaries, wages and allowances, budgeted at $319.6 million • Contributions to Social Security and BusinessFocus Feb /April
Medical Benefits, budgeted at $27.5 million
• G oods and services including utilities, budgeted at $127 million
• D ebt service payments, budgeted at $441 million The Ministry of Finance is responsible for payment of utility services for all government ministries and makes the annual $6.5 million subvention to the Barbuda Council. It is also this Ministry that has to oversee and encourage revenue earning initiatives such as the Citizenship by Investment Programme without which the current fortunes would be dim.
SUMMARY OF ANTIGUA & BARBUDA’S 2016 BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology receives the second largest single allocation in this year’s Budget, amounting to $84.5 million.
The Ministry of Health and the Environment (MHE) is responsible for regulation, policy, guidance, human resource management, and delivery of all public health care services.
Over the coming financial year, the Ministry of Education Science and Technology will pursue the following priorities and strategies:
MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HOUSING The Ministry of Works and Housing has been allocated the fourth largest slice of the Budget resources at $70.8 million to carry out its mandate in 2016. This ministry’s strategic priorities include:
This Ministry is also responsible for all matters relating to environmental management and sustainability.
i Continuing to maintain all the major roads into the city of St John’s and to upgrade critical secondary roads;
i I ncreasing the number of trained teachers;
The budgetary allocation for this Ministry in 2016 is $81.5 million.
ii Providing training in leadership, management and administration to all units, departments and agencies of the ministry;
It is the third largest allocation.
ii Developing a comprehensive plan for the upgrade and rehabilitation of the road infrastructure;
iii Establishing legislative standards for the operation of pre-schools; iv Expanding the TVET Programme which focuses on Competency-based Literacy and Numeracy; and v P ilot legislation establishing the University of Antigua and Barbuda. Work on establishing the University of Antigua and Barbuda is at an advanced stage as the government seeks to create a new campus facility at Five Islands. In addition, funding has been secured from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to renovate and expand the secondary school plant, which will fully satisfy the requirements of the nation’s secondary school students. The School Meals Programme will be expanded to include Barbuda and several million dollars have been allocated in the capital budget for school renovation and maintenance.
The Ministry’s priorities and strategies include: i Enhancing the Infection Prevention and Control Network to combat the most serious communicable diseases; ii Enhancing the quality of academic programmes offered at the School of Nursing; iii Improving the policy and regulatory services in the sector; iv Implementing stricter noncommunicable disease programmes to reduce the incidence of these diseases; v S trengthening human resource capacity to deliver the environmental health programme; and
iii Establishing a vehicle maintenance arrangement with the Transport Board for the maintenance of Central Government vehicles; iv Producing a National Housing Policy and Strategic Plan; and v P rocuring appropriate software for Engineering and Architectural functions. Attorney General’s Office and Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Public Safety, and Labour The office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Public Safety, and Labour, receives the sum of $70.5 million.
vi Executing Antigua and Barbuda’s climate change commitments and sourcing funding to support adaptation and mitigation.
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SUMMARY OF ANTIGUA & BARBUDAâ€™S 2016 BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS CONT'D
This Ministry is concerned with the safety and security of the people in their homes and businesses. These resources will be used for a number of purposes including: i Improving the efficiency of the Work Experience Programme; ii Continued Development of the One Stop Employment Centre (OSEC); iii Implementing a fire safety education strategy and plan for Antigua and Barbuda; iv Developing a nationwide traffic law enforcement plan; v E nhancing the investigative techniques of Police Officers; vi Continuing to assist communities to establish and operate Neighborhood Watch programmes; vii Ensuring Antigua and Barbuda remains compliant with international requirements by executing policies to prevent human trafficking; and viii Continuing to implement programmes for the systematic training of Prison Officers In 2016, the Ministry will continue to execute programmes that will further improve its ability to tackle crime and boost national security. In this regard, over $31 million has been allocated for the Police Force to execute its mandate in 2016. These resources will facilitate training of existing officers and new recruits; help to enhance crime fighting programmes and increase the presence of officers in communities; continuing collaboration with other agencies; and introducing new strategies to identify and apprehend criminals. Additional funds have also been allocated in the capital budget to ensure the Police Force is better equipped to effectively investigate criminal activity. Also, the government will be purchasing two new, modern fire engines to join the complement of fire vehicles on the island. This will allow the Fire Department to respond to and resolve fire emergencies more effectively. MINISTRY OF TOURISM, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INVESTMENT AND ENERGY The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy has an allocation of $27.4 million. It is a 41 per cent increase over the $19.4 million allocated in 2015. This increase will supplement the 2 per cent marketing fund, thereby generating approximately $20 million for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) to market the destination.
The Minister responsible for Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy will provide a detailed account of the strategies and programmes to be pursued by this Ministry to ensure the goals and objectives for growth of Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product are achieved.
i Improving efficiency and effectiveness of Social Protection Programmes through enhanced coordination, targeting, policy formulation, legislation and monitoring and evaluation;
The following list summarizes the strategies to be pursued.
iii Formulating additional legislation and regulations to support Child Rights Convention and Policy on Institutional Care;
These are: i Continuing to enhance marketing and product development programmes to increase the awareness and competitiveness of the Antigua and Barbuda brand; ii Continuing to implement a plan to develop the Information technologyenabled services/Business Process Outsourcing (ITES/BPO) sector; iii Re-branding and yachting industry;
iv Implementing the one – stop –shop (hassle free) business registration project; and v P romoting the use of green technology and renewable energy to improve energy efficiency. MINISTRY OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION & HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT The allocation for the Ministry of Social Transformation and Human Resource Development in Budget 2016 is $18.3 million. The ministry will use these resources along with support from external agencies to pursue a number of plans and programmes in 2016. Among the priorities and strategies for the coming year are:
ii Embarking on sustainable livelihoods and entrepreneurial development initiatives;
online to include: reissuing of drivers licence, business registration, land registry services; payment of APUA Bills, statutory contributions to MBS, Social Security and Board of Education, and Property taxes. ii Improving the quality of the broadcast production and increasing the quality and quantity of local programming; iii Optimizing the revenue opportunities that accompany the new programme content;
iv Establishing a holistic Vagrancy Control Programme in collaboration with Faith Based Organisations, Community Based Organisations and the Private Sector;
iv E stablishing the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission;
v U pdating and disseminating the Disaster Mitigation and Management plan;
vi C ompleting the rollout of the redesigned Government Wide Area Network (GWAN);
vi Implementation of rebranding and modernisation initiatives to increase productivity in the public sector; vii Reviewing legislation that governs the delivery of service to vulnerable groups; and viii Improving training and capacity building initiatives for the public sector. MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, BROADCASTING, TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TheallocationfortheMinistryofInformation, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Information Technology is $14.5 million.
v Developing a Gigabit Fibre to Home (FTH) network for Antigua and Barbuda;
vii Procuring and installing new workstations across all government networks; viii Completing the evaluation and costing of an enterprise solution for the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force; and ix Developing and implementing the national cyber security policy. Allocations for other Ministries BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS FOR THE OTHER MINISTRIES ARE AS FOLLOWS: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade - $27 Million Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs - $17.1 Million
These resources will be used to pursue a number of strategic priorities including:
Ministry of Public Utilities, Civil Aviation & Transportation - $7.2 Million
i Creation of an eGovernment platform to include the digitization of all public records and the provision of services
Ministry of Trade, Commerce & Industry, Sports, Culture & National Festivals and Community Service - $23.1 Million
MONEY MATTERS SUMMARY OF ANTIGUA & BARBUDA’S 2016 BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS CONT'D
THE 2016 BUDGET ALSO INCLUDES ALLOCATIONS FOR: Office of the Governor General
The Service Commissions
Pensions and Gratuities
Charges on Public Debt
Finally, the budgetary allocation for the Office of the Prime Minister is $26.6 million while the allocation for the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Governance is $91.8 million – the largest allocation in the Budget. Finance and Corporate Governance gets the largest allocation for several reasons, not least of which is the repayment of the nation’s large debt burden. Those debts have to be serviced, while at the same time the government said it will to renegotiate and reschedule some of them. Also, the Ministry of Finance is responsible for payment of utility services for all government ministries and makes the annual $6.5 million subvention to the Barbuda Council. •
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NO MORE PERSONAL INCOME TAX AS REVENUE RECOVERY CHARGE INCREASES For several months the government teased a reduction or break for those who pay Personal Income Tax (PIT) in Antigua & Barbuda. Well, commencing on April 1, this year residents will no longer be required to do so according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne who made the announced at the Budget Presentation themed “Rebuilding a Stronger, Safer and Prosperous Antigua and Barbuda”.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne delivering the Budget Presentation to a packed Parliament
The PIT introduced in 2004, places a tax of 8 per cent on persons earning an income above $3500 and 15 per cent on persons earning an income above $25, 000. “Abolishing Personal Income Tax is an important reform. Not only will it put more money in the pockets of the people, so that they can save or spend more for the benefit of the economy as whole, it will help to re-establish our country as one of the most competitive in the Caribbean and beyond. Abolishing the PIT will put over $30 million back into the pockets of people,” PM Browne said. The country’s leader said that prior to 2004 the country was governed with the tax, and he also noted that the cost of collecting PIT, the difficulty of enforcement, and its unfairness, are among reason why it is wide to remove the PIT from the books. “Antigua and Barbuda will become a competitive location to attract the headquarters of companies and for professionals to relocate, thereby creating more jobs. Retirees will choose Antigua and Barbuda as their retirement home; CIP Investors will invest and chose Antigua and Barbuda over our competitors,” PM Browne said. The loss of $37 million from the elimination of the PIT will be partially substituted by an increase in the Revenue Recovery Charge (RRC) from 10 percent to 13 per cent, which is expected to yield an additional $20 million in revenue, the prime minister said. However, PM Browne said that all food items in the ABST basket of goods will be exempt from this increase. He concluded that his government expects a more buoyant and expanded economy to empower the government with increased revenues to fund the socioeconomic development of the masses. This year the government is projecting it will see 6 per cent growth in the economy. •
A & B TO PHASE OUT CURRENT PASSPORTS FOR A MORE SECURE DOCUMENT The Antigua & Barbuda government plans to phase out the current Caricom Passport and it is already in talks with Canadian Bank Note (CBN) which is bidding to produce the new e-passport from mid-year for a period of 10 years. Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst said the government has confidence in the work done by the company. “These officials made a presentation to (Cabinet to provide passports to Antigua & Barbuda over the next 10 years and these are what’s called e-passports because they contain a security chip. CBN already provides border security systems for us, the system utilised by the immigration department and also the electoral system,” he said. Hurst said the CBN’s proposal is a reasonable one that government is considering for varying reasons. “What the CBN is trying to do is to bundle all three services into one 10year agreement that would be payable annually and the offer is being studied at the moment,” Hurst said. He added that the CBN put the offer on the table even as the government currently owes the company several million dollars for services over the years. “The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party inherited a debt of more than US$8
million owed to CBN. Five million for the immigration border security system and three million for the electoral commission’s system. The outgoing administration made a few payments but ceased making any payments at all during the six months of 2014. And as a consequence the debt remains and still has to be paid,” Hurst noted. He did not indicate when government intends to pay the monies. The proposed new passport would have a number of security features in keeping with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards. De La Rue, a British company, manufactures the passport currently in use. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade Charles “Max’ Fernandez said although phasing out the current document will be costly, it is a necessity to tighten border security measures. He noted that it is too early in the process to determine whether the new passport will cost more than the current document which costs EC$100. Meanwhile, with regards to new legislation to protect the border, Fernandez said work has already commenced towards stepping up in the area of Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). •
Foreigners who require visas to enter Antigua & Barbuda no longer have to wait six to eight weeks for their application to be processed, nor do they have to send their original documents to the twin island as part of the process. This of course is because the Immigration Department has added to its website, a visa online application system. The system was launched on www. immigration.gov.ag where applications are to be processed within a maximum of seven days, at a cost of US $200. Minister The Hon. Melford Nicholas
A&B Visa Application Process Goes Online
For an even more expedited process, applications can pay an additional US$100 and have a response within 48 hours, said Immigration Chief Annette Mark. She said the site is a secure one; when paying online the applicant’s financial information goes only to the bank and not to the immigration department; and the site will be constantly monitored and applications reviewed around the clock. “In respect to the actual processing of the application, we have also put in place a team of persons to monitor the applications (24 hours). One application will come before a number of persons for review. There’s a heightened level of security and we have to be that much more careful,” Mark said. “We do expect with the e-Visa system we are going to see an influx of applications from certain places, and, of course, those are areas we have to be very careful with,” Mark added. Technology Minister Melford Nicholas said the change is among several on the government’s e-platform agenda to reverse the country’s decline on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. At the start of the New Year the government launched its online driver’s licence application system. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
GOVERNMENT AGREES ON ASSET SWAP WITH MBS TO WIPE OFF DEBT The Gaston Browne led administration has announced an agreement with the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) on how to address the government’s $250 million debt to the statutory corporation. Instead of the initial write-off as was announced at the start of the year, on Budget Day January 21, Browne explained the deal is for a debt for asset swap. “Even though Central Government has the right to pursue a set-off of these debts, we have agreed with the Board of MBS to a debt for asset swap to include Mount St. John’s Medical Centre and the government’s shares in the Eastern Caribbean Cancer Centre. This will eliminate the debt in its entirety,” said PM Browne. Governments over the years have amassed a debt to the MBS over $250 million dollars. The PM’s earlier debt write-off proposal was largely criticized, including by the main opposition party which threatened legal action to put a stop to the plan. In making his presentation on the government’s standing with the MBS during the Budget Presentation, Prime Minister Browne said that his government is committed to paying contributions to both MBS and Social Security and to ensure that the people of this nation are provided world class living standards. “We have already demonstrated this commitment with investments in medical equipment and supplies to the Mount St Johns Medical Centre; with the successful eye care programme; and with scholarships to train doctors and nurses,” he disclosed.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
He explained that through failed investments with MBS Funds, “Almost $20 million was lost in the BAICO/CLICO debacle and further a $13.5 million was also wasted on a boat that never sailed; a cotton farm and a pineapple farm that yielded neither crop nor revenue.” The country’s leader also pointed out that as a consequence of poor investments, $13.5 million was lost, and the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank (ABDB) was bankrupted and is now in need of an injection of $24 million to break even. He also made it clear that the Medical Benefits was established as a special fund to provide financial and other assistance towards the healthcare cost of the nation. “MBS is therefore legally responsible for funding healthcare for all citizens and residents, with supplemental support from central government. It was not intended to be an investment fund to carry hundreds of millions in government securities on its books. The Medical Benefits’ obligation, to fund healthcare has not been fully met, leaving central government to cover these costs, which far exceed the amounts payable to MBS,” PM Browne stated. To remain current with contributions, the country’s leader said his administration has agreed to establish a monthly standing order to cover contributions. The Government on January 21 remitted $2.7 million to commence payments for 2016.•
ANTIGUANS & BARBUDANS PAYING LESS AT THE PUMPS Effective February 1, the price for gasoline and diesel dropped in Antigua and Barbuda. When he made the announcement in the 2016 Budget presentation, Prime Minister Browne said that this action by his government is part of the process of giving economic power back to the people. “With effect from February 1st, my Government will reduce the price of gasoline and diesel as follows: The price per gallon of gasoline will be reduced from $13.50 to $12.50, and the price per gallon of diesel will come down from $13.20 to $12.20,” PM Browne announced. The country’s leader said that while his government is delivering the goods and services to the people of Antigua and Barbuda, struggling to repay debt while trying to bring the country back into solvency, it is not possible to reduce the consumption tax on gasoline and diesel any sooner. “It simply was not possible to reduce the consumption tax on gasoline and diesel until my Government had stabilised the financial system and laid a foundation for the future. Consequently, an additional $20 million of windfall revenue was earned in consumption tax in 2015,” the PM said. “Assuming no significant increase in the price of oil and no reduction in the level of consumption, the price changes that will take effect in February, will return $14.5 million of the $20 million windfall to the country’s motorists,” he said. He concluded that the purchase of WIOC at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers, and the dividends the country will earn from the expanded profits of the company permit this relief on the cost of gasoline and diesel. “I am delighted that, through sound policies and prudent fiscal management, my government is able to put more money into the pockets of consumers,” he stated. Meanwhile, the opposition parties and some residents are still clamouring for the price for fuel to be reduced even further, to match St Lucia and Dominica which pay under 10 dollars per gallon. •
ECAB PURCHASES, ASSUMES CERTAIN ASSETS AND LIABILITIES OF ABI BANK
The Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated VVVVBank has taken over certain assets and liabilities of the Antigua and Barbuda Investment (ABI) Bank which ceased operations when it went into liquidation at the end of November 2015. This development came after the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) relinquished control of ABI which began experiencing financial trouble since 2010. The ECCB, which had been managing the bank since 2011, handed over the operations on November 27, the same day the court appointed attorney Megan Samuel-Fields as the receiver.
During the transition period as well, ECAB will honour all of ABI customers’ cheques and credit/debit card transactions. As such, the government said the public should continue to accept these forms of payment from customers of ABI until further notice. Following the completion of the integration process, all ECAB customers will have access to a wider variety of products and services and will be served from the widest network of branches and ATMs located throughout the island.
Over the next few months, there will be a phased transition of all accounts acquired from ABI. During this transition period, ABI customers are required to continue using the same ABI branch locations to conduct their usual banking business. Applications for new deposit accounts, loans and advances or credit cards should, however, be made at one of ECAB’s branches located at Coolidge, High Street or Dockyard. BusinessFocus
The passage of the Banking Act last year was critical to the resolution of ABI Bank. The key elements of the resolution strategy included:
The Government of Antigua & Barbuda and the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Ltd (ECAB) had reached an agreement to transfer most of the operations of the ABI Bank to ECAB, which is owned by a consortium of five regional banks and the Government of Antigua & Barbuda. To meet the objective of full protection of the depositors, agreed to by the ECCB’s Monetary Council, the portion of a person’s deposits in excess of $500,000 has been transferred to a Depositor Protection Trust (DPT). The DPT will manage these amounts and pay them out over time.
He said one of the key lessons learnt from the intervention was that “existing legislative tools were inadequate to expeditiously address issues prior to intervention, as well as to effectively resolve the banks in a timely manner. In that regard, the ECCB formulated a deliberate strategy with the intention of strengthening and modernising legislation required to preserve the stability of the financial sector.”
• Implementing substantial policy and legislative changes; • T he urgent resolution of the intervened banks; and • P rompt corrective actions for the commercial banks experiencing difficulties in relation to capital adequacy. Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin explained the circumstances under which this action was taken were as follows: 1 The economies of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) are mainly dependent for their growth on two sectors, tourism and construction; 2 T he global crisis has had a major impact on these sectors; and 3 T he commercial banks have seen their non-performing loans escalate to levels beyond the guidelines set by the Central Bank and this in turn has resulted in the banks not meeting their capital requirements.
The overarching objective of the strategy was to have an integrated financial system, based on sound financial institutions supported by an adequate legislative framework. Benjamin said it was the Government of Antigua & Barbuda in collaboration with the ECCB, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which worked together towards developing the best resolution strategy for the ABI Bank Ltd. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
New Anti-Money Laundering Certification Program Launched St. Thomas University (Miami, FL) and ComplianceAid are announcing the creation of the Money Laundering & Financial Crimes (MLFC) Institute through a partnership with the University of Southern Caribbean and the Antigua & Barbuda International Institute of Technology (ABIIT). The joint venture goals are to promote a compliance culture, develop education programs and conduct research in partnership with a network of academic institutions worldwide. The professional certificate programme provides an overview of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. The MLFC said the content is truly universal and based on FATF recommendations. A module on local legislation is included as well as one for regulators. This global certification scheme will produce a wider pool of knowledgeable workers and will be recognised internationally. The MLFC institute curriculum delivers to the marketplace individuals with practical knowledge of the field, who are able to work for the private sector, regulators, enforcement agencies and governments. The course is suited for all 50-plus industries regulated under anti-money
BusinessFocus Feb /April
laundering such as credit unions, money service businesses, car dealers, jewelers, real estate agents, insurance companies/ agents, casinos, banks. The programme is designed for board of directorsâ€™ members, business owners, upper management and professionals such as accountants, attorneys and auditors of any regulated industries. Moreover, this programme is ideal for existing compliance department employees. Staff of government owned businesses, port and airport authorities, immigration & customs, police force, regulatory agencies, procurement divisions and legislature have also been invited to register since the programme aims to build more capacity within these organisations. This professional certificate programme will provide any graduate or undergraduate student a path forward to launch a career in compliance with a private business, a government entity and a regulatory or enforcement agency. The duration of this programme is 15 weeks. The first class commenced on January 21, 2016. 21st from 5pm to 7:30pm (GMT-4/ Atlantic Time Zone) in the Caribbean and February 6th in Miami from 10am to 12:30pm The delivery mode is a mix of live Internet presentation by a remote teacher with the support of an
in-classroom assistant teacher. The class can be attended online for students located away from the institutions. The certificate programme will include the participation of distinguished guest speakers from the field. At the completion of this course the student will be invited to take a standardised test. Students completing the professional certificate and actively maintaining their membership to the MLFC Institute will be authorised to use the designation Certified in Money Laundering and Financial Crimes (CMLFC). F urthermore, students will be provided a two-year membership to the MLFC Institute, access to the Institute job board, access to digital manual and other educational aid for two years, six months subscription to the screening tool, theList.pro, discounted rates to professional events or resources. More information at MLFC Institute. The MLFC Institute is currently accepting candidates for instructors/teachers and is also looking to expand its partnerships with universities worldwide. Contact us for more information. The institute is working towards the creation of internship and job opportunities for its students. Interested businesses and organisations should contact the MLFC Institute. â€˘
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
THE BEST YEARS OF CARICOM LIE AHEAD NEW BELIZEAN ENVOY
Newly accredited Ambassador of Belize to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Daniel Gutierez has said the best years of the integration movement lie ahead for what he calls the “tremendous untapped potential” that lies within the region. Speaking at a ceremony to present his letters of credence to CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Gutierez referenced his Prime Minister’s New Year Address in which he heralded 2016 as a landmark year for the integration movement. Against this backdrop, Gutierez said, “I am not the first and will not be the last to speak of the untold wealth, underdeveloped talent and the unshakable hope that characterise the brotherhood of nations that call themselves CARICOM.” “But as leaders and servants we are obligated to diagnose, understand and engineer solutions that will guide our people to resilience in the troubling waters ahead. The skies ahead darken with climate change, economic uncertainty, a haunting gap in education and technology with our global
BusinessFocus Feb /April
competitors and any number of parallel global challenges. Undaunted we shall remain.” He added that the hard work which identified hurdles and proposed a Strategic Plan for the Community must be matched by action. “2016 must be a year when words are made flesh. Low hanging fruit must be addressed with diligent haste and conviction. The people of the Caribbean spring hope eternal, but that hope cannot be abused.” “We owe them, the pioneers at Chaguaramas and all our children our most energetic and unflinching commitment. Ladies and gentlemen, at CARICOM we must make 2016 a year of action,” the Belizean Envoy stated. Meanwhile, Ambassador LaRocque told the newest member of the Committee: “The CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors is an important element of the governance structure of the Community, focusing on advancing the integration movement, and providing strategic advice and recommendations to the Community Council towards achieving that goal.”
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (right) welcomes new Belize Ambassador to CARICOM Daniel Gutierez.
“As a Member of the Committee, you will be expected to assist in advancing implementation at the national level of decisions of the Organs of the Community,” the Secretary-General said. He said he’s anticipating that the new ambassador’s skills and experience in Communications and Marketing, will be employed in bringing greater public awareness about CARICOM and its benefits, to the people of Belize. Belize has been a very active participant in CARICOM, hosting two important institutions: the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), both of which play leading roles in the sustainable development of the Community, Ambassador LaRocque noted. Ambassador LaRocque added that Belize has used its unique position as a member of the Caribbean Community and the Central American Integration System (SICA), to act as a catalyst for stronger ties between the two Regions – a role that CARICOM Member States have appreciated for the great potential that exists. •
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to join a successful year for multilateral diplomacy by delivering trade deals which will drive global economic growth and uplift the poor. Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, A.J. Nicholson, who addressed the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi on behalf of the 15-member regional grouping, said “2015 has been a good year so far for multilateralism.
A.J. Nicholson, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
“The decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and most recently, COP21, give us hope that the world community can collectively find solutions to pressing global issues.” “CARICOM hopes that this meeting in Nairobi will take meaningful decisions which will signal that the multilateral trading system, embodied in the WTO, can do the same” he added.
CARICOM URGES WTO TO ADD TRADE TO NEW GLOBAL DEALS
Nicholson said that CARICOM has been a strong supporter of a rulesbased multilateral trading system, recalling that the region joined the consensus to launch the Doha Work Programme, commonly known as the Doha Development Round. “This Round promised that issues of particular concern to developing countries, including small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries, would be at the heart of our work and decisions. “Our countries engaged fully in the Doha negotiations in Geneva and with the close involvement of our capitals,” he said, adding “we emphasised the principles of special and differential treatment and less than full reciprocity”. But he said at the same time, CARICOM has recognised that it would be required to undertake new commitments once agreement was reached.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
“In this context, we are pleased that five of our member states have already ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement, adopted at the Bali Ministerial Meeting. “CARICOM continues to support the Doha Development Round. We regret that after 14 years of negotiations, we have not been able to reach an agreement which would have delivered the development dimension which brought us to the negotiating table. “We recognise that it may be necessary to discuss, post Nairobi, appropriate ways in which we can address the issues in the Doha Agenda, in order to achieve successful outcomes.” Nicholson said that it is vital that the WTO members preserve and secure the progress achieved over the past years, particularly those contained in the ministerial decisions and negotiating texts which relate to special and differential treatment, less than full reciprocity, special measures and flexibilities for small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries. “We hope, therefore, that we will be able to adopt, inter alia, decisions relating the G90 proposals on Special and Differential treatment provisions including those related to small, vulnerable economies and least developed countries; agricultural issues, including the Special Safeguard Mechanism, which was proposed by the G33 in November, 2015; Fisheries Subsidies; the Work Programme on Small Economies; and special measures for least developed countries,” he told the conference. •
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Puerto Rico Dips Into Cash Reserves to Avoid Loan Default “These payments are due now” Puerto Rico skirted a catastrophic default on the vast majority of more than $1 billion in bond payments that were due in early January, an outcome that required island officials to raid cash set aside to pay other debts. The financial maneuvers allowed the cash-strapped territory to escape default on all but $37.3 million owed to creditors, a default that marks the second time since August that it will have missed a bond payment. The move allows Puerto Rico to buy time as officials hope Congress will help restructure its staggering debt burden. But with the island suffering from a decade-long recession that has shrunk tax revenue and ignited a large migration to the mainland, officials said major defaults loom in May unless lawmakers give the territory an orderly process for restructuring its debt. “The use of over $100 million in reserved funds to make debt service payments for several of the Commonwealth’s issuers should underscore that the Commonwealth is running out of options to pay its debt,” Melba Acosta Febo, president of Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, said in a statement. As a territory, Puerto Rico lacks the option of bankruptcy that has been used successfully in cities and counties grappling with suffocating debt, including Detroit, Vallejo, Calif., and Jefferson County, Ala. BusinessFocus
“Today’s announcement that Puerto Rico will miss additional payments demonstrates the gravity of the Commonwealth’s fiscal crisis and the need for Congress to act now,” a Treasury spokesman said. “Puerto Rico is at a dead end, shifting funds from one creditor to pay another and diverting money from alreadydepleted pension funds to pay both current bills and debt service.” Congressional Republicans generally have opposed granting a bankruptcy option to Puerto Rico, which some members liken to a bailout even though it would not cost any taxpayer money. Others want Puerto Rico — which has slashed public pensions, cut jobs, and withheld income tax refunds to stay afloat financially — to do more to trim spending and free money to pay creditors. Still, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has said that the House would work to craft a legislative package by the end of March to deal with Puerto Rico’s financial problems — a pledge that has left some Puerto Rican leaders cold. “These payments are due now,” Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said in a speech Wednesday. In late June, Garcia Padilla called the territory’s more than $70 billion debt “unpayable.” The debt had mounted over the years as a succession of leaders relied on loans to plug increasing budget shortfalls. The cycle of deficits and borrowing was exacerbated by the fact that Puerto Rican bonds were long seen as attractive because money that investors earned on them is shielded from federal, state and local taxes. The island’s economy has been in free fall since 2006 when a lucrative tax break that lured manufacturers was phased out. Now, just 40 percent of adults in Puerto Rico are in the labor force. Unemployment has been in double digits for the past 15 years. The bleak economy has caused the largest migration of Puerto Ricans to the mainland since the 1950s. •
LOWERS R AT I N G AG E N C Y
T R I N I DA D & TO BAG O’S C R E D I T R AT I N G
International credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has revised to negative its outlook on the economy of Trinidad & Tobago as the falling energy prices across the globe continues to affect the oil-rich nation.
The report added that fiscal revenues from the energy sector fell to 10.9 per cent of GDP 2014 from 16.2 per cent in the previous year and were only partially offset by a rise in non-energy revenues.
The agency has affirmed its ‘A/A-1’ longand short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).
“They are set to decline again this year as a share of GDP.”
“At the same time, we revised the outlook on the long-term ratings to negative from stable. Our ‘AA’ transfer and convertibility assessment for T&T is unchanged,” S&P said. In its recent report, S&P said the change in outlook to negative from stable “reflects an at least one-in-three chance that prolonged low energy prices and potentially poor GDP (gross domestic product) growth prospects could result in a steadily rising debt burden, leading to a downgrade in the next two years.” According to S&P, the public finances of the twin island republic are vulnerable to a prolonged and substantial drop in energy revenues. “The energy sector contributed around half of total government revenues during the recent boom years, but may contribute less than 20 per cent of total government revenues in fiscal year 2015-2016”.
S&P noted that falling energy prices also sharply reduced the country’s typically large trade and current account surpluses. “T&T’s long-term prosperity is tied to the fate of the energy sector. Rapid growth led by the energy sector more than doubled T&T’s per capita GDP over the last decade to over $20,000 in 2015. GDP likely contracted up to 2 per cent in 2015, mainly because of the spill over of lower energy prices, and could fall by up to 1 per cent in 2016.” The lending agency said the non-energy sector, which may have fallen into recession in 2015, is likely to perform poorly in 2016. “We project that the country’s average per capita GDP growth rate, which has been less than 1 per cent in the past five years, to be just over 1 per cent over the next three years, assuming a gradual recovery in energy prices and continued investment in the sector.”
Concerning the exchange rate, S&P said, “The country’s exchange rate, adjusted for different inflation rates among its trading partners, has appreciated nearly 30 per cent since 2010, potentially affecting negatively T&T’s long-term external competitiveness.” It also noted that economic policy is expected to remain pragmatic after the change in government earlier this year. “The People’s National Movement government, elected in September 2015, has taken initial steps to address the fiscal problem, including raising some taxes and administered prices, reducing some spending, and plans to take further measures in its midyear fiscal review in March 2016.” In response to the report, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said it is neither “unexpected nor surprising” given the fact that oil and natural gas prices have collapsed and therefore a negative outlook based on current and projected oil prices is “not unfair”. Imbert said the government is continuing to work on a package of measures to restore growth to the economy. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
IS ING ALLY THE ISSUE?
capable of INNOVATION, and bring to the market a new creative high quality option to the product or service industry. Presently, larger and more experienced companies take no interest in knowledge-sharing with smaller enterprises. Even with this challenge, small business owners refuse to come together to form alliances, instead they have settled to work in silos and independently tackle the problems faced and compete amongst themselves in limited markets.
By Anije Lambert
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play an extremely important role in the Latin American and Regional Caribbean Countries. According to the Association of Caribbean States, SMEs in Caribbean represent 90- 95 per cent of the businesses which fall under the category of either the manufacturing, trade or services-based industries. Now for the icing on the cake, SMEs are responsible for bringing in an estimate of 30- 40 per cent of the region’s GDP (Association of Caribbean States 2014). In this present day, one of the common cries from the SMEs community in the Caribbean, is that of funding. Even though funding plays a vital role in the determination of whether a business will succeed or fail, there are other serious challenges that should be addressed in conjunction with the provision of financial capital. Yes it is true, funding takes away from many small business owners the terrible traumatic experience of being penniless. Capital can greatly aid with property and equipment acquisition and a sense of stability for some period of time. However, business owners need much more than the often recommended financial quick fixes. For the purpose of this article I will briefly look at some of the other issues and challenges SMEs face in the Latin and Caribbean Region from both the micro and macro perspectives.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
MICRO PERSPECTIVES 1 T he Know How - Many entrepreneurs have to ability to say exactly what they want to do, but even in this era of easily accessible information, the major problem lies in the fact that entrepreneurs don’t know exactly HOW and what systems to implement that is tailored exactly for their industry or niche market. Most Micro and Small enterprise business founders suffer from chronic ignorance in the area of Financial Management, Effective Marketing and Human Resource Management. 2 Ignorance to Available AssistanceBusiness owners, can at times be so caught up in their daily operations and management that they fail to see the opportunities and assistance available, which can be easily accessed by both public and private Business Development Organizations. Lack of Information on regulations and policies placed to propel SMEs can lead to business failure. 3 S elf-Trust - Entrepreneurs oftentimes fail to trust their selves and internal instinct. Business owners often rely on what seems to be profitable, and copy point for point from similar competing businesses. Entrepreneurs need to begin to trust in their intuition and believe in the fact they are
1 T he Populace- The reason SMEs make up majority of the private business sector, is due to the fact our population size really does not support SMEs expansion to Large Businesses. With migration of our skilled labour, companies face much difficulty in finding the right employees from what’s left to choose from. In addition, companies have limited target markets since member states population are low. Due to this, if companies want to bring about economies of scale, they will be required to compete on global markets. 2 T he Infrastructure- Poor infrastructure has always plagued the Caribbean region. Whether it be from poor physical structures (lack of roads for transport or antiquated production plant layouts and inefficient equipment) to poor IT Infrastructure and the high cost of electricity and in some islands constant occurrence of blackouts. These all serve as impeding factors in the success and expansion of our SMEs. 3 G eography- Globalisation brings about access to larger markets both regionally and internationally. However, due to our geographic location transport of goods is very difficult and costly. Not only is shipping cost expensive, but the export and import tariffs on certain goods and commodities are extremely high for member states of the Caribbean. Our production and trade industries now face an additional difficulty to effectively compete on the international markets.
4 L ack of an Enabling EnvironmentMost Caribbean countries tend to give focus to the public sectors and large corporations. Ministerial bodies and representatives often times forget that SMEs that make up nearly half of the Caribbean GDP. Even though policies are placed for these organisations, they spend little time on enacting the correct legislations, implementing and advocating the policies for SMEs to benefit from. The solution is simple, all member states should, and instead of hosting talk shop conferences which share grand ideas and utopian strategies, take time to IMPLEMENT realistic policies and MONITOR & EVALUATE the effectiveness of these policies. Focus should be on adequate training and skill development for our entrepreneurs; access to information on local markets through sufficient research and development practices; and the formation of more public-private partnerships. These all lead
towards the creation of an environment where entrepreneurs will succeed. This being said, it is understandable that the development of the SMEs sector in the Caribbean would not happen overnight or a miraculous wonder. SMEs development and should be conceptualized as a process. The above challenges outlined does not aim to dispel the argument of Funding and its importance. Caribbean Member states are urged to view the SMEs sector from a holistic viewpoint. Often times both entrepreneurs and the policy makers overlook the outlying issues that not even funding can compensate for. The resolve is quite comprehensible, funding might be a MAJOR issue, however by no means it is the ONLY issue. â€˘
Anije Lambert is the founder of Project Development Consultancy, a research assistance organization located in Guyana, South America. The company is responsible for working alongside some of the largest Market and Social Research Organisations in the world. You can get in contact with Anije via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
SHOULD CARIBBEAN BUSINESSES BE CONCERNED ABOUT TERRORISM By Brian Ramsey
here is a tendency in the Caribbean to view terrorism as something that happens in other countries away from this region. Yet if one examines regional history one can clearly see that the Caribbean has not been immune from terrorist activity. A quick examination of the last 50 years reveals that there has been terrorist activity with some of these being:
operations and particularly noticeable with ISIS is the propensity to expand their affiliations and so join with groups in other territories.
1968, Bahamas, Assassination of Haitian Consul
1976, Barbados, Bombing of Cubana Airplane & Bombing of BWIA office
The impact of Terrorism in the Caribbean is therefore a valid concern and one which Caribbean businesses should be addressing.
1976, Trinidad, Bombing of Guyana Consulate-General
1976. Bahamas, Attack on Soviet Ship
1980, Guadeloupe, Bombing at airport
1985, Guadeloupe, Bombing of Ford dealership
Direct implications for companies as a potential target
1987 Dominican Republic, Bombing of Peace Corp office
Direct implications for personnel employed in companies
1988, Dominican Republic, Bombing of U.S. Centre
Collateral damage implications as a business may be located near to a terrorist target
1989, Dominican Republic, Bombing of G.T.E subsidiary
1990, Suriname, Bombing of Alcoa subsidiary
2006, Trinidad, Bombings in the streets
2007, Trinidad, Guyana, JFK bomb plot
Apart from these direct on-islands terrorist activities there have been Cyber attacks by persons linked to ISIS on the government computers of Jamaica and St Vincent & the Grenadines. In addition there are clear indications that persons from Trinidad have gone to the Middle East to fight with ISIS and the production of a recruitment video aimed directly at attracting persons from this region to join ISIS. One of the aspects of terrorist group BusinessFocus Feb /April
In addition with ISIS fighters being drawn from many countries around the world there is need to be concerned about ISIS fighters returning to their home countries and terrorist cells beginning operations in new countries.
Terrorism has direct multi-layered implications for Caribbean businesses which include:
Companies may become a target because of their name e.g. British American Tobacco or British American Insurance. Companies may become a target because of a perceived link to a terrorist enemy. Companies may also become a target if they are seen as symbols e.g. McDonalds, Citibank, Royal Bank of Canada etc. It is interesting to note that one of the suicide bombers chose the McDonalds restaurant outside the Stade de France in which to detonate his vest and it is believed that he picked this restaurant because it is a symbol of America. Given that Caribbean companies need to be concerned about terrorism, the issue becomes what should businesses do independent of what actions the State should take for dealing with terrorism.
One of the first actions that every business should undertake is to conduct a security assessment that should specifically incorporate a terrorism assessment. That assessment should particularly look at the risk profile of the company both in terms of being a direct target and also the possibility of collateral damage implications because of the company’s location. The assessment should identify the level of risk and how robust are the company’s arrangements to assist it in preventing a terrorist attack. While it is important to do an initial assessment, it is equally important that the assessments are regularly reviewed, at least every 3 years and also after any major incident.
Brian Ramsey has a B.A. in Accounting & Management, along with an M.B.A. in Finance and over 29 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Limited which operates in Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago and is the parent company of Alternative Security Services (St. Lucia) Limited. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
In seeking to reduce the possibility of a terrorist incident affecting your business, a critical aspect is staff awareness. Companies must make security awareness part of their organizationâ€™s culture. Employees are the eyes and ears of a company; they know who is a regular customer and who is not, they know when something is out of place in their environment and so can quickly identify when action needs to be taken. It is also important that when hiring staff or contractors that thorough background checks are conducted on the individuals. The control of access in a business is also another vital part of any companyâ€™s terrorism prevention actions. This is of course complicated by the nature of the business and the extent to which the business caters directly to the public. It is certainly easier for an organization involved in warehousing and distribution to strictly control access when compared to a restaurant or a hotel. Nevertheless regardless of the nature of the business, public areas should be clearly defined and all other areas restricted to staff or authorized visitors only. Such actions help reduce the risk to specific clearly demarcated areas. In restricting access, the days of simply placing a sign saying no access or authorized persons only as the method of access control are over, especially if the concern is terrorism as terrorists will not be deterred by just signs. Businesses must invest in automatically closing doors and electronic access control systems whether card or biometric access control. As a supplement to the protective measures a CCTV system that enables facial recognition should be considered. There must however be proactive use of the system. In the fight against terrorism one cannot simply have a CCTV system so that if a terrorist incident occurs you can possibly identify who committed the act.
The objective for every business must be to prevent any terrorism incident occurring on their property. As such the business should aim to regularly review the footage of activities in and around their property, particularly if staff report that a strange individual was seen either within or in the vicinity of the business. The system must be such that it is easy to provide Government authorities with copies of the video so that they can investigate the individuals and possibly prevent an incident from occurring. Apart from the overall good public image and hence enhanced revenues that may arise, maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance also has an anti-terrorism benefit. Companies should ensure good basic housekeeping throughout their premises. They should keep public areas tidy and well-lit, remove unnecessary furniture and keep garden areas clear. Where possible, they should not allow unauthorized vehicles close to their building. Each of these actions makes it easier to see if something is out of place and so requiring immediate action. The steps outlined above are some of the actions that businesses can take as part of a pro-active terrorism prevention strategy. It is however vital that there is constant monitoring of the various strategies implemented by the company. There is the tendency in the Caribbean to hurriedly implement measures but then not follow up to ensure that the measures are consistently applied and become part of a consistent ongoing operational methodology. Terrorists do not hurriedly plan their actions but spend time carefully examining a company for weaknesses and so implementing with no consistent follow up provides them with the weaknesses that they can exploit. â€˘
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO AMONG OIL PRODUCING COUNTRIES AFFECTED BY DROP IN OIL PRICES
Trinidad and Tobago is among oilproducing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean severely affected by the sharp drop in petroleum prices, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced. It said exports from Latin America and the Caribbean will drop by an estimated 14 per cent in 2015 due to a steep decline in prices and weak demand for the region’s main exports from key trading partners. The IDB’s “Latin American and Caribbean Trade Trend Estimates 2016” annual report notes that exports dropped for the third year in a row, with the decline intensifying and spreading to virtually all nations in the region. It said only two countries posted positive, albeit moderate growth, while in most of the economies the drop in overseas shipments exceeded that of the rest of the world. “This trade contraction, which is the worst since the 2009 collapse, is a wake-up call on the need to implement export diversification policies,” said Paolo Giordano, principal economist of the Bank’s Integration and Trade Sector and coordinator of the report. Oil-exporting countries were affected the most by the sharp drop in petroleum prices. Venezuela and Colombia posted the biggest contraction rates, followed by Bolivia, Ecuador, and Trinidad and Tobago. El Salvador and Guatemala were the only two countries where exports rose, due to a strong increase in their sugar shipments to China. The report includes detailed data from 24 countries in the region. For the first time, it includes data from six Caribbean nations: Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The region’s trade performance reflects a sharp drop in the prices of major commodities. Prices of basic products such as soybeans, sugar and coffee declined between 20-25 per cent in 2015. Prices of energy goods such as oil, and minerals and metals, including iron ore, fell by about 50 per cent. The trade decline also stems from a weakening in demand from the region’s main trading partners. For the region as a whole, the worst declines occurred in trade with Asia, excluding China, which fell 19 per cent, with the European Union -18 per cent, and in intraregional flows -19 per cent. The report noted that exports to China plunged 14 per cent, while expectations of a rebound of exports to the United States were neutralised mostly by a drop in the value of oil, which resulted in sales to that country shrinking by seven per cent. The report notes that economies of the Caribbean and South America were the most affected over the course of the year, with declines in exports to virtually all their main destinations, while Mexico and Central America were mostly hit from a drop in sales to the U.S. market. The IDB said the growth perspectives of regional exports in 2016 feature some risks, adding “there are no signs of change in price trends for commodities markets, and a slowdown in economic activity is expected to continue in China and in Latin America”. But the IDB said stronger demand from the United States, however, could lend dynamism to exports, particularly those of Mexico and Central America. •
FROM FRENCH LIST OF NONCOOPERATIVE TAX REMOVED JURISDICTIONS France has removed the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a British Overseas Territory from its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. D. Orlando Smith, said he is happy with the development. “The Government of the Virgin Islands is pleased with this positive step from France, which demonstrates our commitment to exchange of information and also demonstrates our compliance with the international standards,” Smith said. “As a jurisdiction, we have always, through the continual review and reform of the appropriate legislative and administrative frameworks, strived to ensure that our regime is fit for purpose, internationally compliant and can serve the legitimate business needs of our industry’s clientele,” he added.
enforcement, international cooperation and effective exchange of information in the areas of tax, to keep in tune with developments and guard against activities considered inimical to the financial services sector and the reputation of the Territory”. Dr. D. Orlando Smith
Smith said the BVI has “long given due regard to the developing global trends which impact or have the potential to impact the Territory’s financial services sector, including the current global issues related to transparency.” A government statement said that French Minister of Finance and Public Accounts, Michel Sapin, made the announcement after signing a “Ministerial decision” in that regard. “Minister Sapin explained that the cooperation between France and the Virgin Islands progressed very significantly, which resulted in almost all of the requests being successfully responded to,” the BVI government statement said. Smith said his Government will “continue to do what is necessary to strengthen our law
The BVI said the announcement comes after “the progress made in the Virgin Islands was also recognised by the Global Forum on Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in August, 2015 which saw an upgrade of the Territory’s non-compliant rating to largely compliant.” The statement said the BVI, in 2012, after an internal review, introduced the International Tax Authority (ITA), which is the unit responsible for exchange of information. This unit developed systems, processes and procedures to ensure that all requests for information could be fully answered, the statement said. “The Virgin Islands remains committed to the international standard and will continue to maintain this high level of communication and assistance in exchange of information with our treaty partners,” it added. •
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
ECONOMIC CLIMATE FORCES OIL AND GAS GIANTS
Two of the leading oil and gas production companies in Trinidad & Tobago will be making major cuts based on the current state of the economy. BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) said that in line with the Group’s focus on improving efficiency and reducing costs, there are plans to review third party costs, activity prioritisation, process simplification and organisational structure. “As plans are still being reviewed the specific numbers have not yet been finalized. Throughout this exercise our first priority will remain the safety of our people and our operations,” the company said.
PM CALLS FOR COMMITMENT TO HIGH STANDARDS IN CBI PROGRAMME
The other company cutting back on costs is BHP Billiton, which confirmed on January 13 it is sending home staff. “Today’s petroleum industry is facing extremely challenging market conditions, even by historical standards,” the company indicated. According to BHP Billiton the company is examining current and future business needs to optimise both staffing and costs and make appropriate adjustments in its global Petroleum business. “We remain committed to our ongoing operations while maintaining a platform for future growth opportunities. We will achieve this goal through our productivity
The leader of the Caribbean nation that pioneered Citizenship by Investment is urging all participating territories to commit to “common and high standards”. Prime Minister of St Kitts/Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris said this is important to ensure the integrity of the programme is maintained. In his address at the Caribbean Citizen Ship Summit in January, Dr Harris said the CBI is growing and becoming more competitive. “Our industry is growing – this year St Lucia has launched its own programme – which now brings the number of players in the Caribbean to five: St Kitts and Nevis, the pioneer of the CBI Programme, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and now our newest entrant, which launched for business on January 1, St Lucia.” He said while healthy competition with the CBI programme is welcome, the programme must be honest. “Which is why I welcome regular events and interaction such as this event. We should share data and information. We must commit to high common standards and best practices. Somebody who is rejected
BusinessFocus Feb /April | 76 Dr. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister St. Kitts/Nevis
program which is already yielding significant savings, and organisational adjustments to meet the needs of our business,” it said. “As a result, we will have a smaller, more focused organization and this has resulted in some employee reductions. The result of this work is that within the Trinidad and Tobago operation, as in company locations globally, some positions will be impacted,” the release added. In December 2015, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said his administration was moving towards reviving the ailing economy and avoid going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as he urged citizens “to acknowledge that we don’t have as much as we would like so there are going to be some restrictions on spending.” Prior to Rowley’s announcement the then Governor of the Central Bank Jawala Rambarran said the oil rich twin island republic had “officially” gone into recession. •
by Grenada, for example, should not be allowed to succeed to Saint Lucia,” he said. The prime minister added, “In other words, we must have a common high standard of due diligence across the Caribbean, so persons cannot play one country off against another,” he said, adding that “nor do I think we should compete on price; it should never be a race to the bottom. Our patrimony must never be devalued,” said Harris in his address themed the – “New Improved St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program progress in 2015 and plans for 2016.” He also said that the CBI programme contributes 33 percent of the revenue of St. Kitts and Nevis. Antigua & Barbuda started offering the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) in 2013 and from then to December 2015, the nation has raked in over US$200,000. The government predicts there will be an explosion of CIP applicants this year, and has therefore projected to get about US$200, 000 this year alone. •
A&B LEADS NEIGHBOURS IN WORKRELATED HUMAN DEVELOPMENT The government of Antigua & Barbuda has welcomed the country’s “high” ranking in the Human Development Index (HDI) promising an even better performance in years to come. The country ranked 58 from among 188 countries, emerging as one of the best performers in the Caribbean; only the Bahamas, 55, and Barbados, 57, ranked higher. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Lennox Weston attributes the improved performance for 2014 to an economic growth “of 4+ per cent” that was realised here last year. The HDI measures countries in three basic areas — life expectancy, education and income/standard of living.
Weston said, historically, Antigua & Barbuda “has always had a good quality of life” due to early investments in education, increasing income and health care. According to the report, the nation recorded an HDI value of 0.783, which is above the High HDI average of 0.744 and also well above the 0.750 of neighbours Grenada and the Latin America and Caribbean average of 0.748. The UN report also revealed that unemployment stands at 8.4 per cent, well below the 10.2 per cent recorded in the 2011 census and much less than the 25 per cent that had been bandied about before the June 2014 general election. But, despite the good numbers, Weston said, “we believe we have a long way to go in terms of creating additional employment.”
The latest HDI figures which relate to 2014, show that Antigua & Barbuda is on an upward trend — between 2010 and 2014 Antigua & Barbuda’s HDI value increased by 0.2 per cent — and is comparable with other leading Caribbean nations, such as Barbados and the Bahamas. The twin island nation was rated in the High HDI category after scoring an HDI value of 0.783, which is above the High HDI average of 0.744 and also well above the 0.750 of neighbours Grenada and the Latin America and Caribbean average of 0.748. Only Barbados on 0.785 and the Bahamas, on 0.790, are rated higher in the figures released on Monday. •
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AMNESTY PERIOD EXTENDED FOR NONNATIONALS
Immigrants residing in Antigua & Barbuda unlawfully are being given more time to get their status regularised. While, those with gaps in their time who have been residing in the country for seven or more years, are being given a chance to pay up for the time in order to apply for citizenship. The government announced that the previous December 31, 2015 deadline has been extended until the end of February this year. The government said “this extension is to allow the Department of Immigration to conclude the processing of applications received in 2015 and to further to extend to all non-nationals residing in Antigua and Barbuda illegally, the opportunity to regularise their status.” All persons affected are requested to apply to the Department of Immigration for regularisation of their status on or before that deadline. This follows an earlier extension in September 2015 since the passage of the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act in April which was done to accommodate the amnesty. The Immigration Department said it will enforce the provisions of the law by penalising persons illegally residing in Antigua & Barbuda after the end of the amnesty period, and the action may include an application for a Removal Order. • BusinessFocus Feb /April
The Gaston Browne-led administration has announced the establishment of an economic advisory committee which is expected to start functioning immediately after the Budget presentation late January.
ECONOMIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE IN PLACE FOR ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
In his New Year’s address to the nation, PM Browne said, “I have already invited and obtained commitments of renown US billionaire Martin Franklin, businessman Aziz Hadeed, young businesswoman Dyna Harney and hotelier Rob Barrett to serve.” The committee will be made up of business people drawn from many sectors including the yachting industry, the cruise ship business, the banking and insurance sector, the commercial sector, the hotel industry and others. Browne said, “I intend to meet this group on a rotating basis every three months to hear their ideas for advancing our nation’s economic wellbeing. These business people are our largest employers; the biggest payers of taxes; and major participants in our economic growth. I want to hear them and to work with them for Antigua and Barbuda’s betterment.” •
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS
BSOLUTE A E H T G C R E AT I N
Recycling Corporation, Why Me? Cancer Society, and the Oncology Department of the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre. Project: Sync has also identified and helped families whose lives have been affected by a myriad of social problems. Moreover, Project: Sync’s current endeavour for 2016 is called ‘The Dyslexia Campaign’. This project involves us assisting the Antigua & Barbuda Centre for Dyslexia Awareness with renovating their after-school teaching centre, and building awareness around dyslexia.
oject Sync Inc ph, director of Pr
By Vaneem Jose
and services at no extra cost to them. These products and services include but are not limited to events, graphic tees, accessories and cause awareness. Our flagship events are Experiment: Neon (our glow/UV light event held in December), Experiment: Rave (our multicultural rave held in June), and Caution: The Day Break Experience (our J’Ouvert troupe held in August during carnival).
Despite the advancement of human technology, a constant variable continues to plague societies. That variable is social problems. These problems take the selfless dedication of men and women to be conquered. Two selfless individuals Michai Robertson and Marcus Francis founded the nonprofit organisation Project: Sync Inc. in 2010. They believed that they possessed the power to engage members of their own cohort to directly and indirectly contribute to nation building and solving social problems. By creating the bond between entertainment and charity, Project: Sync has been able to make an impact in various communities across Antigua & Barbuda. The business model of Project: Sync incorporates the mobilisation of an introverted generation to move for a cause, whether they know it or not, as we provide a superior standard of products BusinessFocus
Project: Sync recently completed its greatest undertaking thus far by transforming three social welfare institutions (Adele School for Special Children, Boy’s Training School, and the Sunshine Home for Girls) into ecofriendly establishments. Energy efficient technology and equipment such as solar panels and LED lights for all of these institutions will go a long way into helping divert the cost of running these institutions to programmes that can directly impact upon their beneficiaries. The total cost of the project amounted to over $200,000. Our major partners for this project include are the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, the Donna Christensen Institute, Medtronic, Sandals Foundation, LED Source and NUBEC Energy Conservation Products. Environmental awareness just scratches the surface of the causes that Project: Sync has sought to bring to the forefront among their cohorts. Organisations and groups previously supported include the Antigua and Barbuda Citizen Welfare Division, the Antigua and Barbuda
More than anything else, Project: Sync aims to Leave Its Mark and Create Bonds. As the organisation celebrates five years of existence. The humanitarian group of adolescents who make up the Board of Directors are cognizant that while they have accomplished much in a short space of time there is still a lot more that can be done. These are words echoed by co-founder Michai Robertson. For him, “the success of Project: Sync means that our movement is actually doing what we originally envisioned it would do. This vision was for us to continuously endeavour to change the world for the better while incorporating the younger generations whether directly or indirectly into this process. However, we still have a long way to go and many more issues to tackle.” He further states that, “it is important for us to continue to succeed so that we can achieve our ultimate goal of a peaceful world that is properly taken care of by all of mankind”. The visionary qualities of Project: Sync directors are clear for all to see: it is a vision that has encapsulated the thoughts and minds of others who have also seen their calling and have raised their hands to join the movement and help be agents of change. One of the newest additions to the Board of Directors, Indiana Meyer was so captivated by the ability and reach of Project: Sync that she just had to join the movement. “I guess it was a bit surreal for me to see young people from a tiny island making such big waves and being recognised internationally. It made me want to be a part of the movement and over a year later and having actually being a part of Project: Sync, I’m still amazed at everything we can do and have done.”
The tenet of ‘service above self’ is a principle etched firmly in the minds of the present Board of Directors of this movement. Listening to the news today, information of disheartening and vile events fill the airwaves so when co-founder Marcus Francis comments that “being able to give back to my community and show that good people still exist”, serves as the most fulfilling aspect of being a part of Project: Sync; brought to the fore is the fact that there are young men and women in our society today who want to do good and make positive change. Project: Sync not only serves as a vehicle of its members to make an impact in their communities but it also helps serve to teach their members life lessons about professional and social responsibilities and relationships. Chairman of the Board
of Directors, Andre Edwards believes that “Project: Sync has taught me that business and your personal life are not mutually exclusive but rather both are affected by each choice you make in either.” This journey has not been a lonely one for Project: Sync as the organisation has brought on board several corporate partners to its revolutionary movement in an effort to ensure Corporate Antigua and Barbuda gives back its fair share. Partners include the likes of LIME Antigua, Kennedy’s Club Ltd., Occasions Party Rentals, Signs & Impressions, Stonewall Reloaded, Raeburn Generator Services, Caribseas Ltd., Jughead’s Theatre & Show Lights, Millennium Brokerage, Premier Beverages, Bar Code 268, Lava International, and S.O. Ltd.
A movement started by adolescents who possess entrepreneurial and humanitarian values is the embodiment of Project: Sync. The absolute bond is the creation of relationships that will help to usher in a tomorrow where correcting social problems is put on the front burner; where individualistic tendencies and practices are replaced by collectivist ideology and altruism can be greatly found amongst the masses. Project: Sync vows to leave its mark as it works to create the absolute bond in Antigua & Barbuda, the Caribbean region and the world. •
STUDY FINDS LACK OF POLICIES TO DEAL WITH E-WASTE
A study carried out in 15 English, Dutch and Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries has found that there is no policy regarding the E-waste from all kinds of electronics. The Barbados-based Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said the Caribbean E-Waste Study highlights the current risks to Caribbean countries and their populations regarding the absence of the policies dealing with the issue including cellular phones and analogue televisions. The authors of the study note that Caribbean countries are aware of the relevance of adopting E-waste policies for key industries such as tourism. However, in the absence of appropriate policies, an “informal recycling sector that collects and recycles e-waste without the recommended security standards, leading to negative consequences for the environment and human health” has sprung up. The study provides specific recommendations as broadcast services in the Caribbean undergo the transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT). The ITU-CBU report recommends a number of policy measures to reduce the potential impact of E-waste from digital switch over (DSO) including limiting imports of cathoderay-tube (CRT) TV sets and monitors; adopting labelling regulations to ensure the public is informed whether the TV sets being purchased are capable of receiving signals under the DTT standard chosen by the specific country. It also calls for the conduct of awarenessraising campaigns on the DTT transition; restricting the importation and manufacture/refurbishing of devices that do not comply with the DTT standard chosen by a specific country; and implementing sales restrictions on equipment that is non-compliant with the digital television standard chosen. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
Signing of the partnership. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda; Albert Hartog, Chairman of Orange Limited and Jonathan Breene, CEO of The Setai. Aerial shot of Pearns Point
ORANGE LIMITED ON TRACK FOR YEAR-END COMPLETION
Several months after announcing its US$300 million project, Orange Limited, the developer of Pearns Point is indicating the construction of the infrastructure is well under way.
“We are hoping to release the names of the designers soon as well as the first design concepts. A great start with a fantastic international dream team!” the company said.
Materials from the five large containers of materials which arrived in May, worth almost US$3 dollars, have already been put to use and according to the company, the infrastructure is expected to be operationalised by the end of this year.
Last April Orange Limited organised a grand opening event on site to make some major announcements about the project. Over 300 dignitaries and guests were present to show their support and hear about the coming of the luxurious Setai Hotel and Resort, which has chosen Pearns Point, Antigua as their next project destination.
“Orange Limited has made it a policy to employ local workers to build the roads, electric lines, sewage, etc. Over 40 local workers are currently employed on the site while OBMI and C.O. Williams are overseeing the progress. The infrastructure is expected to be operational by end of 2016,” a statement from the entity read. The Setai founding brothers Jonathan and Michael Breene have been visiting the island and making themselves familiar with the beauty and culture of Antigua. There have been extensive discussions with world class designers about how to shape the 5+ star resort on Pearns Point “and the first ideas look spectacular already”.
Orange Limited’s chairman, Albert Hartog has proudly announced progress in major sales to the Rothschild family and other notable clients, and the start of the infrastructure to be built. The Marketing and Sales team has been promoting the project at international property exhibitions and international residence and CIP summits in London and Dubai. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA BOASTS
LOWEST AIRFARE IN THE CARIBBEAN Antigua & Barbuda is experiencing record low airfares to the destination during the busiest time of the tourist season, where travellers across the New York tri-state area are eager to escape the blistery winters. Travellers can now find inexpensive fares to the twin island for as low as $280 round-trip including taxes and fees on United, American Airlines and JetBlue from both New York (JFK) and Newark (EWR). JetBlue’s entry-level $280 fare will be available through to March 2016. These low fares with short flight times of less than four hours make Antigua & Barbuda an ideal winter getaway. Historically known as one of the less affordable Caribbean destinations to get to, this shift in price is expected to increase visitor arrivals to the island. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Marie Walker is excited about the positive results this will bring to the destination.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
“These inexpensive fares are fantastic news for Antigua and Barbuda and is sure to increase our competitiveness in the US market where consumers are savvier than in the past. Research shows people are often looking for the best deals when planning a vacation, and you can’t beat $280 for a quick flight to get you directly to the paradise of Antigua and Barbuda,” she said. The tourism official added, “Very shortly, those along the Eastern seaboard will be desperately looking for an escape from the cold weather and short days, and we are confident the combination of cerulean waters, 365 different pristine white and pink sand beaches, wonderful gastronomy and inexpensive flights will entice many more visitors to discover the wonder that is Antigua & Barbuda this season.” The Antigua and Authority (ABTA) the Antigua and of Tourism said it building on this
Barbuda Tourism in tandem with Barbuda Ministry plans to continue momentum and
is striving to increase airlift to the twin islands from across the North American Market. The destination only just recently launched its new Seaborne Airlines service out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport that offers as a perfect connector with codeshare partners - the world’s largest carrier American Airlines and JetBlue, the largest carriers into San Juan. The ABTA’s North America office has been aggressively promoting the destination with a strategic digital and print ad campaign with several notable publications to include, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Brides.com and Budget Travel coupled with a tactical relentless road show calendar geared towards targeting specific markets in the Northeast, South and Midwest territories as well as Canada. •
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA ACHIEVE POSITIVE SALES BLITZ FOR UPCOMING TOURISM SEASON
The twin island of Antigua & Barbuda is celebrating the successful end of an intensive and aggressive, strategic threemonth North American Road Show with stops across the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Canada. The show included receptions, sales calls, and blitzes in each region to raise awareness of Antigua & Barbuda in the targeted markets that will lead to future sales, particularly in the upcoming peak season. The visits featured hosted evenings that included a colourful and insightful presentation from Marie Walker, Vice President of Sales & Marketing North America for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) and was supported by industry partners such as Tour Operators: Travel Impressions, Vacation Express and Island Destinations and hoteliers such as the Elite Island Resorts, NonSuch Bay and Sandals. The road shows began in October with events taking place in Philadelphia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. This was shortly followed by targeting Canada, with stops in Montreal and Toronto. There were two travel agent receptions, and the team participated in major trade events including the Salon International de Tourism et Vacances in Montreal and National Bridal Show in Ontario. This was followed by an intense twoweek blitz across the Northeast with receptions, sales calls and blitzes in Connecticut, Southern Connecticut, Boston, Long Island, New Jersey and Southern Connecticut, the most important markets in North American for Antigua & Barbuda. The most recent blitz included a mystery payment for agents that were able to engage the most members on social media, with the highest number thus far reaching 500 likes, proving attendees were truly engaged for the evening.
As part of this targeted approach, The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) North America office has been aggressively promoting the destination with a strategic digital and print ad campaign with several notable publications to include, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Brides. com and Budget Travel as well as CBS Radio spots featuring the Honourable Prime Minister Gaston Browne. As part of the aggressive move targeted ads were also placed with Bloomberg News and Forbes magazine promoting the country’s competitive Citizenship by Investment Programme. This strategic multi-pronged approach is integral to the future success of the peak travel season for the twin island destination. Ultimately, these projects are expected to increase visitor arrivals to Antigua & Barbuda thereby resulting in a successful tourism season, a big help to the country as tourism heavily supports the economy and employment. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Walker is excited about the positive results this will bring to the destination, “I am confident that our strategic and aggressive sales and marketing blitz across the US and Canada and investment in advertising will result in positive bookings for the upcoming peak season, continuing on throughout the year.” She added, “It was the perfect opportunity to share with the leaders of the trade industry throughout North America all of the exciting and news and growth for Antigua and Barbuda, including opening the newest and most modern airport in the Caribbean, as well as the variety of properties increasing the room count on our islands, and investment projects throughout both Antigua and Barbuda.” •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
M I N I S T R Y O F TO U R I S M A N N O U N C E S
Bright Future For Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, Antigua
A solid rescue plan is now in place to ensure the continued operation of The Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, in Antigua & Barbuda, according to the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development Investment, and Energy. Effective January 1, 2016, Robert A. Barrett, hotelier and chairman of the highly successful Elite Island Resorts group, stepped in to help manage and reorganise the Jolly Beach Resort’s operation. This is pursuant to an agreement dated December 28, 2015 between Barrett and Jolly Beach Corporation, the resort’s current owner. The resort, which is considered an important asset to the nation, comprises 464 guest rooms on 37 acres, and employs hundreds of staff. It also creates significant opportunities for other local businesses and collateral industries—in addition to generating substantial tax revenue for the government. Additionally, Jolly Beach Resort is a favourite among many top international tour operators in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. The Ministry said, “Keeping the resort opens means flights will continue, as it BusinessFocus Feb /April
enables the destination to continue to provide a critical mass of rooms that is absolutely needed to fill the back of the planes. The agreement will run for 90 days in the first instance to ensure that there is no disruption to bookings during the heart of the winter season.” This strategic move brokered by the government now also guarantees employment during what is expected to be a bumper winter tourist season for Antigua & Barbuda. The move has been welcomed by all of the destination’s overseas and tour operators who market Jolly Beach as one of the Antigua & Barbuda’s beach resorts with the most competitive lead in price point. To keep the resort operational, and begin making improvements, Barrett has committed to providing initial funding of up to EC$1,344,100. He and his team will also be providing expert managerial oversight and advice with the goal of making Jolly Beach Resort a success story. Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy Asot A Michael expressed his delight at the agreement that has been reached and pledged continued support to ensure the success of this initiative.
Hon. Asot A Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy
“Our most important goal was to stabilise Jolly Beach and improve its operations, while preserving the hundreds of jobs of those who work directly and indirectly for the resort. We had approached Mr. Barrett, who has a long and successful track record in managing hotel properties in Antigua and Barbuda for over thirty years. His company is well known for turning around distressed properties and marketing them very effectively in our overseas source markets,” the minister said. “We are very pleased that Mr. Barrett and Elite Island Resorts have stepped up to the plate. We now have renewed confidence that Jolly Beach will be a success,” Michael added. •
SANDALS GRANDE ANTIGUA
PART OF THE ECONOMIC FABRIC OF THE NATION Antigua and Barbuda continues to reap the benefits from a bold development and expansion move by Caribbean hotel mogul Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart who tagged the luxury destination as the first stop in what has become a Caribbeanwide revolution in tourism – Sandals Resorts. After 10 years in Jamaica Stewart opened the doors of Sandals Antigua on July 25, 1991 and 25-years later, it remains one of the strongest brands on the island. Stewart recalled in his biography that he chose Antigua because of its great weather, political stability, the close proximity of the resort to the International Airport and, perhaps most importantly, the gorgeous turquoise and emerald waters of Dickenson Bay. The Caribbean Hotel tycoon had bought the luxurious and sophisticated Anchorage Hotel and preserved many of the original features such as the rounded bungalows on the beach-front dubbed Rondovals and the cast iron cannons. This year, Sandals Grande Antigua celebrates its 25th anniversary and over that quarter century has grown to become a leader in the tourism industry in many respects. The importance of Sandals to the local economy cannot be overstated. With approximately 700 members of staff, the resort is the largest private sector employer on island. In 2013, financial accounts indicated that Sandals spent EC $2.1 million in taxi transfers, $97 million on payments to both contractors and full-time employees, and $37 million to various suppliers (such as farmers) that year.
Over 900 people in Antigua are gainfully employed through the Sandals and Grand Pineapple Resorts. And the chain contributes some US$80 million annually to the local economy. The nation’s tourism product continues to benefit from Sandals’ marketing machinery and bargaining power. In 2015, Jet Blue Airways’ Executive Vice President Marty St George was quoted as having said that the airline’s partnership with Sandals Resorts was a major factor in the company’s decision to extend flights to Antigua. Sandals also continues to lead in the Destination Wedding niche market. Committed to its mission of “creating romantic memories of a lifetime” the resort executes hundreds of weddings each year which meet the desires and dreams of couples from all over the world. Over 50 percent of all destination weddings were conducted at Sandals; not surprising for the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Resort (accolade from the World Travel Awards). Through the Sandals Corporate University (SCU), the resort chain has brought education to its staff and allowed them the opportunity of pursuing higher education while they work. Through its relationship with renowned educational institutions, SCU offers Sandals staff the opportunity to get internationallyrecognised certifications. Employees also receive thousands of dollars in scholarship yearly to complete academic courses from CXCs to the PhD level. The Sandals corporate philosophy has emphasised the environment and
the local communities as being just as important as profits. As a result, all resorts are required to adopt strict environmental practices ensuring responsible consumption of energy and resources. Sandals Grande Antigua operates an aerobic wastewater treatment system which filters and treats waste water from hotel operations and reuses it for irrigation of the gardens which span the 27-acre property. Most recently, the resort added an Aqua Recycle Plant which treats laundry water which is then used again, reducing daily water consumption by up to 70 percent. The resort meets its obligations to the community through its philanthropic arm The Sandals Foundation. The charitable organisation, which recently received the Department of Youth Affairs’ Youth Development Partner award, was established in March 2009. It sponsors projects in Antigua and across the Caribbean in the areas of community, education and environment. The Foundation has funded such longstanding programmes as the Cricket Academy, Camp GROW, and Antigua Sea Turtle Conservation Project. Sandals Grande Antigua has grown to be an integral part in the nation’s economy and continues to be an excellent corporate citizen concerned about its impact on the environment and the communities that surround it. A Silver Jubilee year well deserved in 2016 opening the door for a partnership of advancement and prosperity for the world’s leading all-inclusive and its #1 romantic destination. •
BusinessFocus Feb /April
Peter Smith, Oldest Talisker Whiskey Participant
TA L I S K E R WHISKEY
T H E T R A N S - AT L A N T I C R O W
This edition of the Talisker Whiskey transAtlantic row has been one of many firsts; the largest number of entrants, the oldest participants, the fastest crossing and yes the first Antiguan entry, Team Wadadli in their boat Wa’Omoni. Once an islander, there is always some connection to the sea but the members of this team all have such a connection that they could be considered to live in the water; JD Hall and Rowan ‘Archie ‘ Bailey both make their living as boat captains and fishermen, Peter Smith is a shipwright whose credits include the Wadadli Cats Catamaran and Nick Fuller is not only a medical doctor but a rescuer of boats in need of ‘doctoring’. During this journey, this team has encountered many challenges that have necessitated them utilizing not only the training that they had undergone in preparation for the row, but the knowledge they had acquired during their combined century long connection with the sea to survive. First, they had to battle the flu and seasickness which slowed their progress since they had to adapt their row strategy to a singles arrangement for nearly a week. Then in another BusinessFocus
complication, the malfunctioning solar and water-making equipment threatened to cause dehydration. Imagine, water all around and not a drop to drink. The auto pilot, that would have made charting the course for home more manageable began acting up very early so it was changed, but the replacement was not much better; and when they both died, it was thanks to the foresight of Peter Smith and their ‘Islander Ingenuity’ that they were able to maintain their position in the standings and continue the journey. To top it all off, an out of season hurricane that battered the fleet and because of their position, Team Wadadli experienced winds and waves that at times had them flying in the cabin. It has however not all been doom and gloom; they have enjoyed some great Mahi Mahi meals, been treated to synchronized aquatic displays by dolphins, greeted by whales, stalked by marlins and visited by nosy sharks who no doubt just wanted to ensure that they were not food. The most important visitor were the two seabirds (Mikey and Granny) who watched over them as they rowed during the day. Also, while our light display was only available at Christmas and New
Welcome Team Wadadli
Years, they have had the opportunity to enjoy the kaleidoscope created by constellations and shooting stars as they steered at night. The best news for the team as they near their destination is that the St. John Hospice – the charity for which they have embarked on this treacherous journey has raised a fair amount of money to plug that hole in their operational budget; and although the over 100, 000 raised is still short of what was expected, the St. John Hospice Charity administration is confident that the other major co-operate entities who have not come on board will do so in short order in support of this worthy cause. I hope that the Rowers Roll, Wahoo burger and other tasty creations imagined to commemorate the row remain on the menus as a reminder to all of what was done; and while Team Wadadli has our support and loyalty, spare a thought for the other teams and the reason they row. Their altruistic and intrepid spirit has caused them to endure and surmount to land on our shores. When the last boat comes in and they have all been packed up and shipped away; when the rowers have been given a heroes welcomes by their various charities, don’t think of the challenge as a success and as done. What will determine if this was an exercise in futility is if we forget the reason why this row was done. If we do not remember to constantly support the efforts in any way that we can then all this would have been for naught. •
INTERCARIBBEAN AIRWAYS MAKES ITS INAUGURAL CALL TO THE SIR V.C. BIRD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT As nationals in Antigua & Barbuda celebrated the birthday of the Father of the Nation Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Snr. December 9, the airport named in his honour was also abuzz with activity on the occasion of the inaugural flight of inter Caribbean Airways. InterCaribbean Airways’ new service commenced scheduled flights from Antigua to Santo Domingo’s Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) and Tortola’s Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS). Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy Asot A. Michael, along with Permanent
Secretary within the said Ministry, Paula Frederick Hunte and other Tourism and Aviation officials were present airside to greet the Chairman of interCaribbean Airways, Lyndon Gardiner, the CEO of interCaribbean Airways, Trevor Sadler and passengers as they departed from the aircraft. Also journeying on the inaugural flight was Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Rohan Hector and the CEO of the Authority, Colin C. James. At the official welcome ceremony, the Minister of Tourism expressed his elation with the commencement of the service.
BARBUDA NAMED AMONGST THE TOP 10 DESTINATIONS TO WATCH IN 2016
“This new service is incredibly exciting for Antigua and Barbuda and our new V.C. Bird International airport, as it further strengthens our position as an aviation hub in the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda is now also in the perfect position to offer visitors and residents one-stop connections to the Bahamas, Panama, Cuba, Jamaica and their home base in the Turks and Caicos Islands by partnering with interCaribbean Airways”, stated Minister Michael. The company which operates a fleet of EMB 120, Twin Otter and BE99 aircraft has its sights set at further expansion as a result of its new collaboration with the government and people of Antigua & Barbuda. “Today marks the first time for our company to begin operation of scheduled flights in the Eastern Caribbean with this new service to Antigua. We look forward to bringing our service to the region, and with the support of the community, will continue our growth. Our services begin the path to creating connections between the Eastern and Western Caribbean regions” said Gardiner, chairman of interCaribbean Airways. •
The Caribbean Beach Island to go to in 2016? Condé Nast Traveller Deputy Editor Issy von Simson tips Barbuda, the lesser-known little sister of Antigua. “Barbuda is currently probably the most lo-fi of the Caribbean islands, with just three feet-in-thesand hotels and a smattering of cows on it. But its landscape will change in 2016 when Robert de Niro and Aussie billionaire James Packer start work on restoring the remains of the iconic K-Club.” K-Club was once the island’s most – and only – luxury place to stay; Diana, Princess of Wales was among its guests, who brought her young princes here to avoid the busier, spanglier neighbouring islands of Antigua and St Barth’s. The revamped hotel and beachclub is not expected to open until 2017 – but by then the secret will be out. If laidback and low-key is what you seek, go now, before everyone else does. • BusinessFocus
AIRLIFT INTO ANTIGUA & BARBUDA INCREASES WITH ADDITION OF SEABORNE AIRLINES
Plans made by Antigua & Barbuda Tourism officials to welcome more flights from more airlines and tour operators around the world have rapidly taken off. In December, the country welcomed a fourth airline into the destination, just three months after the opening of the new terminal at the V.C. Bird International Airport. Seaborne Airlines launched its non-stop service between its hub in San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and Antigua with a 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft. The inaugural flight departed San Juan at 12:45 pm, and arrived into Antigua at 2:20 pm on December 13, 2015. Seaborne Airline officials, Hector Montanez - Director of Business Development & Marketing, Fernando Vazquez - Director of Airports, and Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Officials, Paula Frederick-Hunte - Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Economic Development & Energy, and Shirlene Nibbs - Tourism Consultant for the Tourism Ministry were onboard the flight. In welcoming the new carrier, Minister of Tourism Asot Michael called Seaborne Airlines, “the largest regional operator in the Caribbean.” “The entrance of Seaborne, provides passengers with one additional option for travelling to Antigua and Barbuda, quicker and more conveniently. As a regional hub, the more modern V.C. Bird International Airport, was extremely appealing and advantageous
BusinessFocus Feb /April
to Seaborne as the (company) seeks to expand services throughout the wider Caribbean”. Commenting on the inaugurals held to date, the minister said, “Our mandate is to grow airlift and to enhance our existing strategic positioning.” “JetBlue’s launch into Antigua and Barbuda earlier in December, and now the arrival of Seaborne, is especially significant, due to the codeshare agreement signed between the two airlines in October. What this codeshare means to the everyday traveller is that they will be able to travel from JetBlue serviced territories in the United States, to Antigua seamlessly, with one ticket, one check-in and reliable baggage transfer,” he boasted. Seaborne’s partnership with JetBlue Airways, as well as Air Europa, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines, means that, the airline can provide connections for passengers from 33 other destinations in the Americas as well as in Europe, into Antigua & Barbuda. “We are excited to introduce Antigua as the 17th airport served by Seaborne Airlines; the fastest growing airline in the Caribbean,” said Seaborne CEO and President Gary Foss. “I am confident that our customers throughout the region will benefit from Seaborne’s unmatched customer service commitment, low fares and connectivity to our airline partners.” •
LIAT LAUNCHES NEW ROUTES WITH CARIBBEAN HELIPCOPTERS CHARTER AGREEMENT
LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, has entered into a bespoke charter agreement with Caribbean Helicopters, based in Antigua & Barbuda, whereby the company will provide LIAT with charter flights into specific markets in the region. Caribbean Helicopters operates a fleet of Piper Navajo Chieftain PA31-350 and Britten Norman BN2 aircraft, which are ideal for services into some of the smaller Caribbean islands, where demand is limited and a smaller aircraft is required. Customers can continue to book these flights through LIAT, and they will operate with LIAT flight numbers.
From January 22, Caribbean Helicopters began operating new services into Dominica Canefield and also to Nevis, on a daily basis. Nevis and Dominica Canefield became LIAT’s 19th and 20th destinations respectively. All services will be able to accommodate seven passengers and one piece of checked baggage. The permitted weight is no more than 50 lbs (23 kgs), which is the inclusive amount for both checked baggage and hand baggage. Commenting on the new agreement, David Evans, LIAT’s CEO said, “We are pleased to be working with Caribbean Helicopters, as this new arrangement allows us to extend
our network, open up new markets, and offer more choice to our customers. It is also an example of how locally based airlines can come together to improve connectivity throughout the region.” Neil Dickinson, managing director of Caribbean Helicopters commented, “This is a great opportunity for us and allows us to support LIAT in the expansion of services. Our aircraft are ideally suited to serving the smaller markets in the region.” LIAT will shortly announce the commencement of further services between Antigua and Guadeloupe. •
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
PAHO Says 2015 SAW PROGRESS, CHALLENGES IN HEALTH IN THE CARIBBEAN
(Aedes egypti mosquito carries the Zika virus)
The year 2015 saw both progress and challenges in health in the Americas, including the Caribbean, according to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).
However, 30 per cent of the region’s population lack access to health care for economic reasons, and 21 per cent do not seek health services due to geographic barriers.
The initiative promotes woman-centered prenatal care and delivery, as well as improved quality of care through training in the management of obstetric emergencies.
In its end of year report, PAHO said that in April the Americas became the world’s first region to be declared free of endemic transmission of rubella, a contagious disease that can cause serious birth defects and even fetal death if contracted during pregnancy.
The report calls for greater efforts to reduce “persisting health inequities both between and within the region’s countries” and urges attention to changing health needs, especially the rise of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
PAHO also revealed that in 2014, the number of men who engage in heavy episodic drinking – the most harmful drinking pattern – nearly doubled in the Americas over a five-year period, while the rate among women nearly tripled in the same period.
“The declaration made rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) the third and fourth diseases – after small pox and polio – to be eliminated in the Americas region,” PAHO said. In June, PAHO noted that Cuba became the world’s first country to receive validation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that it had eliminated mother-tochild transmission of HIV and syphilis. As a result of the elimination measures, in Cuba, during 2013, only two babies were born with HIV and only three with congenital syphilis, “reflecting transmission rates below the threshold for elimination,” PAHO said. It said about 46 million additional people in the Americas have obtained health coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean since 2000, based on data from 10 countries.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
PAHO said in 2015, Zika became the latest mosquito-borne threat to arrive in the Americas.
As a result, the health organisation urged measures to reduce the availability of alcohol, restrict its marketing and promotion, and raise prices on alcohol through taxes.
Like dengue and chikungunya, it said Zika is transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which is present throughout the region, except in continental Chile and Canada. PAHO said that by the end of 2015, Zika had been reported in 11 countries in the region.
On World Health Day 2015, on April 7, PAHO underscored the health threat of contaminated food and the need to keep food safe throughout the food chain, saying that, in the Americas, 77 million people suffer an episode of food-borne illness each year, with nearly half of those affected being children under five.
Concerning maternal deaths, the organisation said one in five maternal deaths in the Americas is caused by obstetric hemorrhage during or immediately following childbirth. Last year PAHO launched the “Zero maternal deaths from hemorrhage” initiative in response to the incidents.
Food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxic chemicals produce more than 200 diseases, from diarrhea to cancer, PAHO said. •
SAGICOR UNVEILS UNIQUE ENDOWMENT PLAN TO MARK 175TH ANNIVERSARY
the Sum Assured - has never before been offered in this market!”
D. Trevor Vigo, Sagicor’s Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Eastern Caribbean
To mark the launch of its 175th anniversary at the end of 2015 Sagicor unveiled the Sagicor 175 Endowment Plan. A unique limited time offer which represents another first from the regional insurance leader. Speaking about the rationale for this latest innovation, D. Trevor Vigo, Sagicor’s Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Eastern Caribbean, said the new product was designed to commemorate the special anniversary, while also giving back to loyal customers who had been critical to Sagicor’s success and growth over the years. The Sagicor 175 Endowment provides policyholders with a benefit payment after
25 years. Simply put, the plan not only provides life insurance coverage, but it also pays a lump sum at the end of the policy. The benefits to Sagicor customers include the accumulation of cash values from the fourth year onward that may be used as security for future cash requirements such as liquidating mortgage payments, education costs or even retirement income. Vigo stated, “With our new 175 Endowment Plan, Sagicor has yet again enhanced its position as the regional market leader, and scored another first in the process, since a plan like this - with a maturity plus added bonus equivalent to 175 per cent of
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA RATIFIES THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Emphasising the bonus element, Vigo added that the new Sagicor product was simply responding to the needs of its customers, who are looking for financial plans that meet their current needs and also facilitate long-term financial planning. Sagicor’s security and stability as a trusted provider of wise investments throughout its 175 year history was also underscored by Vigo, who noted that these were qualities for which the company was renowned throughout its history. “For 175 years, Sagicor has been providing trusted insurance solutions to our clients in the Eastern Caribbean and across the region. Throughout our history, security and stability have been the foundation of the company; and today, 175 years later, we remain committed to providing our clients with solutions which reflect prudent, wise financial thinking.” •
Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Aubrey Webson with Mr. Santiago Villapando of the Office of Legal Affairs for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
of persons with disabilities who are disproportionately represented among the world’s poorest, and lack equal access to basic resources such as education, employment, healthcare and legal support systems”.
Antigua and Barbuda became the latest country to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is widely regarded as the first international human rights treaty of the 21st century and one of the fastest to be ratified.
Quoting figures from the recent “world report on Disability” Ambassador Webson said that about 15 per cent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability,” and those persons face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from effectively participating in society.
“The 161st ratification is evidence of the commitment by the international community to promote and protect the human rights of persons with disabilities,” said Santiago Villapando on behalf of the Office of Legal Affairs for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In a statement, Ambassador Dr. Walton Aubrey Webson, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations said “Antigua and Barbuda considers this ratification an important step by a small island state by agreeing to support and address the issues
The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006 in an effort to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. The treaty sets out the obligations of states parties to promote, protect and ensure the rights of all people with disabilities and promotes equal rights in all areas of life. “A key message from persons with disabilities is that there should be ‘nothing about us without us,’” Ambassador Webson said. • BusinessFocus
HEALTH & WELLNESS
THE CASE FOR WORKPLACE WELLNESS
By Koren Norton
Employees in these times have long since moved from just being academically qualified people you hire to get your job done; they are now in many companies seen as part of a corporate family of persons who together function to keep the company running smoothly and successfully. It is therefore incumbent upon employers to ensure that employees are healthy and experience job satisfaction. There are two main things to consider when we think of employees’ state of total health: 1. t he existing conditions in their lives and 2. t he work environment in which they meet and function when they get to the place of business. While as employers you have more control over the latter factor, you can contribute to their ability to cope with the stressors in their personal lives with an effective wellness programme.
say thanks for a job well done? A manager who cannot allow them to leave five minutes earlier the day before a hurricane? No air conditioner and no water fountain to help them to feel cooler? Does your organisation function in such a way that employees are happy to come to work and don’t mind staying an extra five minutes? Working at your company eight hours a day should not be torture. The happiest and most productive employees are the ones who know their employers care, see tangible evidence of their care and have a functional wellness programme. A wellness programme consideration three things:
PHYSICAL WORK ENVIRONMENT When workers are without the right clothing or equipment for the job, it is uncomfortable for them. The work area should be clean, well ventilated and the right temperature for the weather. There should be working bathrooms and an area designated for staff to take their meals.
It would be naïve of us to imagine that employees leave their personal lives at the door when they step into our job sites – no matter how much we want it, it is not so. ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE They will be thinking of their sick child, their Managers and supervisors should engage disconnected electricity and feeling anxious with all levels of employees by interacting about their application for a mortgage loan. with them and when appropriate, A monthly newsletter with tips on getting their input and suggestions for budgeting, day cares in the area, balancing improvement. Employees enjoy feeling work and family life and other lifestyle appreciated and challenged, so give tips will go a long way in educating the them an opportunity to apply for internal employees about healthier ways to live promotions. as well as giving information on areas of concern. Some companies go as far as getting discounts at gyms or beauty stores for their employees. Birthday clubs, hiking groups and employee recognition programmes are just some of the ideas some companies have adopted with high success rates. But when they get to your organisation, what do they meet? Supervisors who don’t BusinessFocus
Providing information on wellness will benefit your employees in their work and personal lives. Most persons want to eat healthier, deal with stress and they would welcome any information that could improve their physical, emotional and mental health. Bringing in a nurse for blood pressure checks twice a year is a simple example of how this could be done.
Some of the benefits of a healthy work environment include: HIGH MORALE LOW ABSENTEEISM HIGH PRODUCTIVITY SATISFIED EMPLOYEES LOW TURN-OVER The effects are not just seen in the employees’ demeanour and attitude, but also in their behaviour towards each other and towards customers and vendors. Disgruntled and unhappy workers inadvertently sabotage your business by their constant complaints, unwillingness to go the extra mile and being indifferent towards your customers and vendors, driving them to your competitors. Indeed, one should consider establishing a wellness programme and it should be designed based on the size of the company, the primary needs of the workforce, the type of industry and the availability of staff to allocate to such a worthwhile venture. With benefits like increased productivity, loyal staff, decreased absenteeism, better employee engagement and better service output, companies should not be thinking of the cost to have a wellness programme, but the direct and indirect costs of not having one. •
Koren Norton of KN Consulting Services, is a consultant, social worker and author who provides counselling services to individuals including Human Resource and EAP consulting. She facilitates workshops, seminars and other training in addition to engaging in public speaking on social issues.
MAJOR MOVES ECCB APPOINTS A NEW GOVERNOR The Monetary Council has appointed Timothy Antoine as Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Antoine, a Grenadian national, succeeds Sir K Dwight Venner who retired on November 30, 2015. He is the holder of a BSc degree in Economics with Management from the University of the West Indies and an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.
The appointment of Antoine followed a process that included identification of suitable candidates by a Search Committee led by Sir Errol Allen, interviewing of these candidates and the submission of recommendations of the Search Committee to the Monetary Council. The Monetary Council, the highest decision making body of the ECCB, interviewed the two top ranked candidates before making its decision.
In welcoming the new ECCB Governor, Victor Banks, Chief Minister of Anguilla and Chairman of the Monetary Council, noted that “Mr Antoine is an outstanding Caribbean professional with a clear vision for the ECCB and demonstrated commitment to the development of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union”.
NEW CEO TAKES OVER AT CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN
CIBC FirstCaribbean has welcomed its new Chief Executive Officer, Gary Brown, for his first official day in office effective from January 1, 2016. Prior to this role, he was Global Head of Corporate Banking with the bank’s parent company, CIBC. In that capacity, Brown had responsibility for corporate and institutional banking activities at CIBC, including lending to large corporates, real estate finance, global banking, international lending and certain noncore portfolio activities. Additionally, he served as a member of the Wholesale Banking Management Committee and Investment Committee, and CIBC’s Operating Committee. Brown remains a member of the parent bank’s Operating Committee in his role as Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean.
From 2004 to 2013 he was President and CEO of CIBC World Markets Corp., the bank’s US broker-dealer and responsible as US Region Head for all business and governance functions under a US regional management structure. Brown began his banking career in 1976 with The Chase Manhattan Bank, becoming a lending officer in the Commodity Finance division. From 1980 to 1999, he held a number of senior business and risk management positions with UBS AG, including New York Branch Manager and Head of the Structured Finance division, one of six operating divisions of UBS in the Americas. In 1998, he was appointed Chief Credit Officer — Americas. Immediately prior to joining CIBC in 2001, he served as president and director for K2 Digital, Inc., an Internet professional services company. The new CEO has stated his intention to build on the strong recovery which the bank has been seeing over the past two quarters, with its highest net income in five years being recorded in the third quarter of 2015.
In a message to employees across the bank, he noted that his focus will be on the acceleration of growth across the bank’s regional footprint through an even stronger focus on the customer, adding: “We are a service business and serving our customers well is the only way we can distinguish ourselves from the competition and achieve success. I personally intend to stay focussed by making contact with at least one customer every single day – either in person, in client meetings or by telephone.” Brown further urged all employees to do the same. “By understanding this we will ensure that we never lose sight of why we are here - to help our customers realise their financial potential and making sure that every one of them has a great story to tell about their experience with CIBC FirstCaribbean.” Brown succeeds Rik Parkhill, who demitted office at the end of December after four-year tenure.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
SG WELCOMES NEW CARICOM CHAIRMAN CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque meeting new CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dean Barrow of Belize in Belize City. The CARICOM Chairmanship is rotated among Heads of Government on a six-month schedule. Prime Minister Dean Barrow assumed the CARICOM Chairmanship on January 1,
2016, taking over from the Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart whose sixmonth tenure ended on December 31, 2015. Belize is scheduled to hold the 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in February.
SIR RONALD SANDERS APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF OAS PERMANENT COUNCIL Antigua & Barbuda’s Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders has assumed office as the President of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS). In a ceremony at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC, Sir Ronald was welcomed to the office by Secretary-General, Luis Almargo Lemes and Ambassadors from the Organisation’s 35 member states. Sir Ronald will preside over the activities of the OAS until April this year with a packed agenda which includes issues involving general elections in Haiti as well as problem areas in some member countries.
Under his stewardship, the Permanent Council will also advance preparations for the General Assembly, the highest decision-making organ of the OAS. The General Assembly will be held in the Dominican Republic in June. Indicating the focus of his Chairmanship, Sir Ronald expressed concern about the financial health of the OAS saying that its “financial state is dire and urgently needs to be addressed if the Organisation is to continue to fulfil its obligations to the development needs of the people of its member states”.
Sir Ronald’s first act as Chairman of the OAS Permanent Council was to receive the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Juan Carlos Tejeda, to discuss Climate Change and initiatives that could be taken to ensure that undertakings given at the Climate meeting in Paris last December actually deliver results. Sir Ronald has been an advocate of the interests of small states in the global warming debate. He is expected to advance discussion of this issue, as well as threats to the financial services sector of the Caribbean during his Chairmanship.
MATARA MURPHY IS THE NEW TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER OF SANDALS GRANDE ANTIGUA Murphy began her Sandals journey as a Concierge Agent with Club Sandals. After just one year with the company, she was promoted to Concierge Supervisor. Murphy, who describes hospitality as her passion, said it has always been her ambition to become an ambassador for the award-winning brand. Whilst working, she pursued an Associates Degree in Hospitality Management at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI) from which she graduated with Highest Honours. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Monroe College St Lucia on a scholarship
from Sandals Corporate University, and while in college completed a 16-month internship as a Training Assistant at Sandals Halcyon Beach St Lucia. Murphy was later moved to Grenada to assist with Human Resource & Training during the opening of the new Sandals La Source. In 2014 she returned to Antigua as Training Manager at the Grand Pineapple Beach resort, which is owned by Sandals Resorts International, and in 2015 returned to her home property Sandals Grande Antigua as Training and Development Manager.
RODINALD SOOMER – THE NEW CEO OF CDF The Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) has a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who will lead the organisation through its second funding cycle, 20152020. 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.
BusinessFocus Feb /April
MAJOR MOVES OBMI IS EXCITED TO SEE A NEW GENERATION OF ANTIGUAN MANAGEMENT LEADING OPERATIONS OF ITS ANTIGUA OFFICE Effective February 1st 2016 Carina HarneyRogerson will be taking the helm of OBM International’s 12 person Architectural Design office in Antigua. Carina will be supported by Mitch Stuart as Senior Designer and Narisa Francis, Office Manager. Brian D’Ornellas has stepped down from his role in the day to day running of the local office in order to take on an executive role with Elite Island Resorts. Brian will continue to work with OBMI, providing support for OBMI’s business development efforts in the region. Commenting on the announcement Tim Peck, OBMI’s Chairman said “Brian D’Ornellas has been the key factor in OBMI’s
incredible journey in Antigua and Barbuda over the last 28 years and we’re thrilled for him to be starting this new chapter in continuing to champion development in the region. We are equally delighted that Carina Harney-Rogerson, another born and raised Antiguan, will be leading the company into the next generation of design and client service”. Carina studied Architecture at University of Miami and joined OBM Antigua in 1996, taking over managing director responsibilities for the office in 2006. Whilst at OBMI she has worked on many signature projects including Carlisle Bay, Pearns Point residences, ADOMS Building, ABI Financial Centre and numerous wonderful Caribbean residences.
ABOUT OBM INTERNATIONAL OBMI is a global leader in architectural design with an experienced team of professionals who are passionate about the creation of successful places. At OBMI we believe that architectural design and planning is a privilege and an opportunity for greatness. We enter every project with a great respect for its site, understanding that only with the utmost sensitivity to its natural environment, culture and history will a site become a place with a story and a soul. Celebrating 80 years of passion for our profession, we serve our worldwide clients through five Centres of Excellence, each specializing in strategic business sectors: Destination Creation, Urban Lifestyle, Island Living, Inside Design and Green Matters. OBMI’s mission is to meet every new challenge with OBMI’s founding ideals – helping our clients fulfill their dreams while reaching their financial goals.
KRISTINA SANDOROVA JOINS HOTEL SOUTH POINT ANTIGUA AS HOTEL MANAGER “Success takes persistence, stamina and patience. Hire the best people you can afford, give them direction and get out of their way. They will make you proud to be on their team.”
locales outside of her home country of Slovakia, including Munich, Athens, Sydney, Cayman Islands, Doha and many more.
It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Kristina Sandorova joining Hotel South Point Antigua as Hotel Manager.
Kristina attended the Hotel Academy of L. Winter in Slovakia and Sydney International College in Sydney and attained her Diploma in Hotel Management and E-Business.
Taking on the role of Hotel Manager marks the next chapter in an extensive career that has taken Kristina to many
A firm believer that Passion is the key element to success in everything you do, Kristina has successfully managed to
build a professional business path with experience of 17 years in F&B, Sales & Marketing, Executive department and Tourism industry all over the world. She has worked and grown under brands like Marriott, Kempinski, Amazon and hurley. In her personal time, Kristina pursues interests in travel, yoga, running, photography, fashion, food and wine. When it comes to her motivation and what drives her, she credits the curiosity of unknown and everyday life challenges.
EVENTS 2016 REGIONAL ENTERTAINMENT, TRADE SHOWS AND CONFERENCES
CARILEC’S HUMAN RESOURCE, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS AND CUSTOMER SERVICE CONFERENCE GRENADA – MARCH 13 - 17, 2016 This CARILEC Conference is one of the best events in the Caribbean Region, for Utility and business professionals in the field of Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Customer Service. This conference will provide proven HR, PR and CS strategies to assist professionals to deal with organizational and environmental changes in the region and globally. Gain tips, tools and techniques so effective they will change the way you think, manage and lead.Explore the forces shaping human engagement, communications and customer relations. You will learn how to take advantage of these forces and win employees, media and customers attention in the era of digital transformation.
CARIBNOG’S 11TH REGIONAL GATHERING MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – APRIL 20 - 22, 2016 Caribbean Network Operators Group,(CaribNOG), is a not-for-profit, independent, technical community that providing an important regional forum for building technical capacity, sharing industry experiences and promoting relevant solutions for advancing network engineering in the Caribbean. CaribNOG 11 is expected to draw industry experts from across the region and around the world to the beautiful island of Jamaica.
CARAIFA - THE CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL ADVISORS 30TH ANNUAL SALES CONGRESS : THEME: “CAPTURE THE VISION” ANTIGUA – APRIL 24 - 27, 2016 CARAIFA is an umbrella organization of regional Life Underwriting associations whose members are engaged primarily in the sale of the products of Life Insurance and Financial Services companies. CARAIFA hosts an annual conference of the Life Underwriters/Financial Advisors throughout the region in May each year. These congresses feature motivational and inspiring speakers from our region and internationally. Theme: “The Pursuit Continues...” www.caraifa.com
BusinessFocus Feb /April
EVENTS 2016 REGIONAL ENTERTAINMENT, TRADE SHOWS AND CONFERENCES
ST LUCIA JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL THE CARIBBEAN’S PREMIERE CULTURAL EVENT APRIL 29 - MAY 8, 2016 Revamped, redesigned and with a broadened artistic direction, the Caribbean’s premier cultural event — the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 2016— will attract thousands to Simply Beautiful Saint Lucia. Cultural enthusiasts, festival lovers and music aficionados will be wooed by over 50 worldacclaimed entertainers and artisans which runs from April 29th to May 8th, 2016. At year 25, Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival spans a full 10 days and upwards of fifteen venues featuring some of the best live performances spiced with the celebration of Saint Lucian Arts, culture and cuisine. www.stluciajazz.org
CTO’S 2ND INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EXPO (ETI) SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – MAY 11 - 14 2016 The ETI – Expo de Turismo Internacional, is designed to showcase the beauty, sports, nature, adventure, and gastronomy experiences available throughout the Caribbean and beyond, bringing together members of the tourism industry from across the globe.
CARIBBEAN INSURANCE CONFERENCE PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS – JUNE 5 - 7, 2016 Attendees include senior level executives; administration executives; heads of marketing, distribution, and information technology; along with top regional producers. The 2016 Caribbean Insurance Conference will feature a mix of general sessions, breakouts, panel discussions, and excellent networking opportunities. For more information on the 2016 conference, please visit the official conference website at: http://iac-caribbean.com/about-the-cic/
BusinessFocus Feb /April
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS COMPANY NAME NAME
NEDAN GROUP (ANTIGUA) LTD
DIRECTORS DIRECTORS ROBERT A. BARRETT ROBERT D. BARRETT JULIETE POTTER NICHOLAS HADEED TONY HADEED
KWD MANAGEMENT GROUP INC
KIMON WAYNE DRIGO KARIM TONGE
WADADLI HEALTH FOODS LTD
JULIANA CHUNIGINGH CLIFFORD BALGOBIN
ISLA BLUE MANUFACTURING LTD
ANTIGUA SUSTAINABLE AGQUACULTURE LTD TYREK LIFESTYLES (CARIBBEAN AND SOUTH AMERICA) LIMITED
SOEN DAWODY L. FRANCIS FORD
MICHAEL OKEBIGI MICHAAEL OKEBIGI
LAURENT GILKES Laurent GILKES CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION NICHOLAS HADEED (ANTIGUA & BARBUDA ) Inc KRIS RAMHARACK
BEVERAGE & CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT DEELOPMENT SALES, MARKETING, BUSINESS CONSULTING AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF HEALTH FOODS AQUA FARMING AND RELATED SERVICES ASSEMBLING LIFESTYLES SHOES TO BE DISTRIBUTED PROMOTE AND ENHANCE THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PROPERTY HOTEL AND CONDOMINIUM DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATORS AND REAL ESTATE SALES
MYSTIC BAY HOTEL LIMITED
MYSTIC BAY MANAGEMENT COMPANY LIMITED
MY LUCKY DAY LTD
RANDALL F. FRIDAY
TO PROVIDE A LOTTERY IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
EXCELLENT COMPANY LIMITED
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
SHANNON FALCONE ANDRE PHILLIP LEILANI STUCK DOUGLAS HOLLOWAY RMB GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT PATRICK BROCK KEVIN BROCK CORP MARTHA MANUEL SHELL BEACH MARINA LTD MICHAEL JOSIAH THE LIFT PROJECT INC. (N-‐P)
SECOND CHANCE PROGRAM INC (N-‐P) GORE GLOBAL GROUP FROUP INC
SPARE FISHERS ASSOCIATION
MIKAEL MAKEDA M ICHAEL SOWERBY GOMES JO DOYA GINO GORE VEINRICK WILLIAMS SAMANTHA CURATE MELVIN SAMUEL CHARLES JOSEPH
PROMOTE THE SIGNIFIGANCE OF THE OCEAN AND ITS ENVIRONMENT INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT AND REAL ESTATE BOAT YARD & MARINA FOR DEVELOPING SSKILLS KILL FOR EMPLOYMENT FOR BOTH YOUNG MEN AND TEENAGE PREGNANT GIRLS TO ENGAGE IN INVESTMENT AND TO CAPITALISTS AND TO ENGAGE IN INVESTMENT FINANCES AND PARTICULAR BusinessFocus Feb /April
TO DEVELOP AND PERMIT
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS NAME COMPANY NAME
IRIE RADIO LTD BLACK WATER H & E SERVICES LTD
MELVIN SAMUEL CHARLES JOSEPH JERRY PETERS JOHN LEO DENFIELD SIMON CLEMENT FRANCIS SEAN COLIN NELSON JR MARINA NOTARANGELO ANTONIO MEGNA
WEST INDIES TOEING LTD
MARINE TOWING AND SALVAGE
JAMES PARODY MARTIE PARODY
COFFEE AND WINE BAR
THORIUM CONSULTING LIMITED
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING
SPARE FISHERS ASSOCIATION (ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA) INC
LODGINGA LIMITED EXILE EXPEDITIONS LTD TROPIC IMPORTS LTD WP HOLDINGS LIMITED
JOHNAA HESSE PESTAINA HESSE SHANNON FALCONE COUGHTWRIGHT PIGOTT COUGHWRIGH PIGOTT SAMAR DIAS WALTER O’REILLY PHILIP HARRIS
BELFAST ESTATES LIMITED PALLADIO LIMITED VALETTA’S
PHILIP HARRIS ANGELO PARISI VELRITA VELRTTA ROOPNARIN ROOPNAIRN
TIME BEAUTY LIMITED
JIANG BO FAN
ANTIGUA LONG BAY DEVELOPMENY COMPANY LIMITED VENUS INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS & DEVELOPMENTS INC GOLD FOUNTAIN & INVESTMENT FUNDLIMITED MERCURY INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS & DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED LULUTRIP CARIBBEAN SERVICES LIMITED STARBLAZE INTERNATIONAL FUNS (ANTIGUA) LIMITED MARS INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS BusinessFocus Feb /April & | 104 DEVELOPMENTS INC
TO DEVELOP AND PERMIT SPARE FISHING IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA RADIO BROADCASTING RESTAURANT
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT BOAT CHARTER DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD AND BEVERAGE AGGREGATES REAL ESTATE CONSTRUCTION BEAUTY SALON SALE OF CLOTHING AND OTHER MERCHANDISE
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT AT LONG BAY
PRIVATE FUND MANAGEMENT
YIDA ZHANG YIDA ZHANG YIDA ZHANG
TOURISM SERVICES AND TRAVEL AGENCY PRIVATE FUND MANAGEMENT LAND DEVELOPMENT
NEW COMPANY REGISTRATIONS NAME
COMPANY NAME STARBLAZE INTERNATIONAL FUNS (ANTIGUA) LIMITED MARS INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENTS & DEVELOPMENTS INC
PRIVATE FUND MANAGEMENT
DIRECT LOGISTICS LTD
SOLITA ROBERTS CURTIS BYRON WALTER O’REILLY
GENERAL MERCHANDISE,TRAVEL BUSINESS CONSULTANCY AND IMPORT/EXPORT
AUTO MASTERS( An@gua)ltd
DILLION EUSTACE CALDERON THOMMAS LOUIS TRUDY LOUIS
SELLING OF CAR PARTS
SUN VALLEY PRECIOUS METALS REFINERY (ANTIGUA) VIKRAMJEET SINGH LTD HARBOURSIDE PROPERTIES RONALD BERTRAM LTD. CHAPMAN ROBERT A. BARRETT PINK PANTHER TOURS LTD ROBERT B. BARRETT JULIETTE A. POTTER COASTAL CLEANUP SERVICES ROSS BLOOMFIELD LIMITED JORDAN ANTON YIDA ZHANG TENMA INDUSTRIES LIMITED NIANYI XIAO TRANTER ESTATE LIMITED CAROLINE TRANTER DAVID JOHN DICKENSON DJFS ESTATES LTD JUNE ANN DICKENSON HOLLIS WALKER OUTDOOR MEDIA INC ALESHA WALKER AMOS PRADELLI CEREBRITY LIMITED SUSANNA MIGLIOLI TRISTAN PRIMUS LA PECORA TRE LTD JIMMY WEBSTER
GOLD REFINERY REAL ESTATE MARKETING LAND AND SEA EXCURSIONS BEACH AND GROUND CLEANING SERVICES LIGHT INDUSTRIES REAL ESTATE TO OWN MANAGE AND OPERATE PROPERTY ADVERTISING PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
BusinessFocus Feb /April
ADVERTISER’S INDEX COMPANY
Abbotts Jewellery & Perfumery
Admirals Inn & Gunpowder Suites
ADOMS - Antigua Department of Marine Services Anjo Insurances
33 16 - 17
Bones & Joints Caribbean Orthopaedic Centre
Bryden A S & Sons (Antigua) Ltd.
Brysons Geo W Bennett Bryson & Co Ltd.
Catherine's Café Plage
Community First Co-operative Credit Union
Cool & Smooth
Crab Hole Liquors
CTV - Cable Television Space Data & Electronics
Dews Lumber Yard
12 - 15
ECAB - Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Eyeland Optical
Falmouth Harbour Marina
FDICIC - First Domestic Industry & Commerce Insurance Co Ltd
Francis Trading Agency Ltd.
H & G Paints and Marine Supply
Henderson (2004) Ltd.
Kennedy's Enterprises Ltd.
Living Spaces Commercial Complex
18 - 48
Nelson's Dock Yard - National Parks
Special Security Services Ltd.
State Insurance Corporation
BusinessFocus Feb /April