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The bi-monthly magazine for decision makers No.51 • February/March 2014

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BF No.51

Contents

DECEMBER 2010 JANUARY 2011 • Issue No. 35

12 FEATURE

64

28

EXTRAS

Cover Story: Grant Thornton An Instinct for growth

Environmental Focus

28

Climate Change? What is it, and What Do We Do?

29

International Climate Conference Deemed

Important to Developing Countries

30

Going Green - Is it really worth it?

Editor’s Focus Business Briefs Business Tech

08 10 12

A Few of 2013’s Impressive Gadgets Digicel Buys Pan-Caribbean Submarine Cable Network HAMA’s Social Networker Nerissa Golden Recognised Among Six as Caribbean Tech innovator

In The Know

32

Managing Your Own Career

34

Ten Things I have Learned as a Female Executive

Youth Focus

Money Matters

60

National Youth Empowerment Forum

14 16 18 20 22

St Kitts & Nevis Wealthiest in the OECS OECS continues to grapple with low economic growth Sunrise Over The Caribbean Suriname now a Full Member of CDB Spotting A Weak Finance Executive

62

Citizenship By Investment

64

JCI Hosts Youth Empowerment Forum

Health & Wellness

70

Health Benefits of the Hibiscus Flower

72

Are you ready for Weight Loss?

REGULARS 4 6

Economy & Trade Focus

24 25 26

‘Butch’ Stewart and Sandals Resorts Lead Regional Economic Revival CIBC First Caribbean contributes over US $1.425 million to University of the West Indies for Regional Development Real Estate Resurgence

66 68 74 76 79

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BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Bizz Buzz Tourism Focus Events Page Major Moves New Company Registration


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

EDITOR’S FOCUS

Publisher: Lokesh Singh

“Change brings opportunity.” – Nido Quebin

Indeed, opportunity accompanies change – the opportunity to grow, explore new ventures and unchartered territories, and the opportunity to become better than yesterday. This is what 2014 offers. Perhaps we could even add that the main difference between the people who succeed and those who fail, is that those who are successful embrace change, whether good or bad; they perceive every change as a learning opportunity, as a means of challenging themselves, whether in their personal goals or business objectives. In this issue of Business Focus, we celebrate change, and thus growth. We welcome the opportunities that are being embraced by many of our business colleagues in both the private and public sector. This being our first issue for the year, we have said farewell to influential persons in the world and right here in Antigua and Barbuda. We paid respect to the last living “hero” in the person of Nelson Mandela, and were pleased that we could have our nation represented in the person of Sir Vivian Richards. In January, we put aside political differences to pay final respects to one of Antigua and Barbuda’s political pioneers, Sir Adolphus Freeland. Their legacies should foster a spirit of change. We are also happy to re-introduce to you the Firm of Grant Thornton, formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers, as they embody change, reflecting their mantra, “An instinct for growth.” Known for their superior quality in service and products, this Firm continues to be a leader in the accounting and finance industries. In addition to attracting the brightest and the best minds, many of the country’s respected financial and accounting executives would have gained not only their professional qualifications at the Firm, but a wealth of invaluable experience. In the realm of change, we can in no way limit our vision to those who have come before us, but must also look towards and applaud the vision of our youth and the change they demand. Creating history, Business Focus celebrates a team of young professionals who organised the country’s first national forum requiring political parties to present more than the custom rhetoric. The National Youth Forum, held 16th January, 2014, speaks volumes to the depth of concern, pride and vision that our young people hold for this twin-island state. We invite you to turn every page and be informed and entertained as Business Focus continues to offer you a variety of upbeat and current trends in the world of business. In an effort to serve you better, we offer our own change to a quarterly publication. Please remember to provide us with your feedback which is always welcomed. The magazine is also available online at www.businessfocusantigua.com.

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BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Editor: Zahra Airall Graphic Designer: Deri Benjamin Advertising Sales: Gilda Alexander • Ann-Maria Marshall Evol Desouza • Shari Dickenson Cover Photography: byZIA photography Photography: byZIA photography Johnny Jno-Baptise Editorial Contributors: Zahra Airall • Gemma Handy Joya Martin • Arica Hill Samantha Moitt • Colin Jenkins Fayola Jardine • Floree Williams Arlene Timber Henry 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: sales@regionalpub.com 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: PARTNERS OF THE ACCOUNTING FIRM GRANT THORNTON


BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

|5


BUSINESS BRIEFS NEW AMBASSADOR MAKES COURTESY CALL ON PRIME MINISTER SPENCER

Antigua and Barbuda established diplomatic relations with the French Republic on the 11th of May, 1982.

CARIBBEAN WATER TREATMENT LTD WINS CCCC CONTRACT

GOVERNMENT SIGNS MOU WITH JAMAICA’S UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Prime Minister Dr. Winston Baldwin Spencer received a courtesy call from His Excellency Mr. Eric de La Moussaye, the newly accredited Ambassador of the French Republic to the OECS. During their talks Ambassador de La Moussaye expressed his gratitude and extended special greetings from the President of France, H.E. Francois Hollande. In response, Prime Minister Spencer welcomed Ambassador de La Moussaye to Antigua and Barbuda and expressed his satisfaction of the good relations between Antigua and Barbuda and France. The Prime Minister also expressed his hope that this new appointment would serve to further deepen and strengthen the relations between the two countries. Additionally, Ambassador de La Moussaye congratulated Prime Minister Spencer on being appointed OECS chairman and wished him success during his tenure. The Ambassador also mentioned that France was involved in assisting those islands in the OECS affected by the recent floods. As a member of the G8 and G20 countries, it was the Prime Minister’s hope that France would take the lead in assisting developing countries. During his visit, Ambassador de La Moussaye presented credentials to H.E. Dame Louise Lake-Tack GCMG, DGN, DSt.J, Governor-General, and paid courtesy calls on Sandra Joseph, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior officials within the Ministry. 6|

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

the Government of Antigua and Barbuda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica. Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer signed the agreement with UTech President Professor Errol Morrison during a ceremony at the GATE ICT cadet facility. Both parties have agreed to cooperate and share joint information on areas within the purview of the Ministries of Telecommunications, Science and Technology; Education, Gender, Sports &Youth Affairs and Health. The areas that are being explored include joint degree programmes, collaborative research projects and technology initiatives, income generating projects, staff development and training, joint publications and public education initiatives. The team from Utech spent five days in Antigua, which was spearheaded by the Telecoms ministry under the guidance of Dr. Edmond Mansoor. During the visit Professor Morrison and his delegation met with government officials and visited institutions such as the American University of Antigua (AUA), Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC), Antigua State College (ASC) and University of Technology alumni that live in Antigua. Professor Morrison also delivered interactive lectures during his visit. lectures were on the topics “Science Technology for Caribbean Development” “Why do Caribbean Athletes Excel?”

two The and and

Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd has been granted a contract with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) for the supply and installation of Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants and solar PV energy grid connected system in Madame Pierre, Petite Martinique and Hillsborough, Carriacou, Grenada. Scheduled for completion in June this year, the company will be installing 80,000 gallons/day and 35,000 gallons/day desalination plants in Carriacou and Petit Martinique respectively, and partnering with Grenada Solar Ltd. to install a 117 kW photovoltaic solar power system in Carriacou, the largets system of its type in the OECS. The plants are being coupled with an alternative energy system in order to deliver a green, carbon-neutral solution. Winning a similar World Bank sponsored project in Bequia two years ago, Managing Director Mario Bento noted that the Caribbean will see more international aid coming for climate change adaptation projects. Serving commercial, residential and industrial customers in Antigua and the Eastern Caribbean for over 20 years, Caribbean Water Treatment specializes in reverse osmosis desalination, water treatment, water pumps and distribution, sewage treatment, industrial wastewater treatment and swimming pool services. The CCCCC coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change working on effective solutions and projects to combat the environmental impacts of climate change and global warning. It provides climate changerelated policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat and to the UK Caribbean Overseas Territories.


BUSINESS BRIEFS

No. 40

ABIA PREPARED FOR NEW GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) Chairman Dr. McChesney Emanuel affirmed that the Authority is in a state of readiness as it prepares to administer the Tourism and Business Special Incentives programme. The chairman said the more lucrative incentives outlined in the recently passed Tourism and Business Special Incentives Act is a “step in the right direction”, as the nation competes for investment dollars in an increasingly competitive global market. “We find ourselves having to incentivise business in order to keep pace in terms of growing our economy and creating jobs,” Dr. Emanuel said as a guest on Observer Radio’s The Big Issues. He added, “I think it (the incentive Bill) is a very good start and very timely, given the decline in foreign direct investment on the domestic front that we have experienced in Antigua and Barbuda.” The ABIA chairman also lauded government’s approach to doling out incentives to investors, both foreign and domestic; in its attempts to turn around the nation’s sluggish economy. “If we extended ourselves too much, obviously we could do more harm than good. I think this legislation on balance does exactly what Antigua needs to do. There are incentives in this package that I believe business people will find very, very attractive,” Dr. Emanuel stressed. The chairman is confident the Authority is prepared for the influx of new business that is likely to flow from this Bill. He is equally confident that the dedicated ABIA staff will be able to process incentive applications in 10 days, as dictated by the Act. He added, “If Antigua and Barbuda wants to continue to compete for foreign direct investment we have to shorten the time and make sure we deliver”. Dr. Emanuel also expects to see an increase in foreign direct investment for next year, saying the nation’s economy has “turned

a corner”. Once the new incentives are publicised, Dr. Emanuel believes the nation will see a “surge in interest” coming from foreign and domestic quarters. The Tourism and Business Special Incentives Act was passed in the Lower House on December 19. The Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) is the statutory organisation created by the government of Antigua & Barbuda to promote the nation, in order to attract domestic and foreign investment. The ABIA was established by the Investment Authority Act of 2006.

APUA ENCOURAGES CONSUMERS TO INSTALL SOLAR PV SYSTEMS

Going Green used to be a statement relevant to the stereotypical environmentalist whose main objective was saving Mother Earth. Going Green is no longer an option it is a must. The United Nations warns that countries must significantly reduce their carbon emissions by 2020 to avoid a 2°C rise in global temperatures. As a company heavily reliant on fuel fossils APUA has begun to pursue ways of reducing its carbon footprint. In 2012, the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and APUA passed the groundbreaking Interconnection Policy under the banner of APUA’s Green Antigua campaign. The policy refers to the technical and practical aspects of connecting a renewable generating source to the utility grid. The ability for consumers to harness their own energy is now available in Antigua and Barbuda! Consumers are allowed to install systems with a maximum capacity of 50KW. The system however must be grid tied and applied for through APUA as a new service. These systems harvest sunlight during the day and switch onto APUA’s grid at night.

In order to provide a stepping stone for persons interested in launching into a renewable energy business, APUA facilitated the training of 25 individuals who were desirous of becoming recognised Solar PV installers. During a week of intense training conducted by the internationally accredited company, Solar Energy International, a cross section of members from the private and public sector, learned how to design and install solar energy systems. The trainees were exposed to a theoretical and practical component and continued their training online to learn how to install battery based systems. To date, approximately 15 consumers have successfully installed Solar PV Systems on their homes and businesses. Globally the prices of renewable energy systems continue to decrease with its growing popularity which is making the harnessing of renewable energy more and more affordable. APUA encourages interested customers to visit their website www.apua. ag/interconnection-policy to view the policy document and information relevant to the application process. Through the Green Antigua campaign APUA hopes to start a conservation culture among nationals. It is now pivotal for consumers to find ways to conserve and become more environmentally friendly. Why not start with renewable energy?

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

|7


BUSINESS TECH

’s

3 1 0 2 f o w A Fe

Impressiveets Gadg

By Fayola A. Jardine

The year 2013 has come to a close and it is time to reflect on the technological advancements and top gadgets of the past year. Expectedly, smartphones and tablets are featured high on the list, but let’s take the limelight away from those technologies for just a moment, and take a look at other devices that are equally impressive.

THE PEBBLE SMARTWATCH In addition to being a wristwatch, the Pebble Smartwatch is a noticeably fashionable timepiece that acts as a satellite for iPhone and Android smartphones. Via Bluetooth, it receives and displays text messages and other notifications on its E Ink display screen, and allows you to answer or hang up calls. This smart gadget also boasts a variety of apps and has the facility for third-party developers to write programmes for it, that allow users to do everything from play music and games to track sports scores. Here’s a fun side note: The concept behind the Pebble Smartwatch is not entirely new. Technology has been presenting the wristwatch as more than a time-telling device for some time. Take, for example, the garrote watch utilised in the 1963 James Bond film, ‘From Russia With Love’, and the utility wristwatch worn by Penny, a character from the hit cartoon TV series, ‘Inspector Gadget’, which debuted in 1983. How about that?

LEAP MOTION CONTROLLER The Leap Motion Controller is a pocketsize USB accessory for Macs and Windows PCs. You plug the device into your computer and place it on a flat surface. It detects the angle of your palms and the movement of your fingers, allowing you to perform tasks such as playing games and viewing documents, without touching your computer. This technology has also been built into laptops, such as the HP Envy 17 Leap Motion SE laptop.

GOOGLE CHROMECAST This device is a 72 mm digital media player created by Google. You plug it into the HDMI port of your high definition TV, and it allows you to stream audio and video content from your TV to your devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet) via Wi-Fi. Technology has had a great year in 2013 and these are only a few of the exciting technologies that were revealed. There are others, such as 3D printing, and the Huggies belt that allows fathers to experience their babies moving inside the mother’s womb, that have awed technology enthusiasts and users.

NEST PROTECT Nest Protect is a new smoke and carbon monoxide detector produced by Nest Labs. This device is a little different from the smoke detectors we’re used to. It has replaced the shrill, sometimes frightening, siren-like announcement of detected hazards with a calm female voice. To silence the alarm, in the event that smoke from your cooking has been mistaken for a fire, for example, all you need is a wave of your arm. 8|

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Let’s give a round of applause to the year 2013, and welcome the promising technological future ahead. About Author: Fayola A. Jardine holds a degree in Information Technology and is a co-owner of Data Management Solutions Ltd. which is a software development company that specialises in payroll solutions.


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BusinessFocus • May/June2013

|9


BUSINESS TECH

First Made-In-Haiti Tablet

Captures Interest Of Local Youth

Buys Pan-Caribbean Submarine Cable Network

The first touch-screen tablet manufactured in Haiti and its affordable price have captured the interest of Haitians, particularly within low income households and the youth, who believe they now have a unique opportunity to fulfil their dream to own one, as the use of technological devices grows in popularity in the Caribbean country. The Android operating system-based tablet, called Surtab, the very first to be assembled in Haiti is a source of pride and hope for many who wish to have access to such technological tools to connect to the Internet and enjoy the benefits of so many online programmes and opportunities. “We are proud to have this tablet that is made in Haiti and it works fine and, as you can see, I am using it,” Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told HCNN as he held a Surtab tablet in his hands. The Surtab company CEO, Belgian entrepreneur Maarten Boute, said his commitment is to offer a big-value product at affordable cost to make sure the youth and many professionals can have access to such a tool that they can use for their studies and their daily work. “We want to democratise access and we want almost every single Haitian to be able to afford our product to serve the purpose of their technological needs,” Boute told HCNN. “We want people to know that Haiti can be an important crossroad for appliances and electronics manufacturing,” said Boute who partnered with the Haitian Coles family in this endeavour. “Haiti has very good working people and they have the passion,” he said. The Surtab Wi-Fi tablet factory price is now $85, and the 3G model costs $150, but this model may be purchased from retailers at about $200, while the Wi-Fi version may cost $100 to the end user. Students and professionals are the most excited about the establishment of the new company because they lack means to afford the major brands on the market.

Digicel reached an agreement with the Guadeloupe-based Loret Group and with Caribbean Fibre Holdings to acquire a submarine fibre network across the Caribbean region. Digicel said that it will acquire Middle Caribbean Network, Southern Caribbean Fibre, Antilles Crossings and a number of related assets from Global Caribbean Fibre. This deal will provide Digicel with a wholly owned submarine fibre optic cable network of approximately 2,100km providing capacity from Trinidad to Guadeloupe. Digicel has also entered into a transaction with Global Caribbean Fibre and Global Caribbean Network to provide submarine fibre capacity from Guadeloupe to Puerto Rico with onwards connectivity to the mainland United States.

“I am glad now there is a tablet I can afford and I am also glad to buy it because the company is creating jobs in Haiti,” said Jacob StMartin, who is working as an English teacher.

In total, Digicel has secured access to a robust network comprised of 15 submarine segments with a reach of some 3,100km across the Caribbean region. Digicel will also have extensive onwards capacity on other submarine networks connecting locations such as Miami, Paris and New York.

“Finally, I am going to have a tablet that will help with my studies and online researches,” economics student, Jacques Monferrier, told HCNN.

The financial terms of the contract are not being disclosed and the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

The company targets primarily the Haitian and the Caribbean markets and has already received orders from entities in countries such as Jamaica, Turks and Caicos and Suriname. Other Caribbean and Latin American countries have also shown interest, according to the Surtab ownership.

Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, said; “The acquisition of this submarine network secures significant additional broadband capacity for Digicel. This additional capacity is central to our continued drive to offer innovative services and products to our customers in a data hungry world.”

10 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014


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BUSINESS TECH

HAMA’s social networker Nerissa Golden recognised among six as Caribbean Tech innovator Nerissa Golden was one of six Caribbean nationals recognized for their contribution to advancing technology innovation in the region at the launch of the BrightPath Foundation TechLink initiative in Grenada in November, 2013. BrightPath in collaboration with its corporate partner Columbus Communications presented 2013 TechLink Caribbean Innovators Awards in five categories to Ingrid Riley of Jamaica, Nerissa Golden of Montserrat, Deanne Scott and Teddy Frederick of Grenada, Juma Bannister of Trinidad and Tobago, and Stephen Lee, a Jamaican-born US national. “The launch of TechLink in Grenada is the beginning of a revolution in community based technology education for the region. The TechLink Caribbean Tech Innovation Awards celebrate the many hardworking, and often unheralded, pioneers who are advancing the tech sector in the region,” BrightPath Executive Director Bevil Wooding explained during the launch. The TechLink Tech Community Service Award which recognises individuals and organisations, making a significant impact at a community level in technology advocacy, education, public awareness and innovative solution implementation, was presented to Golden for Outstanding Contribution to Caribbean Storytelling and Encouraging Participation Women in ICT, through her www.trulycaribbean.net web portal and entrepreneurship events. Commenting on her award, Golden said, “I was definitely honoured to be selected, as for more than 10 years I’ve been championing the use of technology as a means for the young and old to empower themselves and change their communities. I believe that technology allows us to play and compete on a global field rather than just the borders we see around our islands.” Working with the Government of Montserrat as the Director of Information & Communications provided the opportunity for Golden to implement a broad spectrum of multi-media strategies to educate the public about new policies and also promote the island globally as a tourist and investment destination. She has implemented systems to monetize social media interactions and increase advertising revenue as well as listener feedback locally and from the Diaspora. She is also the CEO of goldenmedia, a publicity and brand development company serving public, private and non-profit clients across the Caribbean and North America. She is a certified Business Continuity Specialist who is concerned about the impact of natural and technological 12 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

disasters on the world and works with regional and international agencies and businesses to bring awareness to the related issues. One of her clients is Antigua’s premiere film company HAMA, who celebrated the innovator’s award. Managing Director of HAMA Mitzi Allen said, “Nerissa encouraged me to start blogging and introduced HAMA to a new way to market online and reach a wider market. She proved to be invaluable assisting us with blogging, social network mediums, updating the website, and transferring information to online adaptability. Thanks to her, we have made tremendous contacts around the world ... people are able to find us, see us, and that has been a great part in our tour around the world with The Skin.” Golden has a wide range of clients in Antigua, inclusive of church organisations, shoe stores and some in the tech industry. Golden noted, “HAMAFilms has been my oldest client there and I’ve been able to support their vision to promote their work across the Caribbean and around the world.” Her primary work for clients is corporate communications, which includes designing their communications strategy, developing an integrated web and social media presence, keeping them in the press and also developing strategic partnerships which push their vision forward. Golden assists her clients to develop a confident media presence and to actively engage with social media and other tools to enhance and promote their brands. For the businesses that are not tech-savy, Golden advised, “The time to get techready is now. Whether it’s a grocery store, a pharmacist, a doctor, a church, or a housewife who sells her baking on the side, they all need to have a web presence. You need to know what you want to say when you are there and who you want to hear that message and respond. It is the constant repetition, the visuals, the word of mouth that supports your message that gets people to buy into your business and want to come in and try it. It may mean hiring someone to maintain your website or social media accounts and that is an investment you have to decide to make.” She sits on Montserrat’s National ICT Council and served as a member of the Steering Committee which developed Montserrat’s first National ICT Strategy and Implementation Plan. In the past three years she has conducted workshops for the Department of Youth Affairs, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the University of the West Indies Open Campus. She has also been a consultant with CARICOM, the Barbados Youth Business Trust and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.


Next CARICOM Intersessional Meeting To Focus On ICT Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government have decided that information and communications technology (ICT) will be one of the major topics to be discussed at the upcoming intersessional meeting in February. This was disclosed by CARICOM secretary general, Irwin LaRocque, in a message to the opening ceremony of the 12th Caribbean ministerial strategic ICT seminar, hosted in Jamaica on Tuesday. The ceremony marked the beginning of an ICT Week, which is being held from Monday December 2 – 6 by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in collaboration with the government of Jamaica. The secretary general also outlined that there would be a special meeting led by the CARICOM head of government for ICT, Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, on January 14, which would be preparatory for the heads of government discussions in February.

LaRocque also said that, during the recent national consultations for the Community strategic plan, ICT emerged as a priority area for the region in every member state. He said all governments of the region have identified ICT as a key pillar and enabler for their country’s socioeconomic transformation and development. “It would be terribly remiss of us if we do not daily, constantly seek ways in which to move ICT to the place of key enabler and catalyst for all we seek to accomplish as a region and as a people,” LaRocque said.

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

| 13


MONEY MATTERS

St Kitts & NEVIS wealthiest in the OECS

St Kitts and Nevis is the wealthiest country

3. St Kitts and Nevis US$13,330 (GNI)

in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean

St Kitts and Nevis are a twin-island federation with an economy characterized by its dominant tourism, agriculture and light manufacturing industries. Sugar was the primary export from the 1940s on, but rising production costs, low world market prices, and the government’s efforts to reduce dependence on it have led to a growing diversification of the agricultural sector.

States (OECS) and third wealthiest in the Caribbean region. According to the World Bank’s 2014 World Development Report, St. Kitts and Nevis is first among the OECS nations and third among the 10 Caribbean countries. The information is data from its main criterion for classifying economies, the gross national income (GNI) per capita.

Tourism on the island has been expanding since 1978. In 2009, there were 587,479 tourist arrivals to St Kitts compared to 379,473 in 2007.

The GNI per capita is the gross national income of a country divided by its total population. It is also the sum of value added by all resident producers, plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output, plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad.

4. Antigua and Barbuda US$12,640 (GNI)

Here are the rankings of the top ten countries in the Caribbean, based on GNI:

The growing medical schools and its students also add much to the economy. The University of Health Sciences Antigua and the American University of Antigua College of Medicine teach aspiring doctors.

1. Bahamas US$21,280 (GNI) The most economically prosperous countries in the Caribbean, The Bahamas relies on tourism to generate most of its economic activity. The tourism industry not only accounts for over 60 percent of the Bahamian gross domestic product, but provides jobs for more than half the country’s workforce.

Tourism dominates Antigua’s economy, accounting for more than half of the gross domestic product. Antigua is famous for its many luxury resorts located around the coastline.

5. Suriname US$8,480 (GNI) Suriname’s democracy gained some strength after the turbulent 1990s, and its economy became more diversified and less dependent on Dutch financial assistance.

After tourism, the next most important economic sector is financial services, accounting for approximately 15 percent of its GDP. The Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas.

Bauxite (aluminum ore) mining continues to be a strong revenue source, and the discovery and exploitation of oil and gold has added substantially to Suriname’s economic independence. Agriculture, especially rice and bananas, remains a strong component of the economy, and ecotourism is providing new economic opportunities.

2. Trinidad and Tobago US$14,400 (GNI)

6. Grenada US$7,110 (GNI)

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest and well-developed nations in the Caribbean. In November 2011, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development removed Trinidad and Tobago from its list of developing countries.

Grenada’s economic progress in fiscal reforms and prudent macroeconomic management have boosted annual growth to 5 to 6 percent in 1998–1999. The increase in economic activity has been led by construction and trade. Tourist facilities are being expanded as tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner.

Trinidad’s economy is strongly influenced by the petroleum industry. Tourism and manufacturing are also important to the local economy. Tourism is a growing sector, although not proportionately as important as in many other Caribbean islands. Agricultural products include citrus, cocoa and others. 14 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Grenada is also a leading producer of several spices. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, allspice, orange and citrus peels, wild coffee used by the locals, and especially nutmeg, providing 20 percent of the world’s supply, are all important exports.


7. St Lucia US$6,530 (GNI)

10. Jamaica US$5,140 (GNI)

St Lucia’s educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and transshipment. The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is its main source of revenue.

Jamaica has a mixed economy with both state enterprises and private sector businesses. Major sectors of the Jamaican economy include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, and financial and insurance services. Tourism and mining are the leading earners of foreign exchange. Half of the Jamaican economy is generated by income coming from services such as tourism. An estimated 1.3 million foreign tourists visit Jamaica every year.

The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry. 8. Dominica US$6,460 (GNI) Bananas and other crops dominate Dominica’s economy, and nearly one-third of the labor force works in agriculture. In 2008, Dominica had one of the lowest per capita gross domestic product rates of Eastern Caribbean states. The country nearly had a financial crisis in 2003 and 2004, but its economy grew by 3.5 percent in 2005 and 4.0 percent in 2006, following a decade of poor performance. Growth in 2006 was attributed to gains in tourism, construction, offshore and other services, and some sub-sectors of the banana industry. The International Monetary Fund recently praised the government of Dominica for its successful macroeconomic reforms. 9. St Vincent and the Grenadines US$6,380 (GNI) Agriculture, dominated by banana production, is the most important sector of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ lower-middle-income economy. The services sector, based mostly on a growing tourist industry, is also becoming an important part of the economy.

Note: The report did not give specific gross national income information for Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Barbados or Haiti.

The full list with GNI in US dollars is as follows: Bahamas

US$21,280

Trinidad

US$14,400

St Kitts and Nevis

US$13,330

Antigua and Barbuda

US$12,640

Suriname

US$8,480

Grenada

US$7,110

St Lucia

US$6,530

Dominica

US$6,460

St Vincent and the Grenadines

US$6,380

Jamaica

US$5,140

Guyana

US$3,410

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

| 15


MONEY MATTERS

OECS continues to grapple with low economic growth,

high debt

Member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are still grappling with low economic growth, persistent fiscal deficits and rising debt levels, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Sir Dwight Venner, has said. Delivering the 2013 Economic Review of the sub-regional grouping on Tuesday night, Sir Dwight said it was evident that 2013 had been “another challenging year for the Currency Union” with high unemployment and poverty rates and some fragility in the financial sector. “Once again the structural characteristics of our countries, namely, small size, extreme openness and high vulnerability to external shocks and natural disasters have become more evident.” Sir Dwight said that economic and financial developments in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) continue to be shaped by the global economic environment which is still uncertain, with growth for 2013 likely to be lower than previously anticipated. He said in the United States, the sub-region’s main trading partner, a major contributor to the slowdown was the fiscal policy stance of the Federal government and the political gridlock which had adverse effects on business and consumer confidence, despite the uptick in the housing market and the easing of credit conditions. In Europe, uncertainties persisted and unemployment rates remained elevated, while in the emerging economies there was a slowing down in economic activity,” Sir Dwight said. According to figures released here, preliminary data indicate that economic activity in the ECCU expanded at a modest pace of 0.7per cent in 2013, building on the marginal growth of 0 .2 per cent achieved in 2012, which reversed the negative growth trends experienced since 2009. The increase in economic activity was primarily driven by improved performances in agriculture, construction and tourism. The construction sector expanded by 2.9 per cent following a 4.3 per cent decline in 2012, as public sector construction gained momentum. In the tourism industry, value added is estimated to have increased by 0.4 per cent due to improvements in major source markets and more 16 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Sir Dwight Venner, Governor, East Caribbean Central Bank

intense marketing efforts. However, this rate was lower than the 1.4 per cent growth recorded in 2012. The ECCB said the consolidated fiscal position of the Central Government is provisionally estimated to have deteriorated in 2013 as the growth in expenditure outpaced revenue collections. An overall deficit of approximately EC$427.3 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) or 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) was recorded compared with one of EC$367.3 million or 2.4 per cent GDP in 2012. The bank said the deterioration in the overall deficit position reflected the increase in capital expenditure while current expenditure decreased. Sir Dwight told the population of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands that it may be safe to say that never before has the Currency Union witnessed such a prolonged period of economic stagnation. He said in looking ahead there are three possible scenarios which confront the ECCU and would weigh heavily on the decisions to be taken. He said these scenarios are the global economy remains in its relatively low growth, high unemployment mode, “particularly in our main trading partners while the ECCU countries continue with their current policies” as well as economic activity in the global economy does not return to its precise levels while the ECCU makes significant policy adjustments and the global economy goes through substantial restructuring and rebalancing and the ECCU undergoes significant socioeconomic transformation.” In his report, Sir Dwight said there was a need for the sub-region’s private sector to play a meaningful role in the socio-economic development of the OECS. He said the current situation is that the structure of the private sector does not lend itself to performing a major role in the development process. He told radio and television listeners that based on census and survey data the private sector is currently two thirds informal and one third formal and concentrates its activities primarily in the wholesale, retail, real estate, construction, and services sectors.


“These sectors are referred to as the non tradable activities as opposed to the export-oriented or tradeable ones. This ratio needs to be reversed so that a new private sector can emerge which can contribute significantly to economic growth and development. “For this process to be carried out a deliberate effort to develop the private sector should commence with the full involvement of the most enterprising elements of that sector,” Sir Dwight said, adding that the process must concentrate on the development of firms, industries and markets. “One needs once again to stress the factor of critical mass. Each industry, generally speaking, has to reach a critical minimum size to be competitive and to provide the linkages which would contribute to its success.” He said an interesting example was the development of the banana industry in the Windward Islands which focused on critical mass, research and development and transportation and marketing efficiencies. “This gives us a very good idea of how to start a successful industry,” he said, adding that the OECS would have to negotiate market access, have a competitive product and be able to differentiate the product or move to entirely new products as the market environment changes. “There must be a systematic programme for the development of a viable and innovative private sector in our countries. Without this most of our important business enterprises in the traditional sectors will be sold off to regional or foreign interests, others will cease operations as the founders pass from the scene; and the current age of internet buying will finish off the rest.”” But the ECCB Governor said the private sector itself should be organised and represented at the sectorial level, for example agriculture; and at the national and the OECS levels. He said this organiational system and structure should facilitate the development of industry sectors through a better representation for interfacing with governments and other important institutions nationally, regionally and internationally; research activities to facilitate effective advocacy, product improvement and marketing and the provision of technical assistance to the sector as a whole. He said at the governmental level, agencies such as Offices of Private Sector Relations (OPSRs), Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), Bureaux of Standards, Air and Seaport Authorities and Community Colleges are all critical to private sector development. “The private sector representative bodies must themselves also look to the region and the international community for willing partners. These partnerships are crucial for the transfer of technology, investment opportunities from joint ventures, and the absorption of business and management practices. “ Sir Dwight said that it has become clear that much more coordinated efforts at both the national and OECS levels need to be the hallmark of the sub-region’s policies in the coming year. “We must enlarge our perspectives to realise that while there is a lot to be done within our borders, we will not succeed if we do not combine our efforts across our countries. This is one of the stark realities we must face for in this lies our hope for sustained and equitable development,” he added

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, Caribbean Export.

Caribbean Export and the EU Offers Grants to the Region’s Private Sector The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) officially announces the publication of the Call for Proposals for both the Accelerated and Regular Procedures grant facilities under the well known Direct Assistance Grant Scheme as part of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) on January 17, 2014. The Direct Assistance Grant Scheme is a reimbursement grant funding facility specifically designed to provide financial assistance to legally registered firms, individuals and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) who have the potential to export their products and services. After conducting a series of workshops for firms and BSOs throughout 2012 and 2013, across CARIFORUM to increase the schemes awareness and ultimately increase the number of applications received, the release of this Call for Proposals is expected to result in a record number of applicants to utilise the funds made available via the 10th European Development Fund. Grants of up to €30,000 can be received by firms that meet the eligibility criteria, whose applications are accepted and are exporting or demonstrate their potential to export goods and services. “The announcement of this facility is timely in view of many of the regions private sector requiring financial assistance to develop or enhance their businesses to be more competitive in the international market” expressed Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director at Caribbean Export. Applying firms are encouraged to work with their national BSOs who have been trained to provide assistance when preparing applications. As in previous calls Caribbean Export has facilitated the submission of applications in four languages (Dutch, English, French or Spanish) ensuring access by firms from the non-English speaking Caribbean. The deadline for this Call for Proposals is March 7, 2014 and more information about the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme can be found at www.carib-export.com. Contact: Kirk Brown, Senior Grant Advisor (kbrown@carib-export.com) or Celestine Moe, Grant Advisor (cmoe@ carib-export.com), Caribbean Export Development Agency, Tel: +1(246) 436-0578, Fax: +1(246) 436-9999 BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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MONEY MATTERS

Sunrise

over the Caribbean

It is time to translate sporting and cultural success into prosperity, says Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica Second, we intend to maximise the benefits of Jamaica’s geographical location by attracting investments which will make the country the logistics centre of the Caribbean. We are investing in information technology and in port facilities. Implementation of a public-private partnership to expand and modernise the Port of Kingston—the world’s seventh-largest natural harbour—is now under way. A big obstacle in 2014 will be the cost of energy, given Jamaica’s almost total reliance on imported fuel. Blessed as we are with sun, wind and water, we are developing renewable energy, in particular solar. In this regard countries like Jamaica need bilateral and multilateral help. A major deterrent to expanding the use of renewable energy is the prohibitive capital cost.

I look at the world in 2014 from the vantage point of a leader of a small island nation which faces development challenges, but is blessed with possibilities and boasts an international name-recognition beyond its size. The challenges Jamaica will face in 2014 are neither unique nor isolated. They include an unsustainable level of government debt, the high cost of imported energy and unemployment. As part of the wider Caribbean, the region has to contend with the impact of climate change, a heightened vulnerability to natural disasters, weak export competitiveness and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. More job opportunities have to be found, especially for the youth, to slow the rate of migration of some of our best talent. Greater resilience and growth in 2014 and beyond will demand deeper regional integration among and between the communities of Caribbean and Latin American states as well as expanded global co-operation, trade and investment. The third international Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in September 2014 in Samoa, can build partnerships with other countries for action on sustainable development, and the visit to the region in 2013 by China’s president, Xi Jinping, underscores the Caribbean’s relevance for emerging economies. Jamaica’s response to the economic challenges has been twofold. First, we have taken steps to stabilise and expand traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism. In the sugar industry, ownership has been privatised, triggering long-delayed investments. We are taking similar initiatives for coffee and cocoa. In tourism we have broadened the range of foreign direct investment, to reduce the potential fallout from a downturn in any one market. We have attracted several of the major Spanish hotel chains to Jamaica, increasing the number of arrivals from Europe. 18 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

With support from the IMF and other multilateral institutions we have embarked on a difficult economic-reform programme aimed at putting the country’s fiscal house in order. It is important to note, however, that notwithstanding the necessary sacrifices associated with the programme, the IMF agreement maintains some protection for lowincome households and the most vulnerable. Our objective is to ensure that the children of the poor benefit from increased access to education and health services. Jamaica faces another hurdle in that, although heavily indebted and encumbered with high energy costs and unemployment, it is classified as a middle-income country and is thus unable to access concessionary financing. My administration is committed to working with countries in a similar situation to persuade multilateral institutions of our need for such support.

Sprinting towards success As a cultural and sporting superpower and home to the world’s fastest man and woman, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, we intend to exploit Jamaica’s international brand and develop the potential of our cultural industries. Our achievements in sport and music did not come overnight or out of the blue. They represent a continuation of the groundbreaking efforts of athletes such as Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, Donald Quarrie and Merlene Ottey. In the arts, reggae is a recognised music form globally and the late Bob Marley has achieved iconic status. As in sport, Marley’s success was built on the creative genius of several artists, many of whom have never received due recognition. We aim to correct this with programmes for sports and cultural tourism. The Jamaican people have always demonstrated a capacity to equal or surpass the achievements of their contemporaries internationally. The challenge is to imbue these qualities into all sectors of our economy and society. Like the glorious Jamaican sunshine rising over the deep blue of our mountains and pushing away the night sky with its rays of hope and promise, Jamaica faces 2014 with confidence. Reprinted from The World In 2014 print edition.


Financiers meet with OAS in Grenada on Caribbean debt

OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin (L) and Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell

Heads of some of the largest public and private financial institutions in the Caribbean gathered in Grenada last month to meet with Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell; the assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin; and international financial experts retained by the Bertelsmann Foundation to critically examine the debt situation facing several Caribbean nations. The discussions focused on key areas including debt restructuring and sustainable growth strategies, public-private partnerships, international debt negotiation and other related issues. According to Mitchell, the meeting was convened at a crucial time for Grenada, since the nation “is at a crossroads in terms of development.” Extending his appreciation to Ramdin for bringing together top regional and international stakeholders, Mitchell welcomed the initiative in Grenada, saying “practical solutions are needed for the fundamental problems confronting the country.” Describing the private meeting as “solution oriented,” Ramdin pointed out that Caribbean countries make up a significant percentage of the OAS membership, and issues affecting the subregion should be considered a priority. “Managing smaller economies in a globalized world presents unique challenges, and I believe we must collaborate to find solutions. There can be no real progress, if our people don’t have jobs or opportunities for growth, or if our countries are almost crippled by debt,” Ramdin said. Ramdin, who worked with the executive director of the Bertelsmann Institute, Annette Heuser, to bring in international experts added, “By sharing technical expertise, lessons learned, best practices, and facilitating healthy and transparent public-private partnerships, we can see a return to growth.” Among the stakeholders attending the meeting were the chairman of Guardian Holdings and Neal and Massey Ltd, Arthur Lok Jack; the chairman of Republic Bank Ltd, Barbados National Bank and the National Bank of Industry and Commerce, Ronald Harford; representatives of Sagicor; the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association; RBC Caribbean; Ansa Merchant Bank; the governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Jwala Rambarran; KPMG; the International Institute of Finance; the IADB; the Kiel Institute for the World Economy; Investor S.A Casa de Bolsa and several others. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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MONEY MATTERS

Suriname now a Full Member of CDB The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has admitted Suriname as a full member of the financial body. As a result, Suriname will now have easier access to subsidized loans that will boost development projects. “Suriname has a sound economy, which is growing rapidly. The government runs a tight fiscal operation and debt accounts for only about 25 per cent of GDP,” said President of the CDB Dr Warren Smith during the 259th Meeting of the bank’s Board of Directors. “Since there is no exposure to Suriname, at this time, CDB has a very good opportunity to improve its risk profile by developing a lending relationship with our new member. We can contribute meaningfully to Suriname’s economic and social development whilst also diversifying our loan portfolio,” he said. The CDB’s purpose is to contribute to the economic growth and development of its member countries and to finance projects for economic, social and institutional development in the region. The full members of the CDB are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas, T&T and the Turks and Caicos islands. Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, China, Germany, Italy and the UK have voting rights but are not entitled to borrow funds from the Bank.

Caribbean Women Entrepreneurs Awarded US$58,500 The Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean (WENC) has been awarded a grant of US$58,500 from the WEAmericas Grant Initiative, a fund administered by the US Department of State, Office of Global Women’s Issues. The grant will assist the network in achieving its mandate of increasing the voice, visibility and viability of women-led businesses in the Caribbean through advocacy, training, networking, identifying and sharing best practices and resources to support the entrepreneurship development of its members. President of WENC Agnes Francis said several challenges confront female entrepreneurs throughout the Caribbean. Research findings from organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), indicate that the contribution of women owned businesses to their respective countries is adversely affected by factors such as access to formal networks, lack of mentorship, lack of advocacy and lack of access to funding. “We are therefore excited about this grant which will help to strengthen and increase the capacity of women businesses throughout the Caribbean,” she said. The grant will be used over a one year period from September 2013 to September 2014, with oversight by the Executive of WENC and the US State Department.

Sagicor Gets Approval for Sale of Sagicor Europe and Subsidiaries for 86 Million Pounds Barbados-based insurance group Sagicor Financial has received approval from regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom and Cayman Islands to sell Sagicor Europe Ltd (SEL) and its subsidiaries for £86 million. The transaction will also include the sale of Sagicor at Lloyd’s Ltd (SAL), a wholly owned subsidiary of AmTrust Financial Services Inc, Sagicor said in a statement from its Bridgetown, Barbados, office. SEL is a Cayman Islands-domiciled holding company, and the sale also includes a reinsurance entity and two Lloyd’s corporate members. The move will provide cash proceeds of £86 million to Sagicor—the £56 million purchase price and release of £30 million, supported in a Letter of Credit. 20 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

“This will remove Sagicor’s exposure to the volatility of the international property and casualty insurance market,” Sagicor’s President and Chief Executive Dodridge Miller said. On July 26, 2013 the company entered into an agreement with AmTrust Financial Services Inc for the sale of SEL and its subsidiaries. The discontinued SEL operation recorded a net loss of US$41.7 million for the six-month period up to June, 2013. This comprised an operating loss of US$23.6 million, foreign exchange and finance costs of US$8 million and an impairment estimate of all future losses of US$10.1 million. “Overall, after including the results from the discontinued operation a net loss of US$22.4 million was attributable to shareholders for the current period, compared to US$11.8 million net income for the comparative period in 2012,” Chairman Stephen McNamara had said in his six months’ financial report.


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MONEY MATTERS

Spotting A

Weak Finance Executive My career in finance and accounting began in 1997 when I landed a job as an Audit Associate with Ernst & Young. In the years since, I’ve worked with three of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, as well as Financial Controller and CFO in several industries before removing my accounting hat to take on the role of General Manager. The expectations of the role of the chief accountant, finance manager, financial controller, finance director and chief financial officer have evolved over the years. The accounting profession is no longer the realm of ‘bean counters’ in dark, dingy offices piled high with papers and over-flowing with adding machine tape. Today’s accounting professional is no longer just an administrator or cost cutter, but a part of the heartbeat of the organisation’s success. More than ever, there is an increasing demand for highly skilled accounting professionals. Today’s finance executive is a key partner in the business, creating value and providing a high return on investment. Top performers expand their repertoire of skills beyond the purely financial to become true leaders within their organisation. Unfortunately, weak financial managers still outnumber the excellent ones. Here are ten ways to spot them: 1. Weak finance executives frequently miss deadlines Ineffective finance managers forget that for financial reports to be effective, they must be provided to decision-makers in a timely manner. The most basic requirements of finance managers are that they have fundamental accounting skills and the ability to provide timely reports by effectively managing the finance department. Strong financial executives work well under pressure to produce timely, reliable and accurate information. 2. Weak finance executives confuse working hard with delivering results Finance is a demanding field that often requires working long hours. Ineffective finance professionals seem to get addicted to putting in long hours without tying the strenuous effort to tangible goals and visible

By Joya Martin

improvements. Excellent finance managers put in the work required, but become noticeably more efficient over time. They focus on adding value and becoming better at what they do, rather than just burning the midnight oil. 3. Weak finance executives are stuck behind their desks Have you ever met a chief accountant who lives behind his or her desk? While the finance function crosses all areas of the business, ineffective financial executives are out of touch with the day-to-day happenings of the organisation. Failing to understand the importance of having “a finger on the pulse”, ineffective finance managers do not assert themselves as leaders, they fail to expose themselves to the front line, and miss the opportunity to get to know others. As a result, ineffective financial executives find themselves ignored by both colleagues and line staff. 4. Weak finance executives do not have the support of the GM or CEO Your financial controller might be a poor one if he or she has not developed a strong relationship with the boss. The relationship between a financial executive and the general manager is one of the most critically important to the success of the organisation. Skilled finance professionals make it a priority to win the trust of leaders and make sure that there is open and frequent communication. 5. Weak finance executives are poor communicators Poor financial executives lack well-developed communication skills. They often appear uncomfortable interacting with others and fail to engage effectively with people at all levels of the organisation. Skillful financial executives clearly and concisely communicate the financial performance of the company and the availability of resources both orally and in writing. They are also not afraid of delivering bad news and will provide information to bosses and shareholders without having to be asked.


6. Weak finance executives have a limited understanding of the business Your finance director might be a poor one if he doesn’t have a solid understanding of all aspects of the business. A common red flag of an inept accountant is a failure to grasp critical processes and nonfinancial drivers in areas such as sales, production or marketing. An effective finance executive will have well-developed commercial skills. He or she will be intimately familiar with functioning of the various cycles in the business, their strengths and weakness, as well as their relative levels of criticality to success. 7. Weak finance executives fail to attract, build and retain effective teams An excellent finance director is only as good as the team supporting him or her. Many executives fail to remember the importance of attracting the best and the brightest people. They fail to create a nurturing environment which challenges young professionals. Many managers expect hard work from their junior accountants without providing them with coaching, rigorous development plans and a clear path for advancement. When ineffective finance managers fail to build loyalty and trust, they find themselves suffering the disrupting cycle of losing key people, rehiring and retraining.

missing payroll. A strong financial executive will think ahead in order to skillfully juggle scarce funds, negotiate with suppliers and perform miracles to ensure that staff are never paid late. 9. Weak finance executives fail to appropriately challenge the management team Inept CFOs often find themselves intimidated by their colleagues, and allow them to get away with murder. Having the self-confidence to appropriately challenge fellow executives about targets, variances and overall performance is a critical requirement of the skillful financial executive. Incapable accountants demonstrate shaky leadership qualities and lack the gravitas to hold the executive team accountable. 10. Weak finance executives fail to add value

cash

Weak accountants are undisciplined, pay insufficient attention to detail and often produce low-quality reports which are riddled with errors. Ineffective finance managers have the under-developed interpretive skills which result in poor forecasts based on faulty models with incorrect assumptions. A sound finance executive is fiercely committed to achieving results. He or she is passionately engaged in achieving the goals of the company, and this hunger drives excellence in his or her work. Competent financial executives are highly disciplined, fluent with their numbers, able to think strategically and have the ability to translate plans into effective action.

While every company encounters liquidity challenges at some point, companies with unfit accountants encounter frequent difficulties meeting important financial obligations, paying key suppliers, and

About the Author: Joya Martin is an award-winning business leader and experienced accounting professional living in the gorgeous Caribbean. She is inspired by books, photography, art, beauty, nature, freedom, learning and love. Her passion is continuous learning, growth and improvement.

8. Weak finance management

executives

provide

poor

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS

‘Butch’ Stewart and Sandals Resorts Lead Regional Economic Revival Opens New Resort in Grenada, signs deals for new Resorts in Barbados and Antigua

GRANDE ANTIGUA RESORT & SPA

Beaches Antigua, a family resort, will be built on the site of the company’s existing Grand Pineapple Resort and will boast one- to four-bedroom accommodation and suites, up to 12 restaurants, conferencing facilities and “a wide range of exhilarating and unique features that include a water park, cinema, Xbox Play Lounge and BMX track”, said SRI Chairman Stewart. The resort will triple the existing Grand Pineapple workforce to 700, in addition to providing hundreds of construction jobs, a familiar feature of the billions of dollars in investment pumped into the region by Sandals.

GORDON ‘Butch’ Stewart’s Sandals Resorts International (SRI) recently announced it will spend US$125 million in bringing one of its world-renowned Beaches Resorts to Antigua-Barbuda, the fifth in the Caribbean. SRI, parent company of Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, in December 2013 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Antigua for the building of the Beaches Resort in Long Bay near the capital St John’s. The announcement marked a turning up of the tempo in a year of relentless investment by Sandals in the region this year. Beaches Barbados is set to break ground in the middle of 2014 and the hugely anticipated December 2013 launch of Sandals La Source Grenada will coincide with the start of the 2013-2014 winter tourist season. Earlier in 2013, SRI opened the US$120-million Key West Village at Beaches Turks and Caicos. In this Antigua investment, Sandals and Stewart have come full circle, Antigua having been the first country to get the Sandals brand outside Jamaica. 24 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

“As a country, Antigua is very dear to our hearts because it was the first place we went when we ventured outside of Jamaica in 1991. This particular deal has been a long time coming -- we’ve been discussing it for over three years -- but it is well worth the wait,” Stewart told the signing ceremony. “Antigua is a stunning country and we’ve enjoyed no end of pleasure operating here. It’s often said that there’s 365 beaches in Antigua, now there’s another!” Stewart paid tribute to the visionary leaders of the three countries, noting: “The Government of Antigua-Barbuda, much like their counterparts in Grenada and Barbados who have also implemented probusiness policies such as this, should be applauded for demonstrating such vision and boldness. “For our part, you’ll find a Caribbean company over-delivering. “In Grenada, we pledged to increase the hotel’s inventory by 80 to 105 rooms and we built 125 of the best suites you’ll ever see in your life. We said we’d employ 100 - 325 construction workers and we recruited almost 1,500. We said we’d create 335 hotel jobs, we’ve recruited 560. We promised to spend US$100 million in the next 10 years. Thanks to the support of the Government, we’ve spent $80 million in the first year alone. “We would hope that each of the three new countries we are expanding into will feel the economic benefits of us being there,” the Sandals boss added.


Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles discusses the significance of UWI’s long-standing partnership with CIBC FirstCaribbean with its CEO Rik Parkhill (left) and Business Development Officer, UWI, Cave Hill, Sonia Johnson. The partnership has seen over US $1.425 million contributed by the bank to regional development through education, research, and entrepreneurship.

CIBC FirstCaribbean contributes over US $1.425 million to University of the West Indies for regional development

A partnership forged 11 years ago between two leading regional entities has seen CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank contributing over US $1.425 million to the University of the West Indies. The funds have gone to support the education of the region’s young people, with a special emphasis on development in areas such as research in banking and finance and issues affecting Caribbean entrepreneurship, and financial support for young people pursuing a course in higher education at one of the UWI’s three campuses. This long-standing partnership was renewed for another three years when Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean and Chairman of the ComTrust Foundation, Rik Parkhill, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, signed another Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently at the bank’s Head Office at Warrens, St. Michael. The ComTrust Foundation is the bank’s charitable foundation which was established to oversee its corporate giving programme throughout the Caribbean. CIBC FirstCaribbean is extremely proud of this long-standing partnership, which goes beyond the provision of a sponsorship cheque, and sees the two entities working together in a number of projects throughout the life of each MOU. This is the fourth MOU between the two entities, the first being signed in 2003 in Jamaica. Through the current three-year MOU CIBC FirstCaribbean and UWI will collaborate across four areas: the advancement of knowledge and understanding of issues affecting business, trade and financial services in the Caribbean context; the support and development of UWI students from around the region; the enhancement of research in banking and finance at UWI; and the joint pursuit of mutually beneficial business and corporate image initiatives. Scholarships partnership

awarded

to

180

students

through

Specific initiatives borne out of the collaboration in the new MOU include a grant of US $15,000 to support a quarterly business forum organised by UWI to discuss key issues facing regional economies and financial services sector; and funding a scholarship programme for UWI students valued at US $112,500. Each year, through the CIBC FirstCaribbean’s funding, scholarships valued at $2500 US each are awarded to 15 undergraduate students enrolled at the UWI. More than 180 scholarships have been awarded over the life of the bank’s 11year partnership with UWI. For the first time this year, the MOU also includes provision for the award of a scholarship to a student reading for a postgraduate qualification. Support for entrepreneurship continues Support is also given to student entrepreneurs with seed capital of US $45,000 through UWI’s Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development project. The programme equips students with knowledge

Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean and Chairman of the ComTrust Foundation Rik Parkhill (left), and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles recently signed an MOU to continue the long-standing partnership between the two entities in support of regional development.

and practical skills in entrepreneurship, several of whom have gone onto business success and further acclaim. The bank sponsors an annual competition in which students enrolled in SEED present the business plans for their companies and are awarded cash prizes that go towards their businesses. Furthermore, research on issues important to banking and financial services will be supported through a grant of US $82,500. This grant will be awarded on a competitive basis to researchers on all three campuses of the UWI with results being published as well as shared at a research symposium. The MOU also makes provision for the bank to continue its financial support of the well-received annual CIBC FirstCaribbean Frank Worrell Memorial Lecture with an annual grant of US $5,000. There is also provision for senior employees of the bank to serve as guest lecturers in their field of expertise at the UWI’s three campuses, and for CIBC FirstCaribbean’s support of the UWI’s graduate placement programme. After signing the MOU, CIBC FirstCaribbean CEO Rik Parkhill said the bank was “extremely pleased” to continue its partnership with the region’s leading educational institution. “Our relationship is unique because it provides not only avenues for financial investment but, and just as important, opportunities for us to interact and collaborate on areas of vital significance to the development of the Caribbean.” Mr. Parkhill added that intellectual capital was a key driver of organisational excellence and competitive advantage. “The University of the West Indies is a prime incubator and generator of intellectual capital and this capital will be incredibly important in helping to navigate the region out of recession.” Describing the partnership as “ancestral” Professor Beckles, in thanking the bank for its commitment to their relationship, said CIBC FirstCaribbean came to the assistance of UWI at a critical juncture in its development. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS

Work is well underway at the Tamarind Hills development The US$250M Pearns Point project spans 141 acres and will include luxury homes and a five-star boutique hotel

Real estate resurgence A new lease on life for the country’s property market

When aftershocks from 2008’s global financial crisis ricocheted throughout the region, Antigua was far from immune. A 2012 IMF report blamed ‘disproportionate’ impacts for causing the ‘worst recession in the country’s history’.

And over at Tamarind Hills, overlooking Darkwood Beach, half of the 100 employees needed to build the five-star resort, homes and shopping galleria are already hard at work. The trio of west coast developments is among more than a dozen currently in operation across the island.

Fallout from a purported US$7 billion Ponzi scheme and crippling government debt only exacerbated the country’s fiscal woes.

Six years after the US subprime mortgage crisis triggered cataclysmic global events, local realtors are reporting a substantial hike in sales interest too.

But a recent surge in large scale developments by foreign investors - creating several hundred jobs for local citizens - is raising hopes the twin island nation may soon begin to shrug off its pecuniary hangover and get back on the road to recovery.

Sam Dyson, CEO of Luxury Locations, said the Jolly Harbourbased firm had seen more enquiries in the last six months than the preceding five years combined.

Construction on the titanic Pearns Point project alone is estimated to last up to a decade. Developers behind the US$250 million scheme – to include 60 luxury condos, a 60 to 80-unit five-star boutique hotel, and 74 lots of land for sale – say they are committed to using 95 per cent local labour to fill the 250 construction positions being generated, along with the 250 hospitality vacancies to follow. A few miles away from the pristine peninsula, the Passion Village venture will see the creation of almost 30 villas and a restaurant in Valley Church. Developer Amos Pradelli said 50 jobs would be given locally to build it and another 10 to manage the gated community and on-site eatery. 26 26 ||

BusinessFocus • November/December2013 BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

“The market is really picking up here,” he told Business Focus. “All the signs from the US and further afield seem to be relatively positive which means people with money who’ve been reluctant to spend it are now more comfortable doing so.” Nadia Dyson, founder of the company which represents many of the nation’s most exclusive addresses, said: “In the last few months we have seen much more investment from Italy, France and the US. The UK market remains very strong too.” She said sales tended to be concentrated around the extreme ends of the market, with vendors leaning either towards US$200,000 homes or multi-million dollar beachfront villas. “Property prices here fell by 20 to 30 per cent during the crisis and haven’t gone up much since. Now is a great time to buy; prices are


relatively low and the buyers are back. There’s much more property changing hands again; people are less afraid to spend.” The agency’s booming holiday rental business is testament to that. “People are now booking vacations well in advance instead of last minute,” Nadia said. “They are feeling more secure in their jobs and ultimately their finances.

The three avenues for gaining an Antigua & Barbuda passport include a US$1.5M investment into an approved business, a US$250,000 donation to the national development fund, or a minimum US$400,000 purchase in a government-sanctioned real estate project. Successful applicants are not required to sacrifice their current citizenship. They also benefit from exemption from a number of local taxes, including personal income, net worth, gift tax and estate duty. The jury may still be out on the long-term ethics and efficacy of selling citizenship. While some hail the touted economic boon, others lambast the notion that bestowal of the birthright be based on the size of an applicant’s wallet, rather than their personal contribution. However, for the country’s flourishing real estate sector at least, it’s a propitious strategy.

“Our sales clients tend to be young families investing for their future retirement, older couples looking to rent out their new home for a few years before retiring here, and rich people adding another beautiful home to their portfolio.” For many, it’s not just the lure of a winter home in a tropical Shangrila blessed with radiant climes. Nadia continued: “Many people are attracted to Antigua by the tax benefits – there’s no inheritance tax for example. Also, they like the fact they don’t have to relinquish their passport, plus it’s easy to get temporary residency.”

Mr Dyson added: “The recent introduction of the citizenship by investment programme is already attracting a lot of potential development to the island with some extremely wealthy buyers being drawn from overseas. “Right now, the future of the industry is looking very bright indeed.” ______________________________________________________ About the Author: Gemma Handy is a British-trained journalist who has worked for some of the UK’s leading media agencies including the BBC. Over the last decade she has worked for newspapers, radio and television stations in England and the Caribbean. She has lived in the region since 2006, and moved to Antigua in June 2012. She currently edits a lifestyle magazine and continues to freelance for agencies across the globe.

New Yorkers Marc and Stacey Garvey, who recently bought a vacation home at the Sugar Ridge resort, chose Antigua on account of its limited high rises, low crime rate and amiable islanders. “We can fly to Antigua easily from Newark and it’s also much cheaper than places like the Cayman Islands,” Marc said. “It was a good investment at a good price. At dollar for dollar value, we are convinced Antigua is the best place in the region.” The nation’s overall economic recuperation has been sluggish to date – three years of contraction ended with modest growth of around two and a half per cent in 2012 (the initial figure of 1.6 per cent was later revised by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank). For the last couple of years, fluctuating stamp duty revenue has comprised an average of 2.5-8.5 per cent of the country’s total income. But with booming construction jobs on the horizon, it’s an auspicious start to 2014.

office, school, art supplies and more!

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Finance Minister Harold Lovell agreed. “We believe we are past the worst and are now turning a corner. We believe we’re now in a position where we will see strong and sustainable growth going forward. “We feel this growth will be mainly in the tourism, construction and real estate sectors – all three are interconnected. A strong future is ahead.” Minister Lovell added that the recent introduction of the Citizenship by Investment programme was already igniting “tremendous interest” among affluent investors across the globe. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS

Climate Change? by Arica Hill

What Is It, And What Do We Do? “Climate change” is a phrase that has become very common in the media, and indeed, in conversation. But when persons are asked what it really means they generally have a hard time explaining it. Colloquially people may mention that Antigua and Barbuda is getting hotter or that storms are becoming more frequent and more severe. And though these are signs of climate change, they do not explain what it is. Climate change can be described as a disruption in global climate patterns caused by man’s actions. Effects of climate change include increase in temperature extremes and disruption of normal weather cycles, which can have a negative impact on the people who have to deal with these changes. Does this mean that climate change is not natural? No. It does not. The difference is that climate variation is natural but climate change is more than normal variation. This has been accelerated by man’s reliance on fossil fuels which provide us with life’s essentials such as electricity and fuel. Essentially, we have caused a global phenomenon by our own development. But for many islands like Antigua and Barbuda, it is hard to accept that climate change is our “fault”. We are small islands with small populations and much of the damage has been caused by large countries with burgeoning populations. Though this is so, we are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It is easy to get into a discussion on how climate change will impact us. The evidence shows itself all around us: frequent and severe hurricanes, more severe seasons of drought, sea level rise, loss of native species. And looking at these concerns often leaves us paralysed, feeling that we are unable to grapple with the challenges that face us as a nation. Perhaps our perspective needs to change. We can view climate change as an opportunity instead of an immeasurable threat. An opportunity to: - Become more self-sustaining. Develop businesses that use our natural resources to provide essential services, so that we can reduce our dependence on imports. - Become more sustainable. Look at ways that we can enhance and expand our businesses without harming our natural environment. - Become more resourceful. Consider using products that have been certified as environmentally friendly. They may cost more initially, but they usually save more in the long run. Climate change is a big issue, one that our children will inherit. However, how we approach it today will determine whether our children will have an Antigua and Barbuda to inherit at all. 28 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Guyana’s President wants CARICOM to deal aggressively with Climate Change issues Guyana said it intends to push Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries for more aggressive action to deal with the issue of climate change following recent adverse weather conditions in the region. President Donald Ramotar said the recent floods in the Eastern Caribbean have resulted in millions of dollars in damages as well as the loss of lives. “The scientific evidence is showing that for our region, which is one of the most vulnerable, these weather events will become more frequent as the impacts of global climate change intensify,” Ramotar said. St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were badly affected by a low level trough on Christmas Eve resulting in damages estimated at “hundreds of millions of dollars” and the at least 16 deaths. The Guyana government has made donations of US$10,000 to each of the countries and has announced plans, in conjunction with the Public Service Commission (PSC), a for a disaster relief fund for the affected countries. Recognising Guyana’s own vulnerabilities in this regard, with its coastal plain approximately six feet below sea level, President Ramotar said that efforts would intensify this year to improve and expand infrastructure. He said particular focus will be placed on the boosting of sea and river defence and drainage and irrigation systems; enhancing forecasting capabilities and response mechanisms, and building build more climate resilient social and productive sectors in the economy. The Government will seek to achieve these goals within the framework of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The LCDS, a brainchild of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, sets out a vision to forge a new low carbon economy in Guyana over the coming decade. It has received critical acclaim globally, and is now in its implementation stage.


International climate conference deemed important to developing countries The Third International Conference on Climate Change Services (ICCS3) was held in December, 2013, with stakeholders indicating that the three-day forum provided an opportunity to find linkages between international climate services and those in the region.

“This conference is of great importance for developing countries and for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in particular,” said Jamaica’s Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill. “It is common knowledge that we are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but what this conference will provide, is an opportunity to build our capacity, and to look beyond weather and hydrological information, to a focus on climate information for decisionmaking,” he added. The conference addresses current progress, challenges and opportunities in climate services implementation, and foster discussions regarding the transition from pilot activities to sustained services. Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Dr. Ulric Trotz, said the conference was the first of its kind in the Caribbean and any developing country. Officials said climate services are crucial as climate variability and change were posing significant challenges to societies worldwide. “Therefore, timely communication of climate information helps prevent the economic setbacks and humanitarian disasters that can result from climate extremes and long term climate change,” the officials said. The CCCCC is supporting a series of national consultations across the Caribbean under the Global Framework For Climate Change Services (GFCS) which was established in 2009 at the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC3). The vision of the GFCS is to enable society to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change, especially for those who are most vulnerable to such risks.

“Firstly, we know that everyone is affected by climate – particularly its extremes, which cause loss of lives and livelihoods all over the world, but overwhelmingly in developing countries. “Secondly, we know that – where they exist – needs-based climate services are extremely effective in helping communities, businesses, organizations and governments to manage the risks and take advantage of the opportunities associated with the climate. “Thirdly, we know that there is a yawning gap between the needs for climate services and their current provision. Climate services are weakest in the places that need them most namely, climate-vulnerable developing countries.” Pickersgill said that the identified climate change impacts, multiplicity of stressors, and the available scientific information all suggest that the Caribbean region is a climate change hotspot. “This presents a clear need at the national level and as a concerned region, for climate services that will help families, businesses, and communities to make informed decisions,” he said, adding there “is a clear need to promote integrated service delivery and stimulate the development of environmental technologies, applications and services in the private sector. “The provisions of inundation mapping services, to inform decisions on sea level rise and storm activity, are critical and are urgently needed. The assistance to our farmers through modelling will help them to adapt to the changing climate through services such as drought forecasting, precipitation modelling as well as vulnerability and risk mapping.” Pickergill said that developing countries, in particular, would be looking at the products that would inform health sector managers in responding to heat projections and the potential changes required in health services; as well as those that will inform our business leaders and national governments in investment decisions and planning.

Launched in May 2013, the GFCS uses five components for the production, delivery and application of climate information and services.

“Pioneering climate services will enable us to make smart decisions to ensure public safety, increase our resilience, drive smart public and private sector-led infrastructural investment and stimulate economic growth,” he added.

Pickersgill told the conference that the 2009 report of the High Level Task Force on the Global Framework for Climate Services had identified that three basic facts had to be taken into account when focusing on climate information for decision-making.

The next national consultation on a Framework for Climate Services will be held in Barbados.

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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GoingGreen Is It Really Worth It?

by Colin Jenkins

By Colin J. Jenkins

Climate Change is here!

frame. In order to do this it’s first and of paramount importance that “Green” and “Sustainability” be defined.

While there exists scepticism, scientists continue publishing their findings, which increasingly and convincingly demonstrate that our heavy dependency on fossil fuels negatively, enhance undesired global effects such as: Ozone depletion and Global Warming.

Within the last two decades or so the terms “Going green” and “Sustainability” have been used interchangeably. While perceived to be one and the same, they are actually different. Part of the misinterpretation stems from a perception of “Green” to mean “Sustainable” which arguably lacks the all-encompassing nature of the latter (Yanarella et al., 2009).

In fact, adverse global occurrences such as the world economic crisis coupled with an increase in natural and man-made disasters among other climatic phenomena have been the eye openers for many policy makers, such as the unprecedented Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“Green” as it pertains to building practices as defined by Kubba (2010) responds to efficient interior environments and design which adhere to the use of energy consumption, resources, water, materials, waste management systems efficiently. “Green” although ecologically focused is inherent in Sustainability Development but as Kubba (2012) suggests Sustainability goes a step further by focusing as well on the impacts of Building Development in an economic, cultural and social sense.

Yet while this can be seen as a viable argument and has been generally acknowledged problematic there remain significant number of countries which are unable to meet their carbon footprint reduction targets. Case in point: the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ended on November 23rd, 2013 with delegates reaching a “compromise” and not a commitment on how to fight global warming. Note well, this so- called “compromise” came only after several interests groups labelling the meeting as a “waste of time” added to several near failed negotiations. To be honest this is not surprising and perhaps these issues can be better dissected, analysed and better understood from a contextual 30 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Developed countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia have placed notable economic interests and investments in becoming more “Sustainable”. Singapore for instance has set an 80 per cent green rating building compliance goal by year 2020. Undeniably when one ponders Sustainability the construction industry is never far away due to the content generated during and after construction. Therefore 0ne such means of addressing carbon footprint reduction and other concerns are via Green Rating Systems for buildings. Why rating systems? Rating systems measure and monitor performance against a predetermined set of categories related to sustainability. They focus on both planning and execution phases. Further, research has shown that building projects which successfully participate in Green rating certifications can reduce their energy use by as much as 30 to 50 per cent, carbon emissions 35 per cent, water use 40 per cent and solid waste 70 per cent (Kubba, 2010).


Developing countries such as Jordan and Si Lanka realising the long-term benefits have as well compared, adopted and contextualized green building rating systems. Yet in the Caribbean we still remain behind although wind, solar, geothermal and so on are readily available in some capacity. It’s important to mention that the intent is not to suggest such initiatives were not in progress at the time of this article. Indeed research findings in the form of interviews and literature reviews have shown several independent initiatives are on-going. However a holistic Green Rating System such as the United States Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification (LEED) or the United Kingdom’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) has yet to be published for Antigua and Barbuda. Pantin (1999) made a point that regrettably due to lack of natural resources (oil, minerals etc.) countries are forced to resort to methods and policy decisions where economics over environment takes precedence. In fact Antrobus (2011, p. 238) supports his claim by stating that ‘it cannot be said that any of our governments are truly committed to a path of sustainable development when the choice is between economic growth (and accompanying increased corporate profits) and the well-being of people and the protection of the natural resource base’. Taking into account the above I do not believe going green is an easy decision to make but thinking critically, can we afford not to, and will it be supported? In October of 2013 a scientific research was conducted in the island of Antigua focusing on its construction industry (engineers, contractors, designers and architects) to determine: 1.building design and construction organisation’s perceptions of green and sustainable construction. 2.the extent to which green and sustainable techniques are currently included within construction regulations and projects. 3.whether the adoption of a system similar to the USA’s LEED approach to benchmarking would enable measurement of sustainability In summary the research findings revealed that the majority of professionals agreed there have been some measure of “sustainable practices” observed, however only 20.69 per cent were convinced there were Sustainable and or Green Buildings erected. Additionally respondents were unfamiliar with a Green rating system for Antigua and Barbuda being developed, however 78.130 per cent were of the view that we as a country should seriously look into developing same, grounded by education, incentives, subsidies and political support; despite possible high start-up cost, lack of interest from clients and lack of green legislation. Again, can we afford not to? No, we cannot, but to convince others, they must first see the effort foremost in our own homes. References Antrobus, P. (2011) ‘Challenges to Sustainability: A Caribbean reflection.’ Development, 54(2) pp. 237-239. Kubba, S. (2010) Green construction project management and cost oversight. US: Architectural Press. Yanarella, E. J., Levine, R. S. and Lancaster, R. W. (2009) ‘Research and Solutions:” Green” vs. Sustainability: From Semantics to Enlightenment.’ Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 2(5) pp. 296-302. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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IN THE KNOW

Managing Your Own Career

Your Career Development Plan for 2014 and Beyond

If you are one of the many people silently suffering in a job that feels completely opposite to what you believe is your real desire or true potential, pay attention. It’s time to take deliberate and meaningful action towards those career resolutions you keep recycling year after year. Yes, I’m talking to you. So last year you said to yourself: Next year I’m going to really take charge of my professional life to improve my career and take it to the next level.

Well, guess what? Next year is here! Ask yourself this question: By the end of this year, what would I have wanted to achieve professionally? Maybe you’re interested in a different job in the same line of work or contemplating changing occupations altogether. Maybe you want to feel more satisfied with or become more established in your current employment. Or perhaps you have your sights set on a promotion, similar to one lady who went to her supervisor and declared, “I’ve been working here doing much the same thing for the past 17 years. I think it’s time they did something with me.” By ‘they’ she meant higher management and that ‘something’ was a promotion and a pay raise. What she and so many employees like her fail to realise is that one cannot delegate one’s career development to an employer. Today’s organizations are much less likely to offer the kind of ‘womb-to-tomb’ employment to which previous generations were accustomed and as a result, nowadays, it is much more common for employees to 32 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• February/March February/March 2014 2014 32

change jobs and make career transitions over the course of their working life. Career self-management is therefore crucial to ensure that where you are in your career at any given time is really where you want to be. One of the first steps in your personal career development process is a self assessment which helps to define your strengths and weaknesses. An individual assessment focusing on personal wants, needs, talents and skills is the best way to ensure greater career satisfaction because you are much more likely to find or build a career that provides the best match between who you are and the kind of work you choose to do. What do you enjoy doing? What do others tell you you’re good at? What are you passionate about? Your career should align with this information. The next steps involve researching what is available within your given field or in the wider world of work, then establishing career goals and objectives based on your current level of academic qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience. Where do you want to be a year from now? In five years? In the next ten years? Carefully consider your answers to these questions and then move on to the decisionmaking and planning process. During this phase, hold on to the mental picture of where you see yourself and create an action plan for moving yourself towards your ultimate career goal.


Managing Your Own Career/ . . .2 Think of this as an ongoing self-improvement plan. Career strategists agree that in today’s competitive global working environment, professionals should continuously be redeveloping themselves to remain as marketable as possible. While there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for what constitutes a successful career, improving your career building skills will put you on the right track to creating the kind of growth and personal development that spell success for you. The following guidelines can help you develop a plan that yields career-enhancing results:

their career to look like. They blame the economy, the government, the weather, anyone and anything rather than admit that they might be unwilling to commit to the hard work and determination needed to change their situation. By developing a long-term perspective and taking early responsibility for making important career decisions now, you give yourself more scope to sculpt the right career for yourself than you might have ever allowed yourself to imagine. The New Year is here. Now what are you going to do with it? Make 2014 count!

“Cheers to the New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey ___________________________________

4.Ensure accountability. Stick to your deadlines and document

About the Author: Arlene Timber Henry launched TimberHenry Consultancy Services in 2007 to offer customised coaching, consulting and training and development solutions (workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats) to individuals, organisations and groups in all areas of human resource development. She is a Caribbean professional with over 20 years’ cumulative international experience including training, public administration, communications management, career and academic counselling and customer service applications. Arlene holds qualifications in Mass Communications (B.A.) HRD (Diploma) Adult Education (M.Ed.) and a certificate in Distance Education.

Too many people are feeling frustrated in their jobs because they have never taken the time to formulate a vision of what they want

Website:http://timberhenryconsultancy.com/ Email:info@timberhenryconsultancy.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/arlenetimberhenry

1.Identify a career improvement goal. This might be improving

your oral and written communication skills, learning or mastering new technology or a foreign language or earning a degree.

2.Set a time period for completion of each of these goals. Some

advisers suggest setting a new goal every four months – there are many goals that need not take all year to achieve.

3.Turn each goal into a mini action plan with smaller tasks and due dates. This will help keep you focused and on track.

each step you achieve. Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to help monitor your progress.

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BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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IN THE KNOW

Ten

Little Things I’ve Learned as a

Female Executive By Joya Martin

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years, and continue to learn every day.

1. Work Hard

There really is no substitute for hard work. The law of sowing and reaping and Newton’s third law hold true in nature, and are equally applicable to everyday life. Don’t expect to ever get more than you put in. Don’t expect to ever be paid more than you deserve. And if it happens, don’t expect it to last long. Compete only with yourself; strive every day to be better than you were the day before.

2. If You Don’t Ask, the Answer is Always “No”

One of the main reasons some women succeed at landing the tough assignments and earning salaries comparable to those of their male counterparts is because they’ve learned to speak up. Life is not fair and neither is the work place. Take an active role in making sure you convert your diligence into rewards — this will not happen automatically. Ask how you’re performing, ask for more responsibility, let others know when you’re being treated unfairly and toot your own horn.

3. Don’t Scratch with the Chickens

Choosing the wrong people to keep company with at work can really drag you down. Gossips are great at identifying who did what wrong, but don’t put any energy into making things right. Similarly, complainers cast blame, but take no personal responsibility. Both consistently expect the worst and both tend to consistently get the worst. When you’ve suffered a set-back, take it in your stride and move on. It is a mistake to whine or bitterly complaining to whoever will listen. Hone your skills and keep your eyes peeled for the next available opportunity. Prepare to soar with the eagles instead.

4. Flaunt Your Skills, Not Your Sexuality

Make the office a strictly “no-flirting” zone. Being inconsistent on this point may land you in compromising situations that may be difficult from which to recover. On the other hand, celebrate the fact that you’re a woman. There is no need to forgo lipstick or try to “be one of the boys” to be taken seriously. Maintain a balance; people will find it easier to listen to what you’re saying if they aren’t being blinded by your fluorescent blue eyeshadow.

5. Lighten Up

Take the time to get to know those around you. Don’t be afraid to share a laugh or have fun at work. Embrace the concept of LBWA – 34 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• February/March February/March 2014 2014 34

leading by walking around. When people like and connect with you as an individual, they will be much more likely to support you when you really need it.

6. You Can’t Fix Everything

Being a perfectionist is an incredible waste of time and energy. Get your priorities straight, and make a habit of always working on your most important tasks first. Make a list every day. If you start your day tackling the easy stuff and then reacting to every email that pops into your inbox, you will find yourself both inefficient and overstressed. Always put first things first, and learn to delegate or drop the things that aren’t worth your immediate time and energy.

7. Trust Your Passion

The more you enjoy what you do, the greater the likelihood of being successful and enjoying that success. Figure out what you enjoy and find ways to do more of the things you love in your job. It won’t necessarily happen overnight, but create a plan and work with it.

8. Make Time For You

Make time to enjoy your life, and be happy and healthy. Cultivate interests outside of work – stimulate all your senses, eat well and move your body. Most of all, spend quality time with your friends and family.

9. It’s Okay to Cry

Frustrations will come, and so will the tears. When you break down emotionally on the job, it leaves people wondering if you can handle the task you’ve been entrusted with. Crying in front of bosses and coworkers will make you to lose credibility fast. Be tough on the job and save the tears for the drive home.

10. Never Stop Learning

My boss shared this gem with me just recently in a rare one-onone moment. I embrace learning by reading voraciously on subjects that interest me. What he was talking about was learning the art of extracting ideas and solutions from everyone around. Asking others “what would you do?” is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of real strength. It could make the difference between success and failure, particularly in really challenging times. About the Author: Joya Martin is an award-winning business leader and experienced accounting professional living in the gorgeous Caribbean. She is inspired by books, photography, art, beauty, nature, freedom, learning and love. Her passion is continuous learning, growth and improvement.


ST. JOHN’S CO-OPERATIVE CREDIT UNION MANAGING YOUR MONEY – MAPPING YOUR FUTURE Your money is a huge part of your life and taking control of your money, whether you have a little or a lot will ease financial stress and help you feel more secure. Learning how to manage your money is an important step towards taking control of your life. This includes having an understanding of the following: Your income - You currently work forty hours per week at $15 per hour, which means you take home $600 (40 hours x $15.00). Is this statement True or False? False! Understanding your pay cheque is very important, as there may be various deductions from your gross income or gross pay (ie. time worked multiplied by the pay rate). Your net pay, is the amount you actually receive after deductions. Understanding this is essential to understanding where you stand financially. Standard deductions – By law, the following deductions will be made from your gross pay: Personal Income Tax, Education Levy, Social Security & Medical Benefits contributions. Other deductions may include pension plan insurance, standing orders and loan payments. Establishing a savings account - is the best way to handle the uncertainties of life, such as job loss or medical expenses, as well as, reaching your financial dreams (like college, a nice car, travel, or retirement). Experts recommend you have a savings account worth three to six months of your salary, in case of emergencies. Pay yourself first - Before paying your monthly bills, write a cheque to yourself and deposit it to your savings account, or ask your employer to directly deposit a fixed amount into your savings account (Salary Deduction). Manage your accounts – involves keeping and reconciling records. You should keep your own records of your account activities

by using your cheque book, pass book or other register. You should keep track of all additions to the accounts such as deposits and interest earned, as well as, withdrawals from the account, including standing order payments, transfers between accounts and fees. Balance or reconcile your records for all of your accounts at least once per month. This will help you keep track of your money and verify the information you have is accurate. Managing your accounts, whether savings or chequing, by reconciling them to your Credit Union’s records is one of the best money management habits you can cultivate personally or as a business. Be aware of how quickly your savings can grow – You opened an account last year, deposited $200.00, set up a monthly standing order of $100.00 and gained interest at 3% per annum. Did you realize a year later you would have a balance of $1,436.00 on your account? Now, you’re ready to transfer $1000.00 and place it in a fixed or term deposit at 3.5%! that’s how your money will grow. Borrowing – Acquiring most of the essential things in life such as a house, land, a vehicle or a degree, or the new business equipment in a reasonable amount of time, may require getting a loan. Many of our members at St. John’s Co-operative Credit Union attest to this. Moreover, during the repayment of a loan at SJCCU, you are required to save, so that at the end of the loan term, your savings and net worth would have appreciated substantially. Finally, do not allow late or reconnection fees, penalty interest and repossession or bailiff charges steal from you. Pay your bills or loans on time. Saving regularly and managing your money will help you map your future and direct you to the road of financial success. We will help you get there!

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IN THE KNOW BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT

PROFILES ON COMMISSIONERS, SENIOR PERSONNEL AND EVOLUTION OF ABEC The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) is an independent, non-partisan entity with a mission to safeguard the electoral process in the twin island state. The creation of ABEC was the result of a report that was written by the Commonwealth Observer Group following the 1999 General Elections in Antigua and Barbuda. They recommended “the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission in Antigua and Barbuda with, among other powers, the mandate to create a completely new register, introduce a system of voter identification cards, and arrange the redrawing of constituency boundaries, and as necessary, review electoral law”. [Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group 1999, page 25] ABEC emerged on December 3, 2001 thanks to the Representation of the People Act, Cap. 379 Act No. 17 of 2001. A staff complement was hired and five commissioners were appointed in April of 2002. The first chairman of ABEC was McClin Mathias. His deputy chairman was Bruce Goodwin and Bishop Ewing Dorsett, Winston Gomes and Nathaniel “Paddy” James were the other three commissioners. The term of a commissioner is seven years from the date of his or her appointment but they are eligible for reappointment. According to Sec (6) 1, the Commission is responsible for the control and supervision of the preparation of the voters’ register and the conduct of elections in every constituency and enforcing with respect to all election officers, fairness, impartiality and compliance with the electoral law. The Commission is also expected to act impartially and independently of any political or government influence. Since 2002, there have been amendments made to the Representation of the People Act and seven commissioners now comprise the Commission. ABEC currently employs 95 people and there are 6 sitting commissioners at this juncture.

Chairman Juno Samuel The chairman of the commission is nominated by the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition. Chairman Juno Samuel was appointed to the Electoral Commission on August 6, 2010. Over the past three decades, he has enjoyed a prolific career in education as an administrator. He has been an elementary school principal, high school principal and lecturer at the Leeward Islands Teachers Training College. 36 |

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His pursuits have taken him to the British Virgin Islands and the United States of America where he worked for the New York City Board of Education. When School Based Management was introduced, Chairman Samuel chaired a team of administrators, line staff and others managing a large grant which they won. Upon retiring and returning to Antigua and Barbuda he has held the following positions: Chairman of the University of Antigua Development Committee, Chairman of the Education Advisory Board and Deputy Chairman of the Social Security Board. Chairman Samuel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education. He has done extensive post graduate studies in education administration.

Deputy Chairman Nathaniel “Paddy” James The deputy chairman is nominated by the leader of the opposition after consultation with the prime minister. Deputy Chairman Nathaniel “Paddy” James is the longest sitting commissioner having been appointed to the Electoral Commission when it was first established in April of 2002. Born in the village of Old Road in 1947, Commissioner James has had an exciting and versatile career that includes serving as a civil servant, working as a sales agent for British American Insurance Company and establishing his own sales, research and marketing business in 1981. He is a Real Estate Agent and auctioneer by profession. The “JCI Senator” and Notary Public has served as a Director of the Free Trade and Processing Zone and the Deputy Chairman of State Insurance Corporation. He has also served as a Director of the Antigua Planned Parenthood Association for many years. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Antigua and Barbuda and a “Paul Harris


Fellow.”He was an advisor to former prime minister, the Honourable Lester Bird with respect to the reorganisation of ABS Radio and TV. Commissioner James was awarded the OM (Order of Merit) in 2001 by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for distinguished public and community service to the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

Commissioner Paula Lee Commissioner Paula C.M. Edwards-Lee was appointed to the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission in March of 2012 and is honoured to represent the nation in this capacity after being nominated by the Antigua Christian Council and the United Evangelical Association of Antigua and Barbuda. Following teaching assignments at two primary schools and a tenure of more than 25 years at Cable & Wireless and LIME, Commissioner Lee is currently the Managing Director of PCM Lee Communications and Consulting. Her genuine smile and endearing personality have led her to become the executive producer and host of the first ever locally produced talk show -“The Paula Show.” Continuous academic and professional development has always motivated her and she has completed numerous modules that are designed to develop capable leadership for global businesses. She is an associate of the Institute of Canadian Bankers and International Image Consultants. Commissioner Lee has an Executive Diploma in Management and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus. The happily married mother of five manages to take time out of her busy schedule to engage in mentoring programmes at Her Majesty’s Prison and she also teaches Sunday School at her church. She admits that her greatest joy is her fellowship with Jesus Christ. The future looks bright for this devoted Christian who hopes to work at the United Nations in New York City as an advocate for underprivileged youth and single parents.

Commissioner David E. Kelsick Commissioner David Kelsick was appointed to the Electoral Commission on January 1, 2010 by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Baldwin Spencer. Born and raised in St. John’s, Antigua, the seventh child in a family of ten, he lost his mother at the tender age of eight. He excelled academically at St. John’s Boy’s School (re-named T. N. Kirnon School) and won a post-primary scholarship to Princess Margaret

Secondary School. Following a brief stint in the Government Service after leaving school, he was among a select group of promising Antiguans who were awarded CIDA scholarships in the 1960s. Subsequently, he moved to Ottawa, Canada and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Carleton University. Then he enrolled in a chartered accountants programme at McGill University in Montreal and became a member of the accounting firm of Campbell, Sharpe, Nashe and Field. Upon his return to Antigua in 1971, he worked as both an assistant secretary in the Ministry of Finance and an Accountant in the Agricultural Extension Services. He was the first director of the Social Security Fund in 1972 and was responsible for the implementation of the Social Security Act and its regulations. In 1976, he resigned from the Social Security Board and took up a position as financial comptroller of a local company. In 1981, his innovativeness led him to accept an assignment within the Economic Affairs Secretariat of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as a Management Training Officer within a USAID Regional Training Project. Through this initiative, he made a substantial contribution to Caribbean regional development. As part of a five- man team, he was engaged with member governments of the OECS consulting on training needs and organising developmental strategies in order to design and deliver Management Training in all OECS member states. By 1987, Commissioner Kelsick became the head of the USAID training team and was managing the entire project. In 1989, he became the Chief of Finance and Administration within the OECS where he remained until 1997. At this juncture he returned to the private sector and established a full time accounting and consulting practice. He is a full member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean. Commissioner Kelsick never passes on an opportunity to be of service to his country. From 2004-2009, the dedicated son of the soil served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Antigua and Barbuda’s Social Security fund. He is a true patriot who enjoys working quietly and enthusiastically behind the scenes as he does his part to serve God and country.

Commissioner Glendina Mckay Commissioner Glendina Mckay was appointed to the Commission on January 12, 2012 by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Baldwin Spencer. Born on April 3, 1942, the Princess Margaret School graduate attended the Leeward Islands Teacher Training College and the University of West Indies. She has taught at Old Road Primary School, Jennings Primary School, T. N. Kirnon School, Villa Primary School, Cedar Grove Primary School and Green Bay Primary School. She served as the principal of Five Islands Primary School for 13 years. She has also been an assessor of teachers at the Teacher Training Department. With a career as an educator spanning more than four decades, Commissioner McKay has received several BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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awards for her commitment and outstanding service to the teaching profession. She was given the honour of an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by Her Excellency Governor General Dame Louise Lake Tack in January of 2009. Although she retired from teaching in 2002, she has continued to offer her expertise to the Police Service Commission, Industrial Court, Public Service Appeal Board and Antigua and Barbuda Teachers Credit Union. She is an active member of the Spring Gardens Moravian Church where she teaches Sunday School. She has been married for 49 years and has three children and three grandchildren.

Commissioner Anthonyson King Commissioner Anthonyson King hails from Greenhill, Liberta and was appointed to the Commission on August 16, 2010 by Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Lester Bird. He attended Seaview Farm and Ottos Primary schools and pursued his secondary studies at the Antigua Pilgrim High School where he subsequently taught. In 1976, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics from the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. He later completed a Diploma in Education in the teaching of mathematics and has done various courses in teacher education, union organisation and civil defence. His dedication to mathematics led him to CXC and in 1981, he became the first Antiguan to mark CXC mathematics. In the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Commissioner King became embroiled in the momentous teacher’s struggle and embraced the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement (ACLM). In solidarity with the late Tim Hector and Conrad Luke, he was a chief advocate for community councils and Caribbean unity in an effort to promote the Caribbean as one state with one flag, one destiny and one currency. He emphasises that his political maturity was a direct result of regular Thursday night ACLM sessions and the many courses sponsored by the ACLM in Cuba, Grenada and St. Lucia. Over the years, King has done voluntary work in various schools including All Saints Secondary, Hill Secondary, Henry Secondary, APHS Secondary and ABICE. He has been married to Cicely Thomas since 1975 and they have a daughter named Saran and a son named Omari.

Supervisor Of Elections, Lorna Simon Lorna Simon was born on July 21, 1951. She was appointed to the

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Commission in 2002 as Supervisor of Elections. She attended the Liberta Primary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School. In 1988, she attained the Certificate in Public Administration from the University of West Indies in Mona, Jamaica and in 1997 she received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Public Sector Management with Second Class Honours from the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus. Simon’s illustrious 44-year career in the public service has included positions as permanent secretary, principal assistant secretary, senior assistant secretary, assistant secretary, senior executive officer, executive officer, senior clerk and junior clerk. She has worked in the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ministry of Public Utilities & Communications and several other government departments. She has completed a number of professional courses including an OAS course in voter registration policy practice in 2011 and a Canadian International Development Agency Training Awards Project Course in Advanced Accounting in 1998. She has travelled extensively and participated as an international and CARICOM Observer during the 2004 Elections in the Dominican Republic, 2004 Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, 2004 Elections in Nicaragua and 2008 Elections in Puerto Rico. She was a member of the Commonwealth Expert Team (CET), which observed General Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis in January, 2010. In November of 2011, Simon served as Deputy Head of Mission on a CARICOM Observer Mission to the General Elections in Guyana.

Anne Harewood George, Public Relations Officer Anne Harewood George joined the ABEC team as Public Relations Officer on September 2, 2013 after enjoying a three-year stint at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa as public relations manager. She is the daughter of former educators and she credits her parents and her older brother Adrian for emphasising the importance of reading in the pursuit of knowledge. With more than 15 years experience in communications, community development, customer service and education, the former radio broadcaster has worked in both private and public sectors. From 2007-2010, Harewood George was a lecturer in Communication


Studies, Psychology, Business Communication and Sociology at the Antigua State College and University of West Indies. Whether she is counselling victims of violence and abuse for Women Against Rape or mentoring youth in the community, the avid sports enthusiast has always taken time out to volunteer. Harewood George loves the performing arts and believes that individuals need creative ways to express themselves in order to be agents of positive social change. She played a pivotal role in the formation of the Antigua and Barbuda Paralympic Committee in 2012 as one of its founding members. The charismatic and proud mother of one has been married to Wayne George since 2011. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from McGill University and a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) in Criminology from the University of Ottawa. She also has a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of Ottawa. She looks forward to interacting with the public throughout the electoral process and is motivated by the high level of civic engagement in Antigua and Barbuda. She hopes that her comprehensive voter education programme will appeal to the masses and enable them to recognise their role in the world as global citizens of a young, democratic nation.

Marlene Bailey, Human Resources Officer Marlene Bailey is very passionate about family and the pursuit of higher learning. With seven years of experience in Human Resources, she has performed regional HR for a “Big 4” accounting firm and consulted on HR advisory engagements. The Magna Cum Laude graduate has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management with concentration in International Business. She has a Certificate in Global Human Resources Management from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). She is a member of both the Human Resources Professionals of Antigua and Barbuda (HRPAB) and the Society for Human Resource Management. Bailey belongs to Sigma Beta Delta, which is an honour society for outstanding business and management students. She is actively involved in community efforts that focus on counselling and training. Bailey hopes to strengthen the Human Resources function at ABEC because according to her, “An organisation is only as strong as its people so we need to ensure that we capitalise on our human resources.”

Samantha Leacock, Data Processing Manager Samantha Leacock has been working at ABEC as the Data Processing Manager for the past 11 years. The multitalented IT specialist has a plethora of teaching experience having lectured at the Antigua Barbuda International Institute, the University of Health Sciences and the Antigua State College in the areas of Network Administration, Computer Science, Programming, Database technologies and Web-site Development technologies. Leacock obtained a BSc. in Computer Science and Accounting from the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados in 1999. Ten years later, she completed a Master’s of Business Administration in General Management at the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Telecommunications at Birmingham City University, which is located in England.

LOOKING AHEAD As the 2014 General Elections draw near, the team at ABEC is cognizant that the task at hand will be a challenging one but they also know that the outcome will be equally rewarding. It is their duty to oversee the electoral process with integrity and when they walk into the headquarters daily and look on the wall, they are reminded that the vision of ABEC is crystal clear:

VISION The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission is committed to ensuring that the electoral process is conducted in an impartial and transparent manner to ensure voters’ confidence and to contribute to the further strengthening of democracy. The Commission will ensure through consultation on the process of continuing electoral reform emanating from “best practices” through experiences and knowledge obtained from cooperation among international electoral organisations. This inspiring statement has helped to carry ABEC through two general elections in Antigua and Barbuda and the best is yet to come.

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FEATURE

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FEATURE

Who we are and what we do

How we work

Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax, and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward looking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions.

We aim to be the leading business adviser to dynamic organisations around the world by unlocking their potential for growth. This means looking at all aspects of the business at the same time. Financial measures, process efficiency, new ways of working and stakeholder relationships must grow in harmony to fully achieve your objectives.

Where are we More than 35,000 Grant Thornton people, across over 100 countries, in 600+ offices are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. Although not as widely known in the Eastern Caribbean as other parts of the world, Grant Thornton has offices in the following Caribbean countries - Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

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Grant Thornton clients want forward thinking service providers who can adapt quickly. They expect us to get to the heart of the matter fast, providing clarity and discover fresh opportunities. We do that by combining our technical knowledge and sector expertise with an in-depth understanding that can only come from asking insightful questions and listening to every detail. Our CLEAR global values are the foundation for what we do. • • • • • •

Collaboration – we work well together Leadership – we challenge each other to be the best we can be Excellence – we never get complacent Agility – we thrive in change Respect – create honest relationships Responsibility – we own our actions


Growth is central to our strategy. Grant Thornton led the six largest global accounting organisations in reported revenue growth rate for the past year. Grant Thornton firms have access to a network of International Business Centres (IBCs) that provide a gateway to the resources of Grant Thornton globally. IBCs are led by experts in international business familiar with the wealth of experience held by colleagues around the world and they coordinate this expertise to serve clients across borders. What we have to say While we are proud of our growth accomplishment we know our people will say the true measure of our success is how well we served our clients. Our continued ambition is to be recognised as the leading provider of high quality, professional services of dynamic organisations, helping them unlock their potential growth. The transition to Grant Thornton (Antigua and St. Kitts-Nevis) Already embodying many of the core principles of the GT brand, the Firm transitioned into the GT network on July 1, 2013 which will allow us to continue our excellent quality of service that our clients have been experiencing for years. Following the unanimous support and confidence from both clients and staff, the Firm was assured that the right decision has been made. Clients were prepared for the transition and given relevant information on the new network. That, coupled with the strong relationships already established, helped to ensure that sector of

the transition was a smooth one. Clients were assured that the standards would remain the same, and the transition would prove to be more effective for their respective businesses through a more efficient service delivery. Robert Wilkinson, Partner, explained, “Culturally, the Grant Thornton network is a better fit for our market at this time – better for the staff, clients and the partners. We have found it to be a little more agile…whilst allowing us to retain autonomy. They provide a very supportive network while at the same time enabling us to deliver our products and services in the most effective way based on the local market”. Wilkinson further noted, “We tell people up front, and it’s no secret, that we apply the highest standards…so if you have a philosophical problem with high standards, then you should not engage us”. “At the end of the day, we need to merge the client’s philosophy with our own for a greater outcome,” added Charles Walwyn, Managing Partner. “In addition, the partners recognise that our market place is a dynamic one, and the only thing that is certain is change. We believe that the GT philosophy and network better enables us to be proactive in planning for shifts in the needs of our market; so that we can serve our existing clients better as well as attract new clients who may have new needs or opportunities,” added Kathy David. New service offerings now include Compliance Reviews within the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation, Internal Audit and Citizenship by Investment related services including application filing, escrow and tax planning services.

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FEATURE

Charles Walwyn

We’ve always had that Grant Thornton “instinct for growth”. The people in here have always worked on the basis that not only can we help ourselves grow, but we can help others grow, and we can help entrepreneurs grow.

Managing Partner

A native of St. Kitts-Nevis, Charles Walwyn seized the opportunity in 1984 to join the Peat Marwick Mitchell office in Antigua, having started working with the St. Lucia office in 1983. The Antigua office was established in 1982 and, after merging with Price Waterhouse in 1989 and the subsequent merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand in 1998 that formed PwC, today, Walwyn is the Managing Partner at Grant Thornton. His current responsibilities include the overall management of the Antigua and St. Kitts-Nevis practices of Grant Thornton, with specific responsibility for Tax, Insolvency, and Business Advisory Services. For the six years prior to the firm’s transition to Grant Thornton effective July 1, 2013, he served on the Executive Committee of the PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm which had other offices in Barbados and St. Lucia. He is currently a board member of Crossroads Centre Antigua and a Trustee of St. Nicholas Primary School. Embarking on another milestone within the Firm’s development and growth, Business Focus sat down with Walwyn to discuss the practice and the recent transition to Grant Thornton. Business Focus: Considering the Firm’s growth over the last 31 years, what have been some of the most significant changes? Charles Walwyn: The firm is eleven times as big as it was when it first opened in Antigua. We began with four people and today we have a staff of 46. The St. Kitts-Nevis office was opened in 2006 and has already grown to a staff of 18 people. Major challenges have always been with recruitment in terms of attracting the right people and having the right resources in place to service the demands of our clients; and then keeping up with the demands, as the growth of the practice from 1984 onwards was rapid. The real challenge for the firm has always been to keep on top of service and delivery in an expanding client base across many lines of service, matching the resources to keep our existing clients happy, while also providing 44 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • February/March 2014 44 • February/March 2014

for continued growth. We gradually developed beyond Audit and Tax services, creating a whole suite of Advisory services, including an expertise in the area of Business Restructuring, Business Reviews and Insolvency Services. Thereafter we expanded into the arena of Information Technology, working with clients predominantly in the hospitality industry in the implementation of front office and accounting systems. In 2005 we made a decision to expand our operations into St. Kitts-Nevis and in 2006 the office was opened. The resident partner is Jefferson Hunte, a national of Barbados who worked in the Barbados office and was made a partner in the same year the office was opened. This was not a small decision but it was a relatively easy one. We had been servicing clients in the jurisdiction for many years and numerous businesses approached us about establishing an office. We felt it was an excellent opportunity to grow and provide opportunities for our staff in Antigua to develop their skills offshore. Many of our staff took up the opportunity including Kathy David in the role of Resident Manager. BF: Have the goals of the firm evolved since the Firm’s inception in 1982? CW: The goals have all been met and exceeded. The initial goal was one of survival. When you open a brand new business there is opportunity but you have to convert that opportunity into a viable business of your own. Once we were encouraged to come into the marketplace, we had to respect the fact that people had already established relationships with other service providers in the community; and client loyalty is something we understand and value. So the approach we took was to seek out the opportunities that were currently being un-serviced and possibly under-serviced. What we found, in fact, was that in the marketplace there was quite a large gap. There were a number of clients who were not being serviced at all, or who were bringing in service providers from outside of Antigua. In servicing the un-serviced and under-serviced market,


we built the business from the ground up, attracting other clients along the way. Once we became steady on our feet, it allowed us to branch off into other services and expand the resources to match the additional opportunities. BF: How have clients’ demands evolved over the years? CW: Clients are always very demanding in the service industry. One thing I have found is that they are now much more demanding in terms of the timeliness of delivery of the services requested. Quality has never been compromised. Our clients, over the passage of time, have themselves grown and their requirements have become greater. They require more services from us and delivery within a shorter period of time. One of the challenges in that, obviously, is keeping our clients happy with our service delivery and ensuring that they remain satisfied and loyal. BF: What can clients expect from the Firm now that it has joined the Grant Thornton network? CW: We will continue to develop the practice along the lines that it was originally established in a methodical way that does not compromise, in any way, what we have achieved in the past, in building a tremendous client base and a group of people both of which are so critical to our continued success. From a visionary point of view we are happy where we are, but we need to continue to grow. We can’t stay stagnant; and we need to assist Grant Thornton in developing a wider footprint in the Eastern Caribbean generally. By so doing, one will hope that the partnership will grow, both in Antigua and St. Kitts-Nevis and provide continuing opportunities for the persons in those practices to obtain partnership in more or less the same manner that I did more than 28 years ago. We are currently a three-partner firm in Antigua with a resident partner in St. Kitts-Nevis. We’d love to continue to grow to eventually become a five-partner or even a six partner firm. BF: The Firm in Antigua added its third partner in 2011, Kathy David. Why was this the right time for the expansion of the partnership? CW: We’ve always had a succession plan in place which included the addition of a third, younger partner who would operate primarily in the Audit arena. The economic issues globally and regionally, notwithstanding, it was important to make that appointment at a time when we felt the person was ready. We sensed there was additional growth coming into the marketplace so that was not an issue. Kathy was most deserving to become a partner. It was also the opportune time to demonstrate our growth to the public from a two-partner to a three-partner firm, wherein emphasising our ability to meet our clients’ growing demands for a variety of services. We definitely wanted our third partner to be home-schooled and homegrown. This was an important yardstick to demonstrate in this marketplace that we were able to survive, first of all, and then grow our resources to the point where we have been able to train someone all the way through from junior accountant to partner. BF: What are the more pronounced misconceptions of the Firm? CW: Image is important to me. And perhaps because of the international recognition of the Firm’s networks over the years, there are still many people who believe that we only cater to large and predominantly foreign owned businesses. This is false. We, ourselves, began essentially with nothing and ... that entrepreneurial spirit of coming to Antigua and developing a business, which would be long lasting and secure, we appreciate and respect, and we would

like to see this in others, particularly our clients. We’ve always had that Grant Thornton “instinct for growth”. The people in our firm have always worked on the basis that not only can we help ourselves grow, but we can help others grow, and we can help entrepreneurs grow. A lot of the clients that we have now, are fairly new businesses established over the last 20 years, and they’ve grown significantly as well. The second thing is the expatriate image of the Firm because all of the partners since inception were not Antiguan. We’ve been able to change that image over the years and Kathy David becoming a partner has further helped to weaken that expatriate image. She’s young, a woman, and an Antiguan. People can look on and realise that if you’re good at what you do, you can go very far. Our leadership below the partner level is very strong and all local. We’ve really cultivated a strong base of personnel resources that are local or from other islands in the Caribbean and we are very proud of this. BF: What does Grant Thornton do in terms of community outreach CW: An essential function of being a good corporate citizen is a company’s presence in the community, usually measured by their outreach programmes. The Firm has always made substantial donations annually, usually on an anonymous basis. Like so many other businesses in Antigua, Grant Thornton receives their fair share of solicitation letters for both private and community requests. We have a Social Responsibility Committee at Grant Thornton and the Chairperson is Dojn Lake-Kentish, a Senior Manager in Assurance Services. This Committee is comprised of staff members and it categorises requests for financial and other assistance (including time and pro-bono professional services) into the following broad categories – academic, sports, spiritual/religious, health and medical. There is a budget and the Committee decides how much is provided to each cause that is supported. We try to assist persons and organizations that touch us on a genuine and personal level. We are consistent supporters of selected causes including the Fiennes Institute but we also look to other opportunities annually. Christmas 2013 saw the addition of a new social activity. Receiving a letter from the Prison Fellowship Association requesting their assistance in the purchase of gifts for the children of incarcerated parents, the Committee liked the gesture and made the decision to become a bit more involved. It’s so traumatic for some of these children, and they’re so young, to go to the prison; some of them have no interaction throughout the year besides the Christmas visit and this gesture is just a small way of letting these children know that their mother or father is thinking of them at Christmas time. At the time, we were thinking of doing a Secret Santa in the office, but the Committee made the suggestion to turn the Secret Santa into one for the kids…so the gifts came not just from the Firm, but from our individual pockets…so that was giving of oneself on a collective basis. No one knows what the future holds for us all, so realistically if you are in a position to help the community, we believe that is a very good thing to do. BF: What has kept the Firm above the competition? CW: I think what keeps us ahead is our unrelenting commitment to client service, and unrelenting commitment to our people. We ensure that we have the right ethic in terms of service delivery and the right ethic in terms of attracting and retaining the best possible staff. That’s it in a nutshell. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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FEATURE

Robert Wilkinson

“Our people here work extremely hard, and we reward them for doing so.”

Partner

Working in England for nine years, and needing a change of not only climate, but scenery and professional challenge, the Caribbean caught Robert. Wilkinson’s attention. Employed with KPMG Preston office as a General Practice Audit Manager, he registered with a recruitment agency. “I wasn’t looking for Antigua, specifically, but the Caribbean ... When the opportunity arose, once I met the individuals who ran the Firm, I was convinced this was the right move for me... Price Waterhouse had as good a reputation as KPMG, so I felt I’d be going into familiar territory in terms of quality ... but a brand new territory in terms of culture. ... I felt I could use my skills and come out here (to the Caribbean) and make a difference.” Being on contract for a mere two years, at the time, Wilkinson did not envision that he’d be with the company for 20 years. Joining the then Price Waterhouse as a Senior Manager with overall responsibility for managing the Assurance practice, Wilkinson immediately noticed that the Firm had a strong entrepreneurial clientele, which he quickly learned to deal with. Enjoying his new challenges, he was made a partner on July 1, 1998. The partners at the time, Donald Ward and Charles Walwyn, were looking for a candidate with strong audit skills, good communication skills with people, someone keen on developing persons at lower levels within the firm, while also maintaining high administrative standards. Today, as the senior Assurance Partner within the Leeward Islands Practice with offices in Antigua and St. Kitts, Wilkinson provides audit, tax and business advisory services at the highest level to a portfolio of approximately 100 local and international clients, ranging from entrepreneurial small businesses to the region’s largest institutions. With in depth experience in insolvency, tax and secretarial services, his wide-range involvement in practice management includes risk management; acquisition of new business; financial control, strategic and financial planning, and financial reporting for the Firm. Over the years his clients have included Caribbean Alliance Insurance, Antigua Commercial Bank,Sandals, ECAB, APUA, LIAT (1974) Ltd., Elite Island Resorts, Jumby Bay Resort, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. Noting the change in professional standards over the years, it 46 |

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continues to be a challenge to stay abreast of the international accounting and auditing standards, not only as a Firm, but for the clients as well. One of the biggest challenges, as a result is keeping the fees affordable while compliance requirements have escalated. “You have to try and match the resources, training and technology needed to provide the product with what your clients can afford.” In order to maintain their high standards and meet the everchanging needs of clients along with the constant metamorphosis of standards, one of the challenges and goals met by the Firm is attracting and retaining the brightest minds in the field. “Our people here work extremely hard, and we reward them for doing so.” Wilkinson also attributes the Firm’s prominence to relationships. He quotes relationship-building as being key to the Firm’s success over the years - not only the relationships among clients, but with staff, Government and the wider business community as well. “The emphasis placed on maintaining relationships and of abiding by perpetually high standards ... that coupled with the quality of service has definitely allowed us to retain clients and staff over the years.” Noting the good social atmosphere at the Firm, Wilkinson has no regrets in choosing to work at the company or migrate to Antigua. Even starting his family here, he’s fallen in love with the island, and has a deep sense of loyalty to the Firm. To future applicants wishing to join this prestigious Firm, apart from exceptional academic qualifications, Wilkinson advises that to work at Grant Thornton, “You are going to be spending 80 per cent of your career interacting with people - people in the same team as you, people in the office, and your clients ... so you must have an affinity for people... you must be able to deal with a very wide range of personalities. ... Persons who work here have a good work ethic, and are not afraid of hard work. They have a desire to do well... and they’re all nice people, people you want to do business with.” Wilkinson is also the British Consul to Antigua and Barbuda, and acts as an adviser to the St. Anthony’s Secondary School Board.


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FEATURE We are all made with hope, and must always be hopeful that we can selfactualise and fulfill our life’s purpose.”

Kathy David Partner

On July 1, 2011 Kathy David made history, not only in Antigua, but in the Eastern Caribbean and the Firm, then PricewaterhouseCoopers, when she became the youngest and first Antiguan female to be made a partner. Under PwC, she was one of less than 10 female partners in the Caribbean, and the only female partner in the OECS.

property, so you have to decide, when I put my intellectual property on display and submit my day’s work, does that reflect mediocrity or does it reflect excellence…have I done the best that I can do?” Kathy attributes her work ethic to the values she has been taught by her mother.

Business Focus was honoured to celebrate her accomplishment more than two years ago, and caught up with the busy Partner as the Firm moves into yet another chapter by becoming part of the Grant Thornton (GT) network, one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms.

Not oblivious to the fact that in addition to being the first Antiguan partner, she is also the first female partner in Antigua, Kathy has fully embraced her responsibilities whilst basking in the joys of motherhood. Not feeling the cliché burden to prove herself as a female, she underlines the fact that the Firm is one of meritocracy. “Things are constantly changing, and I have the benefit of ‘now’, so our aim is to create value for our clients on a daily basis. Regardless of which partner handles your account our objectives are always the same….meeting or exceeding our clients’ expectations. As a partnership we are united in our service quality and delivery philosophy,and to do so at the highest level. This united stance in our service philosophy is one of the hallmarks of our partnership and we achieve this not as individuals but by being a strong cohesive unit…this is the strength of our brand.”

As a partner with responsibility for Assurance Services in the GT Antigua office, and the Chief Quality Officer for both the Antigua and St. Kitts offices, her areas of specialisation include financial services (banking and insurance), telecommunications and hotel and leisure. She is presently responsible for delivering audit, advisory and tax services in accordance with International Standards to some of Antigua’s and the OECS’ most prominent organisations. To date, some of her clients have included the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Caribbean Alliance Insurance, Digicel (Antigua, BVI, St. Kitts, Anguilla), Community First Cooperative Credit Union, Antigua Commercial Bank, ECAB, LIAT (1974) Ltd., Jumby Bay Resort and Sandals Resorts. Kathy also has Insolvency, Mergers & Acquisitions and Restructuring & Recoveries experience. While she does experience a personal pride in her accomplishments, she is proud to share this achievement with her family,friends and colleagues, who have and continue to be supportive of her. “A lot of my colleagues took pride in my admittance into the partnership, in that they saw someone with a similar background as them achieving this success... so they can then think, ‘okay, if Kathy could do it ... we can do it too.” Cooperation and dedication are key behaviours encouraged in her Assurance department, the largest department in the Firm, as they aspire to meet and exceed client expectations. Encouraging an atmosphere of equity and teamwork, as a personal philosophy Kathy believes in “always putting yourself in your teammate’s shoes. Never do to them anything that you would not want them to do to you. Being conscientious about work and taking pride in the work you do is important. What we create is a direct reflection of our intellectual 48 |

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Prior to her current partnership, Kathy was seconded to PwC Cayman Islands, where she acquired training and exposure in that country’s core business sectors - captive insurance, off-shore banking, and fund/trust account management. In July 2006, she was then deployed to St. Kitts for the mobilisation and establishment of a new PwC office. At the time, it was the only PwC office being opened in the Western Hemisphere. Grabbing the attention of International cohorts, she was offered a position with PwC in the UK, which would have been a global technical role. In fact, that was the first time, such a position was offered to a Caribbean national. As Chief Quality Control Officer, Kathy undertakes the responsibility of maintaining a precise quality control regime, under the initiative of the International Standard on Quality Control (ISQC) 1. “This affects not just audit, but every component of what we do at the Firm... including monitoring our risk management, our quality compliance, and adherence to that standard. This role requires that the Firm has quality control systems established that can stand up to being tested (at least once a year). All of that falls within the requirements of providing an international service [and] we must comply if we are going to maintain an international brand.”


Noting the constant changes in international standards, more often than not, it is a part of our service delivery to assist clients so they are abreast of changes pertinent to them. A time-sensitive, dynamic process, audits must be performed within the requirements of any new changes, while still ensuring that the numbers are presented, fairly and in compliance with international standards. Despite her achievements, she admits, that she had never really thought about being a partner. Practicing a firm belief of continuous learning and improvement, she notes that her career path has certainly placed her in the right place at the right time. “At the end of the day we all have a course we are put on. We can choose to stay the course, or change the course; but it’s important to enjoy what you do, take pride in the work you do and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that it is good for us as human beings to have a purpose, something that drives us towards excellence or provides us with satisfaction. I think the Good book is very clear that ‘by the sweat of a man’s brow he shall eat bread. We have to work for what we want, and work at being the best version of the person God has created us to be. An important impetus to is to want to do better, to leave this world even better than we found it. We are all made with hope, and must always be hopeful that we can self-actualise, and fulfil our life’s purpose.” Kathy is also a practising member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean, and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants of the UK. Outside of GT kathy is an member of a monthly book club and also plays the steelpan.

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BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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FEATURE

Joining a Firm of Excellence

Grant Thornton, Antigua, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers, is synonymous with excellence and superior quality. For most, if not all accounting students, the goal during study is to at least intern at this prestigious Firm. Benefitting from the Firms impressive portfolio, many have passed through the Firm gaining not only their professional qualifications, but a wealth of invaluable experience that has accelerated their careers. Some will even admit to wondering what happens behind those double doors on Old Parham Road, but not all who are interested will be accepted into this organisation. Priding themselves on attracting the “brightest and best” minds to the Firm, the opportunity to be employed there goes beyond the scope of academic merit. On average, the Firm may, in a given year, have two positions to fill but will receive in excess of 30 applications, which means an applicant begins with a less than 10 per cent chance of being offered the job. The first process of elimination is the grade point average (GPA). If an applicant does not possess a minimum GPA of 3.75, their application may not likely reach the desk of any of the partners for consideration. Once this process has been completed, the suitable candidates will then sit an entry exam set by the Firm. At this stage, if the minimum pass is not met, a candidate will not make it to the second phase, being interviews. As a part of a rather stringent process, this stage satisfies the basic requirements, scrutinising skill and competency. It is in the second phase of the recruiting process, the interview process, that a candidate must be prepared to go beyond the scope of their academic credentials. Likened to a friendly interrogation, the candidate meets with the managers, who will then decide on the two candidates who best fit into their team. Successful applicants are then placed on a three-month probation period to prove their competence. Partner - Kathy David explained, “Our environment is very fast and the learning curve is steep ... 50 |

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which is why we don’t accept persons with low GPA’s... our previous experience has shown that such persons tend to struggle in this environment. In addition, there are some things that we just can’t teach without a solid academic foundation. For example, you must have an analytical mind and be a problem-solver.” Being a service industry, candidates must demonstrate a natural aptitude for dealing with people. The art of conversation cannot be taken lightly, as representatives of the Firm are expected to liaise and communicate directly with clients. For the candidate, who for example, possesses a high GPA and was exceptional on their entry exam, but struggled to communicate or even compose a simple sentence, their chances of joining the team significantly diminishes. Senior Assurance Manager - Dojn Lake-Kentish, who sits on the interview panel, noted that while book knowledge is important, the interview serves to provide a glimpse of the applicant’s personality and an indication of their character. Stressing the significance of relationships, Partner - Robert Wilkinson remarked, “Investment in relationships has been key to the Firm’s long-term success. We invest heavily in relationships with clients and our staff, so it is paramount that someone working here understands the importance of customer service ... at the end of it all, we are judged on our service quality and delivery.” Besides being the “brightest and the best” when hired, Managing Partner - Charles Walwyn added that successful candidates are expected to “perform at a level above [their] grade to always catch the attention of the partners and the clients. The demands are quite large if you want to go all the way in this organisation.” {Suitable candidates desirous of applying for a permanent Accounting/Audit position at GT should send their resume along with a copy of their official university transcript, to the Human Resources department at GT for consideration. Consideration and selection of new recruits is normally performed in April – May of each year.}


Meet The Directors

Neil Coates – Director, Tax & Legal Services

Edward Fisher - Director, Global Technology Solutions, Citizenship by Investment Services and Human Resources

Neil Coates is a Director with Grant Thornton with more than 18 years of professional experience in assurance, tax advisory and insolvency services. He has overall responsibility for the tax and advisory services in Antigua and Barbuda, and tax services in St. Kitts and Nevis. First joining the Firm in 1995, Coates graduated from the McGill University in 1994 and then qualified as a member of the Certified General Accountants’ Association of Canada in 1995. In 1997 he qualified as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Leaving the firm for one year in 1999, Coates returned in 2000 and was instrumental in setting up the Firm’s Tax Department.

Joining the Firm in 1990 as a manager offering IT consultancy Edward Fisher provided, along with installation configuration and training of Property Management systems for clients, and 24-hour software and hardware support to the hospitality clients. Promoted to Director in January, 2005 with responsibility for managing the Information Technology, Human Resources, Security, Administration and Premises for the Antigua and St. Kitts offices, Fisher is Head of the Global Technology Solutions in Antigua and St. Kitts Grant Thornton Practices, providing information technology and business advisory services at the highest level to the practice as well as local and regional clients.

As Director of GT Tax services, Coates and his team are actively engaged in delivering tax services to the GT portfolio of clients on a daily basis. These services include but are not limited to the filing of tax returns, review and analysis of tax assessments from the Tax Authorities, preparation of tax responses, tax planning and other tax advisory services.

Notably, with the rapid evolution of IT systems, the level of security has significantly increased over the years. At Grant Thornton, clients need not worry about their confidential information being compromised, as every procedure is applied to ensure that files are encrypted in the case of theft or damage. The GT staff is also trained to practice safety measures when using their laptops and respective software. Even to clients (and readers) Fisher advises that simply locking your laptop every time you move away from it can prove to be critical when guarding against data theft or damage.

Coates role is multi-jurisdictional as he also spearheads the delivery of Tax Services by the GT St. Kitts office. His service expertise extends across the Tax legislative frame-work of multiple jurisdictions, with Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts being the main jurisdictions within which he practices. His knowledge extends through the Caribbean and further afield as it relates to double-taxation treaties and cross-border taxation treatments that may be relevant to Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts. His team is also well versed in tax matters relevant to Montserrat. Over the past decade Coates has also managed a number of insolvencies in Antigua. His insolvency expertise extends across various entities and industries; including both offshore (IBCs) and local companies. With his experience in tax services, Coates has influenced policy decisions related to personal income tax implemented in Antigua and Barbuda in 2005 and the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax in 2007.

Observing the development of information technology over the 23 years he’s been at the Firm, Fisher noted that more clients are becoming tech savvy, and are able to receive the best in software, complete with support, from the Firm. In keeping with the Firm’s culture of efficiency and excellence, being able to offer such services has certainly added to “one-stop” policy for clients. More recently, he has been leading the development of one of the firms newest offerings - Citizenship by Investment services. Working alongside the firm’s two licensed Agents, he has been instrumental in developing robust client acceptance and processing systems.

Coates is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Antigua and Barbuda and currently serves as the treasurer and vice-chairman. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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FEATURE

Meet The Managers

Dojn Lake Kentish - Senior Manager, Assurance Her first job after graduating from Howard University, Senior Assurance Manager Dojn Lake Kentish joined the Firm in September, 1999. With over 15 years of experience in audit and accounting reporting within the framework of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and International Financial Reporting Standards for Small and medium Sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs), she is a member of the American Institute of Chartered Public Accountants and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean. She is also the chairperson of the Social Responsibility Committee within the Firm. Now sitting on the panel for interviews with prospective applicants, she noted that a lot has changed since her interview 14 years ago. “I remember my interview being more relaxed then. But as the field has changed with more stringent standards, the interview becomes not so much about your book knowledge, but really embracing the complete person. Clients have become savvier, so they already know the accounting side. They need someone they can build a rapport with ... so the interviews are used to gauge a person’s character.” Lake Kentish accentuates the Firm’s environment of learning as a key factor for remaining at the company. She noted the company is one in which employees are constantly learning. “I don’t think I could remain in a job that was stagnant. ... There’s not a week that goes by that I have not learned something, done something, read something or been exposed to something new. There is always an opportunity to improve yourself.” Additionally, as a social butterfly, Grant Thornton allows her to tap into her enthusiasm for meeting new people and interacting with them. On that note, she is aware that the demands of the job can be taxing and seep into one’s personal life if the right balance is not struck. With the work day sometimes being as long as 16 hours, if not careful, it can become your life, especially if you’ve developed a friendship with your colleagues. Now a wife and mother of two, Lake Kentish is mindful to juggle her responsibilities at home and at work to maintain that delicate balance, something she has been able to do largely in part to the huge support her husband offers. Aware of society’s perception of the Firm, formerly as PricewaterhouseCoopers, and now as Grant Thornton, Lake Kentish attributes their smooth transition to the quality of service that has become synonymous with the Firm. 52 |

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Lisa Roberts - Senior Manager, Assurance Senior Assurance Manager Lisa Roberts joined the Antigua office of the then PricewaterhouseCoopers Firm in January 2001. She is a member of the Institute of Accountants of Nova Scotia and a member of the Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean and is currently enrolled in a course to become a Certified AntiMoney Laundering Specialist. The constant learning coupled with the exposure to different clients has certainly held Roberts’ interest in the Firm over the last 13 years. With over 13 years of experience in audit and accounting reporting within the framework of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), she has a wide range of experience with clients in industries such as financial services, hospitality, real estate, not for profit, wholesale/retail and telecommunications. Commenting on the innate environment for learning fostered by the Firm, Roberts has been appreciative of the constant opportunities to develop personally and professionally. As such, she expressed her excitement with the Firm’s transition to Grant Thornton. “It’s a good fit for our market. We don’t have Fortune 500 clients, so the (GT) methodology is a good fit for our clients as well as our employees ... as we can better cater to the needs of our clients... As a Firm we have more autonomy in deciding how we want to grow.” She added that the GT principles also fit perfectly into the Firm’s mandate for continuous improvement, as they focus on the needs of their clients and exceeding those expectations. In a constantly changing environment, the Firm is stringent in its efforts to remain abreast of international standards, ensuring that their clients meet all relevant requirements. “We’re very big on quality, so no matter how small the business of the client, you must ensure that their business complies with the international standards,” she added. Sitting on the interview panel, Roberts notes that integrity is a quality the Firm seeks in their recruits. “When we interview individuals, we consider their personality ... we are very team oriented here so we want to make sure they’ll be a good fit within the Firm. We also look at their willingness to go the extra mile ... their humility ... and their willingness to learn and be coached. ... You are constantly challenged here ... you are constantly learning, and the atmosphere is a great one to work in.”


Leaving straight from high school, Erwin Southwell joined the Firm in November, 1989, with a three year break to pursue studies at the University of the Virgin Islands. One of the last to have been given the opportunity to join the “legacy” firm straight out of high school, it was always the plan to return to the Firm after he’d completed his studies.

Erwin Southwell - Senior Manager, Business Advisory Services

Today, Southwell is a Senior Manager in the Business Advisory Services department at Grant Thornton. Responsible for corporate services and other advisory services, including reorganisation and restructuring of companies, Southwell was a part of the auditing department until 2007. “You’re never stagnant here … even working within auditing … I had the opportunity to work in different industries and that was exciting. …The Firm is constantly developing.” Additionally, the opportunity to grow, having started at the lowest rank, a Staff 1, has played a large part in his loyalty to the Firm for over 24 years.

Given his background in auditing, the Firm has been able to develop new services for clients which fall under his portfolio, from incorporating new businesses to tax filing, making the Firm a “one-stop shop”. With the evolving trends in business, GT has been able to provide its clients with a host of services to assist clients with accomplishing their business goals including liquidations, receiverships and the restructuring of companies. GT also offers the capacity for the Firm to network with sister firms to offer clients the best advice and service. Acknowledging that Pricewaterhouse Coopers is a larger global entity than Grant Thornton, Southwell noted that GT fits in much better to their Firm and by a large extent their clients. As such, GT will allow the Firm to pursue other ventures. “In the next few years, you will probably see the Firm pursuing more small businesses … GT allows us to expand into the smaller market. … Southwell is Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean (ICAEC) and Chairman of the ICAEC-Antigua and Barbuda branch. He was first appointed to the ICAC Board in 2004 as Alternate Director for the Eastern Caribbean.

Meet The Assurance Team

Shemeka Massiah Manager

Shyan Bell Walter Manager

Cristina Lao Manager

Danielle Byers Manager

Ayeisha Cameron Solomon Supervisor

Seymore Smith Supervisor

Sharline Ignacio Supervisor

Jenny Bridge Cedeno Senior Accountant BusinessFocus • February/March 2014 BusinessFocus • February/March 2014 | 53| 53


FEATURE

Meet The Assurance Team

Lucrecia Liverpool Senior Accountant

Natasha Azille Senior Accountant

Techesa Charles Senior Accountant

Andrew Buckley Staff Accountant

Delroy Samuel Staff Acountant

Jeremy Jarvis Staff Accountant

Mario Blackman Staff Accountant

Sanjoy Dowdy Staff Accountant

Aldin Crump Staff Assistant

Mark Williams Staff Assistant

Lucia Molyneaux Staff Assistant

Rakeem Nicholas Staff Assistant 54 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• February/March February/March 2014 2014 54

Sonya Wilson Staff Assistant


Meet The IT Department

Lawrence Cuthbert IT Manager

Dominic Benjamin IT Senior Technologist

Ishana Alexander IT Consultant

Meet TheTax and Legal Services Dept Department

Tammie Mathurin Citizenship by Investment Associate

Marsha Prince Thomas Manager

Ivy Hampson Tax Assistant

Meet The Administrative Team

Bridgette Samuels Office Administrator

Carol Joseph Melius Administrative Assistant

Caroline Williams Administrative Assistant

Julie Roberts-Plant Accounting Assistant

Kelah Joseph Receptionist

Marcia Taylor Office Attendant

Sophia Roberts Administrative Assistant

Harris Henry Office Courier BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • February/March • February/March 20142014 | 55|

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FEATURE

Forever embracing the Grant Thornton “instinct for growth” “From day one the Firm offered learning opportunities to all of our staff. It’s the nature of the trade ... you take in young university qualified accountants and convert them into professionally qualified accountants, and that’s always been the goal of our organisation.” Managing Partner Charles Walwyn. As a requisite coming into the Firm, employees are immediately made aware of the Firm’s strong belief in professionalism. They are expected to advance, qualify and upon qualification, try to do more in the area of extended study and professional development. Speaking of the administrative staff, Managing Partner - Charles Walwyn noted, “Although it is not required of them to qualify professionally, we encourage them to pursue studies and gather skills that are professionally beneficial to the organisation in different ways.” To date, the Firm, now Grant Thornton, has successfully trained almost 50 qualified accountants, a record second to none, many of whom went on to hold executive financial offices in other organisations and industries. Known for recruiting the brightest and the best, Partner - Kathy David stressed the Firm’s reputation for quality service is largely attributed to their unrelenting investment in staff. “We’ve had a long history of investing in our people ... you don’t acquire such a reputation for quality without first recruiting the brightest and the best, and then investing in their professional development.” “We spend a lot of time developing an environment where you can come in and work and become a part of the team, understanding true teamwork. We do not operate on individualism; you are as strong as 56 |

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your weakest team player, therefore we try to ensure that everyone is strong. The reward for that, buying into the team, is that the team then pushes you through the exam process. That process is quite a significant discipline, as not everyone can work and study and be good at it.” In the accounting fraternity, becoming a qualified professional is no small feat as exams from the respective international accounting bodies can be gruelling. As part of this teamwork effort, the Firm developed a Student Committee which offers a mentorship support structure for the respective exams. Chairperson of the Student Committee - Danielle Byers, who has been with the Firm for eight years, noted the primary function of the Committee was to ensure the students were on track with their studies. “It is not an easy feat to prepare for exams while working, so we try to coordinate their studies ensuring that they have sufficient time to prepare for exams. We also try to work with the managers to ensure they do not have any jobs that have strict deadline that would require them working a significant number of overtime hours.” Managing Partner - Charles Walwyn remarked, “It is a collaborative effort taking the student from day one and qualifying them. They have to write it by themselves, but we encourage them, and make necessary adjustments to prepare them.” Mentors in the Committee assist with the organisation of study schedules and assess the students’ readiness to write the exams. If a student has not done enough preparation, they may be advised to defer the exam or try a different method of approach. Usually, preparation for exams begins after a year with the Firm.


Students are prepared for one of four qualifications offered: the Chartered Accountant (CA); the Certified General Accountant (CGA), which is a Canadian designation; the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which is one of the UK designations; and Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is the American designation. With four successful students completing their respective programmes in 2013, there are six students currently preparing for the CGA, ACCA and the CPA. The CPA can take a year and a half to complete, while the ACCA can take up to two and a half years. All the qualifications generally have the same end result, the choice, therein lies with the student’s preference. As Firm policy, it is mandatory for employees within the audit department to write a professional designation. Reflecting on her own experience within the Firm, working and studying, Byers in no way underplays the challenges of such an accomplishment. “That’s also why I take my role as chairperson of the Committee seriously. I recognise the amount of sacrifice it requires in order to be successful. There is a tremendous amount of balance that you need to maintain in order to be successful in the exams. At the end of the day, you are part of a Firm that has responsibilities to clients, and you also have a responsibility to the Firm, who is financing the exam, so you have to balance the two - getting your work done in a reasonable time that allows you to prepare for the exams in the evening, before you go on study leave. “The Firm in itself is a good training ground not only for the preparation of the exams, but afterwards, as many of these qualifying bodies

require professionals to renew their licence periodically.” In addition to the internal learning institution, the Firm also introduced an Internship programme where up to four successful applicants, usually college students or graduates, receive the opportunity to gain invaluable experience via rotation within different departments of the Firm. “It’s important to give young people the opportunity to be in a professional environment where they can understand more about the world of work and professionalism.” As a prerequisite, applicants must be in their final year of university, with a concentration on accounting and a GPA no less than 3.75. David stressed the importance of having a particular work ethos to excel in the Firm. “This is not an easy environment by any stretch of the imagination and we do not believe that what we do here on a daily basis is for any- and everyone. But if you come here and have the right attitude, the right work ethic and you can cope with the pressure, you will do well. The environment is built to help people succeed. Our teams at GT are well established, and we like working with each other. Therefore, we are very discerning when adding new members to the team to try to select individuals who will get along with and be embraced by their colleagues, and who are keen to add their knowledge and value to build up the existing core team.” A mantra that David shares with her colleagues is, “I reserve the right to get smarter”. As such, employees are always encouraged to explore new learning avenues within the firm.

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FEATURE

Community Outreach

Christmas 2013 – GT Secret Santa gift donation to Prison Fellowship Association for children with incarcerated parent(s).

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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS

When Youth Answer The Call On November 12th, 2013, Amaya called six persons, most of whom she was only cordial with. Aziza Lake, Kyle Christian, Jon Whyte, Regis Burton, Yendi Jackson and Carlon Knight answered her calls, responded to her emailed proposal and on 15th November, the first meeting of the National Youth Forum (NYF) commenced. In an interview with Business Focus Chairperson of the NYF Amaya explained, “I was nervous when I called these persons as I did not know most of them on a personal basis … but I knew that I would not have been able to organise this forum by myself and I wanted persons on board who were hardworking, passionate and as concerned as I was … each person on the team had various facets that I knew would be instrumental to the organisation and success of this event.” In what has been hailed as an impressive, and historical, feat by these young people, two months of planning resulted in the nation’s first ever forum for political contenders to address issues not based on rhetoric or rallying, but to answer questions asked by concerned parties and individuals. Conducted with utmost professionalism the team noted that during political canvassing, parents or persons over the age of 35 would be the ones engaging in political conversation, and the voice and concerns of the youth (aged 18 to 35) would more often than not be neglected. In an effort to address this gross inattention, the team contacted various youth organisations and groups around the island. Associations in attendance included Sanctuary, Interact, Wings Sports Club, Antigua State College Debate Society, Youth on the Move, Youth Ambassadors, LCP Industries, and the Antigua Barbuda Agricultural Forum for Youths. Just some of the feedback that captures the effort of a team of youth who had enough talk shop and answered the call by both young and old. This call? To demand more than the customary rhetoric, mudslinging and rallying that is synonymous with our political culture in Antigua and Barbuda. Amidst the re-registration process Amaya Athill, a young attorney practicing with Lake & Kentish, realised that many of her peers (ranging from 18 to 30) expressed great apathy towards the process and were opting not to vote at all. With most indifferent to the partisan culture from their households and community, the youth were becoming more alienated from political matters and beginning to feel that not only did their vote not matter, but with the absence of concrete views from either party on policy and other pertinent matters, there was really no reason to vote as a non-partisan electorate. 60 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• February/March February/March 2014 2014 60

Taking every effort to maintain the highest degree of professionalism, the team met with each group in attendance to discuss the house rules, as well as the proper composition of questions, which had to be submitted before the forum and approved by the committee. Present in their numbers young people from various walks of life and trade were present in their business attire to attend this invitationonly event. Others, as well as many adults, tuned in to its live local coverage and Internet stream. Additionally, the committee was in constant contact with the general secretaries of both political parties, and met with the representing candidates to ensure that protocol would be followed. They also wanted to ensure that the parties would be aware of the solemnity of the forum, realising that the persons gathered were seeking more than the customary grandiloquence.


Needless to say, with both parties unable to accurately address the first question, which addressed the treatment and future of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda, most attendees left the forum disappointed with parties’ inability to leave the rhetoric and eventual mudslinging out of their responses. Speaking with some of the youth present, they found that one party emphasised current initiatives while the other provided implausible proposals. A student at the Antigua State College commented, “Most of their answers were empty … the majority of the questions asked about future developmental plans and neither party provided relevant answers … we’re leaving here just as we came … no closer to voting with depth or reason.”

Creating history in Antigua and Barbuda, the National Youth Forum was held on Thursday, 16 January, 2014 at the Precision Centre, where candidates from the United Progressive Party (UPP) and the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) met, for the first time in history, to address questions from the youth. In this forum, each party was held to a strict code of conduct, moderated by Marcella André Georges. They would be asked the same question with a threeminute response time. The “debate” segment was alternated between parties, with the first party to answer the question being given the opportunity to rebut. Oblivious to the actual questions, the candidates responded to inquiries on the arts, gender affairs, education, legislation, agriculture, entrepreneurship, disabilities, health care, crime, homosexuality, rehabilitation, renewable energy and youth development. Needless to say, all 16 questions, some of which were taken from social media (Twitter and Facebook posts), were poignant, significant and well composed. If nothing else, the political parties present should have realised that the generation of youth gathered are interested in more than the flamboyancy and bravado of the current political culture. This generation is interested in valid answers, accountability, and visionary leadership.

During the pre-consultations, the committee was told by one party, that while the youth are considered significant, the demographic that influences elections is the working “grassroots” sector, which, unfortunately, still buys into rhetoric and rallying. Hopefully, the parties in attendance will realise that the youth gathered will one day become the majority demographic. In his Vote of Thanks, committee member Jon Whyte, while looking at both candidates, noted, “Our reward comes from the idea that politicians and candidates for general elections will now HAVE to accept that our generation - the millenials, the social media generation, generation Y - will NOT tolerate the run of the mill partisan politics and rhetoric, and we will NOT be blown by whatever political wind flows through our parents’ houses...but by identifying and understanding the substantive issues and how they affect our future.” Amaya noted that the NYF met for the last on January 20th, 2014. With its mission successfully completed, the committee has been disbanded, or rather, is on a hiatus until that “Batman” signal is launched again; and when it is, they will once again rise and answer the call. Recognising the phenomenal effort and feat by Amaya Athill and the NYF committee to change the political game, Business Focus congratulates and encourages them and other youth to continue to be that change Antigua and Barbuda needs.

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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS

Citizenship

By Investment THE CASE OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA By: Carlon Knight

Antigua and Barbuda’s controversial decision to embark on a Citizenship by Investment Programme – CIP for short, has not been met without its fair share of criticism. Citizenship by Investment a euphemism for the selling of one’s passport to the highest bidder has been argued by some as a deliberate prostitution of the sovereignty of Antigua and Barbuda in return for short term financial liquidity. What’s more, is the precarious potential for Antiguan and Barbudan passports to end up in the hands of undesirable elements that may damage the already fragile reputation of the Caribbean destination. Consequently, any move to effectively sell one’s passport should be viewed with the greatest of skepticism and scrutiny to ensure that the country’s most precious emblem of sovereignty – its passport – does not end up in the hands of dishonest individuals. Since the 1970s people’s desire to migrate to states with favourable tax conditions have produced a market for the sale of Passports of Convenience. Such schemes usually encompass relaxed conditions for the granting of citizenship - in order to earn all the possible advantages of being a citizen of the foreign country - in return for large injection of foreign direct investment into the country of destination. Specifically, Citizenship by Investment programmes involve the immediate granting of citizenship via the issuing of a passport provided certain conditions are met in return for a monetary sum. Such schemes are not new as offshore financial 62 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus ••• November/December2013 February/March 2014 2014 62 BusinessFocus February/March

centres such as those in the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands have often used such schemes to lure lucrative wealthy foreign investors who capitalise on the low or in some case zero tax incentives. Indeed, the Caribbean has developed a reputation over the years as being a millionaire’s /billionaire’s ‘playpen’. Already, both St. Kitts and Dominica have implemented such schemes with relative success. In the case of Antigua and Barbuda this is envisioned to take three phases. The first is a $250,000 donation to the country’s national development fund. The second is a $400,000 investment in real estate and finally, the third, is a $1.5 million business investment. Provided the conditions are met and the fees are paid in full, the passport is then granted for a five-year validity period. The government of Antigua and Barbuda seems to be placing its aspirations and at the same time the political fate of the UPP administration on the hope that the revenue accrued through this programme will be able to close large fiscal gaps and provide much needed short-term financial liquidity to help the government stave off the dreaded IMF and pay off some of its arrears. Particularly, Finance Minister Harold Lovell intimated that such a programme would be used to among other things fund the almost 190 Million EC dollars owed to Natalia Querard of HMB Holdings Ltd. Further, the minister added that the CIP is expected to yield some $550 million dollars in its third year of operation which would then be used to fund


various capital projects across the island to include the Verandah Project and the developments at Pearns Point and Nonsuch Bay. This is, of course, dependent on the attractiveness of the offer to invest in Antigua and Barbuda and whether investors are confident that the possible returns given the social, economic and political climate of the country are worth the risk of investing in a turbulent economy. In addition, given the sparse options available to the government and the economic downturn the country suffered as a result of the global economic recession of 2008, exacerbated by the collapse of the Stanford empire and the pressures faced by two indigenous banks which led to the intervention of the ECCB in early 2011. In addition, the vociferous attack on Antigua’s offshore sector by the OECD and other international bodies and the destruction of its gaming sector by the illegal actions of the United States in clear violation of WTO rules have left the Antiguan economy in a very fragile state. Moreover, the IMF has stated that the country’s large debt burden has magnified the fallout from the recession by limiting the government’s options to implement policies to cushion the blow from the crisis. Against this backdrop it becomes clear why the Minister and those advocating for the CIP have been relentless in securing its passage and implementation. This, it appears, even at the risk of an internal haemorrhaging within the government’s own party as seen by the dissension and breaking of ranks by senior government senators that ultimately led to swift, stern and decisive action from the nation’s prime minister, one gets almost the unconquerable feeling of anxiety on the part of senior government officials.

officials are often caught, embroiled in illicit ‘passports-for-cash’ schemes. In the Pacific Islands for example, where these schemes have been in place for some time, a number of corruption cases have been reported involving the sale of passports to shadowy business elites. Indeed, St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM Ralph Gonsalves has warned that the CIP may be a way for the undesirable elements to slip through the cracks of the immigration laws of Caribbean Countries.

Nevertheless, the CIP is fraught with danger. The concerns raised by certain members opposed to this venture do have some merit and it is worth some measure of close scrutiny. The fears of those concerned have escalated given the most recent debacle in neighbouring St. Kitts where the government of St. Kitts and Nevis acknowledged the granting of a diplomatic passport to an Iranian who used it to gain visa free entry into Canada under the guise that he had a meeting with the PM of Canada Stephen Harper on behalf of the government of St. Kitts and Nevis. This as it turns out was false and it prompted a decision from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis to reverse the granting of passports to Iranian nationals. Such scandals are not uncommon, as many persons who seek to take advantage of such programmes do so because of the advantages accrued to nationals of such countries which would have otherwise been unavailable to them based on their own nationality. Passports of Convenience offer greater tax advantage especially those offering visa-free personal movement where most person’s goals are tax minimisation and unrestricted travel. Very often, the checks and balances and due diligence measures though contained in statutes are not enforced due to the promise of desperately needed large sums of quick cash to aid struggling third world micro economies. Political scandals often erupt as politicians and other

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the CIP presents great opportunities for significant short term revenue yield. If properly monitored, the CIP may be able to jumpstart a stalled Antiguan economy and provide new sources for employment and economic growth. Such fortunes however must be juxtaposed against the very real possibility of irreparable damage being done to the reputation of Antigua and Barbuda and the potential for corruption and abuse. Proper due diligence must be put in place to shield the country from the vagaries of criminal activity. The fate of CIP in Antigua and Barbuda will only be written in time. For now, one can only wait with bated breath, to see what possible opportunities and threats this new act will bring in the future.

Antigua and Barbuda is no stranger to such scandals involving investors. The arrest and subsequent conviction of its largest investor R. Allen Stanford for a Ponzi scheme was a tremendous source of embarrassment for the country who gave him not only citizenship but a knighthood. Under the previous regime, the country’s reputation was marred with allegations of harbouring alleged fugitive Robert Vesco and issuing an Antiguan passport to DC sniper John Allen Mohammed via fraudulent papers. As a result, any scheme that might potentially open the door for such undesirable persons to gain Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship should be approached with extreme caution. Although the CIP act does prohibit persons from applying if they have a criminal record and speaks to the prohibition of persons who are deemed to be a potential threat to the reputation of Antigua and Barbuda, it leaves tremendous room for ministerial discretion in such matters. Specifically, section five of the Act states that the minister shall not be required to assign any reason for the grant or refusal of any application provided he gains the approval of Cabinet. This, seemingly, could potentially lead to malfeasance if the powers of the minister under this act are not exercised judiciously and opens the door for potential abuse.

_____________________________________________________ About the Author: Carlon Knight is a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, where he received a B.Sc. in Political Science and Economics (Hons). He was the recipient of the VC Bird Centennial Scholarship for studies in Political Science from Antigua and Barbuda. He is a budding scholar and hopes to continue to Masters and Ph. D. Studies in Political Science, specializing in the fields of International Political Economy and Diplomacy. He can be contacted at: carlon.knight@live.co.uk BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • February/March • February/March 2014 2014 | 63 | 63


ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS

JCI Hosts

Youth

Empowerment Forum

JCI Antigua, the local chapter of Junior Chamber International, a worldwide non-political and nonsectarian youth service organisation recently hosted its 2013 Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). This programme was designed to aid secondary school students of Antigua & Barbuda in bettering themselves in various facets and included several components. According to JCI YEP Chairwoman, Aziza Lake, “the essence of this symposium was how do we prepare students for life after CXC…what can we impart to them that will either help them in the professional sphere or if they decide to further their education.” The end result was a symposium that focused on professional dress, interview preparation, public speaking and tertiary education. Interactive presentations were delivered by the facilitators Linisa George, Marcella Andre-Georges, Toya Turner and Aziza Lake. Interview preparation was delivered by Linisa George, creator of BGR magazine, which featured the participants undergoing mock interviews where they learned the dos and don’ts. Toya Turner, accountant and owner of Birkenstock Antigua & Upscale, provided helpful tips to the attendees on professional dress, and the most affordable way to build up their professional wardrobe over time. Marcella Andre-Georges, founder of NIA Comms, encouraged students to ‘find their voice’ as she had them participate in various exercises as she relayed how to become more comfortable with 64 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• February/March February/March 2014 2014 64

Guest facilitator Marcella Andres Georges presents to students

public speaking. Aziza Lake, chairwoman of the programme, encouraged students to “find your passion and explore your choices” in their quest for tertiary education.

Public Speaking Competition On Saturday November 23 the YEP Public Speaking competition fielded participants from four schools: Antigua Girls High School, Irene B Williams School, Christ the King High School and Jennings Secondary School. The participants competed in prepared and impromptu speech as well as a fun segment. Adjucated by Linisia George and Gail ImhoffGordon, Economics lecturer at the Antigua State College, the winners were as follows: Prepared Speech – Michaela Harris of AGHS, Impromptu Speech – Kamilah Parker of AGHS and Fun Segment – Janet Simon of Jennings Secondary School. Basham Narine, who represented Irene B Williams in the impromptu segment also won the YEP essay competition under the topic “Should parents be held accountable for their minor children’s criminal behaviour and be liable for punishment via the court system?” Corporate sponsor LIME Antigua supported the youth-focused events wholeheartedly and all winners received prizes that included cellular handsets with airtime and six months’ free internet service. JCI Antigua is committed to the youth and plans to initiate more programmes that will be beneficial to their ongoing development.


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BIZZ BUZZ

Prime Minister Spencer Named Caribbean Person Of The Year EVERYBODY’S Caribbean magazine has named Antigua’s Prime Minister Dr. W. Baldwin Spencer as its Person of the Year.

Antiguan Firm Named Third Best In World

Published by Herman Hall Communications, Inc., EVERYBODY’S “Caribbean” Magazine prides itself on being one of the “longest surviving Caribbean-American publication with subscribers across the United States”. “EVERYBODY’S ‘Caribbean’ Magazine is the essential guide for things Caribbean and in Caribbean communities overseas. We present features on today’s hottest personalities from entertainers, musicians to public servants.” The first issue of the magazine was released on January 2, 1977 and it currently has a circulation of 40,000 and a readership of 148,000. Snippets of the article on Prime Minister Spencer read: “During the 1980s, 1990s and up to 2004 popular American TV programmes such as CBS 60 Minutes and television programmes in Canada and the UK produced negative documentaries about Antigua and Barbuda. “Not so thrilling features on Antigua and Barbuda appeared in world renowned newspapers and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist and TIME… The global media focused on international scandals then plaguing Antigua and Barbuda … … Based on his unswerving leadership, his determination to prevent Antigua and Barbuda from becoming a haven for international illicit trade by steering the nation down the right path to the extent that Antigua is highly praised by the community of nations, we are convinced that Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has earned the honour to be “EVERYBODY’S Person of the Year” and “The Caribbean Person of the Year” for 2013.” The magazine notes that previous EVERYBODY’S Person of the Year has included “Sir Arthur Lewis (1979) for winning the Nobel Prize for economics; in 1980 to Dominica’s Prime Minister Mary Eugenia Charles for demonstrating leadership qualities of women in her role as Opposition Leader and later as prime minister; in 2004 to then Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad & Tobago for consistently using Trinidad & Tobago resources to assist Caricom nations; in 2008 to Olympian Usain Bolt of Jamaica and in 2012 to Olympian Kirani James of Grenada.” 66 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

Smiles all around as Luxury Locations founder Nadia Dyson accepts the awards from OPP chiefs

Competitive, cut-throat and precarious are all adjectives commonly applied to the real estate industry. Which makes the feat of one Antiguan firm all the more remarkable. Luxury Locations in Jolly Harbour has fought off challengers across the globe to be named the best agency in the region – and third best in the world – at the prestigious OPP Awards for Excellence. The tiny homegrown company claimed bronze in the ‘world’s best small agency’ category and gold for ‘best agency in Central America’ - less than five years after setting up business. The Overseas Property Professionals Awards are held each year to honour the finest agents and developers in 34 categories.


The glittering ceremony took place on November 28 at London’s Natural History Museum, attended by 450 of the sector’s biggest hitters from more than 20 different countries. The win is not just a feather in the cap for Luxury Locations but also puts Antigua & Barbuda firmly on the map as a major player in the international real estate sector. The agency’s founder Nadia Dyson said: “Receiving these awards is a huge honour – particularly at a time when our industry is still recovering from unprecedented global challenges. “We are delighted to receive recognition at the highest level for the incredible efforts of our talented team.Since our launch in May 2009, we have risen to become a local market leader, today representing some of the country’s most exclusive addresses, Dyson said. “Over the last six months we have seen a welcome surge in large scale developments here in Antigua, plus more sales enquiries than the last five years combined. It’s proof indeed that investor confidence in our islands is well and truly on the up and we can all look forward to continued growth,” the agency’s founder added. Luxury Locations, an associate agent of Savills International, sells and manages a diverse portfolio of property throughout the twin island nation. Launched in 2004, OPP is the only dedicated trade magazine and website for the international homes industry. The awards are judged each year by a panel of leading experts. OPP Group CEO Xavier Wiggins described 2013’s event as a “huge success”, celebrating not only the achievements of the best in the industry but also the surge of confidence in the future of real estate.

Antigua Toastmasters Club Achieves One-Year Milestone! speaking and leadership skills in a friendly and comfortable environment. Meetings are divided into three segments – Impromptu or table topic sessions, prepared speeches and evaluations. The evaluation segment is the cornerstone of the programme as members are provided with specific suggestions for improvement and by incorporating these changes in their next presentation, tremendous growth can Antigua Toastmasters Club proudly marked be achieved. its one-year anniversary since becoming a There are two developmental tracks in chartered club on 14th November, 2013. Toastmasters: Communication & Leadership. We were recently recognised by District Firstly, members learn communication skills Leaders as a Distinguished Club for our by working in the Competent Communication outstanding accomplishments. The club manual which is a series of self-paced now boasts one Advanced Communicator speaking assignments designed to instill Bronze, six Competent Communicators, one a basic foundation in public speaking. Competent Leader and two Advanced Leaders Members can then choose from a wide Bronze. One of our charter members embraced variety of Advanced Manuals which cover her fears to deliver a strong performance in diverse topics such as Public Relations, the District-sponsored Humorous Speech Speeches by Management, Interpersonal Contest held in Puerto Rico in October of this Communication, Technical Presentations, year. Another member is slated to compete in The Entertaining Speaker, Storytelling and the District rounds of the International Speech many more. Contest which will be held in Jamaica in May 2014. The World Championship will conclude Under the leadership track, members in Malaysia in August 2014. develop critical thinking, organisation, team building and motivational skills. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Antigua Toastmasters Club meets every Worldwide membership is 292,000 strong. Thursday at ABI Financial on Redcliffe Street Members improve their speaking and from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. You can contact leadership skills by attending one of the us at antiguatoastmasters@gmail.com 14,350 clubs in 122 countries that make up the global network of meeting locations. Membership in Toastmasters is one of the most cost effective investments you How does it work? can make and members of the public are A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing encouraged to take this fateful step towards workshop in which participants hone their self-improvement. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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TOURISM FOCUS

Air Antilles Express inaugural flight from Guadeloupe

Antigua and Barbuda Receives New Airlift from Guadeloupe with Direct Connection to France for the 2014 Winter Season The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority is pleased to announce that Air Antilles Express inaugurated its bi-weekly service into Antigua & Barbuda on Thursday, 19th December 2013. Air Antilles Express flight number 3S250, will fly into the V.C Bird International Airport (ANU), every Monday and Thursday out of Point-á-Pitre (PTP) for a short twenty-minute direct service into Antigua. The flight departs Guadeloupe at 4:30 pm and arrives in Antigua at 4:50 pm and then flight number 3S251 returns to Guadeloupe at 5:10 pm. The Air Antilles Express flight is a code share agreement with Corsair which originates from Paris, France with nonstop service into Guadeloupe, and is on ground for about an hour and a half before departing to Antigua. The Corsair and Air Antilles service is a partnership with Promo Sejours, a French tour operator which has started to sell the destination from this winter. This new flight will provide Antigua and Barbuda with alternative connection options to and from Guadeloupe, and the flight will 68 |

BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

General Manager of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association, Mr. Neil Forrester gives brief remarks at the Welcome Reception for the Inaugural flight of Air Antilles Express. Also featured (L-R) – Flight captain, General Manager Air Antilles Express - Mr. Serge Tsygalnitzky, Minister ofTourism and Civil Aviation- Hon. John Maginley, Marketing Manager of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority – Mrs. Charmaine Spencer and CEO of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority – Mr.

be operated with a 48 seat ATR-42, with 30 seats allocated to the tour operator leaving 18 seats on open sale. This is excellent news for the destination, as interest in Antigua and Barbuda continues to be on the radar for new airlines; this also provides opportunity for enhanced connectivity into European target markets, and continues to display international confidence in the islands’ tourism product. Marketing Manager of The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Charmaine Spencer, said, “We have seen great potential to grow the number of visitors from Guadeloupe, however it has been difficult to develop this market due to inconsistent access and expensive connections to the destination. The introduction of an alternative airline at a reduced cost should result in an increase in exchanges between the two islands over the next few months. Although the flight is only scheduled at present for the winter season, the aim is to create enough demand for Air Antilles Express to continue the service through the summer.”

Colin C. James

The Honourable John Maginley, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation noted, “Any new airlift into the destination, especially within the Caribbean, with onward connectivity to our key source markets is always desirable and displays continued interest in our tourism product throughout the International community.” This commencement of this new airlift follows marketing and promotion of the destination at the first, ‘Salon du Voyages Trade and Consumer Travel Show’, in Point-áPitre, Guadeloupe, which took place on Friday 22nd November to Sunday 24th November, 2013. The premiere Travel & Trade Fair welcomed thousands of keen consumers through its doors throughout the entire weekend. Antigua and Barbuda tourism partners had a successful showcasing of the destination, with the goal of re-introducing the destination to the French Antilles market, as well as to support the new airlift from Air Antilles Express originating out of Guadeloupe to Antigua.


Thomas Cook Airlines Begins New Service to Antigua & Barbuda. From Left to Right: Ms. Cherrie Osborne - Director of the UK and Europe Tourism Office, Mr. Colin C. James – CEO of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, Mr. Nick Sandham – Thomas Cook Head of UK Airline Communication, Hon. John Maginley – Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation and Mrs. Charmaine Spencer – Marketing Manager of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority.

The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority is pleased to announce that Thomas Cook Airlines inaugurated its non-stop weekly service into Antigua and Barbuda today Thursday, December 19th 2013. Thomas Cook flight number, TCX 816 originating out of Manchester International Airport, UK, will fly into the destination every Thursday, with a scheduled departure out of Manchester International at 10 am, and arriving into the V.C. Bird International Airport at 2:45 pm. This new airlift provides an additional 320 seats weekly in air travel between the United Kingdom and the destination this tourist season and adds an alternative gateway for visitors travelling from the UK into Antigua & Barbuda. Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Hon. John Maginley said, “We have continued to work hard at growing the UK market in these challenging times. This new Thomas Cook service is testimony to the UK airlines’ continued confidence in Antigua and Barbuda as a leading Caribbean holiday destination.” With the commencement of the inaugural flight, on Thursday, December, 19th 2013, the Thomas Cook direct, once-weekly

service is scheduled to continue travel to Antigua & Barbuda until Thursday, May, 1st 2014, with discussions ongoing about the possibility of the airline continuing its air service agreement beyond May, 2014. Thomas Cook will be utilizing a fully refurbished Airbus A330 aircraft with a total seating capacity of 320 seats, with an economy-only configuration for this aircraft. This new service is the only route outside of London to Antigua & Barbuda and will provide the destination with more connections to other European gateways. CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Colin James added, “The additional airlift is welcomed news by all local tourism stakeholders as it will open up the North of England and Scotland to our destination once again.” The occasion of the inaugural flight to Antigua was celebrated by Thomas Cook Airlines representatives and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority UK & Europe office by cutting a traditional cake, assisted by Anthony Cotton from Coronation Street, representing the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, at Manchester Airport. Here in Antigua, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism

Authority hosted a Welcome Reception at the VIP Lounge at the V.C. Bird International Airport to commemorate the occasion. Christoph Debus, CEO Thomas Cook Airlines UK said, “Today saw yet again another full flight to the Caribbean, with our new A330 aircraft starting our second weekly flight taking our customers to the beautiful island of Antigua. Our new route to Antigua is yet again great news as we continue to develop Manchester Airport as our long haul hub and is another step as we aim to become the best sun and beach leisure airline.” Cherrie Osborne, Director of Tourism for UK and Europe, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority said, “We are thrilled that Thomas Cook has decided to launch a service from Manchester to our beautiful islands, making our destination more accessible to holiday makers in the North of the UK.” She added, “With temperatures averaging 27°C this is the ideal time of the year to visit and indulge in Antigua and Barbuda’s natural beauty, vibrant culture and stunning beaches.” The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority and Thomas Cook Airlines have been working on marketing the new flight service and the competitive airfares, both locally and in the United Kingdom. For further flight information and details please visit Thomas Cook online at: www.thomascook.com and www.flythomascook.com. The Thomas Cook website has an average of 8 million unique users per month and is the key booking engine for Thomas Cook promoting Thomas Cook charter holidays, Thomas Cook Signature holidays and flight only sales. BusinessFocus • February/March 2014

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Health Benefits Of

Hibiscus Flower Usually, when we think of the hibiscus flower, whether the five-petal hybrid ‘key largo’, or the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, we think of an array of colours which adorn our gardens, centre pieces, churches, dinner tables and even our hair. Some of us may even think of experimenting with the plant to ferment a delicious home-grown wine. But rarely do we ever contemplate the many health benefits of this plant which makes it even more alluring than its beauty. Hibiscus extracts have been used for ages in other parts of the world to cure many ailments. Using the natural health benefits of hibiscus, you can cure many diseases naturally. In fact, right here in Antigua, some women who are maintaining and caring for the natural hair of clients create their own hibiscus oil which increases growth, repairs damaged hair and scalp, and maintains healthy locks and tresses. In fact, hibiscus extracts are incredibly easy to get. Even if you have a hibiscus plant in your house, you can easily make things like hibiscus tea or hibiscus oil from the flowers. And even if you are not ailing from any sickness, it is generally good for your health. For example, hibiscus tea is rich in antioxidants and thus it helps to fight cancer and ageing. It is thus a good habit to consume hibiscus tea instead of normal tea. Hibiscus oil also have many beauty benefits apart from being healthy. Here are some of the most important health benefits of hibiscus flower extracts: Fights Cancer Hibiscus is a flower that is rich in antioxidants. That is why having hibiscus tea or extracts is a naturally preventive measure against cancer. Cures Cold Hibiscus is rich in Vitamin C and thus it has the capacity to cure minor cold related infections like sore throat, cough and headache. Boosts Energy As the antioxidants in hibiscus help to repair free radical damage, your energy levels naturally go up. 70 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• February/March February/March 2014 2014 70

Calms Hot Flashes Women who are going through the tough hormonal period of menopause might use the health benefits of the hibiscus. Hibiscus can help soothe hot flashes. Slows Ageing The antioxidants in hibiscus not only help to fight cancer but also slow down the ageing of cells. As a result, it may be the secret to eternal youth. Cures Acne Hibiscus has many natural anti-inflammatory substances and also Vitamin C that can stop the growth of acne and even clear the marks left by it. Boost Immunity One of the main health benefits of hibiscus flower is that it helps to boost the level of immunity in the body. Maintains Fluid Balance According to ancient Ayurvedic science, having hibiscus flower extracts can help to maintain the fluid balance in your body. It was once used as a cure for oedema or excess water retention in the body. Speeds Up Metabolism Vitamin C has a very essential place in the digestive system. And as hibiscus is rich in Vitamin C, it helps to increase the rate of metabolism. Stops Hairfall Hibiscus oil is extremely beneficial for the hair. Applying hibiscus oil to your hair ensures that your hair grows strong from the roots and stops breaking up easily. Lowers Levels Of Cholesterol The antioxidants in hibiscus are very similar to those found in red wine. It is heart healthy as it helps to lower cholesterol levels. Maintains Body Temperature According to ancient African medicine, having hibiscus flower extracts regulates the body temperature. It helps to flush out excess body heat in summers. Darkens Hair Colour The hibiscus essence oil can actually help you darken your hair colour. In fact, it is natural remedy against greying hair.


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HEALTH & WELLNESS

So Are You Ready For

Weight Loss? There is not a day that goes by that I am not approached about weight loss. Even though to some the solution may seem simple enough, the answer is a lot more complex than diet and exercise. There are certain triggers that can determine how ready you are and I have listed five below to get you thinking.

and adding some aerobics and strength training in the mix.

1. Do you expect to drop your weight overnight? Now I don’t mean literally overnight, but if it were possible I would be rich. If your expectation is to lose weight within one month after changing your diet and exercising you usually will have to wait much longer than that. It’s the same principle as the more you watch the pot the longer it takes to boil. Your focus should be on getting used to a healthy weight loss routine that is sustainable. However, for the curious minds losing anything more than two pounds per week is not safe.

4. Do you check your weight regularly? Are you jumping on a scale everyday or every week? This can affect your weight loss because you may get discouraged when you do not see the results you are looking for in your time. Yes, it is important to know your weight before starting your weight loss journey because it will help you assess how far you have come down the road. Most persons may not see actual weight loss before four to six weeks after starting a programme. This is because the body is going through a process of change such as building muscle or storing extra fluid. What you should be checking for is how you feel. Do you feel that you can climb a flight of stairs without being winded at the top or do you have a little more room in your pants? These are the indicators that you will see sooner than a drop in weight on the scale.

2. Do you consider trying weight loss pills or a restrictive diet? If diet pills and fad diets is your go-to approach, guess what, you will probably lose weight! However, do not be surprised if after using the product that you return to your starting weight plus more. Anything that promises quick weight loss is usually too good to be true. The biggest failure of these products is that they do not teach you how to eat better or build your fitness level. They will give you a shortcut and side effects to your weight loss goal. Behaviour change is the ultimate key to weight loss; change in diet, change in activity, change in how you think about weight loss. So at the end of the day you will hold all the cards and not a diet pill.

5. Are you in for the long haul? The weight loss journey doesn’t stop after you lose your desired weight and if you think losing the weight was hard work you will want to think twice about starting over again. Here is where motivation and commitment is really needed. Motivation helps to prevent you from going back to where you started. Motivation from your family and friends, who understand your struggle, can get you back on track if you attempt to stray. Also realising that it is easy to slip back into old habits and you need to be ready to deal with situations as they come up. This is not to say that you cannot enjoy the occasional treats or splurges but to realise that you have an ultimate goal to be healthy.

3. Would you like to lose weight from a particular area only? This request usually comes from women and the famous line is I like my hips and my thighs but all I want to lose is the tummy. So let me say this up front, spot reduction does not work. For example if you do 100 sit-ups every day to try to lose fat from your tummy area you will eventually frustrate yourself into quitting. Yes you do burn fat during exercise but that fat can come from anywhere and where you lose it from first is determined by circumstances you have no control over, like genetics. This is a case where you keep pushing knowing that it will eventually come off with regular activity and healthy eating. Losing overall fat involves doing low intensity exercises like walking

So are you ready for weight loss? _____________________________________________________ About the Author: Samantha Moitt is a registered dietitian currently attached to the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre. She completed her studies in Dallas, Texas at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where she obtained a Bachelors in Clinical Nutrition. Currently, Samantha is responsible for providing medical nutrition therapy to patients at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre, and also has a private practice where she manages clients. She is also a group fitness instructor and teaches aerobics and toning classes across the island.

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events 2013 CARIBBEAN MEETING & INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCHANGE (CMITE) JOLLY HARBOUR VALENTINE’S DAY REGATTA

THE event for buyers and sellers of incentive travel. September 15-18, 2014 2013 at The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas. 13th -16th February, Meeting & aIncentive Travel Exchange brings together buyers TheCaribbean Regatta has become major international sailing(CMITE) festival. This year the Valentine’s and suppliers servicing the Caribbean meeting and incentive market. Regatta will celebrate its 21st anniversary, and enjoy the addition of the second Rum CMITE is anprogramme. invitation-only, appointment-based event. Apply online. Festival to the For further information visit their website: Further information: http://www.jollyharbourregatta.com/ www.caribbean.incentivetravelexchange.com

FCCA CRUISE CONFERENCE & TRADESHOW INTERNATIONAL POWER SUMMIT (IPS) September October 4, 2013, Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, Cartagena, 19-21 February30in- Munich ThisColombia. platform will reach all the key buyers and suppliers from the traditional Western cruise executives, destinations, suppliers tour operators, andFor USAmany markets together with delegates from the newand emerging markets the andannual include FCCA Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event theLatin year areas suchCruise as Central and Eastern Europe, India, China and South East Asiaof plus to meetFor with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is America. further information: http://www.arena-international.com/ips because of the unique forum provided by the Conference that nearly 1,200 cruise industry partners, including approximately 100 cruise executives, attend each year. RORC CARIBBEAN 600visit RACE For further information their website: www.f-cca.com – Guyana’s Premier 6 – GUYEXPO 12 December, 2013 2013, Nelson’s Dockyard, English Trade HarbourFair & Exposition ForOctober further Info: 3 – 6,www.antiguayachtshow.com 2013 at the National Exhibition Site, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana

Being hosted under the Theme: “Advancing Productivity through Innovation, Modernisation and Expansion” and in partnership with the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary. 46TH CARIBBEAN & CONSTRUCTION SHOW Guyana’s largest HARWARE Trade and Investment Exposition –TRADE GuyExpo began in 1995. This public/ private partnership event which showcases locally produced goods 21stand - 23rd February, 2014an annual activity in 2004 and is now the longest sustained services, became Thisexhibition show is the largest and most complete exhibition of its kind in all the Caribbean, in the Caribbean. with a total of 225 booths and more 4,500 buyers from at Puerto Rico and the CaribFor further information contact thethan GUYEXPO Secretariat www.guexpo.net bean Basin area alone! You can’t miss this industry gathering. TRAVELhttps://www.hardwareshowpr.com/show-info.html MARKET 2013 ForWORLD further information: 4 – 7 November 2013,ExCel, London, UK ThisST. leading global event for the travel industry is a vibrant must attend business – to 34TH MAARTEN HEINEKEN REGATTA business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and 6international March to 9, 2014 travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, andcelebrate conduct business under one roof. The 2014 St.Maarten Heineken Regatta,negotiate which will its 34th edition, will kick further information www.wtmlondon.com off For on 6th March with the :pre event Gill Commodore’s Cup and will end on Kim Sha Beach Sunday 9th March. CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF BANKS INC – 40th ANNUAL Further information: http://www.heinekenregatta.com/

GENERAL MEETING and CONFERENCE

CARILEC 13 – 16 November 2013, Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, Pigeon Island Causeway, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. March to Annual 20, 2014General Meeting and Conference will be hosted Under the Theme The 16 40th Occupational & Safety, Resource & Disaster “RedefiningHealth Strategy – TheHuman Leadership Challenge”. TheManagement Conference Conference will address Theissues conference seeks to address the new of health andimpacting safety as amember feature that will influence regional and perspective global financial policies of corporate responsibility; major issues of Occupational Health and Safety, such as the states. adoption of international and the associated benefits. For further information standards visit their website: www.cab-inc.com Further information: http://www.carilec.com/

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Brian McDonough The Board of Directors of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has also announced the appointment of Brian McDonough as its newest director, to replace resigning director Brian O’Donnell. McDonough is currently Executive Vice-President, Wholesale Credit and Investment Risk Management, at the bank’s parent company, CIBC. He leads CIBC’s Corporate and Commercial Adjudication globally and is responsible for assessment, adjudication and monitoring of credit risk in Wholesale Banking and Commercial Banking for CIBC. McDonough joined CIBC in 1983, has held various senior positions in Risk Management, and was appointed to his current position in July 2008. CIBC FirstCaribbean was formed in 2002 as a merger of the Caribbean operations of CIBC and Barclays Bank. The Board of Directors of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has announced the appointment of David Ritch as its new non-executive Chairman. The appointment took effect from 13th December 2013. An attorney-atlaw, Ritch obtained an honours law degree from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados, and went on to qualify as an English Barrister-at-Law in London, England. He was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1976.

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His career began in the Cayman Islands Courts as the Clerk of Courts, but he rose rapidly from that position to Crown Counsel and Senior Crown Counsel in the Chambers of the Hon. Attorney General. Ritch is currently Senior Partner with the law firm Ritch & Conolly, where he has practised law continuously for the past 30 years. Ritch is a past president of the Cayman Islands Law Society and has served on numerous Government Statutory Boards. These include being a member of the Cayman Islands Currency Board for almost 10 years, Chairman of the Port Authority, the Labour Board and Planning Appeals Tribunals, the Trade & Business Licensing Board, the Caymanian Protection Board, the Immigration Board and the Work Permit Board. He also chaired the Immigration Review Team appointed by the Cabinet in 2005 to conduct an in depth review of Cayman Islands immigration law and regulations. Ritch is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd., a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the sole provider of electricity on the Island of Grand Cayman. He joined the Boards of FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited and its subsidiary FirstCaribbean International Bank (Cayman) Limited in 2002 and sits on several of the Bank’s committees including the Audit and Governance Committee. Ritch’s appointment as Chairman follows the retirement of Michael Mansoor as Executive Chairman on 31st October 2013. Mansoor has been re-appointed to the Board effective 12th December 2013. CIBC FirstCaribbean was formed in 2002 as a merger of the Caribbean operations of CIBC and Barclays Bank.

Edwin Ambrose started his new role as Deputy Manager Overseas, at Caribbean A l l i a n c e Insurance Co. Ltd. (CAIC) effective December 1st, 2013. In this new role, he will, inter alia, assist in assessing and underwriting risks falling outside the scope of authority of the company’s island agents, by analyzing and researching; advising on rates, terms and conditions, levels of acceptance, and reinsurance requirements. Further, he is responsible for assisting in monitoring, controlling and improving the quality of business written by the island agents. His regional responsibilities cover the 13 overseas territories from St. Vincent, in the South, to The Bahamas, in the North. He was formerly employed at Bryson’s Insurance Agency as an Insurance Accounts Executive, where, for seven years, he also hosted the weekly interactive insurance radio programme Have Your Say. This programme has successfully increased the awareness and knowledge of local, regional and international listeners in the areas of insurance products and policies. Currently, he is vice chairman of the Insurance Association of Eastern Caribbean States (IAECS). From 2009 to 2010, he served as president of the Insurance Institute of Antigua and Barbuda (IIAB) and from 2010 to 2012 he was the president of the Insurance Association of Antigua and Barbuda (IAAB). Ambrose holds a BSc in Accounts and Finance from the University of


MAJOR MOVES

Cienfuegos, Cuba and a Diploma of Applied Insurance Studies from the Malta International Training Centre (MITC). He is also a director of Myst Carnival Inc., and a founding member and former director of Cuban Universities Alumni Inc. (CUA), a non-profit organisation. Ambrose expressed his excitement on his new role at CAIC and he looks forward to working along with his team to advance the company’s growth, development and position in the regional market, while gaining from the rich learning experiences. The Antigua and Barbuda T o u r i s m A u t h o r i t y (ABTA) today announced the appointment of Cherrie Osborne to the position of Director of Tourism UK and Europe. As incoming Director she is charged with the responsibility of directing and managing the country’s efforts to market and promote the twin-island destination in the UK and Europe. Ms. Osborne began her career in the UK tourist office in 2006 and was later promoted to Sales and Marketing Manager in 2009, where she has served with distinction in developing strong links with British tour operators and airline partners. She has ably deputized in the position on numerous occasions and brings to the role a wealth of experience and contacts relevant to promoting Antigua and Barbuda in the UK. In making the announcement, Minister of Tourism the Hon. John H. Maginley

said, “After serving as second in command for the past six years, this young Antiguan has shown that she possesses the maturity and capacity to lead our tourism promotion efforts in the UK and Europe. She has a keen understanding of the product, and a wealth of experience working with the UK travel industry. I look forward to her leadership in reinforcing the destination’s image and promoting brand Antigua and Barbuda in Europe. I also thank her immediate predecessor Mr. Hilary Modeste for his leadership of the UK and European team over the past five years and wish him well on his well-earned retirement.” On learning of her promotion, Ms. Osborne said, “I am excited about the opportunity to lead an experienced team in the development of Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism industry, building on the vision through dynamism, innovation and through strong relationships with our tourism industry partners. The tourism industry has gone through a challenging period in recent years. However, Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism product remains resilient. We continue to adapt to the changing environment. As we enter into 2014, we must continue to build on our successes of the last year. I am confident that working together we will achieve our growth targets.” Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin C. James said, “Miss Osborne has been particularly effective in building a large network of business relationships with European tourism partners. Additionally, the PR projects such as the recently successful X-Factor TV episodes that Cherrie has spearheaded have resulted in immense exposure for our destination. On behalf of the entire team, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Cherrie as the first Antigua and Barbuda national to lead the Tourism Authority’s efforts in the UK and Europe. It a great achievement for her and this promotion is well deserved.”

Selwyn James - Inducted into Charter Yacht Hall of Fame On Wednesday, 11 December 2013, Selwyn James became the first Antiguan & Barbudan chef to be inducted into the. The presentation was made by the Charter Yacht Brokers Association (CYBA) International, and came on the heels of the Antigua Charter Yacht Show, which was formed to benefit the yachting industry in Antigua. On the final day of the prestigious CYBA International event, Selwyn James was honoured by induction into the Charter Yacht Hall of Fame. In addition to being a pioneer, as a Caribbean male working in the Charter Yacht industry, James has been a stalwart of civic mindedness for many years making contributions to a diverse number of community groups and organizations throughout Antigua. Amongst the many organizations that recognize Mr. James’s contributions are the African Treasure Sound Systems of Grays Farm, Grays-Green Community Club, and the Cobbs Cross Primary School. His contribution and assistance in activities such as the National Cultural Arts Festival, Culinary Exposition, Carnival and the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre have been recognized by the Ministry of Tourism, The Ministry of Culture, The Antigua and Barbuda National Parks Authority and The Antigua Carnival Advisory Committee.

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Gaurav “Mr G” Sindhi has assumed the role of General Manager at Sandals Grande Antigua. One of the company’s newest General Managers, “Mr. G” has made a great impression during his 14 months on Jamaica’s South Coast following a promotion from F&B Director at SandalsMontego Bay and has now been offered the chance to continue his development on what will be his biggest assignment to date. He will also be the youngest manager at Sandals. GRANDE ANTIGUA RESORT & SPA

Mr G first fell in love with hotels from looking at the magnificent buildings in India and after being able to experience them, he became fascinated and knew he wanted to work in one. He has since worked in hotel casinos, pubs, casual dining, eventually working his way up to Hotel Manager at Montego Bay in Jamaica. He hopes to make Sandals Antigua the best resort of choice for clients and travel agents in the local, regional and international markets. Mr G wants to showcase the beauty of not only the resort but of Antigua and Barbuda, which he has already fallen in love with, along with the warmth of the people, especially the team members at Sandals Antigua who work very hard and contribute so much to the tourism industry. He truly believes Antigua and Sandals are the most romantic places on earth and simply wants Sandals Antigua to take service excellence to another level, thus benefiting all of Antigua and Barbuda. 78 |

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Tasheka L a v a n n Public Relations Manager Sandals Antigua Ta s h e k a Lavann is a graduate of the Jennings GRANDE ANTIGUA Secondary RESORT & SPA School and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica where she received a First Class Bachelors of Arts in Media and Communication with a Minor in Cultural Studies. She also holds a certificate from the Roy H. Park School of Communication at Ithaca College. She went on become a full-time journalist at ABS where she anchored the news, hosted programmes and dabbled in production for over 10 years, eventually gaining the 2011 National Youth Award for Young Journalist of the Year. On November 4th, 2013, Lavann embarked on another journey and through her love for people and country, is now the Public Relations Manager at Sandals Antigua where she continues to make a difference in the lives of residents through the Sandals Foundation - the philanthropic arm of the resort chain while welcoming visitors from near and far to the Sandals and Antigua experience.

Nicholas said he is looking forward to leading a team of professionals as they seek to revitalize the game within the Leeward Islands. He previously served as a member of the regional Management Team of the West Indies Cricket Board. “It has been a long journey in terms of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association getting its administrative act in place and it’s another step in trying to put things right and put things in place. I am just one person that’s going to be leading a team of professionals to look after the business of Leeward Islands cricket and I feel very honoured and I am actually very humbled by the appointment,” he said. In LICA Elections held in December of 2013, Auckland Hector of St Kitts – the former Leeward Islands Captain and player was elected President and Ralph Hodge of Anguilla was elected Vice President.

DERRICK NICHOLAS - Antiguan administrator, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA). The appointment of a CEO is a first for the LICA administration but falls into place with a drive to overall improve the current state of the game in the subregion.

Antiguan Enoch Lewis, retained his position as WICB Board Rep having defeated the challenge by his countryman Zorol Barthley with a vote of 12 to four over the ABCA President.


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Business Focus Antigua 51  

Indeed, opportunity accompanies change – the opportunity to grow, explore new ventures and unchartered territories, and the opportunity to b...