The quarterly magazine for decision makers No.52 â€˘ April/June 2014
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DECEMBER 2010 JANUARY 2011 • Issue No. 35
Cover Story: Digicel Business
In The Know
Caribbean Women In Business A hypothetical perspective on technology and Antigua and Barbuda’s residential future
Mitigation And adaptation
Caribbean to forge united front on elusive climate finance
Young Professional Delivers
IWD Address In Antigua
Investigations of an Antiguan Vet Student
JCI Hosts Youth Empowerment Forum
Health & Wellness
Experts Discuss Paths Toward Universal Health Coverage
Red Meat and Cardiovascular Disease
Editor’s Focus Business Briefs Business Tech
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Caribbean tech expert to receive lifetime achievement award Bahamas Upgraded to LTE Mobile Data Driving Caribbean Innovation CTU Calls For New Approaches To Old Challenges OAS And Microsoft Sign Cyber Security Agreement Human Entrepreneurship And Assistive Resource Technologies (HEART) Project Launched
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Trinidad Cement Ltd Rebounds in 2013 Record Year for Grace Kennedy Finance Minister Confirms Antigua Removed From FATF “Grey List” Several Caribbean Countries Named In US Money Laundering Report The 3 Ways to Make More Money In YOUR Business...Starting Today!
Economy & Trade Focus 76 Antigua-Barbuda On Right Path To Outsourcing Market 82 Caribbean Recorded Modest Economic Growth In 2013 - 84 CDB26 Real Estate Resurgence 86
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Tourism Focus Events Page Major Moves New Company Registration
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VANILLA DIAMONDS速 14K STRAWBERRY GOLD速
TREND: GLADIATOR KNOTS
BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Regional Publications Ltd (RPL) in Antigua and Barbuda.
EDITOR’S FOCUS “The ultimate promise of technology is to make us master of a world that we command by the push of a button.” Volker Grassmuck Some folks have shared the opinion that anything that was not around when you were born is considered technology. Some dare to argue that technology does nothing more that set mankind backwards. In this issue, however, I’m sure you’ll agree that technology has done exactly the opposite. It not only brings the global market closer, but it is indeed offering persons, especially in the business community the autonomy to direct their business and reach their clients in ways that “back in the day” technology never could. Our feature in this issue looks at the innovation and cutting-edge technology that Digicel Business tailors to their clients’ needs, leaving them equipped with tech savvy business solutions needed to stay abreast of the competition in a digital era. With their 4G/LTE technology and various solutions, Digicel Business is committed to providing their clients with the perfect fit to advance their businesses, irrespective of trade or industry. Laudable is their partnership with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in the ground-breaking GATE project. With its various components, GATE is focused on creating digital future citizens while fostering a culture of entrepreneurship. We continue to celebrate the accomplishments of our young people in this issue. We applaud student veterinarian Nneka Hull James, whose award winning study could impact the landscape of dairy production in Antigua and Barbuda. It is indeed heartwarming to know our sons and daughters of the soil are not only excelling at tertiary levels; but more poignant is knowing that their courses of study and research are directed towards improving their island’s economy and social sphere.
“With Digicel Business, we at SugaPay Ltd, have found a partner that works as hard and as smart as we do by offering the best technology in the market.” Sasha Stuart-Young SugaPay
We invite you to turn the pages and be informed and entertained as we offer you a variety of upbeat and current trends in the world of business. Do remember that the magazine is also available online at www.businessfocusantigua.com.
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 • Joya Martin Dr. J. Humphreys • Arica Hill Colin Jenkins • Rumiyah Sandra Baptist • Koren Norton Dr. Chris Bart • Antigua Observer Lyndell A. Halliday Regional Publications Ltd Bryson’s Office Complex, Friars Hill Road, P.O. Box 180, Suite #5A,St.John’s, Antigua
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mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E Website: www.businessfocusantigua.com Business Focus welcomes contributions from professionals or writers in specialised fields or areas of interest. Reproduction of any material contained herein without written approval, constitutes a violation of copyright. Business Focus reserves the right to determine the content of the publication. On the Cover: Digicel Corporate Team The bi-monthly magazine for decision makers April /June 2014 | BUSINESS FOCUS • The bi-monthly magazine for decision-makers | www.businessfocusantigua.com
As our tourism product gets better and better, we also look at the various spheres of tourism, like business tourism. Four businesses from Antigua and Barbuda –Themba Fuels, Susie’s Hot THE RIGHT PARTNERMission to Sauce, Visual Echo and CJC Designs – participated in the Study Tour and Business KEEPS UP WITH YOURproved PACE the French Overseas Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, which to be another AND PAYMENT SOLUTIONS positive step in the direction of increased regional trade, as these businesses proudly shared their products and services. You can read more about this in Bizz Buzz.
Publisher: Lokesh Singh
No.52 • April/June 2014
To discover more about how Digicel can help your business, contact us at 268-736-1000 or ANTIGUABUSINESS@DIGICELGROUP.COM
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BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
BUSINESS BRIEFS CHAPA / BAU PANEL HOUSING PROJECT MOVING AHEAD
homes to property owners. Through the joint enterprise, it is projected that 60 per cent of residents should be able to afford the mortgage based on current rental rates.
“That money you are paying as a rent, we want you to turn that into a mortgage. About $1,000 is the median value (renting); with ECAB, a 25-year mortgage for the smallest house is about $980 per month, so you go from a rented property where you have no ownership into a home you own,” Hurst added. He said 150 persons were pre-approved for Principals of the new private company loans by ECAB with several hundred more seeking to build homes at several locations mortgage applications pending. throughout Antigua, CHAPA Bau Housing, have promised that plans to construct 5,000 TWO NEW RADIO STATIONS homes would remain in place regardless of RECEIVE LICENCES which political party is successful in the upcoming general elections. Chairman of Bau Panel Systems David Kendrick said, “I’m a businessman, not a politician. My business is to build houses for which I have the demand. I have a joint venture vehicle, which is a legal entity funded by me and other banking organisations. I will work with this government or the next Two new radio broadcast licences have been government.” issued to two business entities in Antigua & The private company will use special panels Barbuda. to build homes at four sites – Bolans, Smash Radio and the Caribbean Super Five Islands, Lightfoot and Lyons – on land Station will be two new radio stations that provided by government. Antiguans and Barbudans can listen to on the FM dial. Speaking at the recent launch of the housing project, Kendrick said the company is Smash Radio is owned by Smash committed to using local labour and added Broadcasting Ltd, a company started by a that the factory would be set up in Antigua group of young Antiguans – Kayode O’marde, by mid-year to facilitate the building of the Jermaine Rhudd and Nigel Scotland. homes. Caribbean Super Station, formerly Gem Radio, is owned by the Caribbean The factory equipment is already on its way and a lease has been signed for a Communications Network (CCN) based in building opposite to the factory site where Trinidad. This company is the parent company all the aggregates would be combined for of the Trinidad Express and Barbados Nation construction of homes and commercial newspapers and also own and operate a number of radio stations across the region. buildings. The licences were presented recently during Currently the building material is being a brief press conference hosted by Minister shipped here, but this has been very costly of Telecommunications, Dr Edmond Mansoor, at the GATE facility. to the company. Local Manager Ken Hurst said the cost of the homes ranges from around $150,000 upwards. He explained that Bau Panel seeks to empower and convert persons renting 6|
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Jermaine Rhudd of Smash Broadcasting Ltd and Wayne Leblanc of Caribbean Communications Company Ltd received the licences on behalf of their respective companies.
NEW OPHTHALMOLOGY SERVICE FOR MSJMC
From left: President of Rotary Antigua Club Sundown, Norma Holder; MSJMC Ophthalmologist and Rotarian, Dr Ian Walwyn; MSJMC Medical Director/Ophthalmologist Dr Alvin Edwards; and Ophthalmologist/representative from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Dr Matthew Traynor.
A new YAG Laser Service is now in operation at the Ophthalmology Clinic at Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC). The new equipment, worth over $80,000, was a joint donation from the Rotary Antigua Club Sundown and The Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints. “Many patients per year require YAG Laser treatment. Until now, these patients were referred to facilities outside of Antigua for treatment. This procedure is an outpatient, ambulatory procedure which can be delivered on the same day as the Ophthalmology consultation,” Medical Director and Ophthalmologist at MSJMC, Dr Alvin Edwards advised. “What we’re seeking is more local services for more local people. The new service line will mean significant savings and reduced waiting times for patients.” The Ophthalmic Division provides secondary and tertiary care to residents of Antigua & Barbuda and beyond. It also provides an extensive range of services and facilities for both adults and children to include the emergency eye care, acute referrals, ophthalmic imaging, laser (new) and optometry.
ANTIGUA HOTELS ENJOY BEST FIRST QUARTER OCCUPANCY SINCE 2007
Spencer’s idea emerged following her attendance of a Grow Your Business (GYB) Workshop held in Barbados in September 2013. Launched by the Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean (WINC), as part of the ‘Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean’, (EPIC) it is being implemented by infoDev, a department of the World Bank, in partnership with Canada’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).
The GYB workshops are aimed at two specific categories of women – women who The Antigua Hotel and Tourism Association are already running existing businesses but (AHTA) has reported that this year’s winter who want to move ahead. The second group season has delivered the best first quarter consists of entrepreneurs who want to start occupancy levels since 2007. new technology businesses, especially with a mobile or environment focus. In a recent media release AHTA Chairman Andrew Hedley indicated that there has been FOUR ANTIGUANS an increase in the winter numbers for January AWARDED UWI through March.
SIGN AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP
The Grenada government says it has entered into an agreement with the Washingtonbased Carbon War Room (CWR) as it seeks to lure investors in renewable energy.
The Chairman said the trend indicates hopeful prospects for the rest of the year. Four Antiguan students have been awarded scholarships for their exceptional academic “With the exception of a small drop off in performance at UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados. February, both January and March have seen The recipients were Blair Rose, Priscilla positive gains year on year. Whyte, Trevor Smith, and Latrishka Thomas. Rose and Whyte, final year accounting SOLAR PROJECT TARGETS and finance students, received the CIBC FirstCaribbean Scholarship valued at US LOW INCOME HOUSEHOLDS $2,500. Smith, also a final year accounting and finance student, received the Richard Cheltenham QC Scholarship worth US $1,750.
A new solar energy project to target low-income households is soon to be launched in Antigua & Barbuda. This project is the vision of a local proprietor, Ruth Spencer, owner of Spencer’s Apartments located in Hodges Bay.
GRENADA, CARBON WAR ROOM RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR
“I am pleased to note an increase of 1.4 per cent in overall hotel occupancy this year over 2013 and that really reflects a trend for the season where we really saw an overall increase in occupancy,” Hedley said.
Ruth Spencer, owner of Spencer’s Apartments located in Hodges Bay.
Apart from their academic qualifications the scholarship recipients hold executive positions in clubs and associations on campus. Rose is currently the President of the Antigua & Barbuda Student Association, Public Relations Officer of the Cave Hill Debating Society, and a member of both the Rotaract Club of Cave Hill and Anglican Students at UWI. Whyte is currently the Vice President of the Rotaract Club of Cave Hill and Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Student Association. Smith currently holds the Treasurer position in the Antigua & Barbuda Student Association and is also a student assistant at the school library. The awardees are encouraging all incoming and current students to visit the university website and apply for as many scholarships as eligible.
Thomas, a first year student of sociology and psychology, is the recipient of the Sir Arthur Lewis Award which covers tuition and economic cost for up to three years. The awardees were former students of the Antigua Girls High School, Jennings Secondary School, Antigua Grammar School and the Princess Margaret Secondary respectively, as well as the Antigua State College.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell signed the expression of interest with the CWR, the brainchild of British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. It is led by the former President of Costa Rica, Jose Maria Figueres Mitchell said that Grenada was seeking solutions to the high electricity prices faced by Grenadians which was due, in part, to the high cost of imported diesel fuel. He said the efforts by the Carbon War Room would be an important strand of an existing strategy already being developed by his administration. Mitchell acknowledged that “green” renewable energy held the possibility of lowering the island’s electricity prices. A government statement said that under the agreement signed recently in Washington, CWR would assist in attracting investors, and other organisations, to Grenada to finalise an updated roadmap for action and investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
What is Corporate Governance and Why is it so Important?
By Dr. Chris Bart
Corporate governance affects how well – or poorly - an enterprise is run. While many definitions of corporate governance exist, perhaps one of the best (and shortest) is the one developed by Sir Adrian Cadbury when he wrote his landmark report on the state of corporate governance in the UK. According to Sir Adrian, corporate governance concerns the system by which an organization is directed and controlled. What is so wonderful about this definition is that it establishes there are just two goals for any organization’s governance system. The first is to figure out the direction – or strategy – of the organization, be it a corporate for-profit enterprise or a notfor-profit entity. The second is to make sure that the organization stays on course – or in control - of its chosen strategy and, additionally, that it makes secure (controls) the assets which have been entrusted to it by its financial backers. However, the heart of an organization’s governance ultimately resides in the design of the system that facilitates the achievement of these goals. And that BusinessFocus April/June 2014 88 || BusinessFocus •• April/June BusinessFocus Mar / Apr 2014 | 8
system involves a series of “choices” that, in the end, define (a) the process and criteria by which suitably qualified individuals get selected to be on an organization’s Board of Directors (e.g. elected individually or as a slate) or fill other leadership positions in the organization; (b) the division of responsibilities and decision making authority among an organization’s board, its management and its shareholders – and maybe even other stakeholders; and (c) the accountabilities among the board, management and the shareholders. Obviously getting an organization’s governance system right is one of the most important considerations that every Board, on behalf of its owners, needs to make. There are many reasons for this. The specification of roles, responsibilities and decision rights for the Board, Management and the Shareholders provides clarity of purpose to each participant’s activities and avoids excessive overlap or undersupervision of various governance functions.
Well-designed governance systems support and enable highly effective decision making by company executives because those decisions are vetted by independent and competent directors. Good governance systems also help define and prescribe the practices, values and culture of an organization establishing the standards of acceptable behavior for all its members. Moreover, subscribing to good governance practices boosts the image of an organization making it more attractive to various stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers and investors. In fact, in several studies of public companies with superior governance systems, it was found that they had higher revenues, higher profits, higher ROIs and more generous dividends. Conversely, poorly designed governance structures and processes court disasters and invite the frauds and scandals that usually lead to criminal and civil liabilities. So, good governance is just plain good business and it is particularly beneficial when it focusses on reducing
and managing the most significant risks facing an organization. But not just for public companies. Private companies seeking outside capital will benefit from having governance arrangements that give outside funders confidence in the organization’s integrity and quality of decision making. And family-owned enterprises can help circumvent the hurt feelings and nasty litigation among family members with competing visions for the company when they develop and formalize solid governance practices before the death of the founder(s). But what governance arrangements should a diligent Board consider adopting in order to meet today’s demanding standards and the intense scrutiny by the
But BEWARE! Any of these recommended practices, however enthusiastically endorsed, should not be blindly followed or automatically adopted (as usually occurs in most mechanical and meaningless “best-practice-box-checking exercises”) unless it is determined to be appropriate for the organization in the particular circumstances in which it finds itself. When a best practice is ignored, though, many governance commentators argue that it should be publicly disclosed – say, on the organization’s website – along with the reason for not following the recommended method. I support this view. Doing so promotes stakeholder trust and allows those who are interested in the organization’s governance to judge for
media and assiduous investment analysts. To be sure, every organization is bound to observe and comply with the governance “rules” imposed by various corporate and securities laws and regulations. Apart from these impositions, however, the overarching universal principal of governance is that “one size does not fit all”. At the same time, there is now available an abundance of so-called “best practices” that are being actively promoted as the “one-best-way” for developing an effective governance system (e.g. separate the Board Chair and CEO positions; have a majority of independent directors; have smaller boards; etc.).
themselves whether the non-observance of the best practice makes sense – or not. This is what “practical governance” is all about: designing suitable and effective governance systems while weighing the costs of benefits in creating it. In conclusion, corporate governance is of supreme importance to every organization. When effectively designed, it helps improve both an organization’s current performance and its long term success and survivability. Accordingly, a corporation without a well-designed governance system is today often regarded as a body without a brain. But here’s the big, uncomfortable question for Caribbean organizations: to what extent does the current cadre of
Caribbean directors really know what is expected of them in their role as 21stcentury governors of their organizations and as supervisors of management? Assuming Caribbean directors have at least the same qualifications as their US or European counterparts, the assessment is not a particularly favourable one. After all, we have been witness to both the governance implosion of 2001 and the freezing of capital markets (which lead to the Great Recession) in 2007 under the supervision of “marquis corporate directors” who ought to have known better – think Enron, Worldcom and Lehman Brothers. Sadly, there has never been, until recently, any formal education required to be a corporate director. However, in recent years, Canada, the UK and Australia have each introduced programs and “certifications” to address and increase the competence and qualifications of their directors. As such, we are now witnessing the birth of a new profession: the Professional Director - a specialty requiring specific instruction and personal growth. And it is for this reason that the Caribbean Governance Training Institute (a joint venture with Saint Lucian based “Milestone Development”) was recently launched in Castries on February 11th, 2014. The mission of the Institute is to promote the highest standards of professionalism in the governance of Caribbean Organizations of all sizes and to provide tools to help Caribbean directors excel in the boardroom. It is currently providing a six part program offered one night per week over six weeks and is expected to be repeated in the Fall 2014. A major governance conference is being planned for late June. For more information visit CGTI’s website: http://www. caribbeangovernancetraininginstitute. com/ or phone Lisa at 758 451 2500 About the Author Dr. Chris Bart, FCPA is a recognized governance authority, the author of two best sellers), the Founder of The Directors College of Canada, and Co-Founder of the Caribbean Governance Training Institute. BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • April/June • April/June | 9| 9 BusinessFocus Mar / Apr | 9 20142014
Caribbean tech expert to receive
lifetime achievement award Caribbean-based technology expert Bevil Wooding wil be the 2013 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), the organisation has announced. Established in 2009, the LACNIC Award honours people who have contributed significantly to the development of the Internet and the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This was completely unexpected. It is an honour to receive this award from LACNIC. This strengthens my resolve to continue working to ensure that people are empowered to take advantage of technology for the development and benefit of our region,” Wooding said. A pioneer in the development of technology solutions and educational resources, Wooding wears many hats in his work across the region and around the world, according to a press release. As an Internet Strategist and Caribbean Outreach Manger for the US-based research non-profit, Packet Clearing House, he reportedly has been the leading advocate for the proliferation of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the Caribbean, with his efforts leading to the establishment of IXPs in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and Barbados. He is also the Chief Knowledge Officer at Congress WBN, a Caribbean-based international non-profit operating in over 80 countries. He leads the organizations global technical team and he has pioneered the development of Internet streaming and software applications that are now used around the world. Wooding in 2012 collaborated with the Saint Lucia National Youth Council to deliver Saint Lucia’s first ever national mobile app creation workshop. He also works with governments, private sector and NOGs across the region to provide training and educational resources for creating digital content, particularly for youth and young entrepreneurs. More recently he has worked with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to develop the Caribbean’s first-ever Digital Media syllabus. He was also instrumental in creating CXCs first ever fully digital syllabus orientation training, the release said. The tech expert is also one of the co-architects and the Programme Director of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s Caribbean ICT Roadshow. Through the CTU’s Roadshow he has helped communities and governments across the region understand issues ranging from Internet infrastructure and broadband access in the Caribbean to cybersecurity and the impact of social media on parenting and education. Reflecting on the award, Wooding said, “In spite of the many challenges, I remain convinced that our region has the creativity, and the capacity to leverage the Internet and related technologies to address our unique challenges, but also to create unique 10 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
opportunities for our communities, businesses and society. I believe we can and will take our rightful place in the global internet society.” A virtual technology ambassador, Wooding regularly represents the interests of the region at international fora. He has also come in for wide praise for his innovative initiatives, including TechLink, iCAN Mobile App Development and eBook Publishing workshops, to introduce young people to digital content creation through his BrightPath Foundation, a technology education non-profit. “His efforts have been distinguished by a deliberate commitment to collaboration and an emphasis on linking building regional communities,” said Bernadette Lewis, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union. Lewis was on the panel of judges for the award, alongside noted Internet experts such as Ida Holz, Rafael Ibarra, Carlos A. Afonso and Rodrigo de la Parra. Wooding credits the partnerships he has forged as one of the main factors behind the success of his achievements, sharing, “It is an honour to have the support and friendship of so many incredibly talented and extremely committed individuals and organisations from the region and across the world.” In 2010, he was appointed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as one of seven Internet gatekeepers, called Trusted Community Representatives (TCRs), and assigned a smart-card with part of a special code used secure domain names. He is also a founding member of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) and led the volunteer-based organization to become into an internationally recognized and trusted community of computer network operators and technical stakeholders. LACNIC is an international, non-government organization established in Uruguay in 2002 and is responsible for assigning and administrating Internet numbering resources for Latin America and the Caribbean. The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented during the LACNIC 21 meeting, to be held on 4-9 May, 2014 in Cancun, Mexico.
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Bahamas Upgraded to LTE Mobile Data The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), part of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), has completed the full commercial launch of the country’s only Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile data services. 4G LTE is the fastest mobile data service currently available to telecoms operators and will enable BTC to increase the speed at which its customers can download mobile data at least five-fold. Customers can expect download speeds of between 10 - 15 megabits per second in normal circumstances. This will deliver an improved mobile data experience while enabling them to access new services like video calling and the streaming of HD video. The current deployment provides BTC with the largest 4G LTE network footprint in the Caribbean region. LTE will be available in The Bahamas’ four most populated islands this month and then rolled out to the rest of the country. The network upgrade has been undertaken by Huawei.
BTC has been granted a 15 year licence to provide LTE mobile data services on the 700 megahertz radio frequency, which provides good in-building penetration, and is the favoured frequency range used in the United States, ensuring compatibility with the widest range of popular smartphones. Geoff Houston, Chief Executive of BTC, said: “The launch of 4G LTE services positions us on a par with the gold standard for mobile data used in the United States. We have invested to meet our commitment to deliver a world class mobile data and voice experience to our customers.” BTC is the exclusive mobile operator in the country which has a population of 319,000 people. CWC also offers LTE services in the Cayman Islands and Monaco.
C@ribNET - A crucial layer of the CARICOM single ICT space The next two years can be very significant for the regional research and education network, C@ribNET, as the Caribbean moves towards a single information communication technology (ICT) space as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The heads of government at the 25th inter-sessional meeting held recently in St Vincent and the Grenadines, agreed that developing a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) digital economy is crucial to changing the socio-economic profile of the Caribbean -- for creating jobs, especially for the youth, new opportunities and engendering innovation and competitiveness.
which can help to exploit and develop national interests. In particular, he said, those countries that host key regional institutions have an even more urgent need, not only to form NRENs, but to ensure that they can function at their best, supported by the secure connectivity provided by C@ribNET.
Speaking under the theme “ICT for CARICOM Transformation”, Dr Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada, and lead head of government on ICT in the CARICOM quasi cabinet, led the discussions at the meeting. He stated that a single ICT space logically complements the single economic space being created by the CSME.
“Our citizens will be transformed to digital citizens, ICT will be applied to various sectors in the economy, and innovation and competitiveness will increasingly contribute to growth and development,” he said. He warned, however, that developing the CARICOM digital economy is not going to be easy, but to avoid it happening is not an option.
He specified that C@ribNET, as the regional research and education network, is well positioned to be the regional knowledge centre and support for think-tanks for the region’s continued global collaboration. The prime minister went on to implore regional heads to nurture the development of national research and education networks (NRENs),
Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government, said a roadmap to develop the single ICT space would be developed and presented to the heads of government meeting in July 2015.
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Mitchell noted some of the benefits of the single ICT space including the creation of efficiencies, the generation of new businesses, the stimulation of growth in the ICT sector and, the promotion of opportunities for research and innovation.
CTU Calls For New Approaches To Old Challenges
Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, Bernadette Lewis (right) shares a light moment with St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College students, from left, Cenus Hinds, Zanis Sandy, Rotasha Medford and Shaquille Neil at the CARCIP St Vincent and the Grenadines Innovation Workshop on February 26, 2014. The students created a mobile Open Government app, which was presented at the workshop by Ayodele Pompey, CEO, Digital Spark Global.
Lewis was speaking at the St Vincent and the Grenadines leg of a series of workshops to encourage greater technology-enabled innovation in the Caribbean. “Unless we can change mindsets, the returns on ICT investment will be small,” she said. The workshop series is part of a broader World Bank-funded initiative called CARCIP, the Caribbean Communications Infrastructure Program, which is coordinated by the CTU. The thrust by CTU to accelerate Caribbean entrepreneurship through technology-driven innovation builds on the work of their Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which encourages Caribbean citizens to harness the power of innovation as the engine for ICT-enabled development. The Caribbean ICT Roadshow has been held 21 times in 18 Caribbean countries. Moderated by local CARCIP coordinator Roxanne John and regional coordinator Junior McIntyre, the two-day workshop in St Vincent brought together local professionals in the field of telecommunications and regional experts in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), entrepreneurship, leadership development and innovation. The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, host for the event, was represented by Camillo Gonsalves, minister of foreign affairs, trade, commerce and information technology. “The ICT revolution in St Vincent and the Grenadines is happening now,” said the minister. “In the current environment of rapid technological development and opportunity, our private and public sector shortcomings can be met, solved and eradicated quickly by the innovative application of ICT to our unique Caribbean particularity.” Gonsalves explained that the CARCIP workshop was part of an ongoing thrust by his ministry to develop the country’s ICT sector through updating its laws, establishing knowledge parks, 14 |
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“One of the greatest challenges facing the Caribbean is getting people to believe in the value of ideas,” said Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU).
setting up an e-government system and continuing to liberalise its telecommunications sector. “The true measure of the usefulness of Government’s large investments in these programmes will not be in our improved rankings in various development indices but in tangible benefits to Vincentians,” he said. His message was underscored by the lead facilitator for the event, Bevil Wooding, internet strategist with US-based non-profit, Packet Clearing House. In identifying the challenges that confront the region, such as its outmoded physical and institutional infrastructure, diminishing global competitiveness and the haemorrhaging of its qualified human resource, Wooding pointed to the need for Caribbean innovators to respond by using and creating technology to design relevant solutions. “Caribbean problems are real, but the problems all have real solutions,” Wooding said. CARCIP is a partnership between the World Bank and the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada, alongside regional organisations such as the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network, CKLN, all under the coordination of the CTU. The programme aims to improve the efficiency of telecommunications infrastructure development in the Eastern Caribbean and ultimately, throughout the wider region. Through the World Bank’s International Development Association, CARCIP was allocated a total disbursement of US$25 million, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU. Building on the foundation of upgraded critical Internet and telecommunications infrastructure, CARCIP aims to clear the path for local innovators and entrepreneurs to develop world-class, locallydriven, technology-enabled services that address the needs of St Vincent and the wider Caribbean.
BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
Commonwealth ICT Ministers Agree On Common Approach For OAS And Microsoft Sign Cyber Security Agreement Governance Of Cyberspace The Organization of American States (OAS) and Microsoft have signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen efforts made by the OAS cyber security programme over the last 10 years. The signing of the agreement took place at Microsoft’s headquarters in Washington State. The OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said the agreement is “another example of the OAS’ commitment to working with relevant actors in the Americas. This partnership will have both hemispheric and global benefits as we seek to strengthen the cyber security capabilities of our member countries. New technologies are critical for development and security and we must keep in mind that cyber threats are continuously evolving.”
Commonwealth ICT Ministers have adopted a Commonwealth cybergovernance model to guide national policy development of their national cyberspace. Representing over 35 Commonwealth countries, ICT ministers and their advisors met in London on 3 - 4 March 2014, at the first of what is expected to be a series of biennial ICT ministerial meetings. The agreed model builds on the values and aspirations expressed in the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy, sustainable development, human rights, and the rule of law. Guiding principles within the model include:
Insulza concluded by mentioning that new threats “push the OAS to promote public-private partnerships on cyber issues, a subject that is central to the future of our region.”
• contributing to a safe and effective cyberspace • supporting broader economic and social development • acting individually and collectively to tackle cybercrime, • exercising rights and meeting responsibilities in cyberspace.
Brad Smith, Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel, said, “Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated in preying on consumers and no one organisation can fight them alone. The agreement we’ve signed today will help the private and public sectors fight cybercrime more effectively, and make the internet safer for all.”
These principles are intended “to guide Commonwealth members to plan and implement practical actions in policy development, regulation and legislation, cross-border collaboration, capacity building, technical measures and other operational activities,” the model says in its introduction.
The OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Adam Blackwell, signed the agreement on behalf of the hemispheric institution. He described the alliance as another example of the commitment the OAS has displayed in promoting public-private partnerships, particularly in cyber issues, which have taken on a steadily increasing importance in recent years.
Ministers noted that while the principles are important, there is an urgent need to address how these principles will be implemented.
Blackwell noted, “In our hyper connected world, cyber crime and threats to cyber security affect us all, and we need comprehensive strategies to mitigate the risks these pose. Our efforts must involve civil society and the private sector to holistically advance the economic and human development of our people.”
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the CTO in order to clearly define our areas of comparative advantage and to ensure that the needs of all our member countries are responded to in the most effective way,” Newman added.
The agreement enables the two institutions to cooperate on the implementation of projects that benefit OAS member states and to complement OAS efforts to implement its “Comprehensive InterAmerican Strategy to Combat Threats to Cyber Security” and the “Declaration on Strengthening Cyber Security in the Americas,” respectively adopted by OAS member states in 2004 and 2012. This partnership will guide joint OAS and Microsoft efforts to augment the abilities of governments in the Americas to respond to and investigate cyber incidents, as well as to promote better coordination among cyber security stakeholders at the regional level. The agreement was signed during the first “Global Cybercrime Enforcement Summit,” and was held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, which is also the site of Microsoft’s Cyber Crime Center, which was inaugurated in November 2013. 16 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Speaking at the closing of the event, which was held at Marlborough House in London, Tim Newman, acting director at the Commonwealth Secretariat, welcomed “the very rich discussion of some of the key issues facing Commonwealth members in the field of ICTs”.
Professor Tim Unwin, secretary-general of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), co-host of the event, welcomed the overwhelming support offered by members for the new initiative. “The CTO is deeply honoured to have been involved in helping to shape this very important framework. It was a remarkable achievement that working together we were able to reach agreement on these very important principles. Now we all need urgently to work together collaboratively and supportively to turn these principles into real practical actions.” he said. At the meeting, ministers also agreed to action on the Commonwealth plan for broadband inclusion, a strategy for advancing broadband across the 53-country membership, ICTs and disability and ICTs in education. They also noted that Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Perth (2011) and Colombo (2013) had endorsed the Commonwealth cybercrime initiative.
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Human Entrepreneurship And Assistive Resource Technologies (HEART) Project Launched
General Manager LIME Davidson Charles, Minister of Telecommunications Science and Technology Dr. Edmond Mansoor, CEO LIME Caribbean Martin Roos and Senior Technical Research Officer and Project Administrator Ashton Fearon
The Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology in collaboration with Telecommunications Company LIME launched a new, multi-million dollar ICT initiative called the Human Entrepreneurship and Assistive Resource Technologies (HEART) project. HEART is a multi-faceted, utterly revolutionary ICT project that is projected to impact directly on thousands of Antiguans and Barbudans. “We are looking to assist people who for whatever reason, for whatever excuses, they have been marginalised and we have a philosophy in this Government that we will leave no one behind in the ICT revolution.” Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology Dr. Hon. Edmond Mansoor said. The HEART project is the third collaborative 18 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
project between the Government and Telecommunications Company LIME. Dr. Mansoor said the HEART project will have the widest reach and the capacity to change the lives of many Antiguans and Barbudans. “The HEART project is going to make a tangible and virtual impact on thousands of people; it will touch many lives, it is a unique blend of entrepreneurship and social responsibility. It will inspire people to challenge their intellectual boundaries and embrace new ideas.” Dr Mansoor said. Martin Roos, CEO LIME Caribbean said what attracted him to the HEARTproject is the opportunity to make a fundamental impact on an island that the telecommunications
company has served for 60 years. “I think what you are doing here is unique. Telecoms is the biggest transformational force on this planet during the last decade and it is a transformational force that provides all inclusive democracy and that provides opportunity for people. It is those two forces the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has wisely decided to embrace into something very good for its country.” Roos said. HEART will also have at its epicentre training in ICTs and entrepreneurship. Under HEART Government has already begun providing entrepreneurship training to persons and businesses. “I am confident that HEART will inspire Antiguans and Barbudans to challenge their
intellectual boundaries and embrace new ideas. The programme’s unique blend of entrepreneurship and social responsibility represents the government’s commitment to a global reach by ordinary Antiguans and Barbudans,” Prime Minister Dr Hon. Baldwin Spencer said. Davidson Charles, General Manager LIME, said the discussions on the project extended for over a year before all parties decided on the components of HEART. “At LIME we recognise that our social, economic and environmental responsibilities to our stakeholders are integral to our business and we aim to demonstrate these responsibilities through our actions and within our corporate policies.” Charles said. Additionally, Government will shortly appoint an E-Inclusion Champion and this person will be the focal point for implementing the Accessible Technology Charter that Government will sign onto. “We have a number of people who have sat on the margins and have not been captured by
this ICT revolution.” Dr Mansoor noted. There are benefits of signing the Charter which includes reaffirming Government’s commitment to accessibility by all. “It will inspire conversations in the community about the need to ensure ICT services are accessible to all persons. It will also set a framework for making progress on this important agenda,” the minister said. Under the “Assistive Resources Technology” (ART)”omponent of the programme two suitable individuals will be trained in how ICTs can be used to radically empower special needs individuals. “The Government of Antigua and Barbuda under the HEART project will hire two experts to assist in raising awareness of dyslexia and autism. And in addition we will hire two qualified Antiguans who will be trained in the field of Clinical Education Psychology to assist persons with dyslexia, autism and special needs. One person in each category will begin training by September 1st, 2014,” Dr Mansoor said.
Under HEART the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will also host a pan-Caribbean summit on E-Accessibility in partnership with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The target audience will be officials in ICT, Education, Finance, Youth, Civil Society and the Private Sector. Beneficiaries under the HEART programme will include any individual with any challenge, physical or otherwise whether in an institution or at home. The Unit for the Blind and Visually Impaired & School for the Deaf, Adele School, Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital, Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, Fiennes Institute, Industrial Workshop for the Blind, Vocational & Rehabilitation Centre. Special Care institutes and homes for the elderly, Boys’ Training School, St. John’s Hospice , St. Vincent de Paul Day Care and Activity Centre for the Elderly, Hope Institute, Sunshine Home for Girls and the Amazing Grace Foundation are some of the institutions that will benefit from the project.
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BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Facebook’s WhatsApp Purchase Challenged The US Federal Trade Commission in mid April cleared a path for Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp to proceed, though it called on both companies to be mindful of their data collection policies. The agency sent a letter to both companies, urging them to proceed with caution in how they deal with users’ data, given Facebook’s pending acquisition of WhatsApp. The letter comes following a request by privacy groups that the FTC investigate the deal. The deal, announced in February, has raised concerns for the FTC, partly because both companies collect users’ data, but have different policies governing how data is used. “WhatsApp has made a number of promises about the limited nature of the data it collects, maintains, and shares with third parties—promises that exceed the protections currently promised to Facebook users,” said Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC, in the letter. Regardless of the acquisition, Rich said, “WhatsApp must continue to honor these promises to consumers.” Penalties could be assessedIf the acquisition is completed and WhatsApp fails to honor its promises, both WhatsApp and Facebook could be in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and potentially a previous FTC order against Facebook on privacy, she said. Facebook is pleased that the FTC completed its review and cleared its acquisition of WhatsApp, a company spokeswoman said by email. “Naturally, both companies will continue to comply with all applicable laws after the transaction closes,” she said. WhatsApp did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter. WhatsApp in its terms of service says it does not collect names, addresses or email addresses, just mobile phone numbers. Also, the company says it does not collect location data, but users may voluntarily share their location with other users. “We do not use your mobile phone number or other personally identifiable information to send commercial or marketing messages without your consent,” except as part of a specific program in which people may opt in or out, the terms say. The FTC will monitor the practices of Facebook and WhatsApp, Rich said. 20 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
US$25 million to Harmonise Caribbean Telecommunications Governments of the Eastern Caribbean have taken a significant step toward harmonising their countries’ investments in telecommunications infrastructure. A regional project, called the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (Carcip), is bridging the gaps in regional broadband communications development. High-ranking officials from St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines met in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad recently with officials from the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) to share insights into how each country is tackling the region-wide challenges associated with telecommunications infrastructure deficiencies. The high-level meeting was organised by the CTU as part of Carcip. “On the surface, Carcip targets the establishment and improvement of the region’s physical communication networks. But the real issue is the major benefit that greater quality and affordability can bring to the region’s governments, health centres, schools, universities, national emergency communications networks and so on,” said Selby Wilson, telecommunications strategist, CTU. A total allocation of US$25 million is being disbursed through the Carcip programme, including loans to the three countries and a grant to the CTU, the Trinidad-based organisation co-ordinating the project. Carcip takes a comprehensive approach to the development of countries’ broadband communications infrastructure. The World Bank-funded project addresses gaps in submarine cable infrastructure and landing stations, domestic backbone networks and national Internet exchange points (IXPs). Participants at the meeting this week included Jacinta Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Public Utilities, Physical Development and ICT, Grenada; Philip Dalsou, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, St. Lucia; Roxanne John, Carcip project coordinator, Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology, Office of the Prime Minister, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Embert Charles, managing director, ECTEL. “Bringing the territories and the regional institutions together at the table is just the first step. The ultimate aim is a comprehensive, region-wide approach to the development of the telecommunications networks of the Caribbean. The lessons that we learn here will be of real value to the entire region,” said Junior McIntyre, the project co-ordinator for the CTU.
Trinidad Cement Ltd Rebounds in 2013 Boosted by Trinidad and Regional Growth in Sales Following the $1.32 loss per share recorded in the year 2012, Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) delivered an EPS of $0.24 for 2013 boosted by increased sales locally and regionally. Sales came in at $1.941b, 20 per cent higher than the comparable period of 2012. An increase in sales of domestic cement volumes and export levels along with higher profit margins contributed to TCL’s strong earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) levels. EBITDA came in at $423m in 2013 which was more than doubled the $154.5m attained in 2012. On a quarterly basis, EBITDA levels have outperformed those of 2012 despite the overall downward trend throughout the year and even excluding the $38.8m tax credit included during the second quarter. EBITDA margins have also improved, increasing from 9.6 per cent in 2012 to 21.8 per cent in 2013. This improvement is attributed to increases in key operating metrics with domestic cement sales volumes (especially in Trinidad and Jamaica) increasing by 13 per cent year-onyear (y-o-y), cement export volumes increased 22 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
by 22 per cent y-o-y and clinker production increased 15 per cent y-o-y. PBT of $52.9m was a marked improvement over the $384m loss experienced in the previous year. Lower depreciation of the Jamaican dollar, impairment charges, finance costs and a deferred tax credit provided major benefits to the 2013 results. Looking at the balance sheet, TCL’s asset base fell by 1.5 per cent to $3.61b from $3.67b while its liabilities decreased by 4.3 per cent from $2.99b to $2.86b. At a current trading price of $2.15, TCL’s stock price is down 2.3 per cent YTD with a trailing P/E of 9.1 times. As seen in Exhibit 1, TCL’s stock price traded as high as $10.95 in July 2008 before falling to a low of $0.95 in May 2013. TCL’s results in 2012 were dampened by production difficulties in the region and a 92-day labour strike in the Trinidad cement plant. For 2013, the Group’s financial position and liquidity strengthened throughout the year with all loan payments being made and financial ratio covenants being achieved. The Group is optimistic about its performance in 2014 as critical repairs at its Barbados plant have been completed and exports are being made to buoyant markets such as Guyana. While demand in Jamaica during January to February 2014 was slower than the comparable period of 2013, economic growth for 2014 is estimated to come in at 1.25 per
cent vs. 0.42 per cent in 2013 which can benefit the construction sector. Most recently in December 2013, the Jamaican subsidiary Caribbean Cement Company Limited, struck a US$8.5m deal to supply 100,000 tonnes of clinker to Venezuela that runs to April 2014. Negotiations are currently on hold to wrap up an agreement to supply an additional 240,000 tonnes of clinker while Venezuela deals with its social unrest. The Trinidad and Tobago market is forecast to remain buoyant as economic conditions strengthen which may contribute to improved cement and concrete business. An increase in TCL’s market share will bode well for the Group’s revenue and its ability to finance $2b in outstanding debt obligations as at December 2013. Based on the notes to its financial statement, TCL’s debt service (inclusive of principal and interest) is forecast to be $368m for 2014. The ability of TCL to generate and grow sufficient cash flows to service its debt remains the biggest challenge to the Group coming out of the restructuring of its debt portfolio. In addition to its Trinidad based operations, TCL owns and operates plants in Jamaica trading as Caribbean Cement Company Ltd and the Arawak Cement Company Ltd in Barbados. The company is the principal manufacturer and supplier of Cement to the Caricom markets.
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BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Group Chief Executive Don Wehby
Jamaican conglomerate GraceKennedy Group has realised record revenues of JA$67.3 billion (US$6.3 million) for 2013. This represents a JA$5.9 billion increase or 9.6 per cent over the previous year. This is the first time the group has exceeded revenues by more than JA$5 billion, Group Chief Executive Don Wehby said recently. This revenue increase was accompanied by a JA$973 million or 23.7 per cent increase in pre-tax profits. Wehby said he was satisfied by the group’s performance in what he described as a “challenging economic climate”. Profits before tax amounted to JA$5.075 billion, and the company paid JA$1.28 billion in taxes. Despite the significant increase in pre-tax profits, 2013 net profits were flat when compared to 2012 due to a one-off change in the company’s deferred income tax in 2012, he said. 24 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Jamaica firm makes US$6.3m
Wehby also noted the added impact of the National and Private Debt Exchange programmes in which the company participated, which led to a one-time loss of $293 million in the income statement arising from the exchange of instruments. The company had a live audio online stream media briefing in Jamaica recently featuring Wehby and several of GraceKennedy’s top executives. Wehby acknowledged Jamaica’s difficult economic situation, and said he was encouraged that the country had passed the first three International Monetary Fund “tests” but cautioned against too much optimism and encouraging the government to meet its targets. He said the all sectors besides insurance had seen increased performance, and international markets were also strong, especially the UK. The company has also expanded into Ghana over the last year, he said.
High energy costs in Jamaica are having constricting impact on GraceKennedy’s desire to increase its manufacturing capabilities, Chief Executive of GraceKennedy Foods, Michael Rangling added. Energy in Jamaica costs US$0.30 per kilowatt/ hour, compared to US$0.06 in Trinidad and Tobago. “If we were able to lower costs to US$0.10 or US$0.15 per kilowatt/hour we could significantly increase our capacity,” he said. GraceKennedy’s products are widely distributed throughout the Caribbean and international markets primarily targeting the Caribbean diaspora. Grace Kennedy has a commercial presence in Antigua and Barbuda through its interest in the Western Union Franchise and it is represented locally by the firm of who is responsible for the distribution of the Grace Brand Products Island Wide Anjo Wholesale.
BusinessFocus • February/March 2014
CariCRIS reaffirms ratings for RBL’s $1b Bond Issue Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Ltd (CariCRIS), the Caribbean regional credit rating agency, has reaffirmed the ratings of CariAA+ (Foreign Currency Rating) and CariAA+ (Local Currency Rating) on the regional rating scale, and ttAA+ on the T&T national scale to the debt issue of the size of $1 billion of Republic Bank Ltd (RBL).
RBL maintained comfortable profitability measures in FY2013, albeit at lower levels relative to the prior year, given the challenging regional macroeconomic environment. Additionally, the Bank is likely to receive support from the Government of the Republic of T&T (GORTT) in the event of a crisis due to its systemic importance as well as GORTT’s interests in the Clico Investment Fund (CIF).
These ratings indicate that the level of creditworthiness of this obligation, adjudged in relation to other obligations in the Caribbean and within T&T is high, said the rating agency in a statement issued recently.
“Tempering the ratings is the relatively weak asset quality in two of its subsidiaries, though at the Group level, asset quality remains comparable to its peers. Loan loss provision coverage declined to 37.2 per cent in FY2013, which is below the domestic average, but exceeds 100 per cent if the general contingency reserve account is included, read the statement.
The ratings of RBL continue to reflect the bank’s strong market position in T&T (T&T), Barbados, Grenada and Guyana. Further supporting the ratings is the healthy resource base marked by a high proportion of retail deposits and geographical diversity, comfortable capitalisation reflected in good coverage of total assets and high capital adequacy ratios.
The financial year runs from October 1 to September 30. Credit ratings place much more emphasis on cash flow-based assessments as opposed to security-based assessments. Consequently, timely payments take precedence over ultimate payments.
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BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Caribbean Countries With Fixed Currencies Should Not Entertain Devaluation - Worrell Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Delisle Worrell is urging Caribbean countries with fixed currencies, not to entertain the thought of any devaluation as a means of restoring stability to their economies. Worrell told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that his recommendation does not only apply to Barbados, where the local dollar is fixed at US$0.50 cents, but also to those of the Eastern Caribbean, the Bahamas, Belize, and other stable currencies in the region. “There is no point in changing the exchange rate, for the only value of the Barbados dollar for instance, is the fact that it is a US dollar by another name,” Worrell said. “So in a sense I feel that all independent currencies of countries that are as small as ours, need to be run by Central Banks, which will provide bank supervision, and other responsibilities that fall under the Central Bank.” Worrell said that these countries should not be entertaining monetary policy which funds government operations resulting in a decline in reserves and threaten the value of the dollar. He suggested that currencies should be operated by currency boards, whose policies would promote confidence which is a direct link to a reserve currency. “Apart from Barbados this should also apply to the OECS, the Bahamas, and Belize which are among currencies that are worthwhile maintaining because they retain their value,” he said. The Central Bank governor said that in his view there should be one currency for the entire world, as all currency values were artificial. He said it makes as much sense to have changes in the value of the dollar in relation to the euro, as it makes to have changes in the value of a mile, in terms of a kilometre. “It is a comparative measure so a currency does not have any value in itself, it is a measure of exchange and the notion that you should have hundreds of them in the world is silly,” he told CMC. Worrell also poured scorn on the concept of a floating dollar, noting, “The Jamaica dollar does not float, the Guyana dollar does not float, it sinks. ““If I offered you the choice of a US dollar and a Jamaica dollar, would you ever choose the JA dollar? Of course not. But the only reason you might chose a Barbados dollar over a US dollar is because it isn’t going to change. “If you ever thought it would, then you would not think twice about accepting the US dollar,” he said, noting that anytime a currency is allowed to float, it disappears. “I don’t know why people prolong the agony, I think they should just disappear with them altogether,” he told CMC. 26 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
In May 2011, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the end of a retreat in Guyana, said they had put a brake on introducing a common currency for the 15-member grouping. “As regards the Single Economy, they recognised that the process towards full implementation would take longer than anticipated and agreed it may be best to pause and consolidate the gains of the Single Market before taking any further action on certain specific elements of the Single Economy, such as the creation of a single currency,” the leaders said in a statement.
Finance Minister Confirms Antigua Removed From FATF “Grey List” Finance Minister Harold Lovell said that Antigua and Barbuda has been removed from the “Grey List” of the Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). “The hard work of the staff of the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, the ONDCP and the Ministry of Legal Affairs are to be highly commended as we continue to build a new economy. For Antigua and Barbuda to be labelled as compliant with international standards and practices is excellent news,” Lovell said. The FATF, which is reviewing the compliance of countries with the AntiMoney Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism AML/CFT standards, said Antigua and Barbuda has made significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime. It said the island has established the legal and regulatory framework to meet its commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in February of 2010. “Antigua and Barbuda is therefore no longer subject to FATF’s monitoring process under its ongoing global AML/CFT compliance process. Antigua and Barbuda will work with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) as it continues to address the full range of AML/CFT issues identified in its mutual evaluation report,” the FATF statement concluded. In his presentation of the 2014 National Budget, Lovell had predicted that Antigua and Barbuda would be removed from the “Grey List” because he was certain that a review in December 2013 would have been positive and supportive of Antigua and Barbuda’s efforts to improve compliance with the FATF’s 40 recommendations.
Contributes Over US$1.425M to UWI 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, CIBC said in a statement from its Barbados office. 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, Barbados. The ComTrust Foundation is the bank’s charitable foundation which was established to oversee its corporate giving programme throughout the Caribbean. CIBC FirstCaribbean said it was 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. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
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 USS112,500. Each year, through the CIBC FirstCaribbean’s funding, scholarships valued at US$2,500 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 11-year 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.
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.
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Several Caribbean Countries Named In US Money Laundering Report The United States has named several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major money laundering states whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking. In its just released “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report,’ the US State Department listed Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize and Haiti as among major money laundering countries and jurisdictions around the world. In addition to these CARICOM countries, the other Caribbean islands named are the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. The report also notes that countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Russia, France, Canada as well as the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece and
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
the Netherlands had been designated major money laundering countries. The report, which describes the steps taken during the previous year by the governments of nearly 90 countries, to reduce illicit narcotics production, trafficking, and use, as well as money laundering and financial crimes, said that the “complex nature of money laundering transactions today makes it difficult in many cases to distinguish the proceeds of narcotics trafficking from the proceeds of other serious crime. “Moreover, financial institutions engaging in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds of other serious crime are vulnerable to narcotics-related money laundering.” Washington said that “this year’s list of major money laundering countries recognises this relationship by including all countries and other jurisdictions, whose financial institutions engage in transactions involving significant
amounts of proceeds from all serious crime”. The report also notes that Caribbean countries like the Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica had been classified as major drug-transit countries. The State Department defines a major drug transit country as one “that is a significant direct source of illicit narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances significantly affecting the United States; or (B) through which are transported such drugs or substances”. It said that apart from the Caribbean countries, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela were identified and notified to Congress by the President on September 13, last year.
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BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
The 3 Ways to Make More Money In YOUR Business...Starting Today! by Sandra Baptist
Business is hard, no doubt about it! If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! What’s even better to know is that making money in your business is NOT complicated and actually, there are only three main strategies to make money in your business!! For most businesses to make more money and start accelerating their growth, they need to offer at least one of the three things that most people want. When we narrow it down, most people simply want to: • • •
Make More Money Save More Money Save More Time
Any method of making more money and creating faster growth in your business must relate to one of these things listed above! Of course, some businesses are in the entertainment field and would not offer these three things listed above, however the three ways to make money still applies. Let’s delve into the three main ways to make more money in your business and how you can start applying this today. The first business strategy to making more in your business is to: Sell your EXISTING services and/or products to MORE people This is a common strategy for most businesses because it’s simple to do with what you already have. However what this strategy needs to make it work is more customers every time you need to make more money. Customers are the lifeblood of any business! No Customers or Clients ⇒ No sales ⇒ No $$ So, how do you get more customers or clients? We’ll look at some tactics below but what 30 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
needs to be done is to immediately expand your client base by attracting more customers or clients to the business.
business and casual settings. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking fulfils all these aspects.
The key here is marketing.
Selling your existing products or services to more clients and customers is a good strategy to make more, however it also has its drawbacks.
Marketing is simply telling people what you do over and over again. Now especially if you’re a service-based business, marketing does not equal advertising. Retail businesses use a lot of advertising to drive customers to their website, their stores, their Facebook™ page, etc. However advertising is only one aspect of marketing and the more you incorporate different types of marketing into your business, the more customers and clients would be attracted to you and interested in learning more about your products and services. Some simple ways to get more customers to purchase your products include: • Testimonials. These provide instant credibility about your services or products. People believe more about what other people say about YOUR products than you could ever tell them. • Referrals are great for all types of businesses and the great thing about referrals is that your customers now become your unpaid marketing team! Think about it….your business using free or low-cost marketing that works. • Educate prospects. Some businesses do this effectively through the print media, via radio and TV ads, while other ways include white papers, reports, educational videos. Educating prospects is a stealth way of marketing your business. It allows you to use “Give to Get” principles of attracting more customers. • Networking allows you, the business owner, to be seen by your prospects in both
Disadvantages of this strategy are that it can become time-consuming and that it is expensive. Are you aware that it is five times more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to sell to an existing client or customer? This is because the new customer does not know you or know what you offer. You constantly have to be marketing to create a pool of prospects who are interested in your offerings. Believe me, meeting a new prospect and hoping they buy your products before you have to meet payroll is a sure-fire way to create massive stress and strain on your cash flow in your business. Let’s examine strategy #2 – Sell DIFFERENT products/services to your EXISTING customers This strategy lends itself to repeat customers and also allows the business to retain customers for longer, as your business introduces different products or services at various price points to your existing customers! Think of a supermarket introducing new brands to its existing customers or professionals introducing a new service to its clients. Think of a new telecommunications company introducing their new branded phone to its existing customer base.
The goal of this strategy, besides more money of course, is to build around your existing customers and your competitors stealing them by what they want.
making a fence prevent offering
Expanding your offerings to your existing customers increases their loyalty to your business and in fact allows you to work with your ideal clients, rather than increasing the number of (non-ideal) people you sell to just to make your sales targets. This strategy is less expensive to market because it’s simply a matter of informing your existing customers as they walk into your business, sending an email or even putting on Customer Appreciation Events. You can also see this strategy in practice by businesses using Loyalty cards or Memberships in their businesses. Our final strategy to making more money in business is #3 – Increase the Transaction Size. This last way to make more money in your business is probably the easiest and fastest strategy.
I’m sure you’ve heard the following phrases at one time or another: “Do you want fries with that?” “Is that all for you today?” This strategy is sometimes called ‘upselling’ as it makes the customer spend more money with the business at that particular time. Another up-selling strategy frequently used is to get the customer to buy a more expensive model of the same product or service, e.g. a more expensive model of vehicle. It’s a fact that a small percentage of your existing customers would always desire your highest level of service or products, and this strategy allows your existing customers to return and buy more EXPENSIVE services or products that you offer. Using this strategy to make more money in your business could also mean that you evidently change your target market or add an additional target market since your current customers may not be able to afford expensive options of what you offer.
Having said that, increasing the transaction sizes of your offering increases the value of what you offer and allows you to segment your high-value customers into, for example, a VIP list. Why even have a VIP list of customers? “This comes back to the 80:20 rule, that is 20 per cent of your customers will bring in 80 per cent of your revenue”, says Mr. Vere Hill of the August Group. So which strategy will you use today to make more money in your business? It doesn’t matter which one you use, but simply choose one and use it consistently to see the changes in your Income Statement and your overall business. ------------About the Author: Sandra Baptist is a Chartered Accountant, a Business Growth Coach and Certified Guerrilla Marketing Adviser. She is a #1 Best-Selling Author and Founder of CaribbeanBusinessAcademy.com
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Visit: www.CaribbeanBusinessAcademy.com BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
BOOK REVIEWS MONEY MATTERS
MUST READS Volume 7
Business Success for Introverts by Lyndell Halliday
In the management classic, “Good to Great”, Jim Collins introduced the concept of “Level 5 Leadership” which he defined as the “the triumph of humility and fierce resolve”. Collins’s research found that the most successful leaders – as measured by actual quantifiable results - were not larger than life, flashy types – they were quiet workhorses. Quite often they tended more to be introverted than extroverted. This was a surprising finding in a world in which success in business and leadership is normally assumed to be strongly correlated with extroversion. Must Reads delves into the world of introverts offering insight on how they can succeed in an extrovert’s world. This edition features Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Turtleback, 2013) and Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength by Dr. Laurie A. Helgoe (2008). The two books have similar premises, but approach the topic from different perspectives.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain Susan Cain, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School is BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
a corporate lawyer and writer who specializes in the field of psychological nonfiction. Cain draws on research in the fields of psychology and chemistry to investigate the world of introversion. Interspersed throughout this 368 page book are stories of many well-known real people such as Rosa Park, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Buffet and Eleanor Roosevelt - stories that serve to illuminate the power of introverts. According to research conducted by Cain, between one third and one half of people are introverts. Yet the world is decidedly biased towards extroverts across all fields of endeavour. Cain refers to this bias as the “Extrovert Ideal” and notes that it is so pervasive that many introverts pretend to be extroverts, In this carefully researched book, Cain notes that the introvert/extrovert divide - which she considers to be the “most fundamental dimension of personality’ - is in fact hardwired by brain chemistry. Cain is careful to point out that introversion and shyness is not the same thing. Introversion/extroversion is defined by the level of outside simulation that the individual needs to feel well. Extroverts thrive on external simulation – introverts do not. Society, she says, both misunderstand and greatly undervalues introverts. Introversion she insists is not some maligned condition to be cured or overcome, but one of two equally valid personality orientations with its own advantages and benefits to business and society on a whole. As an introvert herself, Cain was inspired to write this book to help introverts to better understand themselves and to fully utilize their strengths. Cain offers up advice on how to overcome the deeply ingrained cultural biases against introversion in order to succeed in life and work. Quiet: The Power of Introverts is a digestible and insightful book that will help introverts to better understand themselves and unlock their full potential.
but each individual is more disposed to one or the other. Introverts gain energy by reflecting and expend energy when interacting. On the other hand, extroverts gain energy by interacting and expend energy while reflecting. Helgoe cites data from Myers-Brigs Type Indicator scores that in fact the population split is approximately 50-50. Yet, most cultures favour extroversion over introversion. Helgoe makes the case that it is okay for introverts to be who they are – for example to carve out space and time for themselves sometimes. In fact, it is essential for them to do so in order for them to be productive and effective on the job.
Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength Laurie A. Helgoe Dr. Laurie Helgoe is a writer and psychologist who has written several books. In this her fifth book, she lays out the case that introversion should be embraced as a positive, source of strength Helgoe writes a no holds barred introvert guide to an extrovert world in which urges introverts to be comfortable with themselves and leverage their innate powers to their advantage. According to Helgoe, everyone has both extroversion and introversion in them,
About Author: Lyndell A. Halliday BSc., DipFM, MBA
Helgoe emphasizes, however, that introversion is not about being antisocial or socially inept. She offers practical advice on how to thrive in a loud world – at settings in both business and social life that are designed more for the extrovert. Introvert Power is a provocative and thought provoking book that will both challenge and comfort the reader. This 320 page book is valuable resource for both the introvert and extrovert in understanding the mind of introverts and how to harness their strengths both on and off the job.
Lyndell Halliday is a business executive who has served in a range of leadership roles across the Caribbean. He is currently employed as the General Manager of Automotive Art (St Lucia) Ltd. Mr Halliday is also a part time facilitator at the National Research and Development Foundation where he teaches Leadership and Strategic Operations Management for the Australia Institute of Business MBA and BBA programmes.
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
AntiguaBarbuda On Right Path To Outsourcing Market Says Industry Experts Outsourcing industry experts, Nearshore Americas, consider Antigua and Barbuda as an ideal candidate for the high-end financial and medical outsourcing industry, as local consultations conclude. Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) Board of Directors, Dr McChesney Emanuel and founder of Nearshore Americas, Kirk Laughlin, said on Friday morning that the country is readying to participate in the burgeoning worldwide sector. Nearshore’s research found the financial compliance and patient adherence fields were ideal industries for Antigua and Barbuda, due to local expertise and the ever increasing need for these services in the United States. “These are jobs that are generally well paying and provide a lot of stability and also provide a lot of exposure to the global community. I want to stress these are knowledge-based
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
job, jobs that really lean on the background of the individual, as well as, provide training in specific niche areas,” Laughlin said. The consultant also identified Antigua and Barbuda’s highly literate society, proximity to the United States and familiarity with US business culture as characteristics that make the nation very attractive to companies looking to outsource services. Emanuel said job creation from this industry could be realised in as little as a year. However, he stressed the nation would first have to ready itself for the impending sector. “We have to make sure that what we are doing is sustainable. That is why we are moving in a very conscious way to make sure that, whatever niches we are focusing on, we have the employment levels and we can sustain employment in these areas,” the ABIA chairman stressed.
The Authority expects that 50 to 75 jobs would be created incrementally as the organisation seeks to gradually and strategically grow outsourcing in Antigua and Barbuda. To prepare for outsourcing, the nation must first build capacity in the areas of data collection, computer and technical training and commit to fostering increased cooperation between the private and public sector. Nearshore’s findings were first revealed to private and public sector representatives during the ABIA-Nearshore Americas consultation and presentation series on January 29 and 30. In an effort to ready the nation for an outsourcing market, the Authority recently held a meeting with key governmental ministries and personnel.
BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Caribbean Recorded Modest Economic Growth In 2013 - CDB The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) said that regional countries experienced average economic growth of 1.5 per cent last year as compared with 1.2 per cent in 2012. But the CDB said the region is likely to record average economic growth of 2.3 per cent in 2014. “Led by Guyana, Haiti and Suriname, growth is expected for all 19 BMCs (Borrow Member Countries), with most again set to grow by one to three per cent. “The recovery in regional tourism is expected to strengthen with the anticipated faster growth in the US and a return to growth in the Euro Area as well as expectations of improved airlift and reduced fuel costs resulting from further declines in commodity prices.” The CDB said that this recovery, together with global FDI (foreign direct investment) growth projected at around 10 per cent in 2014 should have further spin-off benefits for construction and other real sector activity.” In an “Economic Review and Prospects” for the bank’s borrowing member states, the Barbados-based financial institution said rising incomes and employment in advanced economies, coupled with renewed foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, contributed to solid growth in construction activity and continued recovery in tourism in most of the Caribbean. It said the expansion in construction activity was linked to the combined effects of significant public investment in critical 36 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
economic infrastructure, growth in private residential construction and significant FDIdriven tourism-related development. In the tourism sector, stay-over arrivals increased across destinations, as the recovery in key United States Euro Area markets continued. “The exceptions were Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where airlift challenges and high intra-regional travel costs affected visitor arrivals,” the CDB noted. It said the general uptrend in arrivals in the higher-value-added stay-over segment of the industry offset the impact of challenges in the cruise segment, where outturns were more mixed.
cement production recovered from the effects of industrial unrest in 2012. “Notably, the contraction in oil production in both of these countries was attributed, not to lower prices, but to ongoing maintenance
Despite generally lower commodity prices, regional growth was led by commodity exporters. In Guyana, Haiti and Suriname, rates of expansion between four and six per cent were driven mainly by strong construction and agriculture outturns and small, but noteworthy contributions, from the rapidly developing tourism industries.
issues, in one case, and to reduced oil field yield, in the other. ”
“Growth in Guyana and Suriname was driven, as well, by continued investment in small-scale gold mining operations. In Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, overall growth performances improved, in line with the general upturn in construction and tourism activity.”
The CDB said that economic growth did not exceed three per cent in the services-based economies; and in some instances, activity declined.
The CDB said that Trinidad and Tobago also benefited from a rebound in manufacturing, as
It said the moderate growth of between one and three per cent recorded in Antigua and
Barbuda, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Turks and Caicos Islands was linked to the general improvement in construction and tourism. “Economic activity was sluggish, flat or contracted in the remaining BMCs, (Borrowing Member Countries) as key service industries bucked regional trends. Based on indications that a first-half contraction was negated by a turnaround in the agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors, in the second half of the year, Jamaica is estimated to have recorded no growth in 2013.” The CDB said that for Anguilla and Barbados, 2013 marked the sixth consecutive year of economic stagnation. “The slight contraction estimated for Barbados was driven by declines in tourism and construction activity during the year. Growth in Anguilla’s tourism, on the other hand, was offset by weak performances in construction and financial services. Similarly, economic activity also declined in the British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia as growth in tourism activity failed to dampen the impact of declines in construction and financial services. But the CDB said notwithstanding the strengthening of economic activity, inflationary pressures remained subdued and unemployment levels remained high across the region. It said consumer price inflation, in most regional economies, continued to moderate, in line with international commodity prices. Average inflation for the region is estimated at 2.3 per cent in 2013, down from 5 per cent in 2011 and 3.5 per cent in 2012. Higher inflation in Jamaica was mainly linked to depreciation of the exchange rate. The CDB said four BMCs for which 2013 labour force data were available reported double-digit rates of unemployment. The Bahamas’ annual jobless rate, as measured in May, was 16.2 per cent and the year-to- September average for Barbados was 11.2 per cent while the average for the yearto-July was 15.9 per cent for Jamaica; and the first-half average for St. Lucia was 23.2 per cent.
“Reaching record highs in 2013, these rates represented job-less growth in The Bahamas and stagnant economic activity in Jamaica and St. Lucia. Short-term employment programmes put in place by the government earlier in the year accounted for Barbados’ slight improvement over the corresponding period of 2012; but public sector lay-offs in the last quarter of the year may have offset this increase.” The CDB said indications are that unemployment levels also remained elevated in most of the other BMCs, as job creation continued to lag the recovery in output. It said that outturns in relation to foreign exchange reserves varied; but import cover generally remained within accepted norms. Reserves increased in Belize, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and Trinidad and Tobago, but fell in The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname. “Most BMCs continued to hold reserves in excess of the three-month/12-week benchmark. With regard to BMCs operating flexible exchange rate regimes, the Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago dollars remained relatively stable (depreciating by under 0.5 per cent). “The Haitian gourde depreciated 3.4 per cent as official transfers and financial inflows related to postearthquake recovery and reconstruction tapered off. The 14.6 per cent depreciation of the Jamaica dollar, on the other hand, was linked to increased foreign-currency demand.”
Increased capital spending in Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Lucia and wage increases in St. Vincent and the Grenadines also contributed to widening fiscal deficits. In addition, St. Vincent and the Grenadines incurred sizeable expenditure on the construction of a new airport. “Consequently, and notwithstanding cutbacks in capital spending in Barbados, Dominica and Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda’s successful completion of an IMF programme in June 2013, the ratio of Gross General Government debt to GDP rose in all of these BMCs.” The CDB said preliminary estimates indicate that steepest increases were in St. Lucia (14 percentage points to 89 per cent) and Barbados (10 percentage points to 108 per cent). “The run-up in debt contributed to the credit downgrades given to Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the rating agencies. On the other hand, successful debt restructurings during the year (Belize and Jamaica), as well as satisfactory progress on IMF-sponsored adjustment programmes (Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis) underpinned improved debt dynamics and prompted credit rating upgrades (Belize and Jamaica).”
The region’s premier lending financial institutions aid that fiscal performance weakened in six of the nine most highly indebted BMCs. Government revenues declined as output contracted in Barbados and St. Lucia, whilst the abolition of tourism taxes and stagnating grant inflows that offset higher proceeds from the recently extended Economic Citizenship Programme helped to explain the declines in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, respectively.
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
RECEIVES 3.2 MILLION EUROS FOR THE CARIFORUM SERVICES SECTOR The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in conjunction with the implementing partners CARICOM Secretariat and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Dominican Republic (DICOEX) have been awarded responsibility for the implementation of a 3.2million Euro programme by the European Union towards the implementation of the 10th EDF Services Sector Component. Implementation of the services component will be a collaborative effort between the Agency and implementing partners CARICOM Secretariat and DICOEX. “The services component of the EPA represents one of the concrete ways that Caribbean businesses and entrepreneurs could reap tangible, economic benefits. The services sectors in most CARIFORUM countries is a significant contributor to GDP, accounting for more than 50% of GDP in most cases and over 60% for the OECS member states” informed Ambassador Michael Barfod, Head of Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean for the European Union during his remarks at the cheque hand- over ceremony to a room filled with regional stakeholders, who were gathered for an ACP consultation meeting also hosted by Caribbean Export. In most CARIFORUM States, trade is increasingly driven by services exports. However, due to inadequate policies and regulatory regimes for the services sector CARIFORUM States are severely constrained in their ability to take advantage of the numerous trade agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and the opportunities that exist for long term economic development. In addition regional and national support organisations have insufficient capacity and lack the coordination to effectively assist services suppliers or even consumers to take full advantage of the EPA. It has been recognised that there are also critical BusinessFocus Mar / Apr | 22 38 | BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
data gaps in services statics for planning and marketing analysis that are needed to effectively plan and implement strategies for growth and market penetration in the services sectors. The 10th EDF Services Sector programme will address these issues specifically through; the development of a policy and regulatory framework to support the CARIFORUM services sector; building capacity of national and regional services support organisations such as Coalition of Services and Chamber Commerces; and improvement of the mechanisms for the collection and dissemination of data and statistics. The programme, whilst supporting the development of the services sector world also facilitates the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM States into the world economy. “We all recognise the increasingly important role which the services sector plays in our economic development” stated Senator, the Honourable, Maxine McClean. “Some of us have been reaping success in this area for example the financial services sector has become the second largest contributor to GDP in the Caribbean. Expansion of investment in this area has served to deepen linkages with the agricultural, manufacturing and alternative energy sectors. The contribution of this relationship has been truly outstanding. It continues to generate employment and much needed revenue which augurs well with the creation of a sound economic base”. The programme will cover at least the, professional, financial, education, health and wellness, tourism, cultural entertainment and sport, and ICT services sectors with the objective of ultimately improving the competitiveness of CARIFORUM Services Suppliers and promoting improved access to regional and international markets.
“The Creative Industries have emerged as a key growth sector in the Caribbean economy through its contribution to GDP, exports, and employment, as well as its impact on destination and intellectual property branding” expressed Executive Director Pamela-Coke-Hamilton. “In light of the great importance that the services sector plays in the region, we are pleased that Caribbean Export will play a role in the implementation of the 10th EDF Services Sector Component. In collaboration with our implementing partners, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Dominican Republic (DICOEX), our intention is that the end result of this programme will enhance the competitiveness of CARIFORUM service suppliers and create an optimum business environment for services”. About Caribbean Export Caribbean Export is a regional export development and trade and investment promotion organisation of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM) currently executing the Regional Private Sector Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Export’s mission is to increase the competitiveness of Caribbean countries by providing quality export development and trade and investment promotion services through effective programme execution and strategic alliances. More information about Caribbean Export can be found at www.carib-export. com. Contact: JoEllen Laryea, PR and Communications, Caribbean Export Development Agency Tel: +1(246) 436-0578, Fax: +1(246) 4369999, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (268)562-1531 • Cell: (268) 464-3766 or 725-9904 • Fax: (268) 462-5234 Fitzgerald House. 2nd Floor, 44 Church St, Box 2010, St.John’s, Antigua.
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Call us: 1 (268) 779-6634 Email us: email@example.com Visit us: www.byziaphotography.com Like us: www.facebook.com/byZIAphotographyANU BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
and the “official way to pay” for SugaPay, an Antiguan-designed alternative payment system, is proud to be an exclusive sponsor of Antigua Sailing Week 2014. It is identiﬁed as “the Ofﬁcial Way to Pay” during the ASW 2014 events and activities. SugaPay is a two-pronged payment system which, on one hand, marries a local payment card with the cardholder’s cell phone and offers more convenient cashless payment options for cardholders and, on the second hand, offers unrivalled convenience for merchants in the form of a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) device. SugaPay’s management is excited about its collaboration with Antigua Sailing Week for the full launch of the payment solution. SugaPay’s CEO, Brian Stuart-Young, says that, “ SugaPay provides the opportunity to signiﬁcantly reduce the cash circulating during the event in the surrounding area, which will deﬁnitely be a bonus when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of all attendees, whether visiting yachtsmen or residents.” ATMs and SugaPay Customer Service booths will be in place in high proﬁle and secured locations throughout the event to ensure cards can be topped up, and all transactions can then be completed very easily and securely using the SugaPay card and a PIN. For more information and to pre-register, go to our website www.sugapay.com
THE DETAILS SugaCUBE mPOS Benefits
SugaPay Cardholder Benefits
• Highly Secure This mobile terminal meets international standards required to capture card payment details (completely PCI-DSS compliant). Known as the SugaCUBE, it is a mobile point-of-sale (POS) terminal, with secure authentication protocols which ensure that no card details are stored on the mobile device. The transactions are processed by Global Processing Centre (GPC), which is located on Old Parham Road and is also fully PCI-DSS certiﬁed. With an acquiring bank’s approval, GPC can also allow the terminal to accept card association brands like Visa and process their transactions via its certiﬁed gateway.
• Safer Than Cash Remove the safety issues associated with keeping too much cash around. Load your card for use either via a participating bank or at the growing number of acceptance outlets and avoid the hassle of ﬁnding exact change or accumulating mountains of coins that may fall by the way-side.
• Lowest Cost POS There is no lower cost method of accepting Electronic Financial Transaction (EFT) payments in the region. Technically, all you need to conduct merchant processing is a (data enabled) mobile device and our SugaCUBE terminal device system to start accepting payments. • Unrivaled Mobility Accept payments anywhere – at the table, by the poolside, on a boat – and at anytime. No longer do merchant sales need to be tied to your desk or cash register. Great for island wide sale services and tourism services on land and sea. Bring greater value and mobile payment convenience to your business with a SugaCUBE. • Quick Settlement Successful SugaPay transactions completed on the SugaCUBE system are settled daily to your SugaPay account and easily monitored with online or mobile access. Your funds can be readily transferred to your bank or creidt union as needed. All transactions are operated on a “good funds model” so there is no opportunity for the transaction to be returned for lack of sufﬁcient funds.
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
• Available to Everyone There are no credit checks necessary to obtain a card, as the system operates as a “good funds” model with the value stored on the card, and you can monitor the balance on your mobile phone and make payments just as easily as a cash wallet with participating merchants and to other SugaPay account holders. • Manage Your Funds Online or on your Mobile Device At your option, you may associate your card, via an app, with your mobile phone and/or an online portal designed for the selfmanagement of this and other accounts. This Cardholder Portal allows you to view balance information, transaction activity, transfer value and much more. • Fraud and Anti-Theft Protective Tools Password protect your account and utilize our PIN based security service to ensure that only you have access to your card activities. You can even add the option of receiving alerts by email or SMS for each and every transaction so you know at all times exactly when your card is being used. In the event of losing your card or experiencing some unforeseen issue with your account, you have the comfort of knowing that the card is not connected to your main bank or credit union account, and ﬁnancial liability cannot be more than the stored value.
HOW TOS AND WHAT’S WHATS 012 3456 1234 5678 9
Cardholders ADD FUNDS using cash at any designated SugaPay Customer Service booth via transfer from your Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards using the internet banking function with participating banks
USE 1234 5
at a growing number of SugaPay merchants instead of carrying cash around with you with no cost at sign up or monthly maintenance fees*
MANAGE your virtual account using a cardholder app on your smartphone** and view balance information, transaction activity and, soon, transfer value from one person to another and top up your phone
Merchants LOWER FEES signiﬁcantly lower than processing Visa and Mastercard payments
SAFER than receiving lots of cash at your establishment
FAST AND CONVENIENT to make your business more efﬁcient
BEVY OF CUSTOMERS wanting to spend their money with you! *This is for ASW 2014. Minimal fees may apply subsequently. **Currently available on Android phones. Apple phone app coming soon.
Global Commerce Centre Old Parham Road St. John’s Tel: 268-562-6133 www.gpcantigua.com
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
IN THE KNOW
CARIBBEAN WOMEN IN BUSINESS
A Trend or a Paradigm Shift? Across the globe and through the ages, women have experienced the disadvantages of existing in a patriarchal framework, which has designated them to a homemaker role, and continues to define the sex as a whole. Women in business are breaking that mould across the world and writing new stories for themselves, and in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) is assisting them through a variety of programme-based interventions. In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2014, Caribbean Export wishes to highlight and applaud the tremendous progress of Caribbean women in the business arena. We believe that, in keeping with this year’s theme of “Inspiring Change”, that these women are not only inspiring, but also effecting change in meaningful and lasting ways.
Caribbean Export has witnessed this rise through the number of female participants across several of its programme-based activities delivered under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), and is particularly interested in the development of the regional private sector, from the perspective of the women involved in, and driving this area. Women have not only become progressively more involved in such activities, but account for a significant fraction of overall participation. To illustrate, four hundred and forty-one (441) females were involved in Agency initiatives in 2012, however this increased to eight hundred and seventeen (817) in 2013, signifying an 85% increase in participation.
In the professional world women often face many obstacles to advancement in the work place and in entrepreneurship, often referred to as the infamous glass ceiling. Many of these constraints are actually social constructs “…the propensity of women to start a business may differ from that of men for cultural reasons” states Maria Minniti, a researcher for the UN. Socially the expectation is still for women to have children and to raise them at some point in their careers, whereas the expectation for men is to be successful and to provide for his family. In a recent study by the World Bank, “female entrepreneurs are more likely to operate in the informal sector or in traditional female sectors. This limitation is likely due to “…a number of reasons… a lack of business connections and networks, few entrepreneurial female role models. Accessing finance is also a challenge, with women often lacking the required collateral to obtain successful financing above the microfinance level from banks”. These World Bank findings present a global phenomenon, but the Caribbean has arguably always been a region where, females rarely face disproportionate opportunities or even oppression and discrimination, as is often the case in other parts of the developing world. In fact, across the region women have taken full advantage of the educational avenues that have been made available to them and many have succeeded in rising to positions of influence. However, the proverbial glass ceiling and other social limitations still remain a reality for many of those who wish to venture into the business sector. Despite these challenges the number of women involved in the business sector has dramatically increased globally. It is thought that due to the current global economic climate, which has left scores of men and women unemployed, there has arisen a greater impetus for women to enter into entrepreneurial roles in order to survive. According to studies conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, particularly in lesser-developed countries “when it comes to entrepreneurship, males tend to cite ‘opportunity’ as their main motivator, while women more often start or maintain businesses out of ‘necessity’”. The study cited that there are 187 million registered women-owned and operated businesses worldwide and in some countries; nearly half of all adult women are business-owners. In, for example in Ghana female entrepreneurs actually outnumber their male counterparts. 42 |
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Regional female entrepreneurs are increasingly capitalizing on the opportunities, including training, technical assistance, and support in export promotion (Figure 2), which have been put in place to help them develop their businesses and products for the global market. In fact, between 2012 and 2013, one thousand six hundred and fiftynine (1659) women participated in Caribbean Export interventions compared to one thousand three hundred and sixty-six (1366) men. Figure 2: Participation in Programme Categories This demonstrates that not only are women serious about business, but they are also serious about the growth and competitiveness of the Caribbean private sector. Their participation is an effort to grow their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into globally competitive brands, and is also indicative of the region’s growth in particular sectors.
There is a new generation of women who have ventured outside of the often thought of as “safe” or “female” designated businesses such as salons and boutiques, into professions that are pushing the envelope and changing the landscape of the Caribbean, thereby contributing to the global economy. These women are involved in a wide range of sectors from agro-processing to specialized tourism. Collectively and individually, these women encapsulate the qualities of creativity, intelligence, tenacity, dynamism and the courage that it takes to enter and survive in the business world, particularly a world that is ordinarily dominated by men. “Caribbean women, have something very unique to contribute to the regional and global markets,” Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the Executive Director of Caribbean Export remarked, “They have been afforded quality educational opportunities which, coupled with the well-rounded perspective that comes from living in a regional village, have made them naturally inclined to think outside of conventional parameters.” Mrs. Coke-Hamilton added that, “At Caribbean Export, we have seen remarkable advancement in the status of women within the private sector which makes me proud as a woman. Women are not just running businesses: they are pioneering ecologically-conscious, sustainable industries in a host of sectors that are constantly looking forward; constantly innovating. The Caribbean businesswoman is no longer trying to survive, she is trying to fashion a stronger future for the region.”
Of these fifty-four awardees, three of the female-owned firms actively take an eco-friendly approach to their businesses. Their stories have been captured and produced into a short documentary entitled “The Green Initiative”. These women, Barbara Walker and Shireen Aga of Jamaica, Ruth Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, and Joanna Edgehill of Barbados can be considered trailblazers in the regional renewable energy agenda.
But with all that is being said, does this represent a paradigm shift in the professional focus of females in the region? Some argue that women have not transitioned away from traditional service sectors such as cosmetology, especially given the recent rise in these types of micro-businesses,, particularly in islands such as Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad as a result of the “naturalista” movement. This occurrence evolved out of an interest in wearing ones hair in its unaltered state and in using cosmetic products that are branded as “all-natural” or contain ingredients, which are derived from natural sources.
Walker and Aga’s Hotel Mockingbird Hill is run on solar energy harnessed by solar panels. These panels were replaced with the funds received in the Grant Scheme. Their establishment is one of the only hotels in the region, which, according to Aga “operates on a completely holistic principle” and has been recognised as such. Ruth’s Place, owned by Spencer also operates exclusively on solar power. As a result of their efforts, these women have established the model for an economically viable and sustainable ecological business system. Undoubtedly, with these initiatives, the regional tourism industry has undergone a rebirth.
However, Caribbean Export has seen an increased involvement of women in increasingly expanding industries, such as specialized tourism and renewable energy. Like the cosmetology industry, specialized tourism responds to the demands of consumers with very specific interests. Women have been chiefly involved in responding to these demands in innovative and competitive ways. Another burgeoning sector is renewable energy, which has become a priority in many Caribbean territories, following initiatives taken by developed nations. As a result, the sector attracts a great deal of investment and support from foreign and regional entities alike, and has been pegged as a major growth industry by organizations such as the European Union (EU), InterAmerican Development Bank, (IADB) and the Organisation of American States (OAS).
Edgehill of MegaPower has jump-started the use of solar-powered electric cars in her home Island, and refers to herself as an “ambassador for the Nissan Leaf and for electric cars”. Her business is the sole dealership of the Nissan Leaf, the first electric motor, and lithiumion battery-powered car on the island. This is certainly considered a catalyst in the regional automotive industry.
In 2013, Caribbean Export’s, awarded funding to fifty-four (54) women through the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS), facilitated under the EU-funded 10th EDF. These beneficiaries represented a range of sectors (Figure 3), however, most notable were the recipients from the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors, which accounted collectively for 51% of the female beneficiaries. This substantial fraction alludes to a much greater female involvement in these traditionally male-dominated areas than might have previously been perceived. These women are not only driving this industry into a new age with pioneering products and methodologies, but, they are also harvesting the resources to position themselves as viable global competitors, with support from Caribbean Export.
These illustrations validate that this generation of Caribbean businesswomen have demonstrated a dedication to the growth and development of not only their enterprises, but also the sector as a whole. The female entrepreneurs of the region are an essential component of the future of the private sector, a future that is symbolized by growth, innovation and competitiveness. Caribbean Export anticipates that women will continue to be at the forefront of emerging sectors, regionally and globally, and capitalize on the opportunities for capacitybuilding interventions, which the Agency provides. Caribbean Export is optimistic that there will be an exponential increase in the number of female participating in initiatives as the Agency endeavors to create more effective and tangible support mechanisms for the advancement of the regional private sector. Article submitted by The Caribbean Export Development Agency, the only regional export development, trade and investment promotion organization of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM). BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Mitigation And adaptation: What Does That Have To Do With Climate Change? In the last issue Climate Change was discussed and we mentioned that it is a disruption in global climate patterns caused by man’s actions. Climate change has been caused by our dependence on fossil fuels to do everything. Antiguans used to say that “we import everything from cars to carrots”; and though that may not exactly be the case now, we are still very dependent on imports for our daily activities. We therefore need to learn to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Put simply, mitigation is reducing the magnitude or size of climate change; while adaptation involves reducing our vulnerability to the change by increasing our ability to bounce back from those changes.
How can we mitigate or adapt to climate change? To answer that question perhaps it is best to consider one of the impacts of climate change. It has been predicted that one of the most significant impacts of climate change for the Caribbean region, and therefore Antigua and Barbuda as well, is severe drought. Recently we have been experiencing changes in rainfall patterns which have lead to insufficient replenishment of our water catchment facilities, and the result of this is occurrences such as Potworks Dam drying 44 |
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up. Sadly, with climate change, incidences like this will become more common.
So what can be done? We can learn to adapt to some of the impacts of climate change. We are aware that we are going to get more droughts, therefore we need to manage our water catchment areas better. We need to consider building with rain harvesting (cisterns and tanks) in mind, instead of only depending on water supplied by the utility company. There is also a need to establish protection areas around all hydrological features to improve the quality of water getting to the catchments. We may also think about planting trees. According to David Ellison of the Institute for World Economics, after oceans, forests are the most efficient source of precipitation. He mentions that planting forests can have a significant influence on the hydrologic cycle in a beneficial way. Essentially, we can increase rainfall by planting trees. Trees also help to reduce erosion, increase infiltration and therefore improve the quality of surface and groundwater. The Sustainable Island Resource Management Mechanism (SIRMM) in partnership with the Forestry Unit has planted trees in Body Ponds with the intention to both mitigate
and adapt to climate change. Planting the trees means that we can capture some of the carbon that is emitted; and it also means that we can increase the possibility of rainfall and enhance the collection of it through forest cover. The nature of this project indicates the importance of mitigating and adapting to climate change. It is important because we are taking decided actions to reduce the impacts of climate change. So what can you do? Offer to help plant trees at Body Ponds with the Environment Division and Forestry Unit or Friends of Body Pond. It might not seem like a lot, but “drip drip does fill bucket”. About the author: Arica Hill is the Environment Education Officer at the Environment Division. She has a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management from UWI, Mona, and a Masters in Environmental Management (Sustainable Development) from Bond University, Australia. Arica is passionate about creating opportunities for people to engage directly with the environment. She has been working specifically with youth through the Environment Cadet Programme and EcoZone Summer Camp. Both offer the opportunity to positively change the way future generations will treat the environment.
Caribbean to forge united front on elusive climate finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, says the promises of money by the “biggest polluters in the world” for small island developing states (SIDS) like his to adapt to climate change are a mostly a “mirage”. But as chair of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, Gonsalves will be playing a lead role in getting the region to coordinate a united front on climate finance. “We agreed on the establishment of a task force on climate change and small island developing states to provide guidance to Caribbean climate change negotiators, their ministers and political leaders in order to ensure the strategic positioning of the region in the negotiations,” he told IPS following the CARICOM summit that ended here on Tuesday. Gonsalves said the region is now preparing for two important meetings in September – the UN Climate Change Summit and the Third UN SIDS International Meeting in Samoa. Guyanese President Donald Ramotar, who made a presentation at CARICOM’s closeddoor summit, told IPS that it was important for the leaders themselves to get involved in the negotiations “and to make our voices heard on this matter, because as you know we have been the least contributors to climate change, but we are among the first to feel the big effects.” Ramotar said the tragedy that occurred when a slow moving low-level trough hit St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and St. Lucia on Christmas Eve last year, killing more than a dozen people and leaving damages estimated at more than 100 million dollars, “is just the latest reminder how vulnerable our region is”. The task force must now “find areas where CARICOM can agree on”, he said. “This is a critical decision by heads [of state] at a time when efforts are underway through
the like. What is needed most now is the money to pay for them. “It is a lot a lot of money that is required so that is why…we have to work in a coordinated manner at the relevant international fora to see whether we could identify those areas where the money is more easily available for us to touch,” he told IPS.
the U.N. to have a global climate change agreement by the end of 2015,” he said. “We need to ensure that as a region, our voices are being heard on this important issue, and not only from our technical people, but from the collective political leadership in the region,” Ramotar said, stressing the need for a globally binding agreement. “We have to ensure that we push for a climate change agreement by 2015 which is ambitious in terms of emission reduction targets and providing climate financing,” he added. The communiqué that followed the summit here “lamented the fact that much of the promised resources had not been forthcoming but emphasised the need for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) to work with member states in order to have projects prepared to access financing when it did become available.” Guyana, for example, has been playing a lead role with regards to climate change, and priority projects on adaptation are outlined within its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which seeks to address the effects of climate change while simultaneously encouraging economic development. Gonsalves told IPS that on the question of adaptation, there is a whole menu of initiatives which have been established through discussions, technical reports and
“You get governments, the big polluters, they make commitments of all sorts of monies but it is a mirage and the closer you get to it you realise it is not there, it recedes. “That’s the real difficulty with this and this is why we have to work better, harder on this because this is an exegetical issue it affects the very existence of our countries,” Gonsalves said. Executive director of the CCCCC Dr. Kenrick Leslie says that waiting will only make solutions more costly. “Climate change is here, you saw in terms of the frequency of extreme weather events, those are some of the indicators that the climate is changing. But more importantly, people don’t realise that the sea level is rising at this time, at a rate of five millimetres per year. “They might say five millimetres, what is that? But in 10 years, five millimetrtes will become 50 millimetres, and in terms of the English system that’s two inches, in 30 years that is six inches, now consider the sea level rising a further six inches in Guyana or Suriname or Belize,” Leslie said. “We need to have our political leaders become very knowledgeable of what is being negotiated…technical people can negotiate at the technical level but the final decisions are made at the political level, and therefore if our political leaders are not cognisant with what is going on, then we will fail in terms of getting what is needed for the adaptation that we have to make,” he told IPS. BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre Opens in Trinidad & Tobago Dedicated to Promoting Green Business
€8.5m for Regional
Exhibitor Malika Cummings speaks with, from left, T & T Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie and Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and Cariri CEO, Liaquat Ali Shah. A new World Bank–supported business hub, inaugurated in T&T recently, will support the growing number of clean energy and climate technology ventures in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), first of its kind in the region, will help reduce the significant threats posed by climate change through the creation of new green businesses. Climate change can have a serious impact on the Caribbean. A recent World Bank study highlights how an estimated four-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures would have disastrous consequences, including increased frequency and intensity of storms, coastal erosion, and decline of fresh water resources. Additional research estimated that the cost for the Caribbean could be up to US$11 billion annually, by 2025. To address the economic impact of climate change in the region, the CCIC will help local companies—working in solar energy, energy efficiency, water management, resource efficiency and agribusiness—become successful ‘green’ ventures through financing, training, mentorship and other services. “The new CCIC will help turn climate challenges into economic opportunities,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “Companies in the Caribbean have the skills and experience to innovate and find environmentally sound and profitable climate solutions the region needs. The CCIC will work with them to make this happen.” Numerous domestic natural resources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass can be tapped to move the region away from fossil fuels. By supporting local climate technology companies that make use of these natural resources, the CCIC is expected to cut 20,882 metric tons in green house gas emissions in the first six years of operation—which is equivalent to the exhaust emissions from 4,500 passenger cars per year. 46 |
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After the Christmas floods that devastated St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitment to disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean by allocating €8.5 million to its Disaster Preparedness (Dipecho) Action Plan. Throughout this year, 14 projects will be done in 11 countries to reduce the region’s vulnerabilities to natural hazards such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as improve communities and authorities’ preparedness to respond to emergencies. Recent events like the low level trough system which left serious damage in the Eastern Caribbean, especially in Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, are reminders of the need to invest in interventions that can make a difference in determining whether or not a natural hazard becomes a disaster. The EU has also supported the emergency response in those countries with €300,000. “Preparedness measures can be taken to reduce the impact of natural hazards. A community’s response to disasters depends on their preparation,” said Jocelyn Lance, Head of Echo’s Caribbean Office. “Dipecho projects help communities at risk to anticipate, face, adapt and to recover quickly from disasters. The fact that communities strengthen their capacities and modify their attitudes towards disasters can save lives.” An estimated 654,000 people will benefit from ongoing projects in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominica, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Guyana, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Suriname and T&T. “Humanitarian aid does not start after the disaster, but before it happens, so that its possible effects can be mitigated.” That is why Dipecho interventions are important. They promote measures such as the structural evaluation of health facilities to verify if these can withstand a disaster, emergency plans and seismic vulnerability and flooding studies,” explained the Head of Echo’s Caribbean Office. “Small mitigation works, such as bridges or retaining walls to avoid communities from being isolated or flooded and the rehabilitation of shelters to protect people displaced during a crisis are all examples of DIPECHO contributions to disaster risk reduction.” All activities are conducted in close collaboration with the national disaster management systems and with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). The current programme incorporates innovations such as working on volcanic risk and integrating people with disabilities in disaster risk reduction. Since 1994, Echo has allocated over €290 million in humanitarian assistance in Haiti and €147 million to the rest of the region. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
Business Spotlight ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS
Major Milestones over the past 55 years Time period
April 7th 1959
Credit Union established by small group of teachers
January 18th 1982
First Annual Meeting held at the Foundation Mixed School. Certificate of Registration handed over by the then Registrar, George Jonas
Savings Societies successfully launched in eight primary schools
Decision taken to diversify the credit union’s product and services. Fixed Deposits offered and special savings clubs were introduced.
Agreement reached with SAGICOR for a group health insurance plan for the credit union
Contract signed for the occupation of entire upper floor of the Newgate Street building.
Interest rate on loans was further reduced to 12% per annum on the reducing balance.
First full time accountant –Adaze Matthew hired
New Co-operative Societies Act enforced
New Manager, Ingrid O’Marde appointed
Antigua Worker Union signed agreement with the Board of Directors to represent employees of the credit union.
New name “Community First” adopted
Moved into new headquarters on Old Parham Road, March 20th 2006
Launched ATM service located at our Headquarters
Celebrated our 50th Anniversary Launched Educational Savings Accountant (CFESA) and Retirement Account (CFIRA)
Launched our Global Internet Access (GIA)
New General Manager Karl Spencer appointed
First Credit Union Co-operative Society to achieve EC $100 Million in Assets
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Business Spotlight ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS
CREDIT UNION HISTORY IN BRIEF to survive, and therefore made the decision to open its bond to include nurses, civil servants and other professionals, for a greater pooling of financial resources. By 2001 as a result of the open bond, teachers constituted only 30% of the credit union membership. A decision to change the credit unions name to reflect the general membership was later adopted and in 2004 and the Antigua and Barbuda Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union name was changed to the Community First Co-operative Credit Union. The co-operative movement formally came to the Caribbean in the 19th century when missionaries from Canada and the USA introduced the concept of credit unions in the Caribbean. However, before the introduction of credit unions, Caribbean people had informal co-operative systems for personal saving, for example “BOX” in Antigua & Barbuda. In Antigua, the credit union form of co-operative was introduced in the 1950’s by a Roman Catholic Priest, Father John Peter Sullivan. Subsequently the St. Joseph’s Credit Union was the first church based credit union to have been established within Antigua. Soon to follow were the Ebenezer Credit Union, the Antigua and Barbuda Teachers Credit Union, and the Antigua and Barbuda Police Credit Union. In addition, there were a number of community based credit unions. The Antigua and Barbuda Teachers’ Co-operative Credit Union was formed in 1959 under the leadership of Mr. Charles Sampson and a small group of teachers with the objective of ensuring that teachers and their families could operate their own financial co-operative. By 1989, the credit union recognized that a closed bond credit union would have adverse effects on its ability
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Today, Community First Co-operative Credit Union is the leading financial co-operative within Antigua and Barbuda. It has grown significantly with a staff compliment of twenty-six, membership base of over 16,000 and Assets totalling E.C $105,237,767. The credit union also provide loans in excess E.C. $500,000.00 per member. Community First Co-operative Credit Union also offers a wide variety of products and services to its membership to include: Savings Products, Permanent Shares, Loans, Health Insurance, Family Indemnity Plan, Chequing Accounts, ATM Service, Night Deposit Accounts, Fixed Deposits, Online Internet Access, Retirement Accounts and Educational Savings Account. The credit union’s Vison “is to be the leading financial co-operative organisation in Antigua and Barbuda, contributing to the sustainable development of its members and wider society”. Its Mission “is provide financial and personal development solutions through services that exceed stakeholders expectations worldwide.”
CREDIT UNION GOVERNANCE The co-operative credit union is different in origin and philosophy, hence at its core it is fundamentally different from other financial institutions. The for-profit financial institution has as its main goal maximisation of the gains of the owners, the drive to increase profits for shareholders, not the actual users. Credit unions on the other hand seek to generate profits at the same time for the members who are owners and recipients of services. Supervisory Committee - (L-R) Maureen Hyman, Bernadette Jarvis, Alicea Lee
Credit Committee - (L-R) Nerissa Gomes, Karel Forde, Kerri Gore
Board of Directors - (L-R) back: Jennifer Athill, Radcliffe Robins, E. Patricia Murrain Front: Eversliegh Warner, Colin Gordon, Jannelle Wehner, Francois Sutton
Governance is the system designed to control and distribute power within an organisation. Credit unions are expected to observe the International Credit Union Governance Principles. Credit unions have to adhere to both External and Internal Governance Mechanisms. External Governance speaks to areas of transparency, auditing, financial reporting, international credit union safety and soundness principles and national legal and regulatory frameworks. As it relates to Internal Governance, credit unions are democratic and member driven. They are committed to “one member, one vote” and adhere to the seven (7) principles, some of which include: Honesty and Integrity, Continuous Improvement and Accountability. Some of the internal agents of Governance are the volunteer committees which are comprised of credit union members elected at the Annual General Meeting. These Committees include the Board of Directors, Credit Committee and Supervisory Committee which help to oversee the governance of the credit union. BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
REFLECTING ON OUR PAST
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Creating Excellent Teams By Koren Norten
As an organisational leader, one of the most important skills you can have is being able to build great teams. A team, as the term is used here, refers to a group of people with a common goal who possesses different skills and who work together on a common project to accomplish a given task, for which they have a shared responsibility. Teams are useful for task management, problem solving, designing new products or services, strategic planning and project development. While different types of teams can be assembled with different functions and expected outcomes, there are some common concepts that must be taken into consideration for the team to be dynamic and effective.
members can excel in their particular area and they can complement each other by bringing something meaningful back to the drawing board, thus ensuring a true team experience – each one being a part of a whole.
Know your management style. To lead a team, you need to know how you work and which of your skills are useful for team-building. Are you organised? You must be to keep the team on track. Are you a micromanager? While that might be useful for some team members, the self-motivated ones might see that as intrusive and an indicator of a lack of trust. Identify your management style so that you know exactly what you are bringing to the table as the team leader.
Clearly define expectations, roles and responsibilities. A leader must help team members to understand what is expected of them and what their individual and collective duties are to reach the aforementioned goals. Failure to do so can result in persons acting at cross purposes, being confused and frustrated, which derails the whole purpose of the team and may compromise the goal deadline.
Get a diversified team. If your team is too homogenous, that might result in groupthink where all the members share one singular view and that does not lead to good brainstorming. Depending on the purpose for the team, it might be better to have team members who differ in age or sex or who are from different departments to be able to bring perspective and creativity in the ideas presented. Know the strengths of your team members. When assigning tasks, it is really important to know who is good at what so the individual 52 |
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Establish clear goals, making sure that they are known and understood by all team members. Without clear goals, team members will not know the desired outcome. It will be like travelling without knowing the final destination. Team members will be in a sea of uncertainty wondering, “Are we there yet?” “Are we taking the right route?” A clear goal makes it more likely that everyone is on the same page.
Ensure that there are adequate resources. No matter how highly skilled and diversified the team members may be, lack of financial or other resources to accomplish the task will make the team ineffective. Manage the team. It is normal that people will have different opinions and ways of doing things; hence the team must be managed. Let conflict be the catalyst for learning and encourage positive communication where members use more ‘I” statements and they all get a fair chance to express their views. Let group members learn the art of problemsolving and guide the process.
Reward team members and celebrate successes. Recognise that team members are persons and not machines. When they produce, reward them with a bonus, a half day off or by some other means and celebrate the success by mentioning their accomplishment in the company newsletter or by a mass email to all staff. That will serve to motivate other employees who want to have a similar experience and it will help the team members to feel good about themselves and their contribution to the organisation. While there are many techniques for effective team building and while this list is not exhaustive, it covers some of the important things that you want to consider. As a team leader, at the end of the day, you are the one who will likely answer to the board or CEO so the effectiveness of the team depends on the members but more so on how they are guided. The benefits derived are not only the intended outcomes being met, but also the opportunity to strengthen your leadership skills and the group work skills of the members. _____________________ About the Author: Koren Norton has been working for a number of years in the field of Human Services. Her main areas of expertise are counseling, employee assistance programs (EAP), teaching and writing. In Antigua and abroad, she has worked with a number of governmental agencies, statutory bodies and private companies, performing external EAP services and providing coaching to middle management and supervisory employees. She also provides training in a number of areas. She is the author of two books and frequently publishes articles in the newspapers and online on a wide range of issues.
Why Doctors Should Never Build Pyramids
A commentary on multilevel marketing and pyramid structures By J. Humphreys MD, FICPS, PG (IM)
Frequently, our market is inundated with information of “potential cures” and “miracle products”; all promoted under the multilevel marketing/ pyramid structure. Most of these so called “miracle products” are usually not backed by any credible research but are based purely on anecdotal reports and placebo effects. Yet, some physicians are caught in this web of deception, by arbitrarily promoting such claims, and in my opinion, go against the very principles/ethics they pledged to uphold. Physicians should stay clear of endorsing such products, regardless of its reported effects, as notably; their market viability is often fleeting and their claims unfounded. Psychologically, patients are adversely affected, seeing their physicians as mere unscrupulous salespeople and not trusted healthcare providers. Moreover, the physician might compromise on his/her sound clinical judgments; opening up himself/herself to public and collegial scrutiny. A patient who is unwell, particularly one who is terminally ill, will gravitate towards these “cures” while ignoring sound medical advice; usually to their detriment. Once a patient has built his/her confidence in a product, their expectations from their doctor or product advocate, and by extension, in the product itself are high and often unreachable. These unrealistic and unattainable expectations, once not met, lead to depression, reduced confidence in healthcare delivery, nitpicking and castigation.
The hallmarks of good practice standards remain absolute: honesty, integrity, sound clinical judgment backed by credible research, knowing one’s limitations and remaining true to the core principles of the physician’s oath. These must be preserved, without compromise, while maintaining a clear and unadulterated appreciation for what is truly in the best interest of the patient. About the Author: Dr. J. Humphreys is a respected physician who practices medicine in Antigua and Barbuda. He is the Medical Director at Optimum Health Clinic Ltd and Attending Physician at the Belmont Medical and Surgical Complex. He completed postgraduate modular training in Allergy with the University of Southampton, School of Medicine and also obtained postgraduate training in Internal Medicine with the University of Edinburgh, College of Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
IN THE KNOW
A hypothetical perspective
on technology and Antigua and Barbuda’s residential future By Colin J. Jenkins
Elections! And in true fashion there certainly have not been any shortage of Antiguans and Barbudans passionately debating development and investment proposals. This time around highlights the feasibility of a political tagline: 500 homes in 500 days! Putting the politics aside for a second thought and looking at what is really at the root of this discussion underscores the interest and theoretical projections in regards to Antigua and Barbuda’s residential future. The question however, bearing in mind climate change and other economic constraints, is where do we see the country in 20 years in terms of development? As an overview, traditional residences here are ubiquitous in interpretation and reproduction of a play between Victorian and Georgian vernacular; single or double storey buildings including lawn and garden. Typically homes from personal observations are built on relatively levelled landscapes or “gentle” slopes in most parts due to the topographical and or cost benefits. It is exactly because of the possible cost benefits and our general terrain that the concept of affordable/communal housing has gained such localised popularity and rightly so because of shared infrastructure coupled with procurement benefits. What as well has gained increased attention for Small 54 |
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Island Developing states with along the previously mentioned, is sustainable resource usage referring to Land Use policies, Green Development and Real Estates value. Of interest, when one juxtaposes the sustainable development argument with that of communal residential design would possibly result in low rise to mid-rise or multilevel residential buildings. Ironically such buildings are not uncommon. As a matter of fact when one considers benchmarking countries within the same climatic belt such as Cuba and Singapore, for instance the Google search images for residential buildings reveals sometimes 12 stories and above! Obviously there is a reason for this. Some of the positives cited by professionals include better views, security control (cameras, audio alerts and accessibility) and privacy. The motive for this lies with two main generic floor layouts that typically define these multistorey buildings.
A. Square configuration where the corridors surround the central core. B. Rectilinear configuration where the corridor extends in the opposite directions from the core or similar. In some instances because of the core design which means a central areas for elevators and stair cases, the ground floor can be transformed into security check points and commercial spaces while balconies, cantilevers and features create interest. In the localised context conversely, almost immediately because of a cultural norm the idea of residing on say the fourth floor of a building may not sit well with a significant number of persons. Concerns cited: hurricanes, tsunami, earthquakes, fire safety, security and cost.
Although they are valid concerns of course, I would professionally comment this is accurately why we need the use of technologies to conduct a feasibility studies or SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis to answer concerns before we retire the idea entirely. For starters a mid-rise building - 5 stories high - would occupy less building foot print than five traditional homes with the identical square footage, a consideration agriculturally speaking. While structurally, the aggregated earth movement comparing the two may not be drastically different when lightweight structural systems are involved. Not to mention in the superstructure (a budget advantage) the ceiling for one floor forms the floor for the other directly above. Scientifically speaking, research such as the Journal of Applied Energy publication this year gives reasonable food for thought when mentioned therein that: • Apartment or residential buildings are more energy efficient for heating and cooling than single houses. • With optimal roof design, a building of three stories can reach a net-zero energy status. • Above three floors, facades should be exploited to enhance energy production. As for the actual construction in some instances the internal spaces are modulated in factories, in some cases using specialised machines and automated line systems, transported to the site and “stacked” by
cranes for faster erection time or what some refer to as “Fast Tracking”. Or an open floor is customised with only the structural elements fixed in place. So where does technology play such a significant role? For one, Powerful Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technologies allows for a combined computer simulated 2D and 3Dbuilding design drawings; overlaying the various trades (MEPs- Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing services). Actually industry professionals supported the notion that BIM is rather a 4D technology because of the time saving benefits. Architects and engineers have used new technologies of printing actual and physical scaled building models to: 1. Carry out simulated earthquake vibrations tests based on the structural design to and fire rating tests to determine the point of structural failure. 2. Submitting building models to a wind loads/ tunnel test conducted by, for instance, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s new research facility in South Carolina or the ‘‘Hurricane Simulator’’ at University of Florida (UF) to determine vulnerability, structurally and architecturally both internally and externally. 3. Simulating the building’s reaction to possible effects of a tsunami via one of the well-known multi-criteria vulnerability analysis methods -the ‘‘Papathoma Tsunami Vulnerability Assessment (PTVA)’’ for
Continental Shelf Research or it’s online alternative “INSPIRE” (open- source TUNAMI model, customised to simulate tsunami generation, propagation, and inundation). Admittedly, multi-storey buildings may not be able to capture as much rainfall for potable water usage as would it’s comparative traditional single to double storey development option but provisions can be made via communal carports etc. Spaces at the top of the buildings can be designed to support the weight and size of helicopters for emergencies or commercial/ recreational spaces. In closing although I will maintain a view that the traditional model still has a place in the future, multi-storey residential construction should not be ruled out at all. Rather, why not architecturally aesthetic multistory residences, especially considering technologies we have available at our fingertips and the much needed agricultural lands we need to preserve, especially for food security? ________________________ About the Author: Colin J. Jenkins studied architecture at Universidad Central Martha Abreu de las Villas, Santa Clara and later completed with honours a Master’s of Science degree in Project Management with specialization in Construction and Infrastructure Management at the University of Liverpool, UK. He holds a United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate Accreditation and is co-Founder of CJC Jenkins Design (Architectural, Project Management and Development Company). BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
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BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
PROVIDING MORE THAN YOUR MOBILE SOLUTIONS Synonymous with mobile networking, Digicel came on stream in full force in 2006 and has since encouraged patrons to “be extraordinary”. This is no mere tagline, but a delivered promise, especially to the business community. With Digicel Business, clients can expand their expectations, more so their businesses when they partner with Digicel Business Solutions. Whether yours is a small to medium business or a large enterprise their products and excellent customer service tailors solutions to each company’s specific need. As the region’s leading full-service business solutions partner, Digicel Business is prepared to assist clients overcome their business challenges. Partnering with world-class industry leaders to obtain the highest level of accreditations to ensure clients receive the best in class service and technology, Digicel Business offers the expertise, products and services the company needs to stay ahead of the game with leading technology solutions.
How do we do it? • We help you increase your operational efficiencies and reduce costs • We keep your business secure and give you greater peace of mind • We enable your business growth through leading technology solutions • We enable workforce mobility meaning your people can be more productive For companies with employees always in the field, network services from Digicel Business places the office at their fingertips, so there are no more missed calls or opportunities, and the company’s vital business data can be remotely, yet securely, accessed. For those companies where the IT staff gets tied up trouble-shooting, monitoring and managing your IT and communications systems, through its Managed Services, Digicel Business offers the professional and qualified service of their team to install, monitor and maintain all hardware and software requirements. Enterprise Solutions also afford companies the convenience of streamlining their IT and communication systems which ultimately saves time and money. With 24/7 support the team is available to show companies how to maximize the systems they have in place and improve operation efficiencies. 58 |
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Some of Our Solutions Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) Solutions Business today demands fast and reliable bandwidth and Digicel Business delivers with Dedicated Internet Access (DIA). Increase efficiencies through a single, unshared line into the Digicel Business network. It is an uncontended service that ensures reliability and predictability of performance due to the fact that the agreed bandwidth is always available, as opposed to sharing it with other subscribers. Access is yours and yours only. Harness the extra power and take your business to the next level. We provide highspeed online connectivity, not just at HQ, but also across your branch offices anywhere in our Digicel Business territory. No more waiting for remote locations to access files or worrying about secure transmissions. Digicel Business meets the most stringent corporate security requirements with data encryption, information integrity and confidentiality. We operate a rock-solid Internet backbone. And our resilient network maximizes redundancy with no single IP point of failure. Furthermore, the Digicel Business network is monitored round-the-clock. Our Help Desk provides support and problem resolution. That’s real service. In addition to Dedicated Internet, Digicel Business can deliver IPLC’s and Business Voice, using the same infrastructure. This means a total communications solution, which can deliver real efficiency and savings for the least amount of expenditure and configuration. Vehicle Tracking Solutions Running a business means effectively managing your assets from personnel to technical systems to a fleet of vehicles. Managing your fleets is now easier with Digicel’s comprehensive Vehicle Tracking Solution. Vehicles can be tracked anytime, anywhere, with detailed reports. The setup is simple. Each vehicle is fixed with a GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite receiver unit and a Digicel SIM card. The location information collected from the GPS satellites is then transmitted to a secure website, from where you can see your fleet location and information. Digicel Vehicle Tracking provides you with many benefits: • Powerful, real-time vehicle tracking and communication solution for fleets of all sizes and types of business • Easy to install and operate • Provides broad coverage by working seamlessly on Digicel’s network • Useful reports and alerts, as part of the solution to efficiently manage your entire fleet • No need to install or maintain any software
Cloud Solutions Digicel Cloud Computing delivers hosted services over the internet. These services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The cloud service has three distinct characteristics which differentiate it from traditional hosting: It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour; it is elastic – a user can have as much or as little of a service as they need at any given time; and the service is fully managed by Digicel – the consumer needs nothing more than a personal computer and access to the Internet). The key characteristics of Digicel’s Cloud Computing Service include the ability to scale computing powering a cost efficient way, as well as the ability of the consumer (end user, organisation or IT staff member) to make use the service without needing to manage underlying technology. Digicel’s Cloud Computing products include: Hosted Email, Disaster Recovery, Mobile Device Management, and Online Backup. In a nut shell, with Digicel Business, Digicel becomes a one-stop shop for all businesses. They proudly boast: “We solve your business problems. And, we deliver value, innovation and partnership to all our partners – from small businesses to large enterprises and government departments.” In fact, this year, Digicel Business was awarded the coveted Avaya “Partner of the Year” Award. Avaya’s Managing Director for the Caribbean and Central America, Jose Fernandez, lauded Digicel Business’ achievement saying: “This award exemplifies Digicel Business’ commitment and dedication to meeting all of our customers’ needs in the multiple lines of business that we bring to the market.” Digicel Business Solutions Manager Clement Samuel invites potential clients to consult with any member of his team and learn of these and other business solutions offered. “Regardless the size of your business, sit with us and we will tailor our services to meet your needs. Anyone who needs a solution, we want to be your partner in growing your business.” BusinessFocus • February/March BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • April/June • April/June 20142014 | 59|
PUTTING THE COUNTRY’S SAFETY FIRST:
National CCTV Crime Fighting Project Now A Reality With Digicel Partnership
Mark Jules, Avrio Group, giving a demonstration
Earlier this year, Digicel and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced a ground-breaking collaboration with the implementation of a National CCTV Project, providing a turnkey wireless security solution for the city of St. John’s. The Government has recognised that these solutions are quickly becoming an invaluable tool for local law enforcement and emergency management throughout the Caribbean. This system will translate to a safer environment for the citizens, residents and visitors of Antigua and Barbuda. The National CCTV Project will integrate 110 diverse cameras and sensors in several locations into a single unified software platform that allows situational awareness in almost any situation. In many locations, cameras will be mounted on city light poles on the public way, and are capable of zooming in on facial details from hundreds of yards away even with limited lighting. The overt presence of cameras is part of the surveillance strategy and the highly visible cameras will be equipped with blue strobe lights, reflective wrappings, customized logos and bullet-proof enclosures. With two global partners, Security Centres International (SCI) and Avrio RMS Group, Digicel will be able to provide an open system that is completely IP based, meaning that cameras can be securely monitored, recorded
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and administered from any workstation or portable device within the local or wide area network. Security Centres International (SCI) assists local agencies in implementing CCTV systems that provide high quality evidence used to prosecute offenders, aid in the reduction, prevention and detection of crime, and promote community safety. Avrio RMS Group is an industry leader in IP-surveillance solutions for the public safety market. Business Solutions Manager of Digicel Business, Clement Samuel, shared, “Digicel Business prides itself in working with clients to deliver innovative solutions that are an excellent fit for the mission critical needs of an organisation. Digicel Business sees the National CCTV Project as an opportunity to assist the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in the fight against crime by leveraging on its partnerships with industry leaders.” Samuel continued, “Digicel Business aligns itself with industry leaders to provide the key products and services that are in demand from its customers. To this end, we are working alongside Security Systems
expandable, affordable, easily deployed and scalable. It is important for the citizens to know that deploying wireless instead of fiber can have significant network infrastructure savings. This translates to projects moving forward faster. The work done through Digicel Business with SCI and Avrio RMS ensures that all these criteria are met.”
International and the Avrio RMS Group to provide an efficient and cost effective solution.”
Minister of National Security and Labour Dr. Errol Cort noted, “The first phase of the implementation will be completed by the end of March, with phase two being completed by the end of July. This project was a significant investment at US$2.1M. One can say however, that no investment can ever be too large where the security of a Nation’s people is concerned. We recognised the need to embark on a CCTV Project and Digicel Business came to the table with the perfect solution.”
Victor Corcoran, CEO of Digicel Antigua stated, “Digicel Business responded to the Government’s need of requiring a system that offers state-of-the-art equipment, while at the same time is
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Getting Digicel More for your Business For an entrepreneur marketing a particular brand of shoes, for example, Digicel More is able to target women in the 25-35 age range. For the customer, however, while there is always the option to decline receiving messages, from their own research Digicel has noted that most customers find MADS informative, as clients take advantage of Digicel More’s demographic targeting. Additionally, this marketing tool allows even the smallest business the opportunity to increase their advertising reach as packages are cost effective. In the recent WICB’s game, West Indies vs England, the WICB used Digicel More as a major marketing tool to not only advertise the games, but rally West Indian support for the team. Praising Digicel More, Corporate Communications Officer for the WICB Imran Khan said, “The Digicel More advertising platform has been used by the WICB in the WE vs THEM - West Indies vs England marketing and promotional campaign, and all indications are that it has been a resounding success. Within minutes of the text blast going out we received numerous responses, illustrating the effectiveness of the platform. Digicel customers were pleased to receive our offer in a direct manner and the overwhelmingly positive responses continue. We have every expectation of expanding our use of Digicel More.” Digicel Business Development Manager Clement Samuel noted, “Many of our corporate clients are seeing the value of using Digicel More as a marketing tool – reaching their target customers in a direct and tailored manner. The WICB’s use of Digicel More is testament to its effectiveness and we look forward to delivering that success to other Antiguan organisations in the coming months.” Digicel has recently launched a new service that offers companies and entrepreneurs the opportunity to maximise their marketing reach through its Mobile Advertising Solutions (MADS) called Digicel More. Clients have the option of reaching each Digicel customer through their phone. With the average person interacting with their phone 167 times a day, MADS is a growing marketing tool that is becoming essential to the success of businesses, especially in a world of convergence, where the smart phone, for many, is their single medium of communication (social networking, email, text, instant messaging, etc.). One of the additional benefits to this marketing tool, is the ease of which texts can also be forwarded to customers of other carriers; “word of mouth” then becomes “forward texts” between friends using different mobile providers. Digicel More affords clients access to their target demography, while still respecting the customers’ privacy.
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Other clients who have experienced the effectiveness of Digicel More include Townhouse Megastore and Eye Mobile, who were able to offer discount specials to their customers during their sales. Once a Digicel customer received the advertising text and showed it at the time of purchase, they would receive the specified discount. Notably on the heels of the pre-fete Carnival season, promoters can add Digicel More to their marketing campaigns. The Digicel More mobile advertising platform was launched in 2013 and has been delivering positive results for businesses across Antigua and Barbuda since. To find out More, book your appointment today with Herbert Joseph (268.736.5005/ Herbert.Joseph@digicelgroup. com) and Lance Hawker (268.734.6237/ lancelot. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Save up to 80% off roaming rates and use your phone like you’re at home.
DIGICELANTIGUAANDBARBUDA.COM • April/June 2014 Digicel terms and conditions apply. Digicel Caribbean roamers enjoy rates just like home. Guyana excluded. USA roamers, activation is necessary, dial *153# toBusinessFocus activate. AT&T and TMobile networks only.| 63
More than just a telecommunications service provider, the Digicel Group is committed to community development in all 31 worldwide markets, Antigua and Barbuda being no exception.. Annually, Digicel hosts a community competition which invites all branches to submit proposals for community-based projects. When this was announced in the last quarter of 2011, the Digicel Antigua team began contemplating their possible submission; although it was open to as many entries as possible, they decided as a team to focus on one project. Taking the lead on this project that year was Orville Mathurin who explained, “It was suggested that we take a look at Clarevue Hospital and see if there was anything there that would be a worthwhile project. It was felt that the mental hospital had a bad stigma attached to it, and a project that was focused there would bring a positive light to it.” Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital in its present form was established in the 1950s as a facility to treat the mentally challenged; however over time it had been used as permanent housing for some of the patients, who may now be considering mentally healthy. “There were several areas within this facility that we looked at when deciding what
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most needed attention … but in the end the Convalescence Ward won the overwhelming support.” Orville went on to explain that the ward, which is the dwelling quarters for some of the male patients, was in terrible condition. He noted that “much of the facility was unfit and the building was actually condemned and officially declared unfit for humans. However, due to lack of resources, the patients had no alternative but to continue to dwell there.” The team felt that this was a worthwhile project and that if they were the eventual winners of the competition, that the winning prize money of USD$50,000 could be fully utilised there. “Not only was the money helping to improve the look and feel of the ward but it was also giving back some needed dignity and privacy to these mentally ill patients.” In April 2012, at the annual Digicel Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the Digicel Antigua & Barbuda submission was awarded the winner. There was tremendous excitement around the victory. Returning to Antigua to begin honour their community commitment, there was a media event around the official launch of the project bringing increased awareness of psychiatric illness to the wider community.
THE GARDEN AT CLAREVUE
Noting the tremendous effort put towards this project, Team Digicel Antigua & Barbuda was involved by soliciting assistance and partnering with local businesses for furniture and fittings. “We oversaw the renovations of the male ward and assisted with as many tasks as possible such as painting, setting up of new furniture and ensuring the project stayed on track and was completed within the stipulated time frame. The visible difference was seen and felt immediately by the patients,” Orville shared.
refurbishing of the male convalescence ward. Thanks to Digicel’s WAVES competition, the patients were joyful and relieved that the ward was completed. We look forward to continue partnering with Digicel in other areas of mental health awareness and education.”
As an added bonus, the Team was fortunate to have Digicel’s Chairman Denis O’Brien in Antigua for the re-opening of the Ward in January 2013. Impressed with their project and the obvious needs of the facility, the Chairman donated another USD$50,000 to the Team’s project. Digicel Antigua and Barbuda continues to support Clarevue hospital, having recently renovated the male lunch room, parts of the kitchen and constructed a small vegetable garden, along with smaller yet significant contributions. “We look forward to continuing our community projects and efforts, giving back as a company and team.” Superintendent of Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital Clarence Pilgrim also praised Digicel for its renovation of the ward. “The partnership between Digicel and Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital helped to achieve one of the facility’s 2013 strategic objectives, which was the
NEW DINING ROOM - KITCHENETTE
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THE DIGICEL BUSINESS TEAM Clement Samuel, Business Solutions Manager In excess of 20 years diversified experience in the management of human resources and telecommunications engineering, Clement Samuel joined the Digicel Group in 2013, heading its newest division, Digicel Business. With his wealth of experience and knowledge in the telecommunications industry, along with his legal expertise that brings a demonstrated ability to adapt to changing paradigms that create opportunities for profit, he leads the way in business solutions offered at Digicel. Knowing first-hand the importance of initiatives such as GATE, Samuel and his team are ready to outfit every business with the perfect solution for their growing business. Samuel is also a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Gray’s Inn, the Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association, the Bar of England and Wales, chairman of the Fitches Creek Resident’s Association and an avid horticulturist.
Craig Daley, Business Solutions Engineer Joining the Digicel Antigua team in 2005, Craig Daley has taken every opportunity to grow within the company. Beginning as a member of the sales floor staff, he is now the Business Solutions Engineer in Digicel Business. Having passed through just about every realm of the telecommunications entity, he admits that although he possessed a pilot’s license when he joined the company, once he got into telecommunications, he never got out. During his nine years at the company, he was involved in corporate sales, and during the Blackberry reign, he became the Blackberry specialist. Thereafter, he joined the technical support team and eventually became the IT/IP engineer for Antigua, Anguilla and St. Kitts. Fascinated and excited by the ever-evolving telecommunications industry today, Craig is the face behind many of the innovative and personalized solutions which are tailored to clients’ unique and varying needs within Digicel Business. Whether voice or data solutions, he accepts and looks forward to designing the perfect solution for each client.
C.E. Deon Francis, Corporate Sales Executive Holding managerial positions over the years, C.E. Deon Francis’ experience in customer service has certainly been an asset in his consistent ability to meet company targets over the last three years. As a corporative sales executive in the Digicel Business department his responsibilities have included the acquisition and retention of corporate clients, administrative management and customer service. Known for his antagonistic approaches, his critical analytical skills have allowed him to challenge various components in an effort to improve and evolve policy and service in an ever-evolving industry. Always seeking new and innovative solutions, his clients have benefited greatly from the tailored solutions offered by Digicel Business . Deon states, “Digicel came into Antigua and Barbuda with an aggressive campaign which they have been able to stand by over the years. As an extension, Digicel Business is able to expose clients to solutions that are not only cutting edge, but cost-effective.”
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Herbert Joseph, Corporate Mobile Advertising Executive With an impressive portfolio in marketing, corporate relations and business development management, Herbert Joseph joined the Digicel team in January, 2013. Already familiar with the corporate needs of some of his clients, including their telecommunication needs, being at Digicel allowed him the opportunity to offer previous clients products and services that would meet and exceed their expectations, especially beyond the normal GSM services. “In today’s competitive market, all companies need superior communication tools in order to effectively deliver and maintain high standards of customer service. With Digicel at the forefront of the telecommunications industry, we’re able to meet the growing demands of our clients, offering them the best service and products on the market,” Herbert stated. “Digicel Business offers full-proof products that are tailored the nuances of each business, no matter their size.” As a mobile advertising (MADS) executive he is cognisant of the marketing reach that Digicel is able to provide clients. “We listen to our customers; we identify solutions that meet their needs while still providing our best expertise.”
Lance Hawker, Corporate Mobile Advertising Executive In business, if you need to grow your revenue, extend your reach to specific targets and spread your message to the right individuals, you need the right partner. That’s where Digicel’s Business Mobile Advertising and Lance Hawker come in. His areas of specialty include sales, marketing, advertising, reselling and technology – what he calls “SMART”. Over the years, Lance has gained experience in various marketing fields, ranging from the hotel to the airline industries and even embarking on his own entrepreneurial endeavor. As such, his understanding of the unique needs of various clients lends itself to the growth of not only the company, but the growth of clients’ companies as well. He adds, “I am passionate about delivering professional results to your business through what I do best, sales and marketing. The latest and most affordable way to advertise your business is now under the wings of Digicel. Let Digicel’s Mobile Advertising work for you in Extraordinary ways.”
Stephen Fane, Corporate Sales Executive Initially enrolled in the customer service position for four years, Stephan Fane entered the company with experience and certification in management and hospitality from the UK. He was promoted to corporate sales executive in 2009, and today, working along with a dynamic team, he provides mobile and ICT advisory services at the highest level to a portfolio of hundreds of clients, ranging from entrepreneurial small businesses to corporate businesses. Over the years his clients have included Mill Reef, Jumby Bay and PKB Bank. Cognisant of the rapid growth in ICT, and its invaluable use as a tool of growth to companies, Stephen tailors his consultations to meet the needs, demands and unique idiosyncrasies of each client, irrespective of their size. In fact, he notes that Digicel Business prides itself on catering to each entrepreneur no matter their level of company growth; their attitude of professionalism is one where even the smallest business owner is made to feel as important at the corporate business owner.
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Opening the GATE to Tomorrow with the Key One of the biggest, innovative partnerships in Antigua and Barbuda is arguably that between Digicel and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to create the revolutionary initiative GATE – Government Assisted Technology Endeavour. Launched in June 2012, this multimillion dollar initiative, of which Digicel is the sole partner, was designed to complement the Government’s vision of transforming Antigua and Barbuda to a knowledge-based society making full use of this era of convergence to have a significant effect on the economic landscape. Focusing on the future leaders, the youth are the ones who will benefit from this investment as they are groomed to share such a vision through the use of technology.
of implementing the same in their own island, with the additional intention of using the same GATE name.
Digicel saw this as an instrumental move to spearhead Antigua and Barbuda’s place in today’s regional and global economy, especially with its introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. The GATE project is the largest Information Communications Technology (ICT) project ever undertaken in Antigua and Barbuda, with its distribution of tablets to students across the island, along with the access to the 4G LTE network.
The marriage of ideas between Digicel and the Government created a self-sustaining eco-system for the project that has already reaped many rewards for all parties involved. Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Science and Technology, Dr. Edmond Mansoor, commented; “Digicel’s partnership with the Government in the deploying of 4G LTE technology reinforces Antigua’s position as an ICT leader in the entire Caribbean region. 4G LTE broadband Internet will leapfrog Antigua’s ICT revolution and enable every student and every person pursuing higher education to become globally competitive. Every sector in Antigua’s economy will benefit from the 4G LTE technology, and Government itself will leverage this new platform to modernise several services that it offers to the citizenry. Hundreds of people will also benefit directly from an ICT cadet training programme.
Making them the most technologically advanced student body in the region, the GATE initiative is also the first of its kind in the region. Endorsed by the Caribbean Examinations Council, who is currently developing ebooks specifically for the tablets, other islands, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago, have sent delegations to Antigua and Barbuda to observe the project in hopes
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Through calculated and detailed surveys in 2008, it was revealed that only 36-40 per cent of households had PC and IT accessibility. This ultimately translated to most students not receiving enough exposure to technological growth and the wealth of information on the global sphere. This first lead to Digicel entering various communities with IT centres; but wanting to have a greater impact targeting the future ICT engineers and consumers, the GATE project was developed.
Antigua’s gate to the future is being opened with 4G LTE broadband technology.” Notably, one of the greatest components in the project is the GATE ICT Cadet programme. This is an intense six-month programme that exposes its cadets to various spheres in ICT, namely, computer, printer, cell phone and network repair; data management and analysis, and media production, under the state of the art New Media centre within the GATE headquarters. These courses are all designed to not only equip the cadets with skills, but unearth an entrepreneurial desire.
In addition to providing the broadband support, Digicel also pays Cadets a stipend for their six-month training. Essentially, upon graduating from the programme, Cadets should be equipped to either join any business requiring their skills, or start their own. Speaking with one Cadet, Alex Bailey who is 17 years old, he shared that as someone who’d always loved tinkering with his own computers, he’s learned so much to the point that he’s begun a small repair business in his village. Another Cadet, Chester Sterling, 38 years old, noted that although he’s lived in many countries before returning to Antigua, he had not been exposed to such an extensive programme for residents. GATE Programme Coordinator Ashton Fearon spoke highly of the facilitators who are employed to train the Cadets, each person owning an extensive and qualified portfolio of experience in their respective field. Such facilitators include graphic designer Torrez Joseph, photographer Timothy Payne and cinematographer/producer Lawson Lewis. Of the programme, Fearon noted the revolutionary potential especially in the field of technology entrepreneurship. “This will have a great impact in society and in turn the economy … Cadets are being trained to think beyond the norm, they are being exposed to daily advances in the industry, so their skills are in keeping with the fast paced evolution of technology which is where Antigua and Barbuda is heading. … I’m looking forward to watching GATE push the envelope with its advances in society.” The programme is such a far-reaching one, that it spreads its hand through various government offices, affording the Cadets real-life learning environments. Tablets and laptops that are distributed by the Government are also programmed by these Cadets. At the time of this interview, in fact, Cadets in the photography block were being used by the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda to photograph artefacts. There have even been several photography exhibitions where Cadets have sold their work. Fearon also added that with programmes such as the media courses (covering audio production, film production, graphic design and photography), “We are broadening the content that Antigua and Barbuda can place on the global market. So we are now reaching those levels where we can output as much information as we take in. We’re joining the global village of businesses and compete with them on any level. This is the impact of the opportunity that the Digicel and GATE initiative is affording not only the students, but Antigua and Barbuda.” BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
A Merge of Technology And Tourism Digicel introduced Antigua and Barbuda to the speed and possibilities of 4G/LTE technology in November 2012. Providing customers with the fastest and most reliable mobile and broadband internet experience using the latest mobile telecommunications technology, Digicel Business has expanded the telecommunications possibilities of its clients, those in the tourism industry being no exception. In early 2013, Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort, wanted to experience superior wireless internet access for its clientele and sought to partner with Digicel Business to meet these demands. Digicel installed a dedicated 4G LTE site to accommodate their needs and deliver the highest quality wireless internet speeds available in Antigua and Barbuda. Patrice Feilles, IT Manager at Jumby Bay was instrumental in the negotiations to establish 4G LTE on the island. He has commented that, “4G LTE empowers guests and residents with the best available mobile technology to surf the Web, post status updates and photos, and download files wirelessly at speeds up to 10 times faster than on 3G networks. Having this technology on the island to all guests and residents puts us at the forefront of technology placing our guests in an enviable position with a service that is unmatched across the Caribbean.” Jumby Bay is an exclusive and inclusive luxury retreat set on a 300acre private island two miles off the coast of Antigua. Accessible only by boat, and with no cars to clutter the ambience, the resort offers
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upscale visitors a relaxed Caribbean escape. For active visitors, Jumby Bay offers watersports, tennis, three miles of hiking and biking trails, croquet lawn, putting green, a fitness centre, daily children’s programme, a 25-meter freshwater lap pool and a new oceanfront infinity pool. The Estate House, set in the return of a celebrated private island escape in 2011, Jumby Bay was ranked among the “Top Caribbean Resorts” on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List, and was included on Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Awards List. In addition to 4G LTE Digicel Business also provides Direct Internet Access, Managed Services and GSM Mobile Services to Jumby Bay.
BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS
Young Professional Delivers IWD Address In Antigua Barbados and she received many awards and job recommendations from the Dean of the Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. Now 24 years old, she works as the Stock Control Analyst for West Indies Oil Company Ltd. In May 2011, Kiz became a certified Demurrage Analyst after West Indies Oil sponsored her training in Texas. Kiz absolutely loves her job and in her spare time works along with a team of international consultants who are leading professionals in Antigua and Barbuda. The team focuses on leadership, personal growth and financial principles. Through this opportunity, Kiz states that she has been able to impact other people’s lives and wants to continue to build her business to be a bigger blessing in the lives of many others. She has a strong passion for personal development and travels twice per year to attend success seminars and conferences.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. This year, Kiz Nathaniel was asked to deliver the feature address at the IWD Conference held in Antigua at the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre. Kiz acquired a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Studies with a concentration in International Business from the University of the West Indies Campus. While on campus in Barbados, Kiz and her colleague were selected to represent Cave Hill in an Intercampus Business Management Case Analysis. Her team was victorious in 72 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
The Address: Today I am honoured to be here with you to deliver the feature address on the topic for this International Women’s Day, “Inspiring Change”. I refer specifically to positive change. The topic should be interpreted as: we as women should become enthusiastic, stimulated and confident in our abilities to make a positive difference for women in our society. We are coming from a society where we were denied the rights to vote. New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote
in 1893. Here in the Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts, women were given the right to vote and stand for election in 1951. We have come far on our right to vote for some time now but women in Kuwait were only given their right to vote in 2005. King Abdullah of Saudia Arabia only granted this women’s’ right to vote in 2011. Prior to his decree, Saudia Arabia was the only country in the world that did not allow its women to vote. Although this represents positive change, I wonder what took so long to change. After all, isn’t a woman human with her own opinions? Isn’t she a part of society who will eventually face the consequences of government’s implementations? Historically women were led to believe that their only place of work was that of playing the role of a housewife. Undoubtedly, our role in the home is extremely important and I would not dare blaspheme scripture but the angle that I am coming from is that a woman, if at any point in time would love to pursue a career should not be denied nor looked down upon if she so desires. I am saddened when I realise that my grandmother and great grandmothers never had a chance to be anything else but a housewife. I remember my grandmother told me that she always wanted to become a teacher but her mindset that she got from her guardians at the time was that she needed to stay home and take care of her children and play her role as a housewife. She instilled in me that I should go beyond what she has achieved. We are coming from a society where not only women’s roles were limited to that of a housewife, but to that of barriers of unequal pay, promotions and raises that women were overlooked for in the workplace termed as the Glass Ceiling Effect.
Fortunately, the trend is different now to the point where women have Chief Executive Officer positions, hold parliamentary positions as well are becoming more involved in doing “a man’s job.” In 1999, Carleton Fiorina was named the CEO of Hewlett Packard, the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. Our Caribbean examples are Portia Simpson Miller and Kamala Persad Bissessar holding Prime Minister positions. We have our local examples that include Dr Jacqui Quinn Leandro and Senator Joanne Massiah who have held parliamentary Representative positions. Have we not done well? We see more women becoming engineers, pilots and becoming more involved in technical work that were once only done by men. Certainly, we have made significant progress in advancing women’s labour force participation but there is room for more women especially in the political arena. We want to see more women holding positions in Parliament. Although we have earned our right to vote and we see the glass ceiling effect being lifted, women continue to battle with a very sensitive issue: violence against women. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in an article on Ending Violence against women reports (1) Three Caribbean countries are among the top ten for incidences of rape (2) All Caribbean countries (where comparable data is available) have higher than the global average for rape (3) One in three women in the Caribbean will experience rape (4) Forty-eight per cent of adolescent girls reported sexual initiation to be forced or somewhat forced in nine Caribbean countries. (5) Country studies for Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, British Virgin Islands and Suriname suggest that between 20 and 69 per cent of women in intimate relationships have been victims of domestic violence; bearing in mind that a true picture of the prevalence of violence against women is hampered by under-reporting, as many women are reluctant to report these crimes because of lack of confidence in the security and justice sectors and also through fear of acts of
vengeance and feelings of shame. Now tell me, don’t these statistics suggest that the violence among women (is) very high? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about our women who are victims of abuse? Surely these statistics are alarming. Now that we have seen where we are coming from and what we as women continue to battle with, we must ensure that we inspire to make a positive change. We must empower and equip our women to take advantage of job opportunities and to stand up against violence.
are we thinking about other women when they achieve? My charge to you today is to first of all think positive about each other because our thoughts form our actions, actions then form habits. When we begin to think positively, we would treat each other differently. We will continue to be supportive of our neighbour who may be abused rather than gossip about her. We will offer a helping hand to a woman and her children. We should only speak positive of our female co-workers and encourage them to climb the corporate ladder. No amount of policies can empower women before we learn to empower ourselves and others.
Organisations such as the International Women’s Rights Action Watch, Caribbean Women’s Association, Caribbean Women’s National Assembly and our very own As I conclude, I want to reassure you that Professional Organisation for Women in you were designed for accomplishment, Antigua and Barbuda (POWA) demonstrate engineered for success and endowed with that women have been bonding to empower the seeds of greatness, so let’s become a each other to fight for their rights. In spite blessing in the lives and inspire other women of our efforts, women still suffer across our to bring about a positive change in our country and while we call out on governments society. to implement policies that seek to eliminate factors behind the inequality experienced by women, I often wonder if we have Making Your House a Home to go that far to create a positive change. I agree that once policies are implemented to protect women from the issues I alluded to earlier, we will have a society of more advanced women, but really and truly what is our mindset like? As I prepared for this topic on “Inspiring Change”, a thought really came to me about the mindset of women because sometimes it seems to me as though, sometimes, we are each other’s downfall. Are our comments really uplifting women or tearing ourselves down? Do we look out for our sister who is a neighbour? Do really lend a helping hand to her children? What exactly
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BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• April/June April/June 2014 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS
Investigations of an Antiguan Vet Student “Our project was titled ‘A pilot study investigating dairy cattle welfare in Trinidad, Tobago, Antigua and Barbados.’ We embarked on this study two years ago when we realized the deficit in Animal Welfare Research in the Caribbean. Using dairy cattle as a model, our investigative pilot study aimed to ascertain the standard of animal welfare currently practiced in the Caribbean and to establish a precedent for welfare where there is none.” This is what Antiguan veterinary student Nneka Hull-James and her teammates explained to their panel of judges from the Faculty of Medical Sciences and an audience of the veterinary student body, lecturers, professors, representatives from the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, veterinarians and representatives from wildlife and conservation groups at the School of Veterinary Medicine, UWI, St. Augustine’s annual Veterinary Students’ Research Day. Held on February 6th 2014, Nneka, along with Meera Koongebeharry (Trinidad), Nirvana P. Dodo (Trinidad), and Tracy Sealy (Barbados) were one of 11 groups to present their project. Obviously impressing the panel of judges with their study, which was conducted among 43 farms distributed throughout Antigua, Barbados, Tobago and Trinidad using semi- structured interviews, they won first place and will be attending 28th Biennial Caribbean Veterinary Medical Conference in November 2014. Being the premier meeting venue for veterinarians of the Caribbean with additional attendees from other countries, including the United States, Nneka and her team will present their research project. Curious as to the findings? Nneka was more than happy to share elements of her study and her passion for this field with Business Focus. 74 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
human care. Lack of an adequate standard of welfare compromises an animal’s ability to grow, produce and survive. Furthermore, animal welfare is of major significance for reduction of hunger as well as environmental sustainability and has an inextricable link to human health. BF: Your study has included Antigua, Barbados, Tobago and Trinidad. Please share some of your findings.
Business Focus: Why did you choose to study dairy cattle? Nneka Hull-James: We chose dairy cattle as our model due to their relatively long lifespan as farm animals compared to meat livestock resulting in a greater chance for breaches in good welfare practice. Also, the observation of working animals in a herd versus personal pets was thought to present a more authentic account of existing welfare practices. Furthermore, dairy cattle play a vital role in milk production. Animal welfare recognizes the fact that animals are sentient beings which necessitates their humane treatment and prevents unnecessary suffering of farmed animals. Animal welfare is a vital component of any responsible livestock sector. The farming of animals is no longer seen as a mere means of food production, but is also a growing ethical concern with an increasing public sense of responsibility for animals under
NHJ: Welfare practices observed in our study were compared to the internationally outlined guidelines for Animal Welfare of Dairy Cattle. Assessments were then made using the scoring system we developed. Our data revealed that Barbados was the leader among the four islands in dairy cattle welfare which was followed by Trinidad, then Antigua and lastly Tobago. Our results revealed that farmers had most issues with management of milking and provision of food and water, conversely, the farms generally scored well in the areas of Healthcare and Biosecurity as well as provision of adequate environment and facilities. It is interesting to note that of the islands examined, Antigua has the most currently updated animal welfare laws. Our laws include the Dog Control and Registration Act, as well as an act for Protection from Cruelty to Animals which was the only one of its kind among the study population. This is impressive, as Antigua and Barbuda is leading the way in Animal Welfare legislation. However, further work still needs to be done to enforce these laws, educate the public and increase animal welfare awareness. BF: What improvements or recommendations would you make based on the findings of your study? NHJ: We found that improvements need to be made to make resources more available to farmers. The general consensus was that farmers have a desire to provide the best
for their animals, and when they fell short they were unaware they did so. Also, we found that the farmers were very aware of the animals’ behavioural cues indicating discomfort or distress which is commendable. Therefore we recommend implementation of education programmes to teach the farmers the value of practicing good animal welfare in order to increase the quality of life for their animals Increased government support is also needed. This may be in the form of feed or water subsidies for farmers. On the economic side, we recognize that the implementation of good welfare practices is an investment; however, the additional cost of production is offset by reduced incidence of disease, higher yields and better product quality. Furthermore, this is a business opportunity because as the public awareness of animal welfare rises there is an increased demand for products produced in accordance with good animal welfare standards. This is the foundation for further research to expand to a regional study encompassing more islands. Also, we hope to get this work published in the near future. BF: Do you believe that with the right attitudes and amendments made that Antigua and Barbuda may be able to look at dairy production as a larger industry? NHJ: This project has an immense impact on Antigua as second to our main industry of tourism is agriculture. Currently Antigua and Barbuda imports all milk and milk products as we have no dairy industry. A move in the direction of dairy production is needed. This can create employment, expand the agricultural sector and create a more sustainable economy in a move to encourage an “eat what you grow” mentality. BF: What sparked your interest to study veterinary medicine? NHJ: I have loved animals ever since I can remember. My mother told me that as a toddler whenever animals would appear on television I would light up with excitement,
laugh and clap. Growing up, there was never a time when I did not have animals. In retrospect, a highlight throughout my life was taking my animals to the Veterinarian for their routine checkup or whenever they were ill; and observing Dr. Robins as he worked with my animals. However, I did not always know that I wanted to be a Veterinarian. Throughout high school I knew I wanted to do medicine. It was in fourth form at the Antigua Girls’ High School when we did a lab on dissection of the heart that I realized I wanted to do Cardiology. However, it was not until my second year at the Antigua State College that the light bulb lit up. I thought to myself, “I love animals and I definitely want to study medicine, why not pursue Veterinary Medicine?” Therefore I embarked on my journey. BF: Some persons are of the opinion that veterinary medicine is a “cop out” of sorts for those persons who could not take the rigor of human medicine. What is your response to such comments? NJH: My love for veterinary medicine grows with each passing semester. I love the challenge each day of having to figure out a diagnostic mystery. As a veterinarian, your patient upon arrival at your clinic cannot say, “I broke my leg” or “I can’t see out of my left eye”. The veterinarian is compelled to use the clinical signs exhibited by the patients in addition to a thorough physical exam, diagnostic testing and a patient history from the client (the pet owner) which is often minimal as the client can
only relay to you what they perceive to be taking place with the animal, thus presenting a challenge in itself. Furthermore, Veterinary medicine is a tremendously diverse field. Contrary to popular misconception, being a Vet is not confined to vaccinating puppies and spaying dogs. With a veterinary degree one can specialize anywhere from general surgery, to Veterinary Dentistry, to Veterinary Acupuncture, to Food Hygiene, Epidemiology, Research, Animal Behaviour, to Rehabilitation Medicine, Shelter Medicine, Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery, Animal Welfare to Oncology and the list continues. Not to mention that this is multiplied by every species. This brings me to another reason I love veterinary medicine, as well as its greatest challenge in my view and another misconception. Persons tend be of the view that veterinarians are less qualified than human doctors. In veterinary school we are required learn not only about the anatomy and physiology of the dog and cat but also the horse, cow, sheep, goat, bird, fish and pig; as well as the Medicine, Surgery, Toxicology, Parasitology, Microbiology, Theriogenology (study of reproduction) and Pharmacology for all of these species. This proves to be very daunting initially, but nothing good comes easy. BF: Do you see veterinary medicine as a viable career field in Antigua and Barbuda? NHJ: The pet population in Antigua is continually growing and persons require increasingly higher standards of health care for their beloved pets. From the livestock perspective, there is dire need for growth of the food animal agricultural sector in Antigua to create a more sustainable economy. This gap can be filled with the assistance of more government veterinarians. I tell prospective veterinary students all the time, that Veterinary Medicine is not something one does just for the sake of it or for a paycheck. This a career that you must be fully invested in with a deep seeded passion or you will not make through the day. Like human medicine and nursing it is certainly a calling. After, a day of rectal examinations in cows, dealing with a fungal ear infection in an aggressive dog or castrating a 150lb boar (male pig); passion and a genuine desire to help animals is the only thing that will get you through. BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Successful and Certified!
Over 50 team members at Sandals Antigua Graduate
Dickenson Bay, Antigua – Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa saw over fifty of its team members receiving certificates during a special ceremony last week. The large group consisted of both management and staff who completed internal courses such as customer service, leadership, the art of selling and professional communications under the Sandals Corporate University (SCU). Speaking at the certificate ceremony was Regional Training and HR Manager Ryan Matthew, who congratulated the team members on their latest achievement. “By taking this path to success, you’ve understood that learning doesn’t just happen; it must be a conscious activity and that all jobs, no matter how routine, offer learning opportunities. You are ready! You are prepared! Remember that with every new day you will always reach for greatness. Rise and shine!” General Manager Gaurav “Mr. G” Sindhi also showered the group with praise, stating that “In my four years of working with Sandals, this is the largest group I have ever seen and for that you should all be proud of yourselves in knowing that you are setting a high mark in the Sandals chain”.
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Training Manager, Sherene Bird explained that SCU was launched in March 2012. “SCU represents Sandals Resorts’ commitment to the professional development of our employees through reputable education and training programs. Every staff member is invited to apply and experience courses that they are interested in to further advance their career and broaden their knowledge”, Bird added. Since its inception, over 1,200 team members have registered with SCU, with close to 1,000 certificates issued. They now have access to more than 230 courses and external partnerships with 13 top-ranking local and international universities, with plans for even more expansion this year. Through this unique and invaluable program, Sandals Resorts hopes to make a meaningful impact on visitors’ experience by guaranteeing the best customer service, attitude, skills and knowledge from every team member they come across. With 15 stunning beachfront settings, Sandals Resorts has earned a worldwide reputation for providing two people in love with the most romantic vacation experience in the Caribbean. Sandals Resorts welcomes guests to the islands of Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada with a myriad of exclusive amenities from luxurious accommodations and Butler service to gourmet specialty dining and premium wines and spirits. The award-winning Sandals Resorts is also the perfect venue for dream destination weddings, vow renewals, honeymoons, or what Sandals Resorts has coined WeddingMoons®. For more information on Sandals Resorts Luxury Included experience, please visit www.sandals.com.
A&B Tourism Delegation Attends World’s Largest Tourism Trade Fair & Convention Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Officials participated in another successful showcasing of the destination, this time in Berlin Germany, during ITB. The event, which was held from March 5th – 10th, is the largest gathering of travel and tourism officials in the world. The country delegation led by CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA), Colin C. James, included Neil Forester President of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel and Tourist Association, Cherrie Osborne Antigua and Barbuda’s Director of Tourism for UK and Europe and Antigua and Barbuda’s Honourary Counsel in Germany Dr. Werner Giersch. Local hotel partners such as Jolly Beach, Carlisle Bay, Blue Waters, Sugar Ridge, and Hermitage Bay were also present on the stand to jointly support this European marketing effort. The teams conducted a packed schedule of successful meetings with European based Tourism Executives and Airlines. The destination has set its sights on making greater inroads into the European market and as part of a group of eight destinations along with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) ensured the region was adequately represented at this year’s event. CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James said “The main challenge that we face at the moment is securing adequate airlift to ensure same day connections into the destination from continental Europe.
Tourism Officials Launch Trade Focus The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority is collaborating with the Antigua Hotel & Tourist Association for the inaugural ‘Showcase Antigua Barbuda’ at the Sandals Grande Antigua. Members of the trade will also be able to benefit from participation in activities organized exclusively for the UK market by the Tourism Authority.
With Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean facing increased competition from other global tourism regions and a challenging marketplace, we view the growing European market as an opportunity to extend our reach and drive new business to the destination” James added. In a meeting with Herwig Oberhuber Director of Planning for Condor, he confirmed that Antigua and Barbuda has the strongest yield in the eastern Caribbean during this current winter season and Condor now agreed that the Thomas Cook flights from Manchester which commenced last December will now return with an earlier start in November for the next winter season along with the Condor direct charter flight from Frankfurt Germany. Newly appointed Director of Tourism for the UK and Europe Cherrie Osborne said, “Our main objective at ITB was to reintroduce the destination to specific operators such as Meires Weltreisen, Dertour and TUI whose business to Antigua has been growing steadily, During the event the Antigua and Barbuda team participated in a series of media
interviews including CTO travel news. ITB also gave the destination an opportunity to update its European tourism partners on the plans for the New VC Bird Airport Terminal scheduled to be opened later this year as well as the latest activities, hotel developments and prospects for tourism in Antigua and Barbuda. The attendance at ITB in Berlin, which sits at the heart of Europe, is particularly strategic to the country’s tourism industry. It is reputed that the number of Germans per population who travel abroad, is the highest percentage of any nationality that travels outside of their home country for vacations. ITB Berlin 2014 attracted over 10,000 exhibitors and some 100,000 trade visitors on the first three business-to-business meeting days. The event which also includes two final days on the weekend where the travel fair convention is open to the general public presented Antigua and Barbuda with a not to be missed opportunities to meet the German consumers, to network with its European tourism partners and to conduct valuable business negotiations.
The showcase will offer wholesalers and tour operators the chance to meet for 20 minute pre-scheduled appointments and conduct business with suppliers in Antigua and Barbuda as well as the regional tourism industry. Cherrie Osborne, UK director of tourism, Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority said: “As one of ABTA’s top ten destination’s to watch, we expect 2014/15 to be Antigua and Barbuda tourism’s year of growth. Showcase Antigua and Barbuda is the ideal opportunity to conduct business and discover what the destination has to offer. “We are certainly looking forward to welcoming members of the UK travel trade to Antigua for this event.” All participants will receive a directory including marketing profiles and product information for buyers and suppliers, along with appointment request forms. Appointments are only scheduled through buyer requests and perfect matches, suppliers are encouraged to make contact with buyers they are interested in meeting well in advance. Appointments may also be scheduled on-site during “Scheduling Sessions”. The event, which will take place June 6th-7th, is free for buyers to attend. BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
to Recruit New Management Trainees for Caribbean Resorts SANDALS Resorts International (SRI) has accelerated its Succession Planning Strategy with an invitation for budding tourism aspirants to join its Management Trainee Programme. The intensive two-year training and development programme gives promising young leaders from across the Caribbean, an opportunity to positively impact the growth of the region's tourism product through hands-on training from one of the world's most celebrated resorts, Director of Business Processes and Administration for SRI Wayne Cummings said in a press statement. Cummings noted that, over the years, the company had invested heavily in the development of young Caribbean nationals who are now among the brightest and most innovative managers in the tourism sector across the Caribbean and around the World. "The Management Trainee Programme has been the centrepiece of SRI's management Succession Planning Strategy with the "best of the best from within the resorts, along with new hires, continuing to display exceptional growth and capabilities of taking not only Sandals, but the tourism industry as a whole, to the next level. From the 2012 cohort, 21 graduands are now set to take up management and assistant management posts in various departments at Sandals and Beaches resorts across the Caribbean, and we are now seeking the next batch of superstars," Cummings continued. Ideal candidates for the programme must have a first degree from a recognizsd institution — preferably, but not limited to tourism and hospitality — or three years experience in the hospitality industry. Additionally, shortlisted candidates must be over 21 years old, possess strong communication and organisational skills and be service-driven with excellent customer service skills. The official recruitment drive for the Management Trainee Programme is now in progress, with an application deadline set for February 20, 2014. Following the submission of all applications, there will be an intense selection process — including a series of extensive interviews by SRI Group directors and resort general BusinessFocus Mar / Apr | 982014 78 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus April/June 2014 78 •• April/June
managers — to identify the most suitable candidates for the programme. The final selection of candidates is expected to be in place at assigned resorts by June 2014. The Management Trainee Programme was originally introduced in the mid 1980s and represents an added feature of Sandals Resorts' on-going investment in training that includes the Hospitality Training Programme which provides unattached high school graduates with an introduction to various departments in the resorts; as well as continuous on-the-job training sessions, scholarship opportunities, as well as workshops and seminars for team members through the Sandals Corporate University.
Airlines starts Flying Caribbean Routes
St Vincent to Open New International Airport in 2014
Six years after construction work began, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is getting ready to cut the ribbons to declare open its first ever international airport. The Ralph Gonsalves government is hoping that the EC$700 million international airport situated at Argyle on the island’s east coast, will be completed by the end of this year. When he delivered his budget statement at the end of January 2014, Prime Minister Gonsalves said the airport was “on target for completion by the end of 2014.” Set against the background of a steelpan beat, Southwest Airlines announced Aruba, Jamaica and the Bahamas as its firstever international destinations in early February 2014. Scheduled to depart from Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando, the flights are part of the airline’s integration of AirTran Airways, acquired by Southwest in 2011, which currently flies the routes. “By the end of this year, all of the international flying that is currently taking place on AirTran will be converted over to Southwest,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said at a news conference at the company’s Dallas Love Field headquarters in Texas, USA. Southwest anticipates the expansion of its international connections next year, including flights from Texas, and expects a five-gate international terminal to be completed at Houston Hobby Airport by the end of next year. Recently, the airline began selling tickets for daily nonstop international flights, and later this year it plans to add Cancun, Los Cabos and Mexico City in Mexico, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, all of which are currently served by AirTran. Despite being the United States’ largest domestic carrier, Southwest has never flown internationally. Now, the company is focused on transferring all of AirTran’s international flights to the Southwest system this year and will consider adding more destinations in 2015, Kelly said. Eventually, international flights could represent a 70 to 80-aircraft operation for the carrier, according to Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan. “You take the ring of where the [Boeing] 737 can fly and all of those cities are then inside of the route map that we could look at. I think the opportunity for Southwest Airlines over the next two to three years is very substantial.” He added that destinations in Canada are being considered but that the carrier’s main focus is on increasing its service to Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
At the end of last year, the Taiwanese firm, Overseas Engineering Construction Company, handed over the EC$77 million terminal building along with the electrical substation to the International Airport Development Company (IADC), the state company responsible for the construction of the airport. IADC Chief Executive Officer, Rudy Matthias, believes the airport could be completed as early as July, 2014. “First and most importantly, I want to tell you that our terminal building is now complete and we expect that by July 2014 to complete the final pavement works on the runway and the apron. So, in a sense, by July God’s willing, we are going to have a completed terminal building and a runway and apron having been paved. Essentially, that is our airport.” Prime Minister Gonsalves since gave Parliament an idea of the scope of work still to be done at the airport. He said at the end of 2013, 89 per cent of the earthworks had been completed and sea defence works, which began on August 12, 2013, would extend into mid-2014. BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • April/June • April/June 2014 2014 | 79 | 79
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Experts Discuss Paths Toward Universal Health Coverage There is no one-size-fits-all path for achieving universal health coverage; rather, each country should find its own mix of policies and practices to achieve this goal, said Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Carissa F. Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), at the International Conference “Toward Universal Health Coverage,” in Lima, Peru. “There is no universal formula, blueprint, or roadmap for moving towards universal coverage. Each country must carve out its own way forward,” said Chan in opening remarks for the conference, which has brought together health authorities from countries throughout the Americas. “Any move towards universal coverage is an inherently country-owned initiative. It must be home-grown, strongly rooted in the country’s culture, its domestic political institutions, the legacy of the existing health system, and the expectations of its people.” Chan said health reform that seeks to ensure that no one is left behind can be transformative for societies, not only by improving health but also by increasing stability and social cohesion. Achieving universal health coverage, she said, “is the ultimate expression of fairness.” 80 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • April/June 2014 80 • April/June 2014
WHO is working with the World Bank in this area, Chan noted, indicating that universal coverage is feasible from a financial standpoint. Since the publication of the 2010 World Health Report on Health Systems Financing, more than 80 countries have requested WHO technical support for achieving the goal.
by sharing experiences, providing information and offering advice.
Etienne said that universal health coverage is needed to reduce inequities and to respond to the epidemic of non-communicable diseases, which account for 75 per cent of health spending in the Americas. “The moment is ripe,” she said, noting that people increasingly want universal health coverage, and politicians are responding. Moreover, economic growth in the region’s countries is strong enough to support universal health coverage.
First Lady of Peru Nadine Heredia said that universal health coverage in Peru is no longer just an aspiration, thanks to progress in three areas of health reform: expansion of comprehensive health insurance (SIS), improvements in health services, and protection of the rights of users.
“Our people need access to health care— all our people,” said Etienne. “We can and must create the systems that will give it to them.” She added that the private sector has a role to play, depending on each country’s particular circumstance, and “always ensuring that care is of high-quality and not focused only on curing diseases.” She said PAHO is supporting countries’ progress toward universal health coverage
“Universal health coverage can be a long and complex journey to our destination,” said Etienne. “The point is, Member States have to start somewhere. The important thing is: start.”
Minister of Health of Peru Midori De Habich said that health reform in Peru is personcentred, seeks to eliminate barriers that prevent people from fully exercising their right to health, and ultimately seeks to achieve universal health coverage. Other participants in the opening session included Secretary of Health of Mexico Mercedes Juan Lopez, Minister of Public Health of Uruguay María Muñíz, and PAHO/ WHO Representative in Peru Fernando Leanes. More than 500 people are attending the two-day conference.
Red Meat and Cardiovascular Disease By J. Humphreys MD
Although I agree that the use of red meat contributes to a number of health complications, I do not agree that this is necessarily due to the amino acid L-Carnitine as purported in one article.
Though a call was made for more investigative studies, the Tappel report suggests that the antioxidant properties of selenium, vitamins C and E, lycopene and cysteine –glutathione are protective.
Many studies have supported the beneficial role of L-Carnitine, particularly Propionyl L-Carnitine in improving exercise tolerance, improving the symptomatology of heart failure, intermittent claudication and peripheral vascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, ischemic heart disease, erectile dysfunction, male infertility, peyronie’s disease and hyperthyroidism.
Micha et al from the Harvard School of Public Health in their systematic review and metaanalysis stated that fresh, unprocessed red meat consumption did not show any increase risk of heart disease.
Contrary to the proposal that the use of Carnitine could result in the harmful cardiovascular effects, Al Tappel of the University of California suggests that the harmful cardiovascular effects of red meats are actually due to its heme content which acts as a catalyst of oxidative damage. This damage is expressed on lipids, proteins, DNA and other nucleic acids. Heme oxidation is likened to that resulting from ionizing radiation. In addition to cardiovascular damage, Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune diseases and an increased risk of colon, breasts, stomach, rectum, pancreas, bladder, lung, endometrial, ovarian and prostate cancers are suggested as possible outcomes from heme-oxidation.
The main contention seems to be surrounding the claim that Carntine is broken down to TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) by gut bacteria. Choline and betaine also may have similar effects. TMAO then initiates fatty deposits in the blood vessels. There are some studies to substantiate the increased cardiovascular risk of TMAO. TMAO does cause an upregulation of macrophage foam cell formation which does have atherosclerotic effects, however, I do not agree nor can I find enough evidence to substantiate the claim that Carnitine or Choline and Betaine use promotes cardiovascular ill-health. Other studies suggest the use of probiotics in reducing the metabolism of TMAO by the gut flora.
avocados, and peanut butter, some of which are touted as healthy foods. I do not think it is scientifically sound to point out one food group for its “negative” effect while ignoring other food groups with the same perceived offensive elements. Half-truths are untruths at best. Of course, as with any product with medicinal properties there is the risk of drug interaction and side effects from its recommended use, excessive use and misuse. This must be borne in mind at all times. Some studies have shown protective benefits of Carnitine against some antiseizure medication, antiretroviral and chemotherapeutic agents. Research is however ongoing. Though I could quote a number of studies, there is one particular study published in Oxford Journals by R Lando et al. It highlights the cardio-protective benefits of Carnitine and its positive effects in heart disease and myocardial ischemia seen in its increasing of glucose metabolism and coronary blood flow. It also has anti-arrhythmic effects while reducing free radical production which may have deleterious effects on cellular DNA.
Though Carntine is found in large amounts in red meat (lamb in particular), it is also found in fish, wheat, poultry, tempeh, asparagus, BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
events events2013 2014 ANTIGUA CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA 2014 CARIBBEAN MEETING & INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCHANGE
April 17th – 22nd, 2014 eventClassic for buyers sellershas of maintained incentive travel. TheTHE Antigua Yachtand Regatta a steady growth, hosting between September 15-18, 2013 Theenjoys Cove Atlantis in thevariety Bahamas. 50 and 60 yachts every yearatand a wonderful of competitors, including Caribbean Meeting & islands, Incentiveclassic Travelketches, Exchange (CMITE) brings together buyers traditional craft from the sloops, schooners and yawls making and suppliers servicing the Caribbean meeting and incentive market. the bulk of the fleet, together with the stunningly beautiful Spirit of Tradition yachts, CMITE is an invitation-only, appointment-based event. Apply online. J Class yachts and Tall Ships. For further information visit their website: www.caribbean.incentivetravelexchange.com ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK April 26 - May 2, 2014 CONFERENCE & TRADESHOW FCCA CRUISE A huge variety of racing and cruising yachts is expected for the 52 nautical mile race September - October 4, 2013,Classic Cartagena Indias Convention Center, Cartagena, around Antigua30and with Antigua Yachtde Regatta concluding only a few days Colombia. before the Yachting World Round Antigua Race, the race will provide an ideal way for Forclassics many to cruise executives, destinations, suppliers and operators, the annual many complete their Caribbean racing season. Alltour yachts are welcome and FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year encouraged to enter this exciting one-day race. The race will also provide an excellent withfor key industry players, analyze trends and Sailing discussWeek. current issues. It is daytoofmeet practice boats preparing to compete in Antigua because of the unique forum provided by the Conference that nearly 1,200 cruise industry partners, including approximately 100 cruise executives, CALABASH INTERNATIONAL LITERARY FESTIVAL 2014 attend each year. For further information visit their website: www.f-cca.com May 30th – June 1st •Jamaica GUYEXPO 2013 – Guyana’s Premier Trade Fair & Exposition A three-day festival of readings and music with other forms of storytelling in the mix, October 3 – 6, 2013 at the National Exhibition Site, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana Calabash is earthly, inspirational, daring and diverse. After 10 successive years, CalaBeing hosted under the Theme: “Advancing Productivity through Innovation, bash is now staged on a biennial basis on even years. The festival is produced by the Modernisation and Expansion” and in partnership with the Guyana Manufacturing & Calabash International Literary Festival Trust. Services Association as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Further information: http://www.calabashfestival.org/ Guyana’s largest Trade and Investment Exposition – GuyExpo began in 1995. This public/ private partnership event which showcases locally produced goods SHOWCASE BARBUDA and services,ANTIGUA became anAND annual activity in 2004 and is now the longest sustained exhibition in the Caribbean. June 6 -7th, 2014 further&information contactAuthority the GUYEXPO Secretariat at www.guexpo.net TheFor Antigua Barbuda Tourism is collaborating with the Antigua Hotel & Tourist Association for the inaugural 2013 ‘Showcase Antigua Barbuda’ at the Sandals WORLD TRAVEL MARKET Grande Antigua. Members of the trade will be able to benefit from participation in 4 – 7 November London, activities organized 2013,ExCel, exclusively for the UKUK market by the Tourism Authority. The showThis leading global event for the industry a vibrant must attend – to case will offer wholesalers and tourtravel operators theischance to meet for 20 business minute prebusiness event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK scheduled appointments and conduct business with suppliers in Antigua and Barbuda and international travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the for the whole as well as the regional tourism industry. globalinformation: travel trade www.visitantiguabarbuda.com to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. Further For further information : www.wtmlondon.com 34TH ANNUAL CARIBBEAN INSURANCE CONFERENCE
CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF BANKS INC – 40th ANNUAL
June 1st – 3rd, 2014 GENERAL MEETING and CONFERENCE Curacao Marriott Beach Resort, Curacao – 16 November 2013, Sandals Grande St Lucian & Beach Resort, Pigeon The13 Insurance Association of the Caribbean (IAC) Inc. is aSpa non-profit organisation Island Causeway, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. dedicated to the promotion and growth of the Caribbean Insurance Industry. Its The 40th Annual General and Conference will beaffiliates hosted Under thethroughTheme membership is diverse with aMeeting large contingent of registered located Strategy – The Leadership The will address out“Redefining the Caribbean, Canada, Europe and the Challenge”. United States thatConference specialise in every field issues that The will2014 influence regional and global financialwill policies member of insurance. Caribbean Insurance Conference featureimpacting a mix of general states. panel discussions and excellent networking opportunities. Attendees include sessions, For level further information visit their website: www.cab-inc.com senior executives; administration executives; heads of marketing, distribution, and information technology; along with top regional producers. Further information: www.iac-caribbean.com 82 |
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
BusinessFocus Sept /Oct
events2013 2014 events
CARIBDA 2014 CONFERENCE EXPOSITION CARIBBEAN MEETING& & INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCHANGE
June 24th -27th, 2014 THE event buyers and sellers of incentive travel. Frenchman’s Reeffor & Morningstar Marriott, St. Thomas September 2013 at The Cove proofing Atlantis inthe theCaribbean”. Bahamas. The Caribbean The theme for this15-18, conference is “Drought Caribbean Meeting(CaribDA) & Incentive Exchange (CMITE) together buyers Desalination Association is a Travel non-profit organization andbrings represents memand suppliers servicing the Caribbean meeting and incentive market. bers/sponsors from the Caribbean desalination and water reuse communities, utilities, CMITE is an invitation-only, appointment-based event.interested Apply online. industries, academia and government as well as individuals in water supply For further information visit their website: improvement in the Caribbean, specifically by means of desalination or water reuse. www.caribbean.incentivetravelexchange.com The Association was formed to share experiences, information, operational data, technical standards and other resources; work & together to improve the quality and FCCA CRUISE CONFERENCE TRADESHOW quantity of potable water; and lower the costs of production through application of September 30 - October 4, 2013, Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, Cartagena, desalination technology and water reuse in the Caribbean. Colombia. Further information: http://www.caribda.com/ For many cruise executives, destinations, suppliers and tour operators, the annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year LATINtoAMERICAN & CARIBBEAN TYRE EXPO meet with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is because of the unique forum provided by the Conference that nearly 1,200 cruise July 23-25th, industry2014 partners, including approximately 100 cruise executives, attend each year. ATLAPAFor Convention Centre visit their website: www.f-cca.com further information 2014 marks the 5th anniversary of The Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo, which GUYEXPO 2013 – Guyana’s Trade Fair & Exposition provides exhibitors with direct access to thePremier Latin American and Caribbean tire dealers in a personal setting that forges long lasting commercial and personal ties. October 3 – 6, 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 & MY CARIBBEAN, ONE WORLD EXPO Services Association as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary. July 19-20th, 2014largest Trade and Investment Exposition – GuyExpo began in 1995. Guyana’s City Hall Plaza, Boston Massachusetts This public/ private partnership event which showcases locally produced goods Organized Authentic Caribbean Foundation, this2004 expoand willisprovide information and by services, became an annual activity in now the longest sustained about the wide range options in the Caribbean, highlighting their unique offering inexhibition in theofCaribbean. cludingFor arts, adventure, culture, cuisine, and sports. Caribbean countries along further information contact the music GUYEXPO Secretariat at www.guexpo.net with influential players from the hotel, airline, attraction, car rental, and allied indusWORLD TRAVEL MARKET 2013 tries along with local Caribbean restaurants will showcase their products and services. Further4 information: – 7 Novemberwww.mycaribbeanoneworldexpo.com 2013,ExCel, London, UK This leading global event for the travel industry is a vibrant must attend business – to business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK CANTO ANNUAL CONFERENCE and30TH international travel professionals. It&isTRADE a uniqueEXHIBITION opportunity for the for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. August 10th -15th, 2014 further Island, information : www.wtmlondon.com AtlantisFor Paradise Bahamas 2014 heralds CANTO’s ‘Pearl’ anniversary – 30 of proudly itsANNUAL members in CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OFyears BANKS INCserving – 40th the ICT sector, in a multiplicity of ways. The association has proudly grown to over 130 GENERAL MEETING and CONFERENCE members in 34 countries. CANTO will focus its 30th year on creating strategic alliances – 16 November 2013,and Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, with all13stakeholders to bolster develop broadband infrastructure in the Carib-Pigeon Island Causeway, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. bean. This will create a more economically viable Caribbean for all and in so doing The 40th Annual General Meeting and Conference will be hosted Under the Theme strengthen the social fabric of our beloved region. Strategy – The Leadership Challenge”. The Conference will address Further“Redefining information: http://www.canto.org issues that will influence regional and global financial policies impacting member states. For further information visit their website: www.cab-inc.com
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M a n o r m a Soeknandan is the new deputy secretary-general of the Caribbean C o m m u n i t y ( C A R I C O M ) Secretariat. Soeknandan, a national of Suriname, assumed duties at the CARICOM Secretariat on February 1, 2014. She succeeds Lolita Applewhaite. A familiar figure in the Community, Soeknandan served as Suriname’s resident ambassador to Guyana from 2001 to January 2013. She was accredited as ambassador to CARICOM and to Jamaica in January 2002. During her tenure as resident ambassador in Guyana, she became the dean of the diplomatic corps. She has represented her country, including as head of delegation, in several meetings of CARICOM’s organs and bodies. Soeknandan has extensive diplomatic experience in the international/regional arena, with competencies in managing interstate relations through diplomatic channels; negotiating cooperation arrangements between states and institutions and negotiating with international development partners. The new deputy secretary-general also has experience in a wide range of areas, such as managing human and financial resources; strategic leadership and operational management; negotiating treaties, agreements, protocols, and in the area of public awareness and public education. Soeknandan holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from Anton de Kom University and worked for 27 years as a lawyer with the government of Suriname. She also served as head and manager of several departments with the ministry of justice and police, including manager of computerisation projects.
BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
Last month (March) LIAT confirmed the appointment of British national, David Evans, as its new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Captain Ian Brunton who resigned in September last year. Evans, whose appointment becomes effective from April 22, “is a resultsdriven executive with more than 35 years of experience in senior roles within the aviation industry”. The LIAT statement said that Evans served in senior positions with British Airways in East Africa, Saudi Arabia, France, Philippines, China, Denmark and the United States and was also held responsibility for the airline’s activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2007, he joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and under their auspices served as Chief Operating Officer of Zambian Airways in 2007. In 2009 he joined Kuwait startup airline Wataniya Airways as Chief Commercial Officer. Since then he has provided strategic and commercial consultancy services to Egypt’s Nile Air and other organisations in the Middle East, the airline said. Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority and prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer announced last month that the OECS Authority has selected Dr Didacus Jules as the Organisation’s new Director-General. Jules is currently the registrar and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and will be expected to take up his position as director-general on May 1, 2014.
“The Authority is confident that the correct choice has been made,” said Spencer, “and we look forward to working with Dr Jules in ushering in a new dispensation at our Organisation.” Spencer indicated that Jules, a national of Saint Lucia, beat out a strong field of candidates for the position and pointed out that he came with a strong reputation as executive who strove for efficiency and who was not afraid to go after transformational change. Spencer said that, given the challenges facing OECS countries in the coming years, Jules was the best person for the job. Meanwhile, Jules’ departure has been described as “a tremendous loss to CXC”. “While I applaud the appointment of Dr Didacus Jules as Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), his leaving CXC will represent a tremendous loss to the organisation,” said Professor Nigel Harris, chairman of CXC and vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies. Jules expressed his appreciation for “the tremendous privilege and trust extended by the Council in my appointment and in fully supporting the transformation of the organisation over the past six years.” “I am confident that once we have completed the new Strategic Plan 2020, which will be brought for approval in April, the transformational direction of CXC will be consolidated and expanded,” he added.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT CHANGES AT CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN CIBC First Caribbean has announced two changes to its Senior Executive Team. Managing Director of Retail and Business Banking, Mr. Mark St. Hill has assumed responsibility for the Bank’s regional International Banking portfolio. Meanwhile, Director, Private Banking, Mr. Dan Wright, in addition to being Managing Director for Private Banking and the Bank’s Cayman and Bahamas Bank and Trust Companies, will also now be responsible for CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Investment Management portfolio, assuming the title Managing Director, Private Wealth Management. Mr. St. Hill, now Managing Director, Retail, Business and International Banking, has served as the M a n a g i n g Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s B a r b a d o s O p e r a t i n g C o m p a n y . Previous to that he was the Director, International Banking, with responsibility for the leadership and development of the International Banking (Personal & Corporate) offering across the six Wealth Management Centers in the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman, Curacao and the Turks and Caicos Islands. An experienced banker with over 20 years in various positions spanning Insurance Broking, Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Credit Risk, International Banking and Wealth Management, Mr. St. Hill has also held senior management positions with the Bank in several countries in the Caribbean such as Grenada, British Virgin Islands and Barbados. He is a graduate of the FirstCaribbean Executive Leadership programme at the Wharton School of Business in the United States and a Fellow of the British Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Mr. Wright, who joined the company in December 2012, as Director, Private Wealth Management, has since then been leading the strategic initiative in support of an enhanced offer for the bank’s high net worth clients. In October 2013, Dan assumed the position of Managing Director, Private Wealth Management to reflect his additional regional responsibilities for CIBC Trust Company (Bahamas) Limited and CIBC Bank and Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Mr. Wright is an experienced wealth management and private banking leader. Prior to joining CIBC FirstCaribbean, Mr. Wright worked as Senior Vice President & Head, International Wealth Management for Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto with specific responsibility for their private banking business in the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. He was also Chair of the BNS Trust company in the Bahamas and a Director of a number of Caribbeanbased businesses in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Mr. Wright will be leveraging his strength in strategy planning and execution, as well as the management of teams of experts in a wide range of markets to further build CIBC Firstcaribbean’s Wealth Management capability.
France Appoints New OECS Ambassador Mr. Eric de La Moussaye, a Knight of the French National Order of Merit, is the new Ambassador of France to the OECS – based in St. Lucia replacing Michel Prom. A lawyer by training, La Moussaye was appointed Ambassador in September 2013 and presented his credentials to Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy on October 16. New Ambassador, La Moussaye, began his diplomatic service in January 1981 as an Administrative Attaché at the Ministry of Cooperation.
He has also been Deputy Prefect of Rathel (Ardennes) from October 2004 to March 2007; Deputy-Prefect of Coutances (Manche) from March 2007 – March 2010; and Deputy-Prefect of Saint-Diédes-Vosges (Vosges) from May 2010 to September 2011. From September 2011 he was Ministerial Purchasing Manager, Head of Central Procurement Division (DGA)
IICA Appoints Re p re s e ntat i ve For ECS Offices The InterA m e r i c a n Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has announced the appointment of Mr. John Henry King, a National of Suriname, as Representative for the IICA Offices in the Eastern Caribbean States (ECS), namely Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts/Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, effective January 15, 2014. Mr. King, who will be based at the Office in Saint Lucia, comes to the ECS from the IICA Office in Suriname where, as Project Coordinator, he had responsibility for coordinating the technical activities of that country. He holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Suriname and an MSc in Agriculture and Rural Development from the University of the West Indies. Mr. King has more than 34 years experience in the agriculture sector in the Caribbean Region and Expertise in rural development, agro-tourism, greenhouse production, organic agriculture and marketing. Prior to joining IICA and up to 2006, he managed one of the largest mechanized rice plantations in Suriname and had also been involved in the stimulation of small scale rice production and promoted the development of export markets. Under his leadership, the IICA Team in the ECS will continue its contribution to developing and strengthening the agriculture sector in these member states. BusinessFocus Mar / Apr
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