The bi-monthly magazine for decision makers No.53 â€˘ July/September 2014
Caribbean Water Treatment Preserving our greatest natural resource
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DECEMBER 2010 JANUARY 2011 • Issue No. 35
Cover Story: Caribbean Water Treatment
Editor’s Focus Business Briefs Business Tech
12 14 16 18
LIME Launches Nation Wide 4G CARICOM to have own ICT platform OCM Buys Digital Media Company Digicel US$1B Expansion Planned for Completion by March 2015
20 22 24 25
S&P Revises Outlook for CDB to Stable Caribbean Economies Predicted to Grow by 2.7 Per Cent in 2014 St Kitts-Nevis to Return US$40m to IMF Barbados Credit Rating Downgraded
Economy & Trade Focus
26 28 30 32 34
Grenada Trade Unionist Warns About Possible Devaluation of EC Dollar Region Needs to Adopt New Strategies to Become Competitive New Hope for caribbean economic recovery in 2014 Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean to hit US$84bn in 2015 Changing The Face Of Agriculture
WORLD BANK 2|
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
In The Know
Doing Good is Good Business
Does Antigua and Barbuda still have healthy coral reefs?
Lessons I Learned In College
LIME 29th CXC Awards
Shillingford gains admission to Europe’s Top
Investing In “The Caribbean” Is Good Business
Caribbean Airlines Gets New CEO & CFO Canadian Airline Veteran Appointed CEO
82 84 85
Events Page Major Moves New Company Registration
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BUSINESSFOCUS Business Focus magazine is published every two months by Regional Publications Ltd (RPL) in Antigua and Barbuda.
EDITOR’S FOCUS “Our environment, the world in which we live and
work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” – Earl Nightingale
So what are we really expecting? And what is our attitude to business, our country, life and the environment itself? Do we regard our environment with the same guarded aggression as we do our businesses? Or do we, even in our daily routines, add to its demise? Do we continue to take from nature’s resources without thoughts of sustainability or replenishment? These are just some of the questions we hope readers will ask themselves after perusing this issue of Business Focus. More often than not, many of us continue to believe that global warming and drastic effects of climate change are remote occurrences that have nothing to do with the Caribbean or Antigua and Barbuda. For years environmentalists have tirelessly campaigned to raise awareness and encourage others to adopt a Go Green mentality that begins with the simplicity of keeping the beaches clean and recycling bottles and plastics. Surrounded by the sea and ocean, we focused on one of our greatest natural resources – water. Given the extended water crisis we looked at Reverse Osmosis desalination with the leading water treatment company in the country and OECS – Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. This company not only provides water and water treatment solutions, but embodies their belief in preserving the environment from the products and services they offer to the personal philosophy of the company. In our aim to promote youth development, we continue celebrate the accomplishments of our young people in Youth Focus, as we acknowledge the professional and academic strides made by our sons and daughters of the soil. We appreciate the effort of LIME to continue its acknowledgment of our students who excel annually at the CXC examinations. Our top 2013 student was Michael Zouter from the St. Joseph’s Academy who achieved 16 grade ones and one grade two passes.
Publisher: Lokesh Singh 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 • Joanne Hillhouse Arica Hill • Sherrol Browne • Dr. Chris Bart Brian Ramsey • Bevil Wooding Dr. Linroy D. Christian • Anushka Singh 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: Mario Bento • Caribbean Water Treatment
ers r decision mak y magazine fo The bi-monthl
No.53 • July/September 2014
As we celebrate, we also congratulate the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, led by the Hon. Gaston Browne, who serves as the fourth and youngest prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda. We look forward to the continued progress of the country as they embrace youth, experience and national pride into their agenda for the country’s growth. As always, 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. 4|
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Caribbean Water Treatment
st Preserving our greate natural resource
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Discover what’s possible BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
BUSINESS BRIEFS ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA ELECTS A NEW GOVERNMENT
The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) on Thursday 13th June overwhelmingly defeated the United Progressive Party (UPP) of Former Prime Minister W. Baldwin Spencer. The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party won 14 seats and three seats went to the United Progressive Party. Prime Minister Elect Gaston Browne outlined that he was humbled by the confidence that the people of Antigua and Barbuda placed in him and the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party. He further stated that, “the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party has set an impressive vision for Antigua and Barbuda to transform it into an economic powerhouse.” In further addressing the way forward for his administration and Antigua and Barbuda, PM Elect Browne noted that, “as Servant Leader, I will lead a team that will be the servants of the people and I will be a Prime Minister who is not divorced from the people but dedicated to serve. I say to every Antiguan and Barbudan that we will honour our commitment to you.” Prime Minister Elect Browne and his Attorney General Designate Steadroy C.O. Benjamin was sworn in by Governor General Dame Louise Lake Tack on Friday 13th June, 2014. The successful candidates for the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party were: Gaston A. Browne, Steadroy C.O. Benjamin, Arthur Nibbs, Lester B. Bird, Robin K. Yearwood, Molwyn M. Joseph, Asot Michael, Charles Fernandez, Samantha N. Marshall, E. Paul C. Greene, Eustace S. Lake, Melford W. F. Nicholas, Dean Jonas and Michael Browne. The successful candidates for the United Progressive Party who will form Her Majesty’s Opposition are: W. Baldwin Spencer, Willmoth S. Daniel, and Joanne M. Massiah. 6|
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
ANTIGUA-BARBUDA SIGNS $2 BILLION INVESTMENT DEAL
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne and Director of Yida International Investment Antigua Limited Mr. Yida Zhang sign the Memorandum of Agreement at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.
One day after taking up the position of leader of the government, Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Yida International Investment Antigua Ltd., paving the way for a two billion dollar investment project in Antigua and Barbuda. During the lead up to the 2014 election, which was overwhelming won by the new Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), Prime Minister Browne pledged to the people of Antigua and Barbuda that his administration when elected would bring tangible investments that will generate much needed economic growth for the country. The Memorandum of Agreement, which binds Yida International Investment Antigua Ltd., to the investment, will result in Guiana Island and surrounding lands transformed with the construction of five five-star hotels, 1300 residential units, a casino and conference centre, a 27 hole golf course, marina and landing facilities and a commercial, retail and sports facility. Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Immigration and Labour, the Hon. Steadroy C.O. Benjamin who witnessed the MOA, said that the new Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party is about delivering for the people of Antigua and Barbuda. Yida International Investment Antigua Ltd., is expected to invest over 200 million dollars annually in the Antigua and Barbuda economy over the next ten years as well as provide an Antigua and Barbuda presence in the People’s Republic of China to attract additional economically viable investments.
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA TAKES SPEECH CHAMPIONSHIP!
Antigua and Barbuda made history at the Toastmasters International District 81 May 2014 Conference when first time entrant, Pearl Quinn-Williams, of the Antigua Toastmasters Club won the District 81 International Speech Contest held 17th May. Her speech entitled, “Would you kiss me?” brought several audience members to tears as she condemned stigma and discrimination against HIV infected persons. Pearl Quinn-Williams will be representing 20 Caribbean countries in the Toastmasters International World Championship Speech Contest this August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mark Young of the Antigua Toastmasters Club also placed third in the District 81 Impromptu Speech Contest, making our local toastmasters club the only one to place in both competitions. Under the theme “Unlock your Potential,” the District 81 Conference was held for the first time in Antigua and Barbuda from May 16th to 18th and 150 persons from across the Caribbean attended. Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization, which was founded in 1924, to help persons develop public speaking and leadership skills.
LIAT CEO PRAISES STAFF
LIAT CEO - David Evans
The new CEO of regional air carrier LIAT has praised the initiative of the airline’s headquarters based staff in Antigua. In his monthly “Letter from the CEO”, David Evans noted how he was “struck by the huge wealth of experience that exists throughout our organisation.” Reporting on a joint venture to develop highly skilled jobs in Antigua, he said that the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Antigua State College (ASC) – to establish an engineering apprenticeship scheme in September – would “see us offer hands-on engineering experience in our facilities to apprentices studying at ASC.” Saluting the generosity of LIAT staff, he praised Kim Burden of the Engineering Department for offering to deliver, free of charge, skills training across the organisation in a number of areas, including customer service, communication, coaching, supervision and leadership.
He also pledged to tackle the issue of flight disruptions by making the complex schedule simpler and focus on service delivery. Meanwhile, Evans declared LIAT’s commitment to keeping its headquarters in Antigua. “This firm commitment is reflected in a formal agreement entered into in January 2014 between the government and LIAT for the retention of the head office in Antigua. Through this agreement, LIAT continues to keenly support the economic and social development of the twin-island nation as well as the eastern and wider Caribbean.”
ENHANCED OPPORTUNITIES FOR OECS BUSINESSES TO REACH DISTANT MARKETS
Another highlight of his first month in office, Evans noted, was witnessing the work of the LIAT information technology team delivering software, allowing pilots to undertake a critical part of their training on their own PCs, laptops, or tablets in a true computerbased training environment.
Dr. Didacus Jules Director-General OECS
“These three initiatives give me great encouragement because they have all come from within our organisation, and those individuals who have made them happen are to be commended,” said Evans, a former British Airways executive.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Export development Unit (OECS-EDU) is conducting e-business workshops which incorporate an e-commerce diagnostic assessment of participating firms from around the OECS member states.
LIAT is undertaking a wide-ranging review of its commercial activities with the sole purpose of enhancing its revenue earning potential, he stated. “To this end, a small team of airline commercial experts, who are not professional consultants but rather people with real-life airline experience, will be spending the next few weeks at LIAT’s headquarters in Antigua and across the network to put in place very specific enhancements to the commercial processes.”
To date, workshops have already been conducted in Anguilla, St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda. Given the small size of most Caribbean firms, and the very limited capital base, experts for the OECS EDU say e-commerce provided opportunities for reaching customers in distant markets without the cost of establishment or the use of intermediaries.
Evans said he was confident that as a result “we will see some real improvements in our revenue performance in a relatively short period of time.”
and actual e-commerce work by firms participating in the exercise. This will allow the OECS to review existing use of e-commerce, determine the scope for industry-based business-to-business networking and collaborative technological sharing solutions as part of a market–based, market-driven approach to ensure practical, implementable solutions in this area of business development. It is therefore necessary to develop this platform to enable enterprises within the OECS to become more competitive and costeffective in the global marketplace. As a key strategy to enhancing the competitiveness of firms, the OECS-EDU has developed a comprehensive programme over the period of the 10th EDF to place e-commerce as a key cornerstone to facilitating trade and increasing the profitability of firms in the region. The OECS Authority, by its January 2012 endorsement of the suite of harmonized pieces of electronic legislation, has recognised the need to develop appropriate e-business, e-commerce, and technology regulatory regimes and framework. The introduction to e-business and e-commerce focuses on topics such as: • Online branding (domain name); • Marketing and advertising – advertising, direct marketing, search engine optimization (SEO); • E- transactions, including digital signature, terms of service, payment technology, e-payment, etc; • Legal framework.
The objective of the workshop was to introduce the businesses to available opportunities to utilize e-business and conduct an e-commerce assessment of these businesses, which will inform an overall OECS e-business strategy with a focused approach to e-commerce. It drew upon the data collected from a questionnaire
Dr. Didacus Jules Director-General OECS
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
THE BRICKS & MORTAR OF GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE By : Dr Chris Bart
Good governance begins with good directors. Accordingly, it is essential that today’s boards be comprised of directors who know what they are doing. Boards need to have directors with the right competencies and mix of skills that will serve both the current and longer term best interests of their organizations. And as the range of boardroom responsibilities and oversight issues increases, having directors who are qualified to address them becomes even more challenging. Finding the right directors of course starts with knowing what to look for. The first question therefore that every board needs to consider when assessing 8|
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
its composition and future requirements is: How many directors do we need? As a starting point, a board should be comprised of an “odd” number of members in order to deal with controversial decisions that may ultimately have to be made by a vote as opposed to consensus. And while board size can vary dramatically, it is worth pointing out that the average size of a publicly listed board has, for the past decade or more, tended to hover around eleven members. Having eleven directors recognizes that the board as a whole should not have to deal with the minutia of every oversight issue, but rather be able to delegate to selected board committees (made up exclusively of directors) the authority to carry out certain detailed oversight activities on their behalf. Those board committees typically include: Audit and Finance; Governance and Nominating; and Human Resources and Compensation. Having a large board therefore guarantees that there are sufficient numbers of directors to populate those committees without overburdening any one individual. Consequently, the more committees the board feels it should have, the more it may require additional directors to even-out the responsibilities. Conversely, the smaller the board, the greater becomes each individual director’s workload. After the issue of board size has been determined, the next most important question regarding board composition
concerns the specific qualifications of the directors. What types of persons should be asked to join and remain on a board? Given that one of the primary functions of directors is to provide oversight of the organization and its management, it is essential that there be a sufficient number of “outside directors” – representing at least 50% of the board to give them strength in numbers - who are also considered to be independent of management. After all, how can directors who are also part of management give proper oversight of themselves. The truth is, they can’t. The value of independent directors therefore is that they bring an objective and unfettered state of mind which allows them in their supervisory role to diligently probe and assess the quality of the recommendations that management brings to them. And it is with that capacity wherein lies an independent director’s greatest asset: the ability to say “NO” to a poorly thought out or ill advised idea. Being independent of management (or a controlling shareholder) and maintaining an objective state of mind, however, is a tricky matter about which good boards and good board chairs need to be ever vigilant. Perhaps, this is why there is more and more support being given to the notion of requiring the mandatory replacement of public company directors after 10 years of board service.
INSET REQUIRED SKILLS, CHARACTERISTICS, COMPETENCIES
But just “being objective” should not be the only characteristic that good boards look for in their independent directors. There are also a number of other specific competencies and skills that are absolutely crucial to have present – and be displayed around the boardroom table. To start with, there should be one or more directors with the expertise and experience to give effective oversight to the organization’s major functional activities: finance and accounting, legal, human resources, marketing, etc. There should also be directors who have the specialized knowledge to help their management deal with the particular nature of the organization’s industry as well as with any emerging technologies, such as social media and cyber security, that may impact business success. But, by far, the biggest consideration that needs to be taken into account when deciding who should be on a board is a director’s ability to contribute to the future strategy of the organization. What this means in practical terms is that if your company is planning on making an acquisition (where the regularly reported failure rate is up to 80%), it should have at least a couple of directors who have successfully acquired and integrated several acquisitions on their own before joining the board. And if your organization intends on opening operations in China, Mexico, Canada or even another Caribbean Island, a number of your directors should be able to provide cautionary advice on how to do this and also,
perhaps more importantly, what not to do. Indeed, more than one Canadian company has had to retreat from its foray into the United States because it did not have at least a few directors who could have pointed out the perils and pitfalls that needed to be overcome before doing so. After factoring “strategic expertise” into account, it is vitally important that there be diversity of thought when selecting and keeping directors. Nothing will kill a good idea (or keep a bad one) than a group of directors who all think the same way because they all share the same backgrounds and experiences which in today’s environments means boards which are either too male or too pale. In some research I did two years ago, I was actually able to explain how and why women bring better decision making capabilities onto a board. So check your gender ratio which in today’s world should be aggressively moving to the 30% female mark. With all the considerations and conditions listed above, how should a board go about determining if it is made up of directors with the necessary qualifications? I have found that the best way for a board to assess its composition is through the use of a “board skill matrix”. (see inset) Developing one first involves having an open and forthright discussion among the directors to identify the skills, competencies and characteristics required by the board as a whole and
then honestly assessing the degree to which individual directors satisfy each need. Again it is not necessary for each director to possess all of the requirements on the matrix but all of the requirements listed should be met collectively by the board. The value in the matrix then comes mostly from identifying the “skill gaps” from which the board members can then have another conversation about how they intend to fill them – either through board training, board additions or board replacements. Experience has also taught many boards, the hard way, that creating the skill matrix and having the subsequent discussions about any ‘”gaps” is best handled with the assistance of an outside facilitator. Doing so helps reduce the appearance of bias in the assessment process and mitigates the tendency among certain directors to overstate their qualifications. In conclusion, the way to build better boards is by having better directors. So here’s the big, uncomfortable question for Caribbean directors: to what extent does your board have the skills, qualifications, competencies, experiences and characteristics required to give effective oversight of your organization and its management given its particular business and industry circumstances? And if you think that there is room for improvement in the way they carry out their governance oversight function, you might also want to consider sending them to one of the corporate governance training programs currently available in the region – like the one currently being offered by The Caribbean Governance Training Institute. After all, it’s not education which is expensive, but rather ignorance. About the Author: Dr. Chris Bart, FCPA is a recognized governance authority, the author of two best sellers, and CoFounder of the Caribbean Governance Training Institute. The Institute is currently providing a six part corporate governance program offered one night per week over six weeks and 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 BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
WITH THE FASTEST DATA SPEEDS
other mobile network in Antigua and Barbuda. Since HSPA+ is compatible with the other mobile technologies already in use on the network, LIME mobile customers with 2G and EDGE compatible devices will be able to continue browsing and using data applications seamlessly. Customers with 3G, 3.5G and 4G phones will automatically enjoy a significant increase in their browsing speeds. LIME Antigua and Barbuda’s General Manager, Davidson Charles said LIME has been working tirelessly to bring its customers the best speeds: “Our customers have been telling us they want a fast and reliable network that is available nationwide and is comparable to First World standards. We have responded and have rebuilt our mobile data network and rolled out a brandnew leading-edge 4G mobile network, which will delight our many data and speed hungry customers”.
Mobile data speeds never before experienced in Antigua and Barbuda have now become a reality nationwide for the first time as LIME launches its brand-new, superfast 4G mobile network. LIME customers will be the first to experience the superior technology everywhere throughout the twin island nation. LIME customers in Antigua and Barbuda will automatically have access to the same superfast mobile data speeds as is now available in leading industrial nations such as the USA, UK, and Japan, as long as a customer has a data enabled device. They now have the opportunity to touch, feel, play and interact with the latest devices in a 4G powered environment. As part of its launch LIME is offering two months of double data to existing and new customers, who sign up for a new data plan. Additionally, as the only authorized Apple Mobile Operator retailer in the country, LIME is also offering both the I-phone 5S and I-pad Air at special low introductory prices of ECD$1499 and ECD$1599 respectively which represents a 50% savings for its customers. LIME’s 4G – or 4th Generation – network, which uses HSPA+ technology, means that mobile customers will enjoy faster data speeds with quicker access to the Internet. Customers can now watch videos at blazing speeds, simultaneously browse the web while making a call, send emails, download photos, apps and music at lightning speeds. They can even conduct video conferences on their phones, plus much more. The new network has demonstrated speeds not seen on any 10 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology Dr. Hon. Edmond Mansoor indicated that he was extremely pleased with the nationwide availability on the new LIME 4G mobile network. It will be a catalyst in supporting the government’s initiatives to allow for better access and training in technology for public servants throughout Antigua & Barbuda. As a responsible corporate partner, LIME has consistently demonstrated its support for the government’s vision as it relates to information technology. LIME’s Corporate Communications Manager, Shand Merchant indicated, that “Customers with data-capable phones will immediately notice an improvement with faster speeds up to the optimum level of their devices. LIME’s new 4G network in comparison to the other mobile networks will be available everywhere in Antigua and Barbuda. Our new 4G network means that they can now realise the full potential of their handsets. There is a huge demand for mobile data and this upgrade will not only help us to improve the customer’s experience, but to also better meet that demand as more customers move to smartphones, tablets and other data-capable devices.” LIME’s launch of nationwide 4G is a major milestone for the company and for Antigua and Barbuda. This is a huge moment for LIME and for the country, especially coming on the heels of LIME’s partnership with the Government’s ground breaking Human Entrepreneurship and Assistive Resource Technology (HEART) Project. Later this year the company will increase its investment and provide even more speed to customers with the launch of a new LTE mobile network. The LTE network will support Government’s objective to improve access to the internet and online resources in the country and position Antigua as a technology hub.
CARICOM to have own ICT platform The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region is “quickly marching” towards a regional arrangement that will see it have its own platform for information and communication technologies (ICTs). And, according to Barbados’ Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, “Barbados is fully on board, in this venture.” He said: “We recognise the upstanding work of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union as well as the work of respective governments… Prime Minister [Keith] Mitchell of Grenada at the prime ministerial level has been leading the charge in this respect, as we believe we have to drive the costs of telecommunications downward
Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Hon.Donville Inniss
whilst at the same time expanding access within the region and the world out there.”Inniss made these comments following a recent twoday trip to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) ministerial meeting in Georgetown, Guyana. Asserting that Barbados needed to “take control” of its ICT development “a bit more”, Inniss emphasised that it was recognised that “once these infra structural arrangements and administrative arrangements were solidified” there was phenomenal growth that could take place in our economies that will flow from the work of ICT based enterprises. He noted that this would go a long way in making government far more “efficient and more cost effective to administer”.
IDB Launches DigiLAC, A New Platform For Measuring Broadband Penetration In Latin America Latin America and the Caribbean lag far behind developed countries in broadband penetration, according to a new index launched today by the Inter-American Development Bank. It finds Chile, Barbados and Brazil in the best position to take advantage of this vital development tool.
The Southern Cone sub region has the greatest broadband penetration with a score of 4.87. The Caribbean is the region lagging furthest behind, with an index of 3.72. However, Central America scored 4.26, slightly surpassing the Andean region at 4.13.
The 26 countries of the region included in the index posted a score of 4.37 on the Broadband Development Index. By comparison, the countries of the OECD rate an average of 6.14. Chile leads the regional ranking with a combined score of 5.57, followed by Barbados at 5.47 and Brazil with 5.32.
DigiLAC also features maps with data on 13 infrastructure and socioeconomic variables at the municipal and department level in the countries that were studied.
The index brings together 37 indicators, each with a score ranging from 1 (least development) to 8 (most development), to come up with the overall index. The indicators are chosen on the basis of four pillars: public policy and strategic vision, strategic regulation, infrastructure, and applications and knowledge. “In a modern society, broadband is the key ingredient of the public policy agenda for speeding up economic growth and reducing inequality,” said Antonio García-Zaballos, who is leading the IDB’s broadband initiative. According to a recent IDB study, a 10 per cent increase in penetration of broadband services carries with it average rise of 3.2 percent in Gross Domestic Product and 2.6 percentage points in productivity. The ranking can be found on the IDB’s new DigiLAC web site, with data from all the countries of the region and more than 15,000 cities and towns. It was released as part of an IDB seminar on South Korea and the lessons that can be drawn from it for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean. South Korea has one of the world’s highest degrees of broadband development. 12 |
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For people to benefit from broadband access to the Internet, companies, lawmakers, regulators and other actors with influence must work together to tackle the digital divide that exists between the region and the world’s most dynamic economies, and between urban and rural areas in the countries measured by the index. Broadband services have been rising in Latin America, with an annual increase of between 16 and 18 per cent. But the worst bottleneck for broadband is its high cost for users: nearly eight times what it is in the countries of the OECD. Added to this is a lack of coordination between the public and private sectors in developing a national digital agenda. “It is essential to have the right regulatory frameworks so as to encourage competition, transparency and the legal security needed to stimulate the necessary investment,” García-Zaballos added. DigiLAC is part of the IDB’s Broadband Program, the goal of which is to promote an institutional and regulatory environment that facilitates competition and investment to speed up access to as well as adoption and use of broadband services in the region.
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OCM Buys Digital Media Company Chief Executive Officer Dawn Thomas
One Caribbean Media (OCM) has acquired a 60 per cent share in a “small, innovative digital media company,” the region’s biggest media conglomerate said in a statement to the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange recently. The acquisition represents less than 0.02 per cent of OCM’s net book value. OCM Chief Executive Officer Dawn Thomas said the investment was “in keeping with our digital media strategies”. “When we look at the landscape we realise the media is trending in that (digital) direction, so part of our growth strategy is to invest in a company that can provide us with that foundation to build on a digital
media platform,” Thomas said. She added that it was a small company from an asset standpoint and it will be listed in the company’s next annual report (for the financial year 2014). “Many of our advertisers and customers recognise especially that younger people are spending time on social media platforms, so more advertising spend is being allocated to advertising on social media platforms, this company will provide us with that opportunity to maximise our exposure into that market,” she said. OCM is the parent company of the Caribbean Communications Network (CCN) of which the Trinidad Express, Barbados Nation, TV6 and a host of Radio Stations including The Wave and Rediffusion are part. It is a publicly traded company on the Regional Stock Exchanges.
to Establish First Innovation Centre in the Caribbean T&T Location a Key Market for Regional Expansion “Cloud first, mobile first,” Barry Ridgway says emphatically when I ask what Microsoft’s priority strategy is in the Caribbean and Latin America.
In May Ridgway made his first visit to T&T to be present at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Microsoft and its community partner Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri) for the establishment of Microsoft’s first Innovation Centre in the Caribbean.
“It’s the mission that Satya Nadella has outlined, and it’s our primary strategy in the region.”
Microsoft has established 110 centres in 80 countries throughout the world, 20 of which are in Latin America. This is the first centre to be established in the Caribbean region. The Innovation Centre, scheduled for opening in August 2014, will offer capacity building opportunities to the whole Caribbean region.
Ridgway is new to the role of VicePresident of the Sales, Marketing and Services Group of Microsoft Latin America, but he’s no novice at the company. He’s an 18-year veteran at Microsoft and has taken his first year to properly understand the markets now under his care.
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
“Latin America is a big growth engine for Microsoft,” says Ridgway, “and T&T is one of our biggest markets and a gateway for us to the Southern Caribbean.” “Microsoft needs a strong hub to build partners who do well in T&T and in the region. We definitely see T&T as a platform for expanding our presence in the region.”
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US$1B Expansion Planned for Completion by March 2015 Portfolio Diversification Reaping Revenue Rewards The group’s constant-currency-based revenue posted modest growth of three per cent while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin improved to 45 per cent, up from 44 per cent in the previous year. “This was mainly driven by increasing data revenue supporting average revenue per user (ARPU), a decline in churn rates, as well as strong growth in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Trinidad & Tobago, and French West Indies,” said Fitch. “Stable subscriber number growth continued, with the total subscriber base reaching 13.4 million at the end of 2013 from 12.8 million a year ago.” PNG returned the strongest growth in any of Digicel’s markets -- in the three months to December 31, the local-currency-based revenue in PNG grew by 11 per cent year over year -- which offset weak growth in other major countries of operation, such as Jamaica and Haiti. The PNG market accounted for 17.7 per cent of the total group revenue in US dollar terms by the end of 2013 based, still behind Digicel’s largest market, Haiti, which accounted for 18.9 per cent of revenue. But another important milestone reached in diversifying away from the traditional mobile voice was the increase in the contribution of data-based value-added services (VAS) to revenue from 23 per cent of income a year before to 26 per cent. DIGICEL Group is expected to complete a two-year, US$1 billion expansion by next March. Ratings agency Fitch said an increase in annual capital expenditure from US$360 million in the 2013 financial year was due to network expansion in its various markets, including a new tower project in the South East Asian country, Myanmar. “Fitch forecasts Digicel to generate negative free cash flow (FCF) in FY2014 and FY2015 due to high capex and dividends, despite stable performance,” said the rating agency in an affirmation of Digicel’s ratings. “In those two years, annual capex is expected to increase to between US$470 million and US$500 million. However, Fitch believes that FCF generation could turn positive from FY2016 as expansionary capex falls in the absence of any sizable special dividend.” Indeed, the telecommunications company generated stable operating results for its first nine months to December 31, 2013. 16 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
“Increasing smartphone penetration, which rose to 20 per cent at the end of 2013 from 13 per cent a year ago, should continue to support this trend,” said Fitch. “The company has made several acquisitions in the submarine fibre network and cable operations to cope with the data capacity increase to reinforce this strategy.” Digicel’s information and communications technology (ICT) business, which is mainly business solutions and data management for corporate customers, also grew to US$21 million during the last three months of 2013, or by 23 per cent over the previous quarter. However, revenue from ICT services still only represented three per cent of the consolidated revenue of Digicel Group during the quarter, according to Fitch, suggesting that revenue during the last quarter of 2013 totaled US$700 million for the telecommunications company. “This segment (ICT) is likely to become a meaningful cash generator over the long term as the demand outlook is solid,” said Fitch.
& Partner to Build Cable Station in Panama Through a Joint Venture, the Principals of Flow and LIME Will Provide Services to Atlanta-based Ocean Networks Telecommunications firm, Columbus International, which operates in the Caribbean as Flow, has inked a deal with US-based Ocean Networks to build a submarine cable station in Panama. Columbus Networks, working through the recently formed alliance company with Cable and Wireless, CNL-CWC Networks, will design and construct a carrier class cable station to house the South America Pacific Link (SAPL) submarine cable system and provide network operations and management (NOC and NMA) services. Ocean Networks, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and which develops submarine cable systems for governments, carriers, content providers and research and education groups, plans to run a 9,700-kilometre-long trans-Pacific cable that will connect Balboa, Panama to Oahu, Hawaii. Columbus and Ocean Networks have agreed to include additional commercial agreements for onward connectivity from this link to the NAP of Americas and the Caribbean region, using a variety of the diverse subsea network routes. The parents of LIME and Flow partnered to build out their underwater
fibre-optic network and international wholesale capacity business. The joint venture between Cable and Wireless Communications and Columbus Networks resulted in the combination of 42,000 kilometres of cable connecting 42 countries in the Caribbean, the US and Central America. Columbus has a 72.5 per cent stake in, and management control of, the joint venture, called CNL-CWC Networks, with CWC controlling the remaining 27.5 per cent share “with appropriate minority protections”, apparently reflecting the asset value of the respective companies. CNL-CWC Networks started out operations on an agency basis by providing joint sales and marketing services for each of CWC’s and Columbus’ international wholesale capacity services. The alliance is to be broadened over the next year with Columbus and CWC contributing their sub-sea and related assets into the joint venture company, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals and certain other conditions being met. Once the applicable approval requirements and conditions have been met, the joint venture will then assume ownership and management control of the international wholesale capacity operations of CWC and Columbus, and all new investments in infrastructure will be made, and owned by it.
BUYS Microsoft Corp has announced it has completed its acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The acquisition has been approved by Nokia shareholders and by governmental regulatory agencies around the world. The completion of the acquisition marks the first step in bringing these two organisations together as one team. “Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.” Reporting to Nadella is former Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop, who will serve as Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group, overseeing an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface,
Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products and accessories. Microsoft welcomes personnel with deep industry experience in more than 130 sites across 50 countries worldwide, including several factories that design, develop, manufacture, market and sell a broad portfolio of innovative smart devices, mobile phones and services. BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
S&P Revises Outlook for CDB to Stable
Completes First Post-Proramme Monitoring For Antigua & Barbuda On April 21, 2014, the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the first post programme monitoring discussion for Antigua and Barbuda. On June 5, 2013, the board concluded the tenth and final review of the 36-month stand-by arrangement (SBA). Given that outstanding Fund credit was 500 per cent of quota, directors agreed that postprogramme monitoring should be initiated. Antigua and Barbuda’s economy is facing headwinds. In 2013, economic growth was somewhat lower than projected at the time of the SBA review and the fiscal deficit widened substantially. This year, the economy is expected to grow by 1.6 per cent, up from 0.5 per cent in 2013; and inflation is expected to remain subdued at around 1 per cent. However, risks to this outlook are high, stemming in particular from the country’s unsustainable fiscal situation and the large share of nonperforming loans in the banking system.
Executive Board Assessment Executive directors noted with concern that the macroeconomic performance has deteriorated in the months following the conclusion of the SBA with the Fund, weakening the growth outlook and exacerbating downside risks. Directors recognised the progress made in bank resolution, but stressed that delays in reforms are exacerbating fiscal risks and undermining the stability of the banking system. They urged the authorities to move quickly to resolve the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank, in close collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. Directors cautioned that the resolution strategy should not weaken the fiscal position further. Directors stressed the importance of swiftly reversing fiscal slippages and encouraged the authorities to articulate a comprehensive medium-term fiscal consolidation programme to put the public debt on a sustainable path. Directors called for a redoubling of efforts to implement pending tax administration reforms, including the long-delayed Tax Administration and Procedures Act, and scale back tax exemptions. They also recommended that wage restraint to reduce personnel costs should be an important element of the authorities’ fiscal strategy. More broadly, the recent increase in current expenditure should be reversed and transfers to state-owned enterprises reduced, while protecting capital spending. Directors considered that the recently launched citizenship by investment programme (CIP) could bring benefits to Antigua and Barbuda, if managed prudently. Noting the inherent uncertainty associated with income from such a programme, they recommended that CIP revenues be targeted primarily for paying down debt and for creating a buffer to smooth spending in the event of adverse shocks. Directors stressed the importance of measures to improve the business climate and external competitiveness over the medium term, and welcomed the initiatives underway in this area. 18 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
CDB President- Dr Warren Smith STANDARD and Poor’s (S&P) revised its outlook for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) from “negative” to “stable”. The rating agency also affirmed the CDB’s “AA/A-1+” status on long and short term foreign currency ratings. S&P made the announcement late May following a review of CDB’s 2013 financial resultsl. The adjustment was made due to the abatement of external liquidity pressures among some of the CDB’s largest borrowers and high capital adequacy with a risk-adjusted capital ratio of 23 per cent as of December 31, 2013, to offset the significant embedded credit risk in its portfolio. The rating agency also viewed CDB’s “strong” business profile and its “very strong” financial profile favourable. CDB’s role as a prominent lender in the Caribbean and ability to lend to sovereigns through the credit cycle as well as demonstration of members support for the CDB’s mandate by granting a 38 per cent increase of paid-in capital in 2010 also contributed to the positive shift in outlook. “We welcome the revision in our outlook to stable and are satisfied that the measures we have taken have been successful in contributing to the improvement in outlook,” said Dr Warren Smith, President of CDB. “We have strengthened our risk management structures and monitoring; further improved capital adequacy and continued with good liquidity planning. Our priority continues to be equipping ourselves to remain a strong institution which has the confidence of our partners and provides timely, effective support to our BMCs.” Among the measures implemented were: further improvements to profitability; increased monitoring and compliance; establishing the foundation for a successful private sector initiative and strengthening balance sheet capital adequacy to improve our external rating. “We are encouraged by the gains made within the region in 2013 in fiscal and debt sustainability where they have occurred, while being mindful of the continued challenges of: accelerating growth, sustaining fiscal consolidation, and containing the debt burden. Our performance is inextricably linked to that of our member countries’ performance generally, and to their support of the Bank’s preferred creditor status specifically,” said Smith. S&P described CDB as having a strong business profile. This is reflected in the rating agency’s assessment of CDB’s mandate and of its public policy role as a prominent lender through the credit cycle for its borrowing members in the Caribbean. S&P noted that the Bank’s borrowing members have treated the CDB as a preferred creditor in most periods of stressed external liquidity-evidence of the strength and stability of CDB’s relationship with its shareholders. CDB also maintains a strong “Aa1” rating with Moody’s Rating Agency which in November 2013 revised the Bank’s outlook from “negative” to “stable”.
BusinessFocus â€˘ April/June 2014
Caribbean Economies Predicted to Grow by 2.7 Per Cent in 2014 The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says the region will grow an average of 2.7 per cent in 2014 due to limited dynamism of the region’s principal economies.
At the same time, the upturn of developed countries will benefit the Caribbean nations, more specialised in service exports, due to better performance by the tourism sector, ECLAC said. It said St. Kitts and Nevis will grow by 3.1 per cent, Bahamas 2.5 per cent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2.3 per cent and Trinidad and Tobago 2.1 per cent, the same figure projected for the whole group of Caribbean countries.
In releasing its report, the Updated Economic Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013, ECLAC said the 2014 regional growth rate would be slightly higher than 2013 (2.5 percent), but lower than the rate forecast in December (3.2 percent). ECLAC said this is due to an “external context still marked by uncertainty and lower growth than expected for the region’s larger economies”. In its report, ECLAC said activity indicators for developed countries-especially the United States, United Kingdom, Korea, Germany and several others from the euro zone – have shown recovery. In addition, the demand for commodities is forecast to remain limited, especially mining
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
and food products, which, combined with currency appreciation in developed countries, would cause commodity prices to drop modestly. The decrease would affect the economies that export these products, like those of South America. ECLAC points out that the United States’ recovery will have a positive impact on the economies of its closest neighbours, especially Mexico and Central America, considering its importance as a trade partner.
“The perspectives for the year show a global scenario with lower liquidity, which entails important challenges in matters of macroeconomic policy and external financing for the Latin America and the Caribbean region,” ECLAC said. “In this context of modest regional economic growth, there will not be a meaningful recovery of employment levels,” it warned, stressing that this could translate into an increase in unemployment rate – which in 2013 registered a new minimum of 6.2 per cent – only if the drop in labour force participation seen last year is reverted.
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St Kitts-Nevis to Return US$40m to IMF CAB and UK Group Partner to Improve Loan Access to SMEs in the Region Over US$16 Million in Loans Projected in 3 Year Period The St Lucia-based Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) is collaborating with UK-headquartered Alexander Bain to pilot Streamlined, a new Internet-based, secure financial intermediation platform to improve accessibility to loans for businesses regionally. Through Alexander Bain, a management consultancy in the UK and the Caribbean, users will access an electronic network of banking associates across the region. “Streamlined will facilitate prospective borrowers to electronically apply to a network of multiple commercial banks across the Caribbean. Banks will receive a copy of the professionally reviewed application forms and by mutual agreement introduce the applicant to the bank. Following lending, the Alexander Bain relationship then enables monitoring of the loan covenants increasing banks confidence to lend,” CAB said. The application forms will “typically (be reviewed) by an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants member”. The key benefits of the Streamlined platform include reducing application time and the associated load on individual banks. “Lenders will access a significantly enhanced pool of potential borrowers and this initiative is projected to transact over US$16 million (in) loans over the next three years, targeting small and medium enterprises (SME) across the Caribbean,” CAB said. Streamlined is accessed through Alexander Bain’s access to finance portal www.scaleupcrowd.co-m. “Streamlined is the result of a perfectly timed strategic partnership with Alexander Bain and Associates. I personally think that such collaborative approach is what is required across the Caribbean. “The landscape for the financial services sector globally is changing rapidly and Caribbean bankers within our membership aim to stay ahead of the curve,” said CAB Chairman Carlton Barclay. Rhonda Best, Managing Director of Alexander Bain added: “Streamlined is just the beginning. At Alexander Bain we are determined to create opportunities to improve access to debt and equity finance to enable businesses with growth potential. We are pleased that the Caribbean Association of Banks shared our strategic vision and look forward to working together.” 22 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
The fiscal situation and performance of the economy in St Kitts and Nevis has steadily improved over the last few years and has allowed for the return of a US$40 million loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the St Kitts and Nevis Information Service reported. The Information Service said that in 2011, the Federal Government engaged in a three-year Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF to the tune of US$84.5 million. “The structural adjustment programme was developed by the local government as part of a debt restructuring initiative,” the news release said. “At the completion of the ninth and final review by the IMF, a positive report was delivered as it showed a 3.8 per cent economic growth, a surplus of 12.2 per cent of GDP, as well as a 61 per cent reduction in public debt to 104 per cent of GDP”. Debt reduction is also reportedly “on a sustainable path, projected to reach a low of 60 per cent of GDP in a few years”. While delivering the Post-Cabinet Briefing, Minister of Information in St Kitts and Nevis Nigel Carty explained that “Cabinet considered and approved the return of approximately US$40 million to the IMF that was provided for under the Stand-By Arrangement with the institution”. He added that “the decision to return the unused loan funds to the IMF is consistent with government’s policy to continue to reduce its debt and to adopt a higher level of fiscal discipline going forward”. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Denzil Douglas has been widely praised for his leadership in the development and implementation of the home-grown structural programme and returning the economy to positive growth in spite of the global economy which continues to negatively impact many countries in the Caribbean region, the news release said
Barbados Credit Rating Downgraded Moody’s Considers Credit Risk as High Rating Agency Moody’s downgraded Barbados three notches on Monday June 2nd 2014.A widening fiscal deficit, growing debt levels, expected decline in international reserves, and anticipated increase in pressure on the country’s currency peg were cited as reasons for the rating action. Falling from a rating of Ba3 to B3 meant the country cleared an entire scale used to measure bonds considered to be speculative and subject to high credit risk. Its credit risk was previously considered to be moderate and the latest downgrade reflects a downward trend which started in 2009 and which accelerated towards the end of 2012, when the country’s sovereign debt lost its investment-grade rating. Barbados’s fiscal deficit exceeded 11 per cent of GDP for its 2013/14 fiscal year due to lower-than-expected revenues and high government expenditure driven by public sector wages, financial support to lossmaking public entities and significantly higher interest payments.
faces a trade-off between debt servicing and maintaining the currency peg”.And, while an upgrade is unlikely given the negative outlook also assigned to Barbados, Moody’s said it could stabilise the outlook if: “The Government’s fiscal consolidation plan leads to a stabilisation of debt ratios. The economic outlook improves on a sustained basis with GDP reporting positive growth. The Government materially decreases its reliance on short-term debt and Central Bank financing and international reserves steadily increase.” In his comment, CIBC’s Chief Emerging Market Economist, John Welch, observed; “We are concerned about the stark deterioration in the fiscal figures in 2013/2014, but the Government reacted to these unsatisfactory trends at the end of 2013 by increasing and accelerating implementation of fiscal reforms. Moreover, external accounts show significant improvement despite lower tourism growth. The Moody’s downgrade, as well as the S&P downgrade before, signals an imminent government debt restructuring, something we do not expect.”
“The Government announced several fiscal adjustment measures, including widespread public sector layoffs, but we think the authorities will be challenged to meet a deficit target of six to seven per cent of GDP in the running fiscal year, given Moody’s projection of a GDP contraction of around one per cent this year,” said Moody’s in its rationale for the rating action. Government debt levels rose to 97 per cent at the end of March, up from 85 per cent at the end of 2012. “Interest rates now consume nearly 30 per cent of the Government’s revenues,” said Moody’s. “Government’s gross financing needs will be in excess of 30 per cent of GDP in 2014 and 2015, when short-term debt is included.” International reserves were relatively stable at US$550 million throughout the first quarter of 2014, but that was because the Barbadian Government received an additional US$75- million bank loan in March. However, Moody’s expects a current account deficit of eight per cent of GDP in 2014, while the rating agency sees private sector inflows continuing to dry up.
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At the same time, central bank financing of government short-term debt, “a practice that became prevalent last year”, according to Moody’s, is expected to pressure Barbados’s currency peg to the US dollar. The world’s second largest rating agency figures that Barbados’s ratings will continue to decline if “it becomes clear that the Government
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Grenada Trade Unionist Warns About Possible Devaluation of EC Dollar
Regional Governments Support “Authentic Caribbean Rums Campaign”
Grenadian trade unionist Chester Humphrey has warned that deteriorating economic circumstances in St George’s and the rest of the OECS could force a devaluation of the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar. “The OECS economies are facing grave challenges, and if we are not careful we may be forced into a situation where we may eventually have to devalue the EC dollar,” Humphrey warned. He cited Grenada as an example of an OECS state having “high debt, falling government revenues, and the state is unable to finance its way”. However, two keen observers of economic affairs in the subregion disagreed that the declining economic situation in the OECS will force the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to devalue the EC dollar.
St Lucian Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony has assured Carib¬bean rum producers a marketing campaign to position Authentic Caribbean Rums in Europe and internationally has the backing of Caribbean governments. Dr Anthony was spea¬king at a regional rum exposition in St Lucia, which hosted 16 Caribbean rum producers and journalists from six European countries.
One of the two, financial analyst Schneidman Warner, argued that devaluing the dollar will not benefit St Kitts and Nevis and other members of the OECS grouping.
He acknowledged that despite victories at rum festivals worldwide, the Caribbean had a lot to do to maintain its foothold in traditional markets in Europe and to establish new markets globally.
He says one of the reasons why a country devalues its currency is “in order to attract increased exports to make it more affordable for people to buy things from you”.
He said although the region was known for the “absolute quali¬ty and excellence in the rums produced, it still had to deal with competition in the international market.
Schneidman says most of the OECS countries have significant trade deficits and do not export many goods. Vincentian broadcaster Jerry George acknowledged that the economies of the OECS states are in trouble; however, he does not agree that this will necessarily lead to devaluation.
“The Authentic Caribbean Rums campaign should market the Caribbean personality and the fact that Caribbean producers are the best at what they do,” Anthony said.
George warned, though, that the OECS countries must take steps to ensure that they can continue to support the dollar.
He also urged rum producers to get engaged in promoting responsible consumption of rum as the health and other sectors were pushing for curbs and increased taxes on rum products.
“We will not be able to continue to support the dollar at 2.71 EC dollars per US, that’s clear, unless we fix the problem,” he told WINN FM.
The exposition was organised by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association.
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
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Region Needs to Tap Caribbean’s Adopt New ‘Competitive Advantages’ Strategies To Improve Agricultural to Become Production – Study Competitive ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
- CDB President
Dr William Warren Smith
President of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr William Warren Smith, recently urged regional countries to adopt new strategies to ensure their competitiveness saying that the energy sector could create a whole new industry based on a new paradigm. Addressing the 44th Annual Meeting of the CDB Board of Governors, Smith said the high price of electricity is a major source of the region’s uncompetitiveness, and of its vulnerability to external shocks. A new study suggests the design of policies and greater investment in eight priority areas will enable Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to raise agricultural productivity, meet its own food and nutrition needs, and help meet the burgeoning world demand for food, fiber and fuel. The study released in the United States in May was published by the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), a partnership of organisations that includes the InterAmerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB). The study recommends that governments, the international donor community, the private sector and agricultural producers implement actions to tap the region’s competitive advantages, especially the wealth of its natural resources.“One of the major challenges for the region is the need to transform family and smallholder farming into a competitive and sustainable form of agriculture, capable of achieving increased food production and a substantial improvement in the income and quality of life of producers,” IICA Director General Víctor M. Villalobos said. The study also proposes that the policies needed to attract more investment to agriculture in LAC and increase the region’s contribution to world food security should focus on efforts to boost the advance of agricultural science, research and development as well as improve the transfer of knowledge to producers and modernise agricultural extension systems and services. It also calls for the authorities to promote and create frameworks that offer legal security, to attract investment in infrastructure for the agricultural sector, support irrigation, water management and technology as well as to promote, enhance and facilitate regional and global trade. The need to improve farmers’ access to financial services: managing risk and the availability of credit were also outlined in the study. GHI and the IDB also recommend that the LAC countries place agriculture at the centre of their development policies and invest in the creation of public goods through research, development and innovation, to stimulate higher productivity in the sector 26 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
He said that Caribbean countries have a competitiveness problem and “it is at the root of our difficulty in achieving the high rates of economic growth which we need to be able to provide the standard of living to which our people aspire.” He told the delegates including President Donald Ramotar, St Kitts/Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas and Montserrat’s Premier Reuben Meade that the region can increase its energy independence substantially, “reduce the cost of energy and in the process, create a whole new industry based on a new paradigm.” Smith said that if the aspiration of the Caribbean is to end poverty and to provide high quality jobs for young people “then our industries must be equipped and facilitated to compete in North and South America. “They must be equally prepared to take advantage of the opportunities being offered through the European Economic Partnership Agreement; the hopefully imminent Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement; and the burgeoning markets of the middle and far eastern countries. “When we see new export-focused industries taking firm root in our economies, then, and only then, can we be assured that the right foundation for the sustainable prosperity of our people has been laid.” But he insisted that for economic growth to be sustainable, it must be undergirded by competitiveness, which has to be global in its outlook and in its reach. Smith said that high rates of economic growth have eluded the majority of the Caribbean countries, noting that the region’s economic expansion of two per cent annually over the past decade “has been consistently below the global rate of 3.8 per cent, lower than the four per cent average for other Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and way below the average of six per cent for emerging and developing countries. “Our anaemic growth performance is further manifested in widening fiscal imbalances; high debt ratios; and declining levels of foreign exchange reserves,” he said making reference to surveys done by the World Bank and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index that showed the Caribbean’s ranking does not compare well with other countries in the area of competitiveness. He said, for example out of 189 countries surveyed for the Doing Business index, the average ranking for the Caribbean is 100. “The rankings confirm that our BMCs (Borrowing Member Countries) will have difficulty maintaining existing markets and penetrating new ones unless there is radical transformation in the way we do business,” he said, adding that the surveys also highlighted several areas that need to be addressed
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FOR CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN 2014 SAYS WORLD BANK
The Outlook Assumes a Moderate Decline in Commodity Prices Five years after the global financial crisis, the world economy is showing signs of recovery in 2014, pulled along by high-income economies that are bouncing back, says the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report issued earlier this year. Growth for developing countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and the rest of the world is also firming, thanks in part to the recovery in high-income economies as well as moderating, but still strong, growth in China. Growth prospects for 2014 are, however, sensitive to the tapering of monetary stimulus in the United States, which began earlier this month, and to the structural shifts taking place in China, the report says. The outlook for the Caribbean and Latin American region is subject to a number of downside risks. “Weaker than expected growth in the advanced countries, could affect the region’s growth prospects through a less than robust recovery in the region’s exports, tempering overall economic growth. The outlook assumes a moderate decline in commodity prices. Given China’s importance in global commodity markets, a sharper-than-expected slowdown in China could result in a protracted and more severe slump in commodity prices, thereby eroding regional export and government revenues, and potentially aggravating current account imbalances,” the World Bank said in its report. Lastly, prospects hinge on the continued incremental withdrawal of quantitative easing, along with the gradual increase in global interest rates. “Thus far markets sentiment towards the onset of tapering has been calm. If, however in the future, markets reactions cause global interest rates to unexpectedly rise sharply, then capital flows to the region could 28 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
be curtailed significantly, destabilizing current account balances, leading to disorderly depreciations of exchanges rates, and quite possibly, increasing imported inflation. These outcomes would compel local governments to tighten monetary policies and further reduce growth prospects,” the report noted. In terms of recent developments the World Bank observed that subdued global trade, less supportive commodity markets, and domestic challenges curbed growth in 2013 in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Real GDP grew by 2.5 per cent in 2013, broadly unchanged from 2012, but sharply below preceding years. “Consistent with the weakness in global demand during the year, growth in regional merchandise exports was subdued, growing by 4.1 per cent for the months January to November, compared with 7.6 per cent over the same period in 2012. In 2013, the prices of agriculture products, metals and precious metals (in US dollars) fell 7.2, 5.5 and 16.9 per cent, respectively. Given the commodity intensity of the region’s exports, these price declines have severely dented the region’s value of exports, leading the regional current account deficit (as a share of GDP) to widen from 1.7 per cent in 2012 to 2.6 per cent in 2013.” With conditions in the global economy expected to improve in 2014 and beyond, the regional economic outlook is positive, with growth strengthening steadily from 2.9 per cent in 2014 to 3.7 per cent in 2016, the World Bank stated. “Together with the expected increase in global trade, the region’s exports will grow from 4.0 per cent in 2014 to 5.4 per cent in 2016. The enhanced growth in exports will support GDP growth and improve current account balances. On the other hand, the continued decline in commodity prices will reduce export revenues, implying less resources for consumption and investment, and also worsen trade and current account balances..
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BusinessFocus • April/June 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean to hit US$84bn in 2015 Remittances sent to Latin America and the Caribbean will grow to hit US$84bn in 2015 from the US$64bn expected in 2012, according to the World Bank’s latest “Migration and development” brief. Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are supported by a recovering economy and an improving labor market in the US but moderated by a weak European economy. The region will, thus, see a modest growth of 2.9% in 2012, according to the brief. But remittance flows will pick up steam in the coming years, expanding by 7.6% in 2013, 10.3% in 2014 and 11% in 2015, in line with the expected growth for developing countries. Remittance flows to the developing world are expected to exceed earlier estimates and total US$406bn this year, an increase of 6.5% over 2011, the World Bank said. However, despite the growth in remittance flows overall to developing countries, the continuing global economic crisis is dampening remittance flows to some regions, with Europe and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa especially affected. “Although migrant workers are, to a large extent, adversely affected by the slow growth in the global economy, remittance volumes have remained remarkably resilient, providing a vital lifeline to not only poor families but a steady and reliable source of foreign currency in many poor remittances recipient countries,” said Hans Timmer, Director of the World Bank’s development prospects group.
The World Bank said it expects continued growth in remittance flows to all regions of the world, although persistent unemployment in Europe and hardening attitudes towards migrant workers in some places present serious downside risks. HIGH COSTS, NEW REGULATIONS Another obstacle to growth of remittance flows is the high cost of sending money, which averaged 7.5% in the third quarter of 2012 for the top 20 bilateral remittance corridors and 9% for all countries for which cost data are available, the World Bank said. The brief also discusses the implementation of the new remittance regulations in the US and Europe and concludes that these regulations are likely to lower remittance costs in the long run by increasing competition and improving consumer protection.
TCL Breaks Into Latin American Market De-bagging Plants Being Set Up in Colombia on Tuesday with an estimated arrival date of May 21. Earlier this year, TCL’s General Manager, Satnarine Bachew, announced at the company’s 60th Anniversary Interfaith Service that plans were afoot for the company to enter into the Class G international market in a significant way. Four months later, this goal has become a reality. “TCL has been manufacturing oil well Class G cement for the last 20 years and has focused mainly on supplying the local TT market. This shipment to Colombia is the first step in the journey to developing a global brand. It has the potential to expand to Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil and Africa. The potential is huge,” Bachew said.
Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) has sent its first shipment of the company’s specialised Class G (oil well) cement to Latin America. The 300-tonne shipment destined for Colombia, left via the Port of Point Lisas 30 |
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
TCL’s recently-appointed Group Strategy Implementation Manager, Andres Peña, shared similar sentiments saying: “The first shipment of oil well cement to Colombia is an important step in TCL’s strategy to expand our frontiers in the sale of cement. Entering the Colombian market means that our oil well cement has the quality and price expected by oil service companies. “By entering this new market, we will build confidence with service companies such as Tucker, Halliburton and Baker and Hughes for
them to consider TCL as a reliable option in Colombia and other Latin American markets.” He added that TCL’s “growth strategy in Colombia is based on quality, pricing, service and local operation. We will also have one debagging plant in Barrancabermeja, Colombia, and are already working on a second device to be located in Villavicencio, Meta. Having debagging plants in Colombia will allow us to respond to the needs of our customers while growing our sales.” TCL’s Marketing Manager, Rodney Cowan, expressed delight at the company’s accomplishment. “I am extremely excited at the opportunity of putting our company on the global stage. This is an excellent way for us to add shareholder value and for our employees, it sparks a sense of pride as we break out into a competitive, yet lucrative environment,” he said. Cowan said a major element of TCL’s five-year plan includes conversion of 75 per cent of the company’s export market from Premium Plus (Pozzolan) cement to Class G cement in an effort to exponentially increase profitability. He added that the first major leap toward this goal was achieved when a partnership was forged between TCL and its Colombian-based service providers, Tucker Energy Services, Baker and Hughes, Superior Energy, Halliburton and Schlumberger. “This breakthrough offers us the opportunity to further establish ourselves in the Latin American market, which is currently an area of growth,” Cowan said. While hopes of retaining a long-term relationship with Colombia remain, TCL is simultaneously working toward expanding its market in other South American countries such as Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. The company is also looking at securing brand awareness and forging a solid market base on the African continent, in countries such as Angola and Nigeria.
Oil well cement, or Class G as it is referred to in the oil rig servicing industry, is ideal for use on oil rigs due to its high temperature and sulphate resistant capacities. Leading global cement manufacturing companies produce this specialised cement to the American Petroleum Institute (API) specifications 10A. TCL’s business development specialist Ryan Lee Isava said: “TCL is also a certified API manufacturer of Class G, and consistently produces cement which exceeds API standards.” While there are inevitable challenges for companies seeking to compete with global industry giants, TCL is very optimistic about attaining success.
• DESIGN • SUPPLIES • SERVICE • CONSTRUCTION • MAINTENANCE
Waterscaping Ltd With CPO® Certified Technicians McGyver Donelan Barry Luke Jamie Thomas Carole Schlott Donelan
“where water becomes art” Blue Waters, PO Box 2536, St. John’s, Antigua Tel: (268) 461-7273 Cell: (268) 720-POOL (7665) email: firstname.lastname@example.org BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS
CHANGING THE FACE OF
young entrepreneurs – Winston Laville, Dominic Chastanet and Jermaine Paul Many persons within Antigua and Barbuda view agriculture as a derogative industry to tap into. It is commonly associated with the uneducated and as a means to get by. Persons do not view agriculture as a viable business which can lead to profitability, economic empowerment and development, they even fail to recognise a few of Antigua’s local millionaires are farmers. LCP Industries, however, views agriculture as a legitimate form of business and if properly managed can actually attract a higher return on investment and profitability than other types of businesses. Founded in 2011 by three young entrepreneurs – Winston Laville, Dominic Chastanet and Jermaine Paul – LCP Industries is a crop production company borne out of the need to foster partnerships and create an innovative crop production in an effort to strengthen the region’s food security and to further develop the nation’s economy. Their goals include strategic expansion to become a viable commercial crop production to export regionally and internationally; and achieving sustainable profitability. Their business philosophy is to deliver the highest quality of various crop produce at competitive prices, taking into account stringent food safety measures unparalleled to any competitor within the local market. They believe that one of the major drawbacks of some of their competitors 32 |
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is that they (the competitors) still do not view agriculture as a business, but rather view it as a means to generate cash for the household and their livelihood. The Caribbean Community Food Import Bill is estimated at approximately US$4 billion per annum with onions and carrots standing at approximately US$37 million in value. LCP believes that the opportunity exists within agriculture to meet such demands, especially for carrots and onions, but notes that it will take a concerted effort from all stakeholders to develop the industry. The need exists for the investment in the agricultural and manufacturing industry as the aforementioned Food Import Bill shows that to tap in to a mere 10 per cent of the food industry can have a tremendous impact on Antigua and Barbuda’s economy. As part of their plan, the company conducted a regional market validation for onions and carrots in January 2013. The results of the validation showed great opportunities for the company’s growth and expansion to supply the Caribbean Community with these two produce. Subsequently, the company acquired an additional 20 acres (Pilot Stage) of land to facilitate a fully mechanical onion and carrot production site and developed a strategic business plan for this future expansion.
This Onion and Carrot Initiative is youth focused to involve at least 20-40 youth entrepreneurs to undertake the production of onions and carrots for our Caribbean Community. These production sites will be based in the rural areas of Antigua which will not only facilitate young entrepreneurs but also provide employment for youths in this geographical area. The Onion and Carrot Initiative (EC$100 million target market value) will include the latest technologies available within the onion and carrot production sectors. Each production stage will involve the use of mechanical and automated components/machinery which will facilitate commercial production, allowing the company to deliver its produce at a competitive quality and price. LCP explained that this equipment will be “available to youth farmers and farmers in general (through our company’s Contract Farming model) who have overwhelming responded to being a-part of this initiative. It will allow them to develop their farms to a commercial level, providing a total employment of approximately 200 persons within their rural communities and increase our Caribbean Community’s Food Security. “Apart from the use of technology which would have a significant impact on the young entrepreneurs, their rural communities and the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, young entrepreneurs will have access to technical and mentorship support which will be available from the different stakeholders that are a-part of this venture.” LCP shared that financial support (EC$1.25M) was made available through our affiliate partner the Gilberts Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Centre via PDVCAB. “This will allow young entrepreneurs to have the necessary start - up capital which is a major constraint in our country.”
Therefore, the use of modern technology, youth inclusion, forming important alliances with stakeholders to provide technical, mentor and financial support are the main innovations of this project that will be of direct benefit and development to LCP Industries, young entrepreneurs, rural communities and our national economy. LCP Industires entered the Caribbean Innovation Challenge with this innovative onion and carrot initiative and won the Best Economic Entrepreneur out of 493 regional participants. Subsequently, they represented the Caribbean Community at the Talent and Innovation Competition that was held within the framework of the OAS General Assembly, and were among the top eight best economic business plans out of approximately 2500 youth-led businesses throughout the western hemisphere. That year, they also received the Antigua and Barbuda National Youth Entrepreneur Award in December 2013.
LCP INDUSTRIES STATISTICAL STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND EXPANSION
Acreage No. of Employees
No. of Contract Farmers
Target Market Captured
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
IN THE KNOW
Doing Good is
The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility By Bevil Wooding
Technology can turn a cause into a movement, faster than ever before. Yet, in an Internet-enabled world of social networks, mobile payments, virtual learning and crowdsourcing, most firms’ approach to social giving remains stuck in the corporate dark-ages. So how do companies go about unlocking the true potential of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives? Changing leadership thinking, not technology, holds the key. Companies around the world are waking up to the fact that throwing dollars at social causes is not sufficient to bolster a brand. It is also not the most effective way to drive social change. That’s why progressive companies are fundamentally re-thinking their approach to charitable efforts. They are moving from handouts and grants to more strategic social investments. There is no good reason why responsible businesses in the Caribbean should do otherwise. 34 |
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Re-Thinking CSR “Doing well by doing good” is one of today’s fashionable business mantras. Businesses have eagerly adopted the jargon of “embedding” CSR in the core of their operations, “activating the social conscious” and making it “part of the corporate DNA” to impact all company decisions. However, in too many cases, the CSR rhetoric falls well short of the reality. According to Michael Porter, a global authority on competitive strategy and economic development, despite a surge of interest in CSR, in most cases it remains “too unfocused, too shotgun, too many supporting someone’s pet project with no real connection to the business”. Too often, executives see charitable efforts as disconnected from their real business efforts rather than inextricably linked to business success. However, when this thinking changes and the connection is made, social dollars can be used differently. The result - a potentially transformative effect for the businesses, and for society as well. Some companies are already heading in this direction, guiding their
staff to use their unique skill sets to drive social change. For example, Deloitte, the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and by the number of professionals, pledged $110m of staff time to pro bono work, and hundreds of companies have joined A Billion + Change, pledging to use their skill sets to drive social good. Other major companies are beginning to follow this path, including Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the US, and Walmart, the largest retailer and the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees. Both firms have done significant work to develop responsible supply chains, and to invest in development of the communities they impact.
From PR Events to Social Initiatives The most basic form of CSR is traditional corporate philanthropy. Companies typically
allocate about 1% of pre-tax profits to social causes. But for companies, and for the communities they touch, such arm’s-length philanthropy— simply writing cheques to charities—is just not enough anymore. Companies should seek to go beyond simply sponsoring events, to investing in social initiatives. People want to know that the companies they work for and the brands they support care enough to invest in the communities they impact, over the long-haul. Forward thinking companies are increasingly engaging in more strategic social efforts. Why? Research shows consumers will pay a premium for socially responsible products. But there are other motivators consumers are now more likely to punish firms who focus more on public relations than on actual social impact. Employee engagement and retention is also on the line when it come supporting causes staff care about. A study from the Jackson Organization, a survey research consultancy, shows, “companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity & assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t.”
The Value of Good Business Clearly, there’s solid business reasoning for companies to integrate a values-based strategy, and more importantly, to live up to it. But this justification is not yet unequivocal, or else everyone would be doing it. Debates over core-business versus potentially distracting, do-gooder activities continue in executive suites and boardrooms the world over. This is not all that surprising. The business of trying to be good presents executives with difficult questions. How do you measure CSR performance? Should you
develop strategic alliances with non-profit groups, and collaborative partnerships with competitors? Is there really competitive advantage to be had from investing in community empowerment? Do charitable investments in education and social programs actually, measurably contribute to a more stable market? These are all relevant questions, that demand focused leadership attention. The advocates of soft-benefits like employee-happiness, customersatisfaction, or brand-loyalty do not always find a welcomed place beside the hard-numbers disciples of sales, profits and returns-oninvestment. However, corporate social responsibility ought not to be about making decisions only when there is an obvious business return. True corporate responsibility is about making the long-term investment that building ethical, values-based organisations resourced by inspired employees, will boost productivity, improve service delivery and strengthen the wider markets and society in which the business exists. The data and real-world examples show that those who invest in truly good-works can create businesses that customers, shareholders and stakeholders can trust. Even if it costs in the short-term, the long-term business and social benefits make the investment worthwhile. Now, that’s good business. Bevil Wooding is the Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN (www.congresswbn.org), a values-based, international charity and the Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, a technology education non-profit organization. Reach him on Twitter @bevilwooding or on facebook.com/bevilwooding or contact via email at technologymatters@ brightpathfoundation.org.
LIFE & MEDICAL Other Policies
LIFE & MEDICAL
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Coral Reefs: Does Antigua and Barbuda still have healthy coral reefs? By Joanne C. Hillhouse
When Dr. Bob Steneck replied via email to my queries, he was just finishing up a dive in the Grenadines, and St. Croix would follow. Between 2013 and 2014 to that point, the Maine resident had sailed the Alaria; diving reefs around Bermuda, and throughout the Windward and Leeward islands. Talk about seeing the Caribbean by sea. But this was no idle endeavour, as followers of his blog (http://bobsteneck.blogspot.com) learned. Alaria was a floating lab and Steneck was conducting comprehensive research into the health or lack thereof of Caribbean coral reefs – which he asserted may be “the world’s most endangered ecosystem”. On the blog, he referred to Antigua’s reefs as a “lost city” – overrun with sea grass and lacking the richness and vibrancy he would have witnessed when he first dived the Caribbean in the early 1970s. He had a healthier prognosis for the Barbuda reefs. He did a presentation on his findings before departing our twin island state. It’s fair to say that his presentation highlighted the need for ameliorative action, and fast, to save the Caribbean reefs. But Steneck emphasised that all is not lost. His blog showed the health of the coral reefs in Mustique to be above average for the region, due in great part to rigorous conservation efforts on the part of the high net worth private dwellers of the exclusive island. “My next blog 36 |
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is going to be about the bright spots we have found beyond Mustique which includes Tobago Cays Marine Park,” Dr. Steneck informed me. “So the bottom line is that the coral reefs are not all dead - they have a capacity to recover but we need to focus on protecting specific ecosystem drivers if we are to slow or stop the decline of coral reefs in the Caribbean.” Conservation is critical but both his blog and his responses suggested a topical shift from biological studies to a better understanding of “the human face of marine resource use.” In his blog, for instance, he made the obvious point that the islands are more than “pieces of land surrounded by coral reefs” and that by reading the reefs, insights about how people function within the ecosystem can be gained, and from that can perhaps come ideas for better management. Reefs affect human life and human activity affects reefs; but, in
reality, for some people, ironically sometimes the people most affected, the ecological arguments can seem remote or abstract if people can’t make the connection between that and their lives and livelihoods. That connection, he emphasised, must be made. “The ecosystem includes people – trying to find ways to maintain ecosystem structure and function while maintaining social structure and function is the goal of the next century,” Dr. Steneck said. In this regard, he had positive things to say about Barbuda’s Blue Halo project, saying it “may be on the right track because it is directly involving the local community at day one.” Where the community is not engaged nor the people economically empowered, even zoning of marine areas can be ineffective against poaching; or so his accounting of his experience in St. Lucia, via his blog, seemed to suggest. He wrote, “While it is arguable that maintaining the reserves will sustain a healthier reef ecosystem, when you have no financial reserves, liquidating the natural resources to which you have access becomes rational. Note, that does not mean it is sustainable, just that it is a rational option given the lack of alternatives.” He spent roughly two months
in St. Lucia and could feel, he wrote, the divide between the haves from the havenots and its impact on conservation efforts. Conversely, in Tobago Cays, he blogged that as the healthy reefs are an eco-tourism magnet, abundant reef fish have proven to be more valuable than the fish sold in the market. He seemed particularly eager to study the Barbuda reefs, in part because the island is ‘out there’ on an isolated corner of the Caribbean, in part because he was interested in seeing the impact of brisk fishing activity counterbalanced by low population density and moderate development relative to Antigua, in part because the sister island’s reefs were “surprisingly unstudied”. There were positives and negatives; one positive, “the ecologically-important grazing parrotfishes were more abundant in Barbuda than they were in Antigua. This group of fish is said to be an ecosystem driver due to their ability to reduce seaweed abundance on coral reefs and improve conditions for baby corals.” So the reefs were relatively healthy, he assessed, though not exactly uniformly so. He found Barbuda’s reefs to be unique for the Eastern Caribbean in terms of their
architecture. “They grade from a featureless ‘pavement’ … to reefs having significant architectural complexity.” He saw great ecotourism potential on the sister island. Antigua was a different story. “The coral reefs we studied in Antigua now have only a fraction of the corals and associated habitats they once had and now possess only a fraction of the diversity that once thrived in this ecosystem.” This was a very different story than a 1976 paper referenced by Dr. Steneck, which reported that Antigua had “one of the best developed coral reef systems in the Lesser Antilles.” Human activity isn’t to blame for all of this; Dr. Steneck credited a fair amount of the damage to disease, a strain of disease that affected reefs across the Caribbean. Dr. Steneck, aware of the disease and of the decline of sea urchins that grazed the reefs keeping the sea weed in check, wanted to assess the resilience and recovery of the reefs. Inhibiting the recovery, he suggested is the abundance of the sea weed, which poisons corals – “it smothers them, causes them to feed less, increases their susceptibility to disease and can reduce the ability of baby corals to get started on reefs.” In Antigua, “only an
average 15 per cent of the reef surface was covered by live coral.” Twenty five per cent was surfaced by sea weed. “A big part of my concern is how few juvenile corals I’m finding,” Dr. Steneck wrote. “The ones I see are hearty small corals…nevertheless, they too are growing in a field of seaweed.” There is potential for recovery, he pointed out, if the seaweed can be controlled. During his presentation, the text of which was made available to me, Dr. Steneck concluded, the “good news is that all the components of healthy coral reefs still exist in Antigua”, that and the presence of active environmental groups, could, he suggested, “make a difference”. Dr. Steneck, a professor of marine science at the University of Maine, also voiced his willingness to help. About the Author: Joanne C. Hillhouse, a creative writer (of books like The Boy from Willow Bend and Oh Gad! and the children’s picture book Fish Outta Water), with an active curiosity about many things, including the state of our natural environment; for more on her, her books, and freelance writing and editing services visit http://jhohadli. wordpress.com
byZIA photography “expressing timeless moments” * weddings * maternity shoots* family shoots * * engagement shoots * personal shoots*
Call us: 1 (268) 779-6634 Email us: email@example.com Visit us: www.byziaphotography.com Like us: www.facebook.com/byZIAphotographyANU BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
The Reintroduction of the
Victoria Park Botanical Gardens The Victoria Park Botanical Gardens, known as “The Botanical Gardens” is an unrealised Antiguan gem that is laid out beautifully on five acres on the outskirts of St. John’s city. Surrounded by business entities, and in close proximity to schools, the Botanical Gardens has great potential to provide a unique experience for all its visitors. A newly proposed vision by the Environment Division to collaborate with local business and community groups to revive the Botanical Gardens is soon to be embarked upon. This collaboration is what is needed to ensure that the Botanical Gardens reflects the true spirit of Antigua and Barbuda. The Environment Division, through a Cabinet decision in 2012, was entrusted with the task of developing the Botanical Gardens and implementing a management strategy aimed at making it a centre of activity and interest. This strategy presents a new vision for the Botanical Gardens that encompasses not only the preservation of indigenous Antiguan plant species, but also seeks to create “an inspirational space for showing effective environmental best practices, environmental learning and enjoyment”. It outlines a specific plan to manage the Gardens by creating an area with landscaping and public facilities rivaling any in the Caribbean. Visitors would be ignited with a love for nature and care of our environment. The use of various plants to create distinct themed zones will portray a true botanical 38 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• July/September July/September 2014 2014 38
garden experience, while simultaneously heightening their interest in environmental and sustainable development issues. Additionally, students and nature lovers will also benefit from interactive exhibits and tours, as practical options will be provided for renewable energy and green technologies. This will be exemplified by the Gardens as it utilizes solar energy as its main energy source and recycled water from surrounding institutions for watering plants. By making the Gardens a living laboratory, not only will aspects of our beautiful environment be highlighted, but persons can see the demonstration of how it can be used to teach us to live more sustainably. By so doing, we can build our resilience against problems such as climate change and land degradation. Within the plan, a huge focus will be placed on creating opportunities for environmental and heritage learning and recreation. As such, the Botanical Gardens will be able to facilitate and host events and activities for all members of the public, within a clean, green space. It will provide an opportunity to engage communities, through building heritage value with evening storytelling and the development of a vibrant after school program. With the opportunity for using the open area as a rentable space to host concerts, fairs and even garden weddings within St. John’s, the benefit of developing this national resource increases. Overall, an investment into one of
the largest environmental projects to date creates not only a beautified area within St. John’s, but allows businesses and groups the opportunity to leave a legacy to be enjoyed for generations. These projects, which emphasise green technologies, significant environmental issues, education and recreation are all key to the success of the Park. Embarking on such a large project will be no easy task. As can be imagined, it will require human and financial resources to successfully implement all these areas; and this is where partnership is needed. Traditionally, the Environment Division has completed projects through merging their government allocation with grants received primarily through international negotiations. However, given the nature and scope of work required to achieve this vision, the Division is pinning its hopes on increased partnership with local corporate sponsors and community action. The Victoria Park Botanical Gardens will serve as a living legacy of Antigua and Barbuda which has far-reaching implications. The Environment Division is therefore encouraging local businesses and community groups to become partners in this dynamic national project. Get involved today by contacting the Environment Division at 764-6265 or admin@ environmentdivision.info.
Caribbean experts meet in Nicaragua to discuss coastal and marine pollution Over 30 scientific and technical experts from the wider Caribbean met in Managua, Nicaragua in June to discuss current and emerging pollution issues for the region. This meeting of the second scientific technical and advisory committee (2nd STAC) for the protocol concerning pollution from land-based sources and activities (LBS Protocol) is being organised by the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Caribbean Sea based in Kingston, Jamaica, with financial support from the GEF-funded Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management Project (CReW). It reviewed the achievements of the pollution sub-programme of UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme for 2013-2014 and discuss the draft work-plan and budget for the 2015-2016 biennium. Experts reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the decisions of the first meeting of the contracting parties to the LBS Protocol and twelfth meeting of the contracting parties to the Cartagena Convention held in 2012. Some of the main items for discussion included: • Development of the first state of marine environment report for the Caribbean Sea; • Agreement on new projects and activities for addressing marine litter, nutrients and wastewater in the wider Caribbean region.
and assessment of pollution sources, impacts and trends; and • Improving public awareness and outreach on the impact of pollution on human health and the environment; According to Christopher Corbin, programme officer with responsibility for the organisation of the meeting, “More countries have committed to the ratification and implementation of the LBS Protocol; control and reduction of marine pollution remains a very high priority given its impacts on human health and economic development.” According to Corbin, “Over 75 per cent of sewage continues to enter the Caribbean Sea untreated in addition to agro-chemical and sediment run-off, the latter of which is approximated at over 300 million tonnes of top soil per year, all of which continue to negatively impact coral reefs and coastal fisheries”. He emphasised that the loss of coral reefs results is approximately US$10 million in annual revenue loss from the fisheries sector alone, which could directly and indirectly affect the livelihoods of over 750,000 people. Eleven countries: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Panama, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States participated. The meeting will discussed ways to encourage ratification of the LBS Protocol by the remaining countries in the region.
• Identification of capacity building and training needs for monitoring BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
IN THE KNOW
RBC Hosts Directors Forum in TT More than 40 executive and non-executive directors of RBC Financial Caribbean Ltd and its subsidiary companies joined Caribbean regulators when the company hosted its Third Biennial Directors’ Forum and Regulatory College 2014 at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) in Port of Spain recently. The meeting was intended to educate directors and regulators about RBC’s governance practices and to ensure that they understand their responsibilities, as well as keep current their knowledge of RBC’s business.
In his remarks, Suresh Sookoo CEO, Caribbean Banking, RBC, described how RBC operated in the Caribbean, in accordance with its parent company in Canada. Sookoo gave a broad outline of the governance structure of RBC in the Caribbean, its operations and business profiles as well as regional vision and strategic priorities. Sookoo noted that RBC fosters a strong governance culture that influences the entire company in the Caribbean. “This includes compliance with all legal and regulatory standards, adherence to evolving best practices and promoting the highest standards of ethical behaviour in keeping with RBC’s values,” he said. The Forum also featured presentations from the Bank’s senior officers in Finance, Risk Compliance including Anti-Money Laundering
Suresh Sookoo CEO RBC and Governance, and Internal Audit. RBC first held the Director’s Forum in 2010 and this is the first year a Regulatory College was included as part of the Forum.
Turkish Investors Targeted to Invest in the Caribbean by Caribbean Export and CAIPA Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 4, 2014. The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in cooperation with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) facilitated the participation of Caribbean investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in the annual World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) Investment Conference which was held in Istanbul, Turkey, during the period 1316 May, 2014. The Conference allowed for senior government officials to interact with distinguished economists and opinion-makers on investment-related matters. The WAIPA Conference also provided an opportunity for IPAs to share best practices, increase knowledge and forge new partnerships for CAIPA members. The hosting of the event in Istanbul, Turkey, also presented an opportunity for the 40 |
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Caribbean delegates to promote investment opportunities in the Caribbean to potential Turkish investors. As such, a working lunch was held with the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) of Turkey and its members on 13th May and on 16th May, an Investment Forum was organized in collaboration with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and DEIK. Approximately 40 companies from Turkey participated. “The Investment Forum served to expose and introduce potential investors in Turkey to the Caribbean brand and to regional investment opportunities, enhancing the image of the Caribbean as an ideal investment location to investors”, notes Mr. Ronald Theodore, President of CAIPA. The event brought together 9 delegates from the IPAs of the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. “As we look to the future, Caribbean
Export hopes to deepen the Caribbean Region’s relationship with Turkey in the areas of trade and investment through a partnership with the DEIK and the ICOC, which we hope to concretize in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding. This partnership will allow our business people in the Caribbean to discuss and pursue trade and investment opportunities with business people in Turkey,” notes Mr. Escipion Oliveira, Deputy Executive Director of Caribbean Export, who was the lead representative on the mission. Funding for this activity was provided by the European Union, within the framework of the 10th European Development Fund, Regional Private Sector Development Programme and the Haiti-Dominican Republic Binational Programme.
BusinessFocus â€˘ July/September 2014
IN THE KNOW
Reorganizes Appoints new Caribbean CEO “Similarly, Sierra’s extensive knowledge of mass marketing and the understanding he developed of the personal accident and private client major medical lines of business while working in the Caribbean will be critical to the implementation of our growth strategy in Mexico.” Schultz comes to Pan-American Life with over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. He served most recently as senior vice president and director, foreign credit; for American International Group (AIG), Alico and MetLife, overseeing the credit related insurance business distributed through financial institutions, in over 60 countries. During his tenure, premium revenue grew from US$261 million to US$1.8 billion. He previously held the position of Regional Director, North America Employee Benefits. Schultz holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics and education from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and is a certified employee benefits specialist (CEBS) as well as a chartered life underwriter (CLU).
Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG)—the company that acquired the assets of MetLife in the Caribbean in 2011—recently announced a strategic change in the leadership structure for its operations in the Caribbean and Mexico. William (Bill) R Schultz, Jr will assume the role of CEO and Managing Director, Caribbean, while Miguel Sierra, who has held that position since August 2012, will relocate to Mexico as Country Manager of Pan-American Mexico, Compañia deSeguros, SA. “We are excited about the synergies that these two appointments will allow us to leverage. Bill has an impressive track record and a strong background in corporate employee and executive benefits sales that will be key to the development of that line of business in the Caribbean,” said José S Suquet, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Pan-American Life Insurance Group. 42 42 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• July/September July/September 2014 2014
“Sierra provided great leadership to our Caribbean teams during our first 18 months operating in the region, establishing a solid foundation for future growth,” Suquet said. “We have every confidence that Schultz will build on that foundation as we continue to implement our strategic vision for the region.” These appointments are subject to regulatory approvals. The company does not anticipate any difficulty in obtaining the necessary approvals. The Pan-American Life Insurance Group is a provider of insurance and financial services throughout the Americas having been established in 1911. It employs more than 1,400 people worldwide and provides individual and/or group life and health insurance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in the US, where it has added employee benefits and financial services in 47 states, the District of Columbia (DC), Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The group operates in several Caribbean markets, including Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curacao and T&T as well as in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama.
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IN THE KNOW
puts Jamaican in Frontline Position Grace Silvera now World Spokesperson for Telecoms Giant Phil Bentley who turned British Gas around in a tenure marked by unprecedented profits, is at it again, this time as CEO of Cable and Wireless Communications, parent company of LIME. As part of his arsenal, Bentley has brought back Jamaican Grace Silvera who was previously the LIME Regional Vice-President, Marketing and Corporate Communications, to be his key spokesperson for the Cable and Wireless Communications Group effective early June 2014. Silvera who played an integral role in the team that drove through regulatory change in Jamaica, which started the current turnaround at LIME, will answer directly to Bentley and will be based in CWC’s Miami, Florida Head Office, freshly relocated from its spiritual home in London. Silvera successfully led the fierce marketing and public relations battle with formidable telecoms competitor, Digicel, notably through the ‘win back campaign’ that changed LIME’s fortunes and saw the company’s share of the mobile market jump from 12 per cent to 20 per cent. The company also reported a profit during the campaign’s third quarter, a first in many years. She left LIME to focus on her doctoral studies in Transformational Leadership at a United States-based University. Bentley announced early May that Silvera would be rejoining the CWC family as Director of Communications and Culture. “I’m delighted that Grace is joining us and will be a part of taking this business forward. Grace will be our key external spokesperson and her experience and knowledge of the
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Caribbean and Latin American marketplace will be invaluable,” said the CWC boss. Silvera will be responsible for all Group communications, both internal and external, as well as digital communications. “She will also take responsibility for leading the Group’s new culture programme, which is charged with empowering CWC’s colleague base to better serve its customers,” the announcement said. She succeeds Lachlan Johnston, the Australian who was Group Director of Brand and Communications for the past five years. Johnston opted not to relocate to Miami, where the communications function will now be based. In recent times, Silvera has been gaining a reputation as a transformational leader after a string of big successes at Diageo-owned Red Stripe, where she became the first woman Director in the company’s history; Jamaica
Cultural Development Commission, which drew in unprecedented sponsorship for its cultural events under her watch; and LIME, where she was responsible for Marketing and Communications for 13 Caribbean territories. Silvera, who typically refers to her team members as “Passionate Ambassadors”, said in an interview: “There are few things in life that I have looked forward to as much as this new assignment. Part of my role entails engaging with the press and social media audiences, something I have enjoyed immensely over the years.” Cable & Wireless Communications describes itself as a full-service communications business offering mobile, broadband and domestic and international fixed line services in most of its markets, as well as pay TV, data centre and hosting, carrier and managed service solutions.
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BusinessFocus â€˘ July/September 2014
IN THE KNOW
Puppy Theft By Brian Ramsey
Probably the most common method of securing a home and yard in the Caribbean is for the home owner to get a dog. Many people love small dogs especially Pekinese, Pomeranian and Terrier breeds, ascribing to them a high degree of alertness plus they like the cuddly look and feel of these dogs. Certainly the alertness of these breeds is true and they can be fearless in defending their home. However the majority of Caribbean individuals want large breed dogs. Their logic is that the mere size of these dogs and the deepness of their bark are sufficient to deter any potential intruder. For many years in the 1970s and 1980s the preferred breeds were German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher and to a lesser extent the Labrador. In the 1990â€™s the Rottweiler breed became popular. Beginning around 2000 the Pitbull became a popular breed. Its reputation for fierceness made it popular plus the stories of this breed being used in dog fights and the belief that when it bites it does not let go. This breed became so popular that breeding was prolific causing the price of puppies to fall. In addition many cross bred Pitbulls began to be available. With the lower prices there was a further spread of the pitbull breed and many lower income persons acquired them. That reputation for fierceness and stories of unprovoked attacks on both people and other dogs caused many Caribbean Governments to outlaw the breed and in Trinidad and Tobago to impose restrictions. With the outlawing of Pittbulls, the popularity of Rottweiler and German Shepherds has risen again and accordingly their prices. There 46 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus â€˘â€˘ July/September July/September 2014 2014 46
are however many persons who when offered the opportunity to acquire a pure bred dog at a low price do not question where the dog or puppy came from and why the price is low. As a result the theft of pure bred puppies is a common occurrence.
having a kennel and placing a cheap lock from the hardware is sufficient. That may be adequate to prevent the opportunistic thief who is simply walking by and spots the puppy in the kennel.
In Europe and North America, dogs often live within the home or apartment with the owners and are taken for walks in the evenings and to the park on weekends. Indeed some apartment complexes advertise themselves as pet friendly to encourage dog owners to rent in that complex. In the Caribbean however the prevailing attitude is that the dog is for outside and the furthest that it can reach to the inside of the home is the porch. As a result many individuals upon acquiring a puppy immediately place it outside. They may bring it inside for a short period for the children to play with but predominantly the puppy is expected to be outside in the yard. This attitude is definitely not good for some breeds of puppies especially Rottweillers who are susceptible to the Parvo virus that kills up to 80% of infected puppies with the symptoms including lethargy, severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration. Apart from the health issue however, leaving young puppies in the yard makes it very easy for them to be stolen.
Puppies are loveable especially because they want to be played with and handled. As a result when placed in a kennel most puppies cry and howl because they do not want to be left alone. Some puppies cry for a very short period and then cease while others howl for an extended period. That howling is often heard for a far distance and indicates to everyone that there is a puppy in the neighborhood. Unfortunately that howling also alerts the more serious thief to the existence of a puppy in the area. For a serious thief, a cheap hardware padlock is not even a challenge.
A puppy should be kept in an enclosed space which is cleaned and disinfected daily and preferably twice per day. That enclosed space should be locked to prevent the puppy from wandering out but more importantly to prevent someone from easily accessing the puppy. Some individuals think that simply
If someone invests in a pure bred puppy with the expectation that it will grow into large dog that will protect home and family then in the puppy stage of its life it should be kept in an area within the home. This area should be barred off to prevent the puppy from wandering into other areas of the home and chewing on the furniture. More importantly the puppy should be left in this area when the family is not at home so it is not accessible to any thief during the day or night. Of course when the family is at home the puppy can be let out of this area to run and play and so strengthen its limbs but even during this time the puppy should be under supervision to ensure that no one grabs it and runs away, An additional protective measure is to have the puppy permanently identified by microchip
UWI Open Campus Fees
The Jamaica Gleaner is reporting that fees for the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus have gone up by 20 per cent. The increase in fees for programmes at the Open Campus will be effective from the start of the 2014 – 2015 academic year. Head of the Open Campus in Antigua Ian Benn said he has not yet been informed of any increase in fees. Meanwhile the Jamaica Gleaner reports the UWI Mona Campus is to increase undergraduate tuition fees by 3.7 per cent across most faculties for the upcoming 20142015 academic year.
It’s less than the 5.5 per cent increase announced last year. The fees are determined using Jamaica’s inflation rate which over the last financial year was 9.7 per cent. The 3.7 per cent increase will apply to the Faculties of Humanities, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and the Advanced Nursing Course. Students returning to the Medical Science Faculty will pay a 2.9 per cent increase while Law students will have to find 2.5 per cent more to pay their fees.
The Mona Campus has admitted to facing cash flow problems in part due to the failure of some students to pay their fees on time Meantime, no increases were made for the fees at the UWI’s Campuses in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
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• 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.
• 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.
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Cardholder Beneﬁts Safe than Cash Available to Everyone Manage Your Funds on your Mobile Device Fraud and Anti-Theft Tools
Merchant Beneﬁts Highly Secure Lowest Cost POS Unrivaled Mobility Quick Settlement
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BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
BusinessFocus â€˘ July/September 2014
Preserving our greatest natural resource
BusinessFocus BusinessFocus â€˘ July/September â€˘ July/September 2014 2014 | 51 | 51
Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. Water Solutions for the Caribbean
Returning to Antigua with a wealth of knowledge and experience in water treatment, Mario Bento opened the doors to Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. in September1992. Beginning as just a water treatment company, as more customers began to inquire about pool services, it was only natural for the company expand to provide water solutions for pool and spa services.
customers in Antigua and other Caribbean islands. In fact, CWT prides itself in being able to provide a complete range of water management services – from engineering to maintenance services – all under one roof. Bento stated, “We have the in house capability to solve technical problems and customize solutions for specific needs. Our customers are in the industrial, commercial and residential sectors across the Caribbean region.” Their services include:
Celebrating 21 years of business, of making water safer, and raising environmental awareness in Antigua and Barbuda, CWT celebrated its growth by moving from their first location on lower Dickenson Bay St, into their complex just off Friar’s Hill Road. With more room to accommodate their growth, as well as better storage facilities for their chemicals, CWT is ready more than ever to meet the growing demands of both their private and public sector clients.
• • • • • •
Today, they specialize in swimming pool, water and wastewater treatment services, serving commercial, residential and industrial
Although many of their customers are mainly in the commercial sector (hotels, offices, housing developments), CWT offers their services to
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Design and consulting services Equipment sales and procurement Equipment installation Repairs Operation/maintenance contracts Sales of water treatment chemicals and supplies
Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. July 1992 Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. founded by Mario Bento. December 2004 CWT wins 2004 national Spa and Pools Institutes International Award of Excellence. residential, industrial (rum distilleries, bottle water producers), and municipal (water utilities) sectors. To date, they control at least 80 per cent of the market for sewage treatment plants and general water treatment equipment and services (disinfection, filtration) in Antigua. As part of their celebrations and physical move, Bento decided it was time to reexamine the core values of the company. In their desire to offer the “best value in the marketplace” to their customers, their core values include excellence in customer service ; innovation; fairness; professionalism; and being environmentally conscious. “The real focus is providing a service,” explains Bento. “It is not just about selling a product. We solve a problem and provide a cost-efficient, reliable solution… but it doesn’t stop there. Our service extends beyond the initial sale … with follow-ups and after-sale maintenance.” Staying abreast of the latest technology, CWT strives to offer their clients cutting edge technology that is also energy-efficient. In 2001, they installed the first pressure exchange desalination plant on the island. They have also been the first to introduce and install solar powered swimming pool pumps. “Being innovative is critical to the business … so we’re always looking for the latest designs and technology in water treatment. … As it becomes available commercially, we make it available to our customers.” Apart from maintaining an exceptional level of professionalism, the company embraces a deep sense of fairness which begins in house and is reflected in their daily interactions with clients. Bento noted, “It is personally important to bring this across to all employees … how we deal with our employees is how we expect them to deal with customers in turn … so we strive to treat everyone with the utmost fairness.” CWT continues to remain ahead of the game offering safer and more efficient means of water and wastewater treatment, along with green solutions that are environmentally friendly.
2006 CWT separates growing swimming pool business into a wholly owned subsidiary called CWT Caribbean Pools Ltd. October 2010 CWT awarded World Bank Contract for Bequia Desalination Plant October 2011 Bequia Gets Desalination Plant December 2013 CWT moves into new location, just off Friar’s Hill Road. February 2014 CWT wins contract with Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize for the supply and installation of two seawater Reverse Osmosis desalination plants, centrifugal distribution pumps and solar PV energy grid connected system for Madame Pierre, Petite Martinique and Hillsborough, Carriacou, Grenada.
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Meet Mario Bento Founder & Managing Director of Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd
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As he grew up watching the druggist mixing chemicals in the family pharmacy, Mario Bento could not have envisioned at the time that his passion for chemistry would not only become a viable entity, but a necessary and instrumental medium in the preservation of the environment, namely one of our most valuable natural resources – water. Celebrating over 20 years of growth, Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. has not only made its mark in Antigua and Barbuda, but in the Caribbean, as it is the only company of its kind in the OECS. Mario’s expertise in reverse osmosis desalination and wastewater treatment also sees him as a much sought after advisor for similar projects across the Caribbean. A passionate environmentalist and a meticulous professional, Business Focus grabbed a quick opportunity to sit down with Founder and Managing Director of Caribbean Water Treatment, Mario Bento. Business Focus: Chemical engineering would not have been a popular subject in the 80s, especially in this region. What chartered your career in that path? Mario Bento: I’d say that my path was well programmed before I even left for university … it just became a bit more tailored while there. As a boy, I started working at my father’s pharmacy from 7 years old (he owned Harper’s back then), so I grew up around chemicals. When I went to Saint Mary’s University, we had a project to evaluate the water quality in a nearby river … we had to collect samples, and test the water, and I just fell in love with that area of chemistry. After that, I did a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto, then a Master of Engineering in Environmental Systems Engineering at McMaster University. …I liked taking the work out of the lab and applying it to the real world. BF: You spent some time in Canada working with other companies. Why did you return to Antigua? MB: In 1987, I got the opportunity to return home and work with APUA during the time the Tango power and desalination plant at Crabbs was being built. I knew that Antigua needed this type of technology, so returning home was
always part of my plan. I began working as a Chemical Engineer at Zenon Environmental Inc.in Canada in 1988, now a division of GE Process Technologies. I was promoted to Senior Process Development Engineer a few years after, specializing in membrane technology for industrial water treatment. With the experience I’d gained there, I thought it was time to move back home. It was a risk, but I resigned, returned home and started the company in September 1992. BF: In what ways has the company evolved over the years? MB: At first, people were mostly importing preengineered wastewater treatment plants, but as we started maintaining and repairing them, we got the opportunity to be more involved … Being able to design systems, we were able to fit spaces where pre-ordered systems, in the past for example, could not fit. Familiar with the climate and knowing the culture, we were able to tailor the plants to meet the needs of our clients. We’ve actually built just over 60 plants in Antigua. … Although we started out with water treatment, our next major move was into pool services in 1996., Essentially we provide a range of solutions in water, waste water, swimming pool and pump services. BF: Have you noticed any changes in service demands from clients? MB: Generally, people … businesses … are becoming more environmentally conscious. ,Over the last 15 years,DCA (Development Control Authority) along with CBH (Central Board of Health) have made it a mandatory policy for businesses in town and along the coast to have wastewater treatment plants that are mechanical, instead of the traditional septic tanks. The public was also a driving force in that decision as they voiced their complaints about the odors from the gutters in town. … But even our residential clients have become more environment conscious, so we’ve seen a demand in the residential water treatment solutions available … and as we’re moving towards a Go Green initiative, we also have clients on board who purchase solar powered pumps for their pools, for example … or they’ll ask about effective ways to conserve energy while preserving the environment.
We’ve also seen an increase in pool services … We had a surge of new pools built between 2006 and 2008, but then it petered out. … but the demand is certainly on the rise again, largely in part to the increase of vacation homes. The Citizenship by Investment Programme will also increase this demand in the near future. BF: What has been one of the most satisfying elements of the company’s journey? MB: I’d have to say that our greatest satisfaction comes from the realization of the benefits of the services we provide and the awareness we raise. Today, we’re much better off with sewage treatment than we were even 10 years ago. …We’ve been able to offer the public more options for treating their water beyond the traditional rain water harvesting … making it safer … and introducing new ways of disinfecting cistern water. Being an Antiguan company we understand the culture and what Antiguans would consider acceptable in taste for their drinking water … a popular item, for example, is ultra-violet sterilization which replaces the use of chlorine in the water. … Generally, I love what I do … I just don’t get to do it as often as before as I get bogged down with administrative responsibitlites., I look forward to the off island consultations and new projects where I can focus on the technical stuff.. BF: You’ve recently moved into a new complex, are there any plans for future expansion? MB: We definitely are moving towards becoming an environmentally-friendly company, from the products and services we offer, to what we use here within the company … this facility, for example, was designed to be energy efficient. We’re moving towards providing more energy efficient options in our water solution services … such as solar-powered pumps and water treatment solutions which are as energy efficient as possible. I’m an environmentalist at heart, and that is a core value I have tried to impart on all employees within the company … so they too become more environmentally conscious … we have an active recycling programme here at the company which reaches into our employees’ homes. At the end of the day we want to be stewards of the environment.
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014 BusinessFocus • July/September 2014 | 55| 55
Caribbean Water Treatment - Manager Profiles ARLENE THOMAS
Office Manager Beginning as an office assistant in 2000, Arlene Thomas has embodied the core values of the company since its inception and is an advocate of excellent customer service. In fact, since her promotion to Office Manager eight years ago, she admits to missing the constant daily interaction with customers, as developing and maintaining relationships with them are key to customer loyalty – a concept she instills within her team. Although she knew very little about water treatment when she joined CWT, she is now deeply invested in the business and has personally adopted some of Managing Director Mario Bento’s Go Green initiatives. She noted that it was virtually impossible to work with him and not become somewhat of an environmentalist as well. In fact, most if not all employees are part of the recycling system at the office, and Thomas has since adopted the habit of carrying her own reusable grocery bags to the supermarket rather than using plastic bags. Working in a company that encourages professional growth, Thomas has successfully completed training courses and impressed upon the fact that having a dedicated boss in turn encourages employees to be just as dedicated. More importantly Thomas is proud of the Go Green initiatives provided by CWT and is pleased with the increase in customers’ choices to become more environmentally conscious themselves. “At CWT, we’re not just providing solutions, but we’re invested in raising clients’ awareness on treating water and adopting better, healthier water safety and preservation practices in their lives and businesses … especially when it comes to water crises, like drought … CWT customers are definitely in a better position to combat the possible effects.”
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HARRY JNO BAPTISTE
Water Treatment Manager
With the expansion of the company and the move into their new facility which now accommodates larger product storage, the need arose for a warehouse manager that would fit into the company’s core values and culture. Bringing a pleasant disposition to her portfolio of experience within the field, Christobelle King-George joined CWT just over a year ago. With a background in inventory management for construction, her experience has greatly aided in the daily and overall efficiency of the company. She has since expanded her portfolio and is now a certified pools/spa operator. That said, she added that one of the best things about CWT was the constant opportunities to grow and learn. Although construction was her first love, she has since been drawn into the world of water treatment and pool/spa solutions. In fact, as she sees the opportunity to grow within the company, she is currently exploring a course in pool construction, which will marry her old passion to her new one. Since joining the company, and applying her knowledge to an industry focused on water, King-George admitted that she has become more environmentally conscious, and proud to be part of an organization that provides a necessary and important service to not only its clients, but the country on a whole. “Water is one of the most important natural resources that we have … you need it in everything you do … and since working here,” she explained, “I’ve realized how contaminated this world we live in really is. …So it’s great to be part of a company that not only offers various ways of sanitizing the water we use, but genuinely cares about the important service they provide. … Clients, and I believe the country in general, can look forward to the direction Mario wants to take this company in, especially with the Go Green initiative.”
Harry Jno Baptiste became a part of the CWT team in 2002 as a pool, water treatment and sewage technician. Originally beginning his career as a plumber, he’d been contracted by CWT on many occasions through his previous employers and mentors to repair pool pumps and other plumbing issues. Since joining the company he was exposed to water treatment systems and eventually was drawn more to that division. In a company adamant on providing its employees opportunities to grow, which only means its customers receive the best service possible, Jno Baptiste was encouraged to pursue electrical studies. To date, he has a decade’s experience in installing, commissioning and maintaining Reverse Osmosis Desalination and other filtration based water treatment systems in Antigua and other island, including SGU and Sandals Grenada in Grenada, the Ritz Carlton St Thomas, Le Sport in St. Lucia, and a solar RO system in Bequai island and Mustique island. During his tenure at the company he has successfully completed certification courses which include: NanoH2O/Danfoss training; CARIBDA training (which included energy recovery systems); electrical engineering solutions; ITT-Flowtronex training (which included golf course irrigation, electrical installations and RO training); ITT-WET RO desalination training; sewage and water treatment training; and membrane and operation training through the American Membrane Technology Association. The leading electrician in the company, Jno Baptiste enjoys the challenges of the job, which constantly keep him abreast of current evolutions in the industry as the company continues to provide solutions for clients.
Caribbean Water Treatment - Manager Profiles SHEAHAN “DREY” JOSEPH
CWT Caribbean Pools Ltd Service Manager Joining CWT Caribbean Pools Department in 2007as the supervisor, Sheahan “Drey” Joseph brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the company. As he had previously been the pool and spa operations manager at a Green Globe certified company for 10 years, this was a perfect fit as CWT incorporates environmental consciousness in their core values. Joseph was enthused to join CWT where the opportunity and encouragement for personal and professional growth was a well-practiced culture. He is a National Swimming Pool Foundation certified pools operation instructor, a PADI master scuba diver instructor; and in 2009 successfully completed certification on autopilot chlorine generation systems and AquaCal pool heat pumps. He is also a qualified pool/spa inspector and is authorized to train others to become certified pool operators. As such, the company continues to stay abreast of cutting edge technology and opportunities, creating an environment for constant in-house learning. In fact, the six member team he manages, Joseph happily reported, includes certified pool and spa operators. Enjoying the process of pool construction from its inception to completion, Joseph is happy to be a part of a company that offers clients a “one-stop” option with post-production maintenance. Under the Go Green initiative, he is pleased with the fact that clients have also become more environmentally conscious and the company is able to provide energy-saving and environmentally friendly solutions. As a tip to residential pool owners, he advises that pools be treated at least once a week, to combat bacteria and possible diseases. In the event of a pool party, however, he instructs his clients to treat the pool the day before and the day after.
CWT Project Engineer Having always possessed a keen interest in the sciences, especially chemistry and biology, Camaria Holder joined the CWT team in 2008 as an Engineerin-Training, under the mentorship of Managing Director Mario Bento. The previous year, she’d completed a sixmonth contract with another company where she was introduced to seawater reverse osmosis desalination, wastewater treatment and reuse for irrigation, and general environmental “realities” of any construction/ development project. It was after this she approached CWT, realizing that the company specialized in these services. By 2009, she was handling individual projects for the company leading consultations and overseeing the acquisition of materials among other responsibilities. Working with Bento, Water Treatment Services Manager Harry Jno Baptise and their team, Holder quickly learned the ropes, applying her background in the sciences to the solutions that were needed, and showing the men on site that she was not the least bit slighted by the hands-on “sludge” of the job. She holds a Chemical Engineering degree from Howard University and is certified by the World Bank E-Institute in Designing and Implementing Successful Water Utility Reform, and Energy Sector Strategies to Support Green Growth. Although she is dedicated to every project, from its conception to completion, her preferred projects are the ones related to wastewater treatment and environmental control. Of her mentor, Holder stated, “I was ‘hungry’ and anxious to learn when I joined CWT. Mario provided an environment where I would develop my skill set. He has an open door policy whenever he is in office … and has never treated me like I could not achieve as much as he did because of my age or gender.”
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MAKING WATER A GREATER RESOURCE
Water & Wastewater Treatment Best known for water and wastewater treatment, Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. provides a full range of treatment services covering most treatment processes. Recommending the best treatment process or series of processes to meet customers’ water quality requirements, CWT provides a complete, reliable and cost-effective solution. Through exclusive relationships with leading technology providers and their local technical support team, they are able to deliver solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner. Their products and services cover the following processes: • • • • • • •
Reverse Osmosis Desalination Activated Sludge Sewage Treatment Ultraviolet Light Sterilization Ozonation and Chlorination Cartridge and Media Filtration Water Softening and Ion Exchange Water Pumps and Distribution Systems
Reverse Osmosis Desalination Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. represents Xylem-Water Equipment Technologies (WET) exclusively in the Eastern Caribbean. WET is a leading manufacturer of brackish and seawater reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plants, providing membrane systems solutions since 1975. RO systems are available from 100 GPD to capacities of several million gallons per day. WET’s durable and reliable Seawater Reverse Osmosis systems are designed to perform in the harsh and corrosive environments we experience in the Caribbean. Managing Director Mario Bento shared that upon his return to Antigua, RO for sea water
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desalination, from the beginning, was a key service and product line. “RO is a key technology in the Caribbean, especially for [waterchallenged] islands. Given the drought that Antigua and Barbuda has been experiencing, such plants, like the one at Crabbs Penisula and Ffryes Beach assist in meeting the country’s daily water demands, which can be as high as 6 million gallons of water per day.” Bento noted that RO is expensive because it is energy intensive. But with the advances in technology over the years, there has been a tremendous decrease in the amount of energy required to operate plants. When he started operating RO desalination plants in the late 1980’s, it would require approximately 30kWh per 1000 gallons of water produced. That has decreased significantly to under 10kWh per 1000 gallons of water. Eventually, as part of their green solutions, CWT is exploring solar power for the operation of these plants. CWT has installed WET RO plants at resorts and commercial facilities in Antigua, Barbuda, Grenada, Mustique, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Thomas and Tortola. With over 60 desalination plants in the Caribbean, CWT has installed just over 25 in Antigua, mostly commercial and municipal. “We currently installed a three 250,000 gpd reverse osmosis desalination plants for a resort venture in Antigua with seawater and brine outfall infrastructure to increase to 2.25 million gpd.” In February 2007, CWT installed three 250, 000 gpd capacity for the Antigua Public Utilities Authority in the north of the island. RO is a technology that will be key to survival during periods of drought brought on by the increasing climate change and extreme weather patterns.
Activated Sludge Sewage Treatment Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. designs and constructs simple, extended aeration Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBR) sewage treatment plants, all custom built to meet customers’ requirements. They also design and construct sewage collection systems for resorts and commercial developments. To date, CWT has installed over 50 plants ranging in size from 500 gpd to 70,000 gpd for hotels, resorts and commercial facilities in Antigua and St. Kitts. Technology and expertise is available through ITT Advanced Water Group to provide more sophisticated wastewater treatment processes.
Water Treatment Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. supplies and installs UV sterilizers, ozonators, sediment filters, activated carbon filters, ion exchange systems and chlorination systems. Our experience covers potable water treatment, bottle water production and industrial pure water applications. UV sterilizers for residential and commercial potable water applications are available from Trojan Technologies. Ozonation and UV equipment is also available from Xylem Wedeco. They also provide water pumps and distribution systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications, and are dealers for Sta-Rite pumps and pressure tanks, and Xylem Goulds water, sewage and effluent pump products.
BusinessFocus â€˘ July/September 2014
JOIN US IN THE DRIVE TOWARD MORE ECO-FRIENDLY AND SUSTAINABLE POOL LIVING.
Local Agents: Caribbean Water Treatment As the global leader in pool and spa equipment, Pentair has made a strong commitment to develop and offer the most environmentally responsible products available. As consumers, we face high energy prices, tighter and more expensive water supplies and have a greater awareness of our global impact. Fortunately, new technologies and smarter product designs allow pool owners to make better environmental choices while enjoying lower lifetime costs. The Eco Select brand indentifies our most eco-friendly products. These products do the best job of saving energy, conserving water,
reducing noise, or otherwise contributing to a more environmentally responsible equipment system. In every case, a product that earns the Eco Select brand is clearly our “greenest” and most efficient choice. In the area of product development we have dedicated senior staff whose sole mission is to assure that new or re-engineered products are the most eco-friendly and economically attractive on the market. As consumers, you are thinking green, looking for energy savings, less maintenance and quieter operating pool and spa equipment - all key benefits of Eco Select branded products.
CONSUMERS EXPECT OPERATIONAL SAVINGS FROM TODAY’S GREENER PRODUCTS. WITH THE ECO SELECT BRAND, WE CAN DELIVER. To learn more about the Eco Select Systems Approach, contact Caribbean Water Treatment at 268-462-6565. 60 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• July/September July/September 2014 2014 60
GOING TOTALLY GREEN: THE SYSTEMS APPROACH
Visit our Energy Savings Calculator at www.pentairpool.com/pumpcalc to calculate savings for different sized pools, run times, and utility rates.
AUTOMATION By automating and synchronizing equipment scheduling, control systems can optimize energy use and equipment performance, while preventing problems and waste when users rely on their memories or limited time clocks to operate or deactivate equipment.
INTELLIBRITE LED (Light Emitting Diode) landscape, pool and spa lights are the most energyefficient lighting options available. Plus, they can last longer, minimizing replacement cost and disposal.
MAINTENANCE Our pool maintenance products provide superior ULTRA ENERGYcleaning and sanitation EFFICIENT PUMPS performance while Standard pool pumps significantly reducing the can consume as much use and handling of harsh energy as all other home chemicals and hazardous appliances combined. materials. And less IntelliFlo and IntelliPro chemical usage means Variable Speed Pumps lower manufacturing can cut energy use by up demand, thus reducing to 90% - huge savings the packaging and compared to traditional transportation associated BusinessFocus â€˘ July/September 2014 | 61 induction motors. with these chemicals.
Stewards of the Environment – Offering Green Solutions “In everything we do, find the most energy sufficient solution.”- Mario Bento At Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd., one of their core values is to be environmentally conscious. Managing Director Mario Bento explained, “We consider ourselves stewards of our environment, and strive to implement environmentally sustainable practices in our services. … In our Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination plants, for example, we’ve integrated leading edge energy-recovery technology which lowers energy consumption … so as new technology becomes commercially available, we are quick to adopt them.” CWT offers clients a range of solar powered products. He noted that APUA allows residential customers to use up to 5kW of solar power to offset their electricity bills and that solar energy equipment can now be imported free of duties and taxes. Bento believes that the concessions and policies now
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in place will lead to a significant increase in solar energy in Antigua and Barbuda. For their swimming pool customers, there’s a wide range of green solutions offered, including solar powered pumps, which eliminate the use of electricity. Although the initial cost may be expensive, customers would begin to see the returns of this long term investment in as little as three years. Another energy efficient solution offered is on-site chlorine generation systems (salt chlorination systems), which eliminates the handling and storing of chlorine. There are also alternative solar options available for heating pools instead of using propane or electrical heaters. With all the enabling policies in place within Antigua and Barbuda, Bento feels that both private and public sector should be investing in the huge opportunities available in solar
energy. In fact, the company has itself recently installed a 20kW solar energy system at its new facility at friars Hill. The use of solar energy is not only easy on the pocket in the long term, but adds tremendous effort in being environmentally conscious. In addition to the lack of emissions from fossil fuels, there is also the soothing benefit of a noiseless production of energy. Solar power also allows residents in remote areas the ability to generate electricity, once the sun is shining, that is. They’re low maintenance, and can last for decades. If you’re looking for green solutions for your home or business, Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd is ready and willing to assist you on your Green journey.
Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd
Water Solutions for the Caribbean • Water Treatment • Pumps • Swimming Pools•
Specialist in swimming pool design,installation, finishing and service Complete line of pool chemicals and equipment at the Best Price.
Friars Hill, P.O. Box W219, St.John’s • Email:firstname.lastname@example.org BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Diving right in! CWT Caribbean Pools Ltd When Mario Bento opened the doors to Caribbean Water Treatment almost 22 years ago, his main focus was water and wastewater treatment, and desalination. But as the inquiries in pool-related services increased, it became an inevitable move to expand the business to include pool services. Today CWT is the leading swimming pool construction and maintenance company in Antigua, and has grown to provide pool services in several other Caribbean islands. In fact, at the International Pool & Spa Expo in Las Vegas in 2004, CWT Caribbean Pools received gold medal awards for the Best Natural and Best Freeform Concrete Pools Outside the US from the National Pool and Spa Institute. CWT has worked on some of the largest and most exotic pools built in the Caribbean over the last few years including the 450,000 gallon Jolly Beach Resort Fantasy Pool in Antigua, the Four Seasons Reflection Pool in Nevis, the Terrace Pool at Fort Young Hotel in Dominica, the Beach Pool at Little Dix Bay Resort in Virgin
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Gorda, BVI and the Pools of Villa Cabrera in Dominican Republic.
Design Services CWT provides design services for both residential and commercial pools with even the most challenging pool designs. The company offers assistance in mechanical design, lighting options, specialty water features, pool surfaces, and deck and coping options. Over the years, they’ve designed and installed pools with an array of water features including water falls, cascade basins, fountains, negative edges, wet deck and beach entries.
Construction & Installation Services CWT offers mechanical and lighting installation services as well as pool start-up and
commissioning. They have installed Diamond Brite, Pebble Tech and Marcite plastered surfaces on over 200 swimming pools in Antigua, St. Kitts, Virgin Gorda, Grenada, Dominica and Dominican Republic over the last ten years.
Maintenance Services CWT provides pool and spa maintenance services to residential and commercial customers in Antigua. The company has been a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals for seven years now, with several staff members receiving Certified Pool Operator certification from the National Swimming Pool Foundation for operation of public swimming pools. Our Pools Service Manager Shehan “Drey” Joseph is a Certified Pool Operator Instructor and has trained and certified many pool operators at most of the major hotels in Antigua.
"I am saving over $1,000 a month in APUA electricity! Wow!" Are you tired of paying those high electricity bills each month despite all your attempts at conservation? Solar Pure Company Limited has solutions for you. Solar Pure Company Limited is a provider of solar energy systems for both residential and commercial properties. These solar systems use renewable resources (the sun) to save customers substantial monies in the reduction of their electric bills. Solar Pure Company Limited’s primary goal is to move Antigua and Barbuda into a more environmentally aware and active country and to stimulate the economy by redirecting its limited cash resources
into other areas to allow Antiguans and Barbudans to better compete in the international world. Our manufacturer is the world's largest solar panel manufacturer and a global solar energy industry leader operating in 40 countries with more than 30 million solar panels installed. We have a 25 year warranty on our panels. These panels are also ABST free and duty free to each individual as allowed by the tariﬀ of Antigua and Barbuda.
Please call us today at 720-7434/727-1111 for a FREE evaluation of your business or home to see how we can save you money on a monthly basis. This budgetary quote will present the costs after our initial review. It includes estimates for all services and photovoltaic (PV) equipment required. This includes the application and certiﬁcation process with APUA.
www.gosolarpure.com • Email: email@example.com.
Go Green! Go Solar Pure today!
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
How prepared are you for a Drought? With the months of sporadic rainfall, the emptying of Antigua’s largest water catchment, and the onset of rationed water utilities, the undeniable impact of water scarcity cannot be ignored. Some may even argue that previous years of drought should have prepared persons for such a reoccurrence, but like so many things in Antigua, especially the environment, the availability of water has certainly been taken for granted. According to the Antigua & Barbuda Meteorological Services, the total amount of rainfall for 2014, until 31st May, has been eight inches. In 2013, the total amount of rainfall collected at the Coolidge office was 43.23 inches (the equivalent of approximately 72.2 billion gallons of water), with 20 per cent less on the southern side of the island (see graph). Beyond the condition of drought, the recent scarcity has also been attributed to low rainfall intensity. Director of the Meteorological Office Keithley Meade is hopeful that we may get an increase in rainfall as we experience a mild hurricane season. He is also hoping that the reverse of
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1983 and 1984 does not occur, where there was 22.4 inches of rainfall in 1983 followed by 43.6 inches in 1984. Undoubtedly, if this occurs in the reverse, the water crisis could worsen significantly.
could lead to an increase in utility bills • Increase in disease in wild animals, because of the reduced food and water supplies • Wind and water erosion of soils
If the situation does worsen, the impact of drought could be devastating, and affect the island in various ways, including: • Farmers losing money if continued lack of water destroys their crops • If farmers’ water supplies are too low, they have to spend more money on irrigation or drilling new wells • Livestock farmers may have to spend more money on feed and water for their animals • If the local power company has to spend/ invest more money in the procurement of water, this
• Poor soil quality Being surrounded by the sea/ocean, Reverse Osmosis desalination plants around the
island have been supplementing the lack of rainfall. In fact, according to the APUA Water Business Unit, 60 per cent of the island’s daily demand for water (approximately 5.6 gallons) is sourced from RO desalination. Managing Director and Chief Engineer of Caribbean Water Treatment Ltd. Mario Bento noted that RO desalination is a “key technology … in the Caribbean, especially for islands susceptible to drought … to combat these climate conditions and changes”. This is a process where sea water is pumped into the plant and the salt extracted and made useable. So what can the average person do in this crisis, besides conserving water? The good news is that Antigua and Barbuda continues to exercise an excellent culture of rain harvesting (water catchments). From water tanks and cistern systems which “harvest” rainfall, most persons take advantage of the rain that does fall. Furthermore, with companies like CWT offering various solutions to water treatment, as well as advice on water catchment systems, residents are equipped to better deal with impending water crises.
Xylem water equipment Technologies wants to congratulate Caribean Water Treatment for the grand opening of its new facility in St John’s Antigua. This is a strong indication on the commitment for a steady business grows with focus on an even better customer support. Again congratulaciones! BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Watersheds and Wastewater: And How they are Connected
Issues related to Environmental Management are being discussed more and more in public circles and are slowly becoming a part of dayto-day conversation. . By now everybody has heard the terms watershed and wastewater, and to some extent, our understanding of these matters has improved. But because of the ‘nature’ of these topics, it is often difficult to zero in on the areas that are specifically related to us as a community of people and as a nation. So let’s begin to focus on something specific. The Environment Division constantly speaks about watersheds and wastewater and the management of these issues but…. what is a watershed and how does wastewater affect its health? How does our use of water affect watershed management? And what does any of this have to do with my business and me?
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What is a Watershed? Watersheds are land areas that create a basin. This basin, similar to a bowl, drains into a larger body of water such as a river, lake, stream, or, for Antigua, a bay or pond. Watersheds are separated by hills and slopes and include the entire land area that drains into it. All of Antigua’s drainage areas have been consolidated into 13 major watersheds. Watersheds offer socioeconomic, agroecological and hydrological values. However, within a larger context, all 13 watersheds can be considered one large watershed, since precipitation from the hills drains toward the coast and into the ocean. The island of Antigua is therefore a watershed. Watersheds are often noted as vulnerable. This is because they are easily affected by any activity above the outflow or end point. Put simply, whatever happens at the
basin or bowl has a direct impact on what happens at the coast. These impacts can be a combination of human-induced activities or natural occurrences. How does my use of water affect watersheds? In the regular activities of the day, we are involved in a number of activities like gardening, washing, drinking, cooking, using toilet facilities and so on that use water and produce waste water. Because the majority of our population lives on the coast, the waste water generated by our regular activities also “flow” into our waterways and often damage surrounding ecosystems without us even realizing it. With so many persons on the coasts and the inevitable flow of wastewater into the waterways, it often overloads our natural water resources. Hence, our daily activities affect the quality of the water being deposited and can disrupt nature’s ability to stabilize itself.
Map of Antigua with major watersheds
In a discussion with Dr. Linroy Christian, Laboratory Manager at the Fisheries Division he noted that one of the biggest contributors to the pollution of the water and coastal areas in the watersheds is untreated wastewater. Even though wastewater was mentioned previously, it is important to have a clear definition of it. Wastewater refers to effluent that is produced as a result of human activity such as water from sewage treatment (septic tanks/soak aways), sinks, drains and from washing. Sewage treatment systems within homes and businesses often do not meet the demands placed on them. These demands are related to the number of persons who may use the facilities. Drainage potential of the soil around a soak away pit can significantly affect its ability to function. As a result of this overload on these systems, wastewater reaches ground water, gutters, ponds and the ocean.
Is Watershed Management an issue in other Caribbean islands? While we can pinpoint many issues within Antigua and Barbuda, Caribbean-wide there is a refocusing on watershed and wastewater management. Most other Caribbean islands are watersheds as well and face many of the same issues of wastewater management. Their situations may often be even more serious since many other islanders depend on rivers for many services, while still improperly dealing with their wastewater. It is because of these issues that the Protocol Concerning LandBased Sources and Activities, or the LBS Protocol, was born. This Protocol is based on two Conventions to which many Caribbean islands have signed and relates to islands adopting laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources. However, laws and regulations only make sense
if people really understand what is happening around them, how what they do impacts upon their lives and the lives of others, and what they can do to make a change.
What should you expect? The Environment Division, through international and regional partnership and in collaboration with a number of local agencies, has tackled watershed management through projects such as IWCAM (Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management), SIRMM (Sustainable island Resource Management Mechanism) and CReW (Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management). All of these projects have sought to adequately address the issues of wastewater management, but there is still more to be done. Therefore, for the next few issues, the Environment Division will be explaining a lot more about wastewater management within the context of watersheds. These articles will serve to do the following: 1. Give insight about the regional policies and how they impact upon you and your business 2. Present a case study on Antigua’s situation 3. Address wastewater management from a tourism perspective, and 4. Suggest the means by which local businesses and households can make a meaningful impact on their local environments. Look out for new articles because Watershed Management is Life Management!
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Ocean Connection Our planet is a finite space that is shaped by human activities. The oft-times wondrous development of our living space, in an everexpanding population, has an inherent cost. Antigua and Barbuda is a developing nation with an expanding population requiring the increased utilization of resources. There is a challenge in the sustainable maintenance of such development, in the face of preserving our ecosystem. The emission of pollutants from a variety of sources is an undesirable consequence of development. I dare say that human existence can be seen as an exercise in the abatement of a precipitous decay. Pollution mitigation is a necessary part of our lives, and the responsibility of each of us as caretakers of the earth we so cherish. As such, the United Nations has an array of programmes and Conventions under its Environment Programme (UNEP) that seek to promote responsibility amongst countries that are signatories to said Conventions. One such programme referred to as the Global Programme of Action (GPA), seeks to provide guidance to national and/or regional authorities in the promotion of measures to encourage sustainable living through the identification and mitigation of pollution of the marine environment from land-based activities. Three main areas of concern for the GPA are: wastewater; nutrients; and marine litter. Global partnerships and initiatives have been established for each focal area to provide support to countries in dealing with these pollutants. Wastewater has been extensively studied, and according to the Sick Water Report (UNEP & UN-Habitat, 2010), as much as 90% of wastewater is generated in densely
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populated coastal areas, resulting in the direct pollution of the receiving costal water. This results in “Dead Zones” – areas of low oxygen – which leads to negative impacts on fisheries, livelihoods and the food chain. Also, the release of harmful microbes into costal waters has a human health consequence. With respect to nutrients, the expanded use of nitrogen and phosphorous in agriculture has led to the leeching of these nutrients into waterways, and inevitably the ocean. Moreover, the release of nutrients from other sources such as fossil fuel burning, wastewater and industry contributes to the pollution of the costal environment in addition to the air and soil. Our McKinnon’s Pond on the Northwest Coast has in the past been subject to algal blooms that have caused fish kills. One of the major causes for this may be related to the influx of nutrients into the environment causing eutrophication of the marine ecosystem, typified by the bloom of algae, which then leads to the reduction in oxygen levels (dead zones), and can lead to fish kills. Some blooms may also be toxic to humans through the production of an array of toxic chemical by algae (Harmful Algal Bloom). The third, and emerging focal area, marine litter, is characterised by the transboundary movement and impact of improperly disposed ‘garbage’ which often times washes onto our shores or settles at the bottom of our ocean. Most people observe marine litter from an aesthetic standpoint, especially along our shores on the Eastern coast. However, it is the impact of microplastics – microscopic plastic elements present in products such as skin care products and toothpaste – that have been identified as a serious concern. Microplastics cause damage to aquatic life as well as serve as a microenvironment for hazardous chemicals. There are measures that we can each take to mitigate the effects of pollution from land-based activities. As a country, we have pledged our commitment to reduce land-based sources of pollution through ratification of the United Nations Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention). The Convention is the only legallybinding agreement of its kind in the region and represents the conviction of Antigua and Barbuda in combatting the effects of pollution. However, a great national effort is required to ensure that we fulfil our obligations in the interest of protecting our environment and the health of our population. It is imperative that we establish a firm policy on the treatment of wastewater, and develop the requisite legislation to address the treatment, and re-use of wastewater. The recycling of waste, and embracing waste-to-energy initiatives are important mitigation measures to reduce the impact of solid waste on land, and subsequently its contribution to marine litter. Resource recovery, particularly on an island such as ours is vital to our existence, by reducing our impact on the environment.
Industry change is also quite necessary, in promoting the use of natural material in skin care products to reduce the use of plastic microbeads. Also, the use of phosphate-free detergents would reduce the release of phosphate into the environment. Further, the appropriate use of fertilizers through responsible farming practices would reduce the influx of nutrients into the environment. Ultimately, the loss of biodiversity as a result of pollution negatively impacts our health, livelihoods and economies, especially for a nation, which depends heavily on its natural resources such as the Caribbean Sea. Our voracious consumption and misuse of our natural resources, without sufficient regard to consequence, must change. Our very existence depends upon it. For more on the GPA visit (http://www.gpa.unep.org/), and for the Cartagena Convention visit (http://www.cep.unep.org/cartagenaconvention). Also visit our Environment Division’s website (http:// www.environmentdivision.info/) to find out more on Antigua and Barbuda’s obligations under various environmental agreements. About the author: Dr. Linroy D. Christian is currently employed as a Microbiologist in the Ministry of Agriculture, with specific responsibility for the management of the Diagnostic Laboratory of the Fisheries Division at Point Wharf, St. John’s. His main area of interest is the use of molecular-based techniques for the identification of pathogen, obviating the need for lengthy classical microbiological techniques. Additionally, he is keenly interested in the preservation of the environment and the study of the impact of environmental pollution on human health.
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ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS
LESSONS I LEARNED IN COLLEGE By : Anushka Maya Singh
Don’t settle in your comfort zone – Staying with the same group of people you knew from back home, or from high school is easy… but you will regret it later. You don’t need to completely change but college is all about new experiences so don’t be afraid to join organizations, go to different events and meet new people.
It almost feels like I’ve been caught in a time warp of sorts. Its like just yesterday I was 17 on a plane headed for boarding school. It’s now two weeks since my graduation and I’m now part of the working world. I guess they do say time flies when you are having fun. Throughout it all, I’m extremely grateful for all my experiences from Boarding School in Florida to University in Washington, DC and then Denton, Texas. I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way and I’d like to think I’ve become a better version of myself with each year. With all of that said, for those of you just starting, or still pursuing your degree – Here are some corny life lessons that I’ve picked up in college. 72 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• July/September July/September 2014 2014 72
Accept that change is constant – Undoubtedly, you will not be the same person you are when you start and finish college. You also can’t expect that your friend group will stay the same. Be ready for change. Party Hard….but not too much – You are finally on your own – no parental supervision, no curfew, no rules. Have at it. But remember that you did come to college for an education. Don’t let partying prevent you from getting stuff done. Recognize that you need to put yourself first – There will always be parties, distractions, friends knocking at your door or calling you. Recognize that sometimes you need to put yourself first. Don’t let people guilt you into doing things you cannot or do not want to do/feel comfortable doing.
Understand that mistakes and failures are okay – They say you aren’t learning if you aren’t making mistakes. Mistakes and failures should be taken as learning experience. The fact that they happen is inevitable – it’s how you react to and recover from them that is the the true test. Changing your major is not the end of the world - I’ve been around so many people freaking out about changing their major – It really isn’t that big a deal. You just need to be logical in your decision. When picking a major or deciding to change understand that it’s not all about the money – but you should pick something you actually enjoy doing (It makes it easier!). Also, the major you choose doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do for the rest of your life, you do! Challenge yourself – Don’t always pick the easy classes! Some of the most fulfilling and useful classes were the hardest ones. I also formed better relationships with professors who taught the hardest classes. Dare to Dream – You’ve heard it before, but it’s true – the sky is the limit. Have big dreams, don’t doubt them, and share them with your peers. If people don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, they can’t help you. About the Author: Anushka Maya Singh is a St Lucian national and a recent BBA Marketing Graduate from the University of North Texas. She is currently employed as a Digital Marketing Specialist.
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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BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS
29th National Csec Student Of The Year: Michael Zouetr of St. Joseph’s Academy 17 subjects passed with 16 Grade Ones Second Place National Csec Student Of The Year: Anthony Mansoor of St. Joseph’s Academy 15 subjects passed with 15 grade ones Third Place National Csec Students Of The Year: Zadesha Gordon and Ashleigh Knight Of Baptist Academy Of Antigua 15 subjects passed with 14 grade ones
GOLD ANTIGUA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL :Charrelle Browne, Shellisa Galloway, Janisha Jacobs, Emily Ling, Lauren Punter, Malisa Shivpaul, Lehana Simon, Shamere Yearwood ANTIGUA GRAMMAR SCHOOL: Curtis Byron, Kieron Murdochm, Brandon Thomas BAPTIST ACADEMY OF ANTIGUA: Brian Blair, Grace Edwards, Zadesha Gordon, Osaze Hazel, Xena Joseph, Ashleigh Knight, Javin Martin CHRIST THE KING HIGH SCHOOL: Joyce Bitar, Nekera Francis, Shena Fung, Lena 74 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• July/September July/September2014 2014 74
CXC Awards Ibrahim, Jahkaydah Isaac, Caroline Michael ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY: Cavaughn Browne, Anthony Mansoor, Gionata Marzi, Michael Zouetr ST. ANTHONY’S SECONDARY SCHOOL: Amanda Hadeed, Breana Khouly
ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY: George Bchech, Aushaun Browne, Mickael Carmel, Giole Marzi ST. ANTHONY’S SECONDARY SCHOOL: Dannika Christian, Zoe Walwyn
ANTIGUA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL: Joanna Archibald, Jennell Attidore, LaChelle Carter, Kasey Dennis, Krystal Gomes, Asha Graham, Sharice Graham, Krystal Hector, Reeza-Anne Horsford, Annetta Jackson, Niesha Leonard, Gleneisha Parillon, Ameera Ramdin, Michelle Smith, Anneka Willock
ANTIGUA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL: Lorencia Alfred, Colleen Berridge, Sherika Crump, Levisha Josiah, Shaniqua Peters, Jadicia Ryan, Jahrika Samuel ANTIGUA GRAMMAR SCHOOL: Kyle Nicholson CHRIST THE KING HIGH SCHOOL: Tiquancia Humphreys, Luanne Smith CLARE HALL SECONDARY SCHOOL: Nekeebah James ST. ANTHONY’S SECONDARY SCHOOL: Dominique Bento ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY: Mario Gonsalves, Dravid Ramsey
ANTIGUA GRAMMAR SCHOOL: Axel Romero Young BAPTIST ACADEMY OF ANTIGUA: Krizia Burke-Forde CHRIST THE KING HIGH SCHOOL: Cocher Josiah, Bria Theodore, J’nia Weste PRINCESS MARGARET SCHOOL: Jamika Phillip, Tenay Spencer SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST SCHOOL: Danielle Ford
Come September 2014, five new-generation subjects for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) will be taught for first examination in 2015.
Guyana hosted the launch with the Agricultural Science theme on Monday, May 12, with Trinidad and Tobago followed on May 15 with the Entrepreneurship theme.
The subjects are: Agricultural Science, Entrepreneurship, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Sport, and Tourism.
St Lucia hosted the launch which focused on the Performing Arts on Friday, May 16 with the final launch set for Jamaica on Tuesday, May 20, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. The final theme is Physical Education and Sport.
All five subjects are being launched by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) during May, 2014. “The five subjects will be launched in five CXC participating countries with each event having a specific subject theme,” the Council said in a release. “The first launch took place on Friday, 9th May in Barbados, and the theme for the event in Barbados was Tourism.”
CXC is partnering with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Cultural Development Foundation of St Lucia, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and various tertiary institutions in Jamaica to host the events.
“This step is a giant leap toward providing our youth with the knowledge, the confidence and insights needed to change the quality of the experience we sell. Thousands of tourism frontline workers who are in positions to make or break this industry will now have an opportunity to get a tertiary education. For them a CXC certificate, or just the knowledge gained while studying for that certificate, could be an absolute game-changer,” CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley said about the introduction of Tourism at CAPE. The introduction of the five new subjects follows the launch of Digital Media in September 2013. This now brings the total number of subjects offered at CAPE to 30.
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014 BusinessFocus • July/September 2014 | 75| 75
ECONOMY & TRADE FOCUS YOUTH FOCUS
Shillingford gains admission to Europe’s Top Architecture Schools Island Academy Alumnus Johnathan Shillingford has gained admission to three of the world’s most prestigious institutions of architecture – The Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, UK; The Barlett University College London, London, UK; and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark. Of 1,000 applicants to the Royal Danish Academy, Shillingford was 1 of 10 offered admission to the selective programme. Johanthan migrated from Dominica to Antigua at the age of nine, and attended Island Academy International from Grade 8 – 12, where he served as Head Boy and graduated Valedictorian, winning awards for best art and science student – two subjects paramount to his intended career as an architect. While there he very involved in the music and equestrian programmes, even representing Antigua regionally at dressage and show jumping events. In 2008, at the age of 17, Johnathan was accepted to and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he made the Dean’s List twice. He even served in the Student Government as Ambassador to the College of Architecture and spearheaded an initiative to integrate more arts and humanities courses into the otherwise very technical BArch program, among other projects. Graduating in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Architecture, Johnathan relocated to Paris to take up an internship position at an architecture/landscape/urban design firm. 76 76 || BusinessFocus BusinessFocus •• July/September July/September 2014 2014
Surrounded by Legos and Mechano, he developed a love for assembling parts in whole objects. “I remember unscrewing the blade of my sharpener and using it to cut tiny squares out of strips of paper that I would then assemble to form the walls and windows of small model buildings. At that age, you’re only familiar with a handful of professions based on exposure: Doctor, teacher, firman, police, etc. It wasn’t until my father noticed this design instinct that he thought to introduce me architecture. He had spiked my curiosity and since then, thanks to my teachers, Professors, and employers, I’ve spent my time investigating the field up to this day (with more sophisticated tools than a sharpener blade),” he shared. Accepted his offer to the Architectural Association (AA), the most prestigious of the three schools, Johnathan highlighted the institutions prestige, location and challenge as his main reasons for his selection. Founded in 1847, the AA is the oldest independent architectural school in the UK and a “global meeting point for discourse in architecture and urban design, rivaled perhaps only by Harvard … Having studied in Chicago and practiced in Paris, two of the world’s architectural capitals, I’ve been able to observe the importance of surroundings. London being another architectural capital, it will no doubt be an excellent design laboratory for my further architectural development… and because I like a challenge, [this programme] will force me to critically
question the decisions and interventions I make as I practice architecture and I look forward to that.” Commenting on his interest in architecture and the Caribbean, Johnathan said, “The Caribbean is a collection of developing countries, and from that perspective, an opportune place to practice architecture and urban design. Choice of materials, skilled builders, climate, and an attitude towards the vernacular are challenges that if faced the right way, would enrich the final architectural product. I am very interested then, at some point in my career, in returning to the Caribbean and practicing here. It is my observation that there is little planning with regard to zoning and infrastructure. With a background in urban design, I will be able to assist in these fields as we move forward and develop our Caribbean nations.” In an effort to complete his studies and return to the Caribbean to implement his vision, Johanthan makes this appeal: “If you are interested, impressed, or just like what it is I am doing, please visit http://www. gofundme.com/8pzr8g and consider making a donation towards my grad school tuition. Any amount is a step closer to my goal. Thank you!” Johnathan will begin his master’s degree in Architecture and Urbanism in September 2014.
Diving in with a Purpose
You may have realized that this issue features an important resource – water and its preservation. But more than water as a needed resource for survival, Ruleo Camacho is divining into its ecosystem and the impact of climate as well as man on that delicate ecosystem that not only feeds us, but protects us. A Fullbright Foreign Scholarship recipient, Ruleo is currently pursuing a Masters in Marine Biology at the University of Maine. “I’m focusing on the coral reef ecosystems, specifically the impact that the reduction of herbivorous reef fish (like parrot and doctor fish) through overfishing has had on
the community dynamics of the coral reef ecosystems.”
and examining potential solutions to help the recovery of our coral reef ecosystems.”
He continued to explain that coral reefs create a variety of ecosystem services to the islands of Antigua & Barbuda. “They provide a habitat and feeding area for a diverse array of organisms inclusive of lobster, crabs, fish, rays, sharks and turtles. The physical structure of reefs aids in protection of the coastline from wave action during storms and hurricanes. Coral reefs provide support to the fisheries industry and create a tourism product through the provision of snorkeling and scuba diving attractions.”
Having always been interested in outdoor life and sea, his first degree was in Environmental Biology. His love for sailing, fishing and diving fuelled his passion in marine biology. “My interest in marine science is not limited to coral reefs, as I’m curious about sharks and pelagic fishes, but I’m yet to receive the opportunity to pursue studies in those areas.” Commenting on the general mindset of most persons when it comes to the seas, Ruleo stated, “I don’t think enough emphasis is placed on the importance of marine life around the island. This is due partially to a lack of awareness, both within the schools and the broader public, and as a result, the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality still exists as it relates to the marine environment. The marine environment consists of diverse but fragile ecosystems, upon which many of our daily activities can have far-reaching and harmful effects. Research, exploration and awareness is needed if we are to protect these resources for the future and gain a better understanding of how they function around our islands.
Commenting on the island’s reefs, he noted that they’d undergone a decline in their health which has been linked to the reduction in abundance of herbivorous organisms which inhabit the ecosystem. These herbivores are responsible for the control of the algal population, which is the primary competitor of coral polyps (tiny animals which make coral reefs) for resources like sunlight and space for growth. Algae have been able to dominate the reef ecosystem as a result of the loss of these herbivorous organisms. This reduces the habitat complexity of the reef ecosystem, reduces its productivity and ability to maintain the ecosystems services mentioned above. “My research,” he shared, “involves investigating the extent of this link between declining reef health and loss of herbivores,
“Greatest neglect currently in marine life surrounding Antigua & Barbuda is the lack of protection it receives. This extends from coral reefs to sea-grass bed to mangroves. These ecosystems are all essential players in the maintenance of our marine environment, and need to have greater protection.” BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
INVESTING IN “THE CARIBBEAN” IS GOOD BUSINESS Says Gordon”Butch” Stewart
Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, OJ, CD, Hon. LLD,
have included Sir Richard Branson and Royal Caribbean Cruises International.
The Caribbean region remains a great business investment and still offers “the single best holiday product in the world.”
Stewart, former CEO of Air Jamaica and President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, calls it “an honor to be considered a leader among those serving and succeeding in the Caribbean.”
So insists Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, OJ, CD, Hon. LLD, the man who built a tourism empire in the Caribbean from the groundup and today remains active in investments across the region. The Jamaican-born Stewart’s pearls of wisdom to global investors come as he gears up to receive the 2014 Invest Caribbean Now Leadership Award this June 4, 2014 at the Harvard Club in New York City. Invest Caribbean Now, the biggest global summit on the Caribbean outside the region, is honoring Stewart this year for his investment, commitment and dedication to the Caribbean “and for inspiring us all.” Past ICN honorees 78 | BusinessFocus • July/September 2014 78 | BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
“My work here, the companies I have built, the jobs we have created and the people we have served are the best example of what is possible in the Caribbean and why we must continue to invest here at home,” he added. “Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart is a name that has become synonymous with Caribbean tourism globally,” said ICN Founder and Chairman Felicia J. Persaud. “Mr. Stewart is an inspiration to all Caribbean entrepreneurs. He embodies the core value of what can be accomplished through vision, leadership and hard work. There is no one more deserving to receive the prestigious ICN Leadership Award in 2014 and we are honored he will be joining us to accept this award.”
Chairman of SANDALS RESORTS INTERNATIONAL
Meanwhile, Stewart warns Caribbean governments to consider the lasting effects of the investment they accept on their resources and their constituencies, especially as he puts it, “it’s not simply about land development or acquisition but about investing in people, giving them the resources and opportunity to contribute in real, meaningful ways.” “Human capital will always return the greatest reward and is where thoughtful leaders spend their time and their resources,” said the former President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and the country’s one time director of tourism. “As a private investor in the region, our footprint is something we think about every day and we are making conscientious decisions to be good, effective corporate citizens. The fact is job creation leads to immense opportunity in education and no other sector is capable of distributing wealth as rapidly and efficiently as the tourism dollar.”
Caribbean Airlines Gets New CEO & CFO Canadian Airline Veteran Appointed CEO
Newly-appointed Caribbean Airlines CEO Michael DiLollo, left, receives his symbolic ‘humming bird’ pin from Clint Williams, Head of Corporate Communications, CAL. Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer, Michael DiLollo. CAL chairman Philip Marshall said DiLollo was chosen after an “extensive search” and was “the outstanding choice in terms of his combination of leadership, governance, technical, and communication skills.” DiLollo served as President of Transat Tours Canada, the business unit of Transat AT, Inc, from November 2009 to September 2011. He had been with Transat since 1991 and served as an Executive Vice President of TTC, Transat A T Inc, at Air Transat AT Inc from November 2008. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and Customer Service for Air Transat. He is an Airbus A330 Captain and has considerable and diverse experience in the aviation industry. He served as Vice President of Airline Operations at Medatlantica Group was a
Director of Nav Canada from April 24, 2013. DiLollo is a graduate of Queen’s University in Business Administration. DiLollo, who spent 20 years at Air Transat, began work during late May, saying the challenge of heading the State-owned airline was “too sweet to let up”. DiLollo replaces former CAL executive Robert Corbie who resigned in June 2013. The company also announced that it has hired a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Tyrone Tang. DiLollo said at a press conference at the Hilton Trinidad that he’s focused on stabilising the internal operations of CAL and will centre his tenure on four pillars - safety, people (staff), customers and sustainability. Asked how he will reconcile company decisions with the wishes of the political directorate, given that CAL is majorityowned by the State, DiLollo said companies must be accountable to shareholders.
dealt with to have any sustainability. The external threats, he outlined, included the “ferocious competition” from low-cost carriers which were now running on CAL routes. The internal threats, he said, were cost cutting measures. To this end, the company is doing a route analysis to determine what routes will be streamlined and which will be cut. Questioned on whether CAL’s London route, which has been unprofitable, will be cut, DiLollo said he will wait until the analysis is done before making any statement. He said the company was focused on utilising assets on the right routes. He observed that when new routes are launched, companies usually suffered some losses and it would be premature to answer.
He explained that the airline faces internal and external threats which must be adequately BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
events events2013 2014 CARIBDA 2014 CONFERENCE EXPOSITIONTRAVEL EXCHANGE CARIBBEAN MEETING &&INCENTIVE
June 24th -27th, 2014 THE event for buyers and sellers of incentive travel. Frenchman’s Reef & Morningstar Marriott, St. Thomas September 15-18, 2013 at The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas. The theme for this conference is “Drought proofing the Caribbean”. The Caribbean Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE) brings together buyers Desalination Association (CaribDA) is a non-profit organization and 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. Apply online. industries, academia and government as well as individuals interested 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 andCONFERENCE other resources; work together to improve the quality and FCCAstandards CRUISE & 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 to meet with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is MYbecause CARIBBEAN, ONE WORLD EXPOby the Conference that nearly 1,200 cruise of the unique forum provided industry partners, including approximately 100 cruise executives, attend each year. July 19-20th, 2014 For further information visit their website: www.f-cca.com City Hall Plaza, Boston Massachusetts Organized by Authentic Foundation, this Trade expo willFair provide information GUYEXPO 2013Caribbean – Guyana’s Premier & Exposition about the wide range of options in the Caribbean, highlighting their unique offering inOctober – 6, 2013 atculture, the National Exhibition Site, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana cluding arts,3adventure, cuisine, music and sports. Caribbean countries along Being hosted under the Theme: “Advancing Productivity through Innovation, with influential players from the hotel, airline, attraction, car rental, and allied indusModernisation andCaribbean Expansion”restaurants and in partnership with thetheir Guyana Manufacturing & tries along with local will showcase products and services. Services Association as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Further information: www.mycaribbeanoneworldexpo.com Guyana’s largest Trade and Investment Exposition – GuyExpo began in 1995. This public/ private partnership event which showcases locally produced goods LATIN & CARIBBEAN TYREinEXPO andAMERICAN services, became an annual activity 2004 and is now the longest sustained exhibition in the Caribbean. July For 23-25th, 2014 further information contact the GUYEXPO Secretariat at www.guexpo.net ATLAPA Convention Centre MARKET 2013 2014WORLD marks theTRAVEL 5th anniversary of The Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo, which provides direct access to the 4 – 7 exhibitors Novemberwith 2013,ExCel, London, UK Latin American and Caribbean tire dealers in a This personal setting that forges lasting commercial and personal ties.business – to leading global event for long the travel industry is a vibrant must attend business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and international travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. For further information : www.wtmlondon.com CANTO 30TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION
CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF BANKS INC – 40th ANNUAL
August 10th -15th, MEETING 2014 GENERAL and CONFERENCE Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas – 16 November 2013,anniversary Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa &serving Beach its Resort, Pigeon 201413 heralds CANTO’s ‘Pearl’ – 30 years of proudly members in Island Causeway, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. the ICT sector, in a multiplicity of ways. The association has proudly grown to over 130 The 40th General Meeting and Conference hostedstrategic Under the Theme members in 34Annual countries. CANTO will focus its 30th yearwill on be creating alliances “Redefining Strategy – The Leadership Challenge”. The Conference will address with all stakeholders to bolster and develop broadband infrastructure in the Caribthat create will influence regional and viable global Caribbean financial policies impacting member bean.issues This will a more economically for all and in so doing states. strengthen the social fabric of our beloved region. For information: further information visit their website: www.cab-inc.com Further http://www.canto.org
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
BusinessFocus Sept /Oct
events2013 2014 events
34th Annual Caribbean Association Pharmacists Conference CARIBBEAN MEETING & of INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCHANGE
August 17th -24th, 2014 THE event for buyers and sellers of incentive travel. Radisson Grenada Beach Resort, Grenada September 15-18, 2013 at The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas. The Caribbean Association of Pharmacists is a network of care providers dedicated to Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE) brings together buyers improving the health and well-being of people by fostering a culture of continuous and suppliers servicing the Caribbean meeting and incentive market. learning and improvement among the membership in pursuance of the advancement CMITE is an invitation-only, appointment-based event. Apply online. of the profession of Pharmacy. Members aspire to practice Pharmacy with a social For further information visit their website: conscience and commitment to the growth and development of the people of the www.caribbean.incentivetravelexchange.com Caribbean. Further FCCA information: http://www.cap-pharmacists.com/ CRUISE CONFERENCE & TRADESHOW September 30 - October 4, 2013, Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, Cartagena, Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange Colombia. For many cruise executives, destinations, suppliers and tour operators, the annual September 14th – 17th, 2014 FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the premier industry event of the year The Cove Atlantis, Bahamas to meet with key industry players, analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travelprovided Exchangeby(CMITE) brings together buyers and cruise because of the unique forum the Conference that nearly 1,200 suppliers servicing the Caribbean and incentive market. CMITE attend is an invitaindustry partners, includingmeeting approximately 100 cruise executives, each year. tion-only event. For further information visit their website: www.f-cca.com Further information: http://caribbean.incentivetravelexchange.com/
GUYEXPO 2013 – Guyana’s Premier Trade Fair & Exposition
October 3 – 6, 2013 at the National Exhibition Site, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana Being FCCA hosted Cruise under the Theme: “Advancing Productivity through Innovation, 21st Annual Conference & Trade Show Modernisation and Expansion” and in partnership with the Guyana Manufacturing & Association as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary. OctoberServices 6th -10th, 2014 Guyana’s largest Trade and Investment Exposition – GuyExpo began in 1995. Pembroke Pines, Florida This public/ private destinations, partnership event which locally For many cruise executives, suppliers andshowcases tour operators, theproduced annual goods and services, became an Show annualisactivity in 2004 and isevent now of thethe longest sustained FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade the premier industry year to exhibition in the players, Caribbean. meet with key industry analyze trends and discuss current issues. It is because For further information contact the GUYEXPO Secretariat www.guexpo.net of the unique forum provided by the Conference that nearly 1,000atcruise industry partners, including approximately 100 cruise executives, attend each year. WORLD TRAVEL MARKET 2013 Further information: http://www.f-cca.com/ 4 – 7 November 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 GuyExpo and 2014 international travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof. OctoberFor 2ndfurther – 5th,information 2014 : www.wtmlondon.com This premier exposition and trade fair offers business associates the opportunity to CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OFcompanies BANKS and INCestablishments, – 40th ANNUAL meet, network and negotiate with international as GENERAL CONFERENCE well as showcase theirMEETING skills, talentsand and creative works. This annual event provides a platform13for– both local and foreign businesses: importers, exporters, retailers, whole16 November 2013, Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, Pigeon salers. ItIsland fusesCauseway, together a Gros wideIslet, crossSaint section of producers of handicraft, furniture, garLucia. ments, jewellery, and horticulture, pharmaceuticals, tourism, technology The 40th Annual General Meeting and Conference willinformation be hosted Under the Theme and most of all our culture. This ideal setting provides the opportunity for businesses “Redefining Strategy – The Leadership Challenge”. The Conference will address to increase their and efficiency and foster growth. issues thatcompetitiveness will influence regional and global financial policies impacting member Further states. information: http://www.guyexpo.net/ For further information visit their website: www.cab-inc.com
BusinessFocus Sept /Oct | 99 BusinessFocus BusinessFocus • July/September • July/September 2014 2014 | 81 | 81
Newly elected Prime Minister the Honourable Gaston Browne assumed duties as Chairman of CARICOM on 1st July, 2014. During his first address at a conference of Heads of Government ofCARICOM, PM Browne emphasized the regional focus of his young administration which was “fully” and “passionately” committed to regional integration as an important and vital instrumentfor “our development”.Underscoring his commitment to regional integration, Prime Minister Browne pointed out that one of his early decisions since winning elections on 12 June 2014, was to abolish, with immediate effect, the work permit fees for CARICOM nationals for the remainder of 2014. He added that his government intended to hold a referendum, as soon as was practicable, on accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)’s appellate jurisdiction. The Region, he reasoned, could not be “truly independent” if its final court of appeal was a court of its colonial masters. He also sounded the call for a commitment to the removal of all barriers to free movement; and the strengthening of the CARICOM Secretariat to advance the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).He shared his vision of the Community as one of a shared space offered to “all the people of all our countries”; a Community where there was acknowledgement that national efforts could be accelerated by regional initiatives; a Community that was transformed into an economic powerhouse built on production integration, joint ventures, joint ownership and regional collaboration. Prime Minister Browne is also the Chairman of the OECS Authority.
BusinessFocus • July/September 2014
Choice Hotels International, I n c . (NYSE:CHH), one of the w o r l d ’ s largest hotel companies, has assigned Atlanta-based hospitality executive Dennis Wynn to oversee the lodging company’s franchise sales efforts in the Caribbean. Appointed Director of Membership for the company’s Ascend Hotel Collection in 2012, Wynn now adds the Caribbean region to his portfolio. In this expanded role, Wynn will be responsible for the strategic growth and overall development direction not only for Ascend, but the core brands, including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn and Clarion. Wynn, who has been with Choice since 2006, has been instrumental in creating a steady and long term growth strategy for the Ascend Hotel Collection, which now has more than 120 member hotels worldwide. Prior to joining Choice, Wynn served with The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta as a chef. The new appointment will assist the leading lodging company with its Caribbean development thrust in a rebounding market. “We love the Caribbean and our customer base is very interested in the Caribbean,” Choice Hotels International President and CEO Stephen P. Joyce said during the company’s recent annual convention in Las Vegas. Choice Hotels International currently has eight hotels in the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, and Puerto Rico.
The Antigua and Barbuda National Accreditation Board has announced t h e appointment of Mrs. Eloise Hamilton as its Executive Director to replace Mr. Glenford E. Joseph, who resigned after serving in this position from November 2008 to April 2014. Mrs. Hamilton, who recently retired from the Antigua State College as Vice Principal, brings with her a wealth of experience in tertiary education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (General) and a Post Graduate Diploma (Education) from the University of the West Indies; and a Master of Arts (Educational Leadership) from the University of Nottingham. Mrs. Hamilton believes that the work of the Antigua and Barbuda National Accreditation Board is of great importance to the nation. ABNAB not only provides for the Registration and Accreditation of tertiary institutions in Antigua and Barbuda, but it continues to protect the interests of our students by providing advice on study choices abroad. Mrs. Hamilton is therefore very honoured that she has been given the opportunity to serve the nation in the capacity of the Executive Director of ABNAB. She pledges to continue the hard work started by the former Executive Director, Mr. Joseph, and build on the solid foundation laid.
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So what are we really expecting? And what is our attitude to business, our country, life and the environment itself? Do we regard our enviro...