Acknowledgements The Beautiful Caribbean - Clarence Hiles, Editor
Beautiful St. Kitts - Bernadette Williams
A View to Die For! - Scott Jaynes
Come Visit St. Lucia - Ollie Gobat
Delivering on our Promises - Apes Hill
Really Get Away - Crane Resorts Beach Houses
Value for Money Exists - Carterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grove
Walkersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; A Whole New World
50 Years and Going Strong Oran Limited
North Sound - Edward Childs, SmithsGore, BVI
Nature The Luxury Property of Dominica
Scotiabank Making it Easy to be Green
The Caribbean Buzz is Returning - Brian Kassab
Capita Financial is a Breath of Fresh Air
Regional Business System at the Cutting Edge of Technology - Roger Worme, Regional Business System
Big Plans to Develop RICS in The Caribbean
Lower LTVs but Banks Still Lending
Brand Values Go Far Beyond Advertising
Insurance in the Caribbean - David Alleyne, Sagicor
Cecily Lees, Safehaven
Paul Maxwell, Capita Financial
Caribbean Property Magazine, is a Caribbean production published by Hiltop Publications Ltd, 11 Cottage Ridge, St George, Barbados. Tel: (246) 228-9122 Fax: (246) 228-0243 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution: Antigua, St. Kitts & Nevis, Pamela Hiles - Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados & St. Lucia Important Websites: www.caribbeanpropertymag.com www.caribbeanpropertysearch.com www.sportingbarbados.com www.barbadospropertynews.com Editor: Clarence Hiles Advertising: Pamela Hiles Design: 809 Design Editorial thanks to Bernadette Williams,Cecily Lees, Edward Childs, Ollie Gobat, Scott Jaynes, Brian Kassab, Paul Maxwell, Roger Worme, Andre Bello Sanjay Amin, Anita Ashton, David Alleyne, Mark St. Hill & Oliver Chatten. Unless stated otherwise, the other editorial is attributed to the editor. Photography Thanks to the various developments for their permission to reproduce photographic material. Copyright: Caribbean Property Magazine 2014 Volume 13. The material and editorial content in this publication was deemed correct in May 2014 when it went to print. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any change or error and recommends all readers should verify the current details direct with the advertiser and where appropriate seek professional advice. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher.
Sanjay Amin, BCQS International
Anita Ashton, Caribbean Mortgage Brokerage Andre Bello, Virgin Atlantic Caribbean General
CIBC FirstCaribbean Well Positioned for The Future - Mark St. Hill, CIBC FirstCaribbean
The Changing Picture in Caribbean Telecommunications - Oliver Chatten, Lime
Port Ferdinand - Barbados Compliments of Port Ferdinand
The Beautiful Caribbean Editor Clarence Hiles extols the virtues of a region many people call Paradise
insights to what is actually happening as opposed to speculation and assumptions. We also include a variety of interesting features in our Business and Finance section to allow readers a further insight into whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening across the region and how real estate, business and finance inter-relate with each other.
There have been many false dawns, but enough good vibrations are emerging across the region to verify better times are on their way. They wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t transform the Caribbean real estate market overnight, but it shows more second home buyers are coming back into the market and that will strengthen confidence in the product. Economic experts all over the world grapple with the precise times when economies go in and out of recession so nobody is jumping up and down to herald a new era. Too many finance gurus have got it wrong in the past six years! Caribbean Property Magazine does not attempt to cover all real estate in the region or everything and anything associated with it. This publication offers a selection of real estate options in different destinations and the views of experts on the ground. There are no better experts than those who live and work on the ground and their views offer interesting
It is amazing that despite the plethora of information available on the Internet these days that so little is known about the Caribbean in many developed countries. Perhaps mineral wealth and oil riches have given Trinidad a unique position in global economic terms, and Bob Marley and Rihanna may have given Jamaica and Barbados international celebrity status in the music world, but apart from cricket nothing else unites the West Indies as a region. That means many of the islands have to market themselves independently and inevitably the smaller islands like St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Maarten, Antigua and Turks and Caicos are largely unknown. The Caribbean is full of exotic hideaways and while sporadic real estate development took place in the pre-2008 era, they are still largely unspoiled and remain hidden gems. It helps to have a general understanding of the Caribbean region before visiting to ensure you get what you expect. Like many others you may fall in love with the islands and ignite the dream of owning a home here and spending more and more time enjoying the idyllic environs and laidback lifestyle. You may eventually retire here and there are many people who have made their dreams come true down the years. The Caribbean is that sort of place and while each island has
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Barbados is one of the bestknown destinations on the global hospitality ladder and renowned for its sand, sea and sunshine. Many of the rich and famous come and go to “Little England,” a description that owes much to the island’s British heritage. Modern Barbados has a much more diverse culture and although property prices are higher than in most other Caribbean locations, the range of property is extensive and will suit most pockets. The St. Lucia property market stumbled with global recession and several high profile developments were put on the back burner. But the island’s natural beauty has not diminished and it remains a vibrant, exciting and attractive location. But better still, there are some excellent property deals to be sourced before the market regains its pre-2008 momentum.
In a short time St. Kitts and Nevis will boast four championship golf courses and may well become the premier golfing destination in the Caribbean.
its own identity and character, there is a unifying culture that makes the region very relaxing and very attractive. The region is not without its economic challenges and with the exception of Trinidad, all the small island economies are driven by the tourism industry. But even if the current figures are down from previous levels, thousands of tourists still love the Caribbean and are willingly captivated by its laidback easy-going lifestyle. From their midst a small number will buy second homes and an even smaller number will retire to these sunnier climes. So let’s look closer at some of the exotic destinations we have showcased in the 2014 publication-
The Virgin Islands have international celebrity status largely because of its rich glitzy yachting community and numerous idyllic sailing locations. Sir Richard Branson put his little island Nectar on the world map many years ago and in this edition Edward Childs writes glowingly of the many exciting things that are happening in the British Virgin Islands. Several years ago St. Kitts was seen as the hidden gem in the Caribbean crown and one of the region’s best-kept secrets. Things went quiet after 2008, but in the last 12 months the momentum has returned and this lovely little island appears to have a new lease of life with a number of prestigious developments coming to the fore. In a short
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with tropical rivers, lakes, waterfalls, bays and beaches. It has vibrant tropical vegetation and abundant fruit and is a natural haven for ecologists, conservationists and people who simply want a quiet life. No showcase of the islands would be complete without reference to the ease with which people can travel to and from the region and in many cases set up home. Yes, there is crime, but too often it is exaggerated beyond proportion in the overseas media. And after all, the money laundering capitals in the world are not in the little towns in the Caribbean, but in the major cities and drug centres of the world. The Caribbean is small beer in the crime world and Caribbean governments understand the importance of overseas investment and go that extra mile to promote and develop new business. At the top of their priorities are tourism arrivals and property investment. time St. Kitts and Nevis will boast four championship golf courses and may well become the premier golfing destination in the Caribbean. Dominica offers a completely different perspective from all of the more developed Caribbean islands. It is an Eco-friendly island that many people say Columbus would still recognize if he returned to the world because so little has changed. But one thing at least has changed because Dominica is now available to the rest of the world with the lowest property prices in the region and a lifestyle devoid of many of the stresses and challenges of developed countries. The island is rich in unspoiled natural beauty packed
Caribbean people are the most friendly and laidback people in the world. You only appreciate that when you visit the region. We hope you get a taste of the Caribbean through Caribbean Property Magazine and that it encourages you to visit and live your dream. If you eventually set up home here you will have found Paradise. Best wishes,
Clarence Hiles Editor
Beautiful St. Kitts Realtor Bernadette Williams gave an insight into this little haven in the Caribbeanâ&#x20AC;Ś
a beautiful backdrop. There are also inland views of the rainforests and out to sea you can easily see several neighbouring islands.
The Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis is one of the most beautiful places to live, choose for a vacation or invest in a second home. The lush green mountains, stunning views and the friendliness of the people make it a lovely place to be. If you are visiting you can hike or zip-line through the rainforests, relax on the sandy beaches, visit the famous Brimstone Fort, meander around our quiet roads, or take a short catamaran-snorkel cruise to our sister island Nevis to spend a relaxing few hours. We also have a busy property scene and at B. Williams Property Management Services we work hard to ensure your needs are met with our professional and friendly service. We can provide property management for rentals and assist you with buying or selling of properties. There is a great variety of property available in St. Kitts with or without a citizenship option. Many of the properties are private villas, but others are in villa developments, which have some magnificent views of both the Caribbean and the Atlantic. Stunning views are a big part of the St Kitts ambience as the vistas are unique and the imposing peak of Nevis with its puffy white clouds is
Many second homebuyers prefer the simplicity of a condo unit and we have a good selection of options to suit every taste and every pocket. Many of the projects offer additional amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts, and of course the St Kitts Golf Course is never too far away from any location on the island. At the top end of the market some of the properties have their own private pools attached to the villas. There are many benefits to condo property ownership including security on site and management staff that take care of the maintenance and common areas and allow owners the luxury of stress-free ownership when they are not in occupation. And of course, they can be rented out to maximise on your investment. When you purchase a property in the Citizenship Programme you can become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis as long as you pass the due diligence process. This is relatively straightforward, but it is an important element as St Kitts has to ensure that we are inviting reputable people as all the rights and privileges of normal citizenship comes with acceptance. There are several very informative websites that provide more details or we can provide details on request. The real estate market in St. Kitts is still a developing market, but it is being carefully managed to ensure we protect and conserve what we have to offer. With progress you still need to look at preserving the attributes already in place and this is very important on an island of great natural beauty with a unique Caribbean history and culture.
The airlift in and out of St. Kitts has improved over the years and now offers direct flights from Miami, New York and the UK.
The airlift in and out of St. Kitts has improved over the years and now offers direct flights from Miami, New York and the UK. Some destinations offer daily flights and in the case of Miami twice daily at certain times. There are also regular flights to various islands within the Caribbean, and connecting flights out of Antigua and St. Martin to Europe. St Kitts and Nevis may seem like hidden gems within the Caribbean family of islands, but in reality the island is within easy reach of many regional and international destinations. Thousands of visitors come annually to the island on cruise ships and are captivated by the laidback and relaxed ambience. Some of them follow up with enquiries about property and in these circumstances it is important to have experienced professionals
handling the enquiries. At B. Williams Property Management Services we offer a one-stop shop package for all your investing needs. This includes owning, buying, renting and managing or just about anything connected with property. We want you to enjoy our wonderful lifestyle and welcome your enquiries.
Bernadette Williams has over 14 years of hands-on experience in construction development and property management in St. Kitts. Her wealth of knowledge offers clients a unique perspective and understanding of various aspects of real estate in the Federation. Her degree is in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She can be contacted by telephone at 869.662.5227 or by email at email@example.com
A View to Die For! Developer Scott Jaynes fell in love with St. Kitts and made it his home and his business. He brings us up to date with both...
have weekly flights from Atlanta and Charlotte respectively. Several Caribbean countries have now introduced Economic Citizenship purchase schemes similar to St Kitts. Do you feel this is a growing source of property ownership or a small niche that will always attract certain buyers? Has 2014 started out better for Sundance Ridge than last year? Yes. 2014 is started out great with us closing on two lots and we look forward to a banner year! We only have eight lots remaining on Sundance Ridge. We strongly encourage readers to come see for themselves what a spectacular development we have and, at the same time, take in the beauty of St. Kitts. What changes have you made to your product to create more interest? We have adjusted our business plan to “lot sales only”. We now allow our lot owners to choose from several qualified contractors to construct their villa on Sundance Ridge. St Kitts appears to have regained its buzz in Caribbean real estate. What has been happening to create more external interest? The St. Kitts Hotel and Tourism Board has been increasingly active in promoting St. Kitts around the world. The added publicity has created more interest in the island and ultimately more airlift. American Airlines has increased their weekly direct flights to and from Miami to eleven! British Airways still has two weekly flights from London and Delta and US Air
There are a great number of people from countries that have unfavourable tax or immigration laws that are attracted to the Citizenship program. St. Kitts’ program is the oldest and has attracted a great deal of investment dollars to the island. My personal opinion is that the program fits only a small niche of investors. With the new golf course at Kittitian Hill due to open at the end of this year and plans to build another one at the Southeast Peninsula, St Kitts and Nevis will shortly be able to offer four top class golf courses. What impact do you feel this will have on the economy going forward? Golf is a huge draw to many travellers all over the world. You could say “it is an economy in itself”. Millions of dollars are spent annually on the sport, which is an addiction to some. Having a selection of courses to play on St. Kitts and Nevis is extraordinary and will surely bring more visitors to our idyllic little islands. Has your sister island Nevis the same tourism and real estate buzz as St Kitts or does it continue to be a Caribbean hideaway? Nevis is much more laidback than St. Kitts and even St. Kitts can’t really be called a “hot spot” for
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The region has endured a tough five years due to global economic meltdown. As a developer you have been in the middle of this downturn, but do you feel things have now bottomed out and we are on the road to recovery in the region?
thousands and thousands of visitors, but tourism on both islands is growing at a very steady pace.
Yes, but I confess I thought we were at the bottom of it 18 months ago! Based on our experience I can now see improvement. Interest in Sundance Ridge over the past 16 months has significantly increased and our prospects are decidedly in a better “investment” mood.
What do you feel government could do to stimulate more tourism and overseas investment?
This time next year what do you hope to have achieved at beautiful Sundance Ridge in 2014?
Move faster to improve the island’s roadways and infrastructure. Of course it needs to be done in a way to preserve the island’s beauty, but it still needs to be done.
I hope by this time next year our continued sales will have put us on track to sell out our eight remaining lots by the end of 2015. We feel we have one of the finest
developments in the Caribbean and that St. Kitts and Sundance Ridge will become “home” to eight more wonderful international families. Fingers crossed! Scott Jaynes and his wife Connie moved to St Kitts several years ago after falling in love with the island on holiday. Formerly from Oklahoma they are now fully integrated into the St Kitts community and enjoy the tranquil laidback lifestyle of the island and its people. Scott’s real estate background directed him towards development and his boundless enthusiasm for Sundance Ridge is fully justified. Without doubt it is one of the most stunning vistas you will ever experience. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kittitian Hill The magnificent new development Kittitian Hill on the slopes of Mount Liamuiga in St. Kitts promises to be one of the most stunning real estate developments in the Caribbean, perhaps in the world. Set on 400 acres that slope gently to the sea from the cloudy rainforest peaks that dominate the St Kitts landscape, this development may take a little time to find, but the journey is well rewarded by the Paradise that will be discovered. Everything about this project oozes sophistication. The architect is world famous Bill Bensley, the 18hole championship golf course has been designed by former Masters champion Ian Woosnam, the properties will be managed by internationally acclaimed resort operators Sedona Resorts, and the developer is the highly successful Caribbean entrepreneur and horticulturalist Val Kempadoo.
Indeed the ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision is much in evidence, as he has skilfully combined community and culture by using local workers and local resources. Kittitian Hill has become the biggest employer in the area and has given the St Kitts economy a major boost at a time when many small island economies are struggling. Over 30 local contractors have been engaged and hundreds of artisans trained to the highest standards of craftsmanship to create this unique lifestyle development. Life at Kittitian Hill will be ultra relaxed far from the bustle and stress of major cities. A strict adherence to conservation and
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landscape has ensured the community is at home with the natural surrounds and through employment the local people will not only be part of its evolution, but also share in its prosperity in the future. Kittitian Hill is a real game changer in St Kitts real estate and will give the island a worldclass resort to market all over the globe. There is no doubt that this development will project the island to the top of the world destination ladder and bring thousands of visitors to the island, several hundred to enjoy their new homes. The community embraces everything a prospective buyer or renter could imagine. It has private villas, cottages and suites, a state of the art tropical spa, organic farm, bars, restaurants, shops, open-air cinema, championship golf course and bustling central village. Moving around the development will be in golf carts to eliminate traffic.
Kittitian Hill may appear set in th remote tropical forests at the northern part of the island, but this is a small place and nowhere is too far from anywhere.
The village will be the central feature of the development and the buzz where owners and guests can soak up a unique atmosphere over a drink, a meal or a relaxing chat with friends. The Marketplace Café with its green roasted coffee will be a popular rendezvous for many and a chance to meet the local chefs and get an insight into their farm-totable philosophy, local dishes and local ingredients. Art galleries and local craft will showcase a variety of St Kitts workmanship and plans are in place to develop annual film and literary festivals. This is no ordinary development, this is a community that wants to change the boundaries of conventional real estate and set the bar at a higher level. Above all, it wants the local people to feel part of this change and benefit from it, a lofty and to be admired vision by the owner. Golf is one of the most popular lifestyle developments in the world and Kittitian Hill will not only offer a unique golfing experience, but St Kitts and Nevis will boast four top courses in the next few years and
may well be seen as the golf capital of the Caribbean. The “Irie Fields” course at Kittitian Hill is a par-71 design weaving through the organic farm with spectacular views of the neighbouring islands of St Barths, St Martin and St Eustatius. Just off the fairways the landscape will be coloured by verdant grassland, tropical fruit trees and organic crops. Just like the real estate, this golf course aims to be different and with so much accessible and edible fruit. Kittitian Hill may appear set in the remote tropical forests at the northern part of the island, but this is a small place and nowhere is too far from anywhere. The beach is a short downhill cycle (or ride in golf carts), the airport is 30 minutes away, there is six-furlong race track nearby at Beaumont Park, the famous Brimstone Hill Fortress World Heritage Site is just around the top of the island, and the capital Basseterre is a 30 minutes drive in either direction. Every effort has been made to make purchase at Kittitian Hill simple and straightforward. Ownership can even include citizenship under the Government’s Citizen-by-Investment Programme. St Kitts has zero rated personal income tax and capital gains and inheritance tax. St Kitts is an island of great natural beauty and tranquillity and Kittitian Hill will be a huge asset going forward. The island was originally named Saint Christopher by explorer Christopher Columbus in 1493, and has a colourful and at times turbulent history. All this is far removed from the gentle and peaceful St Kitts of modern times, a small, but proud country that set aside dependence on the dying sugar industry over a decade ago and continues to build a thriving tourism-driven modern economy. Kittitian Hill is now an integral part of that transition.
Kittitian Hill on the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies is a pioneering new sustainable real estate and hospitality destination. Perched on the edge of Mount Liamuiga, Kittitian Hill spans 400 acres of pristine Caribbean land with panoramic views of the neighbouring islands Statia, Saba, St Martin and St Barth’s. St. Kitts is easily accessible from London, Paris, New York and Miami and only a short intra-island flight from other major Caribbean islands.
Relax in a luxury villa or cottage, set amongst an organic fruit farm nestled below the tropical forest. Or choose a suite in The Village, the cultural heart of Kittitian Hill with a variety of restaurants, bars, duty-free shops and entertainment venues. Kittitian Hill has been designed by award-winning architect Bill Bensley, one of Architectural Digest’s ‘Top 100 Designers’ and managed by luxury hospitality management company, Sedona Resorts. In addition to The Village, Kittitian Hill features a luxury boutique hotel, destination spa, 18-hole championship organic golf course designed by Ian Woosman, private beach club, state-of-the-art fitness centre and a superb farm-totable restaurant.
Kittitian Hill is based on a holistic approach to sustainable development and a shared commitment to community and culture. As well as focusing on stewardship of the environment, the founder, developer and operators of Kittitian Hill support economic and social development amongst neighbouring communities. Including traditional arts, architecture and cultural expression, which are at the heart of Kittitian Hill. THE BENEFITS
Kittitian Hill offers a unique range of properties for sale to meet your individual needs. With the purchase of a property, receive automatic membership to Preferred Residences® and enjoy year-round concierge services, a host of travel benefits,
preferential rates at participating Preferred Hotels & Resorts and worldwide property exchange opportunities at some of the world’s most desirable destinations. In addition, owners receive automatic membership to the Kittitian Hill Club featuring an 18-hole golf course, beach club and tennis. Kittitian Hill offers a variety of purchase options to suit the needs of both lifestyle and investment buyers. Please call +1 869 466 1712 or email email@example.com to discuss the options available to you. Enquire about the introductory period, which excludes property fees and taxes and provides a fixed annual return. For buyers who meet specific criteria, Kittitian Hill properties qualify for the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship-byInvestment Programme.*
*Not all purchase options are available to residents and citizens of some countries, including the United States. Enquire for more information.
Authorised by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis as an Approved Project for Citizenship-by-Investment
Come Visit St. Lucia Says local Realtor Ollie Gobat
AFTER the boom years experienced in the Noughties expectations in St Lucia have changed with regards to the volume of real estate sales taking place. However, this is not just related to the island, but generally the case all over the Caribbean, and it seems to be a similar experience across the global overseas holiday home market. That said, sales over the past 12 months did show signs of a recovery and clearly St Lucia is still holding appeal for those seeking to have a winter bolthole or a retirement home. And those owners looking for pure investment have also managed to find those special deals that are still out there and are comfortably getting a 5% yield. The underlying factors that have made St Lucia attractive to overseas buyers in the first place still remain strong. We have a stable government, the people have a natural charm, the beauty
of the island can compete with any island in the world, we have good airlift from the UK, US and Canada, as well as regionally, our prices are reasonable in comparison to other parts of the Caribbean, and we combine the rustic authentic Caribbean ambience with enough modern amenities for the more discerning traveler. We also have some excellent restaurants, hotels and resorts, good shopping, a great golf course, lively late night watering holes, as well as spectacular beaches and jaw dropping scenery of rainforests, valleys and mountains. Sometimes we forget the huge assets we already have when looking at the current market. St Lucia didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change, it was the outside world that changed. Unlike the boom years when people were buying off plan and resorts were being developed, there is now a preference to buy homes that are already built to avoid any worry or risk that things may not go as planned. There are still a few exceptions with resorts that are mostly built or have a reputable and well-financed developer behind them. For example, in the south of the island the highly-acclaimed Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, continues to develop its luxury residences with sales remaining fairly steady at one of the most dramatic locations imaginable, right between the famous Pitons. Buyers can have an input in the design of a magnificent home within a well-managed worldclass resort at a World Heritage
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The resort has been running successfully, and along with other top quality resort developments like Sugar Beach and Cap Maison, owners are now getting a healthy return. This is an important consideration for the cautious investor as good rental returns enhance the investment. With personal holiday usage and capital appreciation the purchase of a resort property still has a lot to offer.
Real estate purchase between Rodney Bay and Cap Estate remain solid investment.
Site. Just around the bay at the base of Petit Piton, Freedom Bay is getting ready to start construction this year, with Six Senses as its Resort Management Company when it opens. In the north of the island the Landings remains a very popular place to own a luxury home due to its superb location close to all the many attractions and lure of Rodney Bay and Cap Estate with the St Lucia Golf Resort just minutes away. Sales at the Landings have been strong and demand for this unique product remains high. Perhaps this is understandable as it offers topend apartments within a private beachfront marina community complete with all the amenities one could wish for. And the development will continue to evolve as more new properties come on the market during 2014.
Detached properties in the popular north of the island have also seen an increase in turnover. Real estate purchase between Rodney Bay and Cap Estate remain a solid investment. Wellplaced land lots in this area are also attractive investments, especially near the golf course or on elevated locations with great sea views, such as Seabreeze Hills and Seabreeze Heights. The dream of owning a beautiful Caribbean property in a gated community close to the golf course and Rodney Bay can now be realized. But even better, you can design and build it to your own specifications after you buy your plot. Many people are attracted to golf lifestyle developments and St Lucia has a number of attractive options at Villas on the Green, which consists of townhouses along the St Lucia Golf Course. Prices are realistic and the fact that they have been selling confirms their excellent value. There are also some spectacular high-end homes for those looking for exclusivity and the most spectacular spaces, views and locations. Yes, they come with a high price tag, but they still offer better value in comparison to the price tag of a Barbados West Coast villa, or Jumby Bay just off Antigua, or St Barthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. St Lucia
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can offer the same opulence and quality at several locations including the Pitons in the South and Cap Estate in the North at much less outlay. Overall St Lucia offers a wide variety of options for a home, whether just for investment or Traditionally the lifestyle. overseas buyer has tended to be lifestyle driven, while some savvy locals have been just as active in sourcing good deals and snapping up some high quality real estate at attractive prices. The good deals still exist, but you have to work to find them. The fundamentals that make St Lucia so attractive are not likely to change, and as with most Caribbean islands, we are subject to the economic performance of our major target markets, namely the US, UK, Canada and our neighbouring islands. That said, the St Lucian tourism product remains strong and there will never be another place with St Lucia’s natural charm and beauty. There will always be a property for a wide range of potential overseas buyers or “snowbirds.” Take the first step and book your holiday. After that, you will never need to be convinced about what this lovely island has to offer.
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Delivering on our promises
Apes Hill Club in Barbados continues to excel!! The community is now poised to burst into even greater activity. At the top of the ‘good news’ list has to be the fact that the construction of the new Clubhouse is underway. Designed by renowned Barbadian architect Larry Warren, the new Clubhouse will occupy a prime position close to the resort’s main entrance and adjacent to the 9th and 18th greens. From this outstanding vantage point, as well as enjoying spectacular panoramic views of the west coast and the Caribbean Sea below, the Clubhouse will also provide an equally spectacular and expansive vista back up into the 470-acre property. Within the Clubhouse, in addition to well-appointed male and female locker rooms, homeowners and guests will be able to enjoy a bar and restaurant, professional shop and a fully equipped gym. To complete the impressive Clubhouse facilities outdoors, there will also be a large resort pool and two Astro Turf championship tennis courts, enhanced by grass bank bleachers on either side for better viewing. Construction work on the tennis courts is already well advanced. These new amenities will ideally complement the already wellestablished and quite magnificent Apes Hill Club Polo Centre, along with the world-class 18-hole Apes Hill Club golf course. The course has matured very nicely and provides fantastic playing conditions for a variety of regular competitions, Ranging from Monthly Medals to inter-club matches to the Barbados Open Championship. The golf course has earned rave reviews from players of all levels from all around the world. One of the only ‘complaints’ came from a
man who said he couldn’t concentrate on his game because the scenery was so stunning! In addition to its inherent natural beauty and the worldclass quality of its facilities, ownership of a home at Apes Hill Club has become increasingly attractive thanks to a new stressfree approach to property purchase and management.
Acutely aware of the potential challenges that new owners might experience as a result of being thousands of miles away from the process, or being simply too busy to be constantly involved, Apes Hill Club has launched a new Project Management Service for its clients. Since the Project Management Service is geared towards offering a one-stop-shop for clients of Apes Hill Club, the team often ends up willingly providing services that might otherwise be considered outside their remit: such as recommending finance companies, sourcing furniture and appliances; even offering general relocation services. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to assist all owners at Apes Hill Club. And this exemplary level of service does not stop once the house has been built. The Apes Hill Club Management Team offers a full villa management service that takes care of every detail: from housekeeping, to maintaining the pool and gardens, to providing a concierge service and operating a villa rental programme.
Really Get Away Crane Resorts offers peace, elegance and natural beauty in new Barbados East Coast Development.
many of which are second homes to fortunate Barbadian families. These have been passed down from one generation to the next, rendering the prospect of ownership on this coast virtually impossible - until now. INTRODUCING BEACH HOUSES
ESCAPE TO THE EAST COAST Barbados has always been an island of beautiful contradictions - its world-famous “Platinum” West Coast, playground for the rich and famous, is the veritable anti-thesis to its lesser known East Coast. Charmingly rustic and breathtakingly beautiful, the island’s East Coast has remained largely untouched by the passage of time. There are no jet skis, condominiums or night clubs to be found here, only dramatic limestone cliffs, endless waves colliding with expanses of windswept beaches and a way of life not seen since days gone by. This is the other side of Barbados… timeless, unspoilt and secluded. Holding a special place in the hearts of Barbadians, 99% of the East Coast, stretching from Archer’s Bay in St. Lucy to Consett Bay in St. John, has been set aside as a National Park so that future generations may forever enjoy the most spectacular natural beauty the Caribbean has to offer. Today, its quaint fishing villages are home to rustic ‘beach houses’,
Crane Resorts, developer of the highly successful Crane Residential Resort on the island’s South-East Coast, is developing a new, very exclusive residential community - Beach Houses. A secluded, low density and ecofriendly development overlooking Skeete’s Bay Beach and Culpepper Island, Beach Houses has been specially designed to accentuate the property’s exclusive location on the 1% of the East Coast that remains outside of Barbados’ National Park. Managing Director, Paul Doyle explains, “The Crane has always appealed to those who want to ‘get away from it all’ and our new development Beach Houses was conceptualised and designed for those who want to really get away. We’ve been fortunate to acquire a magnificent site on the island’s East Coast, where land development has been historically restricted. The preservation of most of the East Coast as a National Park ensures that this beautiful stretch of coastline will remain untouched forever. Now, with our model home completed and the entire project designed - Beach Houses offers a ‘Grenadines’ feel of seclusion to buyers right here in Barbados.”
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spectacular ocean views, 2 infinity edge private pools with hot tubs (one 37 ft wide for the main residence and the other 19 ft wide for the “lock-off” studio), private patios offering a “no tan-lines” level of privacy, outdoor showers, hammocks, BBQ grills and builtin owner’s storage. The open plan and muted tones create a space that is constantly refreshing and the blurred lines between the indoor and outdoor living spaces place the resident in complete sensory connection with nature. Senior Architect, Ian Ramsay comments, “Beach Houses is the ideal tropical luxury escape – you, the beach and the sun. Every aspect of the design was purposefully created around the harmony of your experience of the surrounding natural environment, in complete privacy and serenity.” Staged by Walkers World Barbados; Artwork courtesy of Leslie Taylor
Featuring 45 freestanding ‘beach houses’ and a small boutique hotel spread across a gently sloping 50 acre hillside, each two and threebedroom residence enjoys 180° of breathtaking ocean views. “The terraced single-storey design is a bold departure from typical architectural ethos, serving to camouflage rather than to emphasise,” explains Shawn Archer, Design Manager. “The landscape displaced by each residence’s footprint has been thoughtfully moved to the roofs, ensuring clear sight lines as the development recedes from view.” Beach Houses seamlessly marries the simple elegance and open spaces of contemporary architecture to the casual comfort of the traditional Barbadian East Coast beach house. Generously scaled and beautifully appointed, each residence will feature floor-toceiling glass windows for
Beach Houses provides “laid back” luxury for a privileged few. An intimate community of residents will enjoy a secluded beach, 2 restaurants, a dramatic bar and a state-of-the-art wellness centre - all featuring extraordinary panoramic ocean views. The resort will also feature a flood-lit tennis court, a full-service day spa and a convenience store. Owners will also enjoy privileged access to sister property, the historic Crane Residential Resort, taking advantage of its world-class amenities and services including of course, the famous Crane Beach - widely acknowledged as one of the best beaches in the world. Own Your Piece of Paradise. Forever. Beach Houses was designed at the outset for those who prefer to travel in a different direction. Doyle explains, “Beach Houses buyers prize peace, tranquility
Staged by Walkers World Barbados; Artwork courtesy of Leslie Taylor
and natural beauty. While not prepared to sacrifice elegance, they prefer to keep it casual. They easily make the decision that the occasional drive to island’s urban corridor is more than worth the space, beauty and lifestyle they enjoy all day long.” Ownership at Beach Houses offers a home-away-from-home tailored to your individual needs. Owners receive unprecedented benefits, including the amenities and services of a 5-star resort; turn-key services that cover everything (including property taxes, all utilities, interior maintenance, daily maid service and replacement of furniture, fixtures and utensils etc.) and a rental pool option that has been profitable for all owners for all weeks not reserved for themselves. Beach Houses’ ownership also brings with it access to over 200
of the world’s most luxurious fractional properties and private residence clubs through membership in The Registry C o l l e c t i o n ® (theregistrycollection.com). Ownership at Beach Houses is available on a Fractional, Quarter Share or Whole Ownership basis and is protected by a third party trustee. At current preconstruction pricing, Beach Houses offers an unprecedented opportunity for capital appreciation. Fractional Ownership prices start at US$56,000; Whole Ownership prices up to US$2.95mil. For sales information, contact The Property Sales Office located at Crane Resorts, Crane, St. Philip. Tel: (246) 416-6560 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Ferdinand is an exclusive, luxury marina resort that occupies a dramatic, 16-acre, inland waterway site on the charming and picturesque St. Peter coastline, close to historic Speightstown.
As the first defined UNNA development, which has been specifically planned and built to reflect all of the group’s ethos and values, Port Ferdinand encapsulates the spirit of ‘Luxury with Soul’. A number of the principal investors behind the UNNA group are the same Barbadian visionaries who conceptualized and created the island’s first luxury marina, the highly successful Port St. Charles, almost 20 years ago. By drawing upon their vast experience and extensive knowledge, particularly by applying the many lessons they learned through the construction and operation of their first marina, the team has now delivered the absolute ‘best of the best’ with Port Ferdinand. Featuring 82 homes and 120 yacht berths, Port Ferdinand is a wonderful, all-encompassing property that is rich in amenities. As such, the resort is laden with opportunities for multi-
generational enjoyment of life and is absolutely ideal for families to holiday together. The 32 homes constructed as Phase One include a selection of two and three-bedroom homes, as well as a magnificent fourbedroom penthouse home. The show homes have been furnished by Archers Hall Design Centre and are open for viewing by appointment. Each residence has its own berth of a minimum 60 feet, plus a dedicated boat storage room as well as a utility storage room. The resort’s contingency planning includes standby power for all electrical requirements. In keeping with the state-of-the-art facilities, Port Ferdinand has installed high quality, broadband capacity that can provide fast and dependable Internet connectivity. Primed to deliver an enviable lifestyle experience, Port Ferdinand offers a comprehensive range of services and activities. The resort’s fine dining restaurant overlooks the marina and provides ‘al fresco’ tables on the water’s edge or airconditioned comfort indoors. For more casual fare, residents can
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The purchase price of a home at Port Ferdinand includes an attractive suite of benefits, notably a Duty-Free Furniture Package and Duty-Free Importation of a Yacht. Residents at Port Ferdinand also enjoy shared amenities at Saint Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bay and the Port St. Charles Yacht Club, both of which are accessible via the UNNA watertaxi service. UNNA enjoys preferred access to the best golf courses on the island.
choose between the pool-island bar or the dockside gourmet store. General amenities include: watersports centre offering motorized and non-motorized activities; gym with a great view across the marina and yachts; full service spa; indoor and outdoor kids clubs; adult games room with a golf simulator; beach facility; fishing and sailing trips; yacht maintenance; concierge service; business centre.
With its rare capacity to provide sumptuous residences and a diversity of outstanding leisure facilities within this exclusive marina community, Port Ferdinand provides an ideal home base to enjoy the best that Barbados has to offer.
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in your market, it could produce excellent results and ultimately value for money.
Value For Money Exists There is a belief that owning a home in the Caribbean is restricted to the rich and famous yet buying a property is not beyond the realms of many people.
The most important factor is living within your means and financial resources and once you establish what you can invest you “cut your suit according to your cloth.” In simple terms savings plus mortgage - property price. Of course, you have to budget for set-up costs and in some locations these costs are higher than overseas, but it still comes back to living within your means. And if the outlay ends up too high you can always rent! Sourcing value for money in the Caribbean property market has become a lot easier because of the Internet, but it doesn’t remove the benefits of having a representative on the ground. Like property itself, you have to match the agent with your price range, as it is a fact of life that many of the top real estate firms in the region don’t work at the lower end of the market and therefore don’t market properties in the lower price ranges. And for their part developers and builders in this price range don’t spend heavily on marketing to keep costs down and subsequently many great deals are not in the wider public domain. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and while it may be a time consuming exercise to go through the selling agents list to get someone working specifically
Barbados has a glitzy international image of idyllic beaches, expensive hotels, top restaurants, rich patrons and celebrities aplenty. It has also properties costing millions of dollars set in stunning beachfront locations. But behind the fanfare another world exists, which is more realistic. This is everyday Barbados and within it a normal property market exists for the vast majority of the population and it is also available to overseas buyers. Property prices start with simple wooden chattel houses and end where a buyer’s budget ends. But the good news for returning nationals and overseas buyers with a budget is that there will be property to suit your pocket. Carter’s Grove just outside Oistins on the South of the island is a small development that offers value for money and a first step on the property ladder for locals as well as an ideal choice for overseas buyers who want value for money. On offer are 1200 sq. ft. 3 bedroom detached properties on 4 - 6,000 sq. ft. land lots finished to a good standard and built within six months. Ten lots have been sold and six are already occupied. The remaining four will be completed between April and September this year. Another five are now available for sale on a first come basis. These are expected to move quickly as it will end the culde-sac development and allow the developer to complete the final covering on the road and landscape the site to a complete finish. The beauty about Carter’s Grove is that the land and construction packages start at BDS$425,000 (US$212,500) and buyers can tailor their own preferences to make it a true home at a realistic price. For more information contact: email@example.com
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Walkersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; A Whole New World For nearly 30 years Walkersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; World has been at the forefront of Barbados art, home furnishing and retail, and a Mecca for both locals and visitors. The wealth and variety of merchandise has been phenomenal and to keep abreast of changing tastes and trends, Walkersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; World has introduced a huge range of global products.
The stores are now widely acknowledged as great locations to purchase a wide range of gifts and home furnishings. Of course, the magnificent art of Jill Walker and her family remains
an important part of the product range and colourful prints of Barbados scenes adorn many Barbados homes and have been carried all over the world by Barbadians living overseas and tourists who visited the island. What is perhaps not as well known is that four years ago this dynamic retail company opened a design service aptly named W DESIGN to meet the growing demand from customers to play a pivotal role in furnishing their homes, restaurants, offices and hotels. The demand was understandable given that most Walkers’ World stores offer a plethora of colourful and innovative products and it is easy to be overwhelmed by the choice and availability of an unparalleled range of soft furnishings, fabrics, pictures, art, furniture and just about anything that can enhance a home, an office or a hotel room.
W DESIGN provides the expertise and vision that allows customers to explore new horizons in home décor and works within the customer’s budget to ensure expectation meets finished product. Close contact with the customer is paramount and the W DESIGN team willingly go that extra mile to ensure all the customer’s goals are met. The finished products being a reflection of each customer’s style, personality and objective. One of the hallmarks of Walkers’ World has been the ability to mix quality Caribbean products with imported products from all over the world. The team has sourced products as far away as Indonesia and the company represents many suppliers out of America and Europe. But where Walkers’ World has excelled is in recognizing the home furnishing niche that links potential
...our service embraces both residential and commercial interiors.
customers with their product range and allows W DESIGN to offer a more complete furnishing and design package to enhance their retails outlets. It is a niche that owner Karin Truedsson feels has given them a special edge in a very competitive industry and
which can greatly help a wide range of customers. As Karin explains; â&#x20AC;&#x153;We know from our research and customer feedback that many property sellers and renters get frustrated when it takes so long to
either sell or rent their property. Of course there are various logistical challenges, but a fundamental reason in many cases is the look of the property. This is not just the external look of the building and its gardens, but in many cases the tired look of the furnishings or the empty space. Real estate agents are often reluctant to address the interiors with their clients in fear of offending them, but it means so much to a potential buyer or renter to see the inside of a property looking smart, elegant and tastefully furnished. Our job is to make that happen and it doesn’t need to be a huge outlay, as the cost is relatively small set against the other costs that may be involved. However, it could make the difference in either selling or renting the property.” One of the important aspects of W DESIGN is the ability to embrace existing furniture and décor with new products. Most home furnishings include family treasures and these can be accommodated with creative solutions that relocate pieces, repurpose them, or combine them in refreshed surroundings. New fabrics, upholstery, and paints send out strong messages that can transform a room and completely change the whole interior perspective. And the service covers a wide range of customers as Karin explains further; “We love the challenge of interior design within the home, but our service embraces both residential and commercial interiors. We can accommodate a wide variety of circumstances and our team is very experienced in tailoring our services and products to meet different customer’s needs. For example, we have worked with high value West Coast villa owners to create a high quality ambience that embraces Caribbean and Eastern and European influences and existing and new furnishings. The end results have been stunning. We have also worked
“The ability to mix Caribbean and overseas products has produced some fabulous designs and opened up new horizons to clients and customers.”
with architects and developers of hotels and commercial buildings. In some instances this has involved working expeditiously to have a number of rooms ready for immediate occupation with minimalistic design, but great attention to finishes and quality materials. The ability to mix Caribbean and overseas products has produced some fabulous designs and opened up new horizons to clients and customers.” Opening new horizons in interior design and furnishing is at the core of W DESIGN, but the delivery embraces other key objectives like budgetary control,
wear and tear, and return on investment. These are important considerations when evaluating what you get for your spend. Browsing through Walkers’ World stores remains a wonderful shopping experience for thousands of customers every year, but the company can now reach out to the more discerning homeowner, developer, hotel or architect and provide a much more sophisticated personal service in design and furnishing. Walkers’ is a whole new world these days.
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50 Years and Going Strong Oran Limited is a Barbadian manufacturing company that produces aluminum and UIPVC windows, doors, handrails, furniture, and many other architectural custom products. Oran Limited first opened its doors in 1964 with 6 employees, producing aluminum furniture such as lounge chairs. Within 1 year the company expanded its products to include the first aluminum frame glass louvre window. Fifty years later Oran Limited has grown to employ over 250 people and offer a diversified portfolio of products and services to both residential and commercial customers. The growth of Oran’s product portfolio was an evolutionary process with each new product being on the cutting edge of fenestration technology meeting higher performance standards and building on the design features. While there are products that have held their own in design and have remained popular in the market, further advancements in research and development have created new products that are designed to meet the challenges posed in building design. The Jalousie window was one of the first designs in aluminum that Oran Limited ever produced. While the term “jalousie” may not be very common, the term louvre is often used to describe this window throughout the Caribbean. Overlapping horizontal panes are installed in a
metal frame and the panes open and close with a lever or a crank device. The word “jalousie” derives from the French word “jaloux” meaning jealousy; suggesting that people inside could look out while those outside cannot see in. The Jalouise was patented in 1939 and was immediately popularized during a time when the enjoyment of casual tropical breezes was accompanied by a fear of intrusion and insufficient security. Growing concern for security and a focus on designing for energy savings in large scale residential building resulted in the introduction of the awning window in the 1970’s. Awning windows consist of one or more vents that are hinged at the top and open outwards, and build on the design of the jalousie by adding frames around glass, which seal tightly in the closed position. The awning window was designed to admit air and keep out the rain. Security bars could easily be added making it one of the most popular windows for residential projects for many years. The sash window consists of two or more sliding panes or ‘sashes,’
Often these windows can be further customized by designing them with specialized glass products, such as laminated, heat strengthened, coated glass, and double glazing.
which operate using a counter balance mechanism that is hidden within the window’s frame. The window panes are often separated into grids using cross bars referred to in the industry as ‘muntins.’ The design of the sash window was a feature of early Victorian and Georgian architecture dating back to the 1640’s. In fact, most plantation great houses built throughout the Caribbean are built with wooden double hung sash windows. However the original designs were prone to a number of problems, such as: swelling, shrinkage, and rotting. The introduction of modern day fenestration materials, specifically aluminum, UIPVC, and fiberglass effectively circumvented these problems, resulting in sash windows return to popularity throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, because of its functionality and affordable cost. The construction boom in the 1990’s was met with a high demand for sash windows
featuring colonial ‘muntin’ designs that were not only cost effective but also provided a sleek aesthetic for buildings. The millennium brought a wave of new manufacturers, importers and a variety of new aluminum and vinyl products to Barbados that have been used throughout the world in high rise residential and commercial construction. These include projected windows, tilt windows, pivot windows, casement windows, curtain wall glazing, and many more. These products all cater to aesthetic and performance demands. Often these windows can be further customized by designing them with specialized glass products, such as laminated, heat strengthened, coated glass, and double glazing. With the number of options and product variations available, consumers can refer to industry standard for construction and performance. In the
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Caribbean most builders will look for codes that have been introduced in Florida and the Eastern United States due to their specific focus on hurricane protection. These certifications, such as the Florida Building Code Miami-Dade and Broward County Impact Certification, are used as benchmarks for commercial and residential construction in high level wind zones. While these certifications are not mandated by law throughout much of the Caribbean and are often adapted by an architect or voluntarily by the builder, Oran Limited has built a portfolio of tested products with a NOA (Notice of Acceptance) for use in Miami-Dade counties, which meet all the requirements of high impact resistant products. Oran Limited has not only grown a diversified product portfolio that reflects the many needs of its customers over its 50 year existence, but it has also been the source of industry
knowledge advising its customers on the value added options available in each product category. Meeting these demands has been achieved by staying abreast of developments within the industry and over the last 50 years we have incorporated the “designs for the future” mission into our business. As we celebrate Oran Limited’s 50th golden anniversary, we look forward to bringing our customers both classic and cutting edge solutions well into the future.
North Sound Edward Childs, Smiths Gore, BVI While resort residential development has dried up in many parts of the Caribbean since 2008, there is one corner of the British Virgin Islands which has seen the reversal. North Sound on Virgin Gorda, for many years a well known yachting centre with resorts such as the Bitter End Yacht Club, has seen the emergence of resort residential development and a mega yacht marina which eclipses much of what is being built elsewhere in the Caribbean.
North Sound Yacht Club with the development of a 900 foot long super yacht dock, a yacht club and Harbour master’s building. In 2010, Mr Johnson entered into negotiations with the Sardinian based Yacht Club Costa Smeralda who at the time were seeking a Caribbean base for its members. With H.H. The Aga Khan as president, the YCCS Yacht Club and Marina Virgin Gorda has established itself as the leading, event-based regional super yacht facility.
North Sound has always been known as a yachting centre, but now the destination is going through a change as land and marina based developments seek to rebrand North Sound’s identity as a luxury destination which competes with the best in the region. While the rest of the Caribbean was reeling from the impact of the recession in 2008, discussions were underway between resort developer, Victor International, and the owners of the 400 acre Oil Nut Bay Estate with the sale of the property eventually concluding at the end of 2008, just a couple of months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Two years earlier in 2006, David V. Johnson, of Victor International, had taken a long term lease over Biras Creek Resort, upgrading the hotel and keeping the resort operational, which in turn facilitated the ongoing development of Oil Nut Bay. Recognising the importance of North Sound as a yachting destination, David V. Johnson also acquired a dormant marina development project located in North Sound adjacent to Biras Creek, transforming this into the
At the other end of North Sound, Mosquito Island was quietly firming up plans for a private island development with owner, Sir Richard Branson, offering a limited number of lots for sale through private contacts, all of which are now committed. Based on sustainable development initiatives, the development at Mosquito Island has implemented strict development protocols that limit the carbon foot print of the development. Each owner is required to construct in accordance with the island’s green guidelines which are equivalent to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum scheme with renewable energy sources being favoured. Construction began in 2011 with the main communal areas now close to completion. The three year period between 2009 and 2011 saw a number of resort developments in the Caribbean fail through changing economic conditions, with many developments that had relied on bank financing to cover infrastructure development and pre-sales to pay back loans, forced into receivership. Meanwhile, in North Sound, the three major development projects at Oil Nut Bay, YCCS and Mosquito Island, maintained a level of construction not previously seen in the BVI for many years, keeping the economy
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completely different scene to North Sound in terms of international yacht racing, but the publicity generated by the events puts North Sound, Virgin Gorda and the BVI as a whole into the international spot light.
With development, change will inevitably come to North Sound. Increased boat traffic and development of previously untouched hill sides have the potential to change the very fabric of the Sound.
of Virgin Gorda rolling through the worst of the downturn. In contrast to heavily indebted projects elsewhere in the Caribbean, the Oil Nut Bay and YCCS projects are not externally financed which enabled the developer to ride the economic downturn. While the rest of the Caribbean struggled to find its footing as the downturn continued, North Sound has emerged from the recession as one of the few regional locations where significant investment has taken place in the luxury sector of the market. As we start 2014, North Sound is a very different destination from what it was five years ago, providing both visitors and potential investors a wide range of options. YCCS Marinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high season yachting regattas include the annual Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous in March, which is being preceded by the inaugural Caribbean RC 44 Championship Tour in February, which is the equivalent to hosting a Formula 1 event on the ocean. These regattas bring not only a
Oil Nut Bay has matured as a development with Victor International having completed the up front infrastructure for the project together with the public areas of the resort which now include the Beach Club, fitness centre, Nut House (kids club) and Nature Centre, two tennis courts and the resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Palm Centre management offices. With eight villas completed, there are a further ten homes under construction with over $56M in contracts being bid locally to contractors from the BVI. The next phase of development includes the completion of the Marina Village by the end of 2014 and completion of additional back of house facilities and a utility distribution centre. Blunder Bay Estates is a new development in the Sound, located opposite Mosquito Island, catering to a small, exclusive estate community comprising just ten custom lots which is only accessible by sea. The project is designed to be ecologically sensitive, with an environmental team headed up by a leading expert in marine biology. The development will provide an attractive niche market between its larger neighbours, catering to owners who value the ambience of a retreat close enough to, and yet far enough away from, the busier marinas and resorts at the other end of the Sound. Lots at Blunder Bay range in size from 1 acre to more than 2.25 acres. The development will focus on a family orientated experience with a range of common facilities, including a Managers Residence, beach recreation areas and water
sports facilities. Four of the lots will have private docks while the remainder of the lots will have a shared dock facility. Any article on North Sound would not be complete without a mention of Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s first base in the BVI, which is now synonymous with luxury island rentals. After a devastating fire destroyed the main house in the summer of 2011, Sir Richard and his family have dedicated the last two years to rebuilding the Great House with the project completed in the summer of 2013. While maintaining the ambience of the original structure, the new Great House combines the attributes of a private home with the necessities of resort living. Necker Island’s impact on North Sound and the BVI can not be under estimated with many A List celebrities and wealthy entrepreneurs now familiar
with the BVI as a result of a trip to this property. With development, change will inevitably come to North Sound. Increased boat traffic and development of previously untouched hill sides have the potential to change the very fabric of the Sound. However, carefully managed, North Sound can continue to provide tourists with an un-spoilt destination, cater to wealthy investors in the various residential resort projects and provide the back drop for the international yachting regattas and visiting yachts and super yachts. The stakeholders in the Sound need to manage the resources for the future and ensure that North Sound remains the favoured destination in the BVI.
Edward Childs is a graduate of Newcastle University and has a postgraduate Diploma in Land Economy from Aberdeen University. He has been a member of the RICS since 1990, the same year he joined Smiths Gore after training in commercial property surveying with Savills in London. He set up the commercial department and was instrumental in expanding the firm’s presence in the Caribbean. He specializes in marina and resort operations and does valuations all across the region. He is also involved in a range of development consultancy roles that embrace environmental, planning and government issues. Edward can be contacted by telephone at 284 494 2446 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frenchman's Lookout - Tortola
Smiths Gore opened its oﬃce in the British Virgin Islands in 1965. The ﬁrm was established in the UK in 1845 and currently operates from 26 oﬃces.
British Virgin Islands Britannic Hall, P.O. Box 135, Road Town, Tortola Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Virgin Gorda T (284) 494 2446 E email@example.com United Kingdom 17-18 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4PT T +44 (0) 207 290 1616 E firstname.lastname@example.org
NATURE The Luxury Property of Dominica
Caribbean. Its wonderful plant life includes numerous varieties of heliconia, many ferns, including four types of tree fern, bromeliads and orchids. It is home to 176 species of birds, three times the number of species found in the UK, including two parrot species unique to Dominica. This is our treasure, to be nurtured and protected.
David Attenborough, Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most famous Naturalist, once said that human beings do not recognise the value of nature because in our capitalist societies we do not put a monetary value on nature but, that in fact, it is priceless. In this context, Dominica has a priceless asset. Dominica is one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the region. It is unique amongst the Caribbean islands in that it has retained so much of its primordial rainforest which cloaks its mountain range. The highest mountain is the majestic Morne Diablotin which peaks at 4,747 ft., followed closely by Morne Trois Pitons at 4,672 ft. Without doubt Dominicaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s forests have been saved from the ravages seen elsewhere because of its rugged topography. It is therefore refreshing, when approaching Dominica by air, to see the mountain slopes decorated with a rich green, uninterrupted forest canopy. Though located in the tropics, as you rise in altitude, temperatures fall noticeably and rainfall increases resulting in vegetational differences, which support a myriad of life forms. It is not without justification that Dominica has become widely known as the Nature Island of the
The island is said to have 365 rivers, several lakes, including the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second largest boiling lake, numerous waterfalls and areas where hot springs abound. It also has some wonderful, secluded beaches. Our governments have recognised the importance of these areas and we have protected forest reserves, National Parks and World Heritage sites. This does not prevent development, but necessitates that development is undertaken in a sensitive manner that does not impact on these important areas. There is no large scale development in Dominica and this ensures that properties have remained affordable. It is one of the few islands in the Caribbean where the majority of land ownership is still in local hands. This means that Dominica has retained its identity. It is still possible to buy land on the East coast of Dominica for US$11,000 an acre. If you are looking for eco properties or off grid properties the east coast is a good place to start. It is possible to buy in an established development on the west coast, with all utilities, from as little as US$3.50 a sq ft. and the average price for a three bed-roomed house with a good finish is US$165,000. Beachfront land does not come on the market too frequently but as Dominica is renowned for its rivers there is always a demand for riverside property. It is important when buying agricultural land in particular, to check if the vendor is selling a piece from a larger portion of land. If you
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residential and three acres for business. The process of obtaining a License can be lengthy so be prepared. There are many benefits to buying in Dominica as there is no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or death duties. Property taxes are extremely low and in some areas non-existent. Although transfer fees may seem relatively high, overall, compared to many other countries, the amount of tax paid over the period that you hold the property is low. It can be challenging to obtain a mortgage if you are not resident in Dominica but we can assist with this. Also, some property owners are now prepared to consider owner financing, especially those from overseas. However, this is still not the norm in Dominica. The first quarter of this year has seen an increase in property sales. This may be as a result of the improved sales in areas such as the UK, England and Canada where the bulk of buyers come from. do not intend to use the land for agriculture and will therefore need to apply for planning permission this may present problems unless the owner has obtained planning permission to sub- divide.
Beachfront land does not come on the market too frequently but as Dominica is renowned for its rivers there is always a demand for riverside property.
Buying is relatively easy, although, if you are buying in a country whose laws you are not familiar with, it is advisable to engage a lawyer at an early stage in the process. Most land is registered in Dominica but in the rural areas there is still some unregistered land. You do not have to be resident to buy and you do not have to be on island to complete your purchase. If you are not a citizen of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) you will have to pay an Alien Land Holding License fee of 10% of the higher of the purchase price and valuation in addition to the usual 10.5% transfer fees. There are limits on how much land you can purchase without obtaining a License. It is one acre for
Buying in Dominica represents excellent value for money. If you are ahead of the curve and recognise that fresh air, clean water, and unadulterated food will, in the not too distant future, become luxury items, why not consider Dominica and invest in property, nature and your future. For more information on buying property in Dominica visit www.safehavenrealestate.com Cecily Lees fell in love with Dominica 17 years ago after a holiday visit. A UK trained lawyer, she moved to Dominica and set up a legal practice and established a real estate business with a local businessman and is now Managing Director of Safe Haven Real Estate and a leading authority on many business and legal matters. She can be contacted at (767) 448 5718/440 0878 or by email at email@example.com
Photographs courtesy of Colin Lees Nature Island Destinations Ltd www.natureisland.com
Making it Easy to be Green To paraphrase a famous Muppet, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy being green or at least, it is now. While in the recent past, it could be challenging and expensive for Caribbean homeowners to find eco-friendly products for their home, in the last few years retailers and service providers have made a range of green products and services widely available. Energy saving light bulbs, lowflow toilets and low-VOC paints are easier and more affordable to access than ever before while solar panels now dot the roofs of many homes and businesses around the region. Motivated by increasing consciousness about the environment, enterprising businesses in the region have shifted attention and resources towards offering renewable energy services and environmental improvement products. In recent years, wind farms have been created, solar electricity companies have been formed and geothermal exploration contracts have been signed as the Caribbean tries to make best use of its natural resources. Meanwhile heightened awareness of the benefits of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;green economyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; has spurred
CARIBBEAN PROPERTY MAGAZINE
governments to explore these alternative energy options and offer robust incentives to companies and individuals that invest in greening initiatives. Scotiabank has responded to the changing times by adding its Green Energy Loan program to its Scotia Plan Loans. Under the Green Energy Loan program, homeowners using their Scotia Plan Loan for home improvements, which qualify as eco-friendly can receive a host of benefits. These include not having to pay a down payment and the ability to access an unsecured loan. Rates for Green Energy Loans are as low as 9% and financing can be extended for up to six years, making repayments lower.
...our customers by offering a loan program that gives a little extra incentive to invest in improvements that are environmentally friendly and energy efficient,”
“The time was just right,” said Scotiabank home financing specialist, Sandra Padmore, noting that while customers doing home renovations was nothing new, increasingly they were seeing customers whose renovation plans included making their homes greener and more energy efficient. “We felt it was important to really encourage these efforts by our customers by offering a loan program that gives a little extra incentive to invest in improvements that are environmentally friendly and energy efficient,” said Padmore. She pointed out that Scotiabank’s Eco Living website (ecoliving.scotiabank.com) is a great resource for customers as it offers suggestions on big and small ways in which eco-friendly renovations or improvements can be done around the home. Scotiabank has enhanced the Green Energy Loan program further by partnering with a number of companies around the Caribbean, which offer eco-
friendly products or services and will offer discounts to Scotiabank customers buying their goods or services with Green Energy Loans. Scotiabank Senior Marketing Manager Lisa Cole said the Green Energy Loans were part and parcel of Scotiabank’s overall outlook on environmental sustainability, an outlook which influences the Bank’s day-today operations. “In the same way that we are trying to make it easier for our customers to go green, Scotiabank tries to follow environmental best practices here in the Caribbean and around the world,” said Cole. She continues; “We’re actually a signatory to the Equator Principles, which is a set of internationally recognized, voluntary project finance guidelines that establish social and environmental standards in the banking industry. Over the years, we’ve worked at incorporating these standards into our operations through efforts such as reducing paper usage, using energy-efficient lighting, recycling and both sponsoring and participating in environmental initiatives such as tree planting and beach clean ups.” About Scotiabank Scotiabank has been part of the Caribbean for 125 years and has a presence in more than 55 countries around the world. With operations in 25 countries across the Caribbean, Scotiabank has the largest presence of any financial services company in the region. The Bank has more than 10,500 employees, 1024 ABMs and 353 branches, kiosks and other offices in the region, including affiliates. For more information: Amanda Lynch-Foster (246) 431-3071 or (246) 230-5104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Caribbean Property Magazine
Business & Finance The Caribbean Buzz Is Returning BRIAN KASSAB
pg 90 Brand Values Go Far Beyond Advertising ANDRE BELLO
Capita Financial Is A Breath Of Fresh Air
Insurance In The Caribbean
pg 76 Regional Business Systems At The Cutting Edge ROGER WORME
CIBC First Caribbean Well Positioned For The Future MARK ST. HILL
Big Plans To Develop RICS In The Caribbean
The Changing Picture In Caribbean Telecommunications
Lower LTVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s But Banks Are Still Lending
The Caribbean Buzz is Returning BRIAN KASSAB St Kitts Realtor and experienced Valuer Brian Kassab explains whyâ&#x20AC;Ś You are an experienced realtor and Valuer across the region. What is your take on the current economic position in the Caribbean?
The Caribbean offers a great buying opportunity for cash investors who understand the cyclic nature of real estate. Real estate is not a short-term investment. However St. Kitts in particular, could be close to experiencing a growth spurt with the number of projects forecasted. These include a second cruise ship pier, second marina and hotels such as the Park Hyatt that has recently commenced construction Do you feel the region offers better opportunities for investment going forward as investors are now more discerning and cautious? Globally investors are cautious, but confidence is coming back. Some international markets have already returned signalling the Caribbean could be next. Have property values dropped to create a new benchmark or does this vary from destination to destination?
Generally property values have dropped throughout the Caribbean. However, in most markets it was a slow decline long after the international recession started. We may also expect a slow increase in many Caribbean islands, but it will vary from destination to destination. Are there new markets emerging for potential investors with Economic Citizenship programs or do you regard these as small niche markets that wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t distort the main sources of business? Yes, there are new markets emerging offering economic citizenship by investment. St. Kitts has one of the oldest established programs. Dominica also has a citizenship program. Antigua just started and I understand other islands are looking into the possibility. You are based in St Kitts where the buzz in real estate appears to have been re-ignited. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been happening there? A lot has been happening and is in the pipeline. In addition to the citizenship program, our universities provide year after year of economic stimulation. Cruise ship arrivals and overnight visitors are on the increase. The Park Hyatt and KOI hotels have just started
Cruise ship arrivals and overnight visitors are on the increase. The Park Hyatt and KOI hotels have just started construction.
construction. Contracts have been awarded to install the docks and bulkheads for the Mega Yachts Marina at Christophe Harbour. Additional private sector condo and villa projects should commence this year as well as government projects. Do smaller islands have a special attraction for overseas investors or is it different strokes for different folks?
It is definitely different strokes for different folks. We are fortunate to be a twin island state as some people prefer our smaller sister island Nevis. Yet both islandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; economies are intertwined. Each island in the Caribbean is different and they all appeal to different buyers. In a way it makes the region very special.
stress the importance of this and of course there are many synergies to marking the region as a whole in addition to each destination doing its own marketing.
Could the Caribbean islands work closer together in economic areas for mutual benefit or is it a case of each to their own? St Kitts and Nevis is an example of islands working together to mutual benefit. It would be great if the region was more connected with affordable travel. The Governor of the Central Bank continues to
B Kassab & Associates - We have been in the real estate business over 16 years and I have watched the island develop considerably in this time. Our office has expanded from being sole operated by myself to now employing 5 full time agents/staff making us the largest Real Estate office on the island. We offer assistance in long and short-term rentals, property management for owners both on and off island, and sales of all types and sizes of property, homes, villas, condominiums, commercial buildings, and development land. We are ideally suited to offer you the expertise and assistance you may need in finding your dream home away from home.
Capita Financial is Capita Financial has sprung up rapidly in the Barbados Financial Services market place. What is the background to the company?
Mr. Paul Maxwell President & CEO
While CAPITA - as it is now known - is relatively new to the landscape, the operation has been around for a number of years. The company was originally incorporated in May 1984 as the Caribbean Commercial Trust Company Limited and has been through a number of transitions since then. Today we are known as CAPITA FINANCIAL Services Inc. and can boast of a dynamic and innovative team with years of experience in the provision of financial services.
OUR MISSION: We aim to be the regional leader in the provision of financial services, continuously striving to improve for the benefit of our customers, shareholder and employees. OUR VISION: We will be the financial services provider of choice, operating in the global marketplace, renowned for innovation, outstanding performance and superior customer service.
We are also backed by a strong parent; Barbados Public Workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Co-operative Credit Union Limited is Barbados' largest Credit Union with assets in excess of USD$450 million. There is always a place for a new provider in this field. What does Capita offer that is different and have you a specific market? CAPITA FINANCIAL is a full service provider of financial solutions operating in the islands of Barbados and St. Lucia. It is a very nimble company, always working to ensure that the customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience with us is convenient, easy and satisfying. Our primary areas of business include financing for residential
and commercial real estate, vehicle purchase and leasing and home equity loans. On the investment side, CAPITA offers fixed deposits at competitive rates. Additional services that include stock brokerage, insurance brokerage and Trustee services complete the range of services offered. Our clients are wide-ranging and include, private individuals, Insurance Companies, Credit Unions, Government Statutory Corporations and Institutional Investors. A young vibrant company must have many challenges. What have been the major issues that you have faced? Although the name CAPITA is new it is the result of an acquisition and subsequent rebranding so we already had an existing loyal client base. As with any acquisition there is always a settling down period in relation to culture differences and basic streamlining of some operational logistics, but overall it has been a successful transition. We also very recently relocated our offices in Barbados and our clients and staff have expressed extreme satisfaction with our new location and office space. Going forward we will continue to market our new name and build the client and partner base.
The Management team: L to R: Paul Maxwell - President & CEO, Kenroy Mullins - Manager Insurance Operations, Michael Green - Manager Finance & Planning and David Smith - Senior Account Manager
CAPITA currently operates in the islands of Barbados and St. Lucia, but in this day and age I do not think that any company - large or small - should allow geographical boundaries to bind them. We see our services as being relevant to the entire region and going forward we will be looking to cast a wider net.
person. We have a long successful history in providing financing in this area. Our 100% product helps us to assist people to achieve this goal. Our strategy is simple; make property ownership affordable while taking a very calculated risk in relation to who we lend to. We also recognize that property values in Barbados and most of the region are relatively stable. The other end of the spectrum is managing our depositor relationships and strategic partnerships to keep funding available.
With specific reference to lending, Capita offers a 100% mortgage facility. This is particularly attractive to first-time buyers trying to get on the property ladder, but unable to meet all the initial set-up costs. What is your business strategy in this sector?
Mortgage processing timeframes are challenging in Barbados. Have you target times for processing within Capita and are you proactive in trying to get the bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attorneys to complete in a timely manner, one of the biggest delays in the mortgage process?
Home and property ownership is a goal of the average Caribbean
Basically it comes down to managing relationships. Attorneys
Does Capita have geographical boundaries or do you see your business developing across the Caribbean region?
CAPITA to those markets. Are there plans afoot to develop new products and move into other financial services sectors? Yes, definitely. Without giving too much away at this stage I will say that we are currently expanding our insurance brokerage portfolio and are also looking to get into one or two new areas of financial services. We are working with all stakeholders including our regulators in this process.
Capita's new offices: The Cooperators General Insurance Building.
OUR CORE VALUES: FOCUS: Always on the customer INNOVATION: Challenge the status quo and be open to new ideas ETHICS & INTEGRITY: Commit to fairness and honesty in all aspects of our business EMPOWERMENT & ACCOUNTABILITY: Give employees the authority to act and to be responsible for their actions LEARNING: Celebrate achievements, see and accept feedback and build upon both successes and failures TEAMWORK: Trust others and value differences
are a key part in the process. We have a panel of attorneys who understand the importance of us being responsive to clients. Provided that there are no complications we have an average completion time for mortgages of approximately three to four months. From time to time matters of title are more complex than initially thought so there may be some longer timeframes, but typically we are able to meet client expectations in this regard. More and more returning nationals are coming back to their homeland to retire or seek a second home. How does Capita view this business opportunity? CAPITA has partnered with a number of land developers and realtors in Barbados and is also listed with the key online property listings. This has reaped significant rewards. These initiatives also position us well so that most persons looking for property in Barbados will come across our name and our offerings. Additionally, our parent company has made significant strides in the Diaspora in North America and the UK and there have been attendant benefits in terms of exposing
We have also attracted investor interest from a few institutions in other Caribbean territories and we will be pursuing relationships in this regard. Our future looks good. Paul Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics & Accounting (Hons) from the University of the West Indies. He has also been awarded the Diploma in Credit Union Management from the University of Wisconsin. He is a certified Credit Union Director (CCUE) by the Credit Union Executive Society through the London School of Economics. He is a former President of the Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited and a Past President of the Barbados Co-operative Credit Union League Ltd. Paul is currently the Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions Ltd. and a Director of the Barbados Stock Exchange. Prior to joining Capita Financial in September 2010, he worked at Cable & Wireless in various Finance capacities. Paul can be contacted at paul.maxwell@capitacaribbean .com
Regional Business System at the Cutting Edge of General Manager Roger Worme gives an insight into how his company has moved with the times to meet customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needsâ&#x20AC;Ś What is the historical background to Regional Business Systems?
General Manager, Roger Worme
We have been around over 60 years, first starting out in 1952 as the Business Machines department of our sister company, H Jason Jones, initially with Burroughs Business Machines, but then branching out with other manufacturers. In 1987 we formed Regional Business Systems to concentrate on current and upcoming technology for both Barbados and the wider Caribbean. What are some of the major jobs you have completed in the last 12 months? We just completed one of our largest phone and network installations in the new 10-storey building, Warrens Tower 2 for the Barbados Government. Earlier, in the same building we also won the contract to do the cabling infrastructure and UPS installation the largest being 60 KVA. Prior to that we completed a
very large project for the Barbados Community College to provide a complete wireless infrastructure for the main campus and the Hospitality institute. This provided wireless Internet access to all locations within both campuses. In the Hospitality sector, we completed a new RFID lock installation for Body Holiday in St. Lucia and at other important locations across the islands. The company offers a wide range of business services. How big is your involvement in the hospitality sector? We have been in the Hospitality sector for over 25+ years, originally with Micros POS, but right now just about every product we sell and support has a place in the hospitality sector. However, the main direct hospitality products are the Micros Point of Sale solutions and related cloud-based productivity software, The Vingcard-Elsafe locks, safes, Energy management and Min-
we are now about to introduce a new line of very competitive toner cartridges for many of the popular brands. We also have a document management solution that we have used internally for the last 4-5 years and in fact, just about every product and solution that we offer our clients, we use internally. Many overseas hotels have already gone Hi-Tech. Is the Caribbean lagging behind in the technology race?
I travel a lot in my job and I observe a lot. I see some hotels that are very Hi-tech and some that are way behind. As an example, a number of local and Caribbean hotels are still using metal keys instead of electronic locks.
bars as well as some software solutions to enhance the services the hotels offer. Many hotels use our products. Tell us about some of the products you offer? We have products and solutions for all sectors and some specifically for Hospitality. Currently our main solutions for the Business Sector are the Sharp MFPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, the Shoretel VOIP solution (network phones), Lifesize Video Conference, Cisco and Meraki networking, HP and Lenovo servers and workstations and as a Microsoft Silver partner, we offer and use internally many of their software and solutions. Both Vingcard and Micros are leaders in their space and are world-class products, used in both small and large hotels. Another product that has been very important for us is time and attendance solution. In the last year we introduced a new Hospitality and Retail solution for small business from a German Company called Quorion. This has also been well received in the industry. Another new product was a retail only solution called CAP software and
I travel a lot in my job and I observe a lot. I see some hotels that are very Hi-tech and some that are way behind. As an example, a number of local and Caribbean hotels are still using metal keys instead of electronic locks. Electronic locks provide so much more security and information and you can only wonder how many people have a copy of the room key? Another area of concern is the provision of proper electronic safes in hotel rooms that provide real security and are UL listed. Many safes are cheap knock off â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that may appear secure to the guest, but in reality can be broken into in seconds. I certainly check the safe very carefully anytime I see it in a hotel room before I will leave anything valuable in it. Free WIFI and in-room networking is another area we are lacking, but it has been improving. We live and work in an era when people want to have easy and free access to technology everywhere they go. Many guests also use their personal phones and the technology associated with them. The new post card is now an instant picture that can be posted from anywhere in a hotel using the free WIFI. Hotels that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t provide it will lose their competitive edge.
Overall Caribbean hotels are a mixed bag with some up-to-date, but too many others lagging behind. Micros in the workplace was a huge eye-opener for many business people. Is this a difficult or expensive system to implement?
... with metal keys only, you cannot audit a lock, but with the latest Vingcard locks, every single user has to enter with a “key” which the lock will audit and provide a report as to whose card and at what time they entered. 82
Micros has different POS solutions that cover large to small restaurants. Many people see Point of Sale (POS) like the metal key lock in a hotel, a simple system in that it takes an order and gives an invoice. However, POS is much larger than this, since a basic system may give basic reports (if any), but for clients that really need to manage their restaurants they need information and they need it to be accurate as one of the biggest costs in any food establishment is wastage and worse yet, not having what a client wants to order. Micros has many reports available to clients that will help them manage their restaurants from both the Point of Sale in the restaurant and the back office. Approximately eight years ago, they also introduced a cloud-based solution so that anywhere you had access to a browser, that allowed you to see down to item level on a bill, who was doing voids, how many cancelled items and checks, split checks, etc. In other words, you could manage and know what was happening without being there. Split payments are getting more and more common with groups yet they pose big problems for some restaurants. Micros has also extended their cloud based solutions substantially in the last few years and now include inventory management, loyalty, labour management and a few others that may not apply to all customers. Another area they have extended to is both guest and server pagers.
Security is a huge challenge in modern times especially in hotel rooms. How can a guest be comfortable the doors are really safe and secure? I do not think many people would want to stay in a room if they knew the minute you left it, someone could just enter it. Certainly with metal keys only, you cannot audit a lock, but with the latest Vingcard locks, every single user has to enter with a “key” which the lock will audit and provide a report as to whose card and at what time they entered. In fact our newer locks can also audit when the handle is opened from the inside of the room and not only when it is opened from the outside. You must remember that Vingcard in 1976 developed the first card based mechanical lock and in 1992 they introduced their first electronic lock so electronic locks have been around over 20 years. Of course, there have been many changes over the years and the latest lock based on RFID technology is now called the “Essence” that basically all you see is the handle with the reader in the door itself. This is as “minimalist” as you can get. Software has also come a long way and locks can now be “online” using Zigbee technology that can alert the front desk when anyone enters your room, who it is and even if someone is trying a keycard they may have found, in multiple doors. Online extends to the safes and energy management solution as well and in the case of safes, it can indicate if the safe has been left open when the guest has left the room and alert them to that fact. Like locks, safes seem so simple but in fact, that is where most of the guests leave their expensive possessions and what could be worse than having a guest say that someone stole their valuables and
We can now have our locks, safes and energy management solutions online at a single location where the user can see what has happened in near real time with many alerts.
you do not have a clue as to what may have really happened? I suspect many properties have had to settle claims with Guests without having a clue as to the true authenticity of the claim. In the future you will see more guests receiving their room â&#x20AC;&#x153;keyâ&#x20AC;? on a NFC phone and bypassing the check in line altogether and going straight to their room. What are the hottest products that are selling in the hospitality sector in 2014 and what lies on the horizon? Energy Management (EMS) and online will be the future for many properties. We can now have our locks, safes and energy management solutions online at a single location where the user can see what has happened in near real time with many alerts. For example, when the battery in a lock is failing you depend on the guest or housekeeping to alert the maintenance department, but with online, a low battery comes up as an alert so you can change it before anyone is affected. How
many times you have been in a hotel and have had to change rooms or stay a few days more, but have to get a new card. With Vingcard online that is not necessary, it can be done at the front desk without you being present. With EMS, that can be a major saving for the property as you can adjust the temperature range when a guest is in a room, when they leave for a period of time, when the room is unoccupied for a set period and for an unsold room. Many properties leave on the AC 24x7 at huge cost or turn it completely off and allow the room to go stale. The EMS can handle these situations with specific setbacks and allows the AC to cycle at periodic intervals when unoccupied to keep the air circulation active every few hours and without any intervention by staff. Roger Worme is the General Manager of Regional Business Systems. In 1979 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree specializing in Computer Science from York University in Canada and then joined the Business Machines Department of H Jason Jones. This department was later incorporated into a separate company, Regional Business Systems, in 1987 to better identify itself as a Technology oriented company offering sales and services to Barbados and many clients in the Eastern Caribbean. He started initially as a Computer Specialist and within two years moved to management and Director. He has maintained a strong computer association and is a member of IEEE and other related industry associations.
Big Plans to Develop RICS in Chairman of the Caribbean Region Sanjay Amin explains... You are the current chairman of the Caribbean region of the RICS. Can you outline the international status of the RICS?
Chairman, Sanjay Amin
RICS has spread globally and counts more than 150,000 members, working in the established and emerging economies of the world. Within the Caribbean, there are 237 active members in several islands including Barbados, Cayman, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and over 700 student members. RICS has been committed to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity in land, property and construction (the built environment) by providing impartial and authoritative advice on those issues affecting businesses and society. It is now the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction, and is a regulator of both its individual members and firms, which has enabled it to provide unparalleled client confidence in the sector. In a world where more people, governments, banks and commercial organisations are
demanding greater certainty of professional standards and ethics; achieving RICS status is the recognised mark of property professionalism with which to meet this demand. Why is it so important to have the RCIS established in the Caribbean region? Some of the RICS goals are to take a leadership role in the development, regulation and monitoring of standards as well as to be a role model as a responsible organisation in the eyes of all its stakeholders. The standards for valuations and procurement of construction contracts employed in most of the English speaking Caribbean countries are based on the UK legal system. The RICS sets and regulates these standards and it is therefore important to have the RICS established in the region. There are already a number of RICS professionals in the region. Are there not enough to provide the services required? No, we need more qualified chartered surveyors in most countries, especially valuation
Registration Programme This means they are all regulated and have to follow certain standards and practices to be on a lending institutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s List of Approved Valuers. What does the RICS designation really mean?
...RICS professionals can avail themselves of access to the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest online land, property and construction library; professional and technical guidance...
and quantity surveyors. There are lots of surveyors working in the region, but we need to try and encourage them to become qualified. Why do major lenders, businesses and private clients in the region extensively use non-qualified valuation surveyors. Is this largely because there are few alternatives or is it historical? It is a bit of both. Historically there were few valuation surveyors in the Caribbean and Trinidad probably had the most. However, today there are an increasing number of chartered surveyors operating, especially in Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Barbados. The smaller island may suffer more because of the lower volume of work. Also, when some lenders tried to restrict their panel to qualified valuation surveyors in some countries the local Fair Trading Commission questioned the process. Interestingly, since 2011 the RICS in the UK made it mandatory for all valuers to ne members of the Valuation
The RICS designation is a mark of prestige that signals to clients and peers that the holder has met, and maintains, the most rigorous practice standards and professional conduct in a highly competitive global industry. An RICS qualification paves the way for the holder to work all over the world, win more business, and command professional fees commensurate with an increased status and profile. Along with the recognition and commercial benefits, RICS professionals can avail themselves of access to the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest online land, property and construction library; professional and technical guidance; market insight and industry research; regular industry news updates; high quality events and Continuing Professional Development training. Being a surveyor in the modern era demands much more accountability, transparency, and quality business ethics. It also carries the risk of litigation when things go wrong. How is an RICS professional rated in these important sectors? There are five professional and ethical standards that must be demonstrated and adhered to by all RICS members: 1. Take responsibility 2. Treat others with respect 3. Always provide a high standard of service 4. Act with integrity 5. Act in a way that promotes trust within the profession
RICS has 749 student members. These individuals are on their path towards a rewarding professional career that will be enhanced by attaining full RICS membership.
These principles are to be followed by all chartered surveyors. Should a problem arise there is a Complaints Procedure within RICS if a member is not following the guidelines. With specific regard to litigation, it is expected that all chartered surveyors carry a suitable level of Professional Indemnity Insurance whether they are working in the quantity surveying, valuation or land surveying sector. A big part of your strategy going forward is based on education and careers for aspiring young professionals in your industry. What plans have you in place to achieve these lofty goals? Within Barbados, Cayman, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, RICS has 749 student members. These individuals are on their path towards a rewarding professional career that will be enhanced by attaining full RICS membership. Once they become an RICS Member, these young professionals will be expected to
commit to lifelong learning through mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training. These CPD requirements can be maintained through online, in-person, formal or informal routes. We are committed to providing training and CPD offerings to members and nonmembers alike in order to ensure that skills and best practices are optimized in the Caribbean. As the pivotal head of a visionary committee driving this expansion what would you like to see in place in 10 years time regarding RICS representation across the region? I would like to see several improvements including the following; 1. Mandatory for all valuers to be registered with RICS. This will assist banks and customers ensuring that certain standards are being followed. 2. Growth in membership in all countries 3. Increased transparency,
the future of the profession. The items under review including the following: a) To determine the strategy and policy of RICS globally b) To oversee, monitor and assess the performance of Governing bodies c) To communicate RICS direction and performance to members and to stakeholders. d) To oversee the appointment of the regulatory board and the development and implementation of policy, rules and procedures governing the regulation of members, firms and of regulated non-members
This is the first time the Caribbean has been represented at Global Governing Council and I plan to do my utmost to ensure the membersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; interests are looked after.
accountability, and ethical practices in the procurement of all types of contracts. 4. Improvement in professional standards in both construction and valuation services 5. Increased number of relevant real estate conferences in the region. 6. Local chapters being created in all countries leading to more events for members. 7. Increased recognition by Government, lending institutions and other such bodies 8. Improved services for existing members including conferences, professional development seminars and lectures. You are now a member of the RICS Global Governing Council. What does this mean? I was invited to be a member in August 2013 of this prestigious body that sets the long-term direction of RCIS that will shape
e) To make appointments and to determine the duties, terms of reference and other responsibilities of boards in accordance with regulations. This is the first time the Caribbean has been represented at Global Governing Council and I plan to do my utmost to ensure the membersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; interests are looked after. Sanjay Amin FRICS ACIArb is a Director of BCQS International, a property and construction development consultancy firm that provides valuation, quantity surveying, and project management services to individuals, financial, commercial and Government clients. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is also Chairman of the RICS Caribbean Board. He can be contacted email@example.com
Lower LTVs but Banks Borrowing in the Caribbean may not be as easy as it was pre-2008, but the good news for prospective borrowers is that mortgages are still available for non-residents.
Director, Caribbean Mortgage Services Anita Ashton
Many lenders have been badly bitten by world recession and its knock-on effects, but lessons have been learned and cognizance taken of bad experiences to create a new tighter lending market
Riding on the wave of a seemingly insatiable appetite for second home ownership the key lenders in the region made borrowing relatively easy in the boom years, but the economic world has changed in the last six years and it would be naïve to think the Caribbean could escape the side effects. Those side effects have seen an increase in delinquency, greater provision for bad debt by lenders and inevitably tighter lending terms. Borrowers who purchased on the back of a Buy-to-Let plan and lenders who lent in these circumstances have been the biggest losers, but the knock-on effect for new customers is a tighter and more diligent lending regime, and a cautious lending culture that will remain for some time, perhaps forever. But in many ways this will be good for the lending industry as it will bring quality rather than quantity to the table and do much to eliminate borrowers overstretching themselves, speculators looking for a quick buck and developers selling properties on the basis of unrealistic projected rental returns. If anything has done most to harm the nonresident lending sector it has been the speculative projected rental income figures that have been used to sell properties and which have been proved totally inaccurate after global economic
meltdown and the ensuing disappearance of many tourists. The reality in the new lending environment is that lenders are now a lot more cautious about new customers, especially if they come from a domicile where little or no independent historical credit data is available. In these circumstances it is unlikely any Caribbean lender will take the risk even if they are liquid with funds. Many lenders have been badly bitten by world recession and its knock-on effects, but lessons have been learned and cognizance taken of bad experiences to create a new tighter lending market where the lender is more selective than the customer. There are relatively few lenders in the Caribbean prepared to offer a nonresident mortgage product so the application has to be high quality, well presented and meet the terms and conditions of the lender as opposed to the applicant. In these circumstances there has never been a greater need to use an experienced mortgage broker and while this is not mandatory, an application presented direct and subsequently declined has virtually no chance of being successful with another lender. The old cliché “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” rings true in the Caribbean lending world.
important factor is that these terms and conditions may vary from island to island so the advice and guidance of an experienced Caribbean mortgage broker may be vital if you are to secure the home of your dreams. There is no fee for consultation, but the advice can be crucial as it can either set you off on the right foot or alternatively provide the reality check that your proposed purchase is beyond your financial capacity. Sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind.
Anita Ashton is a Mortgage Specialist and Director at Caribbean Mortgage Services a top mortgage brokerage in the region. She is a former UK banker and has over 25 years experience in banking. She lives in Barbados and travels to other islands on a regular basis. She can be contacted at (246) 230 5824 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, there is a broker’s fee involved and some applicants may want to avoid it, but a good broker has much more chance of success than a direct applicant and will fine-tune the application to suit both the lender and the applicant. The broker will also offer expert advice in a specialist field and may save the clients thousands of dollars. They may even decline an application if it doesn’t meet certain criteria and while this could be a huge disappointment at the outset, it will save a lot of unnecessary time, stress and expense if the numbers don’t work. Non-resident mortgage applicants should take advice from experienced people in the lending business and not from other professionals outside their area of expertise. This includes real estate agents and lawyers, some of whom simply don’t know the lending business. For their part applicants must accept the different lending environment because there’s little point comparing apples with oranges. It matters little what is being offered in your own domicile as there are virtually no overseas lenders operating in the Caribbean so local terms and conditions apply. Another
It is important to understand this background before getting too far down the purchase process, as you can do nothing without the necessary funds. No sensible buyer would commit to a purchase without having their funds in place so securing a mortgage loan should be the Number 1 priority. Unfortunately for whatever reason many prospective buyers get their ducks out of line and hit a brick wall too late in the process because they make assumptions without knowledge or from incorrect advice. However, the good news remains that mortgage funds are available to non-residents and although the terms and conditions have tightened they are not punitive. In general terms interest rates are in the 4-6% range, repayment terms of up to 30 years are available and LTVs of up to 65% are in place in 2014. But everything is subject to change and the terms and conditions will vary from lender to lender. And therein lies the value of an experienced mortgage broker, who will evaluate your circumstances, offer good advice, and then take you through the entire process to secure a happy ending. Buying a second home in the Caribbean is a big investment, so the need to get your finances in place is paramount.
Brand Values go far beyond Advertising
Says Andre Bello, Manager Sales, Marketing and Communications at Virgin Atlantic Caribbean Quick! What makes each Caribbean island unique as a tourist destination?
Manager Sales, Marketing and Communications at Virgin Atlantic Caribbean, Andre Bello
We’ve made sure that our aircraft serving London-Caribbean routes offer the most updated amenities in our fleet. We’ve spent over £50 million pounds on 35,000 parts to totally refit our 747s, while introducing our A330s to the market with onboard Wi-Fi.
Chances are that if you haven’t been to any of the islands before, you’ll form an image based on what someone you know has told you about their experience there, rather than an ad you’ve seen. In today’s competitive marketplace, consumers are overloaded with information and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell your story of why you’re special. Andre Bello, Head of Sales, Marketing and Communications at Virgin Atlantic, shares some ideas on how this iconic airline lives up to its brand values and what lessons can be learned. “It starts with the product, but ends with the experience,” says Bello. “I had an opportunity to hear one of our Flying Club gold members go into detail about why Virgin Atlantic has been his conclusive choice of airline for over a decade. As I listened, I didn’t hear him mention our fully flat beds in Upper Class, the 300 hours of entertainment on our touch screens, or our funky onboard bar. Instead, he spoke passionately about how Virgin Atlantic made him feel - the warmth of the ground staff, the attentiveness from the flight crew,
the familiar welcome he gets from our Clubhouse team. Of course, it’s still important to him that he gets a delicious meal, that his boarding process is painless, and that his flight leaves on time. But these are not the things he will tell his friends and colleagues about us. He will talk about us with his heart, not his head.” Bello continues, “We’ve made sure that our aircraft serving London-Caribbean routes offer the most updated amenities in our fleet. We’ve spent over £50 million pounds on 35,000 parts to totally refit our 747s, while introducing our A330s to the market with on-board Wi-Fi. But, that’s not enough. We have to recognize that our passengers begin their journey with us the minute they start thinking about taking a trip. How easy is it to get information? How many different ways are there to book a flight? How do you feel after talking to one of our team on the telephone? That’s what matters most.” “Our brand values have to go beyond our advertising. We have to live it. Virgin Atlantic puts a high emphasis on service training, both in the air and on the ground, and it pays off in smiles and referrals. When we launched our ad campaign with
...For example, we tried to think of the most ordinary part of someone’s day, and decided it was sitting in traffic. Our crew hit the road and handed out cupcakes to rush-hour commuters... the tagline, ‘Flying in the face of ordinary’ (FITFOO), it wasn’t enough for us to have that message in our public communications. We used it as a rallying call for our team to challenge ourselves to go the extra mile in whatever we do, whether it’s with each other, or with the public. We also found that simple things count. For example, we tried to think of the most ordinary part of someone’s day, and decided it was sitting in traffic. Our crew hit the road and handed out cupcakes to rush-hour commuters on their way to work and it was amazing how much that simple gesture lifted their spirits.” “For Caribbean countries trying to look to the future, we see growth at both ends of the price spectrum. We’ve adjusted for this by adding capacity in our Upper Class cabin, while making economy travel more comfortable
than it has ever been. Tourism planners will have to ensure that they don’t specialize too tightly at either end of the market. Both will be important. The key word is ‘authenticity.’ Travellers will want to connect with residents and gain a better understanding of the local culture. They will want unique experiences and not feel they are on the beaten path. Their experience will not begin at the beach. We have a responsibility to delight them on the aircraft, but that pleasure needs to continue as they clear immigration at the airport, in their taxis, and at their hotel's reception. While public education is an admirable goal, the focus needs to be placed on key touch-points. Training has to play a vital role, coupled with accountability and performance measurement. Only then, will we move beyond visitors who are passively satisfied, to passionate advocates who are prepared to spread the word.”
Insurance in David Alleyne answers some testing questions in Caribbean Insurance... You have moved to the top position in Sagicor General in the past 12 months with increased responsibilities and challenges. How have you adapted to your new role?
CEO, Sagicor General David Alleyne
â&#x20AC;&#x153;What really gives me comfort at Sagicor General is the support from and professionalism of a wonderful team of industry experts who are passionate about their service to our clients.â&#x20AC;?
I guess the realization that "the buck stops with the CEO" creates an immediate heightened sense of responsibility and accountability. What really gives me comfort at Sagicor General is the support from and professionalism of a wonderful team of industry experts who are passionate about their service to our clients. The commitment of my staff to excellence makes my job easier. To the outside world most Insurance Companies look the same. What makes Sagicor General so different in the industry? Sagicor's name and identity draw on the strength, stability and financial prudence that are the Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heritage. Sagicor means "wise judgment" and the security provided is buttressed by Group assets of US $5.3 billion. Sagicor General sits firmly within that overall solid Group corporate structure, but further significant stability arises from the strength and diversity of our other major shareholder - The Goddard Enterprises Group.
Sagicor General with an A.M. Best financial rating of A- Excellent has an unrivalled legacy of fulfilling our commitment to our customers for the last 130 years. I think it's a combination of these things that sets Sagicor General apart. Caribbean Insurance companies offset a lot of their risk in the reinsurance market. Does this make it more expensive for the customer? It should not, but perhaps I should expand on that. Prudence does not allow the retention for net account of more than a specific percentage of our insured liabilities especially given our catastrophe exposures. Our capital dictates the amount of risk ceded by a judicious company to reinsurers. There is a cost to "renting" the balance sheet of financially strong global reinsurance companies. Our duty is to ensure that the cost is reasonable to us and to our clients, but it must always be understood that the risk assumed by reinsurers, and hence the cost accepted by us, should broadly be similar to what we would charge ourselves for retaining the same risk, that is, if we could.
its track record. In a Caribbean context do you know them and do you trust them? 2 Absolute certainty that legitimate claims will be met as financial strength is fundamentally important. Does the company have the financial resources to fulfill all of its obligations in the event of a catastrophe or even two during a financial year? 3 Is there independent corroboration of the ability of the company to fulfill its contractual obligations? In other words are they highly rated by an international financial rating agency? Are people neglecting their insurance cover in these tough economic times? Neglect may be too strong, but there is no doubt that times are tough for customers and this necessitates careful evaluation of all major spending decisions. Our economic circumstances are causing many individuals and companies to base their annual review of insurance cover on available resources for payment rather than on adequacy of cover. Most companies recognize the challenges and are trying to assist in these difficult times with favourable payment plans and terms.
Our economic circumstances are causing many individuals and companies to base their annual review of insurance cover on available resources for payment rather than on adequacy of cover
The insuring public should therefore always be wary of pricing that appears too aggressive. This is always because of inadequate reinsurance cover or inappropriate risk taking.
Sagicor General offers a complete range of insurance products covering virtually every necessity. What are the advantages to putting all your insurance eggs in the one basket?
Setting aside the cost of premiums what are the top three things a customer should know before they select an insurance company?
Much depends on the basket! The ability to discuss all requirements in one place and receive volume discounts across all lines has real benefit. However, the financial strength of the Company is vitally important. The overall depth and strength of the Sagicor Group means the resources are available
1 Above all, the customer should have confidence in the integrity of the company, its management and
Regulators also continue to strengthen industry legislation including capital requirements, all of which will ensure protection of policyholders. Is the Caribbean insurance risk property or car when compared to the US?
a higher in life, insurance the UK or
The Caribbean is exposed to many of the world's natural hazards. We live in an idyllic paradise, but we are also exposed to cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis and storm surge, tornados and floods from many causes. The only thing we don't have is snowstorms, yet! Not many, if any, parts of the US or UK are constantly exposed to ALL of these potential risks. It means that we must protect ourselves to a greater degree through building standards and taking cognizance of location.
...we are also exposed to cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis and storm surge, tornados and floods from many causes.
for professional financial planning with certain support when adversity strikes. There have been some alarming scandals in the insurance industry in recent years, both regional and global. Has this dented public confidence in your industry? Absolutely, and many people have suffered and continue to be affected by the deficiencies which existed within our system. However, this has also brought a positive reaction and there is much good work that continues to be done by some companies. When I joined Sagicor General, I was impressed by the stringent corporate governance architecture, which exists within the Group.
Life exposures are similar given the standard of living Caribbean people enjoy. David Alleyne is the CEO of Sagicor General, the general insurance wing of the Sagicor Group, one of the bigger insurance companies in the Caribbean region. He is a Chartered Insurer being an Associate of the Chartered institute (ACII) of the United Kingdom and an Associate in Reassurance (ARe) of the Insurance Institute of America. He also holds an MBA from the University of Durham. He has over 20 years experience in the insurance industry and can be contacted at David_Alleyne@sagicorgeneral.com
“We’ve “W We’ve ee’ Been There”
Wee know W kn now this ho house, ouse, like we know every house we insure… • Buildings • Alternative Accommodation • Replacement of External Locks • Glass • Property Owner’s Liability • Landscaping
For more information, visit SagicorGeneral.com eral.com todayy..
Sagicor General Insurance Inc. is rated “A-”Excellent by A.M. Best Rating Company.
CIBC FirstCaribbean Well Positioned For Says Mark St. Hill External banking challenges have negatively influenced banking operations in the region in the last five years. Do you feel we are still in this era or have new strategies been implemented to build for a brighter future?
CIBC FirstCaribbean Managing Director, Retail, Business and International Banking, Mark St. Hill
Our bank has been proactive in launching an alternate channel strategy to this market, which heavily utilizes mobile banking, Internet banking...
The global economic environment has impacted banking operations throughout the region, and CIBC FirstCaribbean is no exception. However, we have viewed this as an opportunity to tailor our operations to become more efficient as well as more effective. Our continuing investment in the face of the challenges before us is a solid demonstration of a bank that is positioning itself for future growth. We are constantly fine-tuning our product offering to be more closely aligned with our customers’ needs whilst meeting regional and local regulatory requirements. We have been able to leverage our relationship with CIBC Toronto to design best practices for our regional operations and have been making changes on all levels of our organization to create a new CIBC FirstCaribbean that will be well positioned to serve its clients in the future. CIBC FirstCaribbean is a major bank with a strong
Caribbean branch network on the ground. Is the traditional way of attracting business still the bank’s principal approach to customer service and development? CIBC FirstCaribbean was born out of a legacy of two banks renowned for their strength in cultivating strong customer relationships. However, the reality is that the emergence of Information Communications Technology (ICTs) and a younger demographic, including young professionals, has seen an increased demand for convenience for persons ‘on the go’. Our bank has been proactive in launching an alternate channel strategy to this market, which heavily utilizes mobile banking, Internet banking to manage their accounts and pay bills as well as credit cards and the use of convenience cards (Visa debit) at ABMs and POS terminals with added benefits to the customers who utilize these media. Many people feel banks have not moved with the times. We still have long queues, loans take too long to complete, small businesses feel you won’t share risk equitably and customers are still uncomfortable in banking environs. Are these fair comments?
to deliver consistently across our network. The Warrens Banking Centre, is perhaps the best example of the future of banking at CIBC FirstCaribbean. We are seeing a clear migration, especially of our younger customer and professional segment, to alternate and convenience channels. We have invested significantly in this area having the largest ABM network in some of the countries we operate, state of the art Internet banking platform, mobile banking and other convenience banking products.
Banks have moved with the times, however, a wide cross section of the customers we serve, as stated above, prefer the traditional form of banking because it is what they are comfortable with.
As a responsive bank with a strong customer ethos, CIBC FirstCaribbean is well aware of its customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; perspectives, their banking experience and expectations of us. We are constantly in the process of educating our customers on the products that are best suited to them and encouraging them to explore these options, but as you would appreciate, any transition takes time. We have taken a long, hard look at the way we do business and have invested in new systems and processes to make our customer experience even better. Banks have moved with the times, however, a wide cross section of the customers we serve, as stated above, prefer the traditional form of banking because it is what they are comfortable with. In terms of small businesses, last year we launched a new value proposition to small business customers to assist them in developing their business plans and producing financial data required to qualify for a business loan. We always try to make our customers comfortable and our new branch design (Warrens and Wildey in Barbados) provides the level of privacy and comfort that we aspire
You have recently set-up a network of Mortgage and Loan Centres within certain branches across the region. What is behind this strategy? Our Mortgage and Loans Centres have been created to function as central points of contact, providing consistent levels of service for customers applying for loans and mortgages. In effect, this lets our customers know that these hubs are especially for them: to focus primarily on their needs and allow us to provide them with a better quality of service and quicker turnaround times. These hubs have been termed centres of excellence that concentrate on working with our customers as they make what is most likely to be the most significant investment of their lives, whether it is purchasing or building their home, investment property, education/ student loans, car or consumer loan. What will the more focused customer service and processing mean to the customer? Through this our customers will know that we are with them â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;for the long haulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. As partners we will continue to work with them to meet their needs at every stage of
loans to non-residents and as a result has stimulated overseas investment, attracted foreign currency and helped grow the construction industry across the region. Will this business continue to expand in the light of global recession and less overseas buyers in the market? Every market responds to local, regional and global economics in some way. It is a market that we will continue to service as long as there are opportunities whether they expand, remain flat or whether there are less opportunities available due to the current state of the global economy. It will improve at some point, at which time we intend to be available. their lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s journey. This comes through a thorough understanding of their time constraints, the level of privacy they require when conducting business and educating them on their options in terms of products available to them based on knowing them and their long-term financial goals.
to our customers. One prime example is the continuous improvement of our account opening process. We have moved from a high of nearly ninety minutes to open an account nearly two years ago to a new regional average of 29 minutes, something that has been welcomed by our customers across the Caribbean.
Can we ever reach a situation where mortgages and loans can be completed within days rather than months?
Has the increased delinquency in recent years greatly affected the terms and conditions for new business and taken away your competitive edge?
This would be an ideal situation, which both the bank and our customers would mutually be pleased with, however, there are certain processes that still require time to complete and at CIBC FirstCaribbean our mantra is to get it right the first time. However, any efforts to reduce these times would allow us to service our customers faster. What is within our control is the turnaround time it takes for a lending decision and we are seeing improvements each and every day. We are also pleased to report improvements in several other areas, with resulting benefits that have been passed on
Delinquency has been a challenge for all financial institutions during this sluggish economic period. However, even during these unfortunate circumstances, we seek to assist our customers as much as possible. This has not taken away from our competitive edge as we are and always have been, a bank that cares. It has also equipped us to be better able to provide options to our customers with this experience under our belt. CIBCFirstCaribbean has been a pioneer in providing mortgage
Mark St. Hill is Managing Director, Retail, Business and International Banking with responsibility for the growth and development of the Retail and Business Banking operations across 17 countries represented by 70 branches. He is also responsible for all the bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operations in Eastern Caribbean and Belize. An experienced banker he has over 23 years experience in various positions spanning Insurance Broking, Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Credit Risk Management, International Banking and Wealth Management. Mark has also held senior management positions in several countries in the Caribbean including Grenada, British Virgin Islands and Barbados. He is a graduate of the FirstCaribbean Executive Leadership program with Wharton Business School and a Fellow of the British Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He can be contacted by email at Mark.St.Hill@cibcfcib.com
The Changing Picture in Caribbean Lime CEO Oliver Chatten gives CPM an overview We hear a lot about 4G and Fibre Optics these days. What do they really mean to the layperson? 4G is the speed at which you use your mobile data. GPRS is the lowest, followed by Edge, 3G, 4G and 4G LTE. 3G gives about 7.2 Mbps, but with new HSPA technology 4G now gives 21 Mbps, and that has become the accepted industry speed for 4G.
A Smartphone to a young person is like an attachment to their body and they are constantly connected.
Fibre Optics on the other hand is broadband delivered to the customer via glass and therefore much faster speeds are obtainable, so IP TV viewing is superior. It will also improve the fault level that customers may experience with a copper network due to weather conditions. What are the advantages to a building or a development that has fibre installation? The main advantage is that they can command a higher property price if fibre optics are installed. Since connectivity is so important to business people and families they can no longer live without it. So the faster speed and better WIFI connectivity you can offer adds value to your development. Does this mean an existing building or development will become a dinosaur in the technology race?
Definitely not. Many places in Europe and the US still do not have fibre optics, so we are lucky in Barbados that we are able to enjoy this technology. However, not everyone on the island will get it and those still on the copper networks will still enjoy speeds of 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps, which is normally quite adequate for most homes. Will 4G be followed by 5G and then 6G and so on? Is technology moving so fast that equipment dates itself just as fast or is it similar to buying a new car or watch-you buy it because it is fashionable and you can afford it? No. 4G will become 4G LTE. It’s not like smartphones where models change frequently. We will launch the Samsung Galaxy S5 and that phone is almost like a computer in itself. Technology does move fast and prices drop. However, there is an element of ‘fashion’ in the smart phone sector and it’s mainly the youth who drive this. A Smartphone to a young person is like an attachment to their body and they are constantly connected. Is LIME improving its technology across the region or just in selected islands? LIME continues to improve on and invest in the infrastructure. Barbados is one of two locations
at the moment to offer LIME TV. The other is the Cayman Islands. Cayman has also just introduced 4GLTE whereas Grenada has just launched 4G. Barbados and Cayman are currently building fibre networks. Not all islands are at the same level, but each island is moving forward to improve their networks across the Caribbean. Will competition drive the prices down or is this an industry where the customer is willing to pay the price to have the best product? Competition is always good for the consumer and what it will do is ensure the customer gets great value. If you compare our local mobile data plans to the USA you can see how much value our Caribbean customers enjoy. Do you envisage a life without landlines or will there always be a place for the home and office telephones? I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t speak for the other islands, but in Barbados our
customers have grown up talking for free on their landline, and boy people can certainly talk! So for Barbados, I think you will see the landline around for a while yet. Is LIME expanding or contracting its workforce? We read of staffing issues at a time when the company appears to be growing. What is the position? We are outsourcing many areas of the business to companies that are experts in their fields therefore allowing us to focus on what we do best, run a telecommunications business and improve and develop our network. This has resulted in a number of our colleagues moving over to work with these companies. Many of these people are actually based in Windsor Lodge so we still see them daily and this creates a great working relationship. LIME is a market leader in Caribbean telecommunications technology. What innovations
We are outsourcing many areas of the business to companies that are experts in their fields therefore allowing us to focus on what we do best...
and changes do you see in the future? LIME is in a transition period right now as we seek to change our business model to meet future demands and customer service is our top priority. As the only full service provider in Barbados, and the brand of choice, our aim is to provide superb customer service with cutting edge technology.
Oliver Chatten is the Chief Executive Officer for LIME Barbados, appointed in August 2013. He has a long history of telecoms leadership, working extensively in the Caribbean and Central America with Digicel, where he held a number of CEO posts. Chatten, who is Irish, has also held finance and operations roles at other companies in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. He can be contacted at (246) 292 5050.
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