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Dr W. Warren Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)

Swiss trader seeks go-ahead to buy Venezuela-Russia oil loan

CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TAKES ON REGIONAL CHALLENGES

The Caribbean Development Bank tackles infrastructure, agriculture and energy as it works to encourage sustainable growth in the region BY CATHERINE MORRIS, STAR BUSINESSWEEK CORRESPONDENT

Dr W. Warren Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), had good news for stakeholders across the region earlier this month. Delivering the bank’s annual report, he said: “The region is in its strongest position since the start of the 2008 global recession.” Continued on page 4

Commodity trader Mercuria has asked the US Treasury for permission to buy out a $1.5bn loan between Russia’s Rosneft and Venezuela’s state oil company, which had raised the prospect of Moscow taking control of refineries on US soil. Page 3

Cuba braced for life after the Castros

Niuris Higueras climbs with heavy tread up the wrought-iron staircase to Atelier, a 50-seat restaurant that boasts graceful wood-panelled rooms and a broad terrace with sweeping views of the Havana skyline. Business seems to be booming. Page 7


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THE FUTURE OF CARS IN THE CARIBBEAN BY ED KENNEDY, STAR BUSINESSWEEK CORRESPONDENT

The STAR Businessweek BY CHRISTIAN WAYNE – EDITOR AT LARGE Any publicity is good publicity, or so the adage goes. Since the devastation of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season that saw back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes rip through the Caribbean, leveling sister islands like Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica, the world’s eyes have been glued—albeit only momentarily—to images from the international media chronicling the widespread destruction of infrastructure and chaotic looting that occurred in the worst hit of the islands. One international news anchor even quipped to his largely American audience: “You may have to look elsewhere for that winter vacation!” Despite only being interested in the Caribbean when these climate change-fuelled weapons of mass destruction threaten one’s Christmas holidays, Caribbean leaders like Prime Minister Allen Chastanet seized the spotlight to rally our cause. 6 months later, and though much of the media interest around Atlantic hurricanes has since dwindled, the lobbying activities of small island leaders seems to have been fruitful. Though the initial press coverage had more to do with providing shockvalue to viewers than it did with rallying the cause for climate change adaptation financing facilities to be made available to affected islands like ours, the press was still useful. That episode has now passed, but another one is playing out to our south. This week—with intensity surely to grow over the next few months—the world’s attention is back on our region. Again, much like last year’s hurricane episode, the media attention is coming our way whether we like it or not, but how will we take advantage? According to White House officials, the United States is turning its antennas back to the Caribbean as Venezuela continues to spiral into a state of abject failure. Why, you ask. Oil. As Venezuela’s ability to sell cheap energy to the rest of the Caribbean through subsidized export groups such as PetroCaribe screeches to a halt, the US sees an opportunity to find new export markets for its petroleum and natural gas products—thanks in part to President Donald Trump’s deregulation of the industry. Impeccable timing, if you ask me … or Guyana. Begin with our lead story on page 1 featuring Dr. Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, and his strategy to tackle issues around energy, infrastructure, and agriculture as the CDB eyes sustainable growth within each sector.

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Could Caribbean urban city centres prove to be effective test-beds for driverless vehicles?

Around the world there is a quiet revolution underway. It may not be very visible at first but, on closer inspection, it’s obvious. The way in which we live is set to fundamentally change, and at the centre of this is cars. Sure, cars have done this trick before. In 1908 a Detroit car factory rolled the first Model T off the assembly line, and with it Henry Ford ushered in a piece of tech that would forever change how we live and work. The horse cart was done away with, employees could live further from work and still commute quickly, and cars themselves became big business as pop culture icons. Now in our century, sweeping change is imminent once more. And in the era of digital globalisation, the shift will be seen locally and internationally. So what is the future of the automobile? And what will change about life in the Caribbean with the next generation of cars? Let’s look at this in-depth now.

GETTING INTO GEAR

The starting point for this next

era of cars has its seeds already sown. In recent years the advances in car manufacturing, and the release of many new models, have established the foundation for the automobile’s future. We have seen the successful creation and release to global markets of hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius. We’ve had Elon Musk release a range of Tesla electric cars to market, and cut down the old outdated idea that sustainable cars can’t also be stylish and glamorous. Then there has been the progress of self-driving cars (SDCs). Though a widespread commercial release is still a while away, car fans look to owning an SDC not as a matter of if, but when. Hybrids, electrics, and SDCs. Yes, the change in this era of cars is rapid and diverse but it’s not just confined to the type of vehicles we have. The way in which we use cars is changing too. Uber has revolutionized the world of taxi transport. Online shopping and the growth of remote work means we no longer need to use our cars as much as we once did. And the emphasis upon healthier living and green transport has seen many people around the world actively seek out a healthier and greener

way to get around when they can, deciding to not use their car even when they could.

THE ROAD AHEAD

The future of cars in the Caribbean will also be informed by the changes being seen beyond our personal use of automobiles. Our global economy is set to see a surge in the growth of digital, AI, and automation industries. Everybody recognises that a huge rise in Amazon and Shopify sales could shrink profits in local bricks and mortar businesses but what about beyond the storefront? The evolution of our global economy will have an impact along the supply chain. Demand for delivery drivers could soon shrink. So too warehouse packers and supervisors as automation grows. Conversely, while traditional jobs in these areas may diminish, new jobs will be created, requiring technicians to maintain technology, and ensure the supply chain runs smoothly. The core takeaway here is that the car’s future won’t be linear but will bring opportunities and challenges simultaneously. Continued on page 5


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SWISS TRADER SEEKS GO-AHEAD TO BUY VENEZUELA-RUSSIA OIL LOAN BY FT CORRESPONDENT

Citgo’s refinery dock in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mercuria aims to structure the deal to buy out a loan tied to Citgo so as not to breach US restrictions on providing new finance to Rosneft

Commodity trader Mercuria has asked the US Treasury for permission to buy out a $1.5bn loan between Russia’s Rosneft and Venezuela’s state oil company, which had raised the prospect of Moscow taking control of refineries on US soil. The cash-strapped Venezuela state oil company PDVSA, which has borrowed more than $6bn from Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, caused consternation in Washington last year after putting up a stake in its US-based refining subsidiary, Citgo, as collateral against a portion of the loan. The move by Switzerland-based Mercuria would see the trader put up the money to buy out the $1.5bn loan tied to Citgo, before syndicating it to other investors, according to people familiar with the proposal. If approved by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac), the deal could avoid a potential diplomatic tangle in the event that PDVSA defaults on its loans,

with the US seen as unlikely to approve Rosneft taking over the 49.9 per cent stake in Citgo’s plants. Both Russia and Venezuela are subject to US sanctions, with Rosneft and PDVSA executives singled out for attention from the Treasury. Mercuria, which has a deal to supply Citgo’s three US-based refineries with non-Venezuelan crude oil, is attempting to structure the deal so as not to breach US restrictions on providing new finance to Rosneft. Spokespeople for Rosneft and Mercuria did not comment. Richard Mallinson, a geopolitical analyst at Energy Aspects in London, said if the deal went ahead it could avoid creating additional tension between Washington and Moscow, but also raised questions for PDVSA on future financing. Venezuela is in the throes of one of the worst economic crises in Latin American history, with its economy contracting by a third in the past half-decade. A further 15

Russia has been a financial lifeline for Caracas, and last year Moscow agreed to restructure $3.15bn of loans provided to the country

per cent contraction is expected this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, while inflation is forecast to hit 13,000 per cent. “Rosneft would have faced an uphill struggle to get approval to exercise a stake in Citgo so this avoids a potential diplomatic strain between the US and Russia if this deal goes ahead,” said Mr Mallinson. “If this signals that Russia is looking to reduce its loans to Venezuela rather than offering more support that leaves Caracas with nowhere obvious to turn.” Rosneft has said it is unwilling to extend further loans to PDVSA, many of which have been secured against crude supplies, as the country’s economic crisis starts to hit oil output from the country. The Russian company is seen as keen to reduce its exposure to Venezuela as oil output falls, with the country seen as precariously close to defaulting on its debts. A spokesperson for the US Treasury department said they do not discuss Ofac licensing requests, including confirming whether one had been received. Russia has been a financial lifeline for Caracas, and last year Moscow agreed to restructure $3.15bn of loans provided to the country. Not included in that package was the $6bn that PDVSA owes Rosneft in loans and debt interest, which has become a big worry for investors in the Russian oil company. The Russian energy group holds large stakes in Venezuela’s oilfields and in December struck a deal to take control of two offshore gasfields. Igor Sechin, Rosneft chief executive and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said in October that the company had no intention of using the Citgo stake for anything other than collateral, and that the company was negotiating with PDVSA over swapping the stake for other assets. “If they offer something more interesting, we will consider it,” Mr Sechin told reporters.

TOURISM

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STAY-OVER ARRIVALS INCREASED FROM ALL SOURCE MARKETS IN 2017!!!

US

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CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TAKES ON REGIONAL CHALLENGES

The Caribbean Development Bank tackles infrastructure, agriculture and energy as it works to encourage sustainable growth in the region

Continued from page 1

“Our objective at CDB is not simply to enable BMCs to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure but to also improve their resilience by building back better and stronger: - Dr. W. Warren Smith

Bolstered by US tax reforms, rising commodity prices and the strengthening of the British pound, the global economy expanded in 2017. This upturn was also felt in the Caribbean where the regional economy grew by 0.6% despite the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria in the latter half of the year. All but five of the CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) reported growth, and Saint Lucia was the fourth highest in the region with a 2.9% rise (attributed to strong performances in tourism and construction).

COMING SOON SATURDAY MARCH 31ST, 2018

The CDB struck a note of caution, however, with the bank’s Director of Economics, Dr Justin Ram, drawing an unfavourable comparison between Caribbean countries and other small island nations. “The Caribbean’s economic performance as a whole continues to lag behind that of other groups, most notably other small developing states. This comparison suggests that small size is not an obstacle to growth but rather that other structural impediments might be the reason for the Caribbean’s tepid performance.”

STRENGTHENING INFRASTRUCTURE

The message from the CDB is that the Caribbean could, and should, do more. To build on achievements to date, and help deliver the bank’s projection of 2% growth in 2018, several key areas of focus have been identified. These include infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewable energies, youth unemployment and climate-smart agriculture. Dr Daniel Best, CDB’s Director of Projects

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Department, estimates that it will take around US$30bn to close the infrastructure gap in the Caribbean and added: “The aim is to accelerate investment in social and economic infrastructure without creating unsustainable public debt.” In the wake of September’s two devastating storms, the most pressing priority for the bank is helping affected countries rebuild. “People experienced great mental and physical trauma. This, combined with loss of life and infrastructure, is a setback for our region,” said Dr Smith. “The hurricanes claimed too many lives and caused untold damage to critical infrastructure. We are going to use the resources we have to help those countries recover, and recover quickly. Our objective at CDB is not simply to enable BMCs to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure but to also improve their resilience by building back better and stronger.” The CDB’s mission, therefore, in the coming year is to incentivise Caribbean countries to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure. In the short-term, the bank secured US$144m from the European Investment Bank for emergency repairs post-hurricanes. The UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund will provide an additional £28m to assist in the recovery efforts also, with a final agreement for disbursement expected by the end of Q1 2018. In total, the CDB aims to make US$700-800m available to BMCs to help them rebuild. Over the long-term, BMCs will be able to access a new US$70m infrastructure fund created in partnership with Mexico’s development bank to upgrade and expand facilities across the region.

AGRICULTURE AND ENERGY

Building more resilient communities across the Caribbean also requires enhancing food security and developing sustainable energy resources. Climatesmart agriculture features heavily on the bank’s agenda for 2018, with ongoing projects in Grenada, Jamaica and Haiti. These initiatives encourage the adoption of new technologies and farming practices to help countries mitigate the effects of climate change. Another weapon in the fight against climate change is energy production.

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The CDB wants its BMCs to shift from polluting and inefficient sources to renewable, sustainable methods that exploit the Caribbean’s natural resources while remaining environmentally and fiscally responsible. In 2017 the bank approved funding for electricity grid modernisation, street lighting projects and geothermal energy exploration. “We made noteworthy contributions to advancing the region’s sustainable and clean energy agenda in 2017,” said Dr Smith. “These projects will contribute to reduced greenhouse gases emissions and provide cost savings to government, consumers and the business community.” Geothermal energy is a particular area of interest for the CDB going into 2018. In November it formally accepted a grant of US$14m from the European Union for geothermal energy development in five countries: Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The project is expected to generate up to 60MW of geothermal capacity in those small island nations, potentially reducing their annual fuel bill by up to 722,000 oil barrels.

“We made noteworthy contributions to advancing the region’s sustainable and clean energy agenda in 2017,” said Dr Smith. “These projects will contribute to reduced greenhouse gases emissions and provide cost savings to government, consumers and the business community.”

SUPPORTING YOUTH

Reducing Saint Lucia’s reliance on oil imports would help the country reduce its high energy rates - a key factor in encouraging new business to the island. And new business would help Saint Lucia address one of its most pressing problems, high unemployment. Saint Lucia has the third highest unemployment rate in the region at 20%. The country did, however, get credit from the CDB for trending downwards - Saint Lucia’s unemployment rate has dropped a total of 5% since 2014. The CDB wants to target youth unemployment, in particular, driving a new generation of Caribbean citizens into work in niche industries and expanding sectors. At the end of last year the bank launched its Youth Policy and Operational Strategy to assess the challenges and opportunities in youth development. It also created the Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund to support creative industries - an area that typically attracts youth entrepreneurs. The bank has made an initial contribution of US$2.6m to launch the pilot project which will offer technical assistance and grants to government, business support organisations and academia within that field.

A POSITIVE OUTLOOK

The CDB expects Saint Lucia’s economy to grow by 3.1% in 2018, aided primarily by further investment in tourism. It is forecasting similarly positive results across all BMCs, with a total regional expansion of 2%, driven primarily by a return to growth in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. The biggest obstacles on the horizon are macro-economic challenges such as high public debt, low productivity and competitiveness, poor human development and environmental threats. Dr Smith is confident, however, that the region can make progress in each area with the help of its international partners and engagement from all Caribbean citizens. “Despite the setbacks caused by the natural disasters in 2017, our region must get back on track as quickly as possible. “The Caribbean has had a long history of bouncing back from natural disasters and other external shocks. That’s the story of our lives. We see immense opportunity for BMCs to come back stronger and more resilient.”

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THE FUTURE OF CARS IN THE CARIBBEAN Continued from page 2

This is a global phenomenon, but one that can be seen locally. Hyperlocally in fact. Your local mechanic may be an expert with 30 years’ experience in the trade but the growing digitisation and electronic construction of our car means ongoing training and keeping pace with new auto technology is no longer optional; it’s essential. However you look at it, all this ongoing training - and the complexity of it! - can be a real burden for a sole trader or a small business, especially when the greater adoption of electric cars could actually mean less business overall for your local mechanic. There will be less regular maintenance: no more oil changes as required by petrol-powered vehicles. And fixing a major problem with an electric vehicle may ultimately entail shipment back to the factory for a total overhaul. This forecast appears confronting in some ways but within this new era is also the potential for growth in the car industry. And the Caribbean is wellpositioned to capitalize on it.

START YOUR ENGINES

The Caribbean is a great testing ground for new SDCs and electric vehicles. While the populations of its cities and nations compare favourably with many others around the world - the city of Havana, Cuba is four times as big as the city of Dublin, Ireland

- geographically they are often smaller in size, with lower density in cities. This allows for car tests in a live environment but without the headaches that can come with trials in a major metropolis like Los Angeles, Tokyo, or London. This also offers smaller roads, and shorter distances in driving from one major amenity to the next. Beyond this, the Caribbean also has a compelling selling point: sunshine. If the future of cars is to be green and sustainable, the capacity to recharge cars via solar power will be important. And because many nations across the region have a diversity of urban and rural areas, and have a tourism industry which requires constant transportation of locals and visitors, there is ample support locally for the emergence of easier, optimised, environmentally-friendly transport‚ all underpinned by solar as an energy source. It’s here that the natural advantages of our region are especially big, and build on an enduring theme for regional business in future. The natural beauty and culture of the Caribbean region are not only points of pride locally but are real foundations on which future economic growth can be built.

TAKING THE WHEEL

For all the changes ahead, cars will remain a style and status symbol. The

technology of electric cars and SDCs is commendable but critics have noted a problem of ‘sameness’ across them. With the possible exception of the Tesla vehicles, how many cars can John or Joan citizen identify as distinctively electric and stylish? A Caribbean city may not have the capacity to rival Detroit or Tokyo in car manufacturing but, given the region’s existing appeal as a tourism destination, melting pot of arts and culture, and its close proximity to major manufacturers in the USA, Mexico, and South America, the potential to position the region as a ‘one-stop shop’ for aftermarket modification is considerable. Anticipation of new industries will be the key to reaping economic benefits from the auto sector. There is growing advocacy among car and interior design fans alike for a reimagination of cars like the SDC, not only as vehicles but as ‘add-ons’ to our existing living spaces. The SDC of the future could serve as a space to sit, relax, watch TV and charge devices, whether on the road or at home. With growing global urbanisation seeing more people than ever moving to live in cities, the concept of cars as living spaces is a cornerstone in a wider debate about their future‚ and the use of existing space in new ways. One that, like all trends in this field, we will continue to follow with interest and report on at The STAR Businessweek.

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The Saint Lucia Government Gazette Company Registration Name: Lucian Shipping & Logistics LLC Description: Import & Export Directors: Elijah Theodore Date Incorporated: 19-Feb-18 Chamber: Maurice Compton Chambers, Saint Lucia Name: Inez Ltd. Description: Retail of foods, supplements, and vitamins Directors: Thimica Teola Cumberbatch Date Incorporated: 23-Feb-18 Dr Laura Espirit, Director of Medical Services for the Ministry of Health in Dominica, speaks about the services that will be offered at the new Mobile Medical Clinic that was donated to the people of Dominica by Sagicor in February.

Chamber: Vern Gill Chambers, Saint Lucia Name: Clee’s Health Foods Ltd.

SAGICOR DONATES MOBILE MEDICAL CLINIC TO GOVERNMENT OF DOMINICA Roseau, Dominica: Last month Sagicor Life, the leading insurance company in the Caribbean, donated a fully customized, mobile medical unit to the Government of Dominica. The unit, purchased by Sagicor, in collaboration with Doctors In Our Circle, Ray Asta, Ministry of Health and Friends of Sagicor, will support and respond to the immediate needs of the people of Dominica post-Hurricane Maria. Dr Laura Espirit, Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health, spoke at the handover ceremony. She said, “Services that will be provided at the mobile medical clinic include comprehensive medical screening, cancer screening, specialist clinics, HIV and immunization testing as well as general response to medical crises during disasters, disease outbreaks and other activities of national importance.” Chairman of Sagicor Financial Corporation, Mr Stephen McNamara, was present in Dominica to hand over the clinic to the Minister of Health of the Government of Dominica. He said, “This mobile medical unit was outfitted and branded in Ohio, driven down to the Miami port, moved onto a barge which first went to Jamaica and, a few stops later, drove off the port of Roseau. The extensive outfitting of the mobile medical unit ensured that it contained a wide range of facilities including: • Two examination rooms with beds • Fuel and water tanks

• Generator • Refrigeration unit and medicine storage • Wheelchair lift Sagicor supported the acquisition of the bus from a financial perspective, donating US$100,000. Mr McNamara also revealed that Sagicor Life and Sagicor General, both regional companies present in Dominica since 1968, immediately mobilised their entire network of 4,172 Sagicorians across the various territories following the passage of Hurricane Maria. He said, “The Sagicor Group also established a hurricane relief fund of over EC$500,000, from which support was provided, with the regional airline LIAT, to airlift persons to other Caribbean islands. Additionally, across the Sagicor network, we collected and shipped necessities ranging from food and water supplies to generators and made cash donations. The same was done by providing assistance through Antigua and St. Kitts and Nevis to our other Caribbean brothers and sisters in Barbuda, Anguilla and St. Martin where we operate as well.” Minister of Health, Kenneth Darroux expressed gratitude to Sagicor, Doctors in Our Circle and the other donors for their generous assistance. He said that the medical clinic will support the medical needs of the island, particularly as the country is currently conducting a review of the Scope of Works of the National Hospital prior to beginning construction later this year.

Description: Health foods and supplements Directors: Quentin Johnson; Cleanne Johnson Date Incorporated: 26-Feb-18 Chamber: Robert Barrow Chambers, Saint Lucia Name: New Media Publishing Inc. Description: Publishing of musical compositions Directors: Maurce Compton; Shayne Ross; Keen Cotter Date Incorporated: 27-Feb-18 Chamber: Dominion Chambers, Saint Lucia Name: Smoothie Chef Inc. Description: Smoothies and smoothie products Directors: Wassim Bashity Date Incorporated: 28-Feb-18 Chamber: Lydia Faisal Chambers, Saint Lucia Name: Alibaba Imports Group Ltd. Description: Merchandise retailing Directors: Wassim Bashity Date Incorporated: 28-Feb-18 Chamber: Lydia Faisal Chambers, Saint Lucia Name: Marshall Petroleum Inc. Description: Production and retail of oil, petroleum, and similar products Directors: Wendall Marshall; Gail Marshall; Julian Adjodha Date Incorporated: 28-Feb-18 Chamber: Jennifer Remy & Associates, Saint Lucia Name: B-Tel Ltd. Description: ( a ) Holding shares in Cyprus company ( b ) receiving

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CUBA BRACED FOR LIFE AFTER THE CASTROS BY FT CORRESPONDENT

Niuris Higueras climbs with heavy tread up the wrought-iron staircase to Atelier, a 50-seat restaurant that boasts graceful wood-panelled rooms and a broad terrace with sweeping views of the Havana skyline. Business seems to be booming. Outside, Havana is bathed in the tangerine light of sunset. Inside, there is a happy hum of dining tourists and the cheerful clink of glasses. Yet Ms Higueras is in a funk. As with most nascent entrepreneurs in Cuba’s fledgling private sector — and indeed many Cubans — she is nervous. “Things will change for the better, because they have to,” says the 47-yearold chef fatalistically. There is good reason for Ms Higueras’ concern. On April 19, Raúl Castro, 86, will step down as president and is likely to be replaced by Miguel Díaz-Canel, 57, Cuba’s vice-president. It is the first time in almost 60 years that a Castro brother will not hold the post, and while the presidency is a largely symbolic role, the power shift comes at a delicate moment for the communist island. Cuba’s Soviet-style economy, battered by hurricanes and hurt by dwindling aid from crisis-ridden Venezuela, is on the rocks. The state has seemingly cracked down on private businesses, again. And a once-budding relationship with the US, Cuba’s arch-enemy, has deteriorated after Donald Trump, the US president, partially reversed the detente launched by his predecessor. Around 1million US visitors, over half of them Cuban-Americans, travelled to the island last year, spending approximately $650m, according to the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, a consultancy. But tighter US travel restrictions have since slashed visitor numbers. Total tourist visits in 2017 were 4.7million. “It’s been brutal,” says Ms Higueras. “Americans used to mingle with the Cubans. They visited private restaurants, they rented private homes, they used private transport. Other businesses then serviced them. But now the [supply] chain has broken. The impact has been very strong.” A mysterious series of so-called sonic attacks that affected at least 24 US diplomats and their families in Havana, has further chilled tourism. The State Department’s current advisory recommends that visitors “reconsider travel to Cuba due to health attacks”. Outside hotels, the restored 1950s cars that once whisked US visitors on joyrides now stand idle. Cubans who rent out their homes via services such as Airbnb report falling bookings and prices. “It’s logical: if you open a webpage, say,

The biggest unknown is April 19, when Mr Castro will step aside from the presidency

of TripAdvisor in the US and search for Cuba, you get a warning message. So obviously that has an impact . . . Americans don’t come,” says Leire Fernandez, co-founder of Clandestina, a graphics and T-shirt business in colonial Havana. “Our experience has been a 30-40 per cent drop in sales. It’s been the same for everyone.” But Cuba’s private sector, which has expanded almost fourfold to account for almost 600,000 jobs or an eighth of the workforce since Mr Castro introduced reforms eight years ago, has not only been hurt by US actions. The Cuban state is also seemingly clamping down. Several business licenses have been revoked as part of a process of “rectification” — most notably of Starbien, a restaurant co-owned by the son of a former interior minister. There are rumours of more curbs to come. “We have to see what the final rules are,” says Miguel Ángel Morales, owner of La Moneda Cubana, a restaurant in Old Havana. “But if there are cancellations or limits on private business licenses, as the rumours suggest, that could create unemployment, which is not what the national strategy surely needs to be.” The biggest unknown is April 19, when Mr Castro will step aside from the presidency. Most Cubans simply shrug their shoulders about its significance as it is a political affair beyond their reach. They are more concerned about getting by from day to day. But a leaked video that showed Mr DíazCanel taking a traditional hardline in a

private meeting of Communist Party members, has unsettled nerves. Mr Díaz-Canel is a burly party functionary from the provinces and little is known of what he believes — or even if he will finally be chosen as successor. Cubans will “vote” in a pre-ratified slate of candidates for the National Assembly on March 11, which will then ratify formally Mr Castro’s successor in April. Mr Castro is expected to remain head of the

Several business licenses have been revoked as part of a process of “rectification” — most notably of Starbien, a restaurant coowned by the son of a former interior minister. There are rumours of more curbs to come

Communist party and the armed forces when he steps down. “We don’t know who the new president will be,” says Marta Deus, co-founder of Deus Accountants, which provides accounting services to the self-employed. “But I hope it will be a young person, who understands the social changes going on in the world.” At least the rampant food, drink and price inflation that was driven by yesteryear’s tourist boom and that priced many goods beyond most Cubans’ reach, has cooled. “There have been some positive sides to the Trump effect too,” says Clandestina’s Ms Fernandez. Internet access also continues to grow. Privately-employed coders have even sub-contracted their services to design Spanish websites abroad as bandwidth has expanded. “That kind of work would have been technically impossible two years ago,” says one, who asked to remain anonymous. But such opportunities are beyond the reach of most, and after six decades of struggle there is a widespread sense of resignation, co-mingled with faint hopes for change as the so-called historic generation of ageing Cuban leaders step aside. “Being Cuban is like Sisyphus,” says Esther Cardoso, a leading actress, who rents out her home to make ends meet. “You roll a stone to the top of the hill, and every night it falls back again. Now is not a time for dreams, it’s a time to make money and get by. That’s what Cuba has become today. It’s sad.”

7


8

THE STAR BUSINESSWEEK

MARCH 10, 2018

JOB VACANCY

Terms of Reference for a Communications Consultant Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF) 1.0 Background

Saint Lucia is endowed with rich biodiversity and relatively high rates of endemism. The country relies heavily on biodiversity assets both for tourism, and as a source of livelihoods for a significant proportion of the population. As a tourism-based economy, Saint Lucia is directly affected by the sustainable management and conservation of its natural beauty, health, and services provided by their marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Unfortunately, efforts aimed

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at protecting the critical ecosystems have had mixed success, even when the legislative foundation for the management of these ecosystems has long been in place. Incorporated in 2016, the Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF) is dedicated to the conservation, restoration, and effective management of Saint Lucia’s biodiversity and natural resources. Although developed primarily to manage funding flows that will be generated by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF), the SLUNCF is designed to accommodate a diverse range of funding flows that will catalyze and support the conservation, restoration, and effective management of Saint Lucia’s biodiversity and natural resources; and the sustainable livelihoods that can be generated from them.

2.0 The Consultancy

The SLUNCF is seeking to recruit a dynamic, self-starter to perform the role of Communications Consultant (CC) for its programme. The successful candidate will be home-based with on-call duty to the SLUNCF Office at Sans Soucis, Castries, St. Lucia. The CC will play a key role in positioning SLUNCF as a key actor in the conservation scene in Saint Lucia and in the Caribbean region. The CC will guide the design and implementation of a Communication Strategy and measures for the SLUNCF and related projects. This will include, but will

not be limited to, different work streams, such as: • raising awareness about the SLUNCF grant-making programme and procedures, • reaching out to the potential applicants, • supporting the launch of SLUNCF first Call for Proposals, • documenting the work of SLUNCFsupported interventions, • providing evidence of their impact on conservation and national development • demonstrating good value for money, and • sharing best practices and lessons learned. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SLUNCF, the CC will work proactively with the SLUNCF and partners and stakeholders to identify opportunities for capturing and sharing knowledge, and disseminating information about SLUNCF, its projects, progress and results. The objectives of the CC will be to:

1. Work in collaboration with SLUNCF Board

and the Secretariat team to design and carry out the first Call for Proposals, mapping the potential applicants and coordinating the outreach activities to establish a relationship with this audience. 2. Guide the design and implementation of appropriate institutional communication strategies for the SLUNCF, including funded projects. 3. Coordinate the implementation and delivery of the communication outputs and outcomes

of the SLUNCF and funded projects.

4. Document the work of SLUNCF-supported interventions, providing evidence of impact and demonstrating good value for money as well as for strategically disseminating best practices and lessons learned, in a way to position SLUNCF as an effective financial mechanism in the country able to manage additional resources for conservation. 5. Develop programmes for dissemination of information and public education regarding the Fund’s priorities for funding, raising awareness of a broad audience, nationally and internationally, about the SLUNCF programme of work.

How to apply:

Interested applicants are requested to submit their most recent Curriculum Vitae with a cover letter explaining why they think they are suitable for the consultancy and identify at least three (3) previous mandates that reflect the scope of work of this consultancy. The applications can be submitted electronically to cherryrod@gmail.com and ceo@sluncf. org. Please mention “Communications Consultant” in the subject line. The deadline for submissions is 4:00 pm, 15th March, 2018. Any questions on the Terms of Reference should be sent to: ceo@sluncf.org.

FINANCIALLY SPEAKING Financial Literacy 101 presented by Bank of Saint Lucia

COVENIENCE BANKING SERVICES & CUSTOMER PROTECTION There is no denying that convenience banking services have made our lives a whole lot easier. More and more, everyday people are willing to conduct their daily activities using a computer or hand held device. Services such as online and mobile banking, debit and credit cards, point of sale devices or ATMs – now give customers greater access to account information and to conduct transactions outside of a traditional bank branch. These services offer many benefits, both in terms of the ease of transacting business and also through the reduction of paper consumption and wastage. There are however some risks in transacting your business on the Internet. Common examples include phishing schemes, trojan horses and malware. Phishing schemes are typically falsified emails or texts claiming to be from a bank, agency, retailer or company – intended to lure persons via email or text into providing valuable information such as bank account and credit card numbers, log in credentials and password details - in an attempt to commit fraud. These fictitious emails or texts often bear similar logos and graphics to deceive the receiver into believing that the sender is legitimate.

Financial institutions are not likely to solicit your personal information via email, link or text; thus customers are strongly cautioned to not click on any links within these emails, and to delete immediately. If the email is believed to be suspicious please contact your financial institution immediately. It is advisable to treat all emails with a degree of caution, and that you take the time to scrutinize them including the sender’s email address. Never open attachments from strangers- if there is a link you can hover your mouse over it to verify whether the link corresponds to the subject of the email. Cyberattacks pose a risk to both customers and institutions and can cause devastating economic and reputational losses. Here are some simple steps to mitigate online risks: Use a strong password with upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols - instead of typical names, places or birthdates. Change passwords regularly. Faster, safer, more convenient

Ensure that personal devices such as workstations, laptops and other mobile devices are always updated with the latest security patches to block vulnerabilities. Be aware of what computers or devices you use when accessing online services. Exercise extreme caution if using public computers to access online services. Banks take customer safety and security very seriously, and will remain committed to safeguarding the financial affairs of their valued customers. Some institutions have gone a step further by replacing traditional password sign-in for mobile banking with biometrics such as fingerprints. Remember, customer protection starts with you be vigilant, and take the necessary steps to protect your personal data including your account information. Remain vigilant.

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STAR Businessweek - 10 March 2018  

Any publicity is good publicity, or so the adage goes. Since the devastation of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season that saw back-to-back Cat...

STAR Businessweek - 10 March 2018  

Any publicity is good publicity, or so the adage goes. Since the devastation of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season that saw back-to-back Cat...

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