CARIBBEAN BUSINESS AND FINANCE REPORT

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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. May 17, 2019: Here are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for the week ending May 17, 2019.

Regional

Despite reports of a hopeful cash injection by Virgin boss Richard Branson, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has said that no such offer has been received. “As the chairman of the shareholders, I have not been made aware of that, nobody has contacted me about that. Whether Branson said so in an off-hand way or in a serious manner, I don’t know. I don’t usually jump like that when rich people make a suggestion until I see something really meaningful,” he told WEE-FM.

Previous reports has indicated out of Antigua that Branson was ready to invest as much as $7m in the airline.

The cash-strapped airline is jointly owned between Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines along with Dominica, with the four governments owning 94.7% of the shares. The remaining 5.3% is owned by other Caribbean governments as well as private shareholders and employees.

Jamaica

Jamaica is set to be the location for this year’s International Gaming Regulators Conference. The event will take place in Montego Bay at the Half Moon from September 30th – October 3rd. The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) consists of representatives from gaming regulatory organizations throughout the world.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago’s economy has turned around and is on a growth path, according to the latest figures provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF update on T&T’s economy came ahead of the mid-year budget review presented in Parliament by the Finance Minister on Monday, in which he announced that the government has increased expenditure by $300 million. He also said the country’s deficit will be increased by a further half a billion dollars.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas “must perform critical surgery on our economy” to return to the 3 percent-plus average GDP growth enjoyed pre-recession, the Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive Jeffrey Beckles told Tribune Business this week.

He said that 2018’s 1.6 percent real GDP expansion, unveiled by the Department of Statistics on Monday, was “not sustainable” and inadequate to solve The Bahamas’ pressing economic and social needs.

Guardian Holdings Limited

This week, National Commercial Bank Financial Group (NCBFG), announced that announced that it has finalized the acquisition of 74,230,750 ordinary shares in Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) after being granted all the necessary regulatory approvals in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Patrick Hylton has been appointed chairman of Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) following the resignation of business tycoon Arthur Lok Jack, who had served as chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago-based insurance giant over the past 15 years.

Dominican Republic

Blue Elephant AG (BEE), based in Hamburg, Germany, says it plans to buy a majority stake in the 116MW Montecristi (northwest) solar park from F&S solar concept GmbH in the Dominican Republic, according to pv-tech.org reports.

It labeled the facility “the largest solar plant in the region.”

Guyana

Hard Rock Café, an international franchise, has opened its doors to Guyana at the Movietowne Mall, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown.

The restaurant, famous for its wide-ranging memorabilia collection, promises an unforgettable experience. Patrons can indulge in mouth-watering dishes and cocktails prepared by the trained and enthusiastic staffers, in an atmosphere decorated with musical instruments and garments associated with legends such as Elvis Presley and Bon Jovi.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló this week signed Senate Bill 1147, which establishes the regulatory framework for the development of Opportunity Zones on the island under the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The Opportunity Zones created under the federal law provide tax benefits to low-income communities to achieve their economic development, the Rosselló administration said in its announcing release. Ninety-seven percent of the island was designated an Opportunity Zone, it added.

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