Caribbean Business And Finance Report

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Trinidad and Tobago's PM, Dr. Keith Rowley, joined other Diaspora Trinidadians on Sept. 27, 2019, to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ. (Hakim Mutaq image)
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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Oct. 4, 2019: Here are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for this week of Oct. 4, 2019:

INVEST-CARIBBEAN

REGIONAL

A New Jersey husband and wife have been ordered to pay $500,000 in civil penalties for violating New Jersey security laws by selling unregistered securities to people who thought they were investing in a chain of Caribbean-American restaurants and a special jerk sauce.

Terrence G. LeGall and his wife, Portia R. LeGall, and their company, LeGall Holdings, Inc., were ordered to pay the penalty as well as stop selling unregistered securities. The penalty marks the second time in more than 10 years that Terrence LeGall has faced securities violations. Previously he was slapped with a $1.1 million court judgement.

Thirty-five investors, including 33 from New Jersey, purchased $167,000 worth of stock in LeGall Holdings, with the understanding the funds would be used to help acquire, build, and operate a global chain of Caribbean-American restaurants called “LeGrille,” and to develop and sell a brand of jerk sauce.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Forbes News is reporting Donald Trump sons sold a piece of land in the Dominican Republic in January 2018 for $3.2 million, one of what the magazine says it the “clearest violation of their father’s pledge to do no new foreign deals while in office.”

IDB

IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank, (IDB) Group, this week said it issued its first bond in the Dominican capital markets in the amount of 500 million Dominican pesos (DOP).

The bond, which has a fixed rate of 8.80 percent and matures on October 19, 2022, has received interest from local investors, especially pension and other fund managers.

The bond funds will allow IDB Invest to finance its loan portfolio in the Dominican Republic and is part of the institutional strategy to provide more flexible and innovative products in local currency and to promote local capital markets. Since 2016, IDB Invest has approved 6 transactions for more than $358 million in businesses in the Dominican Republic.

BARBADOS

Barbados is moving to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels by increasing investment in renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency with a $30 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank, (IDB).

Barbados is currently dependent on fossil fuels oil import to supply its energy needs though it is a small gas and oil producer. The import of fossils fuel accounts for 94.6 percent of the energy matrix and the remaining comes from oil, natural gas, biomass, and solar energy. The IDB Smart Fund II program intends to install at least 11MW of distributed generation in public buildings, invest in efficient and smart technologies during the execution period. It will also finance the expansion of the government’s electric vehicle fleet, including charging infrastructure.

GUYANA

The United Kingdom recently announced that it has not made any decisions on continued funding for several projects in Guyana.

The UK, in a joint statement with the United States and the European Union (EU), had previously warned that the current state of unconstitutional rule in Guyana could affect development aid from its government.

ST. MAARTEN

Global Ports Holding (GPH) Head of Business Development in the Americas, Colin Murphy, has confirmed to The Daily Herald that it has had discussions with the Council of Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) to “take their temperature” on a private third-party operator managing Port St. Maarten. The GPH’s statements come a day after Port St. Maarten said in a press release that “for the long-term, 20-25 year period,” the port will issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) to “realize its long-term strategic goals of attracting a partner(s) which could comprise private port operators or cruise line(s).”

BAHAMAS

The Port Lucaya Marketplace’s owner in Grand Bahamas is accusing the government and his insurer of pressuring him to re-open the complex prematurely given its numerous unresolved “safety” issues.

Peter Hunt told Tribune Business he was being “bashed on the head” for trying to do “everything correctly” in Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath to ensure the well-being of tenants, their employees and visitors given the “extensive damage” to the retail destination. The UK-based principal of PNH Properties Group reiterated that the marketplace will not re-open until a full structural survey is conducted to determine if all its buildings are sound following Dorian’s battering of Grand Bahama.

PUERTO RICO

Former secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Sports and Recreation, Ramón Orta Rodríguez, pled guilty to public corruption charges this week. According to the 62-page indictment, Orta allegedly received $27,000 in cash, construction work performed in his home and the payment of two trips, to Toronto and Mexico, in exchange for benefiting the co-conspirators to fraudulently obtain contracts with the department.

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