News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Mar. 15 2019: Here are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for the week ending March 15, 2019.
Barbados is among five Caribbean countries on a new list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions which the European Union, (EU) says had been based on an “intense process of analysis and dialogue steered by the European Commission.” The EU Finance Ministers said that based on the Commission’s screening, they have, in fact, blacklisted a total of 15 countries. The Finance Ministers said that Barbados, the United Arab Emirates and Marshall Islands that were on the 2017 list and moved to the grey list following commitments they had taken, are now blacklisted for not having followed up. The Commission said that seven other countries, namely Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Aruba, Fiji, Oman and Vanuatu were moved from the grey list to the blacklist for the same reason.
The International Monetary Fund, (IMF) has welcomed the $14 Billion dollar tax break presented by Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke last Thursday, citing that the budget measures are expected to lower the cost of doing business, reduce informality and increase economic activity.
Draft block chain legislation should be presented to Cabinet by next week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business. This comes as the Central Bank of The Bahamas prepares to host its second block chain seminar, where it will update Bahamians on the Payments System Modernization.
Trinidad and Tobago:
The offer by Republic Bank Holdings Ltd, (RFHL) to acquire just below 75 per cent of the Cayman National Corporation, (CNC) has closed after the expiry date of the offer was extended on ten occasions, due to the length of time the banking group took to get the regulatory approvals for the transaction. RFHL acquired 31,754,242 CNC shares at US$6.25 per share and the consideration for the shares, some US$198,464,012.50 will be paid out today. As payment for the shares will be made today, Republic will begin acquiring the Cayman Bank’s profits from today.
Antigua and Barbuda:
Examining the current offerings available to the wellness traveler and discussing ways to increase the destination’s presence within the vastly growing travel and tourism market, will be high on the agenda for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, when they meet with wellness service providers during a wellness audit and forum, scheduled to take place between March 16-27, 2019.
The Florida-based Carnival Cruise Lines has cancelled several scheduled calls to Antigua and Barbuda without giving reason for doing so. According to the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Association, Nathan Dundas, all four ships booked commencing next season, November 2019-2020, Breeze, Magic, Legend and Pride, will be going to other ports. Stressing that the country could lose a significant amount of money as result of the unexplained cancellations, he said the ships were expected to bring 250,000 tourists to the island. He said once Carnival has started the cancellations, unfortunately he expects similar action from all of its brands.
St. Vincent and The Grenadines:
A financial rescue for the cash-strapped regional carrier LIAT appears to be on the horizon, along with plans for yet another restructuring, following marathon talks in Barbados. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Chairman of the majority shareholding governments of LIAT, gave the impression that the shareholders were close to securing buy-in from the airline’s unions, even though it would call for some sacrifice on their part.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly snapshot of Caribbean Business and Finance developments, produced by Ricardo Blackman, founder and Chairman of JER Associates, a Barbados-based Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communications agency.