Caribbean Business News Round-Up

aruba-oil-refinery
Aruba is looking to reopen its oil refinery as its tourism sector has been battered by COVID-19.
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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 23, 2021: Here are the top Caribbean business news headlines making news this week.

REGIONAL

Growth in tourism dependent Caribbean countries will grow by only 1.4 percent this year according to the IMF. However, commodity exporters could see a 6 percent growth. Those are Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.  

The news comes as Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Professor Hilary Beckles, has called on the Organisation of American States (OAS), to coordinate and organize global investment in the Caribbean.

Speaking during an open dialogue with Secretary-General of the OAS, Luis Almagro recently, which marked the observance of Pan American Day, Sir Hilary stated that despite the fact that the Caribbean has always stood on its own feet, a combination of events including public health, chronic diseases and climate change has devastated the region in the last 10 to 15 years.

“The Caribbean has given a great deal to this hemisphere and the world and it is now time for this to be reciprocated to give the Caribbean what it deserves and what it has a right to – which is an economic leg up at a moment of growing despair,” he said.

GUYANA

ExxonMobil has announced that oil production, which had dropped to some 30,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) following the re-emergence of compressor problems on board the Liza Destiny, has since been increased to between 100,000 and 110,000 barrels per day.

Exxon’s reduced production was announced the same day that Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat was quoted as projecting Guyana producing 1 million barrels of crude per day and leading the Western Hemisphere in oil production.

Jamaica

NCB Capital Markets of Jamaica, under its Stratus Alternative Funds, has launched its Tourism Response Impact Portfolio (TRIP) fund, designed to meet specific needs of businesses that operate in the tourism sectors within the region.

TRIP will provide tourism players with creative funding solutions needed for retooling and sustaining their operations while facilitating broader investor participation in the fund. TRIP is the fourth fund being managed under the Stratus Alternative Funds, which provide investors with a broad range of non-traditional high-yielding alternative investment solutions.

Its launch comes against the backdrop of increased focus discussions on sustainable development, which was the central theme at the just concluded Island Finance Forum 2021, where the announcement about the TRIP fund was made.

Saint Vincent And The Grenadines

With the country’s prime minister saying it will take hundreds of millions to rebuild and a USD 29.2 million humanitarian effort launched by the UN, The World Bank says it has disbursed US$20 million to support the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the crisis posed by the La Soufrière volcano eruption. The funds were disbursed from a contingent credit line from the World Bank, known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) which was approved last June.

Tahseen Sayed the World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean said “our hearts are with the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during this crisis.”

ARUBA

With a 67 percent drop in tourism arrivals, Aruba is now looking at  restarting a long-idled oil refinery.

Authorities are in talks with a U.S. company seeking to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal on the site of an oil refinery that has been idled since 2012. Another company is seeking to restart the plant itself. In 2012, the refinery’s former operator, U.S.-based Valero Energy Corp, abandoned it over low profits.

Antigua

Three Caribbean men have created an application called EZirates to revolutionize the way banks interact with customers in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) islands. EZirates, a new financial technology platform, is a free online application that will make getting a loan hassle-free. The platform launches on March 1, 2021 from  Fletcher St. Jean; Rodney Browne, the architect of the platform and Claude Lakea who has over twenty years of software engineering and security applications experience.

Using advanced technology, EZirates Inc. has created a platform that will eliminate the stress and time required for securing a loan from a lending institution. No longer do consumers need to physically visit each bank to speak with a loan officer, nor do they need to visit each lending institution’s websites. The EZirates platform allows the consumer to compare all the lending institutions’ interest rates on any ECCU Island via one digital umbrella and submit one application via the EZirates website. That application form is then instantly sent to all lending institutions on the EZirates network for review.

Barbados

Seabourn will homeport in Barbados this summer, starting July 18, according to President Josh Leibowitz.

Carnival Corporation’s ultra-luxury brand Seabournwill homeport in Barbados this summer, starting July 18, according to President Josh Leibowitz.

The ship will sail two different Southern Caribbean seven-day itineraries with the Seabourn Odyssey. Guests will need to show proof of vaccination, according to Leibowitz.

The Odyssey marks the second Seabourn ship back in service as the Seabourn Ovation will start cruising in Greece in early July. The voyages are open for booking on April 21. Guests can also choose a 14-day option, which combines the two seven-day itineraries between Windward and Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Grenada

Grenadian officials say I will not be focusing on the cultivation of cannabis as part of its approach to allow the use of the herb, but instead will adopt a strategy where the first step will be the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal and religious use.

“The first step is not going to be for mass production. The first step is going to deal with the criminal justice issue. Meaning there are many young people who have been criminalised or have received criminal records because of possession of small quantities. We are going to have a national discussion on small quantities,” Agriculture Minister Peter David disclosed.

He added that proposals will come before several stakeholder organisations within the next couple of weeks.”

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands’ new premier, Wayne Panton, set the tone for a new direction in government when he gave his debut address in his new job Wednesday, shortly after he and his new Cabinet were sworn into office. Panton spoke about a people-focused, transparent government in which the environment and creating a more sustainable future would be priorities.

Following one of “the longest weeks of my life,” Panton said the new MPs represented the “aspirations, hopes and dreams of their constituents.”

Turks & Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority new $1.7million headquarters, on the hill across from the Providenciales International Airport, could be completed by July.

TCIAA Facilities Manager, Kirkley Williams told The SUN the project is scheduled to be completed on July 5th, 2021. Jamal Co Limited, owned by local architect and engineer Jamaine Malcolm, is the contractor for this project.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority is a statutory body that was established in 2006 following the split of the Civil Aviation Department into the Civil Aviation Authority and Airports Authority.