Caribbean Business And Finance Report

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Bermuda has also launched a "Work from Bermuda," program.
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Compiled By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 7, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.

Regional

Now you can “Work From The Beach’ in two Caribbean nations. The North Atlantic British Caribbean territory of Bermuda this week joined Barbados in also launching a remote work option.

“Work from Bermuda,” joins the the ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ visa program. The Bermuda one-year residential certificate requires an application fee of $263 and applicants must demonstrate employment with a legitimate firm or their own overseas company; be a student who can provide evidence of enrollment in a research, undergraduate, graduate or doctorate program; or be able to demonstrate sufficient means of getting by without needing to be employed in Bermuda.

Once approved, the remote workers can live anywhere on the 21-square-mile island and leave the country and re-enter at any time. See more here.

Meanwhile, The Caribbean Community says it wants to reduce the regional food import bill by at least 25% over the next five years. Joseph Cox, Assistant Secretary-General Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat, says that the Covid- 19 Pandemic has further highlighted the need to ensure affordable access to food and this has led to the development of the CARICOM Covid-19 Response Agri-Food Plan.

Cox was speaking at a recent webinar facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Key to the CARICOM Agri-Food Plan is that member states ensure the supply chain for critical products continues uninterrupted, and look for opportunities to use local food products instead of imports.

Guyana

As Guyana’s new government gets down to business, o ffshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation announced it has won a six-month contract for its Noble Sam Croft drillship with ExxonMobil in Guyana. The drilling company, which last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, said ExxonMobil awarded the Noble Sam Croft drillship the new 6-month contract to drill offshore Guyana, with operations expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2020 after the rig finishes its current program offshore Suriname.  The 2014-built Noble Sam Croft is currently being used by Apache in Suriname where the company last week struck a major oil and gas discovery.

Barbados

The Barbados economy experienced a major decline in economic activity over the past three months, and experts are maintaining that a double-digit decline is imminent this year says Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes. “Preliminary data now suggests that economic output fell by 27 per cent in the second quarter, resulting in an overall decline of almost 15 per cent over the first six months of 2020,” he reported, adding that output from the island’s main foreign exchange earning sector – tourism – sank by more than 50 per cent, with long-stay visitor arrivals declining by an estimated 54 per cent and cruise passenger by 34 per cent.

Cuba

Private business owners in Cuba say they welcome their new wholesale access as the Communist government is now allowing private restaurants to buy wholesale for the first time.

With the essential tourism business cut off by the novel coronavirus and the government running desperately low on hard currency, the government is making the allowance. This ensures private businesspeople could sign contracts to import and export goods through dozens of state-run companies with import/export licenses.

So far, state media reports say 213 restaurant owners signed up to buy beer, flour, yeast, shrimp, sugar, rum and cooking oil at a 20 percent discount off retail at the Mercabal wholesale market in Havana. A similar market has been opened to entrepreneurs in the eastern city of Holguin.

Cayman Islands

Indian hospital group Narayana Health reported a consolidated net loss of US$16.0 million in the second quarter of 2020, compared with net profit of US$4.05 million in the same period last year.

The parent company of Health City Cayman Islands saw net revenues drop by almost half – 49.4% – from US$103.8 million to US$52.6 million as the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown measures, hit operations in India and Cayman.

Puerto Rico

Five members of U.S. Congress from New York said on Wednesday that several investment firms involved in Puerto Rico’s ongoing bankruptcy may have engaged in insider trading and urged the state attorney general to investigate.

In a letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James, the lawmakers cited allegations arising from the island’s bankruptcy litigation “that some hedge fund groups may have been engaging in insider trading and using the PROMESA restructuring process to artificially manipulate bond markets.” Using the 2016 PROMESA Act, Puerto Rico’s federally created financial oversight board filed a form of municipal bankruptcy for the U.S. commonwealth in 2017 in an effort to restructure about $120 billion of debt and obligations.

Turks & Caicos

The swimwear of Turks & Caicos entrepreneur, Cyprianna Green, was among those worn by SI models and eatured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine’s 2020 edition.

Green told The SUN, she is blown away that she had such a great opportunity to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. Since its establishment in 2016, Souvenir luxury line ‘Beche’ Turks and Caicos made its debut to the local market in early 2019.  After only making its debut last year (2019), Souvenir luxury line ‘Beche’ Turks and Caicos also partnered with Turks & Caicos Islands Reef Fund on their new eco-friendly ‘The Reef’ collection for 2020.

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