Caribbean Business And Finance Report

Michaëlle-Martial-Comcast-RISE award.
Michaëlle Martial, owner of Caribbean Nightingale LLC, has been awarded Comcast's RISE award.
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Compiled By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Dec. 4, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.

Regional

At least three Caribbean countries saw a positive Foreign Direct Investment flow in 2019, according to ECLAC, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the Caribbean, the FDI going to the Dominican Republic overcame the decline from the year before; Trinidad and Tobago had positive levels of investment after three years of negative growth; and in Guyana, as in 2018, there was a very significant year-on-year increase, fueled by investment in hydrocarbons exploitation and related sectors, positioning the country as the second-largest FDI recipient in the subregion.

However, across Latin America and the Caribbean, $160.721 billion dollars in Foreign Direct Investment was received in 2019, 7.8% less than in 2018 and a decline that is seen intensifying sharply in 2020 when inflows are forecast to drop by between 45% and 55% as a result of the crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worldwide, the amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is projected to shrink by 40% in 2020 and by between 5% and 10% in 2021.

Cayman Islands

A Cayman Islands-based investment fund left the content of its server visible on the Internet because it failed to properly configure a cloud back-up solution, according to technology news website The Register.

The cyber-security error meant that anyone with access to the website address of the fund’s Microsoft Azure Blob had access to years of client files. These included personal banking information, passport details and even online banking PIN numbers, The Register reported.

The news website received the information after a tip from a researcher but agreed not to name the firm in exchange for details about how the blunder occurred.

The Bahamas

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says The Bahamas faces long-standing structural impediments, and that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought them to the fore.

Real GDP is projected to decline by 16.2 per cent in 2020, followed by a modest rebound of two per cent in 2021, and to converge back to its pre-pandemic level only by 2024. The current account balance is projected at a deficit of 17.4 per cent of GDP in 2020 and will improve only gradually, consistent with the projected pick up in tourism in 2022.

Foreign reserves reached a record level of US$2.3 billion in October and should remain well above the minimum suggested threshold of three months of imports over the medium-term.

Grenada

The Grenada government has presented an EC$1.2 billion (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) tax free budget to Parliament, underscoring the uncertainty that is surrounding the global economy as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The 2021 budget has been prepared against a backdrop of extraordinary uncertainty facing the global economy,” said Finance Minister Gregory Bowen, in his first budget presentation.He told legislators that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the worst economic downturn on record for the island. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in scope and magnitude,” he added.

Trinidad & Tobago

ANSA Merchant Bank Ltd (AMBL) has received regulatory approval from the Central Bank of T&T (CBTT) to proceed with the acquisition of the Bank of Baroda.

On December 11, 2019, AMBL announced the acquisition of 100 per cent of the shareholding of Bank of Baroda (T&T) Ltd by virtue of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) entered into by AMBL (an 82.5 per cent subsidiary of ANSA McAL Ltd) and Bank of Baroda (in India).

Jamaica

Keller Williams Jamaica, local franchise of real estate entity KW International, has broken ground for a multimillion-dollar residential development in Tower Isle, St Mary.

The development, Roystonea, comprises 85 individual lots spread across 45 acres of palm-lined property. It is being done in three phases, with 30 lots in phase one, 18 in phase two, and the remainder in phase three.

Lot sizes range from 30,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet, allowing residents to build two to five bedroom homes in keeping with one of four pre-determined designs.

Guyana

A Guyana man has created a board game titled “Real #1 Guyanese” that will go on sale from next week.

Linden Cave, 34, of Goedverwagting, East Coast of Demerara (ECD) created the trivia that looks at four areas: Arts and Culture, Science and Nature, History, and Geography. Cave said that he wanted to conceptualise a learning initiative that is both informative and engaging.

US Caribbean Diaspora

Michaëlle Martial, owner of Caribbean Nightingale LLC, has been awarded Comcast’s  RISE award.

Martial, a Haitian-born author and spoken word artist who graduated from Brigham Young University and the Collège St. François d’Assise in Haiti, said the award will be incredibly beneficial for her and her business.

Caribbean Nightingale LLC aims to highlight the work of emerging artists of color and LGBTQ+ artists. This is accomplished through Martial’s blog, the online store TiGla Boutique and the poetry salon Relaxation through Verse. The equipment package that Martial has been awarded is set to help her immensely.

“Even though I just registered my business a couple of months ago, in Utah, I have been active and had an active website for about 3 years,” Martial said. “I’ve been using a laptop that was made in 2012, which is a dinosaur age in technology. It’s going to be a great blessing for me because it’s going to cut down on the time I spend reviewing and redesigning websites.”