Caribbean Business News Round-Up

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Good News : In Cuba, Drivers of the Havana bus company walk among some of the 84 buses donated by Japan to Cuba, in Havana, on January 28, 2022. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
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By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 28, 2022: Here are the top business news across the Caribbean this week:

Regional

The latest corruption ranks for the Caribbean is in. Check the ranks here to see which country is the most corrupt according to the Transparency International report.

Meanwhile, The Caribbean Tourism Organizationand The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are among those paying respect to Dr. Jean Holder, former CTO head, who passed away

Nicola Madden-Greig, President of CHTA, said Holder was a skilled diplomat who quickly recognized the importance of tourism to the fledgling economies of small island developing states in the region while the CTO called him the “father of regional tourism.”

Holder passed away  on Tuesday at the age of 85. He was also the former chairman of regional carrier LIAT. 

Guyana

With large injections of revenue from the oil and gas sector, Guyana is expected to grow its economy by 47.5% while inflation is pegged at 4.1% for 2022, according to Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh.

Singh announced the projection when he presented the country’s first budget utilizing its earnings from the  oil and gas sector. Budget 2022, pegged at half a trillion or $552.9 billion, is a whopping 44.3% larger than last year’s and 36.6% above total expenditure for 2021. It is important to note that this budget is partly financed by the US$607.6 million ($126.7 billion) in earnings from activities offshore Guyana.

The news comes as Guyana will soon launch a GUY$2,000 (one Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) bill.

Cayman Islands

For 2022, NCB Hilton Hotel, the Hyatt Hotel Pageant Beach, Mandarin Hotel and Indigo Hotel will be important sources of building activity. As tourism begins to rebound, the wholesale & retail sector will gradually recover, and is expected to expand 3.7% in 2022, says economist Marla Dukaran in her Caribbean Monthly Economic Report.

Cuba

Cuba plans to export USD9.5 billion in goods & services in 2022 and import USD10.8 billion. The government is projecting 2.5 million stopover arrivals in 2022, returning to 2010 levels. The 2022 fiscal deficit is projected to widen by 9% y/y to CUP75.8 billion.

Trinidad and Tobago

Scotiabank is firing 149 workers in T&T causing the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) to call the move “unjust and a continued action of seeking profits above all else.”

“The families of these workers will also be adversely affected and there will be severe social dislocation by the unconscionable actions of this Canadian multinational bank,” the union said in a statement.

Scotiabank said that the decision to send home the workers was ‘not taken lightly and we will ensure all employees are treated fairly and with respect as they transition employment.”

Jamaica

The Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association (JCEA) says it is plans to spend a significant amount as part of several processes that should result in an increase in the export of coffee over the next five years.

Speaking at the official launch of the Caribbean Export Development Agency project that will support the Jamaican coffee sector’s interest in the European market, JCEA president Norman Grant.

“If we achieve [this], the coffee industry can generate for the Jamaican economy US$100 million, [which can] support 5,000 farmers and 102,000 farm families,” he added.

Suriname

 President Chandrikapersad Santokhi says he believes the factors affecting the development of the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country are not economic in nature and called for greater collaboration among stakeholders.

“I do know that our standards and values or the absence of thinking and acting in unity and togetherness are partly to blame for this,” Santokhi said as he addressed the New Year’s reception of the Association of Economists in Suriname (VES) on Monday night.

Speaking on the theme “From crisis to lasting prosperity for everyone,” Santokhi told the ceremony which also coincided with the VES 50th anniversary that a ‘Vision 2060’ committee will be established to which all social groups would be invited to participate.

He said Suriname needs a new philosophy based on sustainable prosperity, equal opportunities and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and acting, while trusting in your own abilities.

Antigua

Hundreds of former employees of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, are willing to accept the Antigua and Barbuda government’s “compassionate pay out,” according to a junior government minister.

Junior Finance Minister, Lennox Weston, speaking on the Observer Radio here, said that the former workers were taking advantage of the two million dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) provided by the Gaston Browne administration.

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister last month said that the funds are being made available to the LIAT Court-appointed Receiver for distribution to resident former LIAT workers.

Barbados

The Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) Wednesday said the economic outlook for the island this year will be heavily influenced by its continued vulnerability to external shocks.

It said that while the International Monetary Fund IMF) is forecasting an increase in global economic activity of 4.4 per cent, the strength of the recovery in tourism-dependent economies like Barbados will be affected by the ability of countries across the globe to control the spread of the pandemic that has caused our economy to operate well below its potential over the past two years.

“The outlook for the tourism sector looks more favourable now than it did a year ago, with the  increased availability of vaccines and the reopening of economies to international travel and business activity,’ the CBB said in its review of the Barbados economy in 2021.

Bermuda

It’s more expensive to live in Bermuda than in New York City. Latest data from Numbeo shows it is 46.4 percent more expensive to live there than NYC. It means that on an average rents are 23% more expensive than in New York City while grocery is 46 percent more expensive. Eating out is also 59 percent more expensive. Bermuda ranked as the most expensive of all countries in the Caribbean surveyed. The lowest was the Dominican Republic which is ranked at 41 percent.