Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 19, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
In the midst of the #BLM movement and calls for racial equality and diversity, the Caribbean Tourism Organization has chosen to hire an all-White company in the UK as its PR agency.
PR Week reports the CTO Chapter UK & Europe hired Lotus, a PR and Marketing firm, to “help grow its membership as the travel industry faces unprecedented challenges in the wake of COVID-19.”
The account will be led by Jules Ugo, who was recently appointed chief executive of Lotus, and associate director Jo Johnson, who is the agency’s Caribbean specialist. Both are White. They will report to secretariat head Carol Hay and chairman Colin Pegler. The entire team at Lotus is white with not a single black person on staff. See the team here.
Spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes in the region. That’s according to the “Caribbean – Telecoms, Mobile, and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses,” report from Report Linker. However, analysts said the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
RBC Royal Bank this week announced a second phase of financial relief options for its Caribbean clients impacted by the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
Effective immediately, RBC Personal Banking clients in the Caribbean will be able to apply for payment deferrals on auto loans, instalment loans, and mortgages. Clients may defer their payments for up to three months. Clients can participate in the deferral program by applying online through their web browser at https://caribbean.rbcroyalbank.com. Clients must apply for deferrals by 11:59pm EDT / AST on July 15, 2020.
Business Banking and Corporate Banking clients may also apply for financial relief, following individual eligibility assessments with a Relationship Manager.
To be eligible for the program, client accounts must be current and in good standing as of February 29, 2020. RBC says it will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the evolving economic conditions in each country and territory where the bank operates. RBC may consider other relief measures, if necessary.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through its innovation laboratory IDB Lab and in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO ), is seeking to identify business models to transform and revitalize the tourism sector. To this end, it is launching an innovation challenge to which both public and private sector organizations may apply until July 31.
The challenge aims to identify innovations in two categories: development of the tourism labor force, which needs to acquire new digital skills for the recovery phase, and environmental sustainability, which includes implementing waste management measures through circular economy models as well as climate-smart agricultural practices.
IDB Lab will consider public and private sector candidates to implement the project in the following 15 countries: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Requests for non-reimbursable financing for technical assistance can go from US$250,000 to US$500,000. In the case of loans, amounts can range from US$500,000 to US$2,000,000. Applicants will be expected to contribute with at least 50% of the project’s total budget.
According to the UNWTO, the tourism sector is among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Before the current pandemic, tourism was one of the world’s largest economic sectors, supporting one out of every ten jobs (319 million) worldwide and accounting for 10.4% of global GDP.
In the 15 countries selected for this contest, the average contribution of tourism to GDP is 16.4%. On average, tourism accounts for US$1 out of every US$6 contributed to GDP. The industry is also vital for employment generation in these countries, with an average contribution of 17.9%. Tourism’s share of total exports is also significant—in 8 of the 15 countries it represents more than 20% of exports.
ExxonMobil has scaled back its production of oil offshore Guyana, in a bid to cut down on harmful and much criticized flaring. This decision was reached after a meeting with the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ExxonMobil has since reduced its production from 80,000 barrels per day (Bpd) to between 25,000 and 30,000 Bpd.
The news came days after Guyana received US$35 million for the second of the five lifts of one million barrels of oil that it is entitled to this year, a figure that is about US$20 million less than what it received for its first cargo due to a drop world market prices. The Ministry of Finance said that the total holdings of the Natural Resources Fund as at June 11, 2020 is US$94,921,803.00.
Canadian gold miner Iamgold on Tuesday halted operations at its Rosebel gold mine in Suriname as a workers’ union issued a stop work order after seven employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The company said infected employees were quarantined and it was taking steps to disinfect the workers’ living and work areas, but the union used one of its preventative measures as the basis to stop work.
Miners globally had temporarily suspended production at some of their mines due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.
Turks & Caicos
Hundreds of out of work residents say they are under stress and struggling to make ends meet as they have not received their $1,200 stimulus package pay-out from the government of the Turks & Caicos, according to the TCI Weekly News. The Covid-19 Employee Stimulus Cash Grant Programme was launched to provide financial relief during lockdown for employees in the hospitality and tourism sectors but only more than 4,000 workers have received relief payments into their bank accounts. Thousands of others have been rejected or are still awaiting the promised money, the paper said.
Michael Lee-Chin and Portland Holdings are calling upon Canadians to join in the effort to feed vulnerable communities in Jamaica by donating to Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC). Portland Holdings has already made a huge impact; working with friends and supporters and a matching donation drive to purchase 176,000 meals for Jamaicans for an upcoming shipment of rice and beans. Since March of this year, with the hard work of partners and the generosity of Canadians, FFPC has received funds and donated foods which will provide close to 1,500,000 meals in Jamaica to help increase food security for families who now find themselves without the means to afford food to feed their families, and FFPC continues to fundraise to send more containers.
Trinidad & Tobago
A Solar Park is coming to T&T. The Airports Authority of T&T is partnering with the European Union to construct the park at the Piarco International Airport. The cost will be €1.5. The EU is funding the entire project, which will be located at the North Terminal of the airport.
A 12.5 percent cut on the fringe benefits of civil servants will continue as was announced before in Curacao, the Curacao Chronicle reports. The Kingdom Council of Ministers will decide on July 3rd whether Curaçao will receive more money from the Netherlands.
Fоrbеѕ magazine hаѕ lіѕtеd Веlіzе аѕ оnе оf 11 соuntrіеѕ fоr fоrеіgnеrѕ tо оbtаіn rеѕіdеnсу аnd hоld а ѕесоnd раѕѕроrt. Тhе аrtісlе tіtlеd: “11 Веѕt Рlасеѕ Fоr Rеѕіdеnсу Аnd А Ѕесоnd Раѕѕроrt,” wаѕ wrіttеn bу а соntrіbutоr, Каthlееn Реddісоrd, whо hаѕ оvеr 30 уеаrѕ оf ехреrіеnсе wrіtіng аbоut іnvеѕtіng оvеrѕеаѕ. The only other Caribbean country to make the list was the Dominican Republic.