Caribbean Business News Round-Up

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Soca star Machel Montano's chocolate company in Trinidad is up for an award.
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Compiled By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 12, 2021: Here are some of the top Caribbean business news headlines this week.

REGIONAL

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) have expressed concerns at lack of commitment by developed countries to fulfil their pledge of providing US$100 billion a year to help developing countries.

CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett and her PIF counterpart, Henry Puna, both attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), said financing for adaptation to climate change was a major focus of their deliberations.

She expressed concern that there were early warning signs of leaving COP 26 with limited ambition from major emitters to avert the current trajectory which would take global temperature rise well over 2 degrees by the end of the century.

Puna, in agreement, identified sea-level rise as a potent threat to security and wellbeing of the Pacific Islands, citing a number of examples in recent years where entire islands were already submerged or rendered uninhabitable due to rising sea levels.

The two Secretaries General focused attention on financing for climate resilience and mitigation initiatives, specifically the challenges of accessing climate financing from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as a means of funding adaptation.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC) has received a grant of US$1.6 million to support the rollout of insurance for the fisheries sector in five additional Caribbean countries.

It said that the Caribbean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) initiative was launched in 2019 with support from the World Bank and the US State Department.

“This Irish Aid support to CCRIF’s Climate Risk Insurance is part of the government of Ireland’s commitment to Small Island Developing States. It helps maintain a sustainable blue economy in the Caribbean, through enabling quicker local responses to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation,” said Simon Coveney.

GUYANA

Guyana’s Natural Resources Fund (NRF) or oil money fund now stands at US $534 million according to Ministry of Finance’s October 2021 report of the NRF.

The statement shows that the net balance as of October 31, 2021 stood at US$111,342,541 with no outflows from the fund into the Consolidated Fund currently sitting in the United States federal bank.

Guyana Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, said he had anticipated in September that Guyana would see more than US $500 million in the NRF by the end of the year, further advancing the country’s economy.

That news comes asnation’s failure to conduct cost audits within the two-year deadline prescribed in the Stabroek Block Agreement, has led to ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), being able to recover all stated costs for its Liza Phase One and Two Projects. Both initiatives total approximately US$9.5B.

And as Reuters reported that ExxonMobil (XOM.N) is in discussions with Dutch contractor SBM Offshore NV (SBMO.AS) to build a fourth multibillion-dollar production unit to develop its Guyana oil discoveries.

The talks include the potential for some future platform assembly in Guyana, the people said. Guyana hopes to develop an oil industry infrastructure to boost the economy and job growth. Officials are under pressure to show the potential oil bonanza will be shared with its citizens.

The Guyana government this week began a review of the Yellowtail Field Development Plan for the fourth project proposed by ExxonMobil’s Guyana affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).

BERMUDA

Balance of payments figures released by the Government show a current account surplus of $313 million in the second quarter of 2021 — a $37 million increase year over year.

The growth in the surplus reflected an increase in the inflow of currency to the island — receipts from non-residents which were larger than the rise in payments, said the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Wayne Furbert.

The minister released the 2021 Q2 Balance of Payments and International Investment Position publication from the Department of Statistics.

Transactions on Bermuda’s assets accounts resulted in a net lending position of $351 million.

Factors influencing this year-over-year performance include the fact that Bermuda’s net acquisition of financial assets resulted in an increase of $1 billion compared with a decrease of $130 million last year.

BARBADOS

Barbados will soon have laws that allow for the establishment of a free zone on the island. Prime Minister Mia Mottley recently gave this indication as she pointed to the need for greater direct foreign investment in a range of industries and sectors in the Barbados economy.

“The Government will shortly bring to Parliament, legislation for the establishment of a free zone, recognising that we have to be able to find a way to exploit the geopolitical tensions, the opportunities for near-shoring and opportunities for a range of businesses that may not have existed before,” said Mottley.

She was addressing the recent Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) business luncheon, which was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre under the theme Building Bridges for a Successful Economic Recovery.

A free zone, also referred to as a free port or free economic zone, is essentially an area where goods and services are traded at preferential tax and customs rates or with no tax at all, in order to encourage economic activity. In many free zones, there are usually mostly offshore firms.

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Antigua Cruise Port (ACP) has announced that it will begin its multi-million planned development project by April next, creating an ultramodern waterfront day club featuring several pools, a state-of-the-art casino, local food-and-beverage outlets, and approximately 70 to 100 retail spaces for local entrepreneurs

The US$25 million project part of the Antigua Cruise Port Development Project under a 30-year lease agreement between the Antigua and Barbuda government and Global Ports Holding (GPH), described as the world’s largest cruise port operator with an established presence in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific regions.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Soca star Machel Montano’s chocolate company is one of three finalists that have been selected in the category of Entrepreneurship in the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce’s Champions of Business Awards 2021.

The T&T Chamber said one finalist will be selected to receive the award, and announced at the awards finale, which will be televised on November 19.

Montano’s Chocolate Company aims to help strengthen the domestic farm to market supply chain, producing cocoa and cocoa products for local industry and niche export market expansions. Currently produces and distributes the Machel Montano 60% dark chocolate to the local market and some foreign niche markets. They are proud of the quality of their chocolate, which has no preservatives, mould inhibitors, emulsifiers or additives.

Additionally, they have plans to add cocoa nibs, cocoa butter and cocoa powder. At present, the company is building its capacity by investing in a chocolate factory and is in the process of acquiring various levels of approval and training staff in the use of the equipment.

The company has been continuously investing in the chocolate and cocoa industry with the aim of commercializing the industry to a greater degree. They contribute to the growth and development of the agro-processing sector and also the revitalization of the cocoa industry.