Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
A negative GDP was reported in two major Caribbean nations in just the first quarter of 2020,a report entitled Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2020. Main conditioning factors of fiscal and monetary policies in the post-COVID-19 era, released this week by its Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, shows. Belize registered a drop in growth by 4.5 percent while Jamaica reported at 2.3 decline.
“There is an imperative need for debt relief in the Caribbean,” Bárcena stated during a virtual press conference, while calling for the creation of a Caribbean Resilience Fund. The report said so far, 9 Caribbean countries have so received emergency financing to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and reactivate their economies.
Caribbean Work From The Beach Programs
Several Caribbean countries are now jumping on the remote work option amid the pandemic, offering global citizens and students the option to “work from the beach.”
Barbados launched this option in the region first. Though it “Welcome Stamp” remote work visa is a bit pricey — $2,000, or $3,000 for a “family bundle” – the visa is good for one year but can be extended. Participants aren’t liable for Barbados income tax. And the island has some of the best internet access, health facilities and weather in the Caribbean. For more information, visit barbadoswelcomestamp.bb/visas/.
Bermuda is now offering a year-long residency certificate for $263. Applicants must be over the age of 18 and “demonstrate good character and not have conviction for an indictable offence.” Travelers who don’t want to spend an entire year can stay up to six months in Bermuda without a visa. For more see gov.bm/articles/one-1-year-residency-certificate-policy.
3: Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda has launched its digital nomad residency program. The Caribbean nation said it would allow remote workers earning at least $50,000 a year to live and work there for up to two years through the program, which provides special resident status to digital nomads who can show the means to support themselves and any accompanying family members as well as whose employers are based outside of the destination. The cost for a single applicant is $1,500. The application cost for a couple is $2,000 and for a family of three or more is $3,000. See more here.
Aruba is offering its “One Happy Workation” program, which allows US remote workers to live and work in Aruba for up to 90 days, as long as they have a US passport.
The program offers a collection of deals and discounted rates at a variety of local accommodations and free wi-fi. Get all details here.
Anguilla’s Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Quincia Gumbs-Marie, said in a statement that for the first wave of visitors, the tourism board is prioritizing “longer-stay travelers” and applicants who come from countries, states, or cities “where the COVID-19 prevalence is less than 0.2%.”
Visitors can stay and work remotely on the island for up to 12 months, according to the island’s application. To stay on the island for less than three months, accepted individuals are required to pay $1,000, and a family of four is charged $1,500. Individuals who plan to stay in Anguilla for between three months and a year must pay $2,000, and the fee for a family of four is $3,000. Families of more than four will be charged an additional fee per person. Apply here.
UK Trade Envoy
The news comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Darren Henry MP as the new Trade Envoy to the Commonwealth Caribbean.
The Commonwealth Caribbean nations include: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has written to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union president Charles Michel to raise issue with the EU’s blacklisting of the island from Tuesday.
In her letters, Mottley described the EU’s decision as “wrong” and “disproportionate.” She placed the blame squarely at the feet of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration, who failed to enact the required tax framework within the given timeframe. Mottley indicated that the previous government repeatedly refused to answer requests from authorities in North America and Europe for tax information on international business companies that operate from Barbados. She charged that country has been inconvenienced by the mistakes of the previous administration and held that she will be “cleaning” house.
“ When I tell you that we are cleaning up, believe you me, as God is my witness, we are. This is the nonsense that the Democratic Labour Party and Freundel Stuart have left for us to clean up,” Mottley declared.
Trinidad and Tobago
Caribbean Airlines has received approval from the United States Department of Transportation to fly the Port of Spain/Houston route. The he airline has also gotten approval to fly to San Juan Puerto Rico. It is expected that the flight to Puerto Rico will form part of CAL’s expansion into the Eastern Caribbean.While Caribbean Airlines’ has also been forced to ground its operations because of border closures, it enjoyed the luxury of a government guarantee. Roughly US $65 million. But that financial backing is expiring soon and the airline is now being forced to make decisions about its expenses. The airline and the government are now working on determining the next steps.
The Curaçao government announced it has reached “a balanced result” with the Netherlands on the conditions for granting more coronavirus-related loans. The Caribbean Reform Entity (CRE) will reportedly get less power and its goal is not only to economise, but also invest in development. Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath said under the deal reached, “there will be no take-over of legislative and administrative powers.” But this means that reforms requiring new laws and regulations must first get the green light from Curaçao’s Parliament.
German launch service provider, Rocket Factory Augsburg, has extended its European launch site portfolio and built a site for its RFA ONE system in Kourou, French Guiana, the company announced.
Based on agreements signed in 2019 with the French space agency CNES and the Guiana Space Center CSG, Rocket Factory Augsburg intends to implement a launch site at the historic Diamant complex in Kourou, the company said. Rocket Factory is backed by the German satellite manufacturer OHB and Munich-based venture capital firm Apollo Capital Partners.
The Central Bank on Tue. reported that the Dominican Republic’s consolidated public debt as of June 2020, amounts to 57.57% of GDP, of which 32.2% corresponds to external debt and 25.3% to the internal one.
The Finance Ministry’s Directorate of Public Credit (DGCP), estimates the debt of the non-financial public sector as of August was US$39.2 billion. The consolidated debt -which brings together the commitments of the NFPS and the financial public sector- totals US$46.7 billion (57.57% of GDP), which includes the issuance of their certificates.
Scores of demonstrators, including furloughed Atlantis employees yesterday laid in wait downtown as they sought to voice their concerns to Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis this week. But Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) president Darrin Woods said that the union would not be pushing for redundancies on behalf of furloughed Atlantis employees. “We have a provision in our agreement that allows for persons to be made redundant,” he said. Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday also acknowledged that the issue of redundancy is a difficult one, especially since the hotel has been closed since March.