Compiled By NAN Business Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 31, 2020: Here are some of the top business and finance news making headlines across the Caribbean this week.
A Caribbean economist is urging the region to issue “micro-bonds” as a new form of financing.
Dr Justin Ram, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of GSEC and Justin Ram Advisory, made the recommendation a the Central Bank of Barbados’ 40th annual review seminar on Tuesday on the topic: ‘The Impact of COVID-19 in the Region: Current Challenges, Future Outlook and Policy Recommendation.’
“Why do I say micro bonds? Because it is time the ordinary citizen has an opportunity to invest in a debt instrument at first but then has a convertibility clause later on that converts it into equity,” Barbados Today quoted him as saying.
The former head of research at the Caribbean Development Bank added that this could be done through a digital platform that would allow for the ease of trading of the securities “where anyone can go onto their phone and sell their security, receive the liquidity in their bank account easily.”
Dr Ram also said it was important that countries continue to put measures in place to respond to climate change and limit the impact of COVID-19. He also called on regional leaders to pay attention to social justice and gender equality, and focus on “good levels of human development (and) improving data collection and implementation.”
London-listed oil and gas exploration and production firm Tullow Oil expects to hire an offshore drilling rig soon for drilling operation in Suriname.
The company said Monday that the drilling of the Goliathberg-Voltzberg North prospect (GVN-1) in the offshore Block 47 is now planned for the first quarter of 2021. Tullow had previously expected to spud the well in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to its Annual Report 2019 released back in March.
The news comes as Suriname’s new President Chandrikapersad Santokhi faces a tough economic challenge as he comes to power.
Guyana’s crude production has reached 100,000 b/d, 25pc up on June, energy department director Mark Bynoe told Argus even as the country continues to see an announcement on the March 2, 2020 election results pushed further and furtger into the year.
Bynoe told Argus that production and marketing targets have been missed because of technical glitches that have affected ExxonMobil’s operations.
The lower-than-projected output has also delayed Shell’s lifting of a third 1mn bl cargo of Guyana’s entitlement. This was scheduled for July, but is now anticipated for the first week of August, Bynoe said. Shell lifted the first 1mn bl cargo in February and another 1mn bl in May.
The news comes as Dr Remi Piet, Senior Director at Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) and Arthur Deakin, an Analyst at AMI who conducts political, economic and other risk analysis activities for the mining, energy and infrastructure sectors, says Guyana will not see any meaningful progress or attract any sustainable investment until there is a democratic transition of government and political stability in returned to the country.
Piet and Deakin, via an opinion piece published by Caribbean News Global, noted that the electoral situation in Guyana is “beyond scandalous.” They reminded that over 100 countries across the globe have demanded that the recount figures be used as a basis for final declaration of the results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
The national recount has confirmed that the PPP/C has won the March 2, polls with in excess of 15,000 votes, but President David Granger and his APNU/AFC have largely remained unmoved to the mounting calls to step aside and allow for a smooth transition of government.
The United Kingdom government singled out the Virgin Islands last week as the sole holdout among the inhabited UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies that has not committed to introducing a public register of company ownership by 2023.
The press statement followed a letter submitted to the UK Parliament by Baroness Liz Sugg, minister for the OTs and sustainable development. Sugg’s statement dashed VI hopes for a reversal from the new UK government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The eight territories that recently committed to introducing public registers are Anguilla; Bermuda; the Cayman Islands; the Falkland Islands; Montserrat; the Pitcairn Islands; St. Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha; and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Gibraltar had previously agreed to the measures.
The Bahamas saw a 99 percent year-over-year arrivals drop for June 2020 despite opening up to private air and sea visitors half-way through, the Tribune reported.
Dr Kenneth Romer, the Ministry of Tourism’s executive director of product quality and support, told a webinar that: “The Bahamas has seen only 3,900-plus, shy of 4,000 air and sea arrivals, a decline of 99.4 percent compared to June 2019. Air arrivals to The Bahamas as a whole declined by 99 percent, standing only at 1,700.”
Statistics provided by Dr Romer showed a total of 641,140 air and sea arrivals for June 2019 compared to just 3,935 for 2020. Air arrivals alone stood at168,392 for 2019 compared to just 1,705 for 2020.
St. Vincent And The Grenadines
St. Vincent And The Grenadines’ Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, who led the negotiations with owners whose lands near the resort in Buccament Bay the government has acquired, says the landowners agreed with the government’s offer, iwnsvg.com is reporting.
Gonsalves was speaking on WE FM, two days after Shaka, a farmer whose land has been acquired, said that he is willing to sell his 1.5 acres of land for the Sandals hotel development, if he is paid EC$1.5 million.
He told iWitness News that Gonsalves told him that the government is willing to pay him EC$10 per square foot of the land.
Antigua & Barbuda
The Gaston Browne administration has won a petition in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to pave the way for the appointment of an Administrator, who will be key in restructuring LIAT airlines.
Prime Minister Browne’s nominee, Guyana-born Cleveland Seaforth of BDO, was appointed as administrator. With Seaforth’s appointment as Administrator, a stay has been put on a creditors meeting, which had been scheduled for today, July 31.
The Barbados government will move to reduce travel taxes, says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. However, she added that with regard to airlines, Barbados has an open skies approach, as far as possible, with the market determining the capacity and the ratio. Mottley made the comments on Tuesday while participating in CARICOM IMPACS’ five-day Virtual Security Conference, under the theme: Securing Our Community Within the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.
The Prime Minister said officials were continuously looking for a credible rapid PCR gold standard test that would allow for the better processing of persons through the airport and seaport.
Turks & Caicos
Beaches Turks and Caicos, the largest and leading hotel in this country, was forced to delay reopening until October 14th, 2020 because of weak load factors on airlines, low hotel bookings and challenging COVID-19 testing requirements, TCI Sun reports.
“The fact remains that (airline) operators will not fly to a destination without very good load factors. A key priority, therefore, is to ensure we get enough guest bookings so that the carriers will be convinced to recommence their schedules,” said a statement which was issued by Beaches general manager Jamie McAnally. “That will take time and an extensive and expensive marketing and promotional effort.”
Beaches said the challenges inherent in the COVID-19 testing requirements for instance, continue to make it “all the more difficult.”
Returning Saint Lucian nationals will have to pay to be quarantined “very soon.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George made the announcement on Tuesday. “This is coming,” said the CMO when asked whether a fee would be implemented for returning nationals to be housed in government quarantine. “Because as you would imagine the cost of quarantine is coming at a very high cost to the government of Saint Lucia. So very soon persons are going to have to pay towards their quarantine.”
The Fred Hotel, majority-owned by two businessmen, has been put up for sale for the asking price of $6.8 million, according to Flex MLS, a property listing platform. The Fred has become one of St. Croix’s best hotel’s. Flex MLS describes the hotel as a boutique, eco-friendly beachfront Caribbean resort, coming ready with a turnkey operation that includes a restaurant, bars and spa, and 11 newly constructed rooms complimenting the historic renovation, for a total of 23 guest rooms.
Eppley Caribbean Property Fund Limited says it will purchase up to an additional 500,000 shares on the open market using the company’s cash in the coming days. In a notice to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, where its shares are traded, Eppley says, “the purpose of the acquisition of shares is to unlock significant value for the company’s shareholders by purchasing shares at a price below or equal to the company’s net asset value per share.”
Trinidad & Tobago
A brand new international hotel, which boasts of 72 guest rooms, is coming to Tobago. The hotel, Comfort Inn & Suites, will be opened soon in downtown Scarborough.
A Jamaican company this week was forced to approximately 60,457 pounds of meat and poultry patty products that were repackaged, relabeled and redistributed without the benefit of federal inspection.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said Jamaican Tastee Patties, LLC, a Miami, Fla. firm, applied the mark of inspection of another federal establishment without proper authorization.
The baked and unbaked, frozen beef and chicken patty items were produced on various dates from September 2018 through July 2020. The following products are subject to recall:
18-oz. boxes containing 4 pieces of “AUTHENTIC Jamaican STYLE.
- 18-oz. boxes containing 4 pieces of “AUTHENTIC Jamaican STYLE TASTEE Patties BEEF TURNOVERS SPICY BEEF BAKED” with various sell-by dates represented on the label.
- 18-oz. boxes containing 4 pieces of “Jamaican STYLE TASTEE Patties TURNOVERS CURRY CHICKEN BAKED” with various sell-by dates represented on the label.
- 18-oz. boxes containing 4 pieces of “AUTHENTIC Jamaican STYLE TASTEE Patties BEEF TURNOVERS MILD BEEF BAKED” with various sell-by dates represented on the label.
- 112-oz. (7-lb.) cases containing 24 pieces of “Authentic Jamaican STYLE TASTEE Patties BEEF TURNOVERS SPICY BEEF UNBAKED” with various sell-by dates represented on the label.
- 112-oz. (7-lb.) cases containing 24 pieces of “Authentic Jamaican STYLE TASTEE Patties BEEF TURNOVERS MILD BEEF UNBAKED” with various sell-by dates represented on the label.