Caribbean Business And Finance Report

CARIBBEAN-PASSPORTS
(L-R) Armand Arton, President, Arton Capital, Timothy Harris, Prime Minister, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, speak onstage during the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)
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By NAN Business Editor

INVEST-CARIBBEAN

News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Sept. 27, 2019: Here are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for this week of Sept.  27, 2019:

REGIONAL

Corruption Perception

A majority of Caribbean and Latin American citizens’ think corruption in their country’s governments increased in past year, while only 16 percent think it declined. That’s according to a 2019 report from Transparency International, released this week.

The Dominican Republic topped the Caribbean as the nation where nationals, or 93 percent, felt corruption in government is a big problem followed by Trinidad and Tobago at second with 85 percent. The Bahamas ranked at third at 80 percent. Most people in these three also felt their governments were doing badly in tackling corruption.

Phantom Investments

A new report from the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), says three Caribbean islands are among 10 economies in the world that are home to “phantom investments.”

The British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands made the list. The BVI, according to the report, is one of the 10 economies in the world that together host more than 85 percent of an estimated $15 trillion in “phantom investments” annually.

The report defines “phantom investments” as foreign direct investment that brings no “capital in service of productivity gains.”

India-CARICOM Ties

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the leaders of CARICOM, (the Caribbean Community and Common Market), during the first-ever India-Caricom leaders’ summit in NYC. The aim was on fighting climate change and increasing India’s participation with the group. Modi announced a USD 14-million grant for community development projects in the Caricom and another 150 million line of credit for solar, renewable energy and climate- change related projects. He also announced the setting up of a regional centre for excellence in information technology in Georgetown, Guyana, and a vocational training centre in Belize by upgrading the existing India-funded centres in these countries.

Caribbean Passports

The prime ministers of Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis were among the speakers this week in a panel discussion at the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit in New York that focused on global mobility and economic development particularly within the framework of citizenship by investment (CBI).

“We do not have the luxury of size and space,” PM Harris explained, and so “we look to our own ingenuity,” PM Harris said. “Today’s concept of ‘citizenship by investment’ originates from St Kitts and Nevis, who decided a year after gaining independence to allow carefully selected individuals to obtain its citizenship in exchange for an economic contribution.”

Antigua & Barbuda

Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has dubbed Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi who secured citizenship there, a “crook.”

While speaking to ANI on the issue of extradition of Choksi who is absconding from India and residing in Antigua & Barbuda, Browne said Choksi will be deported ultimately after he exhausts all his options.

Choksi and his nephew are wanted in Indian for the Punjab National Bank, (PNB), bank scam.

Bahamas

Some 2,500 tourism jobs, which supported more than 10,000 family members, were blown away by Hurricane Dorian following its devastation of the northwestern Bahamas islands.

The category five storm’s impact on employment levels in The Bahamas’ largest private sector industry was exposed by Bahamian and regional tourism associations as they unveiled an initiative to find work for hospitality workers displaced by the storm. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, (CHTA), and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, (BHTA), have announced their Tourism Jobs for Bahamians initiative, which aims to secure temporary employment for impacted workers. They are working with public and private sector tourism partners in the Caribbean, The Bahamas and South Florida.

To identify these temporary positions, the CHTA is deploying its Caribbean Tourism Job Bank, set up in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, to connect job seekers with opportunities in the 80 percent of The Bahamas that the hurricane missed. The Job Bank will also seek openings in the Caribbean, the US and Canada.

Guyana

The Bank of Guyana has blocked a plan by Republic Bank Financial Holdings (RBFH) to take over the operations of Scotiabank in the South American country, according to the Guyana Chronicle. Guyana Central Bank Governor Doctor Gobind Ganga told the newspaper that the denial of the application for takeover by RBFH branded as Republic Bank was due largely to the high level of concentration of the banking system. Ganga said it would lead to “systemic issues” which would have affected the health of the financial system in Guyana.

Bermuda

Several Bermuda insurance companies says they begun to pay out after receiving hundreds of claims for damage caused by Hurricane Humberto, Royal Gazette reports indicate.

The Category 3 storm hammered Bermuda last Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning, causing widespread power outages and property damage. Collectively, three companies reported yesterday that they had received nearly 600 claims related to Humberto.

Dominica

Investors seeking second citizenship from the Commonwealth of Dominica will soon have another option available under the island’s world-leading Citizenship by Investment, (CBI) Programme. In his latest budget address presentation, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit revealed that another hotel will be making its way to Dominica, alongside the six luxury CBI hotels that are either already open, ready for launch or under progressing construction.

The new resort, whose name and associated hospitality brand have not been announced yet, is reported to boast 130 rooms, conference facilities, bars and restaurants. PM Skerrit shared that the project will be located on the Public Works site along the west-coast Leblanc Highway. It would complement the cruise village and new port while diversifying hotel locations so that different communities in Dominica can directly benefit from it.

Cuba

A lawsuit has been filed in Miami on behalf of a Cuban-American – who claims to be the rightful owner of Havana’s international airport – against American Airlines and the Latam Airlines Group for “trafficking” in the property that he claims was stolen by the Cuban government.

This is one of several suits that have been filed since the Trump administration implemented Title III of the 1996 Helms Burton Act. The law allows U.S. citizens to sue foreign firms and Cuban entities over their use of properties expropriated after Cuba’s 1959 revolution.

In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday, Miami-based law firm Rivero Mestre argues that José Martí International Airport was expropriated from the father of Jose Ramon Lopez Regueiro in 1959.

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