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CARIBBEAN BUSINESS AND FINANCE REPORT

By
NAN Business Editor

News
Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. June 14, 2019:
Here
are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for the week ending
June 14, 2019.

Antigua

The citizenship program
of Antigua and Barbuda was recently slammed by India’s Finance Minister Nirmala
Sitharaman at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in
Fukuoka, Japan over the weekend.

Sitharaman called for the
need to deal with countries that provide citizenship to fugitive economic
offenders through investment-based schemes, according to Indian media reports.

She made pointed
reference to the case of Mehul Choski, who became a citizen of Antigua and
Barbuda under the Citizenship by Investment (CIP) program, and who is currently
wanted by Indian authorities for the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

Choksi, represented by
his lawyer, Dr. David Dorsett, is currently fighting an extradition request in
Antiguan courts.

Antigau & Barbuda
slammed back on Tuesday noting that Choksi did not “surrender his Indian
passport to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under its Citizenship by
Investment (CIP) scheme.”

The government stated that
Choksi “applied for Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by investment and was
subjected to vetting of his background by Interpol which was provided with
written and official clearance from the Police authorities in India, attesting
that he had no criminal record and was not wanted or being investigated for any
crime.”

The statement added: “[He] was granted citizenship only after the competent police authorities in India gave him official clearance [and] he was under no obligation whatsoever to surrender his Indian passport to be become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda under its investment program. Any decision he made to surrender his Indian passport had nothing to do with the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship Program.”

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Jamaican Named Eisenhower
Fellow

A lone Caribbean national
from Jamaica is among this year’s Eisenhower Fellows. Saffrey Brown, co-founder
and head of Innovation, The Leap Co. joins 22 other Latin American trailblazing
Fellows who represent a broad range of public, private and nonprofit fields.

“These innovative
leaders are committed to effecting real change and making a positive impact in
their countries and across the region. I’m delighted to welcome them into the
influential global network of Eisenhower Fellowships,” said Dr. Robert M.
Gates, chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships.

The nearly two dozen new
Fellows will gather in Philadelphia for an opening seminar this October before
fanning out across the country to each visit 8-10 American cities and meet with
scores of experts in their chosen fields.

Medical Cannabis Conference
for Barbados

An inaugural Barbados
Medical Cannabis Conference will be held on June 29th – 30th in Bridgetown,
Barbados at the Walcott Warner Theatre at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative
Imagination, UWI, Cave Hill. It will feature some of the top cannabis experts
from around the world and aims to educate medical professionals, researchers,
academics and the general public about the benefits of the safe use of
cannabis.

The two-day event is
being organized by Sarah Seale, managing partner at one of Canada’s consulting
powerhouses- Cannabis Management Resources Inc (CMR) in partnership with the
Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies.

CMR is collaborating with
local medical experts in Barbados like Dr. Harley Moseley- the first physician
in Barbados to successfully prescribe medical cannabis and Dr. Damian Cohall –
pharmacologist and Deputy Dean of Preclinical Sciences at UWI.

Caribbean See Rise In
Tourists In First Quarter

The Caribbean recorded a 12 percent increase in tourist arrivals during
the first quarter of 2019, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)
says.

This was largely due to a 24 per cent rise in arrivals from the United States.
However, the performance of the European market was less encouraging, with
arrivals up marginally by 0.6 per cent.

In updating
the media on the region’s performance at a news conference this morning hosted
at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel as part of Caribbean
Week New York
 (#CWNY2019),CTO chairman Dominic Fedee revealed that between January
and March this year, there were 9.1 million international tourist trips to the
region, up by 970,000 over the corresponding period last year.

The
arrivals boom extended to the cruise sector as well, with a single quarter
record 10.7 million cruise passengers visits, an increase of 9.9 percent or
900,000 more arrivals when compared to the same period in 2018.

Cuba

Top cruise
lines are forecasting a dip in profits this year after the Trump administration
abruptly cancelled cruises to Cuba.

Royal
Caribbean Cruises says the travel restrictions would reduce its 2019 adjusted
earnings by 25 cents to 35 cents per share.

Norwegian
says it will lower full-year 2019 adjusted earnings by about 35 cents to 45
cents per share. Norwegian had previously forecast 2019 earnings of $5.40 to
$5.50 per share, while analysts were expecting a profit of $5.48, according to
IBES data from Refinitiv.

Look Out For The Caribbean Skills Bank

Set up by Caribbean professionals Debbie
Ransome and Bertram Leon, the platform was launched on Friday June 7th at the
British Library and gives the Caribbean region, the British government and aid
agencies to harness the skills and expertise of people in the UK Diaspora to
provide support and skills following a natural disaster.

The project is sponsored by the UK Foreign
and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and supported by the Caribbean Policy Research
Institute (CAPRI), Wilton Park and Caribbean High Commissioners in the UK.

 “While
many Caribbean nationals rise to the challenge of assisting their respective
Islands following disasters, such as those which affected the Islands of Haiti
in 2010 and more recently Dominica in 2017, there are no central database which
collates details of the skills and expertise of the millions of Caribbean
nationals living in the Diaspora,” the FCO Director for the Americas, Hugo
Shorter, told the launch.

 Register NOW

Barbados

Governor of the Central
Bank of Barbados, Cleviston Haynes, says he is hopeful its international
business sector will return to its previous strength, after the country was
removed from the European Union’s tax haven blacklist.

In an interview with
Barbados Today, Haynes said he was confident the financial sector will recover.
Barbados’ international business sector contributed about 20 percent of the
island’s GDP in 2017, but has since plummeted to less than half of that amount.

Suriname

Many Surinamese have up
to three mobile lines with different providers, which has pushed up penetration
figures, a ResearchAndMarkets.com analysis has found. However, the report also
found that the number of subscribers has fallen in recent years as consumers
have responded to economic pressures even as the mobile market supports only
two players: Telesur (trading as TeleG), and Digicel.

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