Barbados (Bevan Springer): The Caribbean could become a major global technology centre if the region's professionals engaged in the field were to unite around such a vision. Barbadian businessman Andrew Jemmott, Managing Director of Caribbean Webcast Inc. (formerly The Caribbean Streaming Network), said regional populations ought to graduate from being mere consumers of cutting edge technology to creators and innovators in it.
Jemmott asserts that the convergence of technology and the global supply chain for products and services offers a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to "leap frog into the global marketplace without having to board airliners and deal with the hassles of securing visas to do business with nations across the globe." Jemmott, a Bimventures entrepreneur, considers that the time has come for the technological bar in the region to be raised to enhance the profile of the Caribbean across the world. The first step, he says, is the formation of symbiotic relationships among the technological providers in the Caribbean to ensure they are all working towards the same goal of innovation and creativity in the sector. That is why Jemmott supports the recently launched Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation whose mission is "Barbados - the #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020."
He said Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours can truly become the Global Centre of Excellence for Entrepreneurship by 2020, but will need to be on the cusp of enhancing existing technological advancements or creating new technology. "Our goal is also to encourage productive and innovative thinking, through a process of research and development, design, and the production and implementation of software and hardware products through social media applications," stated Jemmott.
Caribbean Webcast provides content and programming in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. "The Caribbean is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural area and Barbadian and Caribbean companies should cater to all the audiences within our diverse community. Providing a multi-lingual service will help regional technology companies penetrate markets in the Caribbean, Latin America and across the world," he added.
ST. KITTS (WINN): CEO of Marriott InternationalBill Marriott is looking at the Christophe Harbour site at the Southeast Peninsula as a possible location for a Ritz Carlton Hotel according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office. The release said Marriott could give the green light for a Ritz-Carlton property to be constructed at the St. Kitts’ Southeast Peninsula. On Thursday he visited the site and spoke to Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.
“We want to make sure that we can do whatever it takes to improve upon it. We rely on you for guidance and support,” said Dr. Douglas. “We have a good team here (visiting) and a great hotel (St. Kitts Marriott Beach Resort and Royal Beach Casino) and it has been successful and we want to do more here. We hope we can do a Ritz-Carlton sometime. Don’t’ worry,” said Mr. Marriott after introducing his team to Prime Minister Douglas and his delegates. The local delegation comprised Mrs. Patricia Martin, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and Mr. Cedric Liburd, Advisor in the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Tourism and International Transport. They met Mr. Marriott in the VIP Lounge at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport.
According to the release, Prime Minister Douglas, who played a major role in attracting the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino said his government was ready to facilitate the construction and opening of a Ritz-Carlton within the multi-million Christophe Harbour Development Project. “We appreciate your great cooperation. Tourism is very important to you and it is also very important to us. You have great potential here. You have lovely people, beautiful climate,” said Mr. Marriott, whose leadership spans more than 50 years. He has taken Marriott from a family restaurant business to a global lodging company with more than 3,100 properties in 67 countries and territories.
Asked about airlift, Prime Minister Douglas informed Mr. Marriott of American Airlines’ daily flight from Miami; American’s twice weekly flight from JFK in New York; Delta’s weekly flight from Atlanta; US Airways weekly flight from Charlotte, South Carolina and British Airways twice weekly flight from London-Gatwick. “Oh, that’s great,” responded Mr. Marriott, who also asked whether the Four Seasons in Nevis had reopened. “That is good. That will help the island a lot, help Nevis a lot,” Mr. Marriott responded.
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): St. Kitts-Nevis Anguilla National Bank unveiled plans to celebrate its 40th Anniversary earlier this week at a press conference. Managing Director Sir Edmund Lawrence called the occasion a significant landmark and milestone in the bank’s history, which started in 1971. The Bank, according to Sir Edmund now has $2.3 billion in assets and 173 employees. Since starting four decades ago the bank has introduced Automated Teller Machines, Debit Cards, Online Banking and Mobile Banking to the Domestic Market.
The Bank’s loans according to the Managing Director totaled just over $1 billion in 2010 compared to $473 million in 2000. Deposits totaled $1.5 billion in 2010 compared to $626 million in 2000. Investments in 2000 totaled $136 million increasing over the ten year period to $622 million in 2010. Additionally, National Bank share prices stood at just over $2.50 per share in 2010 compared to just under $3 in 2009.
Mr. Donald Thompson, Senior Assistant Managing Director for the bank unveiled the calendar of events under the theme “Vision, Resilience, Stability” which is designed to give back to all National Bank’s stakeholders. Several committees comprising of bank staff will organize and execute the events. Other events include volunteerism programmes, looking after the elderly, tree planting and beautification of spaces, school activities and a carnival float for the 2011-2012 National Carnival.
Jamaica (Caribbean News Now): The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concern in its latest assessment of Jamaica's economic situation that the targets set out under the borrowing relationship were in the Fund's words "jeopardised." In a release on the island's progress so far in its arrangement with the multilateral agency, in its third review of Jamaica's performance under the standby agreement, the IMF was critical of the government's action, which it said was compromising the country's ability to meet the conditionalities set out in the agreement.
It made reference to the government's "unanticipated purchase of new buses" for the state-run Jamaica Urban Transit Company and continued financial support for a government-run bauxite company. A BBC Caribbean report stated that the IMF also questioned the payment of outstanding salaries and allowance of public sector workers and cost overruns on a major highway running across the island. The Fund also wants Jamaica to postpone some of its capital projects.
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Caribbean Government’s are failing to support the sustainable development of the agro industry in the region, according to senior minister and Minister of Agriculture Dr. Timothy Harris. “We know that we have a very high import bill in relation to food items,” Dr. Harris said. He said according to United Nation figures, US$393 million worth of food items were imported into the Caribbean when just over US$100 million was exported. These include items in sugar and sugary products, meat and meat preparations, fruits and vegetables. This created a deficit in foreign exchange in the region. “We boast about the fertility of our soils and yet we are not producing,” Harris said.
He said the governments have been giving the agriculture sector scant regard. Dr. Harris also expressed his views on lack of sustainability in the sector while speaking to attendees at the opening ceremony of the Regional Caribbean Agro Industry Forum last week Thursday. This session was held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay. The forum was entitled: “More Markets to Tap, While Bridging the Gap.” Meanwhile, a new 113 acre farm was unveiled on Friday in St. Paul’s. Farm Capisterre as it’s called is intended to provide a range of fruits and vegetables including traditional crops breadfruit, dasheen, Tania, yams and cassava.