The Cable

(Demerara Waves) Guyana’s recent foreign currency shortage appears to have caused government to consider adopting Suriname’s model to ensure that more earnings from gold sales goes directly to the national treasury.

“Suriname has a model which we are looking to incorporate in whole or part here so we want to facilitate trade but the function of the licensed dealers, as agents of the Gold Board, is to ensure that foreign currency is earned for the country so that is why they are licensed,” ,” Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman told Demerara Waves Online News.

Demerara Waves Online News was told that Suriname’s gold producers are required to take their raw gold to the partly government-owned refinery where it is refined, made into gold bars and certified as 99.9 percent pure. Exporters are required to pay a refining fee and taxes and royalties to the Suriname government. Suriname’s tax department has an office at the refinery which seals the gold and receives the taxes before the metal is exported.

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(Jamaica Observer) The Government yesterday announced reductions of 0.5 to 0.9 per cent in property tax rates, responding to public pressure that mushroomed after it announced the new rates several weeks ago.

However, the cuts, from the previously proposed rates of 0.8 to 1.3 per cent, will leave the Administration with a $2.1 billion hole to fill.

Amidst shouts of “Roll it back!” from Opposition legislators during a rowdy sitting of the House of Representatives, Finance Minister Audley Shaw said the adjustment was a “big reduction” from the tax rates announced recently, and that the revised measure is expected to yield $6.5 billion in revenue to help fill the $13.5-billion hole in the national budget, instead of the $8.5 billion that was first projected from the previously announced rates. He gave no indication as to how the new $2.1-billion gap will be made up.

The finance minister said the new tax rate would either reduce or cause no change to the property tax rates of 448,860 of the 776,487 properties on roll. “This is a big increase from the 35.1 per cent who would have benefited based on the previously announced rates,” Shaw said.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Spoiled food. Damaged appliances. Shuttered businesses.

A recent increase in power outages is taking a heavy toll on Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory's heavily indebted public power company struggles to modernize decades-old equipment that is crumbling amid a deep economic crisis.

The frequent loss of power, coupled with rising power bills, is spooking potential investors. It has frustrated business owners who complain of lost revenue and forced homeowners to buy new appliances amid unexpected surges.

"It's never been worse," Mariela Aguirre, a 49-year-old sales trainer, said of the weekly outages in her neighborhood tucked in an upscale suburb near the capital. "This is turning into a Third World country."

The cycle of homes and businesses being plunged into darkness only to be jolted awake by appliances that beep, whir and hum back to life has become common across the island for tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans such as Aguirre who cannot afford generators to offset the costly interruptions.

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(Caribbean 360 News) NEW YORK, United States, Tuesday April 11, 2017 – After 46 years of flying non-stop between New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico, American Airlines (AA) is bringing that service to an end.

On August 21, 2017, AA’s last flight from John F King International Airport (JFK) to San Juan will leave at 7:45 p.m. The following day, the last flight from San Juan to JFK will leave at 9 a.m., discontinuing a route it has flown since the early 1970s.

AA spokeswoman LaKesha Beown told USA Today in a statement that the decision to cancel the service was a “difficult” one.

“We continually evaluate our network, looking at supply and demand for each route we serve. We want to ensure our fleet and crews are serving routes that are profitable, better positioning us for long term success against global competition,” she said.

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LONDON (AP) -- The CEO of Barclays bank is being investigated by regulators for his attempts to unmask a whistleblower who had written anonymous letters raising concerns about a senior employee.

Jes Staley had sought to identify the author of the letters but was told it was inappropriate to do so under rules protecting whistleblowers. Staley then sought again to identify the person, even using help from a U.S. law enforcement agency, but failed.

The bank, which has faced a number of legal problems in recent years, said Monday that Staley had honestly, but mistakenly, believed that he had clearance to identify the whistleblower.

Staley will face a written reprimand and a "very significant" adjustment in his pay, Barclays said. The amount will be determined once the official inquiries have concluded.

He faces an official inquiry by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority for his actions.

The incident involves anonymous letters written in 2016 to the board and an executive that raised questions about the recruitment of a new senior employee and Staley's role in the hiring process.

Staley at first tried to use the bank's security team to identify the author, the bank said.

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