The Cable

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(V. I. Consortium) ST. CROIX — A declining cruise line industry, developments in the airline and stay-over markets, as well as a new slogan for marketing the Virgin Islands were all discussed during Legislature meetings on Tuesday at the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room in Frederiksted. Department of Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, gave testimony to update the activities of the department.

The key issue discussed was the development and maintenance of the tourism product within the Virgin Islands. According to Mrs. Nicholson-Doty, visitor cruise line arrivals is estimated to drop 11 percent through 2018. She said that although there was an increase in calls on St. Croix, the overall arrivals on St. Thomas had been declining.

“Unfortunately, cruise traffic has not registered the same growth as overnight visitors. The USVI has had a significant reduction in calls in 2016 and this trend is projected to continue through 2018,” said Mrs. Nicholson-Doty.  Cruise traffic in St. Thomas is projected to decline by 11 percent through 2018, while St. Croix is expected to see an increase of 48 percent over the same period. But the overall drop will still be about 11 percent, as St. Thomas registers the lion’s share of cruise traffic.

According to the commissioner, St. Thomas received 535 calls in 2016; is expected to receive 489 calls in 2017, and 478 calls in 2018. There were 25 calls on St. Croix in 2016, which will increase to 37 in 2017, and by 7 more to 44 in 2018.

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(Reuters) Tech giant Samsung Electronics plans to sell refurbished versions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, the company said late on Monday, signaling the return of the model pulled from markets last year because of fire-prone batteries.

Samsung's Note 7s were permanently scrapped in October after some phones self-combusted, prompting a global recall roughly two months after the launch of the near-$900 devices.

A subsequent investigation found manufacturing problems in batteries supplied by two companies - Samsung SDI Co and Amperex Technology.

Analysis from Samsung and independent researchers found no other problems in the Note 7 devices except the batteries, raising speculation that Samsung will recoup some of its losses by selling refurbished Note 7s.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters in January that it was considering the possibility of selling refurbished versions of the device or reusing some parts.

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(Trinidad Guardian) T&T’s private sector was yesterday divided on Thursday’s announcement by Finance Minister Colm Imbert that strong consideration would be given to providing manufacturers with priority access to foreign exchange.

The T&T Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) said yesterday that it was “extremely pleased” at the proposal but the T&T Chamber expressed disappointment at the announcement, saying that it might signal a return to what would, in effect, be a regime of exchange controls.

And economist Dr Valmiki Arjoon said an increase in the allocation of foreign exchange to local manufacturers would have numerous benefits for the economy as well as for manufacturers whose current capacity is underutilised and who have outstanding liabilities to suppliers.

The TTMA said the proposal to give manufacturers priority access to foreign exchange was “welcomed within the manufacturing community as it is critical to our operations and export growth mandate.”

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(Demerara Waves) Trinidad and Tobago will be able to refine Guyana’s oil although the quality is different, contrary to a former Energy Minister of that twin-island country, a senior official of that Caribbean nation’s oil company.

Vice President (Refining and Marketing) at the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin), Astor Harris told Demerara Waves Online News that Guyana’s oil can be blended and refined in that twin-island country.

“The oil to be produced by Guyana can be refined in Trinidad. Even if it’s a bit light, we can blend it with other crudes because we purchase a range of crudes and then we blend them to get the products that we need,” he said moments before the opening of the Guyana Oil and Gas Conference (GOGC) at the Marriott Hotel on Sunday. The event has been organised by the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA).

Harris stated categorically that “there is a viable market for Guyana’s oil” at Petrotrin located at Pointe-a-Pierre. The Petrotrin official said his country’s refinery has the capacity to refine Guyana’s crude oil to bring it up to a standard that would allow it be compared to the West Texas Intermediate valuation standard.

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MIAMI, USA (CMC) – Two Caribbean Community (Caribbean) leaders are expected to participate in a World Bank conference examining the socio-economic situation in the Caribbean.

The March 30 conference, titled “The Caribbean Dilemma” is part of the Americas Conference Series being put on in collaboration with the Miami Herald.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet are the two heads of Government who have already confirmed their participation.

Chairman of the Economic Growth Council in Jamaica, Michael Lee-Chin, Governor of the Central Bank of Jamaica Brian Wynter, and the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine are also scheduled to participate in the one-day event.

The delegates will diagnose the economic situation in the Caribbean, as well as discuss new strategies to revive growth.

“Small economies around the world are undoubtedly diverse. Yet their small economic size brings shared challenges and opportunities for long-term development. Latin America and the Caribbean currently includes fast growing small economies such as Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Panama, alongside slow-growing economies such as Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and economies such as the OECS with growth rates somewhere in between,” the organisers said.

They said the discussions will take a long-term view on what are the key priorities and challenges shared by small economies such as integration with the global economy, high debt and volatility.

“The discussion will also focus on strategies to help boost long-term growth, recognising that small economies can be more nimble and are able to reorient their economies over time.”

Prior to the conference, members of the media will be briefed by Daniel Lederman, World Bank Deputy Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean and author of the new report “Open and Nimble: Finding Stable Growth in Small Economies” and Francisco Carneiro, World Bank Lead Economist for the Caribbean and author of the report “Taming Volatility: Fiscal Policy and Financial Development for growth in the Eastern Caribbean”.



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