SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's governor says he'll ask a court to restructure the debts of the U.S. territory's public pension system, which is projected to run out of money this year.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello says the government has been unable to reach a deal with creditors to whom it owes some $3 billion.
Rossello said late Sunday that retired workers will still receive their pensions. He says the government will dip into its general fund once the pension system itself runs out of money. The pension system is underfunded by some $50 billion.
The previous administration already had trimmed benefits and a federal control board overseeing the island's finances is seeking more cuts. It says the system will switch to pay-as-you-go funding.
(Jamaica Gleaner) The Jamaican dollar hit another psychological mark at $130 to the United States currency a week ago, but there does not appear to be any heightened concern among businesses, according to the reaction from two private-sector lobbies.
The exchange rate was estimated at $130.30 on Wednesday, having reached the threshold on May 10.
Chief executive officer of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Dennis Chung, said the Jamaican dollar depreciating to $130 "is a psychologically significant mark". The currency has lost a dollar of value in six months, a period in which the currency sometimes appreciated.
Chung said a one-dollar slide of the currency translates to less than one per cent depreciation and would not have any significant impact on inflation, adding that a five per cent diminishment in value is what is expected annually.
In the past year, the JMD has depreciated by three per cent. For the calendar year to date, it has declined 1.45 per cent.
Chung said he has not heard any real concerns being expressed about the level to which the local currency has depreciated, reiterating that "I think it's really just a psychological thing".
(Reuters) U.S. technology and engineering conglomerate GE said on Saturday it had signed $15 billion of business deals with Saudi Arabia as part of the kingdom's drive to diversify its economy beyond oil.
It came as dozens of senior U.S. business executives met Saudi counterparts at a conference coinciding with the visit of President Donald Trump to Riyadh.
The agreements, which involve almost $7 billion of goods and services from GE itself, range from the power and healthcare sectors to the oil and gas industry and mining, GE said. Some of the deals are memorandums of understanding which would require further agreements to materialize.
Among the projects, GE will help make Saudi power generation more efficient and provide digital technology to the operations of oil firm Saudi Aramco, aiming to create $4 billion of annual productivity improvements at Aramco. It will cooperate in medical research and training.
(BVI News) A British Virgin Islands delegation and UK Government representatives recently discussed freedom of movement to the European Union (EU) for Overseas Territories (OT) citizens at a Brexit technical roundtable in London.
Officials from the UK Home Office and UK Department for Exiting the EU, met with BVI London Office Director and EU Representative, Mr. Benito Wheatley who emphasised the importance of visa-free travel to the EU for the BVI’s local business persons.
At the roundtable held on May 9, Mr. Wheatley stated that the BVI is the Headquarters of the Commercial Court Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and home to a new International Arbitration Centre.
He added, “The Territory’s local legal practitioners will need to continue to travel outward to Europe to engage clients in cases and this should not be impeded.”
Mr. Wheatley stressed that BVI students currently enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen area and the ability to participate in EU higher education schemes.
“EU countries will remain tourism destinations that BVIslanders wish to visit and their travel to Europe should remain easy in that regard,” he added.
Participation in the roundtable follows the attendance of Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE at the first UK-OT Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit Negotiations in February and his subsequent report to the public that his Government will continue to engage the UK on Brexit issues and to advance the Territory’s interests.
The BVI earlier participated in a Brexit technical roundtable on fisheries and agriculture in April and will attend upcoming technical roundtables on EU funding, trade and financial services.
The Premier has mandated a Brexit Task Force chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Mr. Brodrick Penn, to prepare a White Paper on the opportunities and risks posed to BVI by Brexit that will be completed ahead of the second UK-OT Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit Negotiations on July 12.
The Government of the Virgin Islands has affirmed its commitment to strengthening international relationships, in positioning the Territory for the future.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (May 19, 2017) - The Government of the United States Virgin Islands and Airbnb have confirmed the first tax agreement in the Caribbean, which will allow the platform to collect the Territory's 12.5 percent Hotel Room Occupancy Tax on behalf of hosts and remit the funds to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The agreement will also create a framework to help promote tourism to the U.S. Virgin Islands, highlighting the cultural and historical heritage of this world-class destination.
Airbnb has been investing in partnerships in the region to support a thriving community of homeowners who are renting their spaces and creating new flows of local economic benefits.
Agreements have been signed with several countries and with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to create policy frameworks for this growing hospitality trend of home sharing. Today's announcement spearheads the company's efforts in the Caribbean to collect and remit lodging taxes on behalf of hosts, allowing hosts to comply and give back to their communities.
The Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kenneth E. Mapp, supported the agreement and noted that locals will increase their participation in the economic benefits of tourism. "This is good for our Government because it streamlines the collection process and enables more of our residents to participate in the visitor industry. Our hospitality sector will also greatly benefit from the promotional reach of this multibillion-dollar organization," Mapp said.
The agreement with Airbnb is a component of the Mapp-Potter Administration's Five Year Plan to fully restore economic stability to the V.I. Government through economic growth, increased revenue collection and better resource management. It will help improve and diversify the tourism industry and create unique experiences for and by the locals of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas and their visitors.
Airbnb has about 2,000 active listings across the U.S. Virgin Islands and a typical Airbnb host earns US$7,700 a year. "Airbnb represents a supplemental income, which helps families pay their bills and improve their quality of life. As local hosts bring more tourism to the region, visitors get to know the country from an organic and more authentic point of view, spending in local businesses and services, as well as encouraging others to visit the islands as a result of their positive experience," said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb's Public Policy Manager for the Caribbean and Central America.
Local authorities also pointed to the importance of the growth and diversification of tourism to the island and the improvement of tax collection for both hosts and government.
"This agreement brings to the table a well-resourced partner to help with our efforts to attract people to our islands," observed Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
Marvin Pickering, Director of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue, said the additional revenue would be beneficial for the treasury. "This voluntary collection agreement for the hotel room tax provides the bureau with an additional resource to ensure that the tax is collected and remitted in a timely manner. We look forward to pursuing this additional avenue of increasing the tax revenue from Airbnb hosts as they participate in our Territory's tax regime by fulfilling their filing and payment obligations."