Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News 08/11

Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

The issue that brought 21,000 people on to the streets of Barbados has been placed on the agenda of items to be discussed when the much-anticipated Social Partnership meeting comes off today at Hilton Barbados.  The issue, the contentious National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) was raised from two per cent to ten per cent by the Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler and went into effect from July 1st.  There has been a universal outcry against the measure, which business people, economists and labour leaders have indicated will cause a sharp increase in the cost of living.

In search of fast money, a growing number of fishermen are after another type of catch, says the former head of the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organisations (BARNUFO).  Angela Watson, who served as BARNUFO’s President for seven years, between  2009-2016, said there had been an increase in the number of fisherfolk using their vessels to transport illegal guns and drugs.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, are at odds over the future direction for the management of the Crop Over Festival.  Sealy suggested Crop Over had become so large that the time may have come to shift responsibility for its execution from the NCF to a separate entity with responsibility for the festival only.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his close friend, former CLICO boss Leroy Parris, are among a list of 20,000 policyholders set to partake in the millions to be transferred to the two new companies which are to take over the CLICO business – New Life Investment Co Inc (NLICO) and Resolution Life Insurance Limited (Reslife) as the process begins towards a long-awaited settlement.  The massive list also shows a number of other Barbadians, ranging from politicians to lawyers and present and past police officers.  Yesterday’s publication was an update from the judicial managers of CLICO International Life (CIL), Deloitte Consulting Limited, confirming active policies and outstanding claims as at June 30, 2017.

The legal heavyweight fight over the US$100 million Hyatt Centric Resort is set to continue next Wednesday after yesterday’s hearing was adjourned.  In a hearing that was initially scheduled for early May, but was first adjourned until July 7 because the assigned judge was on holiday, lawyers representing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Hyatt developers, the Mark-Maloney led Vision Development Inc, spent three hours yesterday trying to convince Justice Sonia Richards in the No. 9 Supreme Court that attorney at law, David Commissiong had no legal standing to attempt to stop construction of the hotel.

Resistance to change is the single biggest impediment to companies achieving digital success, according to a new study.   The results of the second annual Harvey Nash/KPMG 2017 CIO Survey were presented recently at a Chief Information Officer (CIO) Forum at Hilton Barbados Resort.  More than 20 Caribbean companies participated in the global survey which was carried out among 4,500 respondents in 86 countries.  However, the KPMG Island Grouping (KIG) component specifically looked at the operations of close to 70 companies in nine countries.  Presenting a snap shot of responses from the KIG component, Manager of IT Advisory KPMG (Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean) Marriette Simmons-Browne said low budget was a major challenge facing IT professionals who were generally pessimistic about an increase in their IT budgets over the next 12 months, with only 35% of respondents expecting an increase.

At this year’s CARIFESTA X111, being hosted in Barbados, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) will be facilitating the participation of designers and artisans from across CARIFORUM within their Designs Caribbean and Caribbean Essence Export promotion platforms.   The assistance, to the tune of Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling, is being funded by the European Union.    It will allow seven fashion  designers and four artisans to showcase their creations at the Grand Markets and Buyers Shopping Mall from August 18-27 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Dateline St. John’s, ANTIGUA:

The impending three-month closure of the Sandals Resort in Antigua has resulted in a flurry of accusations and legislation with the latest salvo taking the form of a statement by Sandals on Thursday accusing the government of Antigua and Barbuda of intimidation and defamation.  Sandals Antigua suddenly announced last month that it will close for three months from September, prompting the tabling of emergency legislation in Parliament to prevent other similar closures.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), Marlene Street Forrest, yesterday announced that the index’s market capitalization has surpassed the trillion dollar mark, reasoning that the feat is an indication of growing confidence of investors and the private sector in the stock mark.