Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News Nov. 7th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

The minority shareholders of Cable and Wireless (Barbados) Ltd were deprived of the right to choose, says their lawyer, Garth Patterson QC, and that fact pout them on solid legal ground.  Several of them met at the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Limited yesterday evening with Patterson, and based on the number who committed afterwards, it appears that a class action suit may be imminent.  They are contending that they have been “forced” to sell their shares to Cable and Wireless (Barbados) by way of a buy-back, which clears the way for Cable and Wireless West Indies Ltd to take control of 100 per cent ownership of Cable and Wireless (Barbados).

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

A prominent attorney-at-law has argued that the “no sleeveless” dress code imposed for the public’s interaction with state agencies and departments is unconstitutional.  According to Bert Samuels, refusing to grant individuals entry to public buildings because they are dressed in sleeveless clothing could offend their constitutional right to liberty, freedom of association and freedom of movement.  Samuels said the legislation that speaks to clothing is the indecent exposure law, which prohibits too much exposure of the human body, moreso the exposure of private parts. “So where do you draw the line?  The exposure of arms does not breach any statute.  A sleeveless individual is not unlawfully clad.  A sleeveless individual is not breaching any of our laws,” he added.

Jamaica-based Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the largest private investor in Antigua and Barbuda, has hit back against the continued attacks on its integrity by the country’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne.  The Gordon “Butch” Stewart owned SRI said that while it has done everything to keep the peace in the face of “the vicious, sustained and defamatory attacks” it is warning Browne that “as in all things, stepping outside the law has its consequences.”  SRI also insisted in a Press statement that it should not have to suffer Browne’s unwarranted attention because the Administration has been unable to break ground on any major investment, despite many announcements.

Executive Chairman of Medicanja, Dr. Henry Lowe, has confirmed that the company is looking to list on both the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) junior market and the Jamaica Stock Exchange by first quarter 2018.  CEO of R&D Pharma in Canada, Derrick Lewis, while tight-lipped on the details of the initial public offering, said that the funds raised will be used to build out the corporate structure of Medicanja in Jamaica and Canada.  The company is allowed to raise a maximum of CAN$7million from the stock market.  The listing of Medicanja will bring the total of marijuana-linked companies to 13 since the start of this year, according to the CSE website.  It will, however, be the first of its kind to list on the local market.

Dateline Nassau, THE BAHAMAS:

The conversation surrounding the purchase of sand from The Bahamas to replenish some of Florida’s beaches, especially those in Miami, is cropping up again after Florida reportedly lost “hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand” during the passage of Hurricane Irma in September.  Florida is waiting for the Sand Acquisition, Nourishment and Development (SAND) Act to be ratified before it can legally accept sand from anywhere outside the United States.  Florida is hoping to dredge sand from The Bahamas and other neighbouring islands in order to restore its eroding beaches.

The Bahamas has to become the standard-bearer for compliant financial services jurisdictions, Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, Brent Symonette expressed during a meeting with members of the financial services industry.  Symonette said the country can no longer act “like the followers instead of the leader.”  He gave the closing address at a briefing which focused on The Bahamas’ move to quickly implement standards on  base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) in order to avoid being blacklisted by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and G20 countries.