Ricardo Blackman’s Caribbean Headlines News October 9th

By Ricardo Blackman | CDN Barbados

Dateline Bridgetown, BARBADOS:

Opposition leader Mia Mottley has accused the Freundel Stuart administration of playing “political football” with the island’s public servants.  Speaking at a mass canvass in St,. Peter, Mottley said Stuart was purposely withholding the pay increase demanded by the island’s four trade unions, the National Union of Public Workers, the Barbados Workers Union, the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union and the Barbados Union of Teachers.  “The government has got to stop playing “political; football” with the public servants of Barbados” she said.  “If the public servants deserve the pay increase as we believe they do, give it to them.  And if you feel you can’t give them a full pay increase because you need more negotiations at the very least, give them a cost of living allowance or coping subsidy.”

Government likes tax so much that a staggering 95 per cent of its revenue is via that medium.  When the composition of direct and indirect tax was examined, said the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) the contribution non-tax revenue made to the public finances was five per cent.  The IDB’s Caribbean Department made that observation while examining Barbados’ rising fiscal deficits in a new report on the region’s financial challenges.

Dateline Port of Spain, TRINIDAD:

A new television show premiered last nite on CCNTV6, the purpose of which is to provide an expansive platform, upon which women can speak put on a range of topics and issues important to them.  Titled Facet Nation, the show was conceived and is being produced by Laurelac Laquis, who is herself seen as multifaceted as the show she has designed.

Dateline Kingston, JAMAICA:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the labour force needs to keep pace with the growing business process outsourcing (BOP) sector, noting that there are not enough qualified persons to fill jobs.  “We have to address this binding constraint of the growth of the BPO sector and that is the labour force” Holness said while addressing stakeholders and business interests at Itelbpo’s grand opening of its facility in Freeport, Jamaica.

BUSINESS:

LONDON:

Bitcoin staged a rally over the weekend to hit a one-month high despite expret warning of a potentially volatile upcoming event for the crypto currency.  The digital currency traded at $4,626.26 on Monday morning at 4.00 a.m. London time, its highest level since September 8th. It was up over 8% from its start of trade on Saturday.

Prices may rise and home deliveries could be slower unless the retail sector retains access to all UE workers after BREXIT, a trade body has warned.  EU citizens account for just 6% of the  industry’s 170,000 workforce, the British Retail Consortium said.  However, they are concentrated in the warehouse and distribution jobs, its annual workforce survey suggested.

US Economist, Richard Thaler, one of the founding fathers of behavioural economics, has won this year’s Nobel Prize for economics.  Professor Thaler of Chicago Booth Business School, co-wrote the global best seller Nudge, which looked at how people make bad or irrational choices.  Judges said he had demonstrated how “nudging”, a term he coined, may help people to exercise better self-control.  He will receive Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling from the Nobel Prize Committee.

WASHINGTON:

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde has urged the United States to proceed with a tax overhaul, saying it was “desperately needed” to boost growth in the world’s largest economy.  “Tax reform is a must.  Tax reform in the US is imperative” Lagarde said on CNBC.

THE CARIBBEAN:

HAVANA:

A US State Department travel warning for Cuba following mysterious attacks that harmed nearly two dozen American diplomats, has come like a bucket of cold water for the operations of thousands of private  entrepreneurs on the island.  Amid a sudden diplomatic thaw between Cold War foes that began in 2014, many Cubans invested heavily in privately run restaurants, home stay B&Bs and cars to operate as taxi cabs in hope of cashing in on an expected boom of American tourist arrivals.  But now entrepreneurs worry that American will be frightened away, even though there has been no word of any tourists affected so far.

NASSAU:

The government had a $9 Million budget surplus for the month of July, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said yesterday, cautioning that given the obligations left over from the previous government, this surplus could be fleeting.  Turnquest said the surplus is an indication that the measures his government has put in place to curb spending and stimulate savings are beginning to work.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguillar, with responsibility for gaming, acknowledged that web shops in The Bahamas pose a risk to the country’s financial sector.  A recently released IMF working paper states that “Anecdotal evidence suggests that international correspondent banks are uncomfortable providing services to domestic banks that do business with either money transmission businesses (MTBs) or online gaming operations (so called web shops) which are perceived as a higher anti-money laundering/counter terror financing risk.”

KINGSTON:

China’s Jiuquan Iron & Steel (Group) Company Limited (JISCO) is to commence a US$ Billion spend this week in Jamaica, based on new bilateral agreements with the government, which the Administration believes should boost local economic growth and job creation.  Making the disclosure in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Transport and Mining Minister, Mike Henry, noted that it is already a done deal.  “It’s ready now and they don’t need any more permission” a very pleased Henry said, noting that final approval for the Chinese authorities was obtained during his September visit to Beijing with a team of local experts and professionals.

PORT OF SPAIN:

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has said that the government and Sandals Resorts International are working on a Memorandum, of Understanding, which it is expected will be executed shortly”.  A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said the government met on Wednesday with Sandals Resorts International Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart to continue discussions on the establishment of a  Sandals Resort  at Golden Grove.

Three weeks ago, government had enough money to run the country for just five minutes. This is according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert.  Speaking at the People’s National Movement (PNM) post-budget public meeting,  Imbert said he came across a letter from the Central Bank Governor, written around the middle of last month, stating that the overdraft at the Central Bank was 99.7 per cent of its limit.

BRIDGETOWN:

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has commissioned the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Cave Hill, to carry out a study on the impact of government’s increased National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) on the consumer.  Eddy Abed, BCCI President, has described the NSRL as a “regressive tax.”

INTERNATIONAL:

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona on Sunday to express their opposition to declaring independence from Spain, showing how divided the region is on the issue.  A crowd estimated by local police to number 360,000 waved Spanish and Catalonia flags and carried banners saying “Catalonia is Spain” and “Together We Are Stronger”.

The promotion of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s 28 year old sister to the country’s top decision-making body is a sign he is strengthening his position by drawing his most important people closer to the centre of power, experts and officials said.

The head of Russia’s central election commission urged President Vladmir Putin on Monday to ensure all investigations into election violations detected in Russia last month, were completed and the Kremlin leader has promised to do so.

Turkey has urged the US to review its suspension of visa services after the arrest of a US consulate employee sharply escalated tensions between the two NATO allies and drove Turkey’s currency and stocks lower.