#Caribbean – January 5, 2020 — “Unbelievable” is how his son and Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart described the passing of his father – the founder of Sandals Resorts International – in a memorandum to general managers and Directors of their resorts and companies around the region.
It was just last week that Butch Stewart was reaffirming his commitment to these islands with the reopening of Beaches Turks and Caicos on December 21. In a joint statement Stewart had said: “We are committed to this long-term agreement and working together for the betterment of the country. I wish to commend those who work tirelessly to put Turks and Caicos on the map; our incredible staff and the dedicated executive team led by the steadfast Adam Stewart. We will now turn our attention to what we do best: introducing the World to the beauty and hospitality of these extraordinary Islands.”
Those were the Chairman’s final publically expressed words to Turks and Caicos as the largest employer in the private sector and a 25-year investor.
Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart died at hospital in Florida informed one news agency out of Jamaica; after 52 years in business on his own, he had amassed the most celebrated all-inclusive resorts in the world. A Caribbean man, employing some 10,000 people across more than 20 hotel properties in the most sought after islands at the most stunning vistas in the region.
St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and his home country of Jamaica will be especially grieved by the passing of this business titan and Caribbean icon.
The Hon Stewart had reportedly been ailing a long time and the younger likeness of Butch, Adam Stewart explained: “he chose to keep a very recent health diagnosis private and we respected that wish.”
Already there is an outpouring of shock and sadness at the loss of the resort mogul who is hailed as a marketing genius, who “lived a big life – husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, entrepreneur, statesman, dreamer…” said Adam Stewart in that memo.
“Together, we have all been part of something bigger than ourselves, led by a man who believed in us and who gave us opportunities to learn, grow and the tools to make dreams real. For him and because of him, we will continue to dream big and deliver on his certainty that true luxury is always best enjoyed by the sea.”
There is also concern among some staffers spanning industries including hospitality, travel, automotive, resort and media and to quell fears, there was this from Adam: “While I need to be with family right now, I look forward to speaking with you soon and sharing thoughts about the incredible future of this company built by this most incredible man.”
A big dreamer, said his son, who could dream bigger than anyone; he now rests and his many companies and dreams live on with an indelible legacy which will undoubtedly be played and replayed over the coming days and as the region comes to grips with the death and the loss of Gordon Stewart.
The Chairman was 79 years old.
Regressive recession looming, forces UN to issue Cease and Desist message to ‘big’ countries
By Dana Malcolm
October 6, 2022 – Central Banks in advanced nations must stop pushing up interest rates now or risk sending the globe into recession where developing nations suffer most according to the UN.
In the last several months, The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and Bank of Canada have all spiked interest rates in an effort to control borrowing power, buying power and possibly push down inflation
“The world is headed towards a global recession and prolonged stagnation unless we quickly change the current policy course of monetary and fiscal tightening in advanced economies.” It said, mincing no words, the agency described the potential global recession as ‘policy induced’ by developed countries. And this recession could be worse than the 2008 crisis. This is especially true for developing countries like those in the Caribbean.
“While all regions will be affected, alarm bells are ringing most for developing countries, many of which are edging closer to debt default.” The agency said.
And if it happens the recession could set developing nations back years in the struggle to increase their standards of living.
“As climate stress intensifies, so do losses and damage inside vulnerable economies that lack the fiscal space to deal with disasters let alone invest in their own long-term development— The global slowdown will further expose developing countries to a cascade of debt, health, and climate crises.”
If the globe proceeds as is the world will lose 20 percent of its income by and push developing economies growth rate below 3 percent which the UN says is ‘insufficient for sustainable development’
Inaugural FinTech Conference on now in Barbados
By Sherrica Thompson
#Barbados, October 6, 2022 – Barbados is now hosting the first-ever global fintech conference in the Caribbean.
Over 300 delegates from across the globe and varying sectors within the industry will be attending the event. It began on Wednesday October 5, concluding October 7 and is being staged at the Hilton Barbados.
The Fintech Islands conference will feature renowned fintech leaders delivering key addresses and over 20 hours of curated content. The mandate of the event is to create a world-class event that will be a catalyst for the growth of the fintech ecosystem in the Caribbean.
One major highlight of the conference will be the welcome address by the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who will also host an exclusive VIP meet and greet.
Some of the major themes of the event that are relevant to the context of the Caribbean venue are Financial Inclusion, Climate Fintech, Cryptocurrencies and Decentralised Finance and Embedded and Open Finance.
The event will have a range of speakers from founders, CEOs and fintech leaders from North America, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Africa.
142 Farmers Formally Settled on Plots of Land in Bernard Lodge
#Kingston, Jamaica, October 6, 2022 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says, to date, 142 farmers have been orderly and formally settled on plots of land as part of the Bernard Lodge Development Plan, in St. Catherine.
Providing an update on the Plan in the House of Representatives on October 5, Mr. Holness informed that the SCJ Holdings has paid more than $650 million in compensation to the farmers.
“Members would be aware that to meet the requirements of the development master plan and regularise the informal and ad hoc occupation of the lands, a structured and orderly settlement plan was undertaken that included relocation, formalisation of leases and payment arrangements associated with those leases and assessment of cost associated with this exercise,” he said.
“The cost of land clearance and preparation, farm road construction and rehabilitation, the opening and expansion of storm water drains, the provision of electricity and the construction of an irrigation system have also been borne by the SCJ, and work is ongoing,” he said.
Mr. Holness informed that irrigation water is now provided to farmers by the Rio Cobre canal system, adding that the cost for the time being is absorbed by the SCJ until the construction of a modern pressurised irrigation system is completed.
“We have started the engineering designs already,” the Prime Minister said, noting that one of the two proposed reservoirs is already constructed to ensure an uninterrupted supply of irrigation water.
“These reservoirs will have a combined capacity of 10 million gallons. Already, many of the farmers are in full production, with vendors and other persons visiting the farms on a regular basis to purchase produce for retail and domestic use,” Mr. Holness said.
He pointed out that there is a well-structured agro-park that has the potential to become a model for agricultural development in the Caribbean.
“I visited it, Madam Speaker, and I am very pleased to see how former sugar lands have been transitioned into other forms of agriculture,” Mr. Holness said.
He noted that the lands, which have been underutilised for many years, were becoming a location for illegal dumping, illegal sandmining and even for criminals.
Cabinet appointed an Enterprise Team, chaired by Chartered Accountant, Linval Freeman. to supervise the divestment of government-owned lands within the Greater Bernard Lodge Development in St. Catherine.
They commenced work in late January 2021 with the aim of divesting the development lands in phases.
To date, two phases have been successfully completed, with a third now in progress.
The Development Bank of Jamaica monitors and gives technical support to the Enterprise Team to ensure that the divestment is in keeping with government policy and governance standards.
The Greater Bernard Lodge Development Plan will create an integrated community of 5,400 acres of land, of which 3,027 acres are dedicated to agriculture and the remaining designated to housing, light industrial and commercial activities, social services, open and recreational space and an urban centre.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness said, so far, the Cabinet has approved the sale of some 1,225 acres of land for mixed residential, commercial and light industrial purposes to seven different developers.
“Cabinet has also approved the transfer of 102 acres of land to the National Housing Trust and the Housing Agency at Jamaica at zero cost, as part of efforts to lower the cost of housing to persons of limited means. To date, gross earnings from land sales are expected to exceed $3.8 billion,” he noted.
The Prime Minister said SCJ Holdings Limited has substantial legacy obligations of more than $2 billion incurred in connection with the divestment of the government-owned sugar estates and significant operating costs associated with the maintenance and securing of unused properties.
He informed that the net proceeds of the Bernard Lodge land sales will be applied in clearing these obligations, and the divestment of the properties will lower SCJ’s operating cost and place the organisation in a stronger financial position.
“Aside from its primary duty in managing the sugar lands, it also has an obligation to develop agriculture and other uses for land they own. Therefore, the SCJ has undertaken significant expenditure to improve agricultural infrastructure in the master plan area in payment of compensation to farmers and the cost associated with land preparation and the re-establishment of farmers,” he said.
Contact: Chris Patterson
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