BAHAMAS: After 40-year, nearly $3 billion in transactions career, Real estate legend launches Mario Carey Ventures
By Diane Phillips
#Bahamas, March 3, 2021 – Many would have happily hung up their hat after a 40-year career with approximately $3 billion in transactions, but legendary Realtor Mario Carey has a better idea – the founder of the first international branch of Better Homes & Gardens is taking what he learned in one business and applying to a variety of others, combining visionary ideas with global expertise.
Carey announced the quiet launch of Mario Carey Ventures (MCV) this week in a press statement, more than two years after the concept was born and began to build momentum. Today it is involved in about one dozen projects ranging from new technology to social infrastructure like affordable housing and diversified farming, digital assets to resort development.
“Throughout my career, I kept envisioning business opportunities that were outside the real estate space,” said Carey. “At the same time, I was meeting people from all over the world and I realized that if I put the right team or teams together, MCV could provide opportunities that would promote nation-building, slow the brain drain and do what we have been talking about forever, diversify the economy.”
“I always remember that great Michael Jordan quote ‘Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence win championships.’ If I wanted to go into the biotech space, for instance, or marine, I had to find people who would embrace the opportunity and share my vision that it had to benefit The Bahamas.”
Years of interacting with creative leaders, CEOs, celebrities and successful businesspeople paid off with Carey actively engaged in several high-level projects. But he was quick to recognized he needed someone as his chief global strategist and turned to Mark Shekter, co-founder and CEO of Think8 Global Institute.
Montreal-based Think8 has guided companies around the world to develop leadership, think creatively, advance solutions and drive ideas from thoughts to structured reality. The firm has worked with start-ups and multi-national corporations in sports, entertainment, energy, gaming, finance, retail and new technology. Think8’s innovative methodology is taught in University Masters Degree programs and national incubators to develop a new class of socially conscious entrepreneurs.
Carey calls Shekter “tough, but brilliant.” Shekter calls Carey “a true visionary.”
The match between Think8 and MCV works, says Carey, because it brings international experts along with Bahamian citizens and residents to the goal of advancing local opportunities.
“I am driven by the desire to raise capital and allocate human resources to monetize innovation and disruptive ideas that would diversify the economy, provide a reason for well-educated Bahamians to come home and find a place in their own country where they could succeed in a diversified economy.”
“The process of breathing life into good ideas is really what it is all about and not just one idea at a time, but allowing multiple ideas to blossom utilizing a baseline team overall and forming different teams with different skill sets for each concept. Mario Carey Ventures, or MCV, is, simply put, the launchpad from which ideas, solutions and causes move from seed to reality.
Carey, who was among only a handful of Bahamians to earn a university degree from Florida State University in real estate, said his practice exposed him to thinkers from all over the world. In recent years, being among the leading agents in high end markets like Ocean Club Estates, sports heroes, celebrities and management teams has reinforced his belief in what he calls “the hidden business ideas with the power to explode successfully.” MCV will help make that happen, he said, but with one caveat.
“Anything we touch has to have an element of nation-building for The Bahamas.”
Among the many concepts on the MCV table at its official launch are social entrepreneurship enterprises ranging from marine conservation to real estate funding in the affordable housing market.
His long years of networking are already attracting funding and expertise in biotech, digital asset maximization, Family Island development, and preservation and monetization of marine resources by capitalizing on existing potential where resources are plentiful and jobs are scarce.
MCV has also launched its own 501c3 charitable organization- Bahamian Prosperity Foundation- tapping into US tax deductible contributions for Bahamian causes. Carey cites as an example one of his program to provide some 42,000 hot meals to help ease the hunger problem during the pandemic, engaging the full support and dedication of his own staff and professionals at both Better Homes and Gardens MCR Bahamas Group and MCR, his luxury rental and property management company.
Known for his love of the sea and extensive deep diving, Carey has endorsed the concept of naming the waters the Lucayan Sea, backing the idea first proposed by former Royal Bahamas Defense Force Commander Captain Tellis Bethel, now serving in the role equivalent to inspector general for the uniformed law enforcement services.
“To protect something, it must have an identity and the concept of the Lucayan Sea, named in honour of the indigenous inhabitants of The Bahamas, is perfectly suited,” said Carey. “Naming our waters is a positive move that requires little on the part of any government, provides jobs with the expertise of cartography and mapping, opens historic, touristic and educational opportunities and can help unite us by paying tribute to a peaceful people while building pride in our waters.”
According to Carey, MCV has a strict code of conduct, stressing the core principles of trust, accessibility, and effectiveness.
“MCV is all about understanding where I can contribute the most to my country, fulfilling a lifelong dream of doing business that benefits the man,” he said. “we are excited about the next chapter.”
By Diane Phillips
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
PM Davis ‘confident’ that Revenue Outturn will near $2.9 billion
By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services
#NASSAU, The Bahamas, May 30, 2023 – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said in the House of Assembly, on May 31, 2023, that public revenue receipts were strong over the nine-month period of July 2022 to March 2023, due to legislative reform, effective policy decisions, strengthened economic conditions and more efficient collection efforts.
“Analysis of the trends of the first three quarters of this fiscal year, and the years prior, suggest that the government is potentially set to exceed the $2.85 billion target set forth in the February 2023 Mid-year Supplementary Budget,” he said, during his Communication on Budget 2023.
“I am confident the revenue outturn at the end of the Fiscal Year 22/23 will near $2.9 billion.
Public spending has remained on track, and is well within the budgeted amount,” Prime Minister Davis added. “For this reason I am confident that expenditure at end of the Fiscal Year 2022/23 will almost reach the target of $3.1 billion set in the Supplementary Budget.”
He pointed out that the primary balance will, therefore, record a surplus of $68.4 million at the end of the fiscal year, a $54.8 million increase from the $13.6 million surplus projected in the supplementary budget.
“Likewise, the overall deficit is expected to improve to $520.6 million, down from the $575.4 million outlined in the supplementary budget,” he said.
Speaking of Government financing, Prime Minister Davis said that The Bahamas’ borrowing costs had begun to experience a downward trend in the previous quarter; but the cost of borrowing rose at the end of March 2023.
“At the end of the third quarter, the total average cost of borrowing for current outstanding debt had risen to an interest rate of 5.55 percent,” he pointed out. “This is notably higher than the previous year’s rate of 4.93 percent at the end of March 2022.
“This increase in borrowing costs is primarily attributable to the higher costs associated with external loan facilities.”
He added that, more specifically, the average interest rate for external financing had risen by 1.99 basis points, resulting in a rate of 5.55 percent as of March 2023, compared to the preceding year’s 3.56 percent.
“Throughout the past year, the interest rate policies of the major Central Banks have been restrictive, with a series of interest rate increases,” Prime Minister Davis said. “These adjustments have been primarily motivated by the escalation of inflation, and the resulting upsurge in interest rates has had an impact on the Bahamas’ external borrowing costs.”
He added: “However, the cost of borrowing in the domestic market has been declining over the past quarters.
Looking at it in more detail, we can see that:
- The average interest cost for domestic loans subsided by 27 basis points to 4.62 percent at end of March 2023, from 4.89 percent in the previous year;
- And the average interest cost for domestic bonds subsided by 3 basis points to 4.63 percent at the end of March 2023 from 4.66 percent in the previous year.”
Prime Minister Davis noted that those statistics affirmed the Government’s latest medium-term debt strategy, which aimed to shift its borrowing away from costly external commercial debt.
“Such debt has seen a sharp increase over the past five years, including recent interest rate hikes,” he said. “This strategic move will enable the government to once again rely predominantly on the domestic market to meet its financing requirements.”
Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, when considering the maturity of debt, or the average time it takes to repay the principal amount in the government’s debt portfolio, a longer maturity period led to a reduction in refinancing risk.
“In essence, prioritizing longer maturities is key to managing debt effectively,” he said. “And so another element of the government’s medium-term debt management strategy is the goal of prolonging the average maturity time of its debt.”
Prime Minister Davis said that, in the face of “unprecedented turbulence” in the global financial markets, the Government was able to maintain its average time to maturity.
“At end of March 2023, the average time to maturity has decreased slightly to 6.7 years, down from the previous 6.8 years in March 2022,” he said. “This variance is due solely to the external loan component, as the average time to maturity on internal debt has remained steady at 7.1 years.”
“This highlights the significance of maintaining a prudent approach to debt management, and aligning this administration’s practices with the government’s optimal debt strategy,” Prime Minister Davis added.
“It is imperative that we continue to exercise prudence in this area to ensure financial stability.”
(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)
PM states HCA model not working during budget debate
By ROBYN ADDERLEY
Bahamas Information Services
#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, May 30, 2023 – The model of the Hawkbill Creek Act, the agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, is not working, said Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis during the opening of the 2023 Budget Debate on Wednesday, May 31 in the House of Assembly.
The island of Grand Bahama, he said, contributes 12 percent of the country’s GDP, however, there was a decline by 9 percent when compared to the previous year. Tourism, he said, increased in 2022 showing a growth in accommodation and food service.
“Unfortunately, the statistics show a prolonged decline in the Grand Bahamian economy. The evidence confirms the view of my government that the Hawksbill Creek economic model, which was meant to attract foreign direct investment, does not work.
“Furthermore, in our view, the government model of the Grand Bahama Port Authority must change, in order to realize the promise, growth and prosperity we all desire.
“Additionally, the Government of The Bahamas has serious concerns regarding the compliance of the GBPA and its related companies with the terms and conditions of the Hawksbill Creek Act, and its subsequent amendments.”
In the past, said the Prime Minister, administrations have attempted to address the issues however they appear to be “systemic and fundamental.” Decisive action will be taken, he continued, and a separate detailed announcement will be made at another time.
Prime Minister Davis mentioned that even though the GDP for several islands has experienced growth, Abaco and Grand Bahama have not done as well. Abaco, he said, saw a decline of 6 percent in 2022 with its contribution to the economy at 2.8 percent ranking the island as the third largest contributor.
“While there was a slight improvement in Abaco’s economy compared to 2019, it has yet to reach the levels seen before Hurricane Dorian. The decline in the economic activity is directly related to the slowdown in the real estate and construction sectors.”
He continued, “Declines in the real estate sector are directly as a result of a shift to higher intermediate consumption in 2022 from that of the previous two years. In terms of declines in construction, it should be noted that in 2020 and 2021, Abaco experienced significant recovery efforts in the form of debris removal, site preparation and building of damaged structures.
Such efforts bolstered the value added to the island’s GDP during those years. As those efforts wrap up, the industry saw a gradual decline as construction tempered to normal levels in 2022, resulting in a lower GDP.
Additionally, the Prime Minister said the Grand Bahama International Airport will be repaired, and a new healthcare facility will be built. Provisions have also been made for the continuation of an employment program for $4.7 million, along with the construction of a 50-meter swimming pool facility.
The House of Assembly has adjourned until Wednesday, June 7, when the debate will continue.
(BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside)
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