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GUYANA needs banks but fears T&T Monopoly

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#Guyana, June 25, 2022 – For the second time in three years, a planned deal has failed between Scotiabank Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in First Citizens Limited.  Last week, First Citizens issued a legal notice to inform that the Purchase and Sale Agreement between First Citizens Limited and the Bank of Nova Scotia for the sale of Scotiabank’s retail operations in Guyana expired. The agreement was terminated.

However, this time, it is revealed that the Bank of Guyana denied the transaction out of concern that Republic Bank would gain a near-monopoly position in the Guyanese banking sector.

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Timothy Tucker, said, “If the Republic bank, Scotia Bank merger was done, it would have over 50 percent of the depository…so that is why that deal was rejected.”

He added that “Republic bank had made an attempt to buy Scotia Bank Guyana and like any regulator, in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world, if a bank is then going to, if the acquisition of a bank is going to create a monopoly or something that can be detrimental to the depository institutions, then you will have a problem.”

The First Citizens, Scotia Guyana deal received backlash from regulators when it was announced in March 2021. Guyana’s Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, and the Bank of Guyana have both criticised the announcement.

“The announcement] was premature and inappropriate, said Minister Singh back then. The Bank of Guyana said FCB, “entered the said agreement without informing the BOG.”

Last year, the lapse caused institutions and business people in the region, especially Guyana, a considerable amount of money.

Tucker said the announcement had raised alarms around the business community and added that a local institution in Guyana, the Bank for Trade and Industry, placed a higher offer for Scotiabank, and Scotia Bank went with First Citizens. While he is uncertain of the reason for that, he said that if the agreement were successful, two Trinidad banks would control over 50 percent of the depository institutions within Guyana.

Tucker made it known that Trinidad and Tobago banks are not blacklisted; the Republic Bank remained the largest bank in Guyana. He added that he would welcome more Trinidad and Tobago banks in Guyana since it only has a few banking institutions. The only issue is that the banks must enter independently and not at the expense of foreign banks like Scotia.

“So the local private sector, while we are advocating hard for our more financial institutions, we don’t mind First Citizens applying for a banking license and coming in as a regional bank, but when we are going to lose one of our international banks to a regional bank, the business sector has a problem with that,” he said,” We don’t control the process. Even if we have a problem with that, it’s a free capital market. Companies are free to sell to whomever they choose to sell. We support that. But at the same time, we are worried about the concentration of our depository institutions into the region alone. This isn’t going for Trinidad banks; it goes for if a bank from Jamaica came to buy Scotiabank. We would fundamentally have an issue with it,” he said.

First Citizens Bank said it would continue to pursue “geographic diversification and digital transformation strategies.” In the meantime, Tucker is hoping it will open other opportunities for Guyana.

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package

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#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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