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GRENADA’S PRIME MINISTER, SANDALS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN ISSUE STRONG CALL FOR UNIFIED APPROACH TO REGIONAL TOURISM

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May, 2024, St. Georges, Grenada – Prime Minister of Grenada Hon. Dickon Mitchell says stakeholders from a wide cross section of the economy must be included in conversations if the Caribbean is to secure the sustainability of its tourism sector.

Speaking at the 2024 Sustainable Tourism Conference in Grenada on April 22nd, the Prime Minister noted that partnership is important to ensure the industry’s success “if we are talking about sustainable tourism, we need partnership in order to sustain ourselves. So it means that when we have our conversations we need to be a little more inclusive. Invite the farmers, agro processors, fishermen, supply chain people to help us sustain this tourism industry which is our crown jewel in the Caribbean.”

Delivering the key note at the conference, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart supported the Prime Minister’s call to action, noting that it is only when there is strong partnership among all sectors – private and public – that true sustainability in the regional tourism industry can be achieved.

The conference, which is organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, focused on five key elements for sustainability; People, Planet, Prosperity, Purpose and Partnership. Stewart maintained that it is that last element, “Partnership”, which is key, “perhaps the most powerful part of the five Ps is partnership, public/private partnership. The public sector has a role and the private sector has a role to the degree to which those two things come together determines your gains and your future. So our job, through my eyes in the short time I get to talk is unity, it’s for all of us to come together, to stand together, to take head on the challenges that we face and to find a way to include everybody.’

The Sandals leader noted that regional stakeholders have already demonstrated that it can be done, urging participants at the conference to throw their minds back to the COVID pandemic, when all sectors joined hands making the Caribbean the fastest recovering region for tourism anywhere on the planet, “we pulled together, we unified. We, for the first time in the Caribbean, recognised that we are only as strong as we are together. We worked with the farmers, we worked with the transportation sector, the tour providers, the fishers, the entertainers, even the priests and pastors. I saw the most beautiful harmony take place, I saw cruise ships working with land-based operators in a way that never happened before. The whole supply chain, the linkages came together.”

Stewart maintained that this lesson must never be forgotten, but be the template which drives regional tourism into a bright future, “I believe we must approach all of this with humility, with inclusivity and with open dialogue. We as business leaders and policy makers in government have to dig deeper. We have to stop relying, or pointing to say that’s government business or that’s private sector business. The sooner we come together with the collective to understand that it is our Caribbean business, is the sooner we will get advancement.”

Warning that the traveller today has a wider variety of options fuelled by what they see on social media platforms, Stewart said the region must be more competitive and more ready than ever to attract and welcome visitors, which requires close cooperation between public and private sector, “customers don’t owe us anything. They are explorers. They have the internet and YouTube to guide them without ever leaving the living room. So for us to talk about sustainability we have to do a number of things in harmony. You win when you are frictionless. Tourism, ladies and gentlemen, is the path of least resistance, make it easy for me to get there.”

Stewart went further to state that islands of the Caribbean should not view each other as competitors but recognise that they are one product, “Antigua is not competing with Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia is not competing with Grenada and Grenada is not competing with Jamaica. The world says Caribbean and they put us together, we are in the pot whether we like it or not. We are competing against France, Italy, Germany, London, Singapore, Dubai …that’s who we are truly competing against. And what we can offer differently I promise you, they can’t do it. Their beaches are not as beautiful, their people are not as warm and friendly in the way our people are, and our stories are more fascinating.”

However, Stewart said the region can only truly realise its potential when stakeholders unite and seek solutions in a non-adversarial, inclusive way with a level of maturity. “To the degree that we can get those things to work together; agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and all the services working in harmony, the private sector and the public sector, will define our future.”

Captions:

Header: Prime Minister of Grenada Hon. Dickon Mitchell.

Insert: Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart.

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Bahamas News

Minister Moxey says AAM2024 is significant to the country

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Making an address on the first day of Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings (AAM) and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2024 on Wednesday, June 12, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey pointed out the significance of the meetings in The Bahamas, and the impact on Grand Bahama.

It is the first time AAM is held in the Caribbean region.  The 31st AAM sessions run June 12 – 14, 2024 at Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach.  The theme for the event is: “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.”

She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this AAM and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum is critical for nurturing the relationship we have intentionally progressed over the last few years, including the historic signing between Afreximbank and CARICOM, unlocking an astounding $1.5 billion in funding; the many trade missions between both regions; and tomorrow the signing of a Project Preparation Facility with Afreximbank and the Government of The Bahamas on the development of an Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center on Grand Bahama Island – my island — a magnificent center for the promotion of tourism, commerce and trade between both regions.

“As we contemplate the historical ties that bind us, may we recognize the significant role of trade and the immense opportunities that lie before us.

“Trade has always been the lifeblood of economies, and as we join hands to explore new avenues, great things will happen.”

Minister Moxey continued, “The Bahamas, with its strategic location and well-established infrastructure, stands as a gateway…and it is at the crossroads of two-way trade.

“Our beautiful country has emerged as a major transshipment terminal, facilitating the seamless flow of goods and creating linkages across continents.”

The Caribbean region is focused on trade and investment opportunities with Africa, and the meeting in Nassau demonstrates the importance of the matter, she said.

In closing, she said, “The Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center will not only boost economic growth but also strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between both regions.”

 

PHOTO CAPTION

1st insert –  At the Welcome Reception for Afreximbank’s 31st Annual Meetings (AAM 2024) at Baha Mar Resort, Wednesday, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Ginger Moxey, at podium, gives an address on the importance of the meetings.

2nd insert – In photos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper chats with Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs and Eric Rose)

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Caribbean News

Caribbean Central Bank Governors agree to NEW Trade Regime for ease of doing business

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – Regional Central Bank Governors have agreed to implement a system that allows countries in the Caribbean to trade using each other’s currencies without a third-party currency.

Making the disclosure, Governor of the Barbados Central Bank, Kevin Greenidge who is also the Chairman of the CARICOM Central Bank Governors, said it will be a version of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which was launched by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in January 2022 to reduce reliance on hard currencies like the US dollar for transactions between African nations.

Once it is replicated in the Caribbean, the system could allow goods and services to be paid for directly in the currencies of the respective CARICOM nations involved, rather than being settled in a third currency like the US dollar, arguing thatg the payment system would reduce transaction costs, minimise the need for holding substantial foreign currency reserves, facilitate smoother intra-regional trade and lead to lower retail prices for consumers.

Noting that the decision was unanimous, Mr. Greenidge said “we just had a meeting in May, and we agreed to push ahead with the pilot programme and we have a technical team working out some of the kinks, how to move ahead with the programme. We are approaching that as soon as possible,” he said while addressing the recent AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024), at the Baha Mar Convention Centre in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Central banker who once served as the senior economist who supervised Barbados’ economic restructuring programme for the International Monetary Fund, before taking up the Governor’s job in March 2023, argued that “If we get with one voice and start to speak to these things, call for reforming the way the rating agencies view and assess our position, including debt, we will then make a difference,” he told his audience.

Adding further, he said the region can get where it wants on its own, as he urged both regions to speak with one voice on reforming global financial architecture, while accusing credit rating agencies of bias against small economies.

Speaking with one voice in the Caribbean, in support like the Bridgetown Initiative, Mr. Greenidge believes “we can make a difference.” The Bridgetown Initiative calls for reform of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to better support climate-vulnerable countries.

“The more we can achieve partnerships around the world, the better we are regarding financing and investment in Barbados and providing the necessary diverse products to do the financing we need. Naturally, the African continent would be a partnership,” he said

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Ripe for Business

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#Kingston, Jamaica, June 18, 2024 – Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says Jamaica is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Caribbean and is urging more diaspora members to do business in the country.

Senator Hill was addressing a panel discussion on Monday (June 17) on the topic ‘Jamaica Open for Business: Transforming Investment and Enterprise in Jamaica through Diaspora Engagement’ at the 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

He cited the stability of the local currency as a key reason to invest in the island.

“There is no foreign exchange control in Jamaica. Clean money comes in and clean money goes out,” he noted.

The fact that the Government has been able to undertake infrastructure development and deliver critical services, particularly during the pandemic, without raising taxes, speaks to the strength of the economy, he said.

“We’ve gone through a pandemic where we had to spend $100 billion of Jamaican money that we didn’t plan to spend and yet we didn’t borrow any new money and we didn’t raise taxes. In fact, for the last eight years…what we have done with taxes is cut them. We cut the payroll tax twice and cut VAT (value-added tax) once,” Senator Hill said.

He added that the infrastructure buildout, real estate potential and Jamaica’s position as the logistics hub of the Caribbean also makes the country attractive to investors.

“This is where your money should be. Come to Jamaica,” Senator Hill appealed.

For Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Financial Group, Grace Burnett, the highly productive and English-speaking talent pool is a major reason Jamaica is open for business.

“Our literacy rate is well over 92 per cent and we have a very stable democracy. When you look at some of the endorsements we have received from overseas institutions on ease of doing business and how we are performing as an economy, we have a very stable, strong regulatory framework and very supportive environment for starting a business and growing a business,” she explained.

Managing Director of JN Fund Managers at JN Group, Brando Hayden, explained that the risk management and infrastructure necessary to give investors comfort is strongly in place.

“When you come to Jamaica, not only are we open for business, your investment or your participation is backed up by solid infrastructure. We have the Jamaica Central Securities Depository and when you invest through the stock market, whether it is a bond, a stock and they also do private equity and private debt, you know there is solid record for your investment. From the depository, you know exactly how much you have and you get your dividend payments,” Mr. Hayden said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of VM Finance Limited and VM Overseas Offices at the VM Group, Leighton Smith, underscored that Jamaica’s economic stability, strategic location, strength of the financial sector, skilled workforce and diverse investment opportunities are factors that make Jamaica attractive to investors.

“What makes Jamaica the perfect landscape is when we think of the trade policies that exist… in terms of being the strategic location, which affords the opportunity to gain access to markets – CARICOM and the United States,” Mr. Smith said.

 

Contact: Judana Murphy

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