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Jamaica

Caribbean Business And Finance Report

By NAN Business Editor

News
Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Aug. 16, 2019:
Here
are the top business stories making news from the Caribbean for this week of Aug.
16, 2019:

US Diaspora

US-based businesses doing
business in and with the Caribbean are finding out the hard way that several
banks are not supporting business transactions in several countries which are
on what is dubbed a ‘high risk’ list. HSBC for instance is declining to open
business checking accounts for US companies with large business interests in
the Caribbean region as several key countries are on a blacklist, News Americas
has found. They include The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, Cuba,
Haiti, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago. Employees at TD Bank also, citing a
similar list and policy, declined to accept a new business checking account for
a company doing business in the Caribbean. CitiBank also cited a similar policy
for certain Caribbean nations.

Regional

How Easy Is It To Do
Business In The Caribbean?

Not very according to the
latest Doing Business 2019 report from the World Bank. Here’s where the
Caribbean nations rank on the list of 190 nations around the world.

Puerto Rico – 64th
globally

Jamaica – 75th
globally

St. Lucia – 93rd
globally

Dominican Republic – 102nd
globally

Dominica – 103rd
globally

Trinidad and Tobago – 105th
globally

Antigua & Barbuda –
112th globally

The Bahamas – 118th
globally

Belize – 125th
globally

Barbados – 129th
globally

St. Vincent and the
Grenadines – 1230th globally

Guyana – 134th
globally

St. Kitts and Nevis – 140th
globally

Grenada – 147th
globally

Suriname – 165th
globally

Haiti – 182nd
globally.

Mapping
The Caribbean Sea Bed

The
navy will map the Caribbean seabed again. The Snellius, a hydrographic naval
vessel, will sail in the Caribbean Sea for the next five months. The bottom of
the sea changes due to weather influences and currents and is therefore
re-examined every few years.

OECD Conclusion

The legal framework of
the British Virgin Islands, along with those of other Caribbean and low- and
no-tax jurisdictions Anguilla, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman
Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, has been declared “not harmful” by
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum on
Harmful Tax Practices. The FHTP recently concluded its review of the
jurisdictions and announced they were in compliance with the organization’s
Substantial Activities Standard, which requires that core income-generating
activities for certain sectors must be conducted in the territory.

Guyana

Guyana’s
Finance Minister Winston Jordan this week described an international report on
Guyana’s preparedness for the oil and gas sector as “nothing dramatic, nothing
new.”

Bloomberg
published an article on August 14th under the headline “The World’s
Newest Petrostate Isn’t Ready for a Tsunami of Cash.”

In
the story, the country’s political leaders were exposed for not having a proper
plan for 2020 – when US-oil giant ExxonMobil is slated to begin production. Jordan
admitted that the article is correct saying: “I don’t know whether people think
that Guyana, with its capacity problems and manpower problems and so forth, can
overnight be in a position to take on a giant like Exxon in time for first oil.”

But
he added: “We will get there but we will not get there at first oil but we will
eventually get there.”

Jamaica

JMMB Group of Jamaica
plans to increase its capital by 20 per cent via an offer of shares to the
public pending shareholder approval next month. The move coincides with JMMB
Group’s move to acquire one-fifth of insurance conglomerate Sagicor Financial
Corporation, in which it is investing US$200 million, or the equivalent of $27
billion in Jamaican currency. JMMB currently has 1.63 billion ordinary shares in issue on
the market valued at $84.5 billion. 

Bahamas

The private sector is
“baffled” by the seemingly “insufficient action” to address The Bahamas’ ease
of doing business woes, the Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive said this
week.

Jeffrey Beckles told
Tribune Business that the government and private sector needs “to find a way to
lessen the anxiety, confusion and frustration” of many Bahamas-based businesses
over the absence of any improvements in the economic climate.

Beckles said The Bahamas’
sharp decline from 54th to 121st in the World Bank’s ease of doing business
rankings represents a “huge fallback” for the nation and its commercial
reputation.

Belize

If you are looking to own
your own private island for less than a million you are in luck. Three private
islands in Belize are currently on the market for less than $530,000 each. The
three islands vary in prices ranging from $350,000 to $525,000, according to
the listing website, 7th Heaven Properties. They are located off the Caribbean
coast of Southern Belize and are either undeveloped or contain a few structures
that need repairs.

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