The Cable

(Antigua Observer A high-ranking US State Department official says some Caribbean countries are running to fiscal problems now that the padding provided by Petro Caribe is no longer there.

Under the Venezuela initiative, only 60 per cent has to be paid upfront for oil purchased. Member countries pay more upfront, the higher, the global price of oil.

And as a turbulent financial crisis continues to grip Venezuela, it’s being predicted that Petro Caribe will crumble.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central America and the Caribbean Juan Gonzalez says this won’t leave some PetroCaribe countries with much wiggle room.

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 06, 2016 (SKNIS): Tourism in St. Kitts and Nevis, particularly cruise tourism, has seen tremendous growth and officials at the Ministry of Tourism said building awareness within the local population will be a key factor in continuing this trend.

According to figures from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region enjoyed tourism growth of up to seven percent in 2015, and the CTO's Secretary General, Hugh Riley, said the "the region has set new arrivals and spend records in 2015 far surpassing expectations." A large majority of the jobs in most Caribbean countries, including St. Kitts and Nevis, are directly linked to tourism.

"We need to get our people in tune with the whole idea of tourism as being everybody's business," Senior Tourism Project Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Novelette Morton, said on Wednesday's (May 04) edition of "Working for You."

She added that a number of activities were continuously being held to raise public awareness about the value of the industry to the livelihood of citizens.

The appearance of Ms. Morton, along with Tourism's Assistant Secretary, Diannille Taylor-Williams, and Community Tourism Officer, Shaline Welcome, on the weekly radio programme was one such activity. Events such as Restaurant Week, which promotes the use of home grown produce, targeted promotional spots on television such as the "I am a Kittitian" promo, and sponsorship of local persons/entertainment activities also tie into the awareness strategy.

"It is critical that we raise awareness," Ms. Morton added. "The youth plays an important part because they are the ones who go home and influence their parents ... tell their parents what they learnt in school and so it is very important that we start with our youth."

Students are often engaged through competitions such as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Youth Congress and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Essay Competition. The tourism officials said the ministry will continue to spread the message to all segments of society.

 

(Jamaica Gleaner) Desnoes & Geddes Limited, which trades as Red Stripe Jamaica, will strive to "responsibly" increase the "frequency" of drinking among adults, which the brewery says is pretty low relative to markets in the hemisphere.

It also plans to double exports in four years, a plan that involves tapping markets never before explored by Red Stripe.

The company estimates that only 75 per cent of drinking age Jamaicans are beer consumers, and it aims to bring the other 25 per cent along, partly by converting rum drinkers to beer.

Red Stripe, which had its 98th annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, wants to grow domestic sales by around 10 to per cent to 12 per cent this year, according to managing director Ricardo Nuncio.

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(Trinidad Guardian) Colonial Life Insurance Company Ltd posted profits of $5.2 billion at the end of December 2014, according to the  company’s latest financial statements. The T&T Guardian obtained the information after it was posted on Clico’s website yesterday afternoon. 

A source said revelation of the information followed very recent queries by interested parties this week to the Central Bank on various aspects of the Clico-CL issue, including when the last financial statements would be published.

In the statements posted online, it was noted that Clico’s profit for the year (2014) attributable to equity holders was $5,132,999 million. The 2013 figure was $406 million.

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(Demarara Waves) The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors discussed Tuesday a new country engagement note for Guyana for the next two years to strengthen climate resilience, improve education quality and lay the ground for private sector development, the international financial institution said in a statement.

“We must ensure that we make the very best choices possible to take advantage of our natural endowments to create a more cohesive and prosperous society on behalf of the people of Guyana,” said Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance of Guyana. “This renewed partnership with the World Bank is a sign of the government’s commitment to fighting poverty and climate change,” he added.

With the fall of commodity prices, severe drought affecting the region, and the end of the oil for rice program, Guyana’s economic growth has slowed down from 5 percent growth in 2013 to 3 percent in 2015. The economy is forecast to expand by 4 percent annually over the next two years, assuming that global commodity prices will not drop any further.

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