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(Antigua Observer) The Antigua and Barbuda government will look to sort out concerns about LIAT’s flight routes when it meets with the company’s executives on Monday.

Based on a statement from Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst the government’s chief-of-staff, it would appear that the Browne-administration plans to use the airline’s recent request for financial assistance as leverage.

“We have a fundamental quarrel with LIAT and the way they have taken Antigua out of their flight path. Those are the issues that will be put on the table before any discussion can be had about money passing hands,” Hurst
disclosed during a cabinet press briefing on Thursday.

In what the government has described as LIAT’s “crazy” flight path, Hurst gave the example of a trip to San Juan entailing residents going to Dominica, where they layover for nearly four hours, before taking another LIAT flight that passed over Antigua en route to Puerto Rico.

“It’s just ridiculous what they have done,” he fumed.

Hurst spoke with this newspaper hours after Sir Robin Yearwood, Civil Aviation Minister, had told the Cabinet Wednesday, that the company has asked the government for a sum commensurate with its 34 percent shareholding, to meet debt obligations to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

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(Reuters) - Facebook Inc launched its Watch video service to all users on Thursday with plans to allow anyone to submit shows, as the No. 1 social media network takes on Alphabet Inc’s rival YouTube to boost advertising revenue.

The move comes as advertisers are increasingly shifting budgets from television to online as more viewers prefer to watch their favorite shows on their smartphones and tablets.

On Watch, which Facebook began testing earlier this month, more than 2 billion users can see hundreds of shows from the likes of Vox, Buzzfeed, Discovery Communications, Walt Disney & Co’s ABC as well as live sports like Major League Baseball.

Americans are spending over 73 minutes per day watching digital video, up more than 7 percent from last year, according to eMarketer data. TV watching has dropped 2 percent from last year to 244 minutes a day, a trend that is expected to continue.

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(Barbados Today) There is an increase in the number of tourists using package deals when travelling to the Caribbean, and one of the worlds most recognized travel companies wants the hotel industry to take advantage of this trend.

Expedia said not only were people less likely to cancel a package booking compared to hotel-only bookings, but the length of stay was usually longer.

A package refers to a combination of hotel, airfare and/or car bookings.

Senior Director of Resorts Lodging Partner Services Rafael del Castillo said during the 12-month period ending March 31, 2017, there was a 15 per cent increase in travellers booking packages to the Caribbean, when compared to the previous year.

While Barbados was not featured as one of the top destinations of choice for such bookings, del Castillo said the region was in a position to capitalize on the trend.

“In total, the top six package destination in the Caribbean were Punta Cana, San Juan, Montego Bay, Aruba, Ocho Rios and Paradise Island,” del Castillo said.

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(Jamaica Observer) Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw says that Jamaica is finally experiencing a budget surplus, after many years of budget deficits.

Speaking at a press briefing at his ministry on Friday, Shaw noted that the primary budget surplus for the last fiscal year had increased to $135.9 billion, which was $7.7 billion or six per cent above the targeted surplus.

“This strong budget performance has provided the Government with more funds for investing in the Jamaican people and future generations,” he noted.

Shaw's presentation at the briefing focused on the fact the Government's most recent debt-management exercise has enabled it to prepay some US$526 million in debt that was issued under the Jamaica Debt Exchange.

In return for raising those funds to meet the prepayment, Shaw explained that the Government was able to issue longer-term debts of US$869 million that will now mature in 2028 and 2045, instead of 2019 to 2025. He said that the outcome of his efforts was a strong indication from the international capital market that it recognises Jamaica's continuing sound economic reform results.

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(CMC) KINGSTON—Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw has been named Finance Minister of the year for the Caribbean by GlobalMarkets newspaper.

The publication focuses on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank annual meetings

Managing Editor of the publication, Toby Fildes, noted that Shaw has an impressive roster of economic reforms that was started by the previous Administration, which demonstrates Jamaica’s political stability.

“You have kept a tight hand on government spending–fiscal surplus is very high–which will help whittle down government debt,” Fildes said in a letter to the Minister, dated August 24.

The editor added that Jamaica had been cited as a stand-out performer on its fiscal targets and the new Government was now targeting faster growth.

“These measures are paying off. The Minister recently approached the market with a liability management exercise. In addition, the country’s ratings have been on the up since 2014, with Moody’s lifting the country to B3 in November,” he noted.

Shaw, in accepting the award on behalf of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the Government of Jamaica and the people, said he felt honoured and looks forward to collecting it in Washington DC in the United States in October.

Last year, GlobalMarkets recognised Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, as the 2016 Governor of the Year.

At that time, the newspaper’s editorial committee cited Wynter’s admirable stewardship during difficult times in the international financial markets, acknowledging him as a “well respected figure, who has been stable and solid amid change of Government”.

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