The Caribbean Association of Network and Telecommunications Operators - CANTO and its partners continue to serve Caribbean Youth by providing a platform dedicated for the advancement of our future Caribbean leaders. The CANTO Code 3.0 activity provides an opportunity for the leading Caribbean software designers, developers, entrepreneurs and innovators to represent their country by working together to develop a pre-identified business solution. This event is designed to engage the Caribbean youth, in stimulating Caribbean tech start-ups to gain exposure, provide expert advice on business development, and participation in the youth exhibition. Teams will be present "Pitch" their final solution to judges at the end of the competition.
The Forum promises to provide a fun, exciting and interactive experience that will not only captivate the minds of the Caribbean youth but also provide excellent networking opportunities. There will also be opportunities for participants to pitch ideas in front of investors and win prizes and giveaways.
Persons interesting in participating should register using the link in the show notes before 15th June.
AirBnB Signs First Tax Agreement In The Caribbean
The government of the US Virgin Islands and Airbnb have confirmed the first tax agreement in the Caribbean, which will allow the platform to collect the territory's 12.5 percent hotel room occupancy tax on behalf of hosts and remit the funds to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The agreement will also create a framework to help promote tourism to the US Virgin Islands, highlighting the cultural and historical heritage of this world-class destination.
Airbnb has been investing in partnerships in the region to support a thriving community of homeowners who are renting their spaces and creating new flows of local economic benefits.
Agreements have been signed with several countries and with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to create policy frameworks for this growing hospitality trend of home sharing. This announcement spearheads the company's efforts in the Caribbean to collect and remit lodging taxes on behalf of hosts, allowing hosts to comply and give back to their communities.
The governor of the US Virgin Islands, Kenneth E. Mapp, supported the agreement and noted that locals will increase their participation in the economic benefits of tourism.
"This is good for our Government because it streamlines the collection process and enables more of our residents to participate in the visitor industry. Our hospitality sector will also greatly benefit from the promotional reach of this multi-billion-dollar organization." Mapp said.
The agreement with Airbnb is a component of the Mapp-Potter administration's five-year plan to fully restore economic stability to the USVI government through economic growth, increased revenue collection and better resource management. It will help improve and diversify the tourism industry and create unique experiences for and by the locals of St Croix, St John and St Thomas and their visitors. Airbnb has about 2,000 active listings across the US Virgin Islands and a typical Airbnb host earns US$7,700 a year.
"Airbnb represents a supplemental income, which helps families pay their bills and improve their quality of life. As local hosts bring more tourism to the region, visitors get to know the country from an organic and more authentic point of view, spending in local businesses and services, as well as encouraging others to visit the islands as a result of their positive experience," said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb's public policy manager for the Caribbean and Central America.
Local authorities also pointed to the importance of the growth and diversification of tourism to the island and the improvement of tax collection for both hosts and government. "This agreement brings to the table a well-resourced partner to help with our efforts to attract people to our islands," observed Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
Marvin Pickering, Director of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue, said the additional revenue would be beneficial for the treasury. "This voluntary collection agreement for the hotel room tax provides the bureau with an additional resource to ensure that the tax is collected and remitted in a timely manner. We look forward to pursuing this additional avenue of increasing the tax revenue from Airbnb hosts as they participate in our territory's tax regime by fulfilling their filing and payment obligations."
BVI Urged To Heed Wake Up Call, Prioritize Cyber Security
The firm BDO BVI said the British Virgin Islands (BVI) should use the recent Wannacry malware outbreak as a wake-up call, adding that there is need for the territory to start giving priority to cyber security.
The recent attack was not the first, and BDO thinks is not likely to be the last. "This is another wake-up call for the BVI," said Ryan Geluk, Director in Audit and Technology Risk Services at BDO. "How many [attacks] do we need to finally give priority to cybersecurity?"
According to the company, the malware wannacry that is more than a week old, affected more than 230,000 computers over 150 countries, targeting unpatched Microsoft Windows.
"The malware hit many industries, most notably hospitals in the UK. It holds computers hostage and encrypts files on the affected network that can only be decrypted in exchange for bitcoins – an anonymous cyber currency."
"It infects users using phishing – a practice of sending malicious attachments or links by emails that look genuine or from a trusted source to trick the user into infecting their machine. By opening the attachment or clicking on the link, the ransomware installs on the system and propagates itself to other networks," BDO further said in a media release.
Guy-Paul Dubois, Manager of Technology Risk Services at the company, stated that such attacks have been profitable for cyber criminals, adding that history has been repeating itself.
"The same thing happened with the Conficker malware years ago. Another similar attack may affect us in the near future as it is so profitable for cyber criminals," Dubois said.
BDO added that, so far, "little is known" as to how many users were affected in the BVI by the recent malware. "We urge everyone to keep their systems up-to-date," said Dubois. "The patch from Microsoft has been available since March 2017 and just takes a few minutes to install."
BDO further said Microsoft already released an emergency patch for anyone still using older operating system such as Windows XP, 8 and Windows Server 2003, which are not supported anymore.