International Business Sector Vital to Barbados’ Economy
The contribution of this island’s international business sector to the social and economic development of Barbados is not to be underestimated. Minister of Industry and International Business, Donville Inniss, made this assertion recently while addressing a Corporate Trust and Service Providers seminar in the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre. The Minister told his audience that quantitatively, the sector contributed over BDS $900 million annually to the economy, which, he noted, ranked second to the contributions made by the tourism industry. Mr. Inniss quipped: “… I often argue with my dear friend and colleague Richard Sealy that the country gets a better return on its investment in international business and financial services than we do in tourism. I suspect that for every dollar that the government spends in the sector, they probably get a lot more than $2 back. And certainly for every dollar we earn in foreign exchange I suspect perhaps that 75 cents stays in Barbados. “This is not to suggest that there is any war between tourism and international business – we need both of them. But, no one can discount the immense contribution that this sector makes to the economy of Barbados.” Mr. Inniss maintained that service providers were quite aware of the contribution of how the sector benefited the economy and pointed to fees charged by companies, and jobs created and sustained by the sector. However, the Minister said he wanted Barbadians to be aware that indirectly, a significant number of workers could trace their employment back to the contribution of the international business sector. He added: “Those who work in the banking industry, those working in the various law firms and those who are employed in ancillary services are really benefiting from this very important sector. “As for you our valuable partners in the corporate trust and service providers arena…if the international business sector is really to move up the ranks and stay there, we recognise that we needed to have a cadre of professionals and companies who are appropriately licensed and regulated to ensure that we maintain a high level of professionalism.” He reminded the gathering that they were the gatekeepers of the sector and were instrumental in the attraction and retention of businesses. Article compliments Invest Barbados and GIS.
Financial Institutions Put New Limits on Foreign Exchange in Trinidad and Tobago
At the height of a foreign currency crunch in Trinidad and Tobago, two financial institutions have announced new limits on foreign exchange to the public. The T&T Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) has implemented disbursement limits on its TT-dollar Income Fund Visa Electron card. In a statement, the UTC said there was “limited access” to foreign exchange in the external environment it operates in and, therefore, “the UTC has taken a decision to introduce daily and monthly limits on the international usage of the TT-dollar Income fund Visa Electron card.” UTC said daily and monthly limits on the international usage of the TT-dollar Income Fund Visa Electron Card include for “daily international ATM transactions-TT$1,000 (approximately US$147 which fluctuates based on daily rate.) Daily international Point of Sale transactions-TT$5,000 (approximately US$735 which fluctuates based on daily rate. Monthly limit of TT$20,000 (approximately US$2,940 which fluctuates based on daily rate).” JMMB Bank has also followed suit, citing what it called a “precipitous” decline in the availability of US dollars in T&T. Not only did JMMB cap transactions concerning purchases or withdrawals outside of T&T with not only US currency, but all currency types. The bank told customers that “the drastic reduction in the supply of foreign exchange has impacted, and will continue to impact our ability to facilitate your online purchases from international vendors, overseas withdrawals at ATMs, and international Point of Sale (POS) purchases. “As a result, a foreign currency limit equivalent to TT$3,500 per month will be effective from October 29, 2017 for all foreign currency online transactions including wire transfers and international point of sale purchases.” It added that customers would not be able to access foreign currency cash via ATMs but their TT-dollar limits would not be impacted. Article compliments Caribbean 360.com
UK investigates Brexit campaign funding amid speculation of Russian meddling
LONDON – Britain’s Electoral Commission is investigating whether a leading anti-EU campaigner breached referendum finance rules, after speculation mounted that Russia may have meddled in the Brexit vote. Arron Banks, a major donor to the anti-EU campaign who was pictured with Donald Trump and leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage outside a gilded elevator soon after Trump’s 2016 U.S. presidential election victory, denied the allegations. The Electoral Commission, which is already looking at whether Banks’ pro-Brexit Leave.EU group received any impermissible donations, said its new investigation would examine whether he was the true source of loans to a campaigner. The investigation cannot overturn the referendum, though Banks, a 51-year-old insurance tycoon, said it was an attempt by the “Remain establishment” to discredit the Brexit result. “Allegations of Brexit being funded by the Russians … are complete bollocks [rubbish] from beginning to end,” Banks said in an emailed statement, signing off “nostrovia”, a version of “na zdorovye”, Russian for “cheers!”. When asked about the investigation, Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament: “We take very seriously issues of Russian intervention, or Russian attempts to intervene, in electoral processes or in the democratic processes of any country.” The announcement of the investigation comes after Ben Bradshaw, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party, asked the government to look into reports by advocacy group Open Democracy that the origin of some campaign funds was unclear. Bradshaw said he was also concerned about what he said were significant British connections in the U.S. investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to meddle in the presidential election. Russia denies meddling in Brexit or the U.S. election and Trump denies any collusion with Russia. In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million votes, or 51.9 percent of votes cast, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million votes, or 48.1 percent of votes cast, backed staying, a result that defied opinion polls. VOTER CONFIDENCE The Electoral Commission, which did not mention Russia, said it was looking at whether a company called Better for the Country Limited (BFTCL) – of which Banks was a director – was the true source of donations made to campaigners. BFTCL was not registered as a permitted participant in the referendum but five registered campaigning groups reported receiving donations from it totalling 2.4 million pounds, the Commission said. Banks, who was a registered permitted participant, gave three non-commercial loans to Leave.EU, totalling 6 million pounds. Participants in the referendum were only allowed to accept donations from donors that conformed to a strict set of rules, for example, they could not be based outside the UK. The Commission said in April it was investigating Leave. EU’s funding as well as looking at whether its spending return was complete. “Questions over the legitimacy of funding provided to campaigners at the referendum risks causing harm to voters’ confidence,” said Bob Posner, director of political finance and regulation at the Commission. “It is therefore in the public interest that the Electoral Commission seeks to ascertain whether or not impermissible donations were given to referendum campaigners and if any other related offences have taken place,” he said. The Commission has the power to impose fines and other sanctions if it finds rules were broken. Article compliments Reuters.