Understanding the Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF)
Acting Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Michelle Doyle-Lowe recently sat down with Public Affairs Officer, Novaline Brewster to discuss the new Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF) and how it will be implemented: Click here to view the video (Link to Central Bank).
Switzerland Interested In Closer Ties
Ambassador of Switzerland to Barbados, Mr. Didier Chassot has presented his credentials to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean. According to the Ambassador, Switzerland was committed to strengthening its relationships in the region and its plans for Barbados included collaborating on matters related to tourism and cultural affairs. He also expressed a desire to offer assistance in the implementation of relevant monitoring systems that would ensure the protection and preservation of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Senator McClean agreed and added that Barbados was also interested in deepening bilateral relations in the area of tourism, as well as education and training opportunities for students and teachers. She said that the Government of Barbados was also desirous of negotiating a new Double Taxation Agreement with Switzerland, given the outdated status of the current one which was signed between the United Kingdom and Switzerland in 1954. Barbados and the Swiss Confederation established formal diplomatic ties on March 4, 1980. Article compliments BGIS
FSC Appoints New CEO
FSC’s newly appointed CEO, Kester Guy (second from left) is being congratulated by chairman, Sir Frank Alleyne. Looking on are fellow Board commissioners Lawson Yearwood (third from left) and Basil Murray. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has a new chief executive officer. Kester Guy, who was acting in the post since January this year, has been given a clear mandate by the FSC Board of Commissioners to head the local regulatory body. Chairman of FSC, Sir Frank Alleyne, made the official announcement to staff on Tuesday morning indicating that Guy had been fully endorsed by the commissioners as “the right person to take FSC forward”. Sir Frank explained to the over 50 staff members gathered to welcome their new CEO, that the process of selection was very extensive. “We hold the view that the most important decision the Board will make in relation to staff is the choice of CEO. We used the most modern methods available to us and after careful scrutiny, made a recommendation that has now been confirmed by Cabinet,” said Sir Frank. Guy, who moves from his substantive post of deputy CEO, Supervision & Regulation, is the second Board-appointed CEO at FSC. He is a career regulator and economist with an extensive background in research and quantitative analysis. His most recent post before joining FSC was that of assistant director at the Central Bank of Barbados. He has also held the post of CEO of Barbados Deposit Insurance Cooperation, senior economist at the Central Bank of Barbados and economist at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Article compliments the Financial Services Commission,
BARBADOS’ BILATERAL TREATY NETWORK AS AT JULY 17th, 2017
Please see following updated version of Barbados’ Bilateral Treaty Network as at July 17th, 2017 with the most recent update highlighted. Barbados’ Bilateral Treaty Network 17-07-2017
Canada Values Barbados Relationship
“Canada values its long-standing and current relationship with Barbados”. This was the assurance given by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development of Canada, Celina Caesar-Chavannes to Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean during a recent courtesy call held in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael. The Canadian official stated that her country continues to value its bilateral relations and is “sensitive to the vulnerabilities of small island states”. She stressed that her presence represented Canadas’s dedication to listening and understanding the challenges with which the island is faced, and also to discuss any possible opportunities which could arise, for future collaborations. Senator McClean shared that one of the challenges Barbados, and many countries in the region continued to face, were their vulnerability to unpredictable weather patterns, and extended weather, which can and has previously wreaked havoc on many countries in the region. Speaking to their bilateral relationship, she reiterated the strength of their good relations and maintained that the Government of Barbados is appreciative of their past and present collaborations. The Foreign Minister also told the Parliamentary Secretary about the Ministry’s hopes to collaborate in business opportunities which “have the potential for significant growth”, highlighting Science Technology, as one such area. The two officials also discussed the recently concluded 2017 G20 Hamburg summit and pledged to explore further areas for possible collaboration. Article compliments BGIS.
BIBA Charity Praised For Health Care Support
Health Minister John Boyce has praised the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) and its partners for their continued commitment to the strengthening of the health care system in Barbados. Speaking today at a presentation ceremony of two autoclave machines by BIBA to the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic in Warrens, Mr. Boyce disclosed that over the last five years, BIBA had donated more than BDS$350 000 in equipment and educational materials to the island’s polyclinics. Today’s donation, valued at BDS$40 000, is part of a $168 000 commitment to the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic. The two major donors were Chancery Reinsurance Limited and Shell Western. The Health Minister said that the new equipment would augment the Polyclinic’s infection control programme, noting that proper sterilisation of medical devices, instruments and supplies used in the direct care of patients was a critical aspect of the primary health care delivery system. He disclosed that other equipment which would be provided to the Polyclinic through the charity’s future fundraising efforts included Vital Signs Monitors and OB/GYN equipment and instruments. The equipment earmarked for the Polyclinic was outlined in a prospectus developed by the polyclinic and BIBA last year. Mr. Boyce said that the healthcare system faced many challenges that revolved not only around financing, but also an aging infrastructure and the pursuit of costly advances in treatments and appropriate health technology. There were also higher operating expenses, he added, especially associated with the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases and the impact of violence and road traffic accidents. “The Government of Barbados continues, despite all the challenges, to strive to provide the highest affordable quality health care possible and guarantee universal access to health care. “Our commitment to healthcare delivery, along with philanthropic contributions such as this one, is emerging as a significant means by which our healthcare system can enhance the availability of resources,” the Minister of Health concluded. Article compliments BGIS.
Barbados joins “Inclusive Framework on BEPS” to work on international tax issues
Barbados has become the 101st jurisdiction to join the “Inclusive Framework on BEPS,” which is a group of countries that have pledged to implement measures aimed at preventing tax avoidance by multinationals and improving tax dispute resolution, reports mnetax.com These measures were designed by OECD and G20 countries in the 2015 base erosion profit shifting (BEPS) project. The OECD also said the first progress report produced by the Inclusive Framework will be published tomorrow. The Inclusive Framework was established in January 2016, after the G20 leaders urged the timely implementation of the BEPS package. Article compliments IFC Review.
New Foreign Exchange Fee Contains Exemptions for IBFS Sector
The new Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF), the two percent commission on foreign currency purchases and payments that was first announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler during his presentation at the 2017 Statement of Estimates and Budgetary Proposals in May, will include exemptions for entities in the International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) Sector. A guidance note issued at the end of June by the Central Bank of Barbados, which is overseeing the implementation, said that the FXF would not apply to“transactions from foreign currency accounts held by the international business and financial services sector”. The same note outlined the timelines for the implementation of the new fee: over-the-counter purchases of foreign currency, including cash and bank drafts, and payments of wire transfers will become subject to the FXF from July 17, 2017; while the fee would be applied to foreign transactions made using personal or corporate credit cards, debit cards and pre-paid travel cards from September 1, 2017. According to the Central Bank, the staggered rollout is to allow commercial banks and other financial institutions a longer window to adjust their computer systems. The Central Bank also provided specifics about when and how the fee will apply, notably that it will only be on foreign currency purchases and outbound foreign currency transactions and not on incoming funds, so deposits of foreign currency and foreign currency being converted to Barbados dollars will not be subject to the fee. In addition, the Bank confirmed that the FXF will be calculated on the Barbadian value of the transaction, and that it will not affect annual foreign currency allowances. The full guidance note, along with additional information about the Foreign Exchange Fee can be found at www.centralbank.org.bb/foreign-exchange/foreignexchangefee.
Barbados attains “largely compliant” ranking by OECD’s Global Forum
Barbados was recognized by the OECD’s Global Forum as a transparent and highly cooperative jurisdiction- receiving the ranking of “largely compliant” during 2016. The OECD’s Global Forum is the highest global authority on transparency and the exchange of information for tax purposes. For context regarding Barbados’ “largely compliant” ranking by the OECD’s Global Forum, other nations with the same “largely compliant” ranking include: Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Additionally, Barbados recorded a net addition of 11 captive insurance entities for the fiscal year ended March 2017 – raising its total from 235 captives in 2015/2016 to 246 captives in 2016/2017. Though Barbados serves a truly international market, approximately 81% of the companies originated from either Canada or the USA. “As evidenced by the steady growth in new captive insurance registrations, it is clear that Barbados retains its status as a preferred jurisdiction in which to conduct international business”, said Senator, the Honorable Darcy Boyce, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Energy, Immigration, Telecommunication and Invest Barbados. “The reasons for such growth are clear. Barbados has long been recognised for its network of double taxation agreements, transparency, strong regulatory environment, forward thinking legislation, world-class infrastructure, a well-educated labour force and its ability to foster international trade.” “We will maintain our focus on the enhancement of Barbados’ ability to legally and ethically facilitate international trade – trade that brings prosperity to all nations that choose to participate in the global economy. Importantly too, we will continue to encourage the creation of businesses of substance,” affirmed Senator Boyce. Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Sandals on Track to Open Second Barbados Hotel This Winter
Leading Caribbean all-inclusive resort Sandals says it’s on track to roll out a “game changer” in Barbados this winter season. Sandals Royal Barbados will open the red carpet to luxury and indulgence when it opens the doors to the new 502-room property just before Christmas. It will be the second Sandals resort in the island. “Sandals Royal Barbados is progressing as it should and will most certainly be open and ready to welcome its first guests, as promised, on December 20,” says hotel magnate Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. Guests are in for a treat of extravagance at the property, which will offer 222 concierge and butler-level suites, and an extensive crystal lagoon pool complex including swim-up suites. Amenities will include the brand’s very first gentlemen’s only barber shop; a full-service, 15,000-square foot spa; four bars; and five signature dining establishments, including French, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines, as well as new American and Asian-fusion concepts. The new property, which is adjacent to its sister Sandals Barbados on Dover Beach on the island’s south coast, will also introduce the brand’s first-ever rooftop infinity pool, as well as an entertainment pavilion featuring a bowling alley, living room and game room that Stewart says were designed to foster on-demand entertainment. The resort will also have a 6,000-square foot conference facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Local tourism officials are excited about the prospects. “An established brand such as Sandals inspires great confidence in Barbados as a destination as we promote our island’s diverse, high calibre product offerings around the world,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. William ‘Billy’ Griffith. “We are certain that this latest addition to our product profile will bring even more benefits to our tourism economy and we anticipate that this will augment our marketing efforts in all of our major source markets.” Article compliments Caribbean360.
Multifaceted partnership key to strong diplomatic relations with Canada
BARBADOS and Canada have always enjoyed a strong partnership. This was the key message that Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart delivered to those present at the 150th birthday celebrations of Canada on Saturday night. He acknowledged the relationship saying that from humble beginnings more than 50 years ago, Canada was one of the first nations that Barbados established diplomatic relations with upon attaining its independence. Later, High Commissions were set up in their respective countries, first a Barbados High Commission in Canada in 1967, which was then reciprocated when Canada established a High Commission here in 1973. “Over the years, the relations between Barbados and Canada have expanded to encompass a wide variety of areas and we are now partners in a multifaceted enterprise of economic, political and cultural cooperation,” PM Stuart said. The two countries continued to build on this relationship where by the mid-1970s, Canada emerged as the No.1 source market for visitor arrivals. He continued, “By the 1980s the partnership between Canada and the region as a whole had strengthened to such an extent that the Commonwealth Caribbean was designated as an area of priority in Canadian foreign policy. The designation was accompanied by a commitment to the doubling of development assistance to the region, from which of course Barbados was destined to benefit.” The Prime Minister stated that this relationship continues even today with many Barbadians choosing to pursue tertiary level studies and other opportunities in that North American country. Adding that “For our part, not only have we welcomed visitors from Canada in a steady stream over the years, but we have also embraced Canadians – just shy of 12 000 of them who now call Barbados home. This kinship between Barbados and Canada is a credit to both of us.” He said that later this year, on September 24, the Barbados High Commission in Ottawa will join in the year-long celebrations of this milestone event, which would also celebrate Canada’s diversity in an event dubbed, ‘Ottawa Welcomes the World.’ Article compliments the Barbados Advocate.
New Foreign Exchange Fee to take effect from Mid-July
The two percent (2%) fee on purchases of foreign currency that was first announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, during the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals will now go into effect for cash, bank drafts and wire transfers on Monday, July 17, 2017. Credit, debit and travel cards will become subject to the fee from September 1. The fee, which was initially supposed to be in place from July 1, is intended to raise revenue for the Government. Central Bank of Barbados Acting Governor, Cleviston Haynes, whose organisation will oversee the rollout of the fee, explained that the delay is to allow the public to become familiar with the new fee. “These additional two weeks will give us the opportunity to educate Barbadians about the Foreign Exchange Fee so that they are clear on what types of transactions it relates to and how it will be applied. This will help to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly introduction of the FXF.” Haynes revealed that the extended lead time for credit, debit and travel cards is to allow commercial banks and other credit card providers a longer window to adjust their computer systems. “We have been in consultation with The Barbados Bankers Association and, based on their feedback, we will provide them with additional time to complete the work that needs to be done so that cardholders will be able to clearly identify what portion of their payment for foreign purchases is due to the FXF.” The FXF will be applied to the Barbados value of the foreign currency transaction. From July 17, persons buying US$500 in cash at a rate of 2.02857 will pay $1,034.57 instead of $1,014.30, as shown below: US Value Exchange Rate BBD Value FXF (2%) Total Payment $ 500.00 2.02857 $1,014.30 20.29 $1,034.57 All persons conducting purchases of foreign currency will be required to pay the FXF, except residents and non-residents making payments from their foreign currency accounts, including entities in the International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) sector. The FXF is also not applicable to foreign currency sales related to the settlement of transactions for the bulk purchase of petroleum, diesel or jet fuel, where documentary evidence has been provided to the authorised dealer. In the coming days the Bank will carry out a public education campaign. We will be placing pamphlets in the commercial banks and other key locations; we will be producing videos that will be broadcast on television and posted on our social media channels; and of course, our website will have detailed information on every aspect of the FXF. In addition, we encourage anyone who has questions about the fee to contact the Central Bank. The Bank also issued a guidance note to the new Foreign Exchange Fee. Press Release compliments the Central Bank of Barbados.
National Cyber Security Strategy Coming
A National Cybersecurity Strategy, aimed at providing robust cyber defence frameworks and systems, is currently being devised for Barbados. Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications, Senator Darcy Boyce, says the need for such a strategy was now “critical and urgent”, as Barbados faced the challenges posed by cybercrime and the changing nature of cyber threats. Addressing the opening ceremony of the first ever National Internet Governance Forum for Barbados, Senator Boyce noted: “We are now dealing with a new form of organised cybercrime aimed at financial gains, with an expansion of the types of threats to various platforms and to various countries. “Spam has evolved to become a vehicle for delivering more dangerous payloads such as the dissemination of viruses, worms and Trojans that are today a means for online financial fraud, identity or trade-secret theft, as well as various other forms of cyber threats.” Senator Boyce also highlighted the challenges being posed by drones, stating that while they provided tremendous commercial benefits in areas such as surveying and mapping, security and aerial photography, there was also the potential for infringement of safety and invasion of privacy. The Telecommunications Minister assured his audience that while some preliminary work had already been done in respect of the proposed National Cybersecurity Strategy, Government intended to involve all stakeholders in the framing of the initiative. Assistance will also be sought from international partners who had done work in this area, he added. He explained that the new framework will include a revision and revamping of legislation to provide the required security, including work on the Computer Misuse Act, the Electronic Transactions Act, the Telecommunications Act and the Copyright Act. New legislation might also have to be put in place, he stated. Article compliments GIS.
Players in the renewable sector should have no fear
In a few weeks time major and minor players in the renewable energy sector, including the Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd., will know exactly where they stand as it relates to the new taxes, and they can look forward to workarounds. This assurance came from Senator The Hon. Darcy Boyce, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Energy, Telecommunications, Immigration and Invest Barbados. Speaking to Loop News on the sidelines after a signing ceremony at government headquarters, he said that they have found a number of “ways to get around any breaking that the National Social Responsibility Levy might impose on the sector”. But he did not share the exact measures or plans. He said: “We can do it, and when the Minister of Finance has made his decision as to how he is going to do it then we’ll decide the ways to execute, but we do have a couple of ways so the people in the sector still are able to maintain the profitability that they want.” Knowing that discussions with the Minister are priority, he said that meetings are set to get the questions and concerns expressed by persons in the sector answered since the Budget was laid and with the new Foreign Exchange Commission and raised National Social Responsibility Levy set to be implemented from July 1, 2017. “We will soon have the decisions from the Ministry of Finance on these charges. Once we get that, then we will figure out what we do but rest assured they’re gonna, we are going to find a way that the momentum isn’t reduced. It’s only going to be another week or two before they know how we are going to go and we will find ways to deal with that, to deal with matter.” Therefore he told players in the renewable energy sector to remain committed and to those thinking to enter the sector, “I would still encourage them. We want them to come in and we’ll find a way to get them in.” Noting that the discussions are still ongoing, the Barbados Light and Power Company Ltd. a player in the energy field said that until the meetings conclude, they cannot say how their consumers will be impacted. Asked if persons can expect raised prices in terms of their electricity bills, Managing Director of the Barbados Light and Power, Roger Blackman said that he cannot comment specifically at this point in time, “but we should be able to do so soon.” He explained the reason for the delay, saying, “We are still having discussions. As you would have heard there were some meetings earlier in the week with the minister and we’re continuing to have those discussions to understand exactly what is the impact.” The signing ceremony was for the Government’s Energy Efficient Retrofit of Public Streetlights under the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme. The signatories were Senator Boyce and Light and Power’s Managing Director, Roger Blackman. The programme is being funded collectively by the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Commission. Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
Barbados to have ‘world’s first’ beach departure lounge
Virgin Holidays has revealed plans to open a ‘Departure Beach’ facility for holidaymakers looking to get every last bit of enjoyment out of their vacation in Barbados. With a May 2018 completion date, the facility will be located at Brownes Beach in Carlisle Bay – approximately 15 km away from the Grantley Adams International Airport. Nicki Goldsmith, head of Caribbean and worldwide product at Virgin Holidays, said: “Virgin Holidays has consistently launched ‘world-first’ concepts, and this latest innovation is no different. We believe that a holiday should be a pleasure from beginning to end and have been working hard to ensure we’ve removed as many pain points as possible for our customers. We can’t wait to launch this very exciting development next year, and hope our customers are as excited about it as we are.” Noting that hotel check-out times often force travellers to spend much of their last day on holiday at the airport, Virgin Holidays says the Departure Beach will offer a much more relaxing alternative. The service includes hotel pick-up after breakfast, with check-in luggage being taken directly to the airport. Travellers can check in and receive the boarding pass for their flight at the Departure Beach facility. Entry costs £20 per adult and £15 per child and covers food, soft drinks, tea and coffee, transfers to and from Departure Beach, bag drop facility, showers and changing rooms, and an air-conditioned lounge with plasma screens, a gaming area and complimentary WiFi that extends along the beach. Cheryl Carter, UK director of Barbados Tourism Marketing, said: “Virgin Holidays is the largest British tour operator to Barbados with daily Virgin Atlantic flights departing from London Gatwick and multiple flights each week from Manchester and London Heathrow. We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen Barbados to pioneer such a revolutionary concept – and as it’s situated on one of the most picturesque beaches on the island why would you choose to waste that last day of your holiday?” Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.
Prince Edward Island Encouraged to Use Barbados as Gateway to Region
Minister of International Business and Commerce Donville Inniss has encouraged businesses from Canada’s Prince Edward Island to use Barbados as a gateway to other markets in the Eastern Caribbean. Welcoming the ninth consecutive Prince Edward Island delegation recently, Inniss advised the business executives not to restrict their interests to Barbados, but also to take advantage of other trade opportunities in the region. At a Champers restaurant reception for the visiting trade delegation, it was disclosed that the Caribbean represented a market value of CAN$20 million annually in merchandise exported from Prince Edward Island. Inniss, who has already led a trade mission to Prince Edward Island, said Barbados in turn was looking to expand its trade with the Canadian province. Inniss commended Canada’s smallest province for its decision to be bold and step out into the world. He noted the “culture of entrepreneurship” fostered by the small province which he observed was reaping dividends for Prince Edward Island. “I think that there is a lesson for us in Barbados to learn from that,” he said, pointing to the similarities between the two islands. “We recognise that we have to go beyond our physical borders if we are really to grow and develop our economies and society. “You from Canada want to sell us your goods and we welcome that, but we also want to sell you a few of our niche products from here in Barbados…. We also want to help you to go global,” the minister stated while flagging Barbados’ corporate structures, an avenue through which he suggested the Canadian businesses could gain a comparative advantage in international markets. The trade mission, organised with the support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Innovation PEI and the High Commission of Canada to Barbados, was made up of ten companies representing Canadian expertise in agrifood, education and training, information and communication technology, professional services and safety and industrial protective garments. Over the course of the month Barbados will be a hub for the Canadian group’s meetings in various jurisdictions in the Eastern Caribbean. Adapted from the Nation Newspaper
Barbados and Cyprus Signs Double Taxation Agreement
Cyprus and the Caribbean island-state of Barbados signed a double tax avoidance and prevention of tax evasion treaty on Wednesday, the finance ministry said. “The agreed text will contribute to the development of commercial and financial ties between Cyprus and Barbados, as well as other countries,” the finance ministry said in an emailed statement on Thursday. Evripides Evriviades, High Commissioner to the UK, and his Barbadian peer Guy Hewitt signed the agreement, which is based on the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development model convention for the avoidance of double taxation on income and capital, the ministry said. It added that agreements of this type are of “paramount importance” for attracting foreign investment and promoting Cyprus as an international business centre. Barbados currently has 37 double taxation agreements in force, a further six awaiting ratification including with Cyprus, and three that have been initialled and are awaiting signature. Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Breakthrough for Bitt
A new partnership with an American counterpart to offer a new central bank product could be a solution to the banking and derisking challenges in Barbados. Barbados based Bitt Inc., the architect of blockchain and distributed ledger-based technology, infrastructure for inter-bank transactions and cash digitisation systems for central banks, has joined forces with Netki, a provider of open source and open standards compliance solutions for blockchains. The two companies say they will be providing the first production platform for central banks using Netki’s digital identity service. Bitt and Netki use a blockchain based central bank digital currency issuance that has the potential to modernise the financial system of the Caribbean region, creating a stronger framework for payment and settlement. Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Gabriel Abed said: “Bitt joined forces with Netki as part of our ongoing initiative to bolster compliance efforts and provide an effective means for all people, including under-banked individuals to engage in the global economy through digital payments that are low-cost, secure, easy to use and highly efficient.” “Correspondent banks have derisked some local Caribbean banks based on perceived higher risk and lower returns. This prevents these local Caribbean banks from having access to foreign markets and also hurts merchants and customers who are unable to access foreign banks and financial institutions,” added Bitt President and co-founder Oliver Gale. Justin Newton, Netki CEO spoke on the importance of the project, “…with a digital identity standard in place, financial institutions can realise the benefits of blockchain, expand their service offerings and market coverage”. A relationship already exists between Bitt and Netki. Bitt uses the digital identity service with its mobile wallet, merchant processor, teller, ATM, debit card, and exchange. Adapted from the Barbados Nation Newspaper
Senior Economist Named New Acting CBB Deputy Governor
The Central Bank of Barbados today named Michelle Doyle-Lowe as acting Deputy Governor, effective June 2, 2017. “I feel both honoured and humbled to have been asked to serve in this capacity. I intend to employ my experience, knowledge and energy attained from my two decades of working in critical areas at the Bank to move us forward on various initiatives,” Doyle-Lowe stated. Doyle-Lowe, a career central banker, joined the Bank as an Economist in 1997 and she has held the posts of Deputy Director, Banking, Currency and Investments, Adviser to the Governor, and most recently Director of Research and Economic Analysis Department. She has contributed significantly to the formulation of policy as well as to the management of public debt, the reserves and financial sector development. Doyle Lowe has also garnered immense exposure to the Bank’s operations, including the oversight of its payment systems and more recently she expanded her depth of knowledge and experience while serving as the Bank’s chief liaison with regional and multilateral agencies, and as the principal coordinator of the Government of Barbados’ bond issuance on the capital market. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) since 2005, Doyle-Lowe also possesses a B.Sc. (Hons) Economics from the University of the West Indies and an M.Phil. in International Finance from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. Doyle-Lowe, a longstanding member of the Barbados Economic Society, replaces Elson Gaskin who has returned to his substantive post of Bank Secretary. Article compliments the Central Bank of Barbados.
New fund pushing green investments
BARBADOS AND OTHER countries financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are getting help to link their investments to climate goals. This followed an IDB decision to approve the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Pipeline Accelerator Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ACL). This is a new instrument to increase support for enhancing the planning, design and preparation of infrastructure projects and portfolios. The ACL will help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean align public and private-sector investments with their national commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement (referred to as NDCs) and sustainable development objectives. The ACL has been initially funded with €10 million from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). The ACL, the second component of the recently launched IDB Group’s NDC Invest platform, will focus on supporting public and private partners throughout the project cycle, with an emphasis on upstream policies and planning and other pre-investment activities to integrate sustainability into project design and assessments. It will cover the additional costs associated with ensuring that projects are planned, designed and executed to be sustainable – in terms of low-carbon emissions and climate resilience, in addition to other social, fiscal and environmental sustainability objectives. Among other key activities, the ACL will finance studies or action plans to incorporate sustainability in procurement practices; detailed engineering designs, climate risk assessments, resilience integration plans, and feasibility studies of technologies or financing schemes for sustainable projects or portfolios; and application of pilot approaches, tools, and sustainability standards. “Enhanced support mechanisms are an important foundation for efforts to increase the sustainability of investments,” said Bernardo Guillamón, manager of the IDB’s Office of Outreach and Partnerships. “NDF’s partnership in this space is essential to facilitating the identification and planning of bankable projects, and will help to mobilise financial resources from global markets for advancing NDCs.” The new instrument forms part of the IDB Group’s strategy to help fund investment to fill the region’s sustainable infrastructure gap. (SC/PR)
Barbados and Canada sign amended air accord
The governments of Barbados and Canada Tuesday signed a reciprocal air transport agreement, which gives designated carriers from both countries “the flexibility to operate without directional or geographical limitations”. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, who initialed the agreement at her Ministry’s Culloden Road, St Michael offices, along with Canada’s High Commissioner Marie Legault, said the accord should also redound to increased airlift and more long stay visitors from Canada, which is the island’s single largest source market for international business. “The evidence is there that there is a renewed commitment on both our parts to ensure not only that our visitor arrivals increase, but also to facilitate the business transactions that take place between our countries,” McClean said. The new pact replaces the original air services agreement signed between Barbados and Canada in 1985. High Commissioner Legault agreed with Senator McClean that air connectivity was crucial to the promotion of trade and investment between the two countries. “In 2013, 50,000 people came just with Air Canada and in three years we were able to increase that to 81,000 people . . . and it’s increasing every year. So, an instrument like this is essential to make sure there are no barriers between our countries,” Legault said.
Fertility Clinic Encourages Further Medical Tourism Thrust
The Medical Fertility Centre (BFC) has been the island’s leading proponent of medical tourism for the past 15 years, annually attracting hundreds of visitors from the United States, United Kingdom and the Caribbean. The Eastern Caribbean’s lone internationally accredited fertility facility has put Barbados on the map, and is now helping more Barbadians and non-nationals alike to have families. The centre provides egg and embryo freezing, sperm injection, ovulation induction, and intra-uterine insemination. Patients not only receive internationally recognised and accredited treatment, but also spend holidays in Barbados while seeing professionals at the BFC as part of a special package deal. Medical tourism is one of the areas of Barbados’ services economy that needs to be paid some serious attention. That’s the view of Dr. Juliet Skinner and Anna Hosford, co-founders of the Barbados Fertility Centre. They want to see other health-care stakeholders jump on the medical tourism bandwagon as well, and engage in cluster marketing, which would allow the country to better advertise itself as a provider of varied medical care to persons also wishing to travel to a holiday destination. “The fringe tourism markets can only improve, and it’s them that can help protect the ones which are under threat,” Skinner, the centre’s consultant gynaecologist, told the SUNDAY Sun in a recent interview. She believes medical tourism remains the reason the centre’s doors have remained open over the years, and other medical departments need to follow suit. “Without medical tourism, it would not have been financially feasible to have an IVF facility,” Skinner admits. “People thought this would have taken away from local tourism, but it’s the opposite. It adds to it.” Hosford said that Barbados’ reputation as an island paradise was at the forefront of the country becoming a medical tourism leader. “Barbados sells itself,” the Irish clinic director said. “The island is so attractive, and then if you can provide that combined with good medical care, that’s a complete package.” “When we first set this up we had huge Government support and they saw our vision. What we would like to see is other medical tourism products coming to Barbados. It has so much potential for all the reasons Barbados sells itself.” Skinner said the BFC had been the medical tourism flagship carrier for a long time, but that needed to change. “There are areas like orthopaedics, cosmetics, which can make their mark.” Hosford said collaboration is the key to Barbados making a bigger dent in medical tourism. “The future is private medical tourism bodies and hospitals coming here in collaboration with the Government and bring a joint view,” she added. The pair said they believe customers, including those who have returned for repeat cycles if not successful in getting pregnant the first time around, believe in the BFC mostly because of individualised care, and that had allowed the facility to prosper. “We are competing with the world. These people can go almost anywhere for this treatment, and they have chosen Barbados.” “It’s about 15 per cent from Barbados, and the other 85 per cent from overseas,” Skinner revealed about their customer base. “Overall the numbers have increased because our clinic is successful, and more people have shared that both locally and regionally.” (Adapted from the Nation Newspaper) Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Initiatives To Improve Customs & Immigration
Passengers using Barbados’ ports of entry should soon see an improvement in the time it takes to get through Customs and Immigration. Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Darcy Boyce, today announced a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring “quick though secure passage through border control”. Speaking at the opening of a border security training workshop for Immigration and Customs officers, Senator Boyce said that shift systems at the ports of entry would be redesigned to ensure that the Customs and Immigration counters were fully staffed during peak periods. In addition, he has asked that discussions be held with the Ministry of the Civil Service and trade unions to facilitate the process. The Ministry is also continuing to work on an initiative which involves the installation of 14 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in the Arrivals Hall at the Grantley Adams International Airport, aimed at significantly decreasing the waiting times of arriving passengers in the terminal. The kiosks, which, according to the Minister, are expected to be activated later this year, will give passengers the option of inputting the required Customs and Immigration information electronically. International airports using the system have reported a 40 to 50 per cent drop in the wait times, Senator Boyce told his audience. Another initiative expected to help improve security and processing times, the Minister revealed, related to the provision of advanced passenger information by carriers coming into Barbados, and the Ministry was working to ensure that this was effectively provided. He added that work was also ongoing on a project to provide technology which would enable the Customs Department to improve and increase surveillance of luggage and cargo in less time in order to improve security and increase facilitation. Senator Boyce told the workshop participants that relevant training also remained a priority and, in addition to the current workshop, other training opportunities were forthcoming in areas such as fraudulent document detection and e-passports. The week-long border security workshop is sponsored by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), in collaboration with the European Union and the United States Customs and Border Protection. The training is expected to improve interviewing techniques, fraudulent document inspection, body language analysis, and luggage and person examination. It will also enhance the capacity of border security officials to identify and intercept persons, goods or vessels travelling across borders by illicit means or with illicit intent; improve screening techniques to reduce wait times at checkpoints; and reduce litigation and poor publicity that might result from interaction with immigration or customs officials. Article compliments
Investment interest in Barbados continues
The recession has not chased investors away from our shores nor is the financial situation at present keeping them away. The Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss and Invest Barbados are assuring Barbadians that investments are still coming. At the grand opening ceremony for the Barbados Entertainment Complex (BEC) in the Warrens Industrial Park, Inniss told the media and those gathered that he welcomes investment such as this project. The BEC is a Canadian-owned company owned and operated by W.A. Ventures and Enterprise Inc. Speaking about the level of investment enjoyed by Barbados and the significance of this investment by W.A. Ventures and Enterprise, Inniss shared: “Barbados has been the home, or the third largest recipient of foreign investment coming out of Canada in recent years. The last figures I saw up to two years ago, this little island was managing assets of businesses with a value of about $77Billion Canadian… “That is not money in Barbados, that is just the value of the entities that are Barbados-based and Canadian-owned and doing business internationally. So Canada remains our main source market in the international business sector. That is based on the treaty that we have in place with Canada and it has worked really well.” He thanked W.A. Ventures for taking advantage of the treaty and the opportunity because, as he said: “It shows to the world that this little island sitting out here in the Eastern Caribbean is playing a very significant role in global business. The fact remains that outside of the UK and the USA, Barbados is the preferred domicile for Canadian businesses to go global says a lot.” In the midst of everything, the Minister called on Barbadians to note and celebrate these investments as well. “Sometimes we don’t really take time out as Barbadians to be positive about what is happening and there are others outside of our domain who really recognise what we have to offer and using Barbados as a conduit through which their legitimate businesses can grow and expand globally,” he lamented. From Invest Barbados, Senior Business Development Officer Adrian Sealy told Loop News: “Sharon [Anthony, one of the Managing Directors of BEC] identified the project in Toronto through our offices in Toronto, and from there then she came down to Barbados to help identify the best possible location for the project and in doing so, one of our mandates is to facilitate new investment into Barbados. “So once we understood the concept of what she wanted to achieve we then set about identifying where it is possible to setup such a location and what properties were available.” Beyond BEC though, he added, “There are still a lot of companies interested in Barbados and not only as the Minister said, from the brick and mortar perspective, from the financial services arena as well. You might not see us in the same light as this particular project because financial services are in itself a smaller component of an office space. So you’ll find that they employ persons and you don’t hear about it as much but you see the spinoffs from the investments through the incorporation of the companies and the assistance that they would’ve received from attorneys and from Invest Barbados through the development of the project as it goes along.” Taking a moment, to acknowledge the role being played by Invest Barbados in the fight to gain more and secure more investors, Minister Inniss urged: “Quite often people don’t appreciate what public officers do especially those who are stationed abroad to get out there through the snow, through the hail, through the summer, whatever to knock on doors and get businesses to come to Barbados. “I spent three years in New York City covering half of the United States promoting Barbados as a place to do business, and I know sometimes months passed and you don’t get a good one, so when you land one you gotta thank God you got it and you feel good.” Article compliments LOOP News Barbados.