Level 4, Guardian Building
22-24 St. Vincent Streert Port of Spain
Trinidad & Tobago. W.I.
You are here
Angostura Holdings Ltd has posted results from continuing operations of $217.3 million and profit after tax of $153.4 million for 2014.
Chairman Gerald Yetming said the figures were lower than the $196.2 million and $289 million respectively for 2013 which included non-recurring income of $151.8 million—gains from the settlement of debt and disposal of investments.
He said the group’s 2014 performance featured topline growth of $9 million and efficient management control of operating expenses.
“Our brands continue to grow profitably and the results from the branded business increased by $14.6 million (7.4 per cent) over the prior year despite the many challenges in the domestic market and in some of our international export markets,” Yetming said in his statement to shareholder’s in Angostura’s 2014 annual report.
“Significant capital investment continues to be undertaken as we steadily modernise our plant and ensure a strong asset base to support the needs of our business. Positive cash flows continue to support healthy returns to shareholders, and cash and cash equivalents exceeded total borrowings by $58.6 million at the year end.”
CEO Robert Wong said Angostura’s financial results “continue to demonstrate the strength and appeal of our brands across many markets both local and international.”
He said reduced operating and financing expenses, together with revenue growth, led to an improvement the group’s results from continuing operations.
“This measure of core business performance shows steady growth since 2011 despite increasing challenges in domestic and overseas markets in the areas of cost control, competition management and constantly changing consumer taste,” he said.
“Strategies of process and facility improvement along with operating cost and investment management, will ensure continued improvement of the financial results of the company in accordance with our long term objective of sustainable growth.”
Wong said Angostura would continue to focus on new markets as well as growth of existing ones, since this strategy had contributed to the success of the group’s branded business during the year. He said markets in North America, Europe and Australia continued to produce results and renewed focus in Central and South America has been positive.
He said: “The bitters and rum brands, including bulk rum blends, have been well received in markets such as Chile and Brazil, and prospects for continued growth in other Latin American markets are promising.
“Exports are growing at an impressive rate and present organic growth potential for the company, to support the domestic trade which continues to generate solid returns despite challenges from a constantly evolving business and legislative environment.”
Angostura’s annual general meeting takes place July 27 from 10 am at the House of Angostura, Eastern Main Road, Laventille.
Although there are some differences in the way Cuba and T&T do business, CEO of the T&T Chamber of Commerce Catherine Kumar says it is important for local businesses and companies to enter that market.
She said initial feedback from the participating companies in the Chamber’s recent fact finding mission to Cuba indicate that there is immediate potential for trade and collaboration.
The T&T mission to Cuba included 17 companies and 20 delegates, along with officials from exporTT. Some of the sectors represented included energy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage.
Kumar said in Cuba almost all economic sectors are state controlled but in recent times there has been a shift allowing privately owned businesses to function more freely. However, so far this is restricted to hair salons and restaurants.
“As such there is no equivalent private sector as exists in our country and business negotiations primarily take place with state agencies. However, the response from the Cuban agencies has been positive and to ensure that this mission has long term benefits to our members, the T&T Chamber and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce signed a co-operation agreement on June 11, “ she said
The Chamber CEO said the agreement will facilitate a stronger business relationship and support a framework for member companies who wish to do business in Cuba. She gave the example of state run supermarkets with limited variety and the potential where they is an opportunity for T&T businesses to supply a range of products.
“We found potential for collaboration and trade. In the food and beverage sector the Government run supermarkets are stocked with limited variety. This coupled with Cuba’s growing tourism industry means that there is demand for food and beverage and other household items like canned food products, dry goods, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, toilet paper and alcoholic beverages,” Kumar said.
She warned, however, that there are problems with distribution networks in Cuba which are more focused on price than brand awareness.
“The latter is usually important to our manufacturers who invest heavily in marketing and brand awareness. As such, potential T&T exporters will have to hire a private brand activation manager which translates into initial higher costs but which should pay off via higher sales in the medium term,” she said.
One of the participants in the T&T mission, Charles Carvalho, CEO of Carvalho Travel Agencies, urged local companies to look at the long term future as Cuba continues to open up its economy.
While T&T has long enjoyed diplomatic ties with Cuba, improved relations between that Caribbean nation and the United States have increased prospects for a range of economic activities. More trade and travel between the two countries provide opportunities for investment and new markets for a range of industries in the region.
Leader of the National Coalition for Transformation (NCT) Nalini Dial wants President Anthony Carmona to apologise to the nation for the “rumshop logic” comment he made last week. Dial said she was a standing member of society as a licensed pharmacist, avid animal rights activist, and leader of a minority political party.
“In neither of these affiliations am I involved in nor do I partake of the drinking of rum, or any other alcoholic beverage. I also have never seen the inside of a rumshop,” she said Dial said she was pleased with Carmona’s appointment to the Presidency but “after listening to your induction speech, of the ‘powers that you do or don't have’, I can now say that my pleasure has been replaced with disappointment and umbrage at your rumshop logic remark.”
She said she believed in freedom of speech as enshrined in T&T’s Constitution and citizens must be free to exercise that right “once they are not malicious nor vulgar or slanderous.”
“Why must anyone chastise us and disrespect a whole section of the society, because they do not like our comments or criticism, re the status or image of the Integrity Commission? This body exists to protect us from corrupt practices and persons. Therefore we are stakeholders and have a right to question it as we see fit,” she said.
Dial said she was a liberal commentator on the Integrity Commission and its entire organisation and structure. “We are not all aware of the laws pertaining to its formation or operation, but that should not bar us from voicing our opinion on any matter of national concern that troubles us and put doubts in our minds. It is my party's belief that your rumshop logic comment was unwarranted and too generalised,” she said.
Dial said she was offended and demeaned as was a wide section of the population. “We therefore call upon you sir, to humbly apologise, not only to the NCT and its leader, but to each and every citizen who feels like we do, and demonstrate to us that you are a man of humility and understanding.
“A person commands respect when he displays respect for others! Just as you are expressing your views now, we also have the right to express ours,” she said.
Where is value created in the energy sector?
That was the question posed by Mariano Browne to those attending the recruitment seminar for the MBA in Sustainable Energy Management at UWI Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB).
Browne is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in the financial sector in T&T and the Caribbean. He is also a member of faculty at the university and contributes to the development of this particular MBA programme. During his presentation he encouraged students to not just be thinkers but also to be doers.
Mr. Browne espoused that value is created in the mind as an idea and holds strong to the view that only true leaders develop ideas into reality. He believes T&T and the wider Caribbean can be world leaders in the energy sector and no longer have the need to be dependent on foreign investment in the field. He also believes that this MBA programme can be the impetus for this change of approach to the field of energy. He challenged those expressing a desire to pursue the programme to be leaders and help create a sustainable energy sector.
The aim of the MBA in Sustainable Energy Management is to develop a cadre of individuals to meaningfully contribute to the success of planning, execution and monitoring of micro to large energy projects and organisations at local, regional and international levels in both the public and private sectors.
As the world is transitioning from oil and gas to renewable, environmentally friendly sources of energy, it is imperative that regional stakeholders prepare for that change in pursuit of economic survival. To this end, this programme would establish a framework for the development of regional clusters and diversification of the economy especially in the context of reduced dependence on revenues from oil and gas.
Registration is currently open for the September intake. Entry requirements are a first degree with honours in a social science discipline, from a recognised university and a minimum of three years working experience in the energy, utilities or environment sector or at least seven years relevant supervisory/managerial experience in the energy sector.
Possession of any equivalent combination of qualifications and experiences would be considered.
UWI-Roytec and Franklin University recently launched a series of Executive Leadership training at the Radisson Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Targeted towards newly minted managers, senior managers, company executives, department heads and entrepreneurs, the first course in the series focused on strategy, leadership and culture, during which participants:
• explored the key attributes of an effective organisation
•were exposed to the dynamics between organisational culture and Strategy
•examined the dynamics between organisational strategy and Leadership
The two day programme commenced following an official opening ceremony at which Richard Saunders, campus registrar, UWI, St Augustine, delivered the feature address on behalf of Professor Clement Sankat, principal and Pro Vice Chancellor of the UWI, St Augustine and chairman of the board of directors of UWI-ROYTEC.
In her opening remarks, Wendy Augustus, executive rirector, UWI-Roytec, underscored the importance of partnerships with international bodies and the benefits to be derived therein for the business community of T&T. During the closing ceremony, 27 senior executives of the local business and higher education fraternity were presented with certificates in Strategy, Leadership and Culture from UWI-Roytec and Franklin University.
Franklin University Ohio, USA is an internationally accredited learning institution providing a wide range of competitive educational programmes via both online and on campus sessions. It has acquired a strong reputation for quality delivery of unique programmes and content to their approximately 10,000 students from across the globe.
On February 23, a memorandum of understanding was signed between UWI-Roytec and Franklin University designating UWI-Roytec as a Franklin University Approved Education Provider. With a vision to be the tertiary institution of choice for applied studies in T&T, UWI-Roytec will now be offering Franklin University’s comprehensive suite of professional development programmes.
Companies and individuals interested in being part of this Executive Leadership Series cab contact Leslie Brusco, marketing officer (ELS) at 705-5633, or email [email protected].
Gengwen Sun, chairman, LandOcean Energy Services Limited, David Chen, chairman Range Resources Limited and other officials from Range Resources Limited met with Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine to discuss the importance of T&T to the companies as their long term plans. The meeting was also attended by Selwyn Lashley, Permanent Secreary in the Ministry of Energy and Richard Jeremie, chief technical officer.
Both chairmen spoke about T&T’s quality assets and huge potential. Range Resources Limited, one of the most active companies on land in Trinidad, is the operator in the St Mary’s Block which lies within the Southern Basin of onshore Trinidad and offers a range of opportunities related to block size, production potential and hydrocarbon play types.
The need for additional land space to accommodate expanding commercial activity in Couva was the focus of a meeting between Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie and officials of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce. During the meeting at the chamber’s boardroom at Camden Road, Couva, an overview of the Couva Development Plan was presented.
Chamber president Liaquat Ali said the plan was initiated in 1984 and there was now an urgent need for a town centre since government agencies are now scattered throughout the district, hampering the smooth flow of business. Ali said while there had been new developments in Couva and environs, including the Children’s Hospital, the National Aquatic and Cycle Centre and an upgrade of Rivulet Road, these had created a need for proper traffic planning and management and adequate drainage.
Chairman of the Couva/Tavaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong, who took part in the meeting, said lands are being acquired to relocate the Couva market and to construct an administration complex for the Corporation. Dr Tewarie told officials of the Chamber that some of the Couva Development Plan had been incorporation into the National Spatial Development Strategy for T&T (NSDS which will be upgraded and amended every three years.
He said he recognised the need to align community plans with national plans and added that the preparedness of all parties as well as mutual cooperation among all stateholders was extremely important. There was agreement on a renewed government and Couva Chamber stakeholder partnership encompassing the development plans for central Trinidad.
Nominations have opened for the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s annual Champions of Business. The 2015, edition, which takes place on November 7, includes three categories: EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Internationally Known…T&T Owned and the signature Business Hall of Fame.
“We are pleased to announce a new investor model for the Champions of Business, which will give the opportunity for an exclusive investor for each category, and we are open to discussions with potential investors who wish to align their brand with the prestigious Business Hall of Fame and Internationally Known…T&T Owned,” Chamber CEO Catherine Kumar announced at the official launch of the event.
“Today, we are also unveiling EY as the exclusive investor for the Entrepreneur of the Year category. EY will offer awards to two individuals in the sub-categories of Emerging Entrepreneur and Master Entrepreneur.”
Kumar used the opportunity to thank First Citizens, which had been the exclusive investor for the Business Hall of Fame for nine years.
The collaboration with the T&T Chamber allowed EY to re-launch its EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ programme, which Maria Daniel, EY Programme Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 for Trinidad, said “has evolved in just about 30 years from an idea in one city into a global programme spanning 145 cities over 60 countries. It is now known as the academy awards of entrepreneurship.”
Chamber vice president Ronald Hinds said: “The Champions of Business is … dedicated to celebrating and recognising the contributions of business leaders in Trinidad and Tobago. It is also intended to create awareness and appreciation of exemplary business leadership which can provide inspiration to others to take risks, strive for excellence and practice high ethical standards.”
Dean Ackin, first winner of the Emerging Entrepreneur award in 2014, shared what winning the award from the T&T Chamber meant to him. Lauding the T&T Chamber’s award, he said: “Winning this award last year has really inspired me and increased my appetite for more projects. It has propelled my passion and my desire to contribute more to the economic and social fabric of Trinidad and Tobago.”
He added: “Trinidad and Tobago is blessed to have many young problem-solvers.”
Kumar said the T&T Chamber was seeking a high level of public participation in this year’s nomination process. Nomination forms for all categories are available to the public on the T&T Chamber Web site, www.chamber.org.tt, its social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) or from the Chamber at 637 6966.
Forms for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ are available on the EY Web site. Nominations for all categories close on July 31.
Investment holding company National Enterprises Ltd (NEL) has recorded a 144 per cent increase in profits for the year ended March 31.
The company’s recently published consolidated financial statements show a profit of $490.5 million, up from the $200.5 million recorded in the corresponding period last year.
NEL chairman Kenny Lue Chee Lip, in his statement to shareholders, attributed the strong performance to TSTT’s return to profitability and an improved performance by NGC NGL Company Ltd (NGC NGL), among other factors.
“Your board’s strategic decisions to pursue a diversification strategy by seeking new investments and strengthening management has also started to produce results,” he said
Lue Chee Lip said NEL had received its first full year earnings from investment in a ten per cent shareholding in Powergen which yielded $11.5 million in dividends, as well as dividends from investments in First Citizens Bank (FCB) and Clico Investment Fund (CIF) shares.
The company’s November 2014, investment in Panwest LLC, owner of ten per cent of Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd, as part of a consortium with the National Insurance Board (NIB) and the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC), produced dividends of $9.8 million for a four month period.
“These positive increases were offset by lower profitability from Tringen due to plant downtime from a capital expenditure Energy Effeciency Improvement Project,” Lue Chee Lip said.
“TSTT also did not pay any interim dividends and will therefore pay a final dividend in respect of the year ended March 31, 2015 in NEL’s financial year 2016.
“NGC NGL also produced higher results than 2014 and NFM has also reported improved earnings. Total dividend income was therefore $318,028 compared to $305,014 in 2014 an increase of 4.2 per cent.”
He said NEL had agreed to a divestment and suspension agreement with Cable and Wireless which would lead to a divestment of that company’s 49 per cent shareholding in TSTT.
“This will ultimately lead to a new strategic partner for TSTT. We also expect our new strategic investments to continue to generate good returns,” he said.
NEL, which was formed to consolidate the government’s shareholding in select state enterprises, and facilitate a public offering on the T&T Stock Exchange has 600 million issued shares in industries that drive T&T’s economy.
Overall market activity resulted from trading in ten securities of which two advanced, two declined and six traded firm.
Trading activity on the First Tier Market registered a volume of 65,875 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $405,231.09. National Flour Mills Limited was the volume leader with 41,051 shares changing hands for a value of $83,814.10. FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited contributed 6,200 shares with a value of $31,000. National Flour Mills Limited enjoyed the day's largest gain, increasing $0.04 to end the day at $2.04. Conversely, Massy Holdings Limited suffered the day's greatest loss, falling $0.01 to close at $64.29.
Statistics are important for economic growth and the overall development of countries, Sterling Chadee, director of Statistics at the Central Statistical Office (CSO), said yesterday.
“Official statistics are used both to inform the development of public policy and to monitor their impact. This important linkage between statistics and development is reinforced by the call from the United Nations in 2014 for a data revolution in the production and usage of statistics to support the development process,” he said during the presentation of a National Strategy For the Development of Statistics for T&T at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre.
Chadee said the CSO does not produce all the statistics for the country. He explained: “The national statistical system comprises the data producers, the data users and the data suppliers. While there exists many definitions of the national statistical system (NSS), the basic element of this system comprises public and private individuals and institutions, as well as the individual researchers whose work contributes to the realisation of better development outcomes of the dissemination and analysis of statistical information.”
Apart from the CSO, he said, the Central Bank produces statistics, along with ministries, customs, immigration, universities and other public institutions. He said all these bodies must in the future comprise a national statistical system. “We must take steps to improve the integration and co-ordination of the NSS.
We must also enable it to produce high quality, timely, relevant statistics that facilitate greater usage of statistics in formulation of policy and monitoring of outcomes,” he said,
The Caricom Competition Commission says there are grounds for an investigation of the US$3 billion acquisition of Columbus International by Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC). The body, which is responsible for ensuring the efficient operation of regional markets in the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), said in a statement yesterday that it will consult with member states to determine and agree on its jurisdiction to investigate the merger which was finalised on March 31.
It said the matter could be referred to Caricom’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (Coted) “if there is a difference of opinion between the Commission and the member state regarding the nature and effects of the business conduct or the jurisdiction of the investigating authority.” The regional agency said in keeping with Article 176.1 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas it completed a preliminary examination of the CWC/Columbus agreement and concluded that the investigation is warranted.
“In this regard, the Commission will now undertake to complete the remaining procedural steps under Article 176 of the RTC to further progress this matter,” it said. The Commission said the consultation phase with member states will be completed “in a timely manner” and it will then provide an update on its next steps.
Last December, the Commission announced that it was studying the proposed acquisition by CWC of regional cable provider Columbus International after news of the transaction sparked regulatory concerns across the Caribbean. The Commission monitors business activity across the CSME with the aim of promoting and maintaining competition and enhancement of economic efficiency, as well as prohibiting anti-competitive conduct and ensuring consumer welfare and protection of consumer interests.
The announcement by CWC of the completion of the acquisition of 100 per cent of the equity of Columbus came days after the transaction was approved by the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) and the Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC). Months earlier, in November 2014, CWC announced plans for the acquisition. The company to be created from the merger will invest some US$400 million in expanding broadband using fibre-optic technology, with the converged services leveraging the strengths of each network.
However, CWC's main rival in the region, mobile operator Digicel, has strongly opposed the merger and appealed to governments and regulators in Caribbean markets to carefully analyse the transaction which creates a large player with considerable market power. Locally, the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU), bargaining agents for employees of Telecommunication Services of T&T (TSTT), had been campaigning against the merger, warning of possible job cuts
Other groups in the region also expressed concern that the CWC/Columbus will lead to a substantial lessening of competition in at least six markets—T&T, Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada—with a significant impact on consumers.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine is optimistic there will be no delays in the production of first gas from the $US2.1 billion bpTT Juniper Project which is due to come on stream by mid-2017.
He said the fields will produce close to 600 million cubic feet of gas daily to meet the demands of local industry, electrical power production and supply Atlantic LNG and along with other gas projects should make up for the shortfall in supply to clients on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
The minister spoke about the project yesterday after a tour of the Labidco Industrial Estate in south Trinidad. He said the US$150 million platform for Juniper should be completed next year. He said he was pleased with the progress of work on the platform being done by Tofco.
The minister’s comments come against the backdrop of declining natural gas production in recent months, with output curtailments at Atlantic LNG.
Proven gas reserves have been falling over the last 15 years and are currently at 13 Tcf, down from a peak of 26 Tcf in 2006, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration data.
Over the last four years production has been flat, running between nearly 1.5 and 1.511 Tcf. Atlantic LNG has curtailed production due to declines in natural gas available to feed its four-train liquefaction and export terminal in Point Fortin.
Hopes for boosting production now hinge on the success of Juniper, as well as a deal with neighbouring Venezuela for exploiting natural gas under the Gulf of Paria between the two countries.
Ramnarine also visited the site of the US$1 billion Mitsubishi Dimethylether (DME) plant which he said is also running on schedule.
He said the project will create about 2,000 jobs at peak construction and 200 full time jobs when the plant becomes operational around 2017/2018. Construction of the DME plants is due to begin next year.
The minister said he envisions La Brea developing on the scale of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate to bring increased economic activity to Trinidad’s south west Peninsula.
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran is expressing scepticism over the blacklisting of 14 Caribbean countries by the European Commission. He expressed concern that the move could hurt the region’s financial services sector and underscored the need for greater transparency in the drafting of rules for the financial services sector.
Dookeran a former governor of the Central Bank, said: “We have been calling for a very transparent process in the world of rule making—in the world of international finance.
Unfortunately, several of our member countries have been on the other end of being identified as being countries that do not comply with certain aspects of international rule making in finance.
I join with my colleagues in the region who have expressed deep concern with recent events with respect to the issue of identifying several of our countries.
The Caribbean region as a whole has developed regulatory systems, and has become a centre for the movement of international finance.
As such, measures to determine the rules for the finance world must be transparent and must be done in collaboration and in partnership.”
Commenting on new models for Caribbean development, the focus of an Eclac meeting in Port-of-Spain last week, Dookeran said building new systems for Caribbean convergence was squarely placed on the agenda of the Caribbean Forum on the Future on the region.
He emphasised the need for new models of Caribbean convergence beyond integration.
“The development paradigm that is relevant for our region and for the world has to do with the issue of whether equity and growth working together or work contrary to each other’s objectives,” he said.
“Does equity drive growth? This has been the seminal contribution of Eclac. And perhaps, we must deal with that issue in a very clinical way where equity is in fact a driver of economy growth and what does that means for public policy and for dealing with the problems in the Caribbean.”
Dookeran said the challenge for the Caribbean is identifying the benchmark upon which a global policy must be agreed.
“The partnership between Eclac and regional government’s was to identify and raise the ambitions of the Caribbean.
I hope that the involvement of Eclac and so many other bodies will assist us altogether in moving forward with a new sense of confidence, with a higher level of ambition for our region, and with an advocacy that is practical and effective for the promotion for those issues which we have agreed upon.”
An upcoming workshop will give the Caribbean and Latin American Internet community a valuable opportunity to better understand the complex workings of the global Internet.
Hosted by the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), the workshop will give operators, service providers, regulators, entrepreneurs, students an opportunity to learn more about the latest technology and telecommunications related issues being addressed in the region.
Called LACNIC Caribbean on the Move, the event forms part of an upcoming technology summit held at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paramaribo on July 3 to 4.
"LACNIC would also like to listen closely to the interests and concerns of the Surinamese Internet community, to ensure that we always remain accessible to members and clients of all kinds," said Kevon Swift, LACNIC External Relations Officer for the Caribbean.
Established in Uruguay in 2002, LACNIC is one of the five regional Internet registries that exist worldwide. It is an international non-government organisation responsible primarily for managing Internet numbering resources for Latin America and the Caribbean.
LACNIC Caribbean on the Move is a series of events through which the registry raises awareness of important issues, and listens to the community's experiences in fostering open, stable and secure Internet development.
Including all stakeholders in the wider Latin American and Caribbean region is an important part of LACNIC’s mission, which is to ensure that the regional Internet serves our social, economic and cultural development.
The upcoming event also provides an opportunity to learn more about LACNIC’s work within Latin America and the Caribbean.
Attending LACNIC Caribbean on the move is free, but space is limited so pre-registration is required. Event and registration information are available at LACNIC's official website.
Trade Minister Vasant Bharath has challenged chartered accountants and audit professionals to partner with governments to advance regional economies.
He issued that challenge at the launch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) 33rd Annual Caribbean Conference of Accountants at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
Speaking to more then 200 members of the profession at the cocktail reception Bharath said: “You all have an extremely valuable role in the advance of post-2008 economies. You are the ones who must pioneer this partnership between your profession and governments in the advance of island economies, and the Caribbean economy as a whole.
“When this conference ends, tell the region not only about the advances of your profession and your evolving role of guarding institutional integrity and the public interest, but also how you intend to take charge of progress. As professionals, you could be the ones who add the human face to economic progress.”
The conference, which ended last Saturday, saw participation from delegates representing 21 countries. Distinguished guest included Priya Narinesingh, president ICATT, T&T; Sir Dwight Venner, Governor of the Central Bank of Eastern Caribbean; ACCA president Anthony Harbinson and Esther Le Gendre, general manager of ICATT.
“There is much to be gained from the existing double taxation treaty between Trinidad and Tobago and the Kingdom of Spain,” said Spanish Secretary of State for International Co-operation and Latin America Jesús Gracia Aldaz in his address at the First T&T–Spain Partnership Forum at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
The event was co-hosted by InvesTT Limited, the country’s investment promotion agency with the Embassy of Spain in T&T.
Aldaz said the existing commonalities of both countries augured well for maximizing the benefits to be gained from a partnership. Among the recommendations made at the Forum was an opportunity for local manufacturers to explore the Spanish market via a trade mission. In his address, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath highlighted T&T’s potential to be globally competitive through transformational change.
InvesTT is the go-to resource for information on new business opportunities, linkages with local private companies or government agencies and for ratifying obstacles that arise in the business process.
Stacy Adams, vice president-Investor Services at InvesTT said: “This mutual collaboration is the beginning of a long-lasting relationship between InvesTT and the Embassy of Spain, as well as the Spanish companies that are already established here.”
She said the agency stands ready to ensure investors have a positive experience which they can share with other potential investors from their home country.
The partnership comes at an opportune time for both countries as Unctad’s World Investment Report 2015 said between 2004 and 2013 Spain ranked as the third highest contributor at 8.5 per cent of the total flows of the global foreign direct investment to Latin America and the Caribbean.
José María Fernández López de Turiso, Ambassador of Spain to T&T reiterated the Spanish Secretary of State’s interest in doing business with non-traditional countries .
Write a cheque for $18 billion if you want CL Financial returned to you.
That is Finance Minister Larry Howai’s response to former CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey’s demand that he regain control of the collapsed insurance giant.
In an interview over the weekend, Duprey said when he approached the Government for assistance in 2009 he did not ask for a bailout but for liquidity support.
He said he plans to take legal action if he does not get his way and is demanding that his shares in the collapsed company be returned to him.
Howai, in emailed responses to questions from the T&T Guardian, said if Duprey wants the company he should pay all the debt up front.
“Mr Duprey is of course free to produce a cheque to the Government for $18 billion and we would happily hand over the company to him,” he said.
Howai said Government has not had discussions with Duprey about returning the company to him and emphasised that Government intends to recover all the monies owed to it for stabilising the company.”
The minister also said Government was justified in intervening in CL Financial to “save the company and protect the stability of the economy.” He said there is still a lot to do to ensure money owed to the Government is collected.
Also reacting to Duprey’s call for the company to be returned to him was Peter Permell of the Clico Policyholders Group (CPG), who dismissed it as a “joke.”
“Mr Duprey can’t be serious, this has to be a joke. Moreover, the CPG views the timing of Mr Duprey’s audacious demand as being not only premature but a trial balloon of mass distraction,” Permell said.
“The last time we checked, Clico was 49 per cent owned by the Government and still under the control of the Central Bank pursuant to Section 44D of the Central Bank Act. In fact, as far as we are aware ,no notice pursuant to Section 44G of the Act to terminate such control has as yet been gazetted.”
Permell described Duprey’s demand as an attempt pull attention away from the matter of money owed to policyholders.
“While the intent is clearly to provoke and subsequently gauge stakeholder and/or public sentiment, we are persuaded that it will only serve to distract from the real issue for us at this time and that is to ensure that the over 15,000 assenting policyholders are paid the contractual terms and conditions of their policies, consistent with the 2009 memorandum of understanding and CLF shareholders agreement, now that both the Governor of the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance have confirmed that Clico is solvent and the statutory fund is fully funded,” he said.
Permell said if the situation is mishandled it could have untended political consequences.
“The bottom line for us is that Mr Duprey’s timing could not be worse coming on the heels of the over $53 million controversial payout to former directors and the fact that there remains several loose ends that still have to be tied up at Clico,” he said.
Permell called for a public statement in support of the third party policyholders who are still awaiting their money.
The Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) limited power to make decisions for the island’s welfare is hurting the island’s development, according to Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development, Joel Jack. He said under the existing legislative arrangement, Tobago’s present and potential contributions to the national purse are not clearly defined and Tobago cannot pass laws, make certain financial transactions, or source additional funds for the island’s development.
He said these realities significantly weaken the THA’s negotiating position when requesting funds from the Central Government. The THA has estimated that it will raise $255 million in tax revenues in the next fiscal year, Jack said, although the island has much greater revenue-generating potential. That sum does not include taxes, fees, duties, levies and other imposts of firms such financial institutions operating in both Trinidad and Tobago.
“The revenues from many of these entities are still paid centrally by their head offices in Trinidad contrary to the tenets of Act 40 of 1996,” the Finance Secretary said. “Again, we expect the revenues generated by these entities to be quite substantial.
“Maybe the time has come for the enactment of more robust and effective legislation to compel companies operating in Tobago to pay their taxes in Tobago. Also, the revenues indicated fail to capture revenues generated from activities related to exploration and production of energy resources in the marine space around the island of Tobago, which from even cursory estimates are quite substantial.” Jack added: “This is one of the critical issues that will be addressed in the ongoing discussions on self-governance for Tobago.”
Those talks between a Tobago team and a Central Government committee have stalled. The committee requested their third meeting be postponed, and has failed to negotiate a new date.
Jack said since the introduction of the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) rule that Tobago must get between 4.03 per cent and eight per cent of the national budget, Central Government has provided the bare minimum allocation to avoid being legally challenged by the THA.
It leaves the THA unable to fund its development initiatives. “For fiscal 2015,” Jack said, “while the Assembly was allocated 70 per cent of its request for recurrent spending, it was allocated only 15 per cent of its request for development spending, thereby leaving several critical development projects significantly under funded.” He said he will not let Tobago’s fiscal constraints prevent the THA from developing the island.
MovieTowne cinema patrons can now enjoy the convenience of buying movie tickets online from their homes, office or anywhere. That is among the latest innovations introduced by the entertainment company. In addition to launching a new website, Movietowne recently unveiled a Buy Tickets Online Platform in partnership with Ticktr, T&T’s first mobile-based cinema ticket purchasing app.
The new site features show times, advanced day schedules, voting for movies, kids’ movie selections, and social media movie sharing. It also showcases the MovieTowne Mall at Invader’s Bay, with all of the stores, restaurants and bars featuring their menus, product offerings, as well as deals and specials on offer.
Customers are constantly updated with a detailed calendar presenting events and activities taking place at MovieTowne and there is a separate section highlighting the Banquet and Conference Centre located on the third floor in Fiesta Plaza. The Buy Tickets Online platform, and online e-commerce ticket service is the first of its kind in T&T and the Caribbean and it offers customers the option of using a local or international credit card to buy tickets from the new website www.movietowne.com.
All customers have to do is visit the site, select their movie request, make a booking for their tickets, enter credit card information and once the transaction is approved, they simply pick up their movie tickets when they visit MovieTowne at the redemption station by scanning either their print-at-home bar code confirmation, or an email confirmation from their mobile phone.
The project is a first for Ticktr, MovieTowne and their partner bank First Citizens. First Citizen CEO Karen Darbasie said: “First Citizens stands true to its promise of delivering firsts to the country. We are proud to be a part of this new innovation with MovieTowne and Ticktr to facilitate the first financial mobile application and online ticketing platform, to allow e-commerce transactions on your mobile phone and on your computer devices.”
MovieTowne’s marketing director Louanna Borde said:
“The MovieTowne website, online ticketing and the Ticktr mobile app are designed to be our online platforms, giving our customers interactive, useful tools to plan and access their entertainment all from one place. “People are busier than ever these days and they want everything instantly, they want to plan their social outings without having to exert too much effort. The new, daily updated website and app offer them convenience with all of the features, innovations and content they need 24-7.”