Up In Cuba, Down In B’dos

By REAY GREAVES

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

$2 million in the wind. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK
$2 million in the wind. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

• Climate change was the dominant theme of the 54th meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Port of Spain  after French President Nicolas Sarkozy dropped in for some last-minute talks ahead of this month’s summit in Copenhagen. Also, Rwanda was voted in as  the 54th member of the Commonwealth.

• One Caribbean Media Ltd posted a profit before tax of $58.7 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2009. This was 28 per cent lower than the $82.1 million recorded for the same period for 2008.

•The Unit Trust Corporation announced the appointment of Eutrice Carrington  to the position of CEO, Financial Services. Ms Carrington previously held the position of UTC vice-president, Asset Management.

•Carib Cement posted a loss of $431 million during the three months ended September 30, 2009.

• Minister of Energy & Energy Industries, Conrad Enill granted consent to state-owned Petrotrin to enter into a ten-year sub-licence agreement with contractors.  Fram Exploration was one of five contractors to benefit from the agreement.

•Minister of Sport Gary Hunt and chairman of Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Sport) Kenneth Charles confirmed that the total price of the 60 feet by 36 feet national flag fluttering at the Hasely Crawford Stadium cost $2 million.

•RBTT Financial group announced that Canadian banking executive Jim Westlake, would take over as new chairman.

•ANSA Merchant Bank became the first local institution to manage a euro-denominated mutual fund to be offered in Trinidad and Tobago.

•Losses from discontinued operations pulled down Guardian Holdings Ltd’s overall performance to a net loss of $655 for the year ended September 30, 2009.

•Scotiabank posted income after taxes of $455.1 million for its year ended October 31,
2009. This was an increase of 5.4 per cent over the comparative period last year.

•Republic Bank chairman Ronald Harford announced the appointment of William H
Pierpont Scott to the bank’s board of directors.
•The Central Bank issued a special $100 note to commemorate the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

•William H Scott, Arthur Lok Jack and Kenneth Gordon joined eight other local
pioneers in the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Business Hall of Fame.

•Rating agency CariCRIS lowered its rating on the US$3 million issue of the Barbados government to CariAA (Foreign Currency Rating) and Cari AA+ (Local Currency Rating) on its regional scale from CariAA+ (Foreign Currency Rating) and CarAAA (Local Currency Rating).

•First Citizens Bank (FCB) won the “Best Bank” award for a second time.

JAMAICA

•Jamaica welcomed back British Airways to Montego Bay. The airline had stopped flying to Montego Bay seven years ago.

•Jamaica’s central bank governor, Derick Latibeaudiere -who was leading negotiations with the IMF for a $1.2 billion stand-by loan, resigned. His successor was named as Byron Wynter, a former deputy governor.

•Standard & Poor’s downgraded Jamaica one notch, to “CCC” and kept the negative outlook on the island’s credit following the resignation of central bank governor, Derick Latibeaudiere.

•Ratings agency Moody’s Investors downgraded Jamaica’s local and foreign currency bonds from B2 to Caa1 with a negative outlook. Later in the month, Fitch Ratings became the third agency to downgrade Jamaica’s credit ratings for the month of November.

•For the fourth consecutive year, Jamaica was named the World’s Leading Cruise Destination in the World Travel Awards.

•Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC) floated a seven-year bond on the domestic market, successfully raising J$900 million one-week private placement.

•Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) acquired an 80 per cent stake in Corporacion de Credito America S.A. (CCA), a Dominican Republic-based savings and loans institution.

•The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) reported 9.1 percent fall in inflation for the period January – October 2009 when compared to the same period last year.
CUBA

•For the sixth year in a row, visitor arrivals in Cuba crossed the two million threshold, this time two weeks before the date it was reached in 2008.

•Canada’s WestJet airline started operations to Cuba.

•Russian state oil company Zarubezhneft signed contracts with Cuba to search for oil along Cuba’s northern coast.

HAITI

•Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis was removed by the Senate.

VENEZUELA

•Venezuela’s PDVSA restarted its 180,000-barrel-per-day Petropiar crude upgrader, a
joint venture with Chevron.

•Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant PDVSA agreed to buy nearly half of the government-owned Dominican Oil Refinery for US$131.5 million.

•Venezuela permanently closed four banks-the Canarias and ProVivienda banks, saying the authorities had detected major financial problems.

BAHAMAS

•WestJet Airlines announced direct service to the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada.
BARBADOS
•Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. released figures showing that 2.1 million passengers had passed through the airport up to June 30, 2009. This represented a 1.7 per cent fall off in the numbers when compared to the same period last year.

•The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), done by Transparency International, put Barbados as the least corrupt country in the Caribbean.

OTHER REGIONAL

•The International Monetary Fund approved a $1.7 billion loan program for the Dominican Republic to shore up confidence in the government’s economic policies and win additional financing from other lenders.

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