DAVID Butler is to leave his role as chief executive officer of Digicel Panama to become CEO of Digicel Jamaica. Meanwhile, former CEO Barry O'Brien is to be promoted to a regional role.01 Mar 2015
DAVID Butler is to leave his role as chief executive officer of Digicel Panama to become CEO of Digicel Jamaica. Meanwhile, former CEO Barry O'Brien is to be promoted to a regional role.
The telecommunications company on Thursday announced that O'Brien will be appointed director of business development for Digicel Caribbean and Central America and board director for Digicel Barbados and will be replaced by Butler who will be transitioning into the role over the next few weeks.
Butler joins Digicel Jamaica with more than 12 years of telecoms and technology sector experience and comes to Jamaica from his current position as CEO for Digicel Panama. He started his career with Digicel in the eastern Caribbean in 2003 and has held the position of CEO for Digicel FIJI, Tonga and Vanuatu in the Pacific region.
"I am thrilled to be joining the Digicel Jamaica team and I'm looking forward to taking up the mantle of delivering the best value, best service and best network to our family of over two million customers across the island," Butler stated in a release from Digicel.
"Having started my Digicel career in the eastern Caribbean almost 11 years ago, and been all around the world since, I am very excited to be coming back to the home of Digicel in Jamaica," he added.
Over the last seven years, O'Brien has served as CEO for Digicel Barbados and regional CEO for Digicel in Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada and St Vincent.
During his tenure, Digicel acquired regional broadcaster SportsMax TV and cable company, Telstar. It also deployed a state-of-the-art Fibre to the Business (FttB) network and launched mobile advertising services. The company plans to build out an island-wide digital cable and home broadband network within three years.
The acquisition of Telstar and the island-wide expansion of its cable footprint will position the telecommunications firm to enter the subscriber TV market; push its broadband Internet business; and eventually offer fixed-line services.
In 2013, O'Brien was promoted as CEO for Digicel Jamaica, replacing Andy Thorburn who was appointed CEO for the Caribbean and Central America. He assumes his new post with over two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry.
"I am very excited about my new role which will enable me to examine and grow new and existing businesses across the Caribbean and Central America as Digicel continues to evolve as a total global communications provider," O'Brien stated.
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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) - Barbados is positioning itself to take advantage of the connections between intellectual property rights and the International Business sector.16 Feb 2015
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) - Barbados is positioning itself to take advantage of the connections between intellectual property rights and the International Business sector.
This disclosure was made recently by minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Maxine McClean, during a meeting with director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Dr Francis Gurry.
McClean stated that Barbados recognised the business opportunities created by the application of intellectual property to commercial activities.
She shared that one very positive element was that many young Barbadians viewed innovation and the application of their intellectual property rights as offering significant business opportunities.
The minister was therefore optimistic that smart partnerships could be created between Barbadians in the Diaspora and at home to stimulate greater interest and build viable and rewarding networks.
The WIPO director general commented on the internet divide, where most developing countries were characterised as being content rich but distribution poor. He noted however, that Barbados had started to address this issue, as evidenced by the filing of a high number of patent applications in the area of intellectual property rights.
Gurry identified sports as an attractive area for possible intellectual property development, with specific reference to cricket and the potential for the monetisation of its global appeal.
McClean shared this position, adding that the shorter version of the game was attracting large global audiences, with the associated rights creating significant business opportunities.
The two officials exchanged views on Barbados’ intellectual property regime and prospects for the future of intellectual property in small developing countries. Barbados currently chairs the WIPO working group on the establishment of a Caribbean patent system.
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A full suite of credit, cash management and investment products, including flexible credit solutions and Internet banking, are among the products CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Managing Director Nigel Holness says will help Jamaican small and medium enterprises (SMEs) better manage their business accounts.
Addressing guests at a 'Business Banking Road Show', hosted in association with accounting firm BDO in Kingston on January 15, 2015, Holness said that the bank had expanded its range of business banking products and services to help SMEs achieve their goals.
He said that the bank is committed to delivering "convenient, accessible account options as well as solutions designed to save time and money". As such, the road shows taking place in nine locations across the Caribbean were designed to "enhance customer experience".
Montego Bay's show was on January 14, 2015.
While demonstrating its strong commitment to the Caribbean through the continuous development of retail, wealth and business banking services, FirstCaribbean has completely overhauled its lending processes, invested in new systems and consolidated its regional operation centre, Holness said.
These changes, he explained, reflect the bank's confidence in the recovery of the economic fortunes of the Caribbean.
Robert Wright, district manager at CIBC FirstCaribbean, said that on average executives/business owners spend 58 per cent of their time on administrative duties, but services like Internet banking, online international wires, online bill payment and mobile banking could save a lot of time and money.
He said that customers were enjoying the enhanced convenience of night deposit, e-pay service and merchant services, which had the added benefit of reducing cash on premises and improving cash flow and record keeping.
The availability of foreign exchange in a range of currencies, including Caribbean, North American and European, and direct access to the bank's trading floor with pricing based on real time market, have also helped SMEs to better manage their foreign exchange needs and spending, Wright noted.
The bank's merchant services overdraft, business banking line of credit, business overdraft and letters of credit make for reduced risk; ready access to revolving credit with its 'Bizline Credit Card' offers rewards, and other incentives, he explained.
Donald Brown, senior manager, BDO, cautioned business owners about meeting their tax and statutory obligations, noting that "good accounting advice and record-keeping are vital to business management and survival".
Brown led the BDO team in sharing information on statutory requirements and obligations, record-keeping and the role of "good financial management" in ensuring the success of a business.
He urged business owners to "add value" by getting advice from professionals like tax advisors, accountants, and lawyers, and acquiring appropriate accounting systems and software to manage their operations which, he said, will "help plan the future of the business more effectively".
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A SUITE of incentives is now available to artistes in the cultural and entertainment industry of Barbados, following the proclamation of the Cultural Industries Development Act over the weekend.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made the announcement to a room full of artistes who were attending the inaugural Caribbean Music Summit at the Hilton Barbados Resort yesterday morning, explaining that the legislation officially came into effect on Monday, after being proclaimed on Sunday. It means that for the first time a regulatory framework has been created for the Creative Industries sector in Barbados.
While encouraging local artistes to familiarise themselves with the Act, Minister Lashley lauded the fact that through this legalisation, some of the barriers to the development of cultural workers and their organisations will be removed. “These incentives and benefits are wide-ranging as are the categories of cultural industries identified.”
His comments came as he also officially informed the artistes of the National Registry of Artistes and Cultural Workers, through which they could fully access the incentives under the legislation after registering on this online web-based portal – www.barbadosartistes.bb.
The Minister cautioned, however, that the creation of the registry does not only allow for recognition as a cultural practitioner, but gives artistes a gateway to the world with respect to product and services. “Persons around the world can surf the web and discover what they have to offer.”
Lashley said this ground-breaking initiative allows for persons to be able to promote themselves not only in Barbados, but globally, by not only providing names of artists, genres, but also allowing artists to load information on themselves, providing a gateway to the world and an avenue from which they can advertise their services.
“And the major aspect of the legislation is a cadre of incentives for artistes, cultural workers. There is a significant section which deals with incentives for the film industry as well.”
The Minister said that the Act includes a number of schedules, which were created in collaboration with artists.
He noted that for instance, during the Crop Over Festival, artists bringing in items Duty Free, such as musical equipment and costumes, those items are already earmarked in the schedule, noting that the Customs Department will be evaluating these applications.
“Given the wide consultation that has brought us to this point, we expect a smooth implementation, and the artistes will be able to realise a lot of the objectives by the Cultural Industries Development Act.”
As it relates to investment opportunities, he noted that persons can invest in the Cultural Industries Development Fund, which is currently in the process of being set up. Minister Lashley said it is a very innovative provision that will allow for even cultural workers to invest in the fund.
“In exchange, they would have an income tax rebate, which would help them in their own business,” he said. (JH).
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ST CROIX, USVI - In the latest twist in the ongoing saga of the mothballed HOVENSA oil refinery on St Croix, the US Virgin Islands government last week filed a six-page action in the local Superior Court to begin the process of foreclosure on the property following HOVENSA’s failure to pay $40 million in settlement funds owed to the government.
Newly installed USVI governor, Kenneth Mapp, along with Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter and a legal team, met on January 15 with representatives from Hess Corporation and Venezuela’s state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), joint owners of the HOVENSA refinery.
At a press conference the following day, Mapp said that, at the meeting, Hess officials offered a limited set of options: either the facility is sold and the government is able to enter into an operating agreement with the successful buyer, or the corporation would use the money it currently owes the government to complete the shutdown of the facility and declare bankruptcy.
Last year, the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) settled several lawsuits initiated in 2005 against HOVENSA over contamination of the South Coast Industrial Area, where the refinery is located, including leaks from oil processing and storage that resulted in plumes of oil floating on top of the groundwater underlying the facility.
The lawsuits sought damages, the government’s investigation and cleanup costs, the performance of environmental cleanup and restoration work, penalties, litigation costs, and litigation fees. The lawsuits alleged that HOVENSA’s operations injured and contaminated the public’s natural resources, including potential drinking water, the marine environment, plant life, and wildlife.
The government eventually settled the suit for $43.5 million, with $3.5 million paid at the settlement signing and the remaining $40 million due after the sale of the refinery or by December 31, 2014, whichever came first. At this point, the refinery has not been sold, nor the remainder of the settlement money paid.
As security for the $40 million debt, HOVENSA’s owners granted a mortgage on the property and the government is now moving to foreclose on the lien and “seize all assets” on the site in an attempt to collect on the debt.
In last week’s filing, the government claimed, among other things, that by not paying the outstanding $40 million, HOVENSA is in breach of the settlement agreement and has defaulted on the mortgage, which provides that, in the event of a default, the government may foreclose on the property.
The government also asked that HOVENSA be removed from the refinery and that the court appoint a receiver to oversee the sale of the property and the payment of $40 million to the government from the proceeds.
In December 2010, the refinery experienced an airborne release of vaporized and aerosolized material. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) immediately initiated investigation and oversight activities, including inspecting the affected communities and reviewing air monitoring results.
The EPA, the US Department of Justice and HOVENSA entered into a consent decree in January 2011. Under this agreement, HOVENSA was to pay a civil penalty of more than $5.3 million and spend more than $700 million on new pollution controls that would resolve Clean Air Act violations at the refinery. The settlement required new and upgraded pollution controls, more stringent emission limits, and aggressive monitoring, leak-detection and repair practices to reduce emissions from refinery equipment and process units.
A year later, on January 18, 2012, HOVENSA and its owners announced the imminent termination of refining operations on St Croix and the planned conversion of the facility into an oil storage terminal. Three weeks later the facility was shut down.
In December 2014, the USVI senate rejected a proposal to sell the HOVENSA refinery in a deal that, according to a statement issued by a number of senators, they believed would not have benefited the territorial government financially.
Former Governor John de Jongh had earlier signed an operating agreement between the USVI government and Atlantic Basin Refining (ABR), which agreement was a pre-condition to a sale of the refinery to ABR.
According to testimony by USVI attorney general Vincent Frazer before the senate at the time, the agreement provided “that if the refinery cannot be returned to full operations, or is returned to full operations only to be closed again, the new owners will pay for the refinery to be deconstructed and the refinery site cleaned up.”
Since any such site cleanup and refinery deconstruction is likely to cost several billion dollars, the rationale and commercial feasibility of such an undertaking was never satisfactorily explained in relation to a refinery that will, in that scenario, never become operational again.
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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek economist and outspoken bailout critic has been named as finance minister in the country's new left-wing government.
The 53-year-old Yanis Varoufakis was named to the post as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' governing Syriza party announced a Cabinet that includes officials from its coalition ally, the anti-bailout and right-wing Independent Greeks.
Panos Kammenos, the Independent Greeks leader, was named defence minister.
Varoufakis has been a vocal critic of Greece's bailout agreements, arguing that repayment of the country's huge rescue package loans should be linked to growth, a policy change he argues would benefit eurozone lenders.
He has held teaching positions in Britain, Australia, Sweden, Greece and the United States.
Syriza won a landmark general election victory Sunday after campaigning on a pledge to renegotiate the bailout deal and seek forgiveness of more than half the debt.
Moody's ratings agency on Tuesday described the election result as "credit negative" because it would prolong risks to financing, economic growth and banks' liquidity.
The main stock index in Athens fell on the news, and was down 5.4 per cent in afternoon trading, amid losses across Europe.
Tsipras chose economist and veteran left-wing politician Giannis Dragasakis as deputy prime minister and expanded powers for the ministries of development, environment, interior and public works -- reducing the number of ministries from 19 to 11.
Varoufakis had revealed his appointment earlier yesterday in a private blog post.
"Naturally, my blog posts will become more infrequent and shorter," he wrote. "But I do hope they compensate with juicier views, comments and insights."
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Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 14th 2015 – Christmas packages ordered prior to December 31st2014, will still benefit from the duty free allowance, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has announced.