Business

CIBC FirstCaribbean Refurbished branch featured on TCI radio show
CIBC FirstCaribbean Refurbished branch featured on TCI radio show

February 24, 2017

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’s main branch at Leeward Highway was recently renovated to improve the experience that the bank offers its customers...

read more »

Castrol Quote of the Day: February 24, 2017
Castrol Quote of the Day: February 24, 2017

February 24, 2017

Castrol Quote of the Day: February 24, 2017

"If we're not giving
you enough info every
morning in this short
space, please call or
write us at castrolbahamas@gmail.com

read more »

Bahamas Striping, Doing The Right Thing!
Bahamas Striping, Doing The Right Thing!

February 23, 2017

Giving back is essential year-round. Nowadays, every big company has a philanthropic department that is active but there are small businesses who do more than just claim they give back and instead, actually go the extra mile to be charitable...

read more »

Castrol Quote of the Day: February 23, 2017
Castrol Quote of the Day: February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

Castrol Quote of the Day: February 23, 2017

"Hey Truck drivers, if you
drive an older diesel
vehicle, put down that old
diesel 40 monograde oil
and upgrade to 'Castrol'
CRB Viscus 25W60'...yes,
it's designed just for your
old engine-better starts,
better protection."

read more »

Bahamas spared downgrade by Moody's

February 22, 2017

International credit ratings agency Moody's spared The Bahamas another downgrade yesterday, but warned the government that if its commitment to fiscal discipline "diminishes", the country's credit rating could once again be lowered.
In its quarterly credit opinion, Moody's revealed that it maintained The Bahamas' Baa3 sovereign credit rating and stable outlook. But Moody's estimated that the economy would only grow by 0.1 percent in 2016 - a figure far less than the Christie administration's original projection of 0.5 percent and less than Standard and Poor's (S&P) projection of 0.3 percent.
The ratings giant pointed to issues plaguing the country's fiscal health, such as low, long-term economic growth prospects and comparatively high government debt levels.
Moody's also placed pressure on the government to achieve expected growth targets and maintain high revenue levels in order to avoid being downgraded again.
"The rating could also be downgraded if the government's contingent liabilities, in the form of guaranteed debt of state-owned enterprises, were to crystallize on the government's balance sheet," Moody's stated.
Unlike Standard & Poor's - the leading credit rating agency that downgraded the country's credit rating to "junk status" before the start of the new year - Moody's largely factored in the potential economic contribution from the restart of Baha Mar.
The opening of Baha Mar was such a vital component in Moody's outlook, that the agency pinned the potential success of the resort to an increase in growth by 1.2-2.0 percent for 2017-2018.
"For 2016 and 2017 we expect growth to remain below the economy's potential growth rate of 1.5 percent, after which economic performance could be boosted to around 2.0 percent depending on the progress made on the Baha Mar resort," said Moody's.
"Over the medium term, structural rigidities in the energy sector and labor market, as well as impediments to the ease of doing business, may constrain growth to rates closer to 1.5 percent."
Moody's also raised its deficit projections to 3.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for this fiscal year as a result of increased government borrowing following the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
"As the government will incur additional borrowing to cover reconstruction spending for public infrastructure, we now expect the central government debt/GDP ratio to reach 70 percent by end-FY 2017.
"Thereafter, fiscal consolidation efforts that include boosting revenues through higher tax compliance, as well as measures to rein in expenditures, will contribute to the stabilization of the debt trend in 2018-19," said Moody's.
Moody's pointed out that The Bahamas has the lowest fiscal strength score among its Baa peers.
"The debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds the Baa median (45 percent), having more than doubled over the last decade to an estimated 67.5 percent by the end of fiscal 2016," Moody's stated.
"Government interest payments relative to revenues have also increased over 13.0 percent in FY 2016 from less than 10 percent in FY 2008, suggesting a somewhat limited fiscal space compared with that of most peers."
In addition, the agency acknowledged the country's "heavy dependence on tourism from the U.S." and "increasingly uncertain prospects for the offshore financial sector".
Notably, it was recently reported that The Bahamas was being considered once again by the European Union to be placed on an upcoming blacklist.
Nevertheless, Moody's touted the performance of the country's banking sector, taking note of its "adequate capitalization ratios" and "ample liquidity".
The credit strengths underpinning The Bahamas' Baa3 rating include "a comparatively high level of GDP per capita, a stable political system with high policy predictability, and low external debt ratios relative to peers".

read more »

Moody's, SP disagree on Baha Mar's economic impact

February 22, 2017

The Bahamas government did not think Standard and Poor's (S&P) gave Baha Mar's imminent opening enough credence before the credit ratings agency downgraded this country's sovereign credit rating to "junk" status. But credit ratings agency Moody's, in its quarterly credit opinion released yesterday, placed a heavy burden on the resort's shoulders.
The country has waited with bated breath on this credit rating opinion from Moody's, especially given the weight the government and the country at large have placed on the success of Baha Mar as a pivot for The Bahamas' future economic well-being.
Yesterday, Moody's delivered to the government the gift of a positive outlook and the "assumption" of growth in the country's economy by as much two percent by 2018, largely hinged on the success of the mega-resort.
"The recent announcements related to the Baha Mar project are in line with our baseline assumptions," Moody's credit opinion said.
Moody's left The Bahamas with a "stable outlook", as did S&P, due to smaller tourism developments in the pipeline and a steady stream of tourists. But S&P expects that the opening of Baha Mar will sustain growth, "albeit at lower levels".
The Moody's opinion outlined the government's announcement of the Baha Mar deal: "On December 2, Prime Minister Christie revealed the timeline of the Baha Mar resort's phased opening. The first phase, including the casino hotel, the casino, the convention center and the golf course, is scheduled to open on April 21, 2017.
"The rest of the project is expected to be completed by year-end.
"The government also announced that the property was officially sold to a Hong Kong-based developer, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.
"An additional $700 million in new investment was committed by the buyer towards project completion.
"The government expects that the project will create up to 5,700 jobs directly and potentially another 4,160 jobs indirectly, and generate a 19 percent increase in air passenger arrivals."
Baha Mar is well on its way to achieving its soft opening on April 21, according to its executives, and is expected to have three of its four properties opened by year-end.

read more »

Smith lauds banking fees survey, but warns price controls could lead to market distortions

February 22, 2017

Former Central Bank Governor James Smith lauded the efforts of the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) in finding out how the public feels about retail banking fees via a recent survey, but noted that price controls in the Bahamian economy could create market distortions.
Speaking with Guardian Business yesterday, Smith agreed with the CPC's move to collect evidence on consumer perceptions of banking fees. The majority of respondents to the survey did not feel there is "consumer protection in The Bahamas".
"At the end of the day, in a democracy you have to respond to the legitimate wishes of the people," said Smith.
"And one way of finding out how the majority of the people feel about something is to ask them.
"So I think from that point of view, the CPC was correct, instead of trying to implement policies or programs on a whim.
"By doing a survey, they would have determined that there are some concerns about the multitude of banking fees."
Smith noted, however, that a closer look should be taken into why banks are charging higher fees on certain services.
"I think we have to also recognize that the banks have gone through a tremendous period of losses occasioned by bad loans by the very consumers probably participating in the survey," he said.
Smith pointed out that non-performing loans are now in excess of $1 billion, representing a major loss in interest income.
Therefore, the banks' next "line of defense" would be for them to look at fee income.
A study conducted by The Central Bank of The Bahamas showed that over the past six years, banks in The Bahamas have raised their fees on a significant number of services and have even added new fees on existing facilities.
And while the regulator agreed on the need to strengthen consumer financial protection, it stated that "a direct response through price controls would introduce adverse distortions in the sector".
Smith agreed with the regulator's comments. He explained that it is a general thought that price controls in a market economy, like The Bahamas, would not reflect demand and supply but impose prices.
And when there is a small number of banks in a banking sector, Smith said that oligopolistic behavior could occur.
"You need be very careful on any kind of pricing system because you could have unintended effects," he said.

read more »

BAMSI working to decrease Bahamas' 1.1 billion food bill

February 22, 2017

Part of The Bahamas' commitment to the United Nations' (UN) small island developing states agenda, its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is food security and seeing this country's "growing" $1.1 billion food import bill begin a drastic decline.
Godfrey Eneas, ambassador to the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and president of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), spoke at the United Nations Small Island Developing States Symposium (UNSIDS) yesterday at Melia Nassau Beach resort. He outlined goals The Bahamas has set out to decrease its reliance on foreign grown and produced food.
Eneas said The Bahamas' $1.1 billion food bill represents about 20 percent of CARICOM's and explained that Caribbean countries' large food bills are chiefly being fueled through tourism.
"Tourism accounts for seven million visitors annually in The Bahamas," he said.
According to Eneas, decreasing this country's food dependency will be addressed through Agri-Vision 2021.
"Agri-Vision is the country's five-year food and nutrition security plan to feed Bahamians and our visitors," he said.
That plan is being spearheaded by BAMSI, which is "an autonomous entity under the University of The Bahamas".
The Bahamas' goals, outlined by Eneas, are to end poverty, end hunger, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education; build resilient, sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; provide for sustainable consumption and production of affordable and nutritive food, combat climate change and its impact; and conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
Eneas told Guardian Business yesterday that related projects are already up and running on Eleuthera, Long Island, Exuma and Andros and have been reaping results.
"We have established farming groups on every island that adopt the BAMSI technology and adhere to the BAMSI standards," he said. "We take their products, market them and pay them."
BAMSI was asked to have a booth at the UNSIDS symposium to showcase to other small island countries what The Bahamas has been achieving on the agricultural and fisheries front, in the run-up to Agenda 2030 and in adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals.

read more »

Ministry of Tourism's Airlift Development Team attends Routes Americas

February 22, 2017

Las Vegas, Nevada, was the site of the 2017 Routes Americas conference, where airlines, airports and tourism planners recently congregated for non-stop meetings over a two-day period.
The Ministry of Tourism's Airlift Development Team and its industry partners brought the airlines up to date on new developments taking place in The Bahamas.
Airlines were particularly pleased to hear that Baha Mar will execute a "soft opening" on April 21, 2017.
Bryan Guillot, special marketing and airlift consultant for Baha Mar, was very clear in outlining Baha Mar's strategy: to open small amounts of guest rooms at the two-tower, 1,801 room Grand Hyatt Resort initially (followed by more rooms as they become available); the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the 100,000-square-foot casino, the new convention center, myriad high-end branded stores and approximately 40 dining outlets.
The grand opening of the SLS Resort would follow these later in the year and then the Rosewood Resort (at a later date to be indicated).
"We will focus upon establishing a high service level before any focus is placed on promotion," said Guillot. This was very well accepted by airline partners.
Routes Americas 2017 also gave The Bahamas' team the opportunity to thank its long-standing airline partners for their strong support of the destination during a period of uncertainty.
The fact that the new rooms at Baha Mar would be coming on stream on a more staged basis would make it somewhat easier to add incremental seats to Nassau/Paradise Island to accommodate the increase in consumer demand.
In addition to Baha Mar, The Bahamas team was able to share some of the new and exciting developments unfolding throughout the destination. There was much interest in non-stop service from key hubs to Exuma, Eleuthera, Bimini, San Salvador and Abaco.
"We are very pleased about discussions surrounding the development of new airlift opportunities from Europe, and from markets closer afield, to the islands of The Bahamas," stated Tyrone Sawyer, senior director, airlift development at the Ministry of Tourism.
Routes Americas also provided the opportunity to tweak existing route development initiatives with airline partners. This would have included plans by airline Condor Flugdienst to begin a one flight per week service from Frankfurt, Germany to Nassau in November 2017.

read more »

BHTA to celebrate tourism's finest at 17th Annual Cacique Awards

February 22, 2017

The Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) held the first Annual Cacique Awards in 1996, when the long-standing tourism partners joined their respective awards - the National Tourism Achievement Awards and the Hotel Industry Awards - to celebrate the finest in the industry at the inaugural Cacique Awards.
Since then, the Cacique Awards, considered by many to be the most prestigious award ceremony in the country, has held the black tie, red carpet, celebrity-style event to honor individuals whose dedication and commitment to the tourism industry exceeds even the highest standard of service excellence.
Indeed, Cacique Awards finalists and winners are treated like celebrities, as employers, fellow employees, family and friends come out to support their choice recipient amidst a cadre of industry professionals, organizations, executives, artisans, musicians and lifetime achievers who gather, dressed in beautiful bejeweled gowns and regal tuxedos, to be recognized for their achievement and to receive the prestigious trophy - the Cacique Duho.
The BHTA contributed its design of the Duho as the award trophy, as it had traditionally used the Duho for its Hotelier Awards. The Duho is a befitting symbol of distinction; the leader of the Lucayan community, the cacique, would hold official meetings and perform ceremonial functions while seated on this beautiful, intricately carved seat, which represented the cacique's authority and superior standing in the community.
In April 2017, the Ministry of Tourism and the BHTA's combined Cacique Awards will honor persons throughout 25 categories representing various genres of the hospitality and tourism sector.
Carlton Russell, president of the BHTA, spoke at a recent press conference saying: "This award plays an integral role in reminding us that everyone matters in the tourism industry. The Cacique Awards finalists and winners, exemplify that which is ingrained in each of us, aspects of ourselves we must continue to cultivate and contribute to society. This award goes beyond recognizing great service and performance, it extols the achievements of persons we are proud to celebrate, admire and emulate."

THE 17TH ANNUAL BHTA CACIQUE FINALISTS ARE:

o Manager of The Year category:
1. Tyrone Anderson - Valentines Resort and Marina, Harbour Island, Eleuthera
2. Monique Taylor - Comfort Suites, Paradise Island
3. Shanasco Campbell - British Colonial Hilton, Nassau

o Supervisor of The Year category:
1. Avan Wilson - Atlantis, Paradise Island
2. Bhruna Neymour - Small Hope Bay Lodge, Andros
3. Jerome Sears - British Colonial Hilton, Nassau

o Sales Executive of The Year category:
1. Tia Duncombe - Comfort Suites, Paradise Island
2. Deryn Prabhu - British Colonial Hilton, Nassau

o Employee of The Year (Front of The House) category:
1. Dicienzo Storr - Melia Nassau Beach, Nassau
2. Wilkah Hart - British Colonial Hilton, Nassau
3. Randy Rahming - Atlantis, Paradise Island

o Employee of The Year (Heart of The House) category:
1. Kendal Deveaux - Atlantis, Paradise Island
2. Jarrad Thompson - British Colonial Hilton, Nassau
3. Tiffany Seymour - Melia Nassau Beach, Nassau

o Chef of The Year category:
1. Clement Williams - Atlantis, Paradise Island
2. Cheryl Mckenzie - British Colonial Hilton, Nassau
3. Mario Adderley - University of The Bahamas

o Nominees in the Hotelier of the Year category:
1. Eltha Deleveaux - Comfort Suites, Paradise Island
2. Dean Spychalla - Valentines Resort and Marina, Harbour Island, Eleuthera
3. Jeff Birch - Small Hope Bay Lodge, Andros

The BHTA Cacique judging panel includes:
1. E. John Deleveaux, honorary chairperson;
2. Bridget Murray, chairperson;
3. Ruth Gardiner;
4. Natasha Wright;
5. Micklyn Lightbourne;
6. Chef Michael Adderley, chairperson, chef category;
7. Chef Don Ingraham;
8. Chef Edwin Johnson.

read more »

BTC Introduces Creole Menu
"BTC Introduces Creole Menu"

February 22, 2017

BTC has announced that it has upgraded its Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) menu. In the new upgrade, customers are now able to select Creole as a language preference.

read more »

Silver Sponsor Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic

February 22, 2017

Scotiabank is pleased to sponsor the 34th Hugh Campbell Basketball “Classic” Tournament for senior boys. This year’s event runs February 20-27 and boasts over 26 teams competing at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium under the theme...

read more »

BTC's Running Relationship with Urban Love Games
"BTC's Running Relationship with Urban Love Games"

February 22, 2017

BTC will again title sponsor the upcoming “Urban Love Games” event this weekend at the National Stadium. Mr. Wilton Russell, Director of Sports for the Urban Renewal Commission noted that...

read more »

Brewery CEO Hosts Minister & Media on Tour of 2 Million Dollar Expansion Project

February 22, 2017

Fresh off the heels of announcing a 2-million-dollar expansion to the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, CEO Jimmy Sands hosted members of the media and government officials at the company’s Grand Bahama site to view the work currently being done at the Queens Highway facility...

read more »

Education minister 'impatient' with university's late financials

February 22, 2017

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the University of The Bahamas (UB) Ryan Antonio admitted yesterday that the institution does not have audited financials later than 2012, marking a clear violation of the institution's legislation.
Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald expressed his discontent with the delay to Guardian Business yesterday and said that he has been "somewhat impatient" with university officials on presenting the reports.
While speaking at a press luncheon at UB, the CFO said that the 2013 audited financials are on the way.
The University of The Bahamas Bill 2016 states that an independent licensed auditor, appointed by the board, should audit the accounts of the university for each financial year.
"Within four months after the end of each financial year, the university shall submit to the minister a copy of the audited accounts together with any report made by the auditors on the accounts," the act states.
Fitzgerald pointed out that the University Bill also allows for greater autonomy and has "substantially" diminished his powers as minister over the institution.
When asked if UB has been pressed to present the reports, Fitzgerald said "of course", adding that it is an "issue of concern".
"From my standpoint, they have made various indications as to when they would present it. I have not received it yet," he said.
"It is always an issue of concern for me. But unfortunately this is not something new that has been happening with the college and now the university.
"They indicated to me they have a financial program they are implementing and that should help to decrease the challenges.
"I have been somewhat impatient. But at the end of the day, I have to wait for them to present it."
UB executives at the luncheon, including the CFO, talked about the implementation of the Banner information system - a comprehensive computer information system that contains information on courses, students, faculty, staff and alumni - and how it would help to improve financial reporting and the management of accounts.

read more »

Stellar: Timeline for waste consortium on dump deal and remediation 'impossible'

February 22, 2017

CEO of Stellar Waste to Energy Bahamas Ltd. J.P. Michielsen welcomed the opportunity to discuss financing with Bahamian waste consortium Waste Resources Development Group (WRDG), which is being considered for hire by the government to resolve the challenges at the failing New Providence landfill. However Michielsen disputed the short timeline that was reportedly required of the group to complete key aspects of a possible deal and the remediation of the dumpsite, calling it an "impossible" task.
Michielsen's comments came yesterday amid a revelation by Tribune Business that Prime Minister Perry Christie met on Monday with members of WRDG - comprised of 10 local companies - who were asked to provide a management/business plan for the landfill along with necessary financing "in an extremely short time".
Michielsen admitted that he was aware of the meeting and another meeting that took place last week Friday.
Stellar Waste, the company that proposed to build a $650 million waste-to-energy plant on New Providence, became entangled in a political controversy in 2014, which cast doubt on Stellar's future in The Bahamas.
Up to November 2015, Stellar's principals acknowledged that they had not received government approvals to access the landfill and conduct business, but Stellar's top executive said he does not "have a problem" with the prospective consortium.
"They can come and talk to me. I have all the financing ready," said Michielsen.
"I don't have a problem with these people. At the end of the day, there is so much that could be done."
He insisted that "everyone" in the business of developing renewable energy has financing issues.
Therefore he said WRDG can "knock on my door".
"I know it is the government's job to examine any proposals that are being brought to the table whether it's this one, ours or anyone else," he said.
Michielsen questioned the timeline the government and the group are looking at for remediation of the dumpsite, suggesting necessary landfill studies alone would take at least six months.
He also shared the same concerns of Baha Mar President Graeme Davis over the state of the landfill and how it might affect the experience for guests at Baha Mar.
Davis, who was a guest on the Guardian 96.9 FM radio talk show "The Revolution" on Monday said: "It's a huge concern for us, as it is for many businesses and persons. The last thing we want is a toxic plume of smoke coming over the golf course on the day we open."
He also indicated that smoke from the landfill would impact other hotels in that area as well.
But Michielsen suggested that Davis' concerns would not be addressed anytime soon.
"There is nothing that can be done before Baha Mar opens," he said.
"All of this could have been dealt with three years ago."
He noted that the government contracted Renew Bahamas in 2014 to take over the landfill.
Renew, however, severed its operations with the landfill last year and handed the responsibilities back to the Department of Environmental Health Services.

read more »

PM: Unfair for some int'l institutions to apply per capita test to Bahamas

February 22, 2017

In a meeting of representatives of small island developing states (SIDS) yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie insisted that it is sometimes "unfair" for geopolitical bodies and international institutions to consider the per-capita income test when making certain economic determinations on The Bahamas, given the country's unique geophysical layout and varying stages of development.
Christie was commenting on The Bahamas' withdrawal from its insurance scheme with the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) after the entity denied a claim on this country's damages following two devastating hurricanes in two years.
Christie became impassioned in his address to the United Nations Small Island Developing States (UNSIDS) Symposium at the Melia Nassau Beach resort, insisting to the SIDS members that if small countries like The Bahamas are to effectively implement promised policies for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they would need access to certain resources when natural disasters strike. If those resources are denied, Christies suggested, other resources might have to be rerouted to disaster relief while those United Nations (UN) SDGs are put on hold.
Christie told the room that it made "no sense" for The Bahamas to "spend an enormous amount of money" on insurance, only to have certain "variations in determination" of wind speed and flooding cause the country to be denied access to funds for which it had paid huge premiums for nine years.
"We are not qualified, even though the impact on people and infrastructure is devastating, and so the country has to find a means to pay its way," Christie said.
"I never ever lose an opportunity to speak to this vexing issue that faces a country like The Bahamas, and we have argued in vain that when you apply the per capita income test to The Bahamas, you are being unfair to The Bahamas insofar as our geophysical structure is concerned, and the differing stages of development of our country.
"And this is a country that is committed to the 2030 goals of the United Nations, but we have to pause and find the means to pay our way after each hurricane impact."
The Bahamas signed on to implement the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and to adhere to the SIDS Modalities Of Action (SAMOA) Pathway. But Christie lamented that the challenges of countries like The Bahamas are unmatched in the region, and insisted that, without assistance from partners in the region, natural disasters could continue to undermine The Bahamas' progress toward its own SDGs.
"It is difficult when you have to govern a country spread over miles and miles," said Christie.
"Look at the challenges of governance. You had better pay attention to the demands of your country because you have to pay your own way.
"We were heartened when the American government indicated to us that, on matters of disaster and energy reform, they would waive their policy, insofar of their contributing in the wake of such disasters or furtherance of energy reform."

read more »

Bahamas must mitigate against climate change effects, says Christie

February 22, 2017

The Bahamas must integrate mitigating factors against the effects of climate change in everything it does moving forward, Prime Minister Perry Christie told a room full of small island developing states (SIDS) representatives yesterday, lamenting that the country is under a real threat of inundation from sea level rise and more devastating hurricanes in the near future.
"We don't need any further evidence in The Bahamas that the sea will claim the land," Christie said at the United Nations Small Island Developing States' (UNSIDS) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) symposium.
Christie made the comment after recalling that he had listened to the head of a Pacific island country speak of sea level rise inundating parts of his own country.
Parts of the SDGs and the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway (a blueprint to further implementation of the sustainable development agenda of SIDS) call for SIDS to pay special attention to the effects of climate change on their countries. Christie said the recently developed National Development Plan (NDP) has set out goals that look at mitigating the effects of climate change on The Bahamas, which work in tandem with the goals set out by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
But Christie said financial and social burdens could jeopardize SIDS development and implementation of these SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway.
"Many of you sitting here have been through similar (natural disasters) events and have suffered the financial and social burdens associated with the recovery, which adversely impacts the implementation of priority projects geared to meeting the goals of the 2030 agenda," he said.
"We must truly work at understanding the challenges that each of our countries face. We share a common interest."
Christie's main concern was the impact of hurricanes on The Bahamas, which he said are becoming stronger and more frequent. He said The Bahamas does not know how many more back-to-back years it could be affected by devastating hurricanes.
He suggested that The Bahamas could already be seeing the effects of sea level rise, with hurricane storm surges reaching further inland than before. He said the water has always receded, but offered a foreboding query: "The question is one day, will it?"
Christie said this country's unique geographical layout makes governance, funding and recovery following a hurricane or other natural disaster much more difficult than neighboring states.
"I don't know if there is any country in the region that can be used to illustrate the challenges of which I speak, or for that matter, even in the hemisphere," Christie said.
"There is this compelling urgency for these countries to focus on the challenges that exist, with a view to designing strategies that will make more possible, more likely, the implementation. For countries like us, we have to challenge the bureaucracy, because decision making is one thing and execution and implementation is quite another."

read more »

Playtech Systems executives successfully complete certificate in money laundering risks in betting and gaming

February 22, 2017

The board of directors and the chief executive officer of Playtech Systems Limited (Island Luck) are pleased to announce that Dirk W. Simmons, a member of the board of directors and the company's chief financial officer, and Neil Major, the company's risk and compliance manager, have both successfully completed all of the academic requirements and have been awarded the International Compliance Association Specialists Certificate in Money Laundering Risks in Betting and Gaming.
The International Compliance Association (ICA) is a professional membership and awarding body based in the United Kingdom and the leading global provider of professional, certificated qualifications in anti-money laundering, corporate governance, risk and compliance and financial crime prevention. The Specialists Certificate in Money Laundering Risks in Betting and Gaming is an intensive three-month program covering all aspects of customer due diligence and anti-money laundering risks and typologies in both online and land-based betting and gaming environments.
Simmons is a member of the Risk and Compliance Committee on the Playtech Systems Limited (Playtech) board of directors. Prior to joining Playtech, he was the managing director of a multinational offshore financial institution. He holds an LL.B. (honors) from the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom and a bachelors degree (honors) in accounting and economics from Belmont University in the United States of America. He is also the holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) professional designation. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA), the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) and an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of England and Wales (London ACIB).
Major has served as the risk and compliance manager for Playtech Systems Limited for the past two years. Prior to his current position, Major worked in the regulatory and banking industries for over 11 years. Working with the Securities Commission of The Bahamas for several years and in a contractual capacity with The Central Bank of The Bahamas, Major has a keen grasp on the regulatory culture in The Bahamas. Major has a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, New York. Major is a certified compliance and money laundering officer, having successfully completed the International Diploma in Anti Money Laundering & Compliance. Major is a professional member of the International Compliance Association, as well as a professional member of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers.
Playtech Systems Limited is the industry leading provider of domestic gaming entertainment in The Bahamas. The company extends congratulations to Simmons and Major on their accomplishments.

read more »

BTC Junior Achievement Company hosts Future Leaders Seminar

February 22, 2017

Over 100 achievers participated in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) Junior Achievement (JA) Company's Future Leaders Seminar. The students used the theme "Solving tomorrow's problems today".
The seminar featured a number of speakers, including BTC CEO Leon Williams and former BTC Junior Achiever, now Director of Finance at Toyota Dennis Deveaux.
Executive Advisor for BTC's JA Company Barry Wilmott said, "Our JA students executed this event flawlessly. We were encouraged by the level of participation from the other Junior Achievement companies. The Future Leaders Seminar was designed to get our achievers realistically thinking about how to achieve their goals, and by all accounts we believe we achieved this."
BTC has been a supporter of the Junior Achievement program for over 30 years. The group is currently led by Executive Advisor Barry Wilmott.

read more »