Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:25:21 +0000 Dominican Gov. revenue fell 8.5% to Sept.

Santo Domingo.- Revenue by the three main Dominican Gov. collection entities fell 8.5% between January and September 2020, when Customs posted the sharpest decrease. During the first nine months of the year, Customs, Internal Taxes (DGII) and the National Treasury collected RD$451.4 billion, a net reduction of RD$41.7 billion, compared to the same period of 2019. Customs revenue was RD$18.7 billion less between January and September, from RD$104.3 billion that it collected in the referred period of 2019, to RD$85.6 billion this year, according to the DGII report. Likewise, Internal Taxes collections fell 12.8% to Sept.

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Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:06:19 -0500 DHL commands more than half of $8b courier market

DHL Jamaica holds the bulk of the US$53.5-million ($7.8 billion) import parcel market, inclusive of the movement of business bulk online orders and even friendly care packages, according to the Fair Trading Commission, FTC. “DHL is the market...

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Wed, 21, Oct, 2020 07:01:00 GMT Vaccine storage issues could leave three billion people without access

GAMPELA, Burkina Faso (AP) — The chain breaks here, in a tiny medical clinic in Burkina Faso that went nearly a year without a working refrigerator.

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Wed, 21, Oct, 2020 07:01:00 GMT JMMB Group to accelerate digitisation

Jamaica Money Market Brokers Group Limited (JMMBGL) is continuing to digitise its operations in an effort to keep growing its balance sheet, which now stands at $400 billion, with its focus firmly set on a $9-billion profit target.

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Tue, 20 Oct 2020 22:47:06 +0000 TT signs trade agreement with Chile

Caricom and Foreign Affairs minister Dr Amery Browne said the signing of the general framework agreement for the partial scope trade agreement between TT and Chile will allow for deepening, widening and enhancing of bilateral ties between the two countries. Speaking during the ceremony on Tuesday, Browne said the signing of the agreement represents four years of active discussions, negotiations and compromise. “It also symbolises a pledge on the part of both countries to continue working assiduously towards the finalisation of the substantive partial scope trade agreement. From my time as TT’s chief negotiator in the discussions leading up to where we are today, I am personally aware of the concerted efforts made by all parties to bring us to this stage of the process." He thanked Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and her team for their input, as well as Chilean Ambassador Juan Anibal Barria Garcia. “TT is truly grateful for your sustained pursuit of our shared objective, as it reassures us that the significant value we place on our relationship with Chile, one of our most important trading partners in Latin America, is reciprocated in kind.” [caption id="attachment_852926" align="alignnone" width="1024"]

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Tue, 20 Oct 2020 21:14:54 +0000 Gonzales: Greater efficiency needed at public utilities

PUBLIC Utilties Minister Marvin Gonzales underscored the need for the entities under his charge to demonstrate greater efficiency in the delivery of their respective services to the population. Gonzales made this point before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved a $1,944,382, 285 allocation to his ministry on Monday. Owing to the covid19 pandemic, Gonzales said, "Access to a reliable water supply, electricity, sanitation and telecommunications services in our homes and economic spaces, is now an acute necessity to sustain lives and livelihoods as we transition to the new normal and the economy is set on a path to recovery." After noting the ministry's budgetary allocation was approximately 31 per cent less than its 2019 allocation, Gonzales observed, "The cost to an organisation on inefficiency and mismanagement is extremely high." Against that background, he declared, "It is absolutely imperative that our utilities strive to eliminate all inefficiencies and perform at much higher level of operational efficiency." Gonzales added, "Strategic action must be taken to maximise existing resources and achieve greater cost effectiveness." Responding to questions from Opposition MPs, Gonzales said no decision had bee

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Tue, 20 Oct 2020 18:23:54 +0000 Duke: PSA will resist any plan to cut WASA staff

Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke is warning the Government that his associatiion will resist any possible staff cuts at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). At a press conference at the association’s Abercromby Street, Port of Spain headquarters on Tuesday. Duke said, “When you all are coming for WASA, prepare the morgues for us. We are not willing to just close up shop and call it a day.” Duke said the morgue was the only place a man would chill out on the ice and do nothing, but as long as they are alive they will put up resistance. “We are prepared.” He began by saying that he was provoked by listening to Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales during the Standing Finance Committee on Monday. Duke was dissatisfied

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Tue, 20 Oct 2020 06:36:55 +0000 Farmers denied opportunities

AGRICULTURE Minister Clarence Rambharat on Monday said people are being denied the opportunity to become involved in agriculture because people occupying agricultural lands are not using them for that purpose. Rambharat made this statement before the Standing Finance Committee meeting in the House of Representatives approved a $695,267,700 allocation to his ministry. Deliberations on this allocation took almost three hours and 20 minutes as Opposition MPs asked similar questions repetitively. Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis and Finance Minister Colm Imbert had to intervene to explain how the committee works. Rambharat said, “In this fiscal year, we have to focus on enforcement.” He explained this was necessary because people who have been allocated land for agricultural processes have not used that land for agriculture Referring to the two-acre agricultural plots allocated under the Caroni VSEP, Rambharat said the Estate Management Business Development Company has allocated 3,134 of these plots in seven areas in Trinidad. These areas include Caroni, La Gloria and Felicity. But he disclosed, “Of those 3134 parcels, only 512 have been shown to have any type of agriculture on it.” Rambharat added this has

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Tue, 20 Oct 2020 06:41:06 +0000 Clarify the $1b in cereal imports

THE EDITOR: The Minister of Trade has recently revealed that the current level of cereal imports is a staggering $1 billion a year, which has understandably raised a huge furore. Why are we importing so much corn flakes, especially when breakfast cereals are manufactured here? I am amazed that no one has taken the time … Continue reading Clarify the $1b in cereal imports The post Clarify the $1b in cereal imports appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Sun, 18 Oct 2020 12:32:12 +0000 U.S. Officials Thank Bermuda Police Service

The Bermuda Police Service was recently recognised by American officials for their role in the investigation of an alleged $2 billion tax fraud by tycoon Robert Brockman. The statement from the U.S Department of Justice said, “According to the indictment, Brockman, a resident of Houston, Texas, and Pitkin County, Colorado, used a web of offshore […](Click to read the full article)

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Sun, 18 Oct 2020 05:32:45 +0000 Deconstructing the budget debate

LAST week saw another budget debate come to a close, and with the wide scope parliamentarians are given, the contributions focused not only on what was contained in the 2020/2021 fiscal package but pretty much every other issue under the sun. Sunday Newsday looks back at some of the high and low points of the debate as it veered far from the presentation of Finance Minister Colm Imbert. Of cars and caps One of the biggest items of national discussion arose from the Government and the Opposition actually agreeing on something for a change. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar suggested government MPs take a five per cent pay cut, in solidarity with citizens suffering economically during the covid19 pandemic, and also put a cap on tax concessions for vehicles for parliamentarians (and other office holders). While the first suggestion was ignored, the second was not, and the Prime Minister in his contribution said Cabinet would consider capping the tax exemptions for the new vehicles by public office-holders at $350,000 for all except judges, whose existing tax breaks will remain untouched. But Finance Minister Colm Imbert did clap back at Persad-Bissessar and described the call for a cap on tax breaks as hypocrisy on the UNC

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Sun, 18 Oct 2020 05:32:45 +0000 Deconstrucing the budget debate

LAST week saw another budget debate come to a close, and with the wide scope parliamentarians are given, the contributions focused not only on what was contained in the 2020/2021 fiscal package but pretty much every other issue under the sun. Sunday Newsday looks back at some of the high and low points of the debate as it veered far from the presentation of Finance Minister Colm Imbert. Of cars and caps One of the biggest items of national discussion arose from the Government and the Opposition actually agreeing on something for a change. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar suggested government MPs take a five per cent pay cut, in solidarity with citizens suffering economically during the covid19 pandemic, and also put a cap on tax concessions for vehicles for parliamentarians (and other office holders). While the first suggestion was ignored, the second was not, and the Prime Minister in his contribution said Cabinet would consider capping the tax exemptions for the new vehicles by public office-holders at $350,000 for all except judges, whose existing tax breaks will remain untouched. But Finance Minister Colm Imbert did clap back at Persad-Bissessar and described the call for a cap on tax breaks as hypocrisy on the UNC

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Sun, 18 Oct 2020 05:27:56 +0000 Two New Age women

Last week, two women in public life attracted my attention in deserving ways. The first one, 37-year-old St Ann’s East MP Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, just emerged from a rowdy, name-calling election on October 10. The second is 48-year-old US Appeal Court judge Ms Amy Coney Barrett, whom President Donald Trump nominated to the US Supreme Court, and now caught up in an increasingly bitter, divisive, million-dollar campaign towards November 3 elections. Ms Gadsby-Dolly, previously Minister of Community Development, Culture and Arts, is now emerging as a passionate, dedicated-to-the-cause Minister of Education. We have been missing one for a long time. Fashionable, quite articulate and energetic, the PhD-qualified seems to be fitting the mould day by day. (I lived some boyhood days in mango-infested St Ann’s East Quarry Road.) I publicly commended her when, a few days after the election, she published her phone numbers for easy access by constituents and other citizens. A continued pity that ministers have to execute the heavy demands of ministerial office, yet serve thousands of constituents who do not always understand ministerial pressures. Dr Gadsby-Dolly’s shining moment came with her business-like budget speech last w

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Sun, 18 Oct 2020 05:31:08 +0000 The "H" word

Noun: heterogeneity. Definition: “the quality or state of being diverse in character or content.” Viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants, animals, and eco-systems all display heterogeneity in one way or another, and of course, so too do human beings; different appearances, behaviours, preferences, and socio-economic circumstances for instance. To completely ignore heterogeneity is to ignore reality. In urban planning, this can mean ignoring choice, for example, decision-making based on the long-standing assumption that everyone aspires to live in a suburban or quasi-suburban setting with a car-dominated way of life. In economics, this can mean developing decentralisation policies that ignore the inherent productivity (and upward socio-economic mobility) benefits of large, densely populated urban areas. In law, this can mean drafting legislation that ignores chronic socio-economic inequality, and imposes huge financial penalties, some of which can consume a full week’s worth of income for minimum wage workers, for minor infractions. What about public health? Dr Gabriela Gomes, a mathematician, professor and researcher at the University of Strathclyde, has been modeling the covid19 pandemic in many countries around t

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Sun, 18 Oct 2020 05:30:04 +0000 Making reparations

Repartions for slavery – the compensation for the wrongs of the slave trade that lasted 200 years – divides people. It is contentious probably because we have not agreed on its meaning or its form. One’s immediate reaction is to question how making good an old wrong would work when it affects tens of millions of people. I understand reparations to mean the acceptance of that wrong and recognition of the consequences that require being put right in the psyche of our citizens and states. Essentially it is opening our eyes to our living history and the desire to understand how it came to be this way. South Africa made a correction immediatley after the end of apartheid with its Truth and Reconciliation process, which awed people around the world. It allowed for the release from trauma and help with moving to a kind of spiritual renewal through forgiveness. It did not summarily undo the poverty and deprivation of many black South Africans, because that requires a politically-determined economic and social process, which is the focus of the Caribbean’s argument about reparations from our former colonial European masters. In an event of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest last Sunday, Sir Hilary Beckles, chairman of the Caricom Reparat

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Thu, 15 Oct 2020 20:23:20 +0000 Dominican government has new agreement with the United States for 2B American dollars

This is the result of the signing of the cooperation agreement between the Dominican Republic and the United States to finance energy, tourism, and other infrastructure projects, with the aim of strengthening the main industries, creating jobs, and strengthening the local economy.  SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic. Small companies, women entrepreneurs, workers, and industries will benefit from about two billion US dollars that will be provided by the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC, for its acronym in English) to the country the framework of the América Crece program. This results from the signing of the cooperation agreement between the Dominican Republic and the United States to finance energy, tourism, and other infrastructure projects to strengthen the primary industries, create jobs, and support the local economy. President Luis Abinader and […]

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Fri, 16 Oct 2020 13:17:55 +0000 Govt. poised to get US$373.0M from banks, gold miner

Santo Domingo.- The renegotiation of the agreement with Barrick Gold includes an advance tax payment corresponding to next year of 95 million dollars and 47 million dollars for this year, Finance Minister, Jochi Vicente announced Thur. “The financial intermediation entities will make an advance of around 20 billion pesos, and in the case of Barrick Gold it will be an agreement that contemplates an advance for this year of 47 million dollars and for next year 95 million dollars,” said the official. According to the minister, what Barrick Gold will advance totals 142 million dollars. The agreement announced by President Luis Abinader last week will allow the government to finance the deficit in the 2021 budget, without the need to resort to the taxes that were proposed.

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Sat, 17 Oct 2020 00:26:57 +0000 Tech Tycoon Facing ‘Largest-Ever Tax Charge’

Robert T. Brockman, an American software tycoon, has been “charged with using a web of Caribbean entities to hide $2 billion in income in what prosecutors called the largest U.S. tax case ever against an individual.” A Bloomberg story said, “Robert T. Brockman, a Houston software tycoon, was charged with using a web of Caribbean […](Click to read the full article)

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Sat, 17 Oct 2020 05:51:55 +0000 Caricom stakeholders push for legally binding Caribbean Sea biodiversity agreement

Caricom stakeholders are calling for regional collaboration and strong stakeholder involvement in global efforts to ensure Caricom people get equitable access to and shared benefits from the ocean. In a release, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (Canari) said it had launched an online GIS story map which explores what a new global treaty on the ocean would mean to Caribbean people. It said, for more than a decade, there have been discussions on the need for an international agreement to protect biodiversity in areas outside of national territories, as current international law is inadequate. Caricom negotiators have called for development of a strong international, legally binding, agreement to conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (the BBNJ Agreement). The agreement is being drafted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Negotiations have been ongoing since 2016 but were disrupted in 2020 by the covid19 global crisis. Canari said more than 100 million people who live on or near the coasts around the Caribbean Sea, which is split into territorial waters, benefit from the ocean for their livelihoods, recreation, health, well-being, culture, and spirituality. A

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Fri, 16 Oct 2020 00:10:48 -0500 Trade body says EU can sanction US$4b worth of US goods

International arbitrators say the European Union can impose tariffs and other penalties on up to US$4 billion worth of United States goods and services over illegal American support for plane-maker Boeing. The move further sours transatlantic ties...

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Fri, 16 Oct 2020 00:12:02 -0500 Barita enters elite $100b club, then retreats

The market value of Barita Investments Limited, BIL, has hit $100 billion for the first time, a status held by only three other stocks, all of which are financial firms. However the stock pared gains the following day. BIL closed at $92.20 on...

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Thu, 15 Oct 2020 06:21:12 +0000 Local superhero gets merchandise

Superhero fiction is one of the most ubiquitous and profitable sub-genres of fiction in the world, owing to the success of their big and small screen adaptations. But years ago, before blockbusters like The Avengers and Netflix series like Daredevil, the range of products offered by publishers were mostly limited to comic books and action figures. While the allure of comics in a traditional hard-copy format has waned, the popularity of official merchandise has grown. In 2018, Disney, the owners of Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm (the creators of Star Wars and Indiana Jones), was ranked by License Global magazine as the world’s top licensor, earning US$54.7 billion in retail sales from licensed merchandise alone. Since the 1990, local artist Ancil Harris has been creating the Magnolia comic series about a telekinetic teen superhero who is coming into her powers in the Caribbean. And with the scheduled debut of the Magnolia television series featuring in November, Harris intends to use the appeal of character merchandise not only as a stream of revenue but as a marketing strategy for his show. Speaking with Business Day recently, Harris, 34, said the line of character products will also be a means of helping other small brands gain greater

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Thu, 15 Oct 2020 06:24:02 +0000 Let’s go Tobago

Earlier this month, chairman of the Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Diane Hadad called on Government to reopen the island’s economy. But on Saturday, the Prime Minister exercised caution and declined to reopen the island completely. However, he announced some concessions. Marine park operations are to recommence, Dr Rowley said. The Division of Forestry, Food Production and Fisheries followed up by issuing special passes to Buccoo Reef boat operators days later. Another concession was the increase in the airlift. Such measures were clearly not designed to revolutionise the island’s economy. Rather, the stated intention is to bring a trickle of economic activity. Dr Rowley’s intervention, coupled with Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s budget announcement of a brand-new fast ferry by the end of this year, make it clear that the Government is banking on domestic tourism as a means to support Tobago for the moment. But is such reliance not simply a Band-Aid? The new fast ferry will have the capacity to transport 926 passengers and 250 cars in comfort at a speed of 37.5 knots. A sister ship, the Buccoo Reef, is scheduled to arrive shortly afterwards. According to Mr Imbert, these two things alone &

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Thu, 15 Oct 2020 06:28:20 +0000 How much does a gas station cost?

Ever since Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced that gas stations owned by state fuel distributor NP would be divested, there’s been one question on every enterprising entrepreneur’s mind: How much for a gas station? There’s no obviously easy answer, because there’s a whole host of elements that go into operating service stations. In her response to the budget last Friday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar noted that the estimated value of NP’s 75 gas stations is collectively $1 billion. So the ballpark figure, she estimated, would be $15 million per station. Business Day spoke with property valuator and transparency activist Afra Raymond. As a chartered surveyor and managing director of Raymond & Pierre, the oldest and largest property valuators and consultants in the country, Raymond has assessed his share of service stations. When valuating a gas station, he explained, "The focus is on the throughput (that is, actual sales) of various types of petroleum, and the secondary focus would be on the other income coming from service bays, ATMs, retail tenants, and so on.” Depending on the throughput, he said, the value of a gas station can range anywhere from $5 million to $20 million.

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Thu, 15, Oct, 2020 07:01:00 GMT Germany to give $662 million in aid to Holocaust survivors

BERLIN, Germany (AP) — Germany has agreed to provide more than a half billion euros to aid Holocaust survivors struggling under the burdens of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation that negotiates compensation with the German Government said yesterday.

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