Some Caribbean countries not dancing to Beijing’s tune

The aggressive Chinese push to strengthen ties, particularly economic ones, with the Caribbean has not been a complete success despite billions of dollars of expenditure by Beijing in loans, grants and high-priced projects across the region.

Both the tiny island states of St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia insist on maintaining close ties with Taiwan. This week, St. Lucian Opposition Leader Mark Brantley was quoted as saying that it is unlikely that there will be a switch in the country’s loyalty from Taiwan to mainland China even if the next general elections brings a change in government.

St Lucia, meanwhile, has announced that it is pressing ahead with a multi-billion dollar yachting partnership with Taiwan.

The issue arose during a recent visit to St. Lucia by Taiwanese President Ma Ying during which St Lucia reportedly went to great lengths to offer that the investment would be welcome.

Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, however are accelerating bilateral ties with Beijing with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson recently personally welcoming plans by the Chinese company China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to set up its regional headquarters in Kingston.

The Grenadian economy’s heavy dependence on tourist dollars means that the island cannot afford to take cruise ship arrivals for granted. This week, with the cruise season approaching, the island’s Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel announced that her Ministry was focusing on the business of positioning Grenada as the region’s ideal tourist destination.

Last week the idea of Guyana presenting itself to the tourist market as a possible cruise ship destination arose during the 2013 National Economic Forum though, in the course of the discussions, it transpired that the undredged state of the Georgetown Harbour and various other resource limitations means that we will not be entertaining cruise vessels – at least not on a sustained basis – for some time.


Antigua looking for diaspora investment

Antigua and Barbuda is taking advantage of New York’s famous Labour Day in Brooklyn to launch the Antigua and Barbuda Diaspora Investment Partnership Programme. TRhe initiative will be spearheaded by the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA)

Plaudits for Neal & Massy Guyana operations

The Trinidad & Tobago- based Neal and Massy Group of Companies has again cited its operations in Guyana as playing a key role in the company’s overall positive performance during the nine-month period ending in June 2013


Traders waiting for back-to-school spenders

Towards the end of the current week Georgetown traders were telling Stabroek Business that while school supplies appeared to be very much on the minds of consumers, they were still waiting for the customary waves of shoppers to begin serious spending on kitting out their children for the new school year. One Regent street businesswoman suggested that salary payments to public servants during this week might trigger the eagerly awaited shopping spree.

Wanted: Officials of integrity to police the mining sector

The authorities may not yet have given up on efforts to stamp out corruption-driven inducements that undermine the effectiveness of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s officials responsible for monitoring mining practices. However, mining sources have told Stabroek Business that the problems were raised with President Donald Ramotar at a recent meeting between high level government officials and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association and that the President himself has alluded to the importance of finding persons of integrity to police the mining sector.


Mining officials in a number of meetings with government

Issues in the gold-mining sector including crime in mining communities and the mining sector’s request for official assistance to help cushion the impact of rising gold prices have triggered a flurry of meetings between high officials of government and the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association. Having met with President Donald Ramotar on Wednesday last, officials of the mining association are due to meet separately with the Acting Commissioner of Police, the Prime Minister and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud over the coming two weeks.

Two of the most important sectorial issues under consideration at this time are proposals prepared by the miners to secure duty-free concessions for the importation of terrain-friendly vehicles and to acquire concessions on fuel for the sector. Those proposals are due to be sent to the Minister of Finance by the end of the current working week.

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