Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Successful local investors credit workers&rsquo; contribution to their success http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Successful-local-investors-credit-workers--contribution-to-their-success_82842 Mayberry Investments&rsquo; recent November monthly investor forum in New Kingston has won credit for allowing three local investors &mdash; Howard Mitchell, Harry Maragh and Peter McConnell &mdash; the chance to reveal how they successfully manoeured troubled business waters.<br /> <br /> Maragh, chairman and CEO of Lannaman & Morris Shipping Ltd, and McConnell, managing director of Trade Winds Citrus Ltd, admitted that they worked with their companies before becoming owners, while Mitchell, a lawyer and former chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT), started out investing in the Jamaica Lottery Company (JLC), which has since given way to the much more successful Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL).<br /> <br /> The more than 100 investment-minded people who packed into the 80-chair conference room at the newly opened Marriott Courtyard Hotel in New Kingston expressed hope of similar successes in an extremely volatile business environment in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The executives showed that Jamaican investors are not so vain as to claim all the credit for their successes, actually have deep emotional links with their employees and are willing to share profits and other benefits with workers who are trained, willing to think and work on their own and willing to share in the failures, too.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Nothing made me feel better than seeing a member of the team move up, and seeing them grow both financially and also in their own lives, to where life now means more to them,&rdquo; said McConnell, who represents a family of investors who have been closely connected to the agricultural sector for decades.<br /> <br /> McConnell was even more candid when responding to Mayberry&rsquo;s CEO Gary Peart&rsquo;s question about the most critical ingredient in his success and the possibility of future investments.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When I have the perfect team, then I will be ready to launch out elsewhere. I am not there yet. My team is significantly better than it was in 2012, and I do find myself dreaming and thinking of planning what&rsquo;s next a lot more than I am used to. But that&rsquo;s because I have a good team,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But there are still times when I have to go back into the trenches, and I realise there is still work to be done. So the one answer is the team. I have to have a team that I know doesn&rsquo;t need my daily attention. So, the answer is human resource,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> McConnell stated that in his view &ldquo;human capital is the most important of all capital&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He said that his first challenge at Tradewinds was getting rid of those workers he called &ldquo;robots&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t want robots. I want people who can think independently and work independently. So, my first task was to let them understand that I have a different management style and I want people who are going to take responsibility for their area and seek my help as to how to make it better. I think that giving people autonomy will motivate them,&rdquo; he told the forum.<br /> <br /> Maragh &mdash; who bought out Lannaman & Morris Shipping from his partners, Vance Lannaman and Ainsley Morris in the 1990s, a decade after starting out as an employee &mdash; addressed the issue of his relationship with his staff.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In business you don&rsquo;t lie to your staff. Your financials shouldn&rsquo;t be any secret to anybody, because when you stand in front of your staff at the end of a year and they are looking forward to an increase. If you make a profit don&rsquo;t be shy to pay them... if you make a profit and show them, they will understand. If you don&rsquo;t make a profit, they will understand that you can&rsquo;t pay them, because you are not making any money,&rdquo; he stated.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Once you are making money, treat your staff well. That&rsquo;s the bottom line,&rdquo; Maragh insisted.<br /> <br /> Mitchell said that for 33 years running packaging company Corrpak, he did not take a salary.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My staff knew that. I showed my staff the books. I made my staff believe in me, because I believe in them and if I don&rsquo;t believe in you (for example) you lied to me, there are consequences that follow from that. So, I take it that if you believe in people that way... my staff is from areas like from Seaview, Payneland, Greenwich Farm, and they have values and I can tell you that in many cases they are better values than some of the people for whom I have practised law,&rdquo; Mitchell stated.<br /> <br /> The panellists were introduced by Mayberry&rsquo;s investment adviser Jodie Ann Bennett. The vote of thanks was moved by executive investment advisor Karen Hall. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485295/245639_72015_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485296/245640_72017_repro_bzsecld.jpg National Baking Company wins Jamaica Observer Business Leader Award from field of eight http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/National-Baking-Company-wins-Jamaica-Observer-Business-Leader-Award-from-field-of-eight_82822 THE Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards on Sunday recognised the National Baking Company for its philanthropic contribution towards the development of the country during the year 2015. <br /> <br /> Known as one of the premier programmes for recognising excellence in entrepreneurship in Jamaica, the Business Leader Awards 2015 took place at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, under the theme &lsquo;Business Leaders Corporate Philanthropy&rsquo;. <br /> <br /> Humbled by the recognition, Butch Hendrickson, chairman and managing director of the corporate company in accepting the award, said it was a &ldquo;true honour&rdquo; for the company to be recognised for its contribution to society. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured and truly humbled to have been awarded this recognition by the Jamaica Observer. However, this cannot be considered my award. It is most definitely a family affair in the real sense, and it is indeed the National Family who needs to take the bow,&rdquo; Hendrickson told the audience. <br /> <br /> From a list of 25 companies, eight companies &mdash; Red Stripe Jamaica, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, Jamaica National Building Society, Scotia Bank, Sagicor Group, Digicel Jamaica, National Commercial Bank and the National Bakery &mdash; were shortlisted for the award. <br /> <br /> Founder of the Business Leader Awards, Moses Jackson, in his address to the audience, noted that the 2015 awards focused on how companies spend the money they make. <br /> <br /> In doing so, the programme hoped to achieve two basic objectives: to help lift public consciousness and public conscience about corporate philanthropy, and to promote corporate philantrophy as a legitimate dimension of entrepreneurship, not just giving back. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We looked at 25 [potentials] and got it down to eight nominees,&rdquo; Jackson said, adding that these nominees had separated themselves from the rest.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;From education to sports to husbandry, the nominees were chosen because they were compelling,&rdquo; he said. Jackson also encouraged other companies to get on board with philanthropy and not simply sit on the sidelines.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer Business Leader programme has been celebrating corporate companies for the past 19 years. <br /> <br /> Over the years, the National Baking Foundation has contributed to community and national development through the Crayons Count initiative, a campaign to support early childhood education; the Bold Ones, which recognises a champion in local manufacturing, and the most recent A Jamaican Made Christmas, an inaugural expo for small and medium-sized manufacturers. <br /> <br /> Since 2011 the foundation has spent over $800 million to uplift thousands of Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> National is arguably Jamaica&rsquo;s foremost producer of baking products. Over the past several years, Hendrickson has developed a reputation as an entrepreneur with a penchant for diving into the deep end for his favourite causes.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, The Digicel Lifetime Achievement Award for business development was presented to Christopher Zacca. <br /> <br /> Zacca, in accepting his award, expressed his appreciation to his father and Gordon &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Stewart for the work ethic he has developed over the years.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is a lifetime achievement award but I have some years left,&rdquo; Zacca said jokingly.<br /> <br /> Orville &ldquo;Shaggy&rdquo; Burrell took the Scotiabank Lifetime Achievement Award for music and philanthropy. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485236/245645_72047_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485245/245645_72047_repro_sld4.jpg 04 2 Jamaica&rsquo;s new social partnership could finally help create the long-awaited prosperity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Jamaica-s-new-social-partnership-could-finally-help-create-the-long-awaited-prosperity_82861 Today, a new social partnership &ldquo;A partnership for a prosperous Jamaica&rdquo; will be signed by the government, the private sector, the trade union movement and civil society. <br /> <br /> Not only is it a clear successor to the partnership for Jamaica agreement which expired in July, it goes well beyond the previous agreement in expanding further the number of partnership committees, and correctly putting some such as EPOC more clearly under the partnership council umbrella. <br /> <br /> The most important initiative is the full incorporation of the eight key initiatives of the economic growth council (EGC) agenda into the agreement, hence the justification of the word &ldquo;prosperous&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Almost as importantly, a public sector transformation oversight committee (P - STOC) has been formed, signalling that Prime Minister Holness plans to address the issue which has eluded successive governments in Jamaica including that of his immediate predecessor. The former government would no doubt argue this was because of lack of time, but it is worth noting that true public sector transformation has been repeatedly delayed by both parties over a very long period of time.<br /> <br /> In this agreement, the prime minister has also clearly signalled that the same &ldquo;partnership&rdquo; consultative approach will continue in areas such as energy, rule of law, and tax reform, the latter being indicated by the recent appointment of a new committee.<br /> <br /> In short, the partnership approach appears to be becoming ingrained into the operating procedures of the new government, which has so far facilitated an unparalleled level of consultation for the short time it has been in office, particularly with the private sector. <br /> <br /> It is still early days yet, but the prime minister seems to be setting the stage for a holistic economic reform project through the focused power of the Office of the Prime Minister by creating a super ministry of economic growth. Reports are that the economic growth council is forcing formerly competing ministries, previously operating as individual silos, to talk to each other and deal with obstacles to growth in a collective fashion. <br /> <br /> Essentially, the issue is that frequently it requires the intervention of many ministries to fix a problem facing, say, a foreign investor, or remove the bureaucratic obstacles facing a local investor, and Jamaica&rsquo;s government is notorious for its complete lack of adopting a &ldquo;joined up&rdquo; approach. <br /> <br /> Jamaica has taken an exceptionally long time to adopt a true partnership approach. The first attempt was in 1996, with a new joint attempt being initiated in 2003 by the combined efforts of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. <br /> <br /> At that time, its most prominent supporter was Digicel Founder Denis O&rsquo;Brien, who took the Irish team responsible for their turnaround in 1987 to the PSOJ&rsquo;s economic seminar of that year, and facilitated a joint PSOJ/JCC/JCTU study trip to Ireland. <br /> <br /> The then so-called Partnership for Progress, while helpful in facilitating confidence (the local stock market doubled in 2004), was never formalised, and the attempt died in 2005 with the pullout of the union movement. <br /> <br /> A revival of the initiative during the global financial crisis by then Prime Minister Golding, the so-called Partnership for Transformation, managed to achieve the signing of the Partnership code of conduct, just before his resignation. <br /> <br /> Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller finally signed the Partnership for Jamaica in July 2013, just after another near crisis, which has worked reasonably well in some key areas such as energy. <br /> <br /> Nevertheless, the new agreement looks even more promising, and a careful read suggests that it may represent the true beginning of Jamaica becoming a Carib tiger, like the former Asian tiger economies. <br /> <br /> Interestingly, one of the signatories today, PSOJ President Paul Scott, was also one of the participants in the trip to Ireland, at that time representing the JCC, a trip which is captured in my PSOJ/JCC discussion paper for the National Planning Summit of November 2007<br /> <br /> From Celtic Tiger to Carib Tiger, convened by then PSOJ President Chris Zacca. Appropriately, on his return as PSOJ President he signed the 2013 agreement on behalf of the private sector, and there are numerous others who should be thanked for their effort in getting us to where we are today. <br /> <br /> In short, this time is different, and investors should take note. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485447/245666_72048_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 3 Hendrickson dedicates Observer Business Leader Award to his staff, customers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Hendrickson-dedicates-Observer-Business-Leader-Award-to-his-staff--customers_82691 Although the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Award for Corporate Philanthropy was won by National Baking Company, Gary &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Hendrickson admitted that he was humbled by the recognition, but said the honour really belonged to his team and the company&rsquo;s customers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;None of our philanthropy would be possible without our team&rsquo;s determination to excel, not only in terms of productivity, but in attitude, social awareness and loyalty. And so, to them, and our customers, this recognition is really yours, and I humbly accept it on your behalf&rdquo;, Hendrickson, Continental Baking Company&rsquo;s chairman and managing director told guests and fellow nominees at the awards banquet Sunday night at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.<br /> <br /> The company, which since 2011 has spent $800 million to uplift thousands of Jamaicans, was among eight nominees for the award that this year recognised the charitable work of corporate entities.<br /> <br /> Here is the full text of Hendrickson&rsquo;s acceptance speech.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured and truly humbled to have been awarded this recognition by the Jamaica Observer. <br /> <br /> However, this cannot be considered my award. It is most definitely a family affair in the real sense, and it is indeed the National Family who need to take the bow.<br /> <br /> Our business took the decision many years ago to expand our definition of nourishing the nation. <br /> <br /> We proudly strive to &lsquo;bake to perfection&rsquo;. But we also recognise the need to nourish the spirit and mind of our people, many of whom simply lack the opportunity to thrive. <br /> <br /> And that is where our National Family have so proudly stepped up to the plate. <br /> <br /> The message is simple: We Rise by Lifting Others. Jamaica succeeds only if we all get the opportunity to succeed. Not rocket science. <br /> <br /> Our team gets it. And the results can be awesome!<br /> <br /> Our focus has been the young. The young child at that critical juncture when imagination is thriving and the brain is most receptive to limitless skills and ideas. <br /> <br /> And then there is the young entrepreneur, who has received the critical training, but now needs exposure and opportunity. <br /> <br /> We feel that if we can make a positive impact on those two segments of our society, then we&rsquo;re well on the way to turn this thing around. <br /> <br /> Early education and opportunity for growth.<br /> <br /> Our team is particularly proud of our partnership with Glen Christian of Cari-Med Limited, and other stakeholders, in bringing to fruition a state-of-the-art early childhood institution, the Union Gardens Infant School. We see this as an opportunity for transformation of our nation&rsquo;s youth. <br /> <br /> We have been inspired by the results, and it is our hope that more private sector entities will invest in our vision of early intervention changing lives. <br /> <br /> We are equally committed to facilitating the young productive sector, which will be the drivers of a dynamic, productive Jamaica. <br /> <br /> With this philosophy in mind, our initiatives, The Bold Ones In Manufacturing, and A Jamaican Made Christmas, seek to reach out to these up-and-coming small business owners and support them in their marketing efforts.<br /> <br /> Giving back is both a passion and a mission. It is a personal choice to which I am firmly committed because I believe that it is simply the right thing to do. <br /> <br /> And my National Family knows my mantra: Make profit, because I am going to give it away. <br /> <br /> At National, we do not regard our passion to give back as an incidental by-product of our business.<br /> <br /> It is the core value of our business. <br /> <br /> It is what gives purpose and meaning to our productivity and success. <br /> <br /> We know that if you feel right about what you do; if you feel inspired and motivated by what you do, then you must be doing the right thing. As simple as that. None of our philanthropy would be possible without our team&rsquo;s determination to excel, not only in terms of productivity, but in attitude, social awareness and loyalty. <br /> <br /> And so, to them, and our customers, this recognition is really yours, and I humbly accept it on your behalf.<br /> <br /> Thank you very much.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485241/245607_71976_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 3 Blue Power doubles profit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Blue-Power-doubles-profit_82740 Soap and lumber company Blue Power Group made $36.4 million in net profit for the three months ending October 31, more than doubling profit posted a year earlier. <br /> <br /> The increase in profit of 146.9 per cent for the second quarter of 2016 was attributable to an increase in local sales as well as export sales in Guyana and Barbados, both of which Chairman Dhiru Tanna lauded as having done extremely well in addition to the United States and England. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;For instance, in the case of Barbados we have trebled our sales in calendar 2016 when compared to 2015. The distributor in Guyana has been buying a container each month, has been doing a lot of work on the ground with attractive prices and good service,&rdquo; he stated in a press release from the company. <br /> <br /> Guyana is one the latest markets in which Blue Power has been pushing exports in an effort to boost profits, as cheaper imports continue to flood the local market and consumers become more constrained by the harsh economic times. <br /> <br /> The company is also looking to get a toehold in Cuba and Venezuela. <br /> <br /> Export sales for the quarter stood at $16.6 million, more than doubling the $7-million revenue in the previous year. Combined sales for the company increased by 14 per cent to $339 million, compared to $297 million for the same period last year. <br /> <br /> Tanna noted that increased marketing by the company as well as improved performance of its distributors contributed to the strong performance of the company. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;All our products have done well, not just the Blue Power-branded products. We are producing more efficiently now so we are able to increase volumes and improve our margins,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Other income also increased 158 per cent year over year to $7.5 million. <br /> <br /> Blue Power&rsquo;s lumber depot saw an increase in sales of $9 million, moving from $219 million during the second quarter last year to $228 during the review period. Sales for the soap division also increased by $34 million from $77 million to $111 million. <br /> <br /> The company which manufactures soap for AriLabs, GraceKennedy and Lasco has already installed a new machine for wrapping single bars of laundry soaps. The newly packaged products should reach supermarket shelves in time for Christmas. <br /> <br /> As for the Papine-based lumber division, preparations are well underway to air-condition the main sales area to provide a more comfortable environment for customers and staff. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13258436/226066__w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Red Stripe&rsquo;s &lsquo;Learning for Life&rsquo; project creates another young entrepreneur http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Red-Stripe-s--Learning-for-Life--project-creates-another-young-entrepreneur_82301 TRAVIS Graham enrolled in the Red Stripe &lsquo;Learning for Life&rsquo; (LFL) programme six years ago, completely unaware that the music management course he signed up for would have created the foundation for his success in the recording business.<br /> <br /> His journey was not always smooth, but it eventually led him to the Social Development Commission in St Mary and later elevated him to the position of parish manager.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Learning for Life programme helped me tremendously. It taught me leadership skills, improved my networking skills and, most importantly, it convinced me that Jamaica has a global competitive advantage in the creative industry sector,&rdquo; said Graham.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we have a private- public sector partnership facilitating training and development of our youth, we can reap the economic benefits of this in our path towards social and economic development,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Now, with carefully honed management skills and considerable responsibility, Graham looks back at LFL with gratitude.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Red Stripe team did not just implement a programme for the company, they put their heart, soul and creativity in it for the benefit of the participants. They did it to impact our lives,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Since leaving the programme, Graham has become part of a founding group for a creative arts-based NGO called Manifest Jamaica, which promotes the arts in inner-city communities.<br /> <br /> His involvement in the creative arts industry has led him to start his own record label, Universal Reggae Sounds, this year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was able to use the knowledge and connections gained from the Learning for Life programme to not only set up the label, but also set up the business and artist development aspect of the music,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Graham has now enrolled in a master of arts programme at The University of the West Indies, Mona, and is reading for a postgraduate degree in communication for social and behavioural change. He plans to do his thesis on the business of music communication.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Young people like Travis make it all worthwhile. He started out in one of our many practical programmes that teach skills they can use for life,&rdquo; says Dianne Ashton-Smith, Red Stripe&rsquo;s head of corporate relations.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;With a little tenacity and ambition to go further, Travis showed that this programme is a great foundation for young entrepreneurs who see opportunities in the music and entertainment industry,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> &lsquo;Learning for Life&rsquo; is a worldwide Diageo programme which trains young people in retailing, hospitality, tourism, and the arts &mdash; the &lsquo;Project Artist&rsquo; component focuses on the last area with an emphasis on the music business. <br /> <br /> Forty-four young people were chosen for the first programme in 2009 and started their training by being a part of the production team for its &lsquo;Learning for Life: Project Artist&rsquo; concert that year at Sabina Park.<br /> <br /> The show marked the second phase of the programme conducted by Red Stripe in Jamaica. The first was &lsquo;Project Bartender&rsquo; which trained young people to be professional bartenders. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485361/244578_71949_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Cemex announces take-over bid for Trinidad Cement Ltd http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Cemex-announces-take-over-bid-for-Trinidad-Cement-Ltd_82834 On Monday CEMEX, SAB. de CV announced that one of its indirect subsidiaries, Sierra Trading, will present an offer and take-over bid to all shareholders of Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL), a company publicly listed in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados.<br /> <br /> CEMEX is a global building materials company operating in more than 50 countries. The company aims to acquire up to 132,616,942 ordinary shares in TCL for TT$4.50 in cash per TCL share, which together with Sierra&rsquo;s existing share ownership in TCL of approximately 39.5 per cent, would &mdash; if successful &mdash; result in Sierra holding up to 74.9 per cent of the equity share capital in TCL.<br /> <br /> CEMEX says full acceptance of the offer would result in a cash payment by Sierra of approximately TT$597million (US$89 million). <br /> <br /> The offer price represents a premium of 33.1 per cent over the December 1, 2016 closing price of TCL&rsquo;s shares on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange.<br /> <br /> Cemex noted that, among other conditions, the offer will be conditional on Sierra acquiring at least an amount of TCL shares that would allow CEMEX to consolidate TCL. Unless extended, the offer period is expected to close on January 10, 2017.<br /> <br /> The company said that if the offer is successful, TCL will continue operating as usual. &ldquo;Additionally, TCL will be maintained as a publicly listed company on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, with the benefit of a strong local shareholding together with the enhanced benefit of proven management and operational expertise from CEMEX,&rdquo; it was stated in the company release.<br /> <br /> TCL&rsquo;s main operations are in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados. TCL is the majority shareholder of Caribbean Cement Company Ltd (CCCL), the main cement producer in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> As of September 30, 2016, TCL and its subsidiaries had EBITDA of approximately US$77 million for the last 12 months, net debt of approximately US$113 million, representing a net financial leverage of approximately 1.5x. If the offer is successful, TCL would be consolidated by CEMEX.<br /> <br /> Fernando A Gonzalez, CEO of CEMEX, was quoted as saying ,&ldquo;This offer represents a clear sign of our commitment to TCL and the region. In addition, although we believe that our offer is attractive, given the premium to the current share price as part of this commitment, it is also important to us that TCL remains a listed company, so that local investors can continue to benefit from the development of TCL in the future.&rdquo; He added, &ldquo;We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with TCL.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485354/245644_72042_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Double down on cloning technology &mdash; Kingsley Chin http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Double-down-on-cloning-technology---Kingsley-Chin_82802 In order to produce high-quality livestock on a frequent basis, CEO of US-based KIC Ventures, Jamaican-born Dr Kingsley Chin, is proposing that Government invest in cloning technology.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For example, pick a pig right now and everyone likes it; it&rsquo;s great-tasting meat; it&rsquo;s exactly what you want. The ability to get that every time is gonna be incredible for the society. So I think Jamaica should invest in cloning, starting with livestock,&rdquo; Dr Chin argued.<br /> <br /> He was speaking during the recent three-day Tech Beach Retreat at Secrets Resort in Montego Bay, St James.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What I like best about cloning is the predictability about the quality and reproducing that every time. &ldquo;<br /> <br /> After applying the technology in the livestock sector in the initial phase, the KIC Ventures boss recommended that the State should then devote finances to employ cloning in agriculture.<br /> <br /> Arguing that most industrialised countries are into cloning, he noted that the technology could be used in Jamaica to counter diseases affecting plants, for example coconuts, which possess a diverse number of by-products.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So if Jamaica should invest in technology like cloning, that would be powerful because now we could invest in actually producing the best quality agriculture products and reproducing it over and over so that means that your quality is guaranteed,&rdquo; Dr Chin explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;GMO is a precursor to cloning but cloning is much more powerful.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> TECH BEACH SUCCESS<br /> <br /> Tech Beach, the brainchild of Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, Phin Mpofu and Kyle Maloney, was set up to bring global resources to Caribbean shores.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Tech Beach is a global tech convening. We have people here representing large companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Linkedin, you name it. It is really about opening global scaling for both people on the ground in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and for those coming in, looking at opportunities that might be available in Jamaica,&rdquo;Hamilton disclosed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A lot of people have the misperception about Jamaica and the wider Caribbean when it comes to business and opportunity, so we are trying to share with people that there is more to be taken advantage of. This is a meeting point where people can connect.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hamilton outlined that with the success of last week&rsquo;s inaugural staging of the event, he now has his sights set on having it more than once a year in Jamaica as well as carrying it to other Caribbean venues in the future. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485356/245575_71957_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Do not get fleeced! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Do-not-get-fleeced-_82858 The Christmas season naturally brings with it higher levels of commercial activity than at other times of the year, and traditionally people engage in making gift purchases for themselves, families and friends. <br /> <br /> Being cognisant of this, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), reminds members of the public to be very vigilant and to always check to ensure that a sale is legitimate, before spending their hard-earned money. <br /> <br /> Earlier this year, it came to the attention of the JCA that fraudsters were using email and telephone channels to lure members of the public to purchase motor vehicles that were reportedly on auction by the entity. The JCA therefore urges that if you are being lured into such a scheme, you should immediately report the matter to the police, as well as to the agency. <br /> <br /> Against this background:<br /> <br /> What should you know about motor vehicle auctions done by the JCA?<br /> <br /> What are the steps for participating in a public auction?<br /> <br /> What documents are required for participating in an auction?<br /> <br /> WHAT DOES THE LAW STIPULATE?<br /> <br /> The JCA will not sell any item or good, outside of the guidelines that are laid out in the Customs Act and its Regulations. <br /> <br /> Any item placed on auction, such as a motor vehicle, which is not sold at that auction is put up for resale by the JCA, at a subsequent auction. Additionally, all motor vehicles are sold through competitive bidding and no individual bidder is accorded special privilege; therefore, the agency will at no time use e-mail or telephone as channels to advertise public auctions. Public auctions are advertised in the newspapers as well as on the JCA&rsquo;s website. <br /> <br /> STEPS FOR PARTICIPATING IN A PUBLIC AUCTION: <br /> <br /> o Public Auctions are advertised in the newspapers one month prior to the date of the auction sale. <br /> <br /> o Payments &mdash; cash or managers&rsquo; cheque must be paid directly at the Jamaica Customs Agency Cashier on the day of the auction. At no time, should persons make payments to any person or entity, outside of this payment format. <br /> <br /> o Cheques must be written in the name of the &lsquo;Collector of Customs&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> o Prospective bidders must register directly through the JCA. Registration takes place at the Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse &mdash; 230 Spanish Town Road; Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse &mdash; Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA); Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse &mdash;Sangster International Airport (SIA); Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Registration closes at 3:00 p.m. on the day before an auction. <br /> <br /> REQUIRED DOCUMENTS<br /> <br /> o Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) Card<br /> <br /> o Valid Identification - ID (Driver&rsquo;s Licence, Passport or Electoral ID)<br /> <br /> o Bidder&rsquo;s registration fee of $2,000. The bidder will be issued with a Bidder&rsquo;s Registration Card which expires on December 31st of each year.<br /> <br /> PLEASE NOTE<br /> <br /> Third party bidding is not allowed. This means that an individual cannot use another person&rsquo;s registration card to bid. Each bidder must have his/her own card. <br /> <br /> THE LAW <br /> <br /> Section 88, sub-sections 1 and 2 of the Customs Act outlined below, specifies the process by which goods deposited within a Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse shall be sold.<br /> <br /> I)Section 88 (1) of the Customs Act states: &ldquo;Where under the provisions of this Act any goods are required to be deposited in a Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse and such goods are of a perishable nature, then it shall be lawful for the Commissioner, notwithstanding, such provisions, to sell the same forthwith by public auction; and if such goods though not perishable, are of a kind not permitted by any other provision of law to be deposited in a Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse, it shall be lawful for the Commissioner, notwithstanding such provisions to sell the same by public auction after fourteen days&rsquo; notice by publication in the Gazette.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> II) Section 88 (2) of the Customs Act states: &ldquo;Where any goods are deposited in a Queen&rsquo;s Warehouse under the provisions of this Act and the same are not entered for warehousing or delivery from such Queen&rsquo;s warehouse within three months after such deposit, or within such further period as the Commissioner may direct, and all charges for removal, freight and rent and all other expenses incurred in respect thereof duly paid, such goods may be sold by public auction after one month&rsquo;s notice being given by publication in the<br /> <br /> Gazette.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The Commissioner of Customs further advises that the &ldquo;further period&rdquo; that will be allowed is up to seven (7) days prior to the date of the auction. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485449/245657_72036_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 5 It&rsquo;s the Holiday Season! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/It-s-the-Holiday-Season-_82852 It&rsquo;s surprising how much more money we spend during this season than any other. We never see the negative effects of how much we spend until the calendar flips to January. The overspending sets in and we realise we have a higher credit card statement than expected. Suddenly, we have tighter finances than imagined, increased stress, and a big regret over the amount of money spent.<br /> <br /> How can we avoid this January stress and regret? What steps can we take to avoid overspending during the holiday season?<br /> <br /> 1. SET A BUDGET. <br /> <br /> Decide how much money you want to spend. Think through all the different aspects of holiday shopping: gifts, travel, food and decorations. Divide your budget into the different categories: how much do you want to spend on gifts, travel, how many special events are on your calendar, and how much will they cost? Also, if you realise that you have already gone over budget just on paper, then ask yourself, what changes or sacrifices do I need to make? After creating this budget, stick to it!<br /> <br /> 2. CUT BACK ON UNNECESSARY SPENDING<br /> <br /> The holiday period feels like the perfect time to make excuses to spend on just about everything. Making small adjustments and saving just a little bit of extra cash can really go a long way in covering some of your extra holiday spending. Skip a dinner date or two, take your lunch to work instead of ordering Chinese. Cutting back on these minor things will help you enjoy spending for the holidays guilt-free.<br /> <br /> 3. GIVE PERSONALISED GIFTS <br /> <br /> Thoughtful gifts are worth more than an expensive gift that someone may never use. Avoid the compulsion to shop at trendy department stores and having a pricy receipt. Think about the people on your Christmas list and decide the best inexpensive gift to get them. Avoid thinking that a thoughtful gift means that you&rsquo;re cheap.<br /> <br /> 4. LIMIT SELF-GIFTING<br /> <br /> Avoid the holiday trend of &ldquo;self-gifting&rdquo; &mdash; people treating themselves to presents when they are out shopping for others. Overspending doesn&rsquo;t only occur when we buy for others, but also when we say to ourselves, &ldquo;Maybe I should get this for me.&rdquo; Avoiding overspending includes limiting, yes, even ourselves in this regard.<br /> <br /> 5. KNOW WHEN TO STOP<br /> <br /> Finally, your Christmas purchases are done and you&rsquo;ve checked your list twice, maybe even a third time. Now it&rsquo;s time to stop shopping. Know when you&rsquo;re finished. Just stay home instead of going out on the town &ldquo;just to see what they have&rdquo;. This will lead you to make impulsive purchases and to blow your budget.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s 2017! New Resolution &mdash; Open an investment account.<br /> <br /> You&rsquo;ve followed the necessary steps to avoid overspending. You are starting the year with some extra cash, so start it the right way and invest. Be your own boss in 2017.<br /> <br /> Chantell Stewart is a service associate at Stocks & Securities Ltd. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485375/245649_72038_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Need a Business Investor? Tips to Consider http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Need-a-Business-Investor--Tips-to-Consider_82855 The classic definition of a business is &ldquo;an undertaking for the purpose of making a profit&rdquo;. Enterprises naturally go through several phases, which, depending on the context of the discussion, will attract several different descriptions. An enterprise may be described as being in the start-up phase, the growth phase, the mature phase, or even a phase of decline. <br /> <br /> A large majority of businesses, irrespective of the phase that they are at, have an appetite for additional capital. More capital (if utilised well) should translate into at least one of the following benefits for the business: expansion of the number of units of goods or services that the business is able to offer, lower cost of production, lower cost of financing, availability of working capital, managing risks and threats to the business. <br /> <br /> Here are some tips (not an exhaustive list) that you may consider if you need a business investor:<br /> <br /> 1. Ensure that the investor is a &ldquo;fit and proper&rdquo; person. <br /> <br /> The regulations for some business establishments, such as banks, financial institutions, pension funds and charities, specifically require that directors and officers satisfy fit and proper criteria. <br /> <br /> It is important to note here that many business establishments do not have this specific requirement. However, the Proceeds of Crime Act is applicable to all people in Jamaica. By virtue of this legislation, persons who partner or enter into joint ventures with someone who benefits from criminal activities may be exposed to being charged for violations under the Act. Therefore, it is prudent to ensure that a new investor&rsquo;s source of funding is above board. <br /> <br /> Additionally, in order for a business to access legal services, financial services, real estate services, accounting services, government contracts and licences, the usual requirement is that the shareholders and directors of the company must be disclosed, as these service providers are required to &ldquo;know their clients&rdquo; and be the gatekeepers for ensuring that the proceeds of crime do not enter the formal economy. Having a tainted investor may present some obstacles in accessing these services.<br /> <br /> 2. Know that there are several options for arranging or structuring the investment. <br /> <br /> The investor may become a shareholder and hold ordinary shares, preference shares, redeemable shares, convertible shares, among other options, each of which provides the parties with an opportunity to bargain and strike a deal that best suits the need of the business for capital, the need of the investor for income and security of principal. <br /> <br /> The investment may also be structured as a loan with terms that best suit the parties. They may also consider the use of options to acquire or sell shares, rights of first refusal, pre-emptive rights, etc. Although these terms may sound like a patchwork of legal jargon, they are not presented here to confuse or intimidate the reader. On the contrary, their inclusion is meant to inform the reader that there is no one size that fits all for structuring investments, and that different arrangements have varying and sometimes implied terms based on established practices in law, business and finance. Thus, it is important to seek advice and counsel. <br /> <br /> 3. It is important to operate your business in an investor-friendly manner. <br /> <br /> This means that company records and filings are to be kept up-to-date; dealings with third parties are to be evidenced or guided by written contracts; contracts are to be of the highest standard; trade marks, brand names and intellectual property belonging to the company are to be registered, properly licensed, as appropriate, and otherwise protected; taxes and filings for statutory deductions are to be satisfied; and specific regulations governing the particular industry in which the business operates are to be complied with.<br /> <br /> Taking on a new investor is not a fly-by-night transaction. The success of the transaction can sometimes make or break the business. An attorney can assist in providing advice on the options available and in preparing contracts and other documents that appropriately reflect the intent of the parties and that protect the business, as well as the long-term interest of his/her client.<br /> <br /> Andrea Scarlett-Lozer is a partner at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon. She specialises in commercial transactions and advisory, as well as intellectual property law. Andrea is the Head of the firm&rsquo;s Intellectual Property Department and is the Director of the Landlord and Tenant Law course at the Norman Manley Law School. She may be contacted via andrea.scarlett@mfg.com.jm or www.myersfletcher.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485365/245658_72045_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 5 How to build customer loyalty http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/How-to-build-customer-loyalty_82832 Creating long-term loyalty relationships with its target market is one of the primary objectives of most marketers. The reason is simple. Kotler estimates that it takes up to five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one; while Boone and Kurtz think it may be up to 20 times as much. (RIP, Louis Boone. You were among this marketer&rsquo;s most powerful influences.) <br /> <br /> But how do you go about achieving customer loyalty? <br /> <br /> Now shrewd marketers know that they must never confuse regular, repeat business with customer loyalty. They know that loyalty is a process that moves the target customer through seven stages commonly known as the marketing funnel. They also know that moving customers through the funnel can be a time-consuming process that requires three carefully considered, deliberate steps for which there is no blueprint, because marketing is both art and science.<br /> <br /> THE MARKETING FUNNEL<br /> <br /> For best results enter the game with a really good product, for without that your probability of success is very low. <br /> <br /> Been there and done that? Check yourself for the marketing funnel is superficially simple, but the process of moving the target customer through the seven stages can be quite complex.<br /> <br /> Now here is the seven step process for moving through the marketing funnel from target to loyalty: <br /> <br /> 1. Aware: I have heard of the brand.<br /> <br /> 2. Open to trial: I am open to trying the brand but have not done so.<br /> <br /> 3. Trier (non-rejecters): I have tried the brand and would use it again but have not done so in, say, the past three months.<br /> <br /> 4. Recent user (such as once in past three months): I have used the brand in the past three months but I am not a regular user.<br /> <br /> 5. Regular user: I have tried the brand and would use again but have not done so in the past three months.<br /> <br /> 6. Most often used: I use this brand most often even though I do use other brands.<br /> <br /> 7. Loyal: I always use this brand as long as it is available.<br /> <br /> THREE STEPS <br /> <br /> Having discussed the process that the customer goes through to get to loyalty, let&rsquo;s now turn to what marketers do to facilitate the customer&rsquo;s process. There are three steps in the process, and given space limitations our remarks will be brief, allowing you, the reader, space to develop each of them, and if you will, share them with us.<br /> <br /> 1. Interact closely with customers<br /> <br /> Connecting customers, clients, patients, and others directly with company employees can be highly motivating and informative. End users can offer tangible proof of the positive impact of the company&rsquo;s products and services, express appreciation for employee contributions, and elicit empathy. This requires far and above conventional customer service excellence. It requires what Christopher, Payne and Ballantyne in their marketing classic, Relationship Marketing (1999), describe as customer intimacy.<br /> <br /> 2. Develop loyalty programmes<br /> <br /> Loyalty that is induced by offering a financial benefit is not the same as loyalty to a religion or a fraternal society. Nevertheless let&rsquo;s consider two of the main loyalty tools-frequency programmes and club memberships.<br /> <br /> Frequency programmes (FPs) are designed to reward customers who buy frequently and in substantial amounts. They can help build long-term loyalty with high customer lifetime value (CLV) customers, creating cross-selling opportunities in the process. Typically, the first company to introduce an FP in an industry gains the most benefit, especially if competitors are slow to respond. After competitors react, FPs can become a financial burden to all the offering companies, but some companies are more efficient and creative in managing them.<br /> <br /> Club membership programmes attract and keep those customers responsible for the largest portion of business. Clubs can be open to everyone who purchases a product or service or limited to an affinity group or those willing to pay a small fee. Although open clubs are good for building a database or snagging customers from competitors, limited membership is a more powerful long-term loyalty builder.<br /> <br /> 3. Create institutional ties<br /> <br /> A long time ago Porter spoke of the importance of entry and exit barriers. Customers are less inclined to switch to another supplier when it means high capital costs, high search costs, or the loss of loyal-customer discounts. But what is even better is when owners or users of your products or services form their own cult-like groups. Classic examples are Apple&rsquo;s MacUser groups or Harley-Davidson&rsquo;s Harley Owners&rsquo; Group (HOG). <br /> <br /> And speaking of the benefits of customer loyalty, I wonder how much money this MacUser has spent with Apple without even considering lower priced alternatives? Hey, all those Mac desktops, laptops, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and iTunes music? OMG! But then Apple&rsquo;s iCloud has made the psychological cost of switching to lower priced Google or Samsung just too high. And that&rsquo;s what most marketers should aim for!<br /> <br /> Written by Herman D Alvaranga of the Caribbean School of Sales Management (CSSM), the region&rsquo;s first specialist sales, marketing and brand management college. E-mail hdalvaranga@cssm.edu.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485234/245625_71990_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Fontaine forges ahead http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Fontaine-forges-ahead_82705 Gerard Fontaine reclines comfortably at his desk, business-like in shirt sleeves, but ruefully commenting that he didn&rsquo;t bring a jacket in today and didn&rsquo;t expect to be photographed. <br /> <br /> As he sits comfortably in the decorated office filled with awards and memories of his father, G Richard Fontaine, this eye for detail belies the fact that the young executive is careful to ensure his image, and therefore the image of his firm remains impeccable. <br /> <br /> Fontaine admits as a younger man he was curious about pursuing other fields, but the man who sits in front of me now is content with his chosen path and exudes the quiet confidence of someone who believes he has proved that he has earned what he has been given.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Overall, integrity is the cornerstone of my business,&rdquo; notes Fontaine who concedes that insurance doesn&rsquo;t always top popularity lists as he reasons many people don&rsquo;t really understand what the industry entails. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am in an important industry, even though most people find it quite boring based on the history of it.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Fontaine joined Fraser, Fontaine & Kong in 2007, assuming the role of president in 2012 almost immediately after his father died. Fontaine had been shadowing his father for almost five full years prior, but the transition came at a time that was unexpected for them both as G Richard passed away after a brief battle with prostate cancer. Balancing the emotional loss and burden of responsibility, did he feel ready? <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I [felt] ready from before, he wasn&rsquo;t ready for me to take over... I was young, but I was ready.&rdquo; Fontaine&rsquo;s recollection of this period seems bittersweet, as the personal and the business clearly came to a peak at this critical time.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I took over when I was 29 years old in an industry that is very traditional.. most CEOs are much more seasoned than I... most companies thought that we were going to go under... they thought that Richard Fontaine was FFK, they thought there would be no proper leadership or direction.. and a lot of the brokerages and houses started to attack us and go after our business,&rdquo; Fontaine pauses and remarks with a wry smile, &ldquo;and there was the &ldquo;opinion on the road&rdquo; that we were not going to do very well for very long... but those things never really interested me, I knew what I was going to do and I knew what we had to do. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;So we hit the ground running and made sure we made the right changes upfront. I didn&rsquo;t even really get a chance to really mourn, I did my thing quietly and we just moved ahead...From day one I remember, after my dad died, the day afterwards I came into the office, and I was bawling at the table but I was here and I was working.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Fontaine&rsquo;s recap of this period is light-hearted but tempered with measured tones, as the experience he recounts was admittedly one of the toughest in his life.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I gained a lot of respect from the staff during that period, as they saw me immediately take the reigns, take control, show them the path we had to take, what needed to get done and how we were going to do it. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We went on a very aggressive campaign with our clientele to let them know we were still on board, and everything was fine. We also made sure that we were still doing what we do best, going after new business, and what we are known for, being aggressive.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So all of a sudden instead of us losing business we were moving forward, and changing and shifting in the marketplace and we gained respect from other insurance companies and brokerage houses.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So that was the year one to year two transition.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Fontaine&rsquo;s narrative belies that he has achieved what many thought he could not or would not have bothered to strive for. Like Matthew&rsquo;s parable, he has used well what he has been given, and quietly improved several times over. While keen not to belittle the health of the company he inherited, the significant increase in revenues and diversified operations now under the FFK umbrella reflect an unprecedented rate of growth under his leadership on the eve of their 45th anniversary.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Within the first three years we grew significantly, to the point where we were number three and started to rival [the top two firms] and took a lot of market share.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Fontaine&rsquo;s strategy to assure clients and strengthen their corporate presence spread further as he sought to broaden the firm&rsquo;s reach in other ways. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to be very dynamic in understanding different business types, cannot sell a cookie-cutter experience, the experience has to be tailored which means a lot of depth to the job. You have to learn a lot about everybody else&rsquo;s business, and being able to apply insurance to make it work. A lot of times people may not need certain things, you shouldn&rsquo;t sell something just because you can make an extra dollar out of it...I think we&rsquo;ve done a good job...and we&rsquo;ve surrounded ourselves with good team members to do that. If you don&rsquo;t have a good team you can&rsquo;t win.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Fontaine credits the company&rsquo;s growth to their commitment to innovation as well as ability to identify gaps in the marketplace, <br /> <br /> In January this year FFK introduced their health card, and Fontaine disclosed they are currently working on about five products at this time for that sector. <br /> <br /> Educated at Rollins College in Florida, Fontaine briefly spent time with a Florida-based hedge fund before cutting his teeth at famed brokerage Lloyd&rsquo;s in London.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very cliche, for me I wasn&rsquo;t sure what I wanted to do when I was younger...I was actually going to do stockbroking &mdash; you know when you&rsquo;re young you want to make a whole heap of money quickly! I thought it was going to be an adventurous job, but eventually I found it a bit empty... then I went to London to Lloyd&rsquo;s and while there my Dad had a heart scare and I thought time to come home, so I came back and said Dad give me a job, I&rsquo;m ready to work.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Fontaine credits his father as a consummate source of wisdom and inspiration, noting that some of the major lessons learned in shaping his path to the boardroom soon after he started at the firm came early on from G Richard. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;He put me in charge of this project that involved a dynamic shift in operations, and I had to lead all the VPs in one direction. And I remember the first meeting, and people were not on board, and I kind of didn&rsquo;t discuss it or handle it as I should have... and I offended some people, and he [G Richard] made me go around and apologise to everyone... take the knocks and learn the hard way...One of [G Richard&rsquo;s] strongest skills was people management, and just by watching him and learning how to work with people that has become one of my greatest attributes...basically if you treat people fairly and honestly, they&rsquo;ll do the same for you.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> How does he see his company&rsquo;s future and the overall direction of the local economy?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To be a businessman in Jamaica, you have to predict the future almost, you have to be Miss Cleo! It&rsquo;s a constantly moving ball. In the US they have their own issues, and of course the grass is always greener [on the other side] , but I feel like over there it&rsquo;s a little easier to predict what will happen, here you really never know.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> However, he does feel that the local economy is at a pivotal moment, &ldquo;For the first time in a long time, you have young visionaries with a lot of influence. I don&rsquo;t even know if I can put myself in that category, but there are quite a few young people in positions of power in both the private and public sector who are pushing to make change for the better of Jamaica.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> So what next for FFK? What drives you?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Well, our initial vision was to be pan-Caribbean, and that has changed just because of the opportunities we have now, we are going to do business in many other countries than just the Caribbean...Wherever there is opportunity we are going to go find it.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Fontaine also expresses his concern that he is responsible for his staff and employees, as overall family is a big driving force in his life. &ldquo;Mom was also a great foundation for me, always made sure that I remained level-headed, that I treated people with dignity and respect.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Fontaine shares he is very close with his sister Martine Fontaine &ndash; senior vice-president, International Business at FFK. &ldquo;Martine has always been in the business... she is well versed and she understands the business. She is probably the greatest broker in the Caribbean, and I&rsquo;m not just saying that because she&rsquo;s my sister! I&rsquo;m saying that because it&rsquo;s true... very few people can out-broke her,&rdquo; he chuckles, &ldquo;so we are very blessed to have her working with us.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Fontaine&rsquo;s admiration for his sister is evident, and throughout our meeting he fields a few calls from her as she reviews some documents he has prepared. Seeing this dynamic relationship, one can&rsquo;t help but wonder how the succession plan was drafted. <br /> <br /> Fontaine demurs at the question, then replies in measured tones, &ldquo;We are very lucky that our family gets along so well. We share a lot of love with each other but love is not always everything. We all appreciate and respect each other, and we also respect each others&rsquo; roles especially when it comes to working in the family dynamic. Luckily, it was a very clean understanding of who wants to do what. Family is number one, if you don&rsquo;t take care of your family and think of them first, you&rsquo;re going to have an empty life.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;By the end of next year we will be the largest broker in Jamaica,&rdquo; predicts Fontaine. He discloses that under his tenure as president premiums have grown from $2.5 billion to just under $6 billion. Growth, development and pushing forward are clearly of keen importance to Fontaine. He is an active member of the exclusive Young President&rsquo;s Organisation and manages family interests outside of FFK in real estate, insurance companies overseas, a finance company and a coffee farm. <br /> <br /> Fontaine&rsquo;s sense of purpose is clear. In sum, he notes, &ldquo;Overall it seems so clear to me exactly what needs to be done, and that we are the ones that are able to, and have to do it.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13484905/245543_71923_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Venezuela to print 20,000-unit banknote http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Venezuela-to-print-20-000-unit-banknote_82703 CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) &mdash; Inflation-stricken Venezuela will launch a new 20,000-bolivar banknote to help shoppers struggling with huge wads of currency in the country&rsquo;s economic crisis, the central bank said.<br /> <br /> The biggest denomination banknote currently in circulation is 100 bolivars &mdash; worth fewer than three US cents at current market rates.<br /> <br /> The Venezuelan central bank said in a statement on Sunday it will start to release a series of new notes from December 15, to &ldquo;make the payment system more efficient and commercial transactions easier&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The new notes range from 500 to 20,000 Bolivars &mdash; the latter amount being equivalent to about US$5.00.<br /> <br /> Certain smaller denominations will be changed from notes to coins, it said.<br /> <br /> Falling world prices for Venezuela&rsquo;s crucial oil exports have caused a shortage of US dollars in the country.<br /> <br /> That has driven up the price of imports of food, medicine and other crucial goods.<br /> <br /> The government fixes a special low exchange rate for purchases of essential goods.<br /> <br /> But shortages oblige Venezuelans to shop on the black market at higher prices.<br /> <br /> The last official inflation estimate given by Venezuelan authorities was 180 per cent in 2015.<br /> <br /> The International Monetary Fund has forecast the rate will hit 475 per cent by the end of this year.<br /> <br /> A particularly sharp surge in inflation over recent weeks sparked a shortage of notes, causing long queues at banks and cash machines.<br /> <br /> The centre-right opposition blames socialist President Nicolas Maduro&rsquo;s management for the crisis.<br /> <br /> A tense political standoff has developed as the opposition pushes to remove him from office.<br /> <br /> Maduro says the crisis is a US-backed capitalist conspiracy. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485431/245564_72041_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 6 UK Supreme Court begins hearings on Brexit challenge http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/UK-Supreme-Court-begins-hearings-on-Brexit-challenge_82730 LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) &mdash; Britain&rsquo;s Supreme Court began a historic hearing Monday to decide whether parliament has to approve the government&rsquo;s Brexit negotiations, in a highly charged case that could delay the country&rsquo;s EU exit.<br /> <br /> For the first time ever, all 11 Supreme Court judges convened to hear a government challenge against a ruling that Prime Minister Theresa May must seek approval for starting the Brexit process.<br /> <br /> Protesters on both sides of the debate rallied outside the court as the four-day hearing began, with pro-Europe demonstrators arriving on a double-decker bus, wearing judges&rsquo; wigs and waving EU flags.<br /> <br /> The High Court ruled last month that the government did not have the executive power alone to invoke Article 50 of the EU&rsquo;s Lisbon Treaty, formally starting exit talks which could take two years.<br /> <br /> The decision enraged Brexit supporters and some newspapers who accused judges of thwarting the will of the 52 per cent who voted &ldquo;Leave&rdquo; in the June 23 referendum.<br /> <br /> The vote for Britain to become the first country to leave the 28-nation bloc sent shockwaves across the world and emboldened populists in Europe and the United States.<br /> <br /> Supreme Court president David Neuberger said people involved in the case had received threats and abuse and stressed that judges would rule without political bias in a case that has ignited tensions.<br /> <br /> A parliamentary vote on Article 50 could open the door to pro-EU lawmakers delaying or softening Britain&rsquo;s withdrawal from the bloc.<br /> <br /> THREATS OF VIOLENCE<br /> <br /> Neuberger said the judges were &ldquo;aware of the strong feelings&rdquo; surrounding Brexit but &ldquo;those wider political questions are not the subject of this appeal&rdquo;, an AFP reporter at the hearing said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This appeal is concerned with legal issues, and, as judges, our duty is to consider those issues impartially, and to decide the case according to the law. That is what we shall do,&rdquo; he told the court.<br /> <br /> Neuberger said some parties involved in the case had received threats of &ldquo;serious violence and unpleasant abuse&rdquo;, warning that there were &ldquo;legal powers&rdquo; to deal with such threats.<br /> <br /> He ordered a ban on the identification of some of the claimants, including a national of Trinidad and Tobago and a Polish national who are concerned about the future status of their families.<br /> <br /> Attorney General Jeremy Wright, the government&rsquo;s chief legal advisor, outlined the government&rsquo;s case in the grand courtroom, illuminated by vast stained glass windows and topped by a vaulted roof.<br /> <br /> Wright argued that the government had authority over foreign affairs, including the right to withdraw from treaties, under so-called &ldquo;royal prerogative powers&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The prerogative is &ldquo;not an ancient relic but a contemporary necessity&rdquo;, Wright said as around 100 people, including legal representatives, press and public, crammed into the neo-Gothic courtroom.<br /> <br /> Claimants in the case, led by investment fund manager Gina Miller, maintain that triggering Article 50 would strip British citizens of certain rights established under European law &mdash; which they say only parliament has the power to do.<br /> <br /> The proceedings were shown live on television with the presence of all 11 justices &ldquo;a historic first&rdquo;, according to the court. <br /> <br /> Outside the court, Steve Gavin, who wants to see the High Court decision upheld, said: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s extremely important. We live in a representative democracy with no written constitution.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> But Brexit advocate Julia Waller said: &ldquo;The people have spoken on June 23. They voted to get out of Europe. Instead of giving us a &lsquo;grey Brexit&rsquo;, or &lsquo;soft Brexit&rsquo;, they should just give us Brexit and leave Europe.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> James Eadie, another lawyer representing the government, urged the court to make a decision that &ldquo;the ordinary man and woman&rdquo; would understand, when it delivers its verdict in January, suggesting there was an understanding the government would implement the referendum decision.<br /> <br /> CLEAR CASE FOR BREXIT POWERS<br /> <br /> Downing Street voiced confidence in the government&rsquo;s case, despite suggestions from some legal experts that it was destined to lose.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We believe it&rsquo;s a clear case that we have the legal power to trigger Article 50... we&rsquo;re confident of our case,&rdquo; a spokeswoman for the prime minister said.<br /> <br /> If unsuccessful, the government is expected to introduce a short bill which it will seek to push rapidly through parliament to authorise the triggering of Article 50.<br /> <br /> May has insisted a parliamentary vote on the legislation would not disrupt her plans to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.<br /> <br /> However, she faces a potential complication at this week&rsquo;s hearing from representatives of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who will argue that Article 50 must also be approved by the devolved parliaments.<br /> <br /> Such a ruling could further derail the prime minister&rsquo;s timetable and set up a stand-off between the nations. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485395/245333_71924_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Apple reveals autonomous vehicle ambitions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Apple-reveals-autonomous-vehicle-ambitions_82737 SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) &mdash; Apple has revealed it is investing heavily in autonomous vehicles in a letter asking the Government to make it easier to develop self-driving cars.<br /> <br /> The company is &ldquo;excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation&rdquo;, Apple said in a November 22 letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offering Apple&rsquo;s opinion about draft regulations for the sector.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Apple looks forward to collaborating with NHTSA and other stakeholders so that the significant societal benefits of automated vehicles can be realised safely, responsibly, and expeditiously,&rdquo; the company&rsquo;s director of product integrity, Steve Kenner wrote.<br /> <br /> Apple issued the letter because it is &ldquo;investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems&rdquo;, an Apple spokesman said in an email to AFP.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Rumours about Apple&rsquo;s ambitions in the sector have circulated for years.<br /> <br /> The company has a separate organisation called &lsquo;Project Titan&rsquo; that is developing automotive projects.<br /> <br /> Although Apple has never officially confirmed the project, several of CEO Tim Cook&rsquo;s comments have fuelled speculation.<br /> <br /> After a US$1-billion investment in a Chinese ride-hailing service called Didi Chuxing, he spoke of &ldquo;some strategic things that the companies can do together over time&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> However, in early September, The New York Times reported that the group had narrowed its ambitions, laying off dozens of staff as part of the project&rsquo;s &ldquo;reboot&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Instead of designing and producing a complete self-driving car, the group will now concentrate on developing underlying technologies for autonomous vehicles.<br /> <br /> In its letter, Apple urges the NHTSA not to penalise new participants in the sector by restricting the testing of cars under development on public roads, for which established automakers generally have exemptions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To maximise the safety benefits of automated vehicles, encourage innovation, and promote fair competition, established manufacturers and new entrants should be treated equally,&rdquo; it says.<br /> <br /> Apple also encourages data sharing, particularly for accidents, saying that would enable the industry to &ldquo;build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Most major auto manufacturers and many technology groups are currently developing autonomous vehicles &mdash; considered to be the future of the automobile &mdash; along with electric power, with first production models promised for around 2020. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485255/245566_71948_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Amazon testing cashier-free retail store http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Amazon-testing-cashier-free-retail-store_82732 SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) &mdash; Amazon on Monday unveiled a new kind of retail store, with no cashiers.<br /> <br /> In the concept store in Amazon&rsquo;s hometown of Seattle, Washington, customers can fill their shopping carts and walk out &mdash; with the costs tallied up and billed on their accounts with the US online giant.<br /> <br /> Amazon Go, which is being tested in a single store with Amazon employees and will open to the public next year, is a &ldquo;checkout-free shopping experience made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning,&rdquo; its Web page, says.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our &lsquo;Just Walk Out&rsquo; technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you&rsquo;re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we&rsquo;ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The store in Seattle of some 170 square meters (1,800 square feet) is selling a variety of food products including breads, cheeses and ready-to-eat meals, as well as Amazon meal kits, which has the ingredients for home-cooked dishes.<br /> <br /> It was not immediately clear whether Amazon will expand this model with more physical stores or offer the technology to other retailers.<br /> <br /> The online giant has been rumoured to be looking at creating brick and mortar outlets but, so far, has only announced a handful of bookselling outlets. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485254/245565_71947_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 6 Iceland plays the tourism card, for better for worse http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Iceland-plays-the-tourism-card--for-better-for-worse_82796 REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AFP) &mdash; An island of ice and lava battered by the Arctic winds, Iceland&rsquo;s dramatic and pristine landscape is attracting a growing number of tourists, not all of whom are respectful of the fragile ecosystem.<br /> <br /> Along with hikers, nature lovers, reality TV starlets and fans of the series Game of Thrones, which was partially filmed in Iceland, 1.3 million tourists visited the country in 2015, a number expected to rise to 1.8 million this year. <br /> <br /> Long a destination that appealed only to the earliest ecotourists and fans of the eccentric singer Bjork, this small nation of 330,000 inhabitants is now reaping the benefits of a thriving tourism sector. <br /> <br /> Since the 2008 collapse of Iceland&rsquo;s financial system, tourism has become a pillar of the economy, accounting for seven per cent of gross domestic product in 2015. <br /> <br /> But why are tourists thronging to this remote island, described so darkly in the recent wave of &lsquo;Ice-lit&rsquo; crime novels? <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a place of fire and ice. You can see different things everywhere: geysers, glaciers, volcanoes. Things that you don&rsquo;t normally see in other places in the world,&rdquo; says Marcelle Lindopp, a 28-year-old Brazilian thrilled by her stay, despite a glacial rain lashing her face. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the experience of a lifetime, really.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> THE BLUE LAGOON<br /> <br /> One has only to drive a few kilometres beyond Reykjavik&rsquo;s city limits to be seized by the beauty and strangeness of the Icelandic panorama. <br /> <br /> Here, the rocky mountains give way to verdant tundra, dotted with horses and sheep. Majestic waterfalls break the monotony of the volcanic rocks. <br /> <br /> A little further away, near the sea, the cliffs seem to impress even the puffins. <br /> <br /> Off the coast, bolder visitors can go whale watching, which tourism professionals hope will eventually sound the death knell for commercial whaling. <br /> <br /> Taking refuge inside a souvenir shop to escape the wind and rain is Jimmy Hart, a 49-year-old Irishman, who visited &ldquo;Geysir&rdquo;, the hot spring that erupts high into the sky and which has given its name to the famous geysers. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s wonderful,&rdquo; he tells AFP. &ldquo;An amazing experience.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We were at the Blue Lagoon yesterday and it was even better than I thought &mdash; a beautiful place.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In this geothermal bath, visitors can bask in water between 35 and 39 degrees Celsius (95 and 102 Fahrenheit) while enjoying a majestic view of the volcanic hills.<br /> <br /> BIEBER IMPACT<br /> <br /> But does Iceland have the means to fulfil its ambitions? <br /> <br /> The director of the Icelandic Tourism Research Center, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, rejects the idea that tourism has exploded out of control, with unpredictable consequences. <br /> <br /> The tourism boom &ldquo;totally affects the Icelandic community&rdquo; and &ldquo;is both positive and negative&rdquo;, she insists. <br /> <br /> Justin Bieber is one example.<br /> <br /> In 2015, the Canadian star shot a music video in the country, which instantly became a huge hit. <br /> <br /> But the singer, idolised by young fans, ended up sparking an outcry after he nonchalantly ignored the particularities of Iceland&rsquo;s nature &mdash; and forgetting that it can also be perilous. <br /> <br /> Bieber swam among the icebergs &mdash; risking hypothermia and the danger of detaching blocks of ice &mdash; and trampled volcanic foam, a protected species which will take years to recover. <br /> <br /> Social media went wild and the local tourism office had to release a statement urging tourists to behave more respectfully. <br /> <br /> PROTECTING NATURE<br /> <br /> In general, &ldquo;Icelanders are not as positive as they were one or two years ago&rdquo; about tourism, says Grimur Saemundsen, chairman of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF), while acknowledging that tourism has been helping the nation recover from economic collapse. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It has been very good for the economy but tourism has to be controlled way more... Until now the focus has been on quantity and not quality,&rdquo; laments Linda, who runs a boutique selling Icelandic products in central Reykjavik. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We need to invest in general infrastructure... we need to focus on protecting the nature,&rdquo; Saemundsen says. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485349/245549_71929_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM 7 Rainforest Seafoods to introduce lionfish fillet http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Rainforest-Seafoods-to-introduce-lionfish-fillet_82441 Brian Jardim, CEO of Rainforest Seafoods Ltd said the company is set to introduce a lower-priced fish fillet on the local market from a new product &mdash; lionfish.<br /> <br /> The company has, within the last week, launched an advertising campaign requesting delivery of unlimited amounts of the seafood from local fisher-folk.<br /> <br /> Jardim told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday, &ldquo;We will focus initially on marketing fillets and trimmed, pan-ready wholefish for the local market.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If the stocks are of sufficient supply, we will certainly explore export markets,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Jardim said that he was uncertain as to the value of the market for the new protein offering. &ldquo;[It&rsquo;s] hard to predict at this stage because we are just starting to get the word out.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Further, he noted, lionfish stocks were reduced significantly due to a successful &lsquo;Eat Them To Beat Them&rsquo; campaign driven by Dr Dayne Buddo and the UWI marine lab a few years ago. Buddo is an advisor to the fisheries sector.<br /> <br /> Revenue projections from lionfish are uncertain, the head of Rainforest said, based on the newness of the initiative.<br /> <br /> He said further that margins on lionfish, compared to others processed by the company, are expected to be much less.<br /> <br /> Jardim explained,&rdquo;our focus is not to make high margins, but to create markets and sell product. By selling more product, we will be providing our fishermen with another revenue stream and that is our main goal&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Target volumes, he said, will be influenced by the needs of the hotels on the north coast as well as the general market.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Once we get the product into supermarkets and fellow Jamaicans try it, I&rsquo;m sure volumes will increase. The meat is white, fleshy and delicious! Very similar to top-quality grouper fillet,&rdquo; Jardim said.<br /> <br /> Jardim noted that Dr Buddo is currently promoting another initiative to train and assist Portland fishers to harvest offshore pelagic (open sea) fish such as mahi mahi, kingfish and tuna.<br /> <br /> The effort, he pointed out, will provide additional revenue streams for fishers while reducing the pressure on depleted snapper and parrot fish stocks found near-shore. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476444/244906_71354_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476445/244906_ld.jpg Soldier&rsquo;s missing money gets attention from Sagicor http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Soldier-s-missing-money-gets-attention-from-Sagicor_82431 Dear Claudienne,<br /> <br /> I am writing on behalf of my son who is a soldier.<br /> <br /> On August 31, 2016, he went to the ATM to withdraw funds from his Sagicor bank account and realised that all the money in the account was gone. He had been on assignment in the country so when he returned to Kingston he made a report to the Sagicor Bank branch at Up Park Camp that the funds in his account had been withdrawn by someone other than himself. <br /> <br /> The bank gave him a printout of the transactions that were made from his account. On August 28, two withdrawals were made on the same day at the Scotiabank Premier ATM at 1:34 pm and 1:35 pm. A third withdrawal was also made that same day at 3:05 pm at a Hughenden liquor store off Molynes Road.<br /> <br /> In total they took $99,000. <br /> <br /> When the bank gave him the printout they told him to make a report to the police. He made a report at the Cross Roads Police Station the same day and took to the bank the receipt he received from the police showing that he had made the report. <br /> <br /> Up until today (November 7, 2016), over three months after he reported the theft to the bank, my son has not got back his money. Every time he goes to the bank they keep telling him that they are investigating. <br /> <br /> My son wants back his money. He cannot afford to let so much money go down the drain. He is not rich and even a rich person would want back their money. I&rsquo;ve seen the same thing happen at other institutions and people whom I know this has happened to had their funds refunded in a shorter time than it is taking my son to get redress. <br /> <br /> I think because my son is young and has behaved in a dignified manner they are taking advantage of the situation. <br /> <br /> This is a very bad experience for him because he started working only about six months ago and for this to have happened is so frustrating. <br /> <br /> I would appreciate any assistance you can give my son.<br /> <br /> BL<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Dear BL<br /> <br /> When<br /> <br /> Tell Claudienne contacted Sagicor Bank on November 15, we were told that their security team had been in communication with Scotiabank &ldquo;in the last two weeks&rdquo; but had not yet been provided with the security footage to enable them to see who made withdrawals from your son&rsquo;s account.<br /> <br /> We have also been in communication with your son and note that Sagicor has now refunded him the $99,000 that was taken from his account by unknown people. Your son told us that when Sagicor Bank&rsquo;s security team showed him the footage, the male in the picture was unknown to him.<br /> <br /> Tell Claudienne received the following e-mail from Sagicor:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Thank you for contacting us in relation to a matter affecting our client. We have completed the investigations and have had dialogue with the client. The matter you queried has been brought to a satisfactory resolution.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> All the best.<br /> <br /> Have a with a problem with a store, utility company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476383/244926_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 3 Fix farm roads to increase production &mdash; Grant http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Fix-farm-roads-to-increase-production---Grant_82416 President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) Norman Grant is calling on the Government to allocate an additional $300 million for the repair of farm roads in the upcoming fiscal budget. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We still maintain that there needs to be more support as it relates to the repairing of our rural farm road network. I would like to see established by the Ministry of Agriculture for this upcoming fiscal budget about $500 million to repair farm roads, moving it from $200 million it was last year,&rdquo; Grant told the Jamaica Observer during the 13th anniversary of the Eat Jamaican Day exposition on the lawns of Devon House in St Andrew. <br /> <br /> He added that over the next three years he hopes that this will be further improved to $1 billion, as the sector continues to see a strong correlation between good road conditions and increased production.<br /> <br /> Output of the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry increased to 28 per cent for the third quarter of the fiscal year, the highest level Jamaica has seen since 1998, according to statistics recently released by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). The growth in output for this industry was also the main contributor for a nine-year-high growth in the country&rsquo;s gross domestic product to an estimated 2.2 per cent now, following six quarters of positive growth.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Whenever you have good roads, production increases because farmers in the rural areas have access to the farm. So idle lands come into production and they can now have access from the farms to the market. What I&rsquo;m saying to the Government is that if we want to achieve the five per cent growth in four years, the agriculture sector is the bedrock for that growth,&rdquo; Grant told<br /> <br /> Sunday Finance. <br /> <br /> The former senator was quick to add that he is in full support of Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda&rsquo;s call for a four per cent interest rate on loans to the agricultural sector. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would like to see, as done in the tourism sector, where there is a line of credit of $500 million for small tourist players at five per cent over a period of seven years, a similar facility implemented for the agriculture sector.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Put in a pool of funds up $750 million in the first year to grow and to expand the sector,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> On November 25, 2003 the Jamaica Agricultural Society in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries launched the Eat Jamaican campaign under the theme &lsquo;grow what we eat and eat what we grow&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The main objective of the campaign is to drive a strategy of food security to look at reducing our imports of food and to increase the quantity and quality of our local food. <br /> <br /> Grant reasoned that the initiative has been successful thus far and has played a significant role in the country&rsquo;s passing of 14 performance assessments under the International Monetary Fund. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476382/244222_71361_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 3 A &lsquo;Chupse&rsquo; of LOVE AND AFFECTION http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/A--Chupse--of-LOVE-AND-AFFECTION_82406 There was no need to ask Chupse twice if it would again participate in this year&rsquo;s staging of &lsquo;A Jamaican Made Christmas&rsquo;. After all, the company that uses coffee beans to produce lanyards, key rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces saw the benefits of taking a booth at the expo last year.<br /> <br /> Essentially Chupse, which operates out of the Jamaica Association of Intellectual Disabilities, said it placed great value on the marketing exposure its employees received.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My people are here with me and they are getting a full blown opportunity of social marketing, marketing on a business level and they will go back with this experience and they share it with all the other persons who did not come here,&rdquo; Chupse Production Supervisor Rasheda Tennant said in reference to the company&rsquo;s intellectually disabled employees.<br /> <br /> Chupse started in July 2011 with the idea of integrating intellectually disabled individuals into society by helping them to transition from special needs schools to the world of work, producing craft items for sale. <br /> <br /> The initiative provides an opportunity for them to contribute to the Jamaican society and to have sustainable livelihoods.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Instead of pumping students out of the institutions and then expecting them to go find jobs in a culture that doesn&rsquo;t readily accept or understand them, we decided to develop a company, or a brand rather around our persons with disabilities, hence Chupse began,&rdquo; Tennant said.<br /> <br /> Today, the company has eight employees &ndash; some afflicted with either Down Syndrome or autism. Its brand has grown and is now in stores in Japan and Canada.<br /> <br /> With every accessory made from the heart and perfectly handcrafted, Chupse says it gives its customers a story of love and affection in each item.<br /> <br /> The coffee beans the company uses are donated by the Jamaica UCC Blue Mountain Coffee Company Limited.<br /> <br /> Chupse was one 66 exhibitors at the expo staged by National Baking Company at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last Sunday and Monday.<br /> <br /> The brainchild of Continental Baking Company Chairman and Managing Director Gary &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Hendrickson, A Jamaican Made Christmas is aimed at assisting small- and medium-sized businesses to get exposure and increase sale for the Yuletide season.<br /> <br /> Hendrickson also wants the event to help small businesses get to the point of exporting their products to markets overseas.<br /> <br /> Tennant said that when she looked around the room at the Jamaica Pegasus and saw the magnitude of what National Baking Company was doing for small- and medium-sized businesses in Jamaica, she was overwhelmed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In this room you have a wide array of different persons from all walks of life and different countries, so it makes you realise how much you can impact not only Jamaica but the global scale,&rdquo; Tennant said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really motivating when a big entity like National can take such a big risk, investing in entrepreneurs. It gives you the impetus to exceed expectations, because it makes you look wider than just Jamaica&hellip; you look at it on a global spectrum,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> Tennant admitted that a &ldquo;big deal&rdquo; for her is when she can point to a Chupse product and people appreciate it and are willing to invest in it.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;People will always like what you create. But when people in your own environment appreciate what you do, it adds a lot more value to it. They (National) are telling us that they not only believe in Brand Jamaica, they are willing to invest in Brand Jamaica and put everything behind Brand Jamaica,&rdquo; Tennant said.<br /> <br /> This year&rsquo;s exhibitors ranged from manufacturers of home and lifestyle products to producers of craft and food items, including snacks. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476181/244904_71360_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 3 Ramocan to lead charge on UK diaspora investment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Ramocan-to-lead-charge-on-UK-diaspora-investment_82012 &ldquo;The Jamaica Stock Exchange provides an ideal opportunity for members of the Jamaican Diaspora to help Jamaica while helping themselves. It&rsquo;s a win-win formula that makes so much sense,&rdquo; says George Ramocan, high commissioner-designate to the UK, as he met with senior officials at the Jamaica Stock Exchange yesterday.<br /> <br /> Ramocan, who has been making the rounds, as he prepares to depart for London where he will take up the post as Jamaica&rsquo;s Head of Mission to the United Kingdom and several other European countries, met with officials at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) at their Harbour Street offices in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Among the key issues explored was the need for a greater push for investment from members of the Jamaican Diaspora. Ramocan said he intends to make the case for greater levels of investment during his tenure, citing the fact that trading in local stocks and bonds represents the easiest and most direct way for members of the diaspora to invest in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The former consul general said there are many individuals in the diaspora who are looking for viable investments to replace the low-interest rates they earn on their savings and pension scheme, and there could be no better opportunity than the JSE which was ranked as number 1 in the world in 2015. <br /> <br /> Encouraging members of the Jamaican Diaspora to become part-owners of Jamaican companies through the stock market is central to the national economic growth objective, he said.<br /> <br /> Deputy general manager at the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Robin Levy, said the JSE stands ready to work with the high commission to sensitise the diaspora and to take the lead role in guiding potential investors in how to engage with the market&rsquo;s online trading platform. <br /> <br /> He said: &ldquo;We are truly grateful that you have seen this as an area of priority need. We want to go further to encourage Jamaican and Caribbean businesses in the UK to become listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange as a way to raise capital to stabilise and grow their operations.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Ramocan will become Jamaica&rsquo;s 13th high commissioner to the United Kingdom, succeeding Ambassador Aloun N&rsquo;Dombet Assamba who completed her tour of duty earlier this year.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476472/244094_71353_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 4 A turning point for townhouses? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/A-turning-point-for-townhouses-_82429 In my last article I referenced a real estate symposium held on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 which was hosted by the Realtors Association of Jamaica in partnership with Victoria Mutual, at which the keynote speaker was Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica. During his keynote speech, in addition to pronouncements on the Government&rsquo;s plans to introduce the required policies and framework required to enable a secondary mortgage market and reverse mortgages, the prime minister also stated that legislation was also being considered to specifically regulate townhouses and townhouse complexes. <br /> <br /> Having had personal experience living in and managing a townhouse complex, and dealing with the structure, or lack thereof, that plagues most townhouse complexes, in my view, legislation regulating townhouses and townhouse complexes should be a very welcome addition to the raft of legislation that regulates real estate in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I have set out the typical ownership structure in a townhouse complex, using for illustrative purposes an example of a hypothetical townhouse complex that contains 10 townhouses:<br /> <br /> 1. There would be 10 individual Certificates of Title registered under the Registration of Titles Act, with each Certificate of Title representing one townhouse. It is important to make the point here that we are working within the regime of the Registration of Titles Act, which also regulates what most individuals refer to as &ldquo;stand-alone houses&rdquo; (that is, a single house built on a single plot of land and which is fenced accordingly). The distinction that is being made here is that we are not operating within the Registration (Strata Titles) Act or what we loosely refer to as &ldquo;a strata&rdquo; in this instance.<br /> <br /> 2. Each of the individual Certificates of Title would also contain in the description of the property represented by that Title a one-tenth interest in the common areas and common facilities of the townhouse complex.<br /> <br /> 3. What then obtains is a situation in which you have detached and/or semi-detached townhouses contained within one gated community in which the owner of each townhouse is pretty much free to do as they please, as would be the situation with a stand-alone house since both types of houses are regulated by the same legislative regime.<br /> <br /> In light of the aforementioned, one can easily imagine the many problems that may and do arise in the management of townhouse complexes.<br /> <br /> A few of the matters that I believe should be addressed in the proposed townhouse legislation are set out below, all of which have a bearing on the ability to maintain or even enhance the collective property values in townhouse complexes, and which are by no means exhaustive:<br /> <br /> a. The payment of maintenance. This is probably the greatest challenge in the management of a townhouse complex. There is a generally a phenomenal apathy toward the payment of maintenance, regardless of the owners possessing the financial means to be up-to-date with their maintenance payments. The simple truth is that it is difficult to enforce the payment of maintenance in the event that an owner fails to pay. The use of the facility of lodging caveats under the Registration of Titles Act is not sufficient and offers limited utility as it only has a bearing on the owner&rsquo;s dealings with their Title. <br /> <br /> There needs to be a robust regime that compels each owner to pay their maintenance and very stringent penalties for failure to pay for more than say three months. The severity of the penalties should escalate the more an owner&rsquo;s arrears of maintenance accrues and increases with the ultimate and last resort remedy being a power of sale to sell the owner&rsquo;s townhouse in order to recover the arrears.<br /> <br /> b. The exterior aesthetics of the townhouses. There should be one agreed upon and permitted roofing material used on all townhouses throughout the complex. There should also be either one exterior colour that the townhouses may be painted or a few agreed upon exterior colours that are permitted (which would be more appropriate in complexes that may have detached townhouses).<br /> <br /> c. The disposal of waste that is not the responsibility of municipal garbage collectors to remove.<br /> <br /> d. The ability to keep pets. If pets are allowed, the types of pets that may be kept. Insofar as dogs are concerned, there should be designated areas in which they may be walked and which may also be used as their bathroom.<br /> <br /> e. Hosting parties and events within the complex and the use of the common areas for parties and events.<br /> <br /> f. There should be a set of basic and fundamental security requirements for the complex.<br /> <br /> g. It should be mandatory to have a management executive for the complex constituted by at least a majority of the owners (and perhaps some outsourced managers) and for there to be regular meetings of the owners and management.<br /> <br /> IN OTHER WORDS, this column applauds the prime minister&rsquo;s and his Government&rsquo;s initiative which proposes to create a regulatory regime that is best suited for townhouses and townhouse complexes. Hopefully, the proposed legislation will define and delineate the rights of the owners of townhouses and also assist the individuals entrusted with the responsibility of the management of townhouse complexes in the execution of their duties.<br /> <br /> We eagerly await a draft of this legislation for review.<br /> <br /> Matthew Hogarth is the managing partner of MH&CO, Attorneys-at-Law, a corporate law firm. He may be contacted at: <br /> <br /> legal@mhcolegal.com<br /> <br /> .<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476430/244907_71352_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 4 Your financial problem is&hellip; you http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Your-financial-problem-is--you-_82407 Deep down you have an idea of what your financial problem is. And while the bank statement at the end of the month is the glaring example of the fact that not enough money is coming in, the real issue is, how are you going to solve it? <br /> <br /> To solve it you have to name it. <br /> <br /> So what&rsquo;s been standing in YOUR way? Do you have a lack of confidence and so don&rsquo;t search for another opportunity or ask for a raise? Lack of persistence and you can&rsquo;t stand to hear &ldquo;No&rdquo;? Inability to sell or influence others because you don&rsquo;t believe in what you are selling?<br /> <br /> No matter WHAT it is &mdash; no matter what problem you think is uniquely standing in your way &mdash; a good financial coach can help you make the changes you identify as the cause of your financial problems. So let&rsquo;s run down some common problems and how it is possible to get help.<br /> <br /> Your Problem <br /> <br /> Your Solution(s) <br /> <br /> &bull; Coaching will help you...<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t make enough money.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> * Get a good (or better) paying job<br /> <br /> * Get a raise at your current job<br /> <br /> * Get a 2nd job<br /> <br /> * Start your own business <br /> <br /> &bull; Eliminate hesitation at the root.<br /> <br /> &bull; Create automatic habits so that you take relentless action toward having the work that you want to do.<br /> <br /> &bull; Create rapport with your client, employer<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I spend more than I earn.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> * Spend less than you earn.<br /> <br /> * Accumulate enough money for your own future. <br /> <br /> &bull; Create an automatic impulse toward saving (rather than overspending), without hoarding.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I make bad financial decisions.&rdquo; or &ldquo;I make bad investments.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Fix your decision strategy so that you choose better from among available options. <br /> <br /> &bull; Create a new decision strategy in your mind, based on how expert financial decision-makers think<br /> <br /> &bull; Make this new decision-strategy as automatic as blinking your eyes or beating your heart (it happens before you &lsquo;think about&rsquo; doing it.)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I sabotage my success.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Create better habits.<br /> <br /> &bull; See yourself through the eyes of someone who loves/cares about you<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how to sell my services, my products or my ideas to other people&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Awaken other people&rsquo;s imaginations so that they FEEL good about hiring you or buying from you. <br /> <br /> &bull; Master language of influence<br /> <br /> &bull; Uncover what gets other people excited about working with/buying from you<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I feel hopeless/sad/anxious and it affects my performance and efficiency&rdquo; <br /> <br /> or &ldquo;I feel nervous/sad/guilty when it comes to selling/asking for money.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Transform your uncomfortable emotions into ones that FEEL better. <br /> <br /> &bull; Erase your anxiety at the deepest levels of mind & body<br /> <br /> &bull; Lose your addiction to worry.<br /> <br /> Now this is not an overnight process. It takes time to work through the issues that hold you back from solving your financial problems. However, that&rsquo;s the job of a coach &mdash; to work with you to overcome these mental barriers that prevent you from living the life you want. And so, as we always say in this column: Don&rsquo;t go it alone. Reach out and partner for better results.<br /> <br /> Dennise Williams, MBA (Banking & Finance) is a journalist, TV producer, certified practioner NLP coach and has 15 years experience in the financial services industry. You can see more of he<br /> <br /> r work at www.youtube.com/financiallyfocused.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476381/244868_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, December 04, 2016 12:00 AM 4