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 NCU team heads to Silicon Valley for International Business Model Competition http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/NCU-team-heads-to-Silicon-Valley-for-International-Business-Model-Competition_93931 Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has been crowned winner of the National Business Model Competition (NBMC) and will represent Jamaica at the upcoming International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in Silicon Valley, California.<br /> <br /> Its the fourth-consecutive year that NCU has walked away winner of the competition since it&rsquo;s inception in 2013. <br /> <br /> The Mandeville-based student-entrepreneur team, Natsima Nutraceuticals, made their winning presentation to a panel of private sector judges in the final round of the national competition last Friday, beating 13 other teams from four universities to also take home $2m in cash prizes along with the all-expense paid trip.<br /> <br /> Runners-up were GenesisWay (first) and SOTARE (second), also from NCU; and ShopMobi (third) from the University of the West Indies.<br /> <br /> Natsima team members detailed the process of their business model as they presented their all-natural and locally made formula to treat asthma. <br /> <br /> Chief Executive Officer Shanea Wint, in describing how the business idea developed said, &ldquo;I was born with asthma. I suffer from chronic sinusitis. When I was younger, my grandma gave me a liquid made from guinea hen weed, garlic and ginger. I decided to share my idea with my team members and innovate on it because when I would take products on the market, I suffered.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Each time I took those medications, it seemed like I would get worse. So I said, why not create something for someone who suffers like I do,&rdquo; she continued.<br /> <br /> Coincidentally, Wint suffered from a severe asthma attack the night before the finals. And, just before her team and competition coordinator Hazel O&rsquo;Conner took the decision to take her to hospital, Wint treated herself with the Natsima pump, which stopped the attack.<br /> <br /> GOVERNMENT SUPPORT<br /> <br /> Natsima also has the backing of the Ministry of Health as they have pledged to help move it&rsquo;s asthma solution product forward. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will be able to conduct clinical testing through them. We&rsquo;ll be working with other players in the industry, and the ministry will be a major part of that going into market.&rdquo; said Natsima&rsquo;s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Technical Officer Lancelot Riley.<br /> <br /> This year&rsquo;s staging of the IBMC will be held on May 11 and 12 at the new and groundbreaking venue of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Teams from scores of universities and business schools across the globe will compete for the grand cash prize of US$30,000 and the prestigious IBMC trophy.<br /> <br /> The NBMC, which is now in its fourth year, is organised at the local level by the Development Bank of Jamaica through the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. Judges from the private sector selected the winner from one of four Jamaican tertiary institutions: Northern Caribbean University, University of Technology Jamaica, The University of the West Indies, and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.<br /> <br /> Last year&rsquo;s NBMC winner Guardana Inc, an all-female team from NCU, placed sixth at the international competition at the Microsoft Ventures campus in Washington, DC. In 2015, local team JarGro Enterprise reached the NBMC semi-final stage.<br /> <br /> The NBMC was launched at DBJ&rsquo;s first Venture Capital Conference held in September 2013 by keynote speaker Paul Ahlstrom of Alta Ventures Group, Utah, USA, who, along with Joseph Matalon, offered to fund the prize for the winner if local universities collaborated. The competition was designed to facilitate young entrepreneurs in taking their business models from the idea stage, and facilitates access to mentors, coaches and angel investors to provide the capital to build their businesses.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741764/267078__w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Head east! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Head-east-_93826 Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Shri Sevala Naik reckons that the Government of Jamaica should do more to aggressively woo international investors to the island&rsquo;s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. <br /> <br /> India, which exported roughly US$85 billion in BPO services last year, hopes to triple its earnings to US$350 billion by 2020. Likewise, Jamaica has increased its dependence on the information and communication technology/BPO sector to improve gross domestic product and employment numbers after bringing in an estimated spend of US$323 million in 2016. <br /> <br /> Presently BPO across the island accounts for more than 22,000 jobs. Plans are to double that number by 2020.<br /> <br /> But Naik insists that those numbers will not be realised unless Jamaica campaigns to investors &mdash; including those in India. Already Jamaica has seen foreign direct investment from India with the establishment of Hinduja Global Solutions and Sutherland Global Services. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;You need to go and campaign in India to bring Indian investors. There are big companies that are looking for opportunities to come and invest,&rdquo; Naik told editors and reporters at Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Monday Exchange at the newspaper&rsquo;s Kingston office.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My job is to promote, but at the same time your Government officials should also go and campaign. So, in the process, I have sent Jamaica invites for investment. Once these companies come here they will train the local people and give them job opportunities,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> Nonetheless, Jamaica&rsquo;s trade and investment promotion agency, Jampro, has had some success looking west. Jampro says it has expanded its international network by contracting management-consulting firm Avasant to market Jamaica as a destination for BPO investments internationally. <br /> <br /> The agreement took effect in January 2017.<br /> <br /> Jampro, in a press release, noted that it seeks to expand Jamaica&rsquo;s presence in the international race for BPO investments, which is currently led by India, the Philippines, China, Mexico, and Costa Rica. <br /> <br /> The agency, along with the Planning Institute of Jamaica, engaged US company Avasant to ensure that Jamaica will increase its reach to decision makers in the world of outsourcing. Avasant specialises in digital and IT transformation, sourcing advisory, global strategy, and governance services. <br /> <br /> The company is expected to promote Jamaica&rsquo;s value proposition to potential clients in the BPO sector, and will connect Jampro with these players with focus on the Americas, which is one of Jamaica&rsquo;s major markets for investment opportunities.<br /> <br /> In addition to this new development, Jampro says it hopes to increase Jamaica&rsquo;s presence at global outsourcing and shared services forums, such as the one which took place in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month.<br /> <br /> The aim is to ensure that Jamaica is at the forefront of discussions for shared services and outsourcing investments, and to increase the employment of Jamaicans in a variety of professions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Avasant will help support Jampro with raising the profile of Jamaica to a wider audience, which means that more operators will become aware of Jamaica as a BPO destination and will take a serious look at Jamaica when their outsourcing needs arise. The industry is growing at a rapid pace, and we must ensure that we improve on our current position in the global industry and create more jobs for Jamaicans working in the technology, finance and services sectors,&rdquo; said Vice-President of Investment Promotion Claude Duncan. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741805/266965_93019_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Therapedic Caribbean signs $60-m deal with Hilton Rose Hall http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Therapedic-Caribbean-signs--60-m-deal-with-Hilton-Rose-Hall_93938 Local bedding company Therapedic Caribbean has signed a $60-million contract with Hilton Rose Hall hotel to supply mattresses and box foundations for the refurbishing of the 489-room hotel. <br /> <br /> The Montego Bay, St James resort, owned and operated by the Sagicor Group, made an exception to its long-standing procurement procedures by appointing a Jamaican bedding manufacturer as a preferred supplier of customised sleep products to the hotel&rsquo;s international specifications.<br /> <br /> Therapedic Caribbean is one of the leading suppliers of bedding to some of the largest retail stores, hotels, hospitals and other institutions across the Caribbean. The bedding company is a member of the Morgans Group, which comprises Polyflex Foam Ltd and Jumbolon Jamaica Ltd, both manufacturing entities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was a rigorous bidding process and we were selected above all the other Jamaican companies which tendered. We are very proud of this achievement, especially as this was the first time the Hilton International hotel chain was signing a Jamaican bedding company, in keeping with its strict quality and design standards,&rdquo; director of Therapedic Caribbean Aswad Morgan said. <br /> <br /> He added that hotel chains worldwide are increasingly placing significant emphasis on the design and construction of their beds due to the important role they play in the overall guest experience. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the point of having great food, a nice pool and a terrible bed? It has to be the total package to meet guests&rsquo; expectations.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to recognise Sagicor&rsquo;s tenacity and insistence on buying local, because by so doing the Jamaican bedding manufacturers were challenged to show the Hilton International chain that the island has the expertise, capabilities, capacity, modern plant facilities, and a quality workforce who can do as good a job as anywhere else in the world,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Earlier this year Therapedic Caribbean signed a $40-million contract with Gran Bahia Principe Hotel, Runaway Bay, to supply an exclusive sleep system, dubbed the &lsquo;Dream Suite Pillow-top By Therapedic&rsquo;, for 455 rooms in the hotel&rsquo;s expansion programme. The expansion project brings the Gran Bahia Principe hotel room count to 1,375 rooms. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are very proud that a local bedding manufacturer could step up and execute at such high levels in terms of delivery management, product quality and professionalism. This new sleep system is guaranteed to heighten our guests&rsquo; sleep experience and we are delighted that it was made here in Jamaica,&rdquo; said John Miles, hotel manager, Hilton Rose Hall.<br /> <br /> Therapedic Caribbean was established in 1984 as a licensee of Therapedic International, which is among the top five largest bedding producers in the world with over 60 factories worldwide. All the locally produced sleep products are manufactured at its state-of-the-art, 40,000-square- foot production facility at the JIDC Complex, Naggo Head in Portmore, St Catherine. <br /> <br /> The local bedding manufacturer has been awarded supply contracts for RIU Tropical Bay in Negril, Secrets Resorts, Bahia Principe, Half Moon Resort & Spa, Palmyra Resort & Spa, Jewel Resorts, Decameron Hotels, Melia Braco Village, Hedonism II, Golden Eye Resort, Couples Resorts, and Royalton White Sands & Negril, among others. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741837/267163_92964_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Douglas Orane reasons with MSBM students http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Douglas-Orane-reasons-with-MSBM-students_93944 Approximately 150 students from a number of faculties on the Mona Campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI) experienced first-hand interaction with prominent business professional, director and former CEO of GraceKennedy Limited Douglas Orane on Thursday, March 23.<br /> <br /> The event was the Mona School of Business and Management&rsquo;s (MSBM) third &ldquo;Reasoning Series with CEOs&rdquo;, which allows students to gain useful insight into how to achieve and maintain success in a competitive business environment.<br /> <br /> The series was launched in 2015 and takes the form of a &ldquo;fireside chat&rdquo; which facilitates easy and open communication.<br /> <br /> Orane, who was &ldquo;interviewed&rdquo; by James Moss-Solomon, former director of corporate affairs at GraceKennedy and who currently serves as &ldquo;executive in residence&rdquo; at the MSBM, spoke about the importance he places in being able to mentor and inspire younger generations of upcoming business professionals.<br /> <br /> While recognising the many changes that have occurred in the business environment, especially the current push towards entrepreneurship locally, Orane stressed the value of defining one&rsquo;s image as a business professional.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is essential for young people entering the business world to be particularly mindful of how they market their brand; your personal brand is perhaps the most valuable asset you will ever have, and given the many changes that have occurred in the world, your personal brand in many instances may be more valuable than your tangible assets,&rdquo; he told the audience.<br /> <br /> He also discussed in depth the significance of diversity, learning through apprenticeship, being open to challenges, and volunteerism as part of the journey to success in the business world.<br /> <br /> Orane lauded the MSBM for the success of the event and expressed a desire to see the sessions continue and expand.<br /> <br /> He highlighted the need for more activities of this nature, citing the importance of providing learning opportunities for students beyond the classroom setting.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is important to note that students often learn more from their practical experiences outside of school than they do in the classroom. In this regard, it is extremely important to encourage curiosity about how the outside world works,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is why I find being able to come here and discuss candidly with students to be such a special experience,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Orane&rsquo;s presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session during which students engaged with him on a range of topics.<br /> <br /> The high level of engagement continued at the end of the formal setting, as he urged students&rsquo; eagerness to make the most of the opportunity to explore their wealth of knowledge as he involved them in several informal group discussions.<br /> <br /> Speaking on behalf of the students, Mikiela Gonzales, president of the UWI Guild of Students, expressed appreciation that he took the time to share his wealth of knowledge with the students.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Perhaps the most useful lesson learned from this session is the importance of being able to make mistakes and using them as experiences from which to learn and improve,&rdquo; she commented, noting that Orane had shown students how not to allow fear of mistakes to deter them from exploring new avenues.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was very inspired by that, and I&rsquo;m certain that the other students present were also,&rdquo; Gonzalez added.<br /> <br /> Michael Williams, acting executive director of the MSBM, while discussing the rationale behind the reasoning series, stated that through it the MSBM has been able to create another innovative medium to further equip its students with the skills they will need to excel in the competitive world of business.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The series has been extremely impactful to the students... we are certain that it will have a significant influence on their development,&rdquo; he remarked.<br /> <br /> Stemming from the positive outcome of the undergraduate &lsquo;Reasoning Series&rsquo;, the MSBM is in the process of developing a similar series for graduate students. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741944/266350_93004_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Tara Courier creates drop windows with Progressive Grocers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Tara-Courier-creates-drop-windows-with-Progressive-Grocers_93479 In a move to further expand its distribution footprint and consolidate its market leader position, Tara Courier Services Ltd has entered a strategic partnership with Jamaica&rsquo;s largest supermarket chain, Progressive Grocers.<br /> <br /> Under the arrangement, which the courier service provider says is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, shoppers can dispatch packages to any destination of their choice via the Tara Drop Stations located in the customer service departments at each of the designated supermarkets. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;As the largest courier service in Jamaica, we pride ourselves on our consistent drive to find innovative ways to deliver convenience and a consistent experience that is fast, reliable and one that you can trust. With this new partnership, we are providing an excellent touchpoint for customers as Tara seeks to take the hassle out of sending packages,&rdquo; said Tara Courier Director Tara Laing-Thompson in a release from the company.<br /> <br /> Available at 15 locations across the island, shoppers will benefit from same-day delivery service. With an assurance of speedy, quality delivery, shoppers can courier documents, boxes, envelopes, flowers, catering, grocery items and more. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Having these drop centres is a guarantee that your items will arrive quickly and safely at their final destination. Our prices are some of the most competitive rates in the industry and our on time delivery rate, which always hovers right around 100 per cent, is another way we are serious about taking care of our customers,&rdquo; Laing-Thompson adds. <br /> <br /> While declining to state actual figures, Thompson-Laing mentioned that the distribution deal is part of a broader investment plan by Tara Courier geared towards driving efficiency and managing its operating expenses. <br /> <br /> The company recently made a significant investment in upgrading its IT infrastructure with a view to serving its customers better. Bruce Loshusan, director at Progressive Grocers Jamaica is excited about the partnership and sees the addition of courier services to its suite of value added offerings as a perfect fit. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a symbiotic relationship for Progressive Grocers and Tara Courier, as both entities will collectively deliver an enhanced shopping experience for current and new customers. It&rsquo;s basically a one-stop shop as customers can shop and send their packages in one place,&rdquo; Loshusan said. <br /> <br /> Tara/Progressive Grocers Drop Stations are located at Super Shoppers Fair on Washington Boulevard, Shoppers Fair Duhaney Park, Shoppers Fair Harbour View, Brooklyn Twin Gates, Brooklyn Clock Tower, Super Valu Supermarket Mannings Hill Road and Shoppers Fair Liguanea in the Corporate Area. <br /> <br /> Other locations include Progressive Foods Portmore Pines, Shoppers Fair Greater Portmore, Shoppers Fair Brunswick, Shoppers Fair Junction, Shoppers Fair May Pen, Shoppers Fair Westgate and Progressive Foods Whitter in Montego Bay and D & Y Supermarket in Savanna-la-Mar. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741900/267165_92953_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Red Stripe plans to employ 400 farmers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Red-Stripe-plans-to-employ-400-farmers_93464 Beer manufacturer Red Stripe hopes to employ approximately 400 farmers over the next five years as part of plans to continue strengthening its import substitution strategy.<br /> <br /> The company, which recruited a new cadre of farmers for its Project Grow programme in which local cassava is used in beer production, is also moving to increase cassava production to 30 tonnes per hectare, up from the national average of 12-19.<br /> <br /> Cassava replaces imported high maltose corn syrup in Red Stripe&rsquo;s beer production. <br /> <br /> The farmer recruitment session, which was recently held at Red Stripe&rsquo;s headquarters, is part of plans to develop a sustainable cassava supply chain and to increase usage of local raw materials in the company&rsquo;s brewed products by up to 40 per cent by 2020.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Agriculture is the backbone of any country in the world. It&rsquo;s not an easy sector to be in, but you&rsquo;re doing something great,&rdquo; Ricardo Nuncio, managing director, Red Stripe, told the second and third batch of farmers selected under Project Grow. <br /> <br /> The first batch of 34 independent farmers and one farmer cooperative was selected in September 2016. Nuncio added that the company&rsquo;s focus last year was to accelerate domestic growth, repatriate Red Stripe production, and accelerate the use of cassava in the local brew.<br /> <br /> Last September Red Stripe repatriated its beer production from the United States to Jamaica, and in the process invested more than 44 million euro or $6 billion in plant upgrades and increases in staff capacity. Since then the company has been on a drive to boost its cassava production number to satisfy beer volumes. <br /> <br /> Red Stripe currently has four farms &mdash; Little Windsor, Bernard Lodge, and Wallen District in St Catherine, and one in Spring Plains, Clarendon &mdash; with combined acreage near 1,000.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are proud to see the continued positive response to Project Grow. Cassava is en route to becoming a fundamental raw material for Red Stripe. It has allowed us to provide an avenue for Jamaican farmers to broaden their expertise, have a secure market for their produce, and to contribute to the production of one of Jamaica&rsquo;s most loved products &ndash; Red Stripe,&rdquo; Nuncio said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741833/266301_92966_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM Gaining financial freedom by watching your money work for you http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Gaining-financial-freedom-by-watching-your-money-work-for-you_93955 Everyone can create their financial freedom once they can identify their goal and be able to choose what type of investment works for them. All you need is the understanding, dedication and persistency about investing in the stock market. <br /> <br /> Learning how to manage and invest your hard-earned money is one of the most important lessons you will learn in your lifetime. <br /> <br /> Over the years, efforts have been made to encourage more Jamaicans to invest in the stock market to take advantage of an opportunity to create financial wealth and stability. The stock market is a good option to earn on your money, and can be explored by anyone. <br /> <br /> The stock market is a system whereby shares of public listed companies are traded. The primary market at the JSE is where companies float shares to the general public in an initial public offering (IPO) to raise capital.<br /> <br /> Once new securities have been sold in the primary market, they are traded in the secondary market where one investor buys shares from another investor at the prevailing market price or at whatever price both the buyer and seller agree upon. The secondary market or the stock exchange is regulated. <br /> <br /> In Jamaica, the secondary and primary markets are governed by the Jamaica Stock Exchange. <br /> <br /> A stock exchange facilitates stockbrokers to trade company stocks and other securities. A stock may be bought or sold only if it is listed on the JSE. Thus, it is the meeting place of the stock buyers and sellers. <br /> <br /> When you own a company&rsquo;s stock, you own part of that company. If it does well, your stock will do well. You can buy and sell whenever you want through your broker.<br /> <br /> Advantages: With the guidance of your broker and understanding of which stocks to purchase, you can beat the market. Whenever the stock price increases, your money also increases. You can choose stocks that you are familiar with and understand the industry. <br /> <br /> Disadvantages: <br /> <br /> Unfortunately, if a company does poorly, so will your stock. Because a stock isn&rsquo;t diversified, that can mean disaster for you. Having the guidance of your stock broker can reduce this risk. <br /> <br /> The key to maximising your earnings in the stock market is to diversify your portfolio &mdash; not having all your eggs in one basket will decrease risks in your portfolio and allow you to maximise earnings. For example instead of investing in one company you should invest in three. In that manner, if one company in your portfolio does not perform well, its loss affects only a small percentage of your portfolio. <br /> <br /> BONDS<br /> <br /> Another way of investing is via the purchase of bonds. Bonds represent loans made by investors to companies and other entities, such as branches of government, that have issued the bonds to attract capital without giving up managing control. <br /> <br /> Bondholders do not share in a company&rsquo;s profits. Rather, they receive a fixed return on their investment. This return, stated as an interest rate on the bond, is called the &ldquo;coupon rate&rdquo; and is a percentage of the bond&rsquo;s original offering price.<br /> <br /> Bonds are issued for specified time periods. When the bond expires and the principal (original investment) is returned, the bond is said to have matured. Time to maturity and the issuer&rsquo;s ability to make good on its payment obligations are the two most important factors in choosing individual bonds to purchase.<br /> <br /> It is never too early to start investing. It is a good way to generate additional income and create wealth. Depending on your financial goal and risk appetite, you can choose between stocks and bonds or you can choose both. <br /> <br /> Francene Ferreira is a brokerage associate at SSL. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741758/267186__w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM PMD becomes exclusive distributor of Diversey brand http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/PMD-becomes-exclusive-distributor-of-Diversey-brand_93171 Local company Pioneer Manufacturing Distribution Ltd (PMD) has been selected by Fortune 500 company Sealed Air Corporation to distribute its food safety and security and hygiene products, including those under the brand Diversey.<br /> <br /> The announcement of the local distributorship was made earlier this month by managing director of PMD Alfred Thomas at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston. He explained that Sealed Air was in search of a local company which had as its hallmark, focus on and commitment to good customer service. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The agreement was a timely one in that it will allow PMD to contribute to higher productivity and operational efficiencies, in keeping with the Government&rsquo;s thrust towards economic growth,&rdquo; the managing director is quoted in a release from the company.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our team members are fully trained to also provide technical advice on the use of the chemicals and machines supplied by the company, with emphasis on training of our customer service representatives so as to achieve best results from the products,&rdquo; Thomas stated, highlighting the strength of the company&rsquo;s service values.<br /> <br /> The relationship between the local company and the US manufacturer began in 2014 when PMD was appointed as exclusive distributor of the Sealed Air Food Care & Product Care line in Jamaica, thus providing major food-and beverage-manufacturing companies with hygiene chemicals and packaging materials. <br /> <br /> Two years later, in 2016, the product line was expanded to include Diversey Care products such as cleaning, lubrication and sanitation chemicals used by hotels, hospitals and schools &ndash; some of which were introduced last Wednesday to current and potential customers. <br /> <br /> In addition to the Diversey brand, which Sealed Air Corporation acquired in its portfolio in 2011, the US-based, Fortune 500 company also carries the Cryovac food-packaging solution and Bubble Wrap cushioning, which it manufactures. Sealed Air employs some 24,000 people. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13741757/265775__w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:00 AM BPO sector boosts employment in the west http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/BPO-sector-boosts-employment-in-the-west_93766 The business process outsourcing sector (BPO) is fast becoming the number one source of employment, next to tourism in western Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Mayor of Montego Bay, Homer Davis said the sector is now officially one of the main engines of economic growth and &ldquo;is also a place where many young persons have been making something of their lives&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Currently, the Government, through the Port Authority of Jamaica, is spending a lot of money to increase BPO space in Montego Bay. Thousands of square feet of purpose-built facilities are being constructed to facilitate a sector that is literally bursting at the seams,&rdquo; Davis said.<br /> <br /> The mayor added that the sector has become one of the most reliable means of employment, pointing to the many persons who have gained employment under the construction phase currently taking place at the free zone (Freeport, Montego Bay) area.<br /> <br /> For her part, manager of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), Julaire Hall said the BPO sector is not only a major player in Montego Bay&rsquo;s economic fortunes, but is also a main recruiter of young talent.<br /> <br /> Hall, who is also the site manager of the BPIAJ&rsquo;s Contact Centre Incubator, pointed out that many young persons have been given a start by capitalising on the opportunities available throughout the sector, noting that BPO has transformed many a life that could have gone in the wrong direction.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are a lot of testimonials and success stories out there. The BPO sector allows for growth. It gives persons the opportunity to learn on the job and the opportunity for social and upward mobility,&rdquo; she added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13587426/253675_w300.jpg Local News Monday, March 27, 2017 2:00 AM Fishermen reaping the benefits of fish sanctuary http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Fishermen-reaping-the-benefits-of-fish-sanctuary_93764 The Fishermen of Oracabessa Bay in St Mary are reaping the benefits of the locally established fish sanctuary, which has significantly increased the fish stock in the area.<br /> <br /> Manager of the Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary, Inilek Wilmot told JIS News since the inception of the project in 2008, there has been a significant increase in the fish stock.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have per area measurement for fish and this gives an indication of the density of fish there. Up to 2016, we had a 17 fold increase in fish bio mass per area inside the fish sanctuary,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> In September 2010 and May 2011, rapid ecological assessments of the reefs within and immediately adjacent to the Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary were conducted by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to determine reef health and the status of fish populations. <br /> <br /> In the initial phase, 69 different species of fish were recorded in the sanctuary during the assessments, with 40 per cent of fish species recorded during the period in low densities. <br /> <br /> These species include blue tangs, bar jacks, graysby and Coney. Commercially important species such as snappers and grunts were critically depleted. <br /> <br /> The sanctuary, a joint project between the Oracabessa Foundation and the St Mary Fishermen&rsquo;s Cooperative, is a 96.1 hectare protected area of the sea where fishing is prohibited.<br /> <br /> It acts as a breeding ground for a variety of reef fish including snapper, parrot and doctor fish and houses mangroves, sea grass, coral reef and a river. <br /> <br /> The primary objective of the sanctuary is to create a &lsquo;no fishing zone&rsquo; to protect the breeding grounds and fish habitats in the bay and to gradually increase the fish population in the adjacent fishing areas. <br /> <br /> Explaining that the sanctuary is designed to provide maximum spillover, Wilmot said the sanctuary enables the marine population to be replenished by allowing the fish to reach full maturity and reproduce, thereby increasing the fish stock exponentially.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The spillover effect works in the sense that space in the sanctuary is limited and when the population of fish get to a certain capacity, they have to leave and find new areas to feed and have a habitat... the fishermen set their traps along the edge and catch the fish that are leaving (meanwhile) we protect the ones inside,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He argued that the project assists fishermen to earn more money from the increased fish supply.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are finding that the fishermen are catching more fish around the sanctuary than even in the more remote places. Now when you travel around the border of the sanctuary, you find that there is a line of fish traps. That is how it&rsquo;s supposed to work. It&rsquo;s producing fish and the fishermen are benefitting,&rdquo; the sanctuary manager noted.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Wilmot said that the fishermen are fully invested in the project which they see as an essential measure for the sustainability of their livelihood.<br /> <br /> He reported that the fishermen act as wardens, patrolling the sanctuaries and are empowered as game wardens under the Wildlife Protection Act to enforce the fishing laws. <br /> <br /> Offences under the Act include the use of explosive or noxious substances and unauthorised traps to knowingly injure, kill or take immature fish from protected areas for non-commercial/commercial activities.<br /> <br /> Programme stakeholders also work closely with the marine police, as well as the regular police and the legal system in reporting and investigating incidents. <br /> <br /> Significantly, Wilmot noted that the Government&rsquo;s community-based management approach to fish sanctuaries, coupled with public education activities on the functions and importance of the fish sanctuary among community members, is proving to be effective in addressing issues associated with overfishing. <br /> <br /> The Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary is one of approximately 13 sanctuaries established across the island. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10829854/Fisherman_w300.jpg Local News Monday, March 27, 2017 12:00 AM David Smalling, a fast-rising star on Wall Street http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/David-Smalling--a-fast-rising-star-on-Wall-Street_93582 &ldquo;Considering the political climate, I think I should point out one thing that I think has been crucial to forming who I am, and I can relate this with my friends who went to Campion&hellip; In my year at Yale there were three of us ... Growing up the way I did I never really thought about race... it just never really came up because it didn't need to. Now, that could be my personality trait or naivete, but it was what it was, so going to college, the most formative parts of my growth were with a really clear mind, which I realise now was indispensable. <br /> <br /> "I know my own level of competence, the things I am good at and not good at, and I try to evaluate my own skills reasonably, but at the same time I have confidence, and so that kind of insecurity thankfully doesn't impact how I behave.<br /> <br /> "When I look at my peers in a professional setting, not only the African-Americans, but also Asian-Americans, homosexuals etc, who are constantly thinking about whether some person or other is judging them or discriminating against them... it's a tough reality, but for me coming from Jamaica my experience was growing up with a lot of friends who are all different nationalities, orientations, etc ,so we didn't care that much or think about it that much...it just never came up. <br /> <br /> "So I was never really worrying if my boss or peer in a professional setting was discriminating against me as a foreigner or for being black. Maybe it's something I think about more now &mdash; especially as I am raising money in Asia &mdash; but very little. This has been hugely impactful in terms of [influencing both] my conduct and state of mind.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Confidence goes a long way towards laying the foundation for growth and development, and this young man, clearly a poster boy for the benefits of a privileged childhood spent in Jamaica, has it in spades. <br /> <br /> A graduate of Mona Preparatory School, then later Campion College, Yale University in Connecticut, and finally completing his academic education with a PhD in Economics from Harvard University, David Smalling comes in at the younger end of the spectrum in this survey of the forthcoming generation of Caribbean leadership as he makes his way on Wall Street.<br /> <br /> Smalling was recently identified by prestigious business magazine Forbes as one of their top #30Under30 in the financial industry, an annual comprehensive list of 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers within several fields. <br /> <br /> When the list came out, a quick search revealed that Smalling &mdash; the only Jamaican on the list &mdash; was less than a few degrees of separation away and quite open to sharing his journey so far. A few quick conference calls and messages followed. <br /> <br /> As the trade suggests, Smalling proved succinct and efficient; and with a Facebook profile showing a fun-loving, adventurous spirit, he opened up about his past. <br /> <br /> Presently a portfolio manager and head of research for group trading systematic strategies at BlackRock, wherein the teams use quantitative models to trade across asset classes for a US$6-billion dollar hedge fund, Smalling moved to that firm in April 2016 after spending five years at hedge fund Ellington Management, which he left after having risen to the position of quantitative trader. <br /> <br /> The hiking, skiing and poker enthusiast first entered the financial world at Yale, when a former professor &mdash; no less than renowned American economist John Geanakoplos, the current James Tobin Professor of Economics and one of the founding partners of Ellington Capital Management &mdash; awarded the promising Math major, who was one of the top students in his financial theory class, a summer internship with the firm. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In college I spent one summer living in China for a couple of months, and I spent two other summers working for hedge funds, including Ellington. I also did consulting during my senior year with AQR Capital Management [a global investment management firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut], but when I graduated in 2009 it was right in [the middle of] the recession, and given the market at the time I thought I would pick up the pieces and figure things out.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Figuring things out for Smalling meant being accepted into arguably one of the most prestigious financial programmes in the world, at Harvard University. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I went right into the PhD programme at Harvard right out of undergrad and continued consulting on some smaller projects at Ellington, then started working with them [while I studied]. At Harvard I managed to get pretty lucky with the advisors that I worked with.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Here luck is an understatement, as the committee under which Smalling developed his thesis comprised notable economists and leaders in the field, including lecturers Warren Quinn, Christopher Malloy and John Campbell; former president of the American Finance Association and member of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors Jeremy Stein, and Larry Summers, noted economist who is well known as a former president of Harvard University. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I managed to pick an interesting dissertation topic, the stars aligned, and at the end of the second year I found myself (this is now in 2011) well positioned to hear that the CEO of Ellington had decided to seed internally a new fund. Ellington is basically a fund that specialises in trading mortgage-backed securities, assets that are sensitive to interest rates and creditworthiness...credit-sensitive instruments. While I was at Ellington I worked in a group that was more peripheral, so what I did was completely quantitative, and from a business standpoint a little more nuanced [and suited to] the new venture that focused on derivatives and liquid futures [crude oil, natural gas, etc.]. <br /> <br /> It was at this point that Smalling decided to switch things up a bit.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So I'm in my second year of grad school, and Harvard has a thing [whereby] you can press pause and go and do whatever you want to do, and you don't really have to give a reason. Most people do fieldwork etc, but in my case I used this free option to go back to Ellington and feel out this new fund. At that point I was not really hung up on finishing my PhD, which in retrospect was probably misguided...&rdquo;<br /> <br /> At this stage Smalling walked away with a Master's degree, although he did eventually complete his PhD studies and defend his thesis, operating from a position where he had garnered invaluable work experience. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I went back to Ellington as one of four founding members of this new group, and the other members were basically the partners of the group that I had interned and worked with before... three other guys&hellip; all of them were class of 2005. They had been there a few years at that point doing the equities fund, but one of them did mortgages, which was Ellington's core competency and my skill set. I worked there for the next five and a half years until last April when I moved to BlackRock.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Smalling recalls his years in Jamaica fondly, not only as a balanced place to grow up, but also crediting his parents Donald and Patricia Smalling for encouraging and supporting him, but never fostering a sense of expectation or entitlement. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was pretty well supported [and] I was reasonably well provided for while growing up. My parents weren't like super rich or something, but they were both professionals. I have a younger sister as well who went to college [his sister Danielle is now based in Canada working in public health research and outreach] and my mom's side of the family, especially, is a bigger family and they all have professional degrees. I have cousins on my mom's side who also went to Harvard.<br /> <br /> "Going into a family business or something like that was actually frowned upon... my family operates in a slightly different way! My Dad, for example, or my uncles, their relationship with me is, 'Ok, you are entitled to food, shelter and a good education, but everything I have earned belongs to me, it doesn't belong to you, so go and find your own treasure'. There was nothing I ever expected to be available, like if I wanted to sit back and travel the world, or go to Thailand for a year or something, regardless of my parents' financial situation.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Smalling is clearly poised for a promising future. However, this doesn't mean he is casually comforted by where he is and ready to simply maintain the status quo. Quite the opposite. <br /> <br /> He finds inspiration in innovative thinkers such as Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX. He considers Musk, former Google CEO and current Alphabet Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, and business magnate George Soros as mentors. When asked what advice he would share with other peers or students resembling where he was five or even 10 years ago, Smalling states resolutely:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Think big. If people around you are always certain you'll succeed, then you're not thinking big enough.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733770/266501_92431_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Change of thought over change of name process http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Change-of-thought-over-change-of-name-process_93574 Dear Claudienne:<br /> <br /> On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, I went to the Savanna-la-Mar branch of the Registrar General&rsquo;s Department (RGD) to have a deed poll document drafted to have a change of name. <br /> <br /> They took a copy of my birth certificate and sent the documents to the RGD head office for the deed poll to be drafted. I received the deed poll and took it to the Montego Bay Tax office to have it stamped. I got a Justice of the Peace to sign it and then took the document back to the RGD office. At the RGD office I paid $2,200 to obtain two copies of my birth certificate with my new name, and I also paid the six-week service fee.<br /> <br /> A few days later I missed a telephone call from the RGD. When I went to the RGD office in Sav-la-Mar to enquire why they were calling me, I was informed by one of the representatives that for the name change to be completed I needed to pay for a new copy of my old birth certificate.<br /> <br /> I refuse to pay for a new birth certificate at this stage. What I would like to know is why, when I went to apply for the deed poll to be done, I was not informed that there was a problem with my birth certificate and that I would need a new one. <br /> <br /> Why am I being required to pay for a new birth certificate that will be of no use to me when my name is changed?<br /> <br /> I am asking you to help me to have the RGD clarify this matter. <br /> <br /> CJ<br /> <br /> Dear CJ:<br /> <br /> Tell Claudienne has been in communication with the RGD. After investigating the matter, they said that the birth certificate you submitted with your deed poll application was accepted in error.<br /> <br /> The spokesperson said that the birth certificate was crushed, in a poor condition, and should not have been accepted by the Savanna-la-Mar RGD office. <br /> <br /> The reference number was missing from the birth certificate you submitted, and some of the information on it was illegible, the RGD spokesperson said.<br /> <br /> When the deed poll application reached the RGD head office and they saw the condition of the birth certificate, they returned it and instructed the manager to tell you that you needed to get a new birth certificate.<br /> <br /> The RGD advised that your original birth certificate with all the information has to be attached to the deed poll. The spokesperson also explained that the deed poll reference is made to match the original birth certificate.<br /> <br /> Your only option is to pay for a new birth certificate so that the deed poll can be finalised.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Good luck.<br /> <br /> Dear Claudienne:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> I wonder if you could help me to get my FLOW (LIME) landline restored to service.<br /> <br /> Some time last year, a tree branch fell on the electricity lines, causing a spark that burned the telephone cable, thereby cutting off our landline. <br /> <br /> I reported the matter to FLOW. When the time came to pay the next bill, my daughter called the company and was told that because it would be very expensive to replace the cable, it might not be replaced for several months.<br /> <br /> In the meantime FLOW suggested that we should make a request for the service to be disconnected, as we would have to continue to pay the bill for a service we were not getting. We were told that it was unlikely that we would be given a refund for the time we were without the service.<br /> <br /> I discussed the matter via e-mail with the company and was advised to pay no more bills until the service was restored.<br /> <br /> Several months have passed and the service has not been restored.<br /> <br /> I would appreciate your help in having the telephone company restore our landline.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> WW<br /> <br /> Dear WW:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> We have spoken to FLOW and we note that your landline service has now been restored.<br /> <br /> Good luck.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Have a problem with a store, utility or company? Telephone 936-9346 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/13733802/266478.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Wisynco&rsquo;s new warehouse nears completion http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Wisynco-s-new-warehouse-nears-completion_93118 Less than a year after Wisynco Group Limited suffered over $2 billion in losses from a fire at its Lakes Pen warehouse, the company is hoping to begin its relocation exercise by May.<br /> <br /> CEO of the manufacturing and distribution company, William Mahfood, on Monday told the Jamaica Observer that construction of the new warehouse is well underway and is expected to improve efficiency levels of the company, while creating a &ldquo;more stable environment&rdquo; for its staff members. <br /> <br /> Wisynco hopes to have its Lakes Pen warehouse fully operational by July. <br /> <br /> Following a massive fire at the company&rsquo;s Lakes Pen warehouse last June, Wisynco temporarily leased an old garment factory in Spanish Town, St Catherine, to resume production and distribution of its products. Concurrently the company sought additional space at Ferry, St Catherine, Industrial Terrace on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, as well as rented space temporarily from Food for the Poor. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have a number of different locations that we are renting. It has impacted our service levels a little and has also impacted our cost of operating and our efficiency. Operationally it&rsquo;s a lot more challenging for us because of working with multiple locations, so the building is going to improve our efficiency a lot,&rdquo; Mahfood told the Sunday Observer.<br /> <br /> While it is still unclear as to what caused the fire, he noted that since the blaze, the company has employed an additional 200 staff members, whose jobs will remain secure after the relocation exercise. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This new building is quite bigger, [has] more capacity, greater efficiency, and we are putting in place a more advanced fire-prevention system and separation of flammable materials, so we are going to be doing things a lot different,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Wisynco is one of Jamaica&rsquo;s largest manufacturers and distributors, employing about 2,000 people. The company imports brands of food, beverages, paper products, and manufactures Bigga, Wata, CranWata, and Boom beverages, as well as synthetic packaging products. Today Wisynco distributes 110 brands with more than 4,000 different products, including beverages, grocery and synthetic items.<br /> <br /> The company also owns franchises for Wendy&rsquo;s, Haagen-Dazs and Domino&rsquo;s outlets located islandwide. <br /> <br /> The fire damage is said to have also affected the operations of these enterprises. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733831/265773_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Nadeen Matthews named Young Global Leader http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Nadeen-Matthews-named-Young-Global-Leader_93474 Nadeen<br /> <br /> Matthews, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer for the NCB Group, joins the ranks of a noble group of women including Mariame McIntosh Robinson, Imani Duncan Price and Marlene Malahoo Forte to be recognised by the World Economic Forum&rsquo;s Young Global Leaders (YGL).<br /> <br /> Matthews has been selected as the sole representative of the English and Spanish-speaking Caribbean in the World Economic Forum&rsquo;s 2017 cohort of YGL, a high-profile, growing network of bold and action-oriented young leaders from across the world.<br /> <br /> At 37, Matthews is the youngest female Head of a Division at the largest financial services institution in Jamaica. In her present role, she is leading NCB&rsquo;s shift to leveraging digital technology to transform and renew how financial services are delivered in Jamaica and the region.<br /> <br /> She also leads the Group&rsquo;s Marketing and Communications and Enterprise Information Management functions, and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the NCB Foundation.<br /> <br /> A results-oriented, creative Strategy and Marketing executive, the Wharton School graduate has served as Assistant Vice-President at JPMorgan Chase and Senior Associate at the international management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. She joined NCB in 2010 as Assistant General Manager, Strategy and was promoted to Senior Assistant General Manager, Strategy, Marketing and Communications in just under three years. <br /> <br /> In November 2015, Matthews was named Chief Digital and Marketing Officer for the Group. Under her tenure NCB has rolled out innovative solutions including Online Account Opening, NCB Quisk (a mobile money solution), and the latest Loan at ABM solution, a first for the English-speaking Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Matthews adds to the 54 per cent female makeup of the YGL Class of 2017. All of the selected leaders are under 40 years old.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is an honour and privilege to be selected as a part of the 2017 class of Young Global Leaders. I look forward to collaborating with my peers in the Forum from all over the world and harnessing the valuable educational opportunities this experience provides to serve as a force for good for Jamaica and the broader Caribbean. I also look forward to positively representing Jamaica in this forum with some of the foremost political and business leaders shaping the world today,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> According to the Forum, this year&rsquo;s class of Young Global Leaders gives hope that they are ready to tackle the world&rsquo;s most complex and pressing challenges. <br /> <br /> Since inception of YGL in 2004, the Forum has honoured 200 outstanding young leaders yearly from around the world for their professional accomplishments, demonstrated commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13734133/201416_30160_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM UWI Mona making great strides with new PPPs http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/UWI-Mona-making-great-strides-with-new-PPPs_93410 A number of public private partnerships (PPPs) aimed at making The University of the West Indies&rsquo; (UWI) Mona campus more self-dependent highlighted this year&rsquo;s annual report of the campus council.<br /> <br /> According to principal, Professor Archibald McDonald, the campus has been partnering with Wartsila of Finland to operate a cogeneration plant which will enable the university to train its own engineers and eventually remove itself from the traditional Jamaica Public Service (JPS) company grid.<br /> <br /> Professor McDonald said new collaborations such as the UWI/SEEBURY Energy Management Implementation Agreement, a two-part programme to retrofit the entire UWI Mona campus with LED lighting, promise to reduce electricity related costs by 30 per cent within one year.<br /> <br /> McDonald said that the campus has been pursuing a mix of revenue streams as well as containing costs, especially in light of the declining government subventions.<br /> <br /> Last December the campus announced plans for commissioning the Mona Well at College Commons, which should see a reduction in its water bill<br /> <br /> The institution, through a private partnership, has entered into an agreement with North Star Development Ltd (NSDL) since 2014 to identify, drill and develop, manage and finance, and maintain new sources of potable water on behalf of UWI, Mona.<br /> <br /> With help from a hydrologist, the NSDL team successfully discovered potable water at 850 feet. The availability of the well will enable the university to mitigate the severe water shortage across the campus, especially during the drought period.<br /> <br /> Additionally, there are other collaborations in place to ensure water sustainability on the campus as well as an agreement with 138 Student Living for the Reconstruction of Irvine Hall.<br /> <br /> He also discussed a collaboration with the Government of Japan for the construction of a state-of-the-art gymnastics facility.<br /> <br /> Professor McDonald, who is also ProVice-Chancellor of UWI Mona, led the presentations on March 6 to the council on the various activities undertaken during the 2015/2016 academic year. His presentation also gave an overview of the strong research programmes at the university. Among the most notable was the the campus&rsquo;s Wastewater Treatment Plant, which has established a sustainable wastewater quality-monitoring programme for the campus and reduced its environmental footprint through ICT utilisation.<br /> <br /> He noted &ldquo;that the project has created a blueprint that can be used by similar facilities throughout Jamaica&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> His presentation covered academic and curriculum updates, enrolment and staffing statistics, management and expansion of the physical campus sites, strategic initiatives to enhance the delivery of services, as well as outlining the direction for the future of the university.<br /> <br /> He also discussed the availability of funding for needy students, stating that total financial assistance provided in 2015/2016 was $800 million &ndash; an increase of 3.63 per cent over the previous academic year.<br /> <br /> In closing, Professor McDonald expressed his hope &ldquo;that future generations of UWI students will be able to benefit positively from the initiatives being undertaken currently by the university&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He also stated his desire for &ldquo;the continuation and expansion of the university&rsquo;s activities to ensure the sustained achievement of UWI staff and its students&rdquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733828/259212_85748_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Working towards NZEBs http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Working-towards-NZEBs_93453 A workshop for drafting a national policy and plan for Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) development and retrofitting existing buildings in Jamaica took place at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday. <br /> <br /> The workshop was presented by the Lowe Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Promoting Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy in Buildings in Jamaica Project of the ISD, initiated with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the technical assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to research and develop practical working solutions that will transform building policies and practices.<br /> <br /> Seen here at the workshop are (left to right) Kelly Tomblin, CEO, Jamaica Public Service Company; Tara Dasgupta, Professor Emeritus Chemistry, University of the West Indies (UWI); Dr Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Energy, Science & Technology and Dr. David Smith, Coordinator, Institute for Sustainable development (ISD), UWI. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13737217/266277_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM So what is your path to money? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/So-what-is-your-path-to-money_93566 As we get older, we tend to get stuck in our ways and how we think about the world and, of course, how we think about money. So when you think about how your money is feeling, it may very well feel the same as it has always felt to you. <br /> <br /> Now, if you are happy with your money situation &mdash; fantastic. However, if &mdash; like the rest of us &mdash; there is scope for improvement, the next question is, how do you discover what you really believe about money?<br /> <br /> Adrian Cahill has offered these questions on his blog that can help you start to see what your core beliefs about money really are. <br /> <br /> Now, you can&rsquo;t simply read these 12 questions. You need to write down the answers to be able to notice any patterns. <br /> <br /> 1. People with money are...<br /> <br /> 2. Money makes people...<br /> <br /> 3. I&rsquo;d have more money if...<br /> <br /> 4. My parents always thought money would...<br /> <br /> 5. Money causes...<br /> <br /> 6. I&rsquo;m afraid that if I had more money I would...<br /> <br /> 7. Money is ...<br /> <br /> 8. In order to have more money, I would need to...<br /> <br /> 9. I think money...<br /> <br /> 10. If I were really rich, I would...<br /> <br /> 11. My biggest fear about money is...<br /> <br /> 12.Money is... <br /> <br /> Ok. So you have answered 12 questions and maybe you&rsquo;re noticing a pattern. Is it a positive or a negative view of money? Or are you confused? Hmmm. <br /> <br /> Now, on top of those questions, you have to wonder, do you want to keep pursuing the path you&rsquo;re on now? What will happen if you keep going down this path? What will happen to those around you, those you care about, if you continue getting the same results over and over again? <br /> <br /> Is it time to change? Is it time to grow?<br /> <br /> If you believe that it is time to chart a new path to your views about money and improve the outcome, there are several options. <br /> <br /> One that I highly recommend is to attend a finanical planning conference that takes into consideration your holistic life. <br /> <br /> Money doesn&rsquo;t exist in a vacuum. Money takes into consideration your life&rsquo;s passions and how you intend to market and sell the passion for a profit. And what about investing? What&rsquo;s your style? <br /> <br /> Are you the hands-on type that wants to start or buy a business, or do you want to be a passive investor and look at stocks, bonds and perhaps real estate? <br /> <br /> And what about your head space? Are you talking to yourself in a negative tone which repels opportunities to make money or increase your knowledge about money?<br /> <br /> Conferences such as the Fabulous Life Conference or those hosted by the Jamaica Stock Exchange or by your favourite financial institution are great places to network with people who have ideas on how to improve your money path. <br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s time for you to shift your mindset to wealth, and be clear about which path to take in order to have the relationship with money that you truly desire. <br /> <br /> As always, I recommend that you take the questions that you answered above, make an appointment with your financial advisor or financial coach, or book your seat for the next upcoming financial planning conference, and make positive changes.<br /> <br /> Host of the upcoming #FabulousLifeConference, Dennise Williams, MBA (Banking & Finance) is a journalist, TV producer, certified practitioner NLP coach, and has 15 years&rsquo; experience in the financial services industry. You can see more of her work at www.youtube.com/financiallyfocused<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733713/266480_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Greasing the wheels http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Greasing-the-wheels_93546 Any macroeconomic overview worth their salt will always have a section on oil. In fact no news coverage would be complete without mentioning the price of oil on the international market. However, we as Jamaicans tend to want the price to go in only one direction and that is down! Why is that? <br /> <br /> Well this is the point where people would be rolling their eyes, since the answer seems so obvious, low oil prices for us means theoretically a low electricity bill, low gas bill and low bus fares among other things.<br /> <br /> However, low prices are not always good for other things. For one, there are many oil producing nations in the world and they are usually immediately affected when oil prices plunge, these include, but are not limited to, Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Canada, Trinidad and the Middle East. Many of these economies are almost wholly dependent on high oil prices for economic prosperity and once reserves from the good times have been depleted, they are then at the mercy of weather, politics and supply dynamics for the prices.<br /> <br /> THE US DOLLAR AND OIL <br /> <br /> One phenomenon that has been observed is that a stronger US dollar makes crude oil more expensive to countries and therefore leads to lower demand for oil. <br /> <br /> This is a trend that has been changing with the advent of the US shale producers since America is less reliant on imports for meeting their demand for oil. <br /> <br /> THE US ECONOMY AND OIL<br /> <br /> Recently we have seen &mdash; particularly since 2008 &mdash; a strong correlation between oil prices and the strength of the global economy. <br /> <br /> When oil prices were high, you would often hear talk of China and the strong growth they had been experiencing pushing up the demand for oil and therefore the prices. <br /> <br /> Prior to that, it was thought that low oil prices would be good for economies like Jamaica, the US and China who weren&rsquo;t oil producers at the time. However, the US shale industry has become so large that they are now the third largest producer of oil in the world. Russia is the top producer, followed by Saudi Arabia then the US, then Iraq as at February 2017. <br /> <br /> The downturn in prices put many of the US shale producers out of business just as OPEC had intended. The takeaway is that strong demand for oil is a sign of a strong economy which increases investor confidence which usually leads to increases in equity prices overall.<br /> <br /> OTHER CASUALTIES<br /> <br /> Oil prices affect two industries in a big way, these are alternative power sources and car sales. <br /> <br /> Car sales in the US have done very well since oil prices have been below US$60. This has allowed car manufacturers with gas guzzlers to produce with alacrity, and people drive more in the US. <br /> <br /> However, there has been a negative impact on solar- powered energy and wind turbines. When the price of oil increases, there is a big incentive to find alternate sources, however, with a fairly prolonged period of relatively low prices, consumers have less of an incentive to invest in these other options, and even producers are likely to find it far more difficult to get financing for their ventures. <br /> <br /> What does this all mean? <br /> <br /> Well when you have an investment portfolio, it is critical to have the right balance of issuers across industries, for example. a portfolio that is heavily skewed towards oil will suffer when oil prices plummet so opting for the right mix of assets is essential to protect your portfolio from the changes in the economic landscape. <br /> <br /> Conversely, if you are a value investor, you may find that in times of low oil prices, these credits may give the highest/greatest return, simply put, they are the cheapest investments available.<br /> <br /> However, when shopping for your bargains you have to make certain that the company has enough capital and resources to survive a prolonged downturn or you may not get back your money at all! <br /> <br /> Happy investing!<br /> <br /> Yanique Leiba-Ebanks, CFA, FRM is the AVP, Trading & Business Development at Sterling Asset Management. Sterling provides financial advice and instruments in US dollars and other hard currencies to the corporate, individual and institutional investor. Visit our website at www.sterling.com.jm Feedback: If you wish to have Sterling address your investment questions in upcoming articles, e-mail us at: <br /> <br /> info@sterlingasset.net.jm<br /> <br /> .<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733712/266498_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Venezuela&rsquo;s latest shortage: gasoline http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Venezuela-s-latest-shortage--gasoline_93552 CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) &mdash; Battered by an economic crisis, Venezuelans are used to waiting in long lines for scarce goods, but many found themselves queuing Thursday for something the ailing oil giant was supposed to have in spades: gasoline.<br /> <br /> Drivers had to wait more than an hour to fill up at many gas stations in Caracas and several other cities after supplies were mysteriously disrupted.<br /> <br /> AFP correspondents saw some drivers pushing their vehicles to the pump after running out of fuel while waiting in line.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no reason an oil-producing country should have a gasoline shortage,&rdquo; said irate retiree Jesus Ascanio at a gas station on the capital&rsquo;s east side.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been here for almost an hour from that corner to here. But at least now I&rsquo;m in the line.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Shortages also hit the western states of Zulia and Tachira, where some gas stations suspended sales.<br /> <br /> State oil company PDVSA sought to calm people&rsquo;s nerves, saying it &ldquo;guarantees the supply of fuel across the country&rdquo; &mdash; but it offered little explanation for the shortages.<br /> <br /> The vice-president for sales and supply, Ysmel Serrano, said shipping delays had affected deliveries, without going into details.<br /> <br /> A fire at the country&rsquo;s largest refinery on Wednesday may also have played a part, though officials said operations were not affected.<br /> <br /> Lawmaker Jose Guerra, an opponent of President Nicolas Maduro, alleged international suppliers were holding back because of unpaid debts from PDVSA.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are 15 ships (with Venezuelan-bound fuel imports) anchored in the Caribbean awaiting payment,&rdquo; Guerra told a press conference.<br /> <br /> SECRETLY IMPORTING GAS?<br /> <br /> Guerra said the government was secretly importing 45,000 barrels of gasoline a day to hide the fact that domestic supply was insufficient to cover demand.<br /> <br /> Venezuela is home to the world&rsquo;s largest oil reserves. But it mainly pumps an extra-heavy grade of oil that has to be mixed with lighter crude &mdash; imported from abroad in recent years &mdash; in order to be refined.<br /> <br /> Maduro and his late predecessor Hugo Chavez &mdash; who have used the country&rsquo;s oil wealth to fund lavish social programmes &mdash; have made cheap, abundant gasoline supplies a point of national pride.<br /> <br /> Venezuela has the world&rsquo;s cheapest gas: one bolivar per litre, or 14 US cents at the country&rsquo;s highest official exchange rate.<br /> <br /> At the black-market exchange rate, US$1 buys 2,900 litres (766 gallons) of gasoline.<br /> <br /> Venezuela has skidded to the brink of economic collapse as low oil prices have laid bare its overwhelming dependence on its chief export.<br /> <br /> The country has been hit by devastating shortages of food, medicine and basic goods like deodorant and toilet paper.<br /> <br /> Maduro, who is fighting efforts to force him from power, blames the crisis on an &ldquo;economic war&rdquo; by US-backed business interests.<br /> <br /> His opponents blame the failure of 18 years of socialist &ldquo;revolution&rdquo; under Chavez and Maduro, who was elected to succeed his mentor in 2013.<br /> <br /> Maduro&rsquo;s popularity has plummeted amid a crushing three-year recession and soaring inflation that the International Monetary Fund forecasts will hit 1,660 per cent this year. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733838/266461_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Another reason to flip the off switch: light pollution http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Another-reason-to-flip-the-off-switch--light-pollution_93549 PARIS, France (AFP) &mdash; For the 11th year running, cities worldwide turned their lights off yesterday to mark Earth Hour in a global call to action on climate change.<br /> <br /> But the moment of darkness also served as a reminder, activists say, of another problem that gets far less attention: light pollution.<br /> <br /> More than 80 per cent of humanity lives under skies saturated with artificial light, scientists recently calculated.<br /> <br /> In the United States and western Europe, that figure goes up to 99 per cent of the population, most of whom cannot discern the Milky Way in the night sky. <br /> <br /> Artificial lighting has been shown to disturb the reproductive cycles of some animals and the migration of birds that navigate using the stars, and to disorient night-flying insects.<br /> <br /> For humans, circadian rhythms that regulate hormones and other bodily functions can also be thrown out of whack by too much light at night.<br /> <br /> Even the most ardent critics of light pollution are not saying cities should go dark, or that lighting is not an essential element of urban life.<br /> <br /> But society needs to address a growing list of concerns, they suggest. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In general, it&rsquo;s getting worse,&rdquo; Diana Umpierre, president of the International Dark-Sky Association, said of light pollution in her home state of Florida.<br /> <br /> And things are moving in the wrong direction, she told AFP.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are predicted to have 15 million more residents in the next 50 years&rdquo; &mdash; with all the extra lighting that entails.<br /> <br /> By contrast, in Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar &mdash; not coincidentally among the poorest countries in the world &mdash; three quarters of people have a clear view of the heavens.<br /> <br /> Arguably, no-one suffers more from light pollution than astronomers whose telescopes are blinded by the glare of urban glow.<br /> <br /> In 1958 Flagstaff, Arizona &mdash; more than 2,100 metres (nearly 8,000 feet) above sea level &mdash; became the first sizeable city to curb night lighting, mainly to shield a major observatory.<br /> <br /> NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY<br /> <br /> One of the biggest challenges in fighting light pollution is convincing people that &ldquo;brightness&rdquo; is not synonymous with &ldquo;safety&rdquo;, said Umpierre.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sometimes it&rsquo;s just the opposite,&rdquo; she argued, citing studies showing that people drive more carefully &mdash; and more slowly &mdash; on roads with less or no lighting at night.<br /> <br /> Over the last 15 years, biologists, doctors, non-governmental organisations and even UNESCO have joined the fight against light pollution by detailing negative impacts to health and well-being &mdash; for humans and other animals.<br /> <br /> In 2012, the American Medical Association (AMA) concluded that exposure to &ldquo;excessive&rdquo; night light &ldquo;can disrupt sleep and exacerbate sleep disorders&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> And it called for more research into possible links to cancer, obesity, diabetes and depression.<br /> <br /> Last year, the AMA raised another red flag, this time about light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs.<br /> <br /> Local governments in wealthy countries are racing to replace existing streetlights with LEDs, which consume less energy and last longer. <br /> <br /> In the United States, fully 10 per cent of public lighting has already switched over to LED.<br /> <br /> That is good news for the fight against global warming, cutting on fossil-fuel burning for electricity, but it may be bad news for health, the AMA cautioned.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Some LED lights are harmful when used as street lighting,&rdquo; AMA board member Maya Babu said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Not only do the bluish, high-intensity lights create a view-obscuring glare, they have &ldquo;five times greater impact on circadian sleep rhythms than conventional street lamps,&rdquo; the AMA concluded.<br /> <br /> The new technology also obscures our view on the night sky even more than traditional city lighting.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;LEDs could double or triple the luminosity of the sky&rdquo; -- which means the stars get lost against the background, said the authors of a 2016 world atlas of night sky brightness.<br /> <br /> Bit by bit, citizens are starting to push back.<br /> <br /> A petition circulating in Madrid is calling for a scientific study on the safety and health impacts of LED lighting.<br /> <br /> In the Canadian cities of Quebec and Montreal, along with Phoenix in Arizona, public pressure has already pushed city officials to install &ldquo;yellow&rdquo; LEDs, which are thought to be less disturbing. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13733837/266460_92387_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 AM Caribbean leaders to discuss region&rsquo;s economic situation at Miami confab http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Caribbean-leaders-to-discuss-region-s-economic-situation-at-Miami-confab_93533 MIAMI, USA (CMC) &ndash; Two Caribbean Community (Caribbean) leaders are expected to participate in a World Bank conference examining the socio-economic situation in the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> The March 30 conference, titled &ldquo;The Caribbean Dilemma&rdquo; is part of the Americas Conference Series being put on in collaboration with the Miami Herald.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and St Lucia&rsquo;s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet are the two heads of Government who have already confirmed their participation.<br /> <br /> Chairman of the Economic Growth Council in Jamaica, Michael Lee-Chin, Governor of the Central Bank of Jamaica Brian Wynter, and the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine are also scheduled to participate in the one-day event.<br /> <br /> The delegates will diagnose the economic situation in the Caribbean, as well as discuss new strategies to revive growth.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Small economies around the world are undoubtedly diverse. Yet their small economic size brings shared challenges and opportunities for long-term development. Latin America and the Caribbean currently includes fast growing small economies such as Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Panama, alongside slow-growing economies such as Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and economies such as the OECS with growth rates somewhere in between,&rdquo; the organisers said.<br /> <br /> They said the discussions will take a long-term view on what are the key priorities and challenges shared by small economies such as integration with the global economy, high debt and volatility.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The discussion will also focus on strategies to help boost long-term growth, recognising that small economies can be more nimble and are able to reorient their economies over time.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Prior to the conference, members of the media will be briefed by Daniel Lederman, World Bank Deputy Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean and author of the new report &ldquo;Open and Nimble: Finding Stable Growth in Small Economies&rdquo; and Francisco Carneiro, World Bank Lead Economist for the Caribbean and author of the report &ldquo;Taming Volatility: Fiscal Policy and Financial Development for growth in the Eastern Caribbean&rdquo;.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13539950/250275__w300.jpg Local News Saturday, March 25, 2017 2:00 AM Banking groups can buy up to 50 per cent of shares in each other ­&mdash; BOJ http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Banking-groups-can-buy-up-to-50-per-cent-of-shares-in-each-other----BOJ_93471 Maurene Simms, Deputy Governor, Financial Institutions Supervisory Division at the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), indicated this week that significant holdings by a group which holds deposit-taking licences in another is permissible within limits.<br /> <br /> Once a deposit-taking institution (DTI) observes its mandatory and prudential operating parameters, it is not restricted in its investment activities, she told the Jamaica Observer. <br /> <br /> Locally, there are 11 supervised deposit-taking institutions consisting of seven commercial banks, two building societies and two merchant banks. The BOJ also oversees credit unions, which number about 34.<br /> <br /> Local banks and near banks can invest as much as 50 per cent in other DTIs, Simms said . <br /> <br /> She told Caribbean Business Report that the Banking Services Act (BSA) does not prohibit investments in other DTIs. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Notwithstanding, the BSA places certain restrictions on the amount a DTI can invest in the debt or equity of a company. Further, if an equity investment by a DTI results in an ownership stake greater than 50 per cent, the acquired entity becomes a member of the DTI&rsquo;s financial group and is supervised accordingly.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In practice, banking groups which have taken this investment route have been toeing the 30 per cent line, mindful of considerations by the Financial Services Commission of a plan to reduce takeover trigger points to 30 per cent of shareholding.<br /> <br /> NCB Capital Markets Ltd (NCBCM), a subsidiary of National Commercial Bank Jamaica Ltd, which in 2012 acquired a 29 per cent stake in Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd (JMMB), has dialled this back to 26 per cent.<br /> <br /> Nevertheless, that purchase has resulted in NCBCM being the largest single shareholder in JMMB. <br /> <br /> Investment in other finance companies is a proven income stream for DTI-based groups. Sagicor Group, via a number of vehicles, owns abouta 2.5 per cent shareholding or 70 million shares in Scotia Jamaica Ltd.<br /> <br /> It earned dividends from a total pool of $5.3 billion paid out to shareholders by Scotia Jamaica for the year ended October 31, 2016.<br /> <br /> Sagicor Group, again via its subsidiaries, also owns about five per cent of National Commercial Bank stock, and took home about $111 million in dividends.<br /> <br /> Payout to all NCB shareholders for the year and in November 2016 totalled approximately $2.2 billion.<br /> <br /> NCB Insurance Company, a subsidiary of NCB group, has 26 million shares in Scotia Jamaica Group Ltd.<br /> <br /> NCBCM, from its shareholding in JMMB, took in $148 million in dividend payments or nearly one-third of returns made to shareholders at financial year end March 2016, close to income made in the previous year.<br /> <br /> Simms of the BOJ states, &ldquo;Once a DTI&rsquo;s investment in the equity of a company is in line with the BSA investment limits and does not result in the DTI gaining or exercising control over the operations of the company, that investment is treated similarly to other earning assets on the books of a DTI. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Accordingly, once a DTI observes its mandatory and prudential operating parameters, it is not restricted in its investment activities,&rdquo; she concluded. <br /> <br /> The banking supervisor noted that the BSA also confers power on the Supervisor to deem a company that is not majority-owned (that is, less than 50 per cent of the share ownership) by a DTI or financial holding company (FHC), but over which the DIT/FHC has control or influence, as being a part of the financial group for supervisory purposes. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13665837/260459_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, March 24, 2017 2:00 AM Naturally Almond milk to be produced by Mussons http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Naturally-Almond-milk-to-be-produced-by-Mussons_93426 US&ndash;based manufacturing company JEC Aseptics has inked a deal with the Musson Group of Companies for the manufacture and distribution of almond milk locally. <br /> <br /> The milk, branded Naturally Almond, had its first production run completed at the Serge Island facilities in St Thomas last November and was introduced into the local retail trade in January by T Geddes Grant. <br /> <br /> Both Serge Island and T Geddes Grant are owned by the Musson Group. Plans are that JEC Aseptics will manufacture almond milk in St Thomas for distribution locally and exportation to the United States before moving to Caribbean Community (Caricom) markets.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Couple of things that we were looking for is the manufacturing capabilities &ndash; what companies were here that had the technology to capture the perfect blend of almond milk. We concluded that the best partner from a manufacture and distribution point of view was the Musson Group of Companies,&rdquo; JEC Aseptics Business Development Manager Jorge Figueras told the Jamaica Observer during the official launch of the product at Eden Gardens on Wednesday. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We started our negotiations and it took us about six months to get the right taste profile that we were looking for,&rdquo; he continued. Already, the Musson Group has added roughly 35 new members of staff to carry out production and distribution processes. <br /> <br /> According to managing director of T Geddes Grant, Michael Subratie, Jamaica consumes roughly 1.4 million litres of almond milk per year, all of which is imported. He noted that the manufacture of almond milk in Jamaica will not only allow JEC Aseptics to save on freight, duties and various costs involved to import, but will also improve Jamaica&rsquo;s trade deficit. <br /> <br /> Ultimately, JEC Aseptics wants to cement its place in the local market before beginning exporting to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Belize. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica&rsquo;s proximity to the US makes it good for us to export. In phase two of our expansion, we are looking to export into Caricom. We already have a distribution facility in the FreeZone area ready to begin exporting the products,&rdquo; Figueras told the<br /> <br /> Caribbean Business Report. <br /> <br /> Naturally Almond is available in four flavours: original, vanilla, original unsweetened, and vanilla unsweetened. The products are being marketed as plant-based and dairy-free beverages geared towards the healthy lifestyle market. <br /> <br /> Already Naturally Almond has shown signs of its growth capabilities with an increase in unit sales by 24 per cent for February over the previous month. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have plans for a line extension in the third quarter of 2017 with the launch of a Naturally Almond chocolate variant,&rdquo; Subratie said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13731024/265833_92087_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, March 24, 2017 12:00 AM When second place feels just like first http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/When-second-place-feels-just-like-first_93213 It might be a squeeze to get it in but, perhaps for the first time, Gordon &lsquo;Butch&rsquo; Stewart&rsquo;s trophy room, already bursting at the seams, will accommodate a second place win in Britain&rsquo;s ultra prestigious The Travel Marketing Awards TTMAs) presented last week in London.<br /> <br /> To take the runner-up spot in the category &ndash; Best Integrated Campaign of the Year (over &Acirc;&pound;1m spend) &ndash; Stewart&rsquo;s Sandals Resorts International (SRI) had to beat out megabrands with names like Virgin, Hilton and, of all things, Tourism Australia, all of which have bigger budgets and far greater international reach.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s one of those second place wins that feel like a first place, because of the quality and depth of the competition,&rdquo; Stewart explained. &ldquo;We were the only nominees from the Caribbean and it was the first time that we were being nominated so you&rsquo;ll understand that we are extremely pleased and excited.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I continue to be amazed by the consistently high level of performance by the team members of our organisation who make us proud and keep the Jamaican and Caribbean flag flying high,&rdquo; said Stewart, the SRI chairman and founder.<br /> <br /> The winner of the category was Visit Scotland with their &ldquo;Spirit of Scotland&rdquo; campaign.<br /> <br /> Karl Thompson, managing director of the United Kingdom office of Unique Vacations, worldwide representatives of Sandals Resorts, said Sandals&rsquo; entry was a technology-driven multimedia ad campaign that co-ordinated television, press and outdoor products involving the London Underground and bus side posters.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The success of the campaign was judged in the end by sales. The TTMAs are based on the votes of a panel of judges with keen knowledge of the various travel marketing organisations across the UK so we regard this as a tremendous breakthrough. Naturally, we&rsquo;ll be doing everything to beat the entire field next year,&rdquo; said the upbeat Thompson, a 10-year staff member.<br /> <br /> The annually presented award was received on behalf of Sandals by head of marketing for Unique Vacations UK Limited, Jenny Anderson.<br /> <br /> The Travel Marketing Awards is the only travel industry event of its kind. Now in its ninth year, the Awards, which aims to raise marketing standards across the travel industry, &ldquo;has evolved into one of the most credible events in the travel industry calendar, with agencies and travel companies alike eager to impress our esteemed panel of judges&rdquo;, said the organisers. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13731197/265941_92030_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, March 24, 2017 2:00 AM Beet sugar, Brexit threaten cane sugar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Beet-sugar--Brexit-threaten-cane-sugar_93416 A recent article by Bloomberg is predicting that European demand for cane sugar exports from the Caribbean, including Jamaica, could soon be on the decline as the continent reverts to beet sugar.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The European Union&rsquo;s decision to remove limits on its own beet sugar output from October (2017) means less demand for cane growers from Jamaica in the Caribbean, to the Pacific island of Fiji, and Swaziland in southern Africa,&rdquo; states the article &lsquo; Europe is waiving goodbye to sugar cane.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> Another article, posted by The Spectator &mdash; &lsquo; Brexit can benefit the poorest countries that produce sugar,&rsquo; by Phillip De Pass of ACP/LDC Sugar Industries Group &mdash; shares the same view. &ldquo;But a change to EU rules from October 2017, which will see the abolition of production quotas on beet sugar and isoglucose for EU-based farmers, will most likely increase EU beet sugar production and reduce demand on the continent for imported sugar (cane) by half, from 3.2 million tonnes to 1.6 million tonnes.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Jamaica and Belize &ldquo;were among a group of more than 10 (African, Caribbean and Pacific or ACP) countries that benefited from quota- and duty-free access&hellip; of mostly raw sugar shipments to the EU in 2015-16&rdquo;, according to<br /> <br /> Bloomberg. Jamaica has shipped 60 per cent of its exports to Europe, while Guyana and Belize both shipped 80 per cent of theirs, based on a quoted report done by LMC International Ltd.<br /> <br /> Also, about a third of raw cane sugar from the Caribbean exported to Europe is to be refined, with a third going through the United Kingdom. However, tariffs are applied to exports from other countries, the LMC report says.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not that we want to leave the suppliers behind. But if Europe has made the white sugar market really competitive, we have to have access to more competitive supplies,&rdquo; an executive from a London-based refiner of Jamaican sugar said in the<br /> <br /> Bloomberg story. <br /> <br /> Caribbean countries gained favourable relations when the UK joined the European Economic Community (precursor of the EU) in 1973. But while some countries in the Caribbean are nudging the UK to look after its former colonies and Commonwealth trade partners, other countries in the wider ACP have begun to diversify their markets and sugar products &mdash; refined, ethically produced or organically grown. <br /> <br /> Caribbean Community ministers and stakeholders in the sugar industry were to meet in Kingston yesterday and today to assess how changes to the sugar production quota and Brexit could impact the region.<br /> <br /> Even so, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Karl Samuda is referred to in the Bloomberg article as saying that the Government is intent on finding new markets for and by-products from sugar cane. &ldquo;&hellip;we have to look to transitioning to value-added products such as ethanol and expansion of our rum industry. You know, Jamaica is famous for good Jamaican rum,&rdquo; he is quoted as saying.<br /> <br /> De Pass argues, though, in his article that there is still an &ldquo;opportunity [for the UK ] to support our goals on international development and promote international trade as the most important driver of economic growth&rdquo;. He further advocates that the current arrangement of quota- and tariff-free access for raw sugar be maintained, while retaining tariffs on supplies from other countries. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13731023/266307_92085_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, March 24, 2017 2:00 AM