Jamaican Teas looks to markets in Panama and Mexico

August 25, 2016

Jamaican Teas, producer of Jamaican sorrel with ginger instant drink mix, is eyeing Panama and Mexico as export markets for the company’s newest addition to its line of products.

The Jamaican origin of the sorrel product could help boost sales particularly in Mexico, where sorrel is closely associated with the island as it is known as ‘Flor de Jamaica’.

Earlier this year, Jamaica Teas introduced instant Jamaican sorrel with ginger, cocoa-nut, (coconut flavoured cocoa) and whole dried sorrel under its Caribbean Dreams brand. The company noted that it is actively exploring both markets which have great potential for sorrel, in addition to distribution throughout the Caribbean.

Vessel fire severs link between Dom. Republic and Puerto Rico

August 25, 2016

A busy commercial link between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic has been severed by the fire last week aboard the only passenger ferry serving the route.

The fire that started August 17 in the engine room of the Caribbean Fantasy apparently did not do any structural damage to the vessel, though it forced more than 500 passengers and crew to abandon the ship about a mile off the northern coast of Puerto Rico.


Joey Jimenez, a spokesman for ferry operator American Cruise Ferries, said that the company would no longer use the ship because of the bad public image created by the incident, in which more than two dozen people were hospitalised, but no one was killed.

Jimenez said the company is trying to find a new ship to lease, but that it will likely take at least 90 days before it can resume normal passenger service between the US island territory and the Dominican Republic. “We are in a hurry to solve it,” he said. “The ferry did a very important job.”

Digicel and Tata partnership to connect Caribbean enterprises

March 30, 2016

Digicel Business has announced a partnership with Tata Communications, operator of the largest wholly-owned subsea cable network in the world, to deliver world-class connectivity to enterprise customers in the region. As a result, Caribbean enterprises will benefit from greater speeds, reliability and security so they can be more competitive.


The partnership with Tata Communications means that Digicel Business will extend its fibre services to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide to offer a wide-ranging set of services including Global Network, Value Added Services, Unified Communications and Security services, as well as several industry-specific solutions.


Business customers will be able to extend their private networks around the globe – leveraging Tata Communications’ IZO™ Private Cloud service – to connect directly to leading public cloud solutions beyond the region.

CARICOM countries call for action on banking regulations

March 30, 2016

CARICOM countries say there is an urgent need for action to be taken to ensure that banking regulations designed to foster transparency and accountability, and prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, do not result in financial exclusion and economic decline of small economies.


Seven members, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines have requested a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Thursday to discuss the issue.


The meeting will be held under the theme 'Finance and Banking Services Challenges to Development in the Americas'. The regional countries say they hope the OAS Permanent Council will adopt a resolution indicating that the "prevailing situation of the severing of correspondent banking relationships with commercial banks in some members states by global banks in other member states poses a severe threat to the economic growth, social development and political stability, especially of small economies, by curtailing their ability to participate in standard international financial and economic transaction".


Caricom leaders, at their inter-sessional summit in Belize last month "deplored the progressive decline in correspondent banking relationships available to the banking sector in member states, as a result of the de-risking strategies employed by the global banks".

Venture Fund chairman calls for funds and partners

March 30, 2016

Chairman of the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, MIchael Cunningham, has said that fund needs more money and that partnerships with private companies would boost funding beyond the inadequate amount provided by the government. The government sets aside $1 million for the fund each year.


Cunningham said, "What we would like to see is we reach a point where private companies want to partner with us to provide funding, so thdoing at we are able to do more than we are currently". 


The Fund helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are seeking funding and which Cunningham believes the goverment contribution is insufficient.


Presently, the fund has a little over $1million in its account, of which some $800,000 has already been allocated for new ventures. The maximum that can be borrowed is $200,000, but the Fund want the ability to up this maximum.


Cunningham says, "What we have to do as a venture fund is to have our financial position in order whereby we can see the bottom line getting better each year. It would make it more attractive for other private equity companies to invest in the fund or take part ownership."


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