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October 22, 2012

New regional airline for touchdown in 2013

Air Turks & Caicos (ATC), the national airline of the island-country located to the north of Haiti and south of the Bahamas, has set its sights on becoming the regions first true PanCaribbean airline starting next year, said Chairman & CEO Lyndon Gardiner. As such, the airline will criss-cross the Caribbean, including to and from Puerto Rico, with more flights than any other local or global carrier, he added. ATC now has 50 daily flights out of the home country plus the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Were considering a change of name to create a brand that reflects our new role and mission, which is to become not just the favorite and most convenient airline in the region, but also the brand that brings all islands and countries together, like no other brand does today, to create a single Caribbean experience, no matter how many countries the customer will visit, he told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. ATCs PanCaribbean business plan also coincides with the drawdown in Puerto Rico of leading regional airline American Eagle, which is cutting back as part of the national and global retrenching by parent company American Airlines, which is in merger talks with US Airways. JetBlue and other airlines have picked up some of those routes, and were studying the process carefully to see how we can best fit in and serve the regions travelers, Gardiner said, adding that the airline is in the process of meeting all requirements to begin flights to Puerto Rico. We will begin in the Northeast Caribbean, which is our strength right now, and eventually cover the whole region.
By ALEX DAZ Source

New regional airline for touchdown in 2013 Laborie opens Tourism Week 2012 Sea Adventures Inc wins award for most outstanding project St. Lucia to benefit from microfinance programme Prime Minister surprises GEW partners meeting Gerard and Catherine Matty are Unsung Heroes 2012 Nearly 2.5 million Euros awarded by Caribbean Export CFL sponsors Agriculture Lecture Series for Secondary Schools Strong response to Chambers awards orientation How Does VAT Affect Your Phone Bill? St. Lucia Discount Card offers nights at Bay Gardens Hotel The Classic Moke is coming to the Caribbean. Marigot and Black Pearl win La Wenn Kweyol Comedy and Fashion at Bay Walk Mall for Creole Heritage Month

Calabash TV and the Caribbean Business Report will provide special coverage of Global Entrepreneurship Week

November 12th -18th 2012. Stay tuned for details.


Laborie opens Tourism Week 2012

The Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries and the Laborie Community will host Tourism Week 2012 with what is being described as the Ultimate Community Tourism Experience. The theme for the week is Katjil Tourism, Katjil Sent Lisi. Think Tourism, Think Saint Lucia. The activities which begun yesterday with the official opening in Laborie will run until October 28th. There will also be a Tourism Symposium on October 24th at Debbies Restaurant and exhibitions, live entertainment at the Papel, the Craft Centre at Rudy John Beach. The week will culminate with a Market Day on Saturday October 27th and on the Sunday featuring Kweyol Breakfast, Kweyol Church Service, a Village Food Fair, Cultural Parade and entertainment.

Sea Adventures Inc wins award for most outstanding project

Reef Alliance has awarded St. Lucias Sea Adventures Inc. the annual Reef Alliance Award for most outstanding project, which took place on the 27th annual International Coastal Clean-up Day. In support of the occasion the conservation program, Reef Alliance, and its sponsor companies, SNUBA International and Sub Sea Systems, hosted its fourth annual Reef Alliance Day. On Saturday September 15th, Project coordinator, Anthony Leonce, and 20 local volunteers, scoured the beach and reef off Pigeon Island, collecting more than 500 lbs of trash and debris. The crew worked for several hours cleaning a 2 mile stretch of land. Items collected included: over 500 plastic beverage bottles, 30 cigarette lighters, 25 bleach or cleaning solution bottles, 10 buoys, 8 fishing nets, 30 oil bottles from vehicle service, 2 appliances and much more. Post cleanup, Cox and Company Ltd provided food and drinks. The criteria for selection included: number of volunteers recruited, amount of waste recovered, completeness of Data Cards and post cleanup report, and overall impact on the community. Although the cleaning crew considerably improved the beach and reef surrounding Pigeon Island, Mr. Leonce shared, the problems of waste in this area are significant, and ongoing cleanups and community education will be necessary.

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Prime Minister makes a surprise visit at GEW partners meeting

As the excitement and enthusiasm grows leading up to GEW 2012, the fourth and final GEW Partners Meeting took place on Thursday October 18th 2012, at the Bay Gardens Hotel. GEW Partners include the corporate sector, universities, schools, media personnel and young aspiring entrepreneurs keen on helping young persons with talent unleash and share their ideas. Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Economic Affairs, Planning & Social Security, Dr. Kenny Anthony made a surprise visit to the meeting and spoke with the gathering. Dr. Anthony congratulated the St Lucia

St. Lucia to benefit from microfinance capacity building programme

Fifteen microfinance institutions in the Caribbean will participate in the second phase of the regional Microfinance CapacityBuilding Project for the English-speaking Caribbean (Carib-Cap II), a program aimed at helping the region develop its microfinance industry. The program is a joint effort by the Multilateral Investment Fund, member of the IDB Group, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Commission and Citi Foundation. Carib-Cap II, a $2.7 million technical cooperation program, will provide individualized capacity-building training to 15 microfinance institutions in the region, building on Carib-Cap I successes in new client outreach and improved financial performance. Beneficiaries will include microfinance institutions from The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. The program tackles the unique growth challenges faced by microfinance institutions in the English-speaking Caribbean, by providing training on areas including management, marketing, product design and financial tools.

Prime Minister Dr. Anthony addressing GEW Partners

Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for spear heading this global initiative, emphasizing the governments endorsement and support of GEW and encouraging corporate St. Lucia to get involved and support GEW 2012. In his remarks the Prime Minister reminded the gathering that being an entrepreneur means that you are firmly independent.He encouraged entrepreneurs to think beyond our borders and expand regionally and internationally when thinking of their business. Partners got the opportunity to engage the Prime Minister in open discussion on entrepreneurship and youth and some of the areas where more work and support was needed. He took questions from the Meeting and also gave advice on some of the areas where GEW could provide support to.

Gerard and Catherine Matty are Unsung Heroes 2012

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has presented its 2012 Unsung Heroes award and it goes to a husband and wife team in Degazon whove been providing shelter to the underprivileged for 13 years. First Caribbean says this years Unsung Heroes epitomises the notion that it is not lifes circumstances or situations that make the individual, but how one deals with the situation or challenge that shapes a persons character. Catherine Matty is one such individual who has embraced a negative situation and created a positive outcome that has had a ripple effect creating positive change in the lives of others. Together with her husband Gerald Matty, the couple has welcomed children and families to their home, providing a place to live for the underprivileged. Unsung Heroes 2012 Catherine and Gerald Matty In their community of Degazon, the Mattys have made their house a home to over 25 individuals including some small families. Children from infancy to 18 years old have had the Mattys to thank for providing a loving environment to nurture their growth and development during their formative years.

Nearly 2.5 million Euros awarded by Caribbean Export

Caribbean Export has announced the successful conclusion of its regular procedure call for proposal issued June 6, 2012. A total of 92 firms and business support organisations (BSOs) from across the region were awarded approximately 2.5 million Euros in grants. This programme, funded by the EU under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), has awarded over 142 grants over the past 12 months spanning 2011 to 2012. Grants have been awarded to export businesses across a multitude of sectors with by and far the largest sector awarded being manufacturing. The funding provided to these beneficiaries will be used to modernize equipment, upgrade facilities to international food and quality standards, enhance products and packaging, implement alternative energy systems, train staff, develop collateral materials, market and promote products and services. The scheme is part of continuing efforts to enhance the technical capacity among firms in the area of proposal writing across all 15 CARIFORUM member states. With just over 71% of firms and BSOs either achieving or exceeding pass mark of 60% under the recently concluded regular procedure call for proposal, it is clear that member states are benefiting exponentially from the training received from Caribbean Exports proposal writing workshops.

CFL sponsors Agriculture Lecture Series for Secondary Schools

As the island observes World Food Day, a new agriculture lecture series for fifth form students of six secondary schools has been launched. The series is aimed at exposing students to a wide range of careers in the field of agriculture while strengthening their understanding of the subject. The new series is a component of the Agricultural programme HOOPSS (Helping Out Our Primary and Secondary Schools) coordinated by the St. Lucia Agricultural Forum for Youth (SLAFY) and IICA with funding from Consolidated Foods Limited. Kurt Harris, President of SLAFY says the new series underscores the continued commitment of the three entities to finding new approaches to educating and inspiring young persons to view Agriculture as a career and understanding the skills required for employment throughout the agricultural supply chain. The series will be conducted over six months, during which time students will be exposed to presentations and discussions on Producing Safe Food for the Consumer, Climate Change and Agriculture, Information and Communications Technologies in Agriculture, Linking the Agriculture Value Chain, Retooling Agricultural Extension for the 21st Century as well as Agricultural Risk. The lectures will be delivered by experts from the business community and the public sector including Dunstan Demille, Perishables Manager of Consolidated Foods Limited who will present on Public-Private Sector Partnerships in Agriculture.

Strong response to Chambers awards orientation

Interest in the St. Lucia Business Awards continues to grow evidenced by over forty five persons attending the Orientation Nomination Workshop on Tuesday October 16th 2012 at the Bay Gardens Hotel. The Orientation Nomination Workshop was facilitated by Mr. Ben Menald, Mr. Randy Cato, Mr. Eldon Mathurin, Mr. Andie George and Mr. Crispin DAuvergne from the Awards Panel of Judges, who provided guidance and insight to the participants on the approaches to be adopted when submitting applications within the various categories. The Judges also shared their experience in reviewing the nomination forms and highlighted some of the better practices and approaches noted, as well as what was unacceptable. Executive Director of the Chamber Mr. Brian Louisy, described the Adjudication process and the methods adopted by the St. Lucia Business Awards committee to ensure its confidentiality, independence, and integrity. He further explained the selection process for the panel of Judges, reassuring the participants of their credibility and experience. The deadline, for submission of nominations is December 3rd 2012, and the 2013 St. Lucia Business Awards is scheduled for January 26th 2013.

How Does VAT Affect Your Phone Bill?

Telecommunications services are among those on which VAT will be charged at 15%, and all service providers and consumers will be adjusting accordingly. But Herman Edward, Head of Finance at LIME, says that whereas there will be increases for landline, Internet and LIME TV customers, mobile customers will see no real changes with VAT. Previously mobile services were charged 15% telecommunications tax, so when you did a TopUp or when you were charged for usage on your mobile account, there was that extra Government tax, Herman explains. VAT now replaces the telecommunications tax. Since the rate is 15%, the tax will not make topping up more costly, and postpaid customers will not see any tax-related increase in the usage charges on their mobile bills.

Chris Williams - LIME Vice-President for Country Operations

Prior to October 1, 2012, however, landline, Internet and LIME TV services were not subject to sales tax. Though customers will pay more for those services with VAT, prices are unchanged. Bills issued in October will reflect service-usage charges for September.

VAT will not be applied to the usage charges on those bills. VAT, however, will be applied on the monthly rental charge for the month of October and this will be reflected in customers October bills. There is also positive news as relates to equipment such as mobile phones, internet modems, landline handsets and other telecoms access devices. VAT replaces the previous consumption taxes on such products, so customers will see no increase in cost as relates to their purchase, and in some cases there will be decreases in cost. These changes will affect all Saint Lucians, but as industry leaders, we at LIME want our customers had all of the necessary the information at their disposal, says General Manager, Chris Williams.

St. Lucia Discount Card Offers 4 Free Nights at Bay Gardens Hotel
St Lucia Discount Card which recently signed on the Bay Gardens Hotel as its Official Platinum Member Resort has gone one step further by making discount cards available for purchase at Bay Gardens three Saint Lucia properties. The discount card allows card holders to enjoy discounts of up to 20% at participating restaurants, excursions, car rental services, airport transfers and more. The St Lucia Discount Card was created as a way to add value to a visitors stay at a time when high air fares and taxes such as the British ADP tax have eroded a significant portion of a vacationers spending power. Creator of the discount card, well known St Lucia photographer & internet marketer, Kirk Elliott, says that he continues to be encouraged by the overwhelming support he has received from the business community that have partnered with Kirk Elliott Limited (KEL) on this project. In addition to offering the St Lucia Discount Card for sale at its properties, Bay Gardens Hotel has also contributed a four (4) night stay to the winner of the St Lucia Dream Vacation. This prize, to be drawn on December 13th 2013, will be won by a purchaser of the St Lucia Discount Card. The lucky winner will also enjoy a free private helicopter transfer from Hewanorra International Airport to Castries, free excursions, and free car rental as well as free dinners at any of the participating restaurants.

Marigot and Black Pearl win La Wenn Kweyol

The Classic Moke is coming to the Caribbean.

Get ready for a new version of the Classic Moke motor vehicle in the Caribbean next year. Moke International says the vehicle will be released by mid2013. In a Joint Venture with Chery Motors and their subsidiary Sicar Engineering in China, Moke International has decided to initially produce the MOKE as a low volume car with 1,000 units per year. The new Moke will be released by mid-2013. It has been over 20 years since the last Moke rolled off the assembly line in Portugal. Throughout the 70s & 80s it was considered the car with the stress free lifestyle with the attitude of no doors, no roof, no worries!

The activities marking Creole Heritage Month continued here over the week-end with the highlight being the La Wenn Kweyol competition. Contestants from six communities, Marigot, La Clery, Ti Rocher Micoud, Marchand, Anse-la-Raye and Dennery/Mabouya Valley vied for the coveted title in an event sponsored by Super J IGA. In the end it was Black Pearl of Marigot who walked away with the tiara and trophy.

The new Classic Moke will retain all of the unique features of the original Moke but items like engine capacity, braking systems and safety standards have been overhauled and improved on.

Comedy and Fashion at Bay Walk Mall for Creole Heritage Month
Also on Saturday the Bay Walk Mall and the GL Foodmarket hosted a number of activities marking Creole Heritage Month. The Foodmarket continued its 2nd anniversary celebrations hosting a special comedy performance by Cokes, Angelbot and Company. This was followed at Bay Walk Mall itself by a fashion show featuring the creation of a number of local designers.