Caribzone News Highlight for Week of November 11th, 2019
The acquisition of Sprint by T-Mobile got official approval from US federal officials, a major win as the two companies seek to complete a $26 billion merger amid resistance from consumer advocacy groups. The merger could prove transformative for a US wireless industry facing cutthroat competition in recent years over everything from prices to customer contracts. As the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint have led the charge in ending early termination fees and reintroducing unlimited data plans. As the two companies combine, the future of the marketplace is uncertain.
Jamaica’s Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague is again appealing for motorists to exercise greater care in the use of the roads in order to prevent further casualties from road crashes.
He noted that there have been over 300 fatalities and thousands of more persons injured in motor vehicle crashes since the start of the year.
The House of Representatives, last Tuesday (November 5), approved the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering Prevention) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019, which aims to strengthen the integrity of Jamaica’s domestic financial system.
The legislation is being amended to make it fully compliant with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and effective in the efforts of law enforcement and other stakeholders to stem money laundering.
In his remarks, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang explained that the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering Prevention) Regulations, 2007, details the regime applicable to businesses in the regulated sector for the purposes of preventing and detecting money laundering.
He noted that based on a review of the extent of Jamaica’s compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations, and the level of effectiveness of these systems, the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) provided suggestions on how the systems could be strengthened.
Dr. Chang pointed out that the report outlines ways to effectively amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering Protection) Regulations, 2007, to make it fully compliant with the FATF.
“The Report indicated that of the 40 recommendations, Jamaica is partially compliant with 21, and non-compliant with two. As a country, we must address these technical compliance deficiencies with urgency or risk the FATF making a public statement regarding the jurisdiction’s anti-money laundering deficiencies,” he stated.
Some of the recommendations include amending Regulation 3 to specify the timeline (15 days after the end of each month) required for financial institutions to report to the Designated Authority on transactions involving prescribed sums.
The National Security Minister said this provision’s inclusion enhances the Designated Authority’s investigative capability.
On December 6, 2019, Dominicans will go to the polls to elect a new government. Dominica's Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, last week, announced the date for the election at a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) event at Goodwill. Nomination Day will be November 19.
Mr. Skerrit, who is seeking to become the first politician in Dominica to win four consecutive general elections, called for voters to ensure the campaign is conducted in an atmosphere of civility and peace. His main challenge will be the United Workers Party, headed by Opposition Leader Lennox Linton. Over the past year the DLP and the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has been actively campaigning for the election constitutionally due in May 2020.
The announcement of the date for the election puts Dominica in uncharted territory since the UWP has stated many times that there will not be an election in Dominica without electoral reform- that is, the cleansing of the voter's list and the issuance of voter identification cards.
Skerrit told supporters that he has a clear plan for continued growth and development
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley says if the CARICOM movement is to be brought fully into the 21st century, Heads of Government must have more frequent deliberations about critical matters affecting the Region along the lines of how the European Union operates.
Her comments came as she delivered the opening remarks at a Town Hall meeting last Monday, under the theme The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) – What is in It for Me? at the Walcott-Warner Theatre, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. Ms. Mottley has lead responsibility for the CSME in CARICOM’s quasi cabinet.
She said: “I want to suggest to you that what is in it for you is everything, because of your ability to be able to fight off the worst impacts of [the] climate crisis depend on us coming together as one and raising our voice, and even then there is no guarantee. She suggested that the people of the Caribbean will have to fully embrace regional integration in order for the Single Market to work.
“Your ability to have a larger market will be critical if you’re going to drive down your prices to enhance your competitiveness to allow for greater profitability. The ability for us to be able to have the levels of functional cooperation that have been quietly working for us without any big set of noise as we have seen with CXC, as we have seen in other areas of public health and in the testing of our labs. These things are working for us, but for some reason, we don’t believe that if we are stronger together there, that we can be stronger together in the context of the Single Market and Single Economy.”
Ms. Mottley noted that the prospect of having eight general elections, within the Caribbean over the course of the next 15 months, was cause for concern, as it would affect the pace and progress of the implementation of the Single Market and Single Economy.
Antigua & Barbuda
The ailing Regional the airline, LIAT has been given a new lease on life with an injection of a US$15.8 million loans negotiated by Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne with the ALBA Bank at a meeting in Venezuela yesterday.
Browne attended the 72nd meeting of the Executive Board of ALBA Bank in Caracas, Venezuela at the headquarters of the Central Bank of Venezuela, where Antigua and Barbuda was formally inducted into ALBA Bank as a new member, and signed a Financing Agreement relating to the loan of US$15.8 million for injection into LIAT. After formally depositing the instrument that allowed Antigua and Barbuda to join the Bank, Browne expressed satisfaction with the good financial position of the Bank.
In reply, Governor of the Central Bank Mr Calixto Ortega welcomed PM Browne noting how pleased he was that Antigua and Barbuda had become the seventh member of ALBA Bank, joining Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Dominica, St Vincent, and the Grenadines and Bolivia.
Both St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, in offering their congratulations, indicated that they fully supported the ‘bold move’ by Antigua and Barbuda to join the Bank.
ALBA Bank was established in 2005 as the brainchild of former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias, and the former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro. It was envisioned as a regional development bank that would provide resources to fill the development needs of the countries of the region.