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Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Vol. 23, No. 8 September 2007 Copyright 2007 TABLE OF CONTENTS Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 2 1 2 The Region Country-by-country reports in alphabetical order 22 Calendar 23 Data Base Caribbean UPDATE (ISSN 8756-324x) is published monthly by Caribbean UPDATE Inc., 116 Myrtle Ave., Millburn NJ 07041. "We strive to provide you with information that you can act upon, by phone, fax, e-mail or packing your bags." Subscriptions: $277 per year (12 issues either via regular mail or Email); $139 special price to academics, and for additional subscriptions to the same organization. Bulk quantities also available (inquire). To order, see back page, or call 973 3762314. E-mail: email@example.com. THE REGION US$300 MILLION FOR BIO-FUEL RESEARCH. The Inter American Development Bank said it has set aside US$300 million dollars to help Caribbean nations study the viability of producing bio-fuels, reports AFP (Aug. 7, 2007): IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno, said the money would be for a "green energy" program to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, bioenergy and carbon finance lending and technical assistance, mainly for small scale investments in the region‘s smaller countries. The IDB will disburse a US$850,000 donation from Japan to assist Guyana assess several proposals by overseas investors who would like to establish bio-fuel operations; Several countries (Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad & Tobago) are taking advantage of the bio-fuels industry to create employment, reduce their fuel import bill and diversify their sugar-cane industries to ethanol, he said. Guyana is producing bio-diesel from palm-oil for use in the north-western part of the country, to reduce fuel imports and discourage fuel smuggling from neighboring Venezuela; The Caribbean in 2004 bought 163 million barrels of petroleum products (cost: US$6.5 billion). Secretary General of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Edwin Carrington said high fossil fuel prices were a "drain" on up to 70% of foreign exchange earnings of member states, because at least 93% of commercial energy consumption depends on fossil fuels. CARICOM, he added, could save US$500,000 a day if its members added 10% of ethanol to their fuel. *** CHAVEZ PLEDGES OIL. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, addressing a Caracas summit of nations taking part in his Petrocaribe initiative, vowed to meet their oil needs for years to come, and urged the region to seek greater independence from the US, reports AP (Aug. 11, 2007). Venezuela counts the US as its top oil buyer, although Chavez has sought to diversify by selling more to Latin America, the Caribbean and China. Since 2005, when Chavez created Petrocaribe, 14 countries have joined the pact, which lets them finance up to half their oil bills over 25 years at low interest. Caribbean countries have saved US$437 million on their oil bills under Petrocaribe, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. The initiative is expanding with the addition of Nicaragua, was represented at the summit by President Daniel Ortega, another Chavez ally. Ramirez said Venezuela is also making progress helping upgrade and build new refineries, including projects in Cuba, Jamaica and Dominica. *** FEWER AMERICANS ARE VISITING CARIBBEAN. Americans who flocked to the islands in record numbers until recently are finding new destinations or staying home, leading to declines of more than 10% this year in islands including Jamaica, St. Lucia and Grenada, reports AP (July 30, 2007): Governments have aimed marketing pitches at Canada and Europe to compensate for slippage in the US market, which accounts for about 60% of the region's tourism business. ``The trickle-down effect is huge,'' said Richard Kahn, a spokesman for the Caribbean Tourism Organization; A new passport rule has discouraged some travelers. Americans returning by air were required to present the document beginning earlier this year, although the US is temporarily accepting proof of Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 3 application because of a backlog. But even US territories unaffected by the new security measure have seen declines - the number of Americans visiting Puerto Rico dropped 9% in January vs. 2006, and the US Virgin Islands saw a 7% drop; Some simply want more exotic destinations. ―A lot of the larger islands are reaching that point where their market has been there, done that and is looking for a different experience,'' said Cheryl Carter, a tourism instructor at Florida Intl Univ. The number of American visitors dipped in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks before surging more than 10% over four years. Last year, US overnight tourists peaked at of 11.5 million, said the Barbados-based CTO; Caribbean officials are focusing promotional efforts elsewhere. Jamaica, hit by a 12% drop in US visitors this year, has started advertising more in Canada and Europe, said Basil Smith, Jamaica's tourism director. A strong euro helped boost European visits by 22% through April, he said. Grenada arranged for the Germany‘s Condor to offer weekly flights year-round instead of only in the winter, said tourism board spokesman Edwin Frank. St. Lucia is negotiating with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways to provide more flights. Some analysts argue US tourism will rebound quickly, attributing the decline in part to a sluggish US housing market that has cut into Americans' spending. But others fear the new passport requirement could haunt Caribbean resorts for years. *** CONSTRUCTION MARKET REPORT. The US Commerce Dept. has produced a 9-page report, “Central America and Guatemala: Construction, Construction Equipment and Building Products, which says ―over the past few years the construction sector has become one of the most dynamic and fastest growing sectors in Central America.‖ Subscribers may receive a free copy via Email, in PDF format, by requesting it from: firstname.lastname@example.org. (For non-subscribers there will be a fee charged) *** DIGICEL SUES C&W OVER ACCESS. Digicel, a Jamaica-based mobile telephone provider, filed a lawsuit accusing rival Cable &Wireless PLC of illegally withholding technical cooperation to delay its entry into Caribbean markets, reports AP (July 19, 2007): The lawsuit filed in a British court seeks compensation for lost profits, fees and market share. Britain-based C&W, which provides telecom service in 33 countries, in regions including Asia and Europe, denied Digicel's allegations; Digicel claims that 2002 and 2006, C&W resisted interconnection and created obstacles causing delays for months in launches in Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. ``We believe that a successful claim will put an end to the anticompetitive practices of C&W,'' said Denis O'Brien, the Irish tycoon who owns Digicel, launched in 2001, which has 4.7 million subscribers in 22 Caribbean markets. *** CHAIN STORE OWNER SEEKS BANKRUPTCY. Nutritional Sourcing Corp. and two units, owners of 23 supermarkets and 41 Blockbuster video stores in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors with plans to sell their assets, reports Bloomberg (Aug. 7, 2007). Nutritional, based in Pompano Beach, Fla. listed assets of less than US$10,000 and debt of US$1 million to US$100 million in Chapter 11 documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. In separate filings, the company's Pueblo International unit listed assets and debt of more than US$100 million, and its FLBN unit listed assets of US$1 million to US$100 million and debt of more than US$100 million. Nutritional said it filed for bankruptcy due to increased competition from Wal-Mart and online video rental companies. This is its second bankruptcy in five years. Westernbank Puerto Rico, owed US$95 million, is the largest secured creditor. *** NEW USAID EXEC. Paul Bonicelli took the oath of office on July 31 as the new U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). He will direct an annual budget of more than US$750 million, which supports economic growth, fiscal reform, democracy building and Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 4 social transition programs in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Prior to this appointment he served USAID as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Details; 202-712-4810. Web: www.usaid.gov REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP. Cognos, which offers business intelligence and performance management solutions, and General Business Machines Corp., on Aug. 2 announced a regional partnership that will help customers integrate business processes and gain greater insight into company performance. GBM is IBM's exclusive distributor and integrator in the region, and represents other brands including Cisco Systems, Diebold, ZyXEL, Lexmark and Tripp Lite. As Cognos' solutions provider in Central America, GBM will market and sell Cognos Performance Management solutions to its installed customer base, which represents companies and conglomerates in the region, said Javier Ramirez, regional director at Cognos for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. information, visit Details: Cognos. Steve Milmore, 781-313-2403. Email: email@example.com or Lois Paul &Partners, LLC. Jolene Hajj, 781-782-849. Email: jolene_hajj @ lpp.com or Cognos. John Lawlor, 613-738-503. Email: john.lawlor @cognos.comwww.gbm.net. CONTRACT WITH SANDALS. Dynamic Leisure Corp., an online leisure travel packager and wholesaler, on July 17 said it has added Sandal Resorts' Caribbean vacations to its portfolio. Dynamic will market and promote Sandals' 12 allinclusive resorts, including wedding and honeymoon programs, said Dan Brandano, CEO, Dynamic Leisure. Details: Dynamic Leisure Corp., Tampa. Nigel Osborne, 813-877-6300. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Investor Contact: Flagler Communications. James Dryer, 561-8378057. Email: email@example.com Web: www.dylicorp.com. WATER DESALINATION CO. CHOOSES IFS. IFS on July 20 said that Seven Seas Water Corp. has chosen IFS Applications to manage its business and plant infrastructure around the globe. Based in Tampa, Fl, Seven Seas serves resorts, municipalities and other large industrial and commercial users of water by designing, building and managing desalination, wastewater and pure water plants. It has operations in the US Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, and St. Maarten. Details :www.IFSWORLD.com. CARIBBEAN BASIN FUND OFFERING. The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund on July 24 announced filing of a Registration Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed non-transferable rights offering to holders of its common stock. The rights will entitle the holder to subscribe for one additional share of the Fund's common stock for each right at a subscription price equal to a discount to the market price. It is expected that the rights offering will be conducted in Sept. or Oct. of 2007. The Fund also said that Albert L. Weintraub, 77, has retired from the board of directors. The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, Inc. is a closed-end fund managed by HERZFELD/CUBA, a division of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors, Inc. It seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in issuers that are likely to benefit from economic, political, structural and technological developments in the countries in the Caribbean Basin. Details: Cecilia L. Gondor, 305271-1900 . Web: www.herzfeld.com. TABLE TRAC, THUNDERBIRD ACCORD. Thunderbird Resorts Intl, owner/operator of 35 casinos and resorts in Central America and the Caribbean, signed an expanded Master License Agreement with Table Trac, it was reported July 24. Table Trac is installing systems for Thunderbird properties in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, said Robert Siqveland, Table Trac's marketing director. Table Trac, based in Minnetonka, Minn., has developed a real-time system that automates and monitors the operations of casino gaming floors. Details: www.tabletrac.com and www.thunderbirdresorts.com FRANCHISE DEALS. FirstCall/-Franchise Services of North America Inc. on Aug. 1 said it has closed on the sale of three new franchises in the Caribbean, and has begun to operate in Newark, NJ, servicing Liberty International Airport. It also sold a franchise for St. Maarten and a combined franchise for Aruba and Bonaire, said Robert M. Barton, Chief Operating Officer. FSNA and its subsidiaries own: U-Save Car &Truck Rental, U- Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 5 Save Car Sales, Rent-A-Wreck of Canada, Auto Rental Resource Center, Xpress Rent A Car and Peakstone Insurance. Details: www.sedar.com . PHOENIX ASSOCIATES ANNOUNCES ADDITIONS. Phoenix Associates Land Syndicate on July 28 announced major additions to its mining, oil & gas, aviation division, and the sale of its two pool companies. Paul Alonzo, President and CEO, said Phoenix also expects to acquire an offshore trust company and two more offshore banks to add to its first acquisition of the trading platform, investment bank and managed insurance company in the Caribbean. Details: Mike Mulshine. Osprey Partners. (732) 292-0982. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org GIGABEAM RECEIVES BANK ORDER. Wireless communications equipment maker GigaBeam Corp., based in Durham NC, said that an unidentified Caribbean bank has placed a purchase order for two WiFiber links, which enable highspeed Internet access across large urban areas, reports AP (Aug. 8, 2007). GigaBeam said it anticipates an order for two more links after installation of the first two. NEW CARGO SHIPPING SERVICE. Trailer Bridge, Inc.on Aug. 13, announced the departure of the Triplestack Box Carrier vessel Brooklyn Bridge from Jacksonville, Fla. on its inaugural voyage to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, introducing the 53' transport system. This new service also connects San Juan, Puerto Rico with Puerto Plata,. Details: Chairman/CEO John D. McCown, 800554-1589. Web: www.trailerbridge.com or TRBR Investor Relations Counsel: The Equity Group Inc. Adam Prior, 212-836-9606. Ethan Guttenplan, 212836-9605. Web: www.theequitygroup.com SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE CALLS. Royal Caribbean Int'l on July 31 said it has established a homeport at the mouth of the Panama Canal, with 17 sailings from Dec. 2008 through April 2009 aboard Enchantment of the Seas. The seven-night voyages will visit ports-of-call in Colombia (including Cartagena and Santa Marta) and the Dutch Antilles (including Bonaire and Curacao), said Adam Goldstein, president, Royal Caribbean. Details: 800-327-2056. Web: www.royalcaribbean.com or www.cruisingpower.com. TIFFANY SELLS LITTLE SWITZERLAND. NXP Corp., based in the US Virgin Islands, on Aug. 6 said it agreed to acquire Little Switzerland, Inc., from Tiffany & Co. Little Switzerland operates 25 duty-free retail store throughout the Caribbean offering luxury items such as watches, jewelry, crystal and china. NXP Corp., operating under the retail brands "Jewels" and "Azura by Jewels", operates 12 duty-free stores in the Caribbean. NXP is owned by the CI Group, a family of closely held companies that employs over 4,000 people worldwide in a variety of industries, said NXP President Hal Tayler. Details: Tiffany &Co. Mark L. Aaron, 212-230-5301 Web: www.jewelsonline.com. UPGRADES AT 3 ELITE ISLAND RESORTS. Elite Island Resorts on Aug. 14 announces expansion and renovations of three of its upscale oceanfront resorts. Galley Bay on Antigua unveiled 32 new suites and now has 96 rooms. St. James's Club & Villas, also on Antigua, added 8 new guests rooms, for a total of 164. Palm Island, a private island retreat in The Grenadines, adds 4 new rooms for a total of 41 rooms and 2 villas, said Steven Heydt, Elite Island Resorts' president. Details: (800) 345-0356. Web: www.eliteislandresorts.com. INTCOMEX PUBLIC OFFERING. Intcomex, Inc. a US-based value-added distributor of information technology products to Latin America and the Caribbean, on July 28 said it registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Intcomex distributes computer components, peripherals, software, computer systems, accessories, networking products and digital consumer electronics to customers in 45 countries. ANGUILLA NEW MARINA COMPLEX. Island Global Yachting (IGY) on July 9 announced its selection as the master developer and operator of a new marina and upland facility at Altamer Resort here. The development, which will serve as the official port of entry to Anguilla, will feature a 101-slip marina (30% of the berths will accommodate megayachts). The complex will also include 740,000 sq ft of upland space slated for a 164-unit resort and a dutyfree shopping and restaurant promenade. Slated to Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 6 open in late 2009, the project is a partnership between IGY and Altamer Resort owners Michael and Rebecca Eggleton, and will be the first marina built here. Based in Ft Lauderdale, Fla, IGY also has offices in New York, NY; St. Thomas, USVI; and Dubai, UAE. IGY is an affiliate of Island Capital Group LLC, a real estate merchant banking firm led and founded by Andrew Farkas, former chairman of Insignia Financial Group. Details: Chuck Smith. IGY. Director of Public Relations. Tel: P.954.302.6021 / C.954.260.5565. Email: CSmith@ IGYMarinas.com Web: www.IGYMarinas.com NEW GOVT. WEBSITE. The Dept of Information Technology and e-Government Services has completed initial development and posting of the new Government of Anguilla website: www.gov.ai, reports Caribbean Net News (July 23, 2007). The Dept of IT worked closely with Acromedia, a US based website development company, to do the initial design and development. The next step is to create a secure online presence for some of its revenue collection and payment systems such as SIGTAS, SmartStream and ASYCUDA, a government source said. ARUBA FIRST RIU PROPERTY IN ARUBA. The 450room all-inclusive Riu Palace Aruba has opened on Palm Beach, 2.5 miles from the capital of Orenjestad, it was reported July 20. The new property is the 22nd in the Riu portfolio, said Luis Riu, Chairman and Owner of Riu Hotels & Resorts, which was founded in 1953 in Mallorca, Spain. Riu employs 19,000 and offers 36.000 rooms in 18 countries, including Aruba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Florida, Jamaica and Mexico. Details: www.Riu.com . SPIRIT TO ARUBA. Spirit Airlines on July 30 announced daily nonstop service between its Ft Lauderdale base and Beatrix Intl Airport here, starting Nov. 10, 2007. Spirit also will offer connecting service to Aruba from its domestic network, said Mark Kopczak, Senior Director of Network Planning. Details: Alison Russell, 954628-4827. Email: alison.russell @ spiritair.com or Juan Arbelaez, 954-447-7856. Email: email@example.com BAHAMAS PLATFORM SUPPLY VESSELS DEAL. India's Bharati Shipyard Ltd. inked a $44-million deal with the Ultrapetrol Bahamas for two platform supply vessels. That's on top of an earlier contract with the Nassau-based international conglomerate to supply it with two more of the same and at the same price, reports The Nassau Guardian (Aug. 6, 2007). Last January the Clipper Group, based in New Providence, put ordered construction of six bulk carriers of 20,000 dead weight tons each. Contract value: $130.50 million. RESORT PROJECT PURCHASE. Andros Isle Development Ltd. on Aug. 7 said it agreed to acquire the Plantation Bay Resort project, on 27 beachfront acres in Ferguson Port, northern Long Island. Andros plans to offer 36 one-third acre lots with either canal or ocean frontage starting at US$500,000 and 5 one-acre plus estate home sites starting at US$1.2 million, said Donald Harper, President and CEO. SPIRIT TO GRAND BAHAMA. Spirit Airlines on July 24 announced daily nonstop service between its Ft Lauderdale, Fla. base and Grand Bahama Island starting Dec. 13, 2007. Service will be via the Grand Bahama Intl Airport in Freeport. Grand Bahama is Spirit's 21st destination in the Bahamas, Caribbean and Latin America region, and its 37th destination overall, said Barry Biffle, Spirit Airlines' Chief Marketing Officer. Details: Alison Russell, 954-628-4827. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Juan Arbelaez, 954447-7856. Email: email@example.com BARBADOS ALL-IN-ONE RUM FACILITY. Mount Gay Rum will now be able to refine, store, age and blend its product in one location, reports The Barbados Nation (July 23, 2007). The $14.2 million automated Mount Gay Rum aging and blending facility was opened by Prime Minister Owen Arthur, next to the refinery in St Lucy. The European Union, through its Integrated Development Program for the African/ Caribbean/ Pacific rum sector, provided $4.2 million of the funding. The rum was produced by the refinery in Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 7 St Lucy and sent in tankers 18 miles to Brandons to be barreled, then transported to the aging facilities and, after maturation, sent back to Brandons for blending and bottling. The new facility occupies 12.2 acres of land next to the refinery, with room to expand. AIR JAMAICA TO BARBADOS. In Jan 2007, Air Jamaica introduced daily non-stop service from New York's JFK to Barbados (BGI) with flights departing JFK at 7 am arriving BGI at 11:40 am and departing BGI at 6:45 pm arriving JFK at 11:40 pm. On July 22 it began non-stop service to Barbados from Ft Lauderdale (FLL) three days a week (Fri, Sat, Sun), said Paul Pennicook, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. Details: Tel: 1-800-221-9831 and www.airjamaicavacations.com and www.visitbarbados.org. BELIZE EU GRANT. The Ministry of National Development announced confirmation from the European Commission Delegation in Jamaica that a grant of Euro11.8 million (BZ$32.5 million), has been allocated to under Envelope ‗A‘ of the 10th European Development Fund, reports Caribbean Net News (July 27, 2007). This 20% increase from the original allocation was due to Belize‘s performance in governance, and credibility and extent of its commitment to governance reform. The Ministry says the grant will target improvement of social infrastructure in rural areas, improvement of the efficiency and competitiveness of rural industries and the diversification of rural enterprises. ROAD UPGRADE. A Caribbean Development Bank loan is for the Third Road (33.4 km. Placencia Rd. Upgrading) Project. Contractors are invited to prequalify by Sept. 27, 2007. Details: Project Execution Unit. Ministry of Works. Power Lane. Belmopan. Cayo District, Belize. Tel: (501) 8220562. Fax: (501) 822-0563. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Procurement Officer. Project Services Division. Caribbean Development Bank. PO Box 408, Wildey. St. Michael, Barbados, BB 11000. Tel: (1-246) 431-1600. Fax: (1-246) 4267269. E-mail: email@example.com WATER, SEWAGE PROJECT. Belize has applied for a Technical Assistance Loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for a feasibility study and designs for expansion of water and sewerage facilities on Ambergris Caye. Consultants are invited to prequalify by Sept. 15, 2007. Details: Contact: Chief Operating Officer. Belize Water Services Ltd. #7 Central American Blvd. Belize City. Belize District, Belize. Tel: (501) 222-4757 Ext. 269. Fax: (501) 222 4238. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Procurement Officer. Project Services Division. CDB. PO Box 408, Wildey. St. Michael, Barbados, BB 11000. Tel: (1-246) 4311600. Fax: (1-246) 426-7269. E-mail: email@example.com SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PROGRAM. A non-reimbursable technical cooperation of US$340,000 from the Inter-American Development Bank is for a Preparation of a Plan for a Sustainable Tourism Program (BL-T1011). Consultants will be required. Deadline: not specified. Details: IDB. Environment, Rural Development and Natural Disasters Division. Infrastructure and Environment. Attn: Michele Lemay. 1300 New York Ave, NW . Washington DC 20577. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org BRITISH VIRGIN I. RESORT EXPANSION. The Moorings on July 17 announced construction has begun on a US$10 million project which will significantly enhance to its flagship base in Road Town, Tortola. The Moorings village will be located on the southern end of the current property. The new docks and jetty will allow for additional dockage of 120 yachts and provide easier access for the new monohulls and expanding fleet of catamarans, said Moorings President Lex Raas. Construction is expected to be completed during first quarter 2008. OBM Intl designed the improvements; local contractors are in charge of construction. Details: The Moorings. 1800-368-9991. Web: www.moorings.com. Also: 1800-521-1126. Web: www.moorings.com/ yachtownership. asp. NEW SEAPLANE SERVICE TO VIRGIN GORDA. With the inauguration of a new seaplane service to Virgin Gorda a week earlier, the BVI expects to see an increase in visitor arrivals to the territory, reports The Virgin Islands Daily News Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 8 (July 23, 2007). Chief Minister & Minister of Tourism Orlando Smith and other dignitaries were taken on an aerial tour of Virgin Gorda, after a ceremony to mark the inaugural flight of Seaborne Airlines to the island and the expansion of the Captain Owen G. Harrigan Visitor Center in Gun Creek, North Sound. There are about five major hotels in the North Sound area, and the introduction of this seaplane service will make transportation into the island easier. CAYMAN ISLANDS BAN ON UK ANIMALS, ANIMAL PRODUCTS. The Cayman Islands Dept of Agriculture (DoA), in a response to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle in the United Kingdom, has instituted a ban on imports of animals and animal products from the UK with the exception of poultry meat, said Minister of Agriculture Kurt Tibbetts, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 6, 2007). CAMANA BAY SELECTS NORTEL. Residents and businesses in Camana Bay, the new real estate development here, will soon benefit from high-speed, high-bandwidth communications services, with a converged IP voice and data network from Nortel, it was reported Aug. 13. Dart Realty, developer of the 500-acre master-planned community, chose Nortel to provide IP telephony, unified communications, audio conferencing, contact centers and other multimedia services such as webcasting. Details: Nortel. Sarah Aldana. +954 851-8217. Email: email@example.com. Web: www.nortel.com . Publicom. Luciana Santos Silva. +5511 3531-4988. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Dart Realty. Susanna Blackburn. +345 814-3669. Email: email@example.com FINANCIAL DEAL. Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings Ltd on Aug. 1 said it took a majority position in Island Heritage Holdings Ltd., domiciled here, which specializes in insurance and insurance services in the Caribbean. Butterfield Bank and Ace Insurance will remain major shareholders, said Mark Byrne, Chairman of Flagstone. Details: HamiltonBrenton Slade, 441-278-4303 or Island Heritage Holdings Ltd., Cayman Islands. Nigel Twohey, 345-814-7303 NEWSPAPER SALE. Hollinger Inc., the company Conrad Black used to run his newspaper empire, said its subsidiary, Holcay Holdings Ltd entered into a repurchase agreement to sell its 39.99% interest in the outstanding shares of Cayman Free Press Ltd, reports Bloomberg (Aug. 13, 2007). CFP owns and operated The Caymanian Compass newspaper. Black, 62, was convicted in July of mail fraud and obstruction of justice. He remains free on bail until his Nov. 30 sentencing. The committee investigating alleged financial wrongdoing by Black was reportedly unable to account for past dividend payments from Cayman Free Press of some US$1.5 million. SUIT OVER HEDGE FUND COLLAPSE. A limited partner in a failed Cayman Islands hedge fund run by Bear Stearns says the investment bank took only meager steps to prevent the fund's recent collapse, reports Reuters (Aug. 11, 2007). New York-based investment firm Navigator Capital Partners LP made the accusation in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan. Navigator, run by Steven Resnick, invested more than US$700,000 in the hedge fund between Aug. 2004 and mid-April 2005. The firm and other investors lost nearly the entire value of their investments. Bear Stearns Asset Management, the hedge fund's general partner, made more than $13.3 million in 2006 from advisory fees and profit-sharing before the fund's demise, according to the lawsuit. Bear said two of its structured finance funds, the Bear Stearns HighGrade Structured Credit Strategies Fund and the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund, made bad investments in bonds linked to subprime mortgages, an area where defaults have surged, and faced margin calls from banks and redemption requests from investors. COSTA RICA DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR FREE ZONE INCENTIVES. Costa Rica's free zones were granted another six years of breathing room after the World Trade Organization (WTO) extended the deadline on which Costa Rica and other developing countries must stop subsidizing manufacturing exports with tax incentives, reports The Tico Times (Aug. 3, 2007): Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 9 Free zone exports last year were about US$4.31 billion, more than half of all Costa Rica's exports. Costa Rica now has until 2015 to change its FreeZone Law, which gives tax breaks to companies that export most of their production, said Timothy Scott, director of the Costa Rican Assn of FreeZone Businesses (AZOFRAS); Under the current law, foreign businesses that meet investment and export requirements can be exempt from paying corporate income taxes for eight to 12 years, and exempt from 50% of taxes for four to six years thereafter. *** LAND REGISTRY PROGRAM. An InterAmerican Development Bank loan is for a Land Registry Program. Part of the funds are for land markings in 900 kms of a specified zone (Ejecucion del Amojonamiente en las Zonas Abre). Consultants will be required. Deadline: Sept. 27, 2007. Refer to: Licitación Pública Internacional UE-05-2007 . Details: Sr. Marcelo Solís Duncan. Unidad Ejecutora Programa Nº 1284/OC-CR. Tel: (506) 253-6212/8411/7240/7209. Fax: (506) 2346996. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org JUSTICE ADMIN. MODERNIZATION. An Inter-American Development Bank loan is for Modernization of the Justice Administration (No. BID 1377/OC-CR). Part of the funds are to procure equipment and other goods to strengthen the LAN network. Deadline: Sept. 4, 2007. Refer to: No. 2007LI-000120-01; Llamado No. 1 . Details: Contact: Unidad Ejecutora Programa Modernización Poder Judicial - BID. Edif Defensa Pública. Sita 250 metros este Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. Ave.2da San José, Costa Rica.. Tel: (506) 211-9832. Fax: (506) 256-5668. E-mail: email@example.com . Web: www.poderjudicial. go.cr/bid *** OPPOSITION TO SEX TOURISM. A small but growing number of businesses are opposing Costa Rica's booming sex tourism industry, but some find that implementing a controversial ban on prostitution comes with a cost, reports The Tico Times (July 27, 2007): “It's a decision about social responsibility, not just business,‖ said Karla Salazar, manager of Grupo Marta, which owns two Best Western hotels that have banned ―prostitution-related activities‖. The policy involves training employees, posting ―No to Prostitution‖ signs around the hotel and denying entry to suspected prostitutes and their clients. Companies like Grupo Marta say they lose tens of thousands of dollars a year by denying entry to those it suspects might engage in prostitution, and are also drawing fire from critics who question the legality of a policy that bans prostitution since the act is legal here. Along with other value-added tourism niches that have seen a surge thanks to Costa Rica's US$1.7-billion-a-year tourism industry, sex tourism is enjoying a growth spurt; Up to 10% of tourists who come here reportedly engage in sex tourism. There are some 40 Web sites, about 50 establishments and as many as 10,000 sex workers here, many of whom are immigrants and many catering to tourists, according Jacobo Schifter, a professor emeritus of the National University in Heredia, whose book “Mongers in Heaven,” profiles the sex-tourism industry here; Marvin Carvajal, professor of constitutional law at the Univ. of Costa Rica (UCR), said hotels have the right to decide what activities take place inside their establishments. They can ban activities such as smoking, drinking or large events that could harm their infrastructure. But some prostitutes have figured out ways to get past security at hotels. The Best Western Irazú, which has a casino and bar that were once popular spots for prostitutes meeting clients, has reportedly taken about US$45,000 a year in losses since banning prostitution (many hotels boost profits by charging sex tourists double for extra company). CUBA MORE CUBANS LEAVING BY SEA AGAIN. After a lull following Fidel Castro's illness last year, Cubans once again are taking to homemade boats or powerful speedboats manned by smugglers on a trip to the US that often includes a detour through Mexico, reports Reuters (July 31, 2007): Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 10 Since May, the US Coast Guard has been intercepting more boat people in craft crossing the Straits of Florida. The US Border Patrol also has been processing rising numbers turning up at the US frontier with Mexico. Cubans coming across the 90-mile (145 km) gap with Florida try to make it in anything that floats and has a motor -- from a hijacked fishing boat to an array of inner tubes tied together with a weed whacker for propeller. For those with a relative in Miami able to pay the US$8,000 fare, there are illegal "cigarette" boats that jet in and out of the Cuban coast in broad daylight. These cost upward of US$150,000 and are built for eight to 10 passengers but often speed away jam-packed with 30 to 40 people. They are twice as fast as Cuba's Russian-built patrol boats and give the US Coast Guard a run for their money, too; So far this fiscal year, 2,819 Cubans have made it ashore in Florida, vs. 3,076 in all of last year, said US Customs & Border Protection spokesman Zachary Mann. The number of Cubans intercepted in the Florida Straits are still below -- but likely to exceed -- last year's 2,810, says the US Coast Guard. That was the highest number since the 1994 exodus when the Coast Guard picked up more than 35,000 people floating off Cuba in all kinds of rafts when Castro opened the doors briefly. To avoid another rafting crisis, the US started sending back Cubans intercepted at sea. Under the "wet-foot, dryfoot" policy, only those who make it ashore get to stay in the US; To avoid interception by the US Coast Guard and forced repatriation, most boat people leave through the Gulf of Mexico on speedboats that ferry them 140 miles (210 km) to Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Some also go south to the Cayman Islands, and on to Central America. From there, they make their way north on well-trodden migrant routes to the US-Mexico border. Once there, the Cubans are home and dry. Unlike illegal migrants from other countries, Cubans can present themselves at land entry points and are automatically paroled into the US as political refugees; US officials say 89% of the Cubans emigrating illegally from Cuba to the US are entering by land border rather than coming ashore from a boat. This fiscal year up to July 26, 9,296 Cubans have entered the US via land, vs. 8,677 for all of fiscal 2006 and 7,281 the previous year, said Jennifer Connors, a Customs & Border Protection spokeswoman. The body of a Cuban-American who was under investigation in a migrant smuggling case was found riddled with bullets along a road outside Mexico‘s Caribbean resort of Cancun, reports AP (July 31, 2007). Luis Lazaro Lara Morejon was found handcuffed and blindfolded with duct tape. He had been shot at least 10 times, said Didier Vazquez, the director of the judicial police in Quintana Roo. Earlier, Mexican authorities outside Cancun arrested eight people -- six of whom were Cuban-Americans or Cubans with U.S. residency -on suspicion of smuggling migrants. *** US AGENCY ISSUES REPORT ON CUBA TRADE. America's trade with could double if US financing rules on direct agricultural sales were lifted, the US International Trade Commission said, reports AP (July 21, 2007). ."All agricultural commodity sectors would likely benefit from the lifting of the financing restriction,'' said the 180page report:: Under an exception to the 45-year-old US embargo on Cuba, American producers can sell food and farm products on a cash basis. A separate exception allows sales of US medicines and medical supplies to the island. But US farm producers complain the transactions were slowed beginning in 2005 by new US rules requiring them to receive payment from Havana before shipping their goods; The report was requested by the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Baucus has introduced legislation to lift most financing restrictions on US agriculture exports and eliminate limits on travel. "Barring agricultural producers from the largest market in the Caribbean is hurting American interests,'' Baucus said. It's clearly time for Congress to curb the overzealous trade embargo on Cuba.'' Baucus said his bill could increase US agriculture exports to Cuba by over US$300 million; Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 11 The report also found that if travel restrictions were lifted, the number of US visitors to the island would jump from 171,000 in 2005 to as many as 1 million annually. That would also likely increase demand in Cuba for US farm goods, the ITC said. The commission's report was welcomed by the USA Rice Federation, which supports legislation to lift US trade and travel restrictions on Cuba; Havana says it has spent more than US$2.2 billion (euro1.6 billion) on US farm products and related costs since 2001, when it began taking advantage of the law allowing the deals. This year, it expects to match the $570 million it spent on US food and agricultural goods in 2006. *** RUSSIA DELIVERS AIRCRAFT. Russia delivered the first of three Tupolev jet planes, reports the Communist Party newspaper Granma (Aug. 6, 2007). The cargo TU-204 arrived in Havana and two passenger jets will be delivered before the year end as Cuba upgrades its aging Soviet-era fleet. Last year, Cuba received three Ilyushin IL-96-300s passenger jets used on routes to Europe and Latin America by Cubana de Aviacion. The deal was financed by Ilyushin Finance Co. Cuba last year agreed to buy US$100 million a year in aircraft from Russia over the next seven years, including short-haul regional Antonov AN-148 planes. Cuba is barred from purchasing Boeing aircraft or European Airbus planes because more than 10% of components are US made. BUSH WAIVES CUBA LAWSUITS. President George W. Bush extended for 6 months a measure banning lawsuits by Americans whose property here was taken by Fidel Castro's government, reports AFP (July 18, 2007). Bush said his action "is necessary to the national interests of the US and will expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba." Under a 1996 law, Americans may sue any individual, investor or business using property seized on or after Jan. 1, 1959, though it also gives US presidents the power to block all such lawsuits for six-month periods. CHINA TO MAKE DENGUE MOSQUITO KILLER. China will mass-produce a Cuban pesticide effective against dengue-carrying mosquitos, Cuba's foreign ministry said, reports AFP (July 16, 2007): Cuban scientists developed and patented Bactivec, a biolarvicide which kills larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the dengue vector. China will reportedly defray the cost of building the factory in China, and Cuban Labiofam scientists will provide technology and know-how to build it. Cuba will purchase 6 million units annually of the insecticide, and China will donate another half million to Cuba, the statement said; Cuba suffered four dengue outbreaks during 1977-2002. In the most recent outbreak 14,524 cases were reported between June 2001 and March 2002, including 81 cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever, three of which were fatal. Dengue fever is found in the tropics throughout the world; the World Health Organization estimates there could be some 50 million cases each year, and 500,000 cases of more dangerous dengue haemorrhagic fever; The Aedes aegypti mosquito causes 200,000 cases of yellow fever a year, resulting in 30,000 deaths, 95% of them in Africa. Cuba, the only country that produces Bactivec, struck a similar deal in 2000 with Amazonas state in Brazil, which produces and sells the biolarvicide to other countries. *** INT'L BANKS SHUN CUBA. Heightened scrutiny of banking transactions since the Sept. 11 attacks has led European and Canadian banks to curtail dealings with Cuba, reports Reuters (July 20, 2007). Cuba ceased exporting armed revolution to Latin America two decades ago, but Washington still lists Communist Cuba as a "rogue" state that sponsors terrorism, along with Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea: The USA Patriot Act allows US authorities to confiscate assets and penalize institutions that fail to report money laundering and terrorist financing. Western businessmen in here are having nightmares moving funds in dollars to and from Cuba because refuse their business. HSBC, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia, also known as Scotiabank, closed Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 12 accounts of Cuban companies or reduced business tied to Cuba since last year; The Havana-based owner of King City Equipment Inc. of King City, Ontario imports vehicles and equipment from Canada, but is turning to China for business due to increased hurdles placed by Canadian authorities who are bending to pressure from the US. ING Groep NV , which set up business in Cuba in 1994, said it will close its Havana office. Scotiabank last year ended dollar transactions by the Cuban embassy in Jamaica. In its report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in March, Credit Suisse said it will end all dealings with corporate clients and most private banking clients in the five countries under US sanctions; Shunned by Swiss banks, Cuba has had trouble funding its UN mission in Geneva. In June, Cuba complained that UBS and Panama-based Banistmo, owned by HSBC, had refused to process the payment of its annual membership fee in the Latin American parliament. The bank squeeze is obstructing Cuba's financial operations more than the US trade embargo enforced since 1962, which was amended in 2000 to allow US companies to sell food to Cuba. "It doesn't make life impossible, but it has become harder to find a bank that is willing to open an account," said a European businessman in Havana who asked not to be named. Nine out of 10 international banks refuse to open accounts for Cuban nationals or companies operating in Cuba, he said. *** VENEZUELA BEGINS OIL SEARCH. Petroleos de Venezuela SA, a state-run oil company, will search for light oil off the coast of Cuba along with Cuban company CUPET, reports Bloomberg (Aug. 1, 2007). The effort will encompass 6 blocks covering 10,000 sq kms (3,861 sq miles) and involves 4,400 sq kms of deepwater seismic mapping. The move deepens energy cooperation between two countries that have found common cause in asserting their independence from US foreign policy. CUBA DESERVES RESPECT, SAYS BARBADOS PM. Cuba should be respected and left to follow its own path without foreign interference, said Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur, in a meeting with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper, reports ACN (July 21,2007). The vision of the world towards Cuba has to be based on principles of "respect for the people's sovereignty, and non-interference, and the nations' right to pursue alternative paths to their development," said Arthur. Referring to the US policy towards Cuba, Arthur, who is also the Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), insisted that Cuba should be involved in all regional affairs. DOMINICA POVERTY REDUCTION INITIATIVE. The European Union is providing US$15.5 over three years for the Dominica Social Investment Fund, an initiative to reduce poverty and social vulnerability here, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 9, 2007). The decision by government to establish the Fund came out of the findings of the Country Poverty Assessment of 2003, the consultancy conducted in 2001 by Whitco on the socio-economic impact assessment of the changes in the banana industry on rural livelihoods and other consultative assessments on the delivery of social safety nets in Dominica. Issa Trading Ltd seeks suppliers from the US for: 1. Non-frozen food, grocery products and related items for the supermarket. 2. 220V-50HZ Refridgerators, Television 14" up to 35". 3. Gas Stoves 20" up to 36". 4. Cosmetics including Shampoo, Body lotions etc. 5. Green Houses Details: Mr. Foued Issa. Issa Trading Ltd. P.O. Box 1303. 74 Independence St, Roseau, Dominica. Tel: 767-449-3636. Fax: 767-449-9555. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Manufacturers or Suppliers of Carts and Bycicles for Ice Cream delivery are sought by a company here. Details: Nicholas Ducreay. N.A.N. Ducreay. 90 Independence St. P.O. Box 136, Roseau, Dominica. Tel: 1-767-448-4223. Fax: 1767-448-1111 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IMF READY TO SIGN NEW ACCORD. The International Monetary Fund says it is ready to enter into a new Stand-by arrangement with the DR government, reports Listin Diario (July 30, 2007). The current agreement ends in Jan. 2008, said IMF country representative the DR Erik Offerdahl. With Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 13 the sole exception of the failure to collect on electricity bills, the government has exceeded the goals set by the IMF in the current Stand By Arrangement. Details: www. bancentral.gov.do FTA WITH MEXICO? Mexican Diplomat Francisco Hernandez said that a Free Trade Agreement between the DR and Mexico is imminent, reports DR1 Daily News (July 31, 2007). He says that in order to facilitate the process, the Mexican Embassy is simplifying the procedure for Dominican business representatives to secure visas for travel to Mexico. *** WTO AGREES TO EXTENSION. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has extended the incentives that the DR grants to free trade zones for 8 more years, reports Hoy (July 19, 2007): The exemptions and incentives were due to expire in Dec. 2009, but DR authorities and those from other affected countries lobbied and succeeded in extending the program through 2015. Luisa Fernandez, head of the National Free Trade Zone Council, said that four multi-national businesses have already contacted the council about potentially doing business in the DR. The incentives program is a welcome development in light of tough competition from China, especially in the textile market, which has led to 60,000 job losses. In the first quarter of the year, free trade sector exports fell by 12.2% vs. a 3.1% decrease in 2006. Exports decreased by 8.6% between Jan-March after only falling 1.8% last year. The incentives include exemptions on income tax, construction taxes and import duties of raw materials and machinery. Details: www.wto.org/english/ news_e/ news07_e/ scm_july07_e.htm *** FOREIGN INVESTMENT CLIMBS. Direct foreign investment (DFI) for fiscal 2006 rose by 16% to US$1.18 billion from 2005, said Maryse Robert, chief of the Trade Section at the Organization of the American States, reports El Caribe (July 18, 2007). Tourism and telecommunications received the largest part of this investment. The US, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain were the principal sources. DFI from Spain decreased a bit, while Canada's increased. Robert said increased investments were the result of legislative reforms, policies to attract investments and the simplification of paperwork. PLASTIC REIGNS. Plastic is quickly replacing cash and checks in the DR. There are an estimated 1,100,000 credit card users, up from 906,686 in 2005 and 723,228 in 2004, reports Listin Diario (Aug. 13, 2007). Credit card users pay banks RD$400 for standard cards, to RD$800 for the gold card and RD$1,200 for the platinum. CYBERNETIC PARK. Taiwan completed its promised investment of US$10 million for 2007 in the Santo Domingo Cybernetic Park, reports Caribbean Net News (July 25, 2007). This comes on the heels of visits by Taiwan‘s VP Anette Lui to the DR this year to support developing the Park and other business ventures, which would also benefit Taiwan in an effort to enter the US markets via the DR. The government is offering generous incentives to foreign businesses that wish to invest in high tech industries, especially those that located in the Cybernetic Park. Taiwan is becoming very active in the Caribbean and Latin America following the recent visits by China to the region, which is also very interested in establishing business ties with as many countries as possible. Costa Rica, in particular, has recently shifted its allegiance to China away from Taiwan. HOT SPRINGS RESORT APPLICATION. Tourist minister Felix Jiminez says an Italian company has signed a 99-year lease to build a health and hot springs resort in the southwest Barahona province, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 14, 2007). The ecological designated area boasts hot springs and certain mineral springs that some claim to have beneficial healing properties. The Italian company says it is prepared to invest more than US$800,000 in state fees and to purchase the land required for a large 5-star hotel, golf course and tennis courts, all constructed around the available hot spring thermal pools. The groundwork is now set to be presented to the Dominican Congress for approval to continue. CODETEL TO INVEST US$250 MILLION. In 2007 the Dominican Telephone Co. (CODETEL) Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 14 will invest US$250 million in infrastructure, network improvement and services, reports DR1 Daily News (July 27, 2007). CODETEL president Oscar Pena Chacon says this is the largest telecom investment in recent years. CODETEL plans to introduce new GSM phones, and faster Internet services. US$500 MILLION IN MORTGAGE FINANCING. MortgageIT, Inc., a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, on Aug. 11 said it agreed to make available US$500 million in residential mortgage financing to qualified purchasers of properties in Cap Cana, a luxury real estate & tourism destination on the eastern shore of the DR. Details: Deutsche Bank. Michele Allison,212-250-4864. Press &Media Relations or Cap Cana. Saraida De Marchena Kaluche,809-472-2525 Ext.2238. Web: www.db.com and www.capcana.com *** GOLD MINE NEEDS POWER SUPPLY. The latest casualty of the DR‘s inability to provide electric power is the Pueblo Viejo Gold Mine in Puebo Viejo, reports Caribbean Net News (July 24, 2007): The mine, owned by Canada-based Barrick International, is expected to produce more than 18 million ounces of gold during its lifespan. But operations require a 24-hour supply of electricity. Barrick will spend an estimated US$2 billion to build the mine over a three year period, and will have to consider providing its own power source. Government and company executives are striving to find common ground to solve the problem. Barrick is completing feasibility studies for the mine, a project with a budget of US$2.3 billion, reports Diario Libre (July 20, 2007). In addition to gold, the company has reportedly identified 2.6 billion pounds of zinc, 358 million pounds of copper and 88 million ounces of silver. The mine at Pueblo Viejo is the oldest in the Americas and was first opened by the Spanish colonizers in 1505. *** CANADA WARNS TRAVELERS. Canada has issued a travel warning for citizens who plan to visit to the DR, citing the increase in crime and concerns over public transportation, reports Listin Diario (July 18, 2007: The report referred to insecurity at Puerto Plata Intl Airport where electronic gear and money seen on the X-ray machines, were stolen either upon entering or leaving the country. Women are advised about robbery, sexual assaults and rapes. The famous "motoconchos" were singled out as dangerous. The report says "public transport is not recommended," and adds that driving is not recommended due to the risk of extortion by police or people claiming to be police; Malaria and dengue are found along the Haitian border and in the eastern provinces of La Altagracia and La Romana, and the report recommends the use of insect repellents. The US and Spain have long issued similar advisories. Three million tourists visited last year. Details: www.voyage.gc.ca/ dest/report-en.asp?country=77000 *** NEW DAM CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY. President Leonel Fernandez visited the San Jose De Las Matas area in the central mountains to inaugurate construction of a new dam, the Las Placetas Hydroelectric Project, reports Caribbean Net News (July 18, 2007). To be built by a Brazilian firm, it is expected to produce over 80 megawatts of power. PLAYA BUYS LA ROMANA HOTEL. Playa Hotels & Resorts, formed in 2006 by Grupo Barcelo in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on July 26 announced its acquisition of the 756-room all- inclusive Sunscape Casa del Mar Resort in La Romana. In 2006, Playa purchased the Breezes Punta Cana Resort, Spa and Casino, which has been re-branded as the Barcelo Premium Punta Cana Resort and is undergoing major renovation. Playa owns 8 hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean., said CEO Bruce Wardinski. Details: 1-866-786-7227. Web: www.sunscapecasadelmar.com and www. playahr.com . GOLF RESORT DEAL. La Estancia Golf Resort on Aug. 7 said it signed an agreement with Southworth Golf Mgmt (SGM) to manage and operate the new facility and rental properties. La Estancia sits atop a gorge of the Chavon River valley. Its residential community, designed around a P.B. Dye Championship golf course, features single Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 15 family villas and home sites, golf cottages, town houses, and condo apartments, said Armando Cignarale, Pres. of Baltimore-based Cignal Corp. the developer. Details: www.laestanciagolfresort.com and www .cignalcorp.com. MANGO EXPORTS. Several small businesses joined forces to export mangoes, reports Listin Diario (July 16, 2007). The Mango Cluster has sold 10 container loads to Europe over the last month, contracting the packing services of the Ocoa AgroIndustrial Co. b , which normally packages avocados for export. Sources say the group is packaging 15-20,000 mangos a day, but they are far below their maximum capacity of 50,000 per day, mainly due to the poor quality of roads in the region that prevented the harvest from reaching the packing plant in perfect condition. During the current harvest, the group plans to ship 20 containers to Europe. EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. A World Bank loan is for an Early Childhood Education Project (No. 7144-DO; Proyecto No. P054937 ). Part of the funds are for civil works (construction and rehab of school facilities). Deadline: Sept. 13, 2007. Refer to LPI-01-2007. Details: Secretaria de Estado Educación. Oficina Cooperación Intl. Depto Licitaciones y Adquisiciones. Proyecto Educación Inicial. Préstamo BIRF 7144-DO. Ave. Máximo Gómez esq. Ave. Bolívar,Piso #1,Gazcue. Sto Domingo, Repúb. Dominicana. Tel: (809) 685-3615. Fax: (809) 6853790. E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; anunez@ see. gov.do HAND OPERATED INPUT DEVICES. A US$5.5 million Inter-American Development Bank loan (1511/OC-DR) is for Strengthening Foreign Trade Management. Part of the funds are for purchase of digital multifunction processing system for the Investment & Export Promotion Center (CEI-RD). Deadline: Sept. 4, 2007. Refer to: Public Bid LPN 003-2007 Details: Project Management Team 1511. Phone: 809-987-7069. Fax: 809-533-3564. WebSite: www.cnnc.gov.do DEA LOOKING AT $$$ REMITTANCES. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is looking at individuals and companies that send remittances to the DR, because some of the cash may be part of schemes to launder drug money, reports Hoy (July 16, 2007). Reliable sources say investigations deepened after DR customs officials stopped Diana Marte Jerez who was carrying US$738,000 hidden away in packages of rice and other products. The DEA is tracking large sums of money from the US to Puerto Rico that are then shipped to the DR. People carrying the money are paid between US$10,000 and US$15,000 per trip. The DEA is looking at some unnamed remittance companies. RECYCLING PLANTS. A RD$30 million investment has brought two recycling plants to the Rafey Refuse Dump outside Santiago, reports DR1 Daily News (July 30, 2007). One plant, installed by a Chinese company 10 months ago, processes up to 20 tons of plastic daily and has sold RD$20 million so far. Another, installed by Colombia‘s Forem's, can pack up to 13 tons of recycled material daily. More than 50 people work in both companies. The material is sold to the US, Canada and Hong Kong and to a facility in Manoguayabo, Santo Domingo. Each exported ton is worth about US$50 and each ton sold in the country is worth about RD$1,000. Forem's exports up to 100 tons weekly and both plants thus far have exported recycled materials worth US$500,000. Due to the interest in recycled plastics, the number of informal "divers" earning a living at the garbage site has increased significantly. Before the recyclers were installed, there were 150 searchers, but now there are at least 400. GPS ADVERTISING. ProLink Solutions, a subsidiary of ProLink Holdings Corp. and a provider of Global Positioning Satellite ("GPS") golf-course management systems and digital out-ofhome on-course advertising, on July 25 said it has partnered with Inverlogy to distribute the ProLink system and sell advertising on ProLink screens on golf carts at courses and resorts throughout the DR which cater to high-end golfers that are the perfect demographic for ProLink's advertisers, said Roberto Rodriguez, CEO of Inverlogy. Details: Rich Katz. Buffalo Communications, 703.891.3319. Email: rkatz@ billycaspergolf.com. Daniel Mitchell Buffalo Communications. 253.312.4536. Email: email@example.com. Investor Relations Contact:CEOcast, Inc. Andrew Hellman. 212.732.4300. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 16 BPC Financial Marketing. John Baldissera. 800.368.1217. Web: www.goprolink.com. Email: email@example.com. STOMACH VIRUS OUTBREAK. AXA Assistance USA said Aug. 9 it is caring for more than 73 UK tourists who fell ill due to a stomach virus outbreak at the Bahia Principe Puerto Plata Resort. More than 300 were affected and more than 40 were hospitalized. The 4-star resort, holding more than 2,000 guests, was shut down on Aug. 6. Details: www.axa-assistance-usa.com FOOD PROCESSING EQUIPMENT MARKET. A US Dept. of Commerce report provides an overview of the market for food processing equipment here. Several factors contribute to the positive outlook of this sub-sector: macro-economic stability, the implementation of DR-CAFTA free trade agreement, and stability of the exchange rate. There are opportunities for US firms interested in expanding their presence in this market. Details: Maria Elena Portorreal, U.S. Embassy. Ave. Pedro Henriquez Urena no. 133, Santo Domingo, DR. 809-227-2121. 809-920-0267. Email: maria. firstname.lastname@example.org. web: buyUSA.gov/caribbean DR-ANDALUSIA AGREEMENT. The DR and the Andalusia Council have signed a cooperation agreement focusing on education, health, drinking water and strengthening municipal government, reports DR1 Daily News (July 26, 2007). The agreement with the Spanish regional government includes construction of dams, rural development and the promotion of equal opportunities between men and women. The four-year agreement has a budget of between EUR16 million and EUR20 million. All kinds of footwear are sought by Distribuidora Coral, an importer/distributor, operating since 1997, and a member of the American Chamber of Commerce. Details:Miguel L. Moronta, Operations Director. Phone: 809/ 583-4300. Fax: 809/ 5839447. Email: email@example.com EL SALVADOR Laboratorios VIJOSA, is seeking US providers of liquid, dry powder or paste liver extract, raw material used in the manufacturing of injections. The company now imports from Mexico but would like to benefit from the Free Trade Agreement between Central American and the US (CAFTA) and import the product from the US. HTC 3001.20.00.02. US exporter must provide a phytosanitary certificate, and the certificate of origin. Laboratorios VIJOSA has 35 years of experience in the Salvadoran market, and its main business is the manufacturing of injections and syrup. Quantity: 500 liters per year. Details: Karla Campos. Import Manager. Phone: (503) 22783077. Fax: (503) 2278-3121. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.vijosa.com FRENCH WEST INDIES TWO TINY ISLANDS BREAK AWAY. Two tiny French islands broke away from Guadeloupe, gaining partial financial and political autonomy, reports AP (July 15, 2007). St. Barts and St. Martin can now create or change laws related to local taxes, tourism, public transportation and other issues, according to the French government. St. Barts, a popular retreat for the rich and famous, also gained jurisdiction over housing, construction and environmental and energy affairs, areas over which St. Martin will have autonomy in 2012. About 35,000 people live on St. Martin and about 7,000 on St. Barts. Both are still considered French territories but are no longer dependencies of Guadeloupe, an overseas French department. Residents in both islands overwhelmingly approved the new status in a 2003 referendum. GRENADA ECO-TOURISM PROJECT. The Grenada Board of Tourism on Aug. 8 announced the 360acre Levera Bay Project on the northern tip of the island that is teeming with wildlife and lush vegetation. It will be developed into a US$112 million eco-tourism project, featuring 250 rooms, starting starting with a 40-room boutique hotel, a turtle watching program, horseback riding and nature trails in the Levera National Park. Snorkeling and scuba diving in the coral reef are already very popular attractions, said Jocelyn Sylvester-Gairy, Director of Tourism.Details: Sue McGillKauffman. 973-627-8180 ext. 22. Email: Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 17 kauffman@ rfcp.com. www.grenadagrenadines.com Web: *** MANGOES TO CANADA. The Agency for Reconstruction and Development (ARD), through its efforts with the Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB), on July 14 said that during the first two weeks of July the MNIB made two shipments averaging 2,000 pounds of mangoes per shipment to Canada, using a new passenger and freight service from Network Airlines Services (NAS), operators of Sky Services and Zoom Airlines. Gen. Mgr. Fitzroy James said the mangoes were sourced from about 200 farmers; NAS also plans to provide freight and passenger services from Grenada to other international destinations. Weekly freight capacity to Canada through this service will average about 6,600 lbs. In promoting increased exports of Grenada‘s exotic fruits, the ARD commissioned a study which recommends establishment of 2,800 acres of fruit tree orchards, including mango, avocado, soursop, golden apple, guava, breadfruit and tamarind. GUATEMALA DRUG GANGS USE VIOLENCE TO SWAY VOTE. In the campaign leading to Sept. 9 elections, authorities reported 61 violent attacks on candidates and political activists. The death toll is 26, including seven national congressmen and numerous other office seekers, reports The N.Y. Times (Aug. 4, 2007): The flurry of bullets, and occasional machete attacks, make this the bloodiest campaign in the history of a country with a long tradition of political violence, including 36 years of civil war that ended in 1996. What makes the bloodletting different is that it has been attributed to narcotics traffickers intent on infiltrating the political system; So dangerous is campaigning that Álvaro Colom, the leading presidential candidate, flies in a helicopter to avoid ambushes and travels with a physician experienced in bullet wounds. He is careful what he eats, lest someone poison it; 60 to 90% of South American cocaine enters the US comes through Central America, US officials say, pulling rising levels of political instability, violence and corruption in its wake. Guatemala offers a key transit point, as traffickers take advantage of the country‘s dire poverty and lawlessness. They have already made progress over the years, political analysts and law enforcement officials say, by installing sympathetic politicians in Congress and in local city halls; Candidates move around with their own private armies, usually in bullet-proof vehicles loaded with small arsenals. One who feels most vulnerable is Mr. Colom, a businessman who leads the pack in the presidential race. Party affiliates his party have suffered more attacks, 16 of the 61, than any other. He is also haunted by the past. His uncle, Manuel Colom Argueta, was a leading presidential candidate in 1979, when he was gunned down; Guatemala's Congress voted to create The International Commission Against Impunity, to be comprised of experts who will investigate organized crime and its links with the police and government and then issue recommendations, reports AP (Aug. 3, 2007). The US, Sweden, Norway and Spain have offered to help finance the commission, which is expected to start work in November. *** DATA CENTER EQUIPMENT. A World Bank loan is for Phase II of an Integrated System of Financial Administration and Control (No. 7104GU; Proyecto No. P066175). Part of the funds are to procure data center equipment. Deadline: Sept. 17, 2007. Refer to: Licitación Pública Internacional GUA/02/002-431/07. Details: Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo - PNUD. Sección de Adquisición de Bienes y Servicios - ABS. Atención: LPI No. GUA/02/002-431/07. Edif Euro Plaza World Business Ctr. 5ª. Avda 5-55 Zona 14, Torre IV, Nivel 10. Ciudad Guatemala 01014 Guatemala . Tel: (502) 2384-3238. Fax: (502) 2384-3202. Email: email@example.com Web: www. pnudguatemala. org. Guatecompras: www.guatecompras.gt NOG 475580. Web: http://www.pnud.org.gt/invitacion/gua00012edp.ht m TEXTBOOK PRINTING. A World Bank loan is for Universalization of Basic Education (No. 7052-GU; Project ID No. P048652 ). Funds will be used for printing of several lots of primary and Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 18 multi-grade textbooks (in the many thousands of copies). Bid deadline: Sept. 2007. Refer to: BIRF 7052-GU-200-2007; Sección I. Llamado a licitación. Details: Unidad Coordinadora de Proyectos – Ministerio de Educación. Adquisiciones y Contrataciones. 6ª Calle 1-87 zona 10, Sala No. 22. Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala. Tel: (502) 2360-3887. Fax: (502) 2361-5000. Correo Electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: http://www.mineduc.gob.gt Notice Number: WB3479-708/07 GUYANA CHICKEN IMPORTS GIVEN OK. The government opened the market for imports of chicken in order to reduce the prices, reports GINA (July 20, 2007). Minister of Tourism, Industry & Commerce Manniram Prashad said ―We are looking for about six to seven persons to import chicken into Guyana that will total some 500,000 pounds.‖ Consumers have paid up to $260 (US$1.30) per pound for plucked chicken due to a shortage, resulting from efforts to make making the chicken industry more economically viable in order to facilitate exports to neighboring Trinidad & Tobago. Before the Value Added Tax (VAT) was implemented on Jan. 1 2007, imported chicken drew 40% duty with 10% consumption tax. This was increased by 100% in order to resuscitate the local industry. Government also recently liberalized the flour market, due to a shortage of wheat on the international market creating an increase of flour products such as bread. POSSIBLE JUNGLE ROAD TO BRAZIL. Guyana will get US$900,000 from the InterAmerican Development Bank and US$225,000 from government for a pre-feasability study to assess the possibility of building a road to link it to neighboring Brazil through the Amazon jungle, said President Bharrat Jagdeo. The proposed road is part of the South America Regional Integration drive aimed at linking the countries to boost trade, tourism and other economic activities. Guyana and Brazil have already signed a land transport agreement and are finalizing arrangements ahead of next January's completion of a bridge across the Takatu River that borders the two countries. An earthen trail now takes Guyanese vehicles from the southern township of Lethem to Guyana's coast. VEHICLE NEEDED. A grant from the World Bank's International Development Assn is for an HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control Project (Contract No. H-079-GUA, Project ID P076722 ). Funds will be used for supply and delivery of one mobile voluntary counseling and testing vehicles. Deadline: Sept. 11, 2007. Refer to: ICB No. WB/GO/07/ICB/001 Invitation for Bids (IFB) . Details: (1) Exec Dir. Attn: Mr. Prakash Sookdeo, Procurement Officer. Health Sector Development Unit. Georgetown Public Hospital Compound. East St. Guyana. Tel: (592) 225-3470, 226-2425. Fax: (592) 225-6559. E-mail: email@example.com. (2) Chairman. National Board for Procurement &Tender Admin, Min. of Finance. Urquhart St. Guyana. Tel: (592) 223-7041. ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAM. A loan from the Inter-American Development Bank is for the Unserved Areas Electrification Program (No. LO 1103/SF-GY). Part of the funds will pay for Supply of a Customer Information System and Related Services for Guyana Power & Light Co. Deadline: Sept. 18, 2007. Refer to: ICB No. GPLDM-005/P2. Details: Mr. Elwyn Marshall. Implementation Mgr . Guyana Power &Light, Inc, UAEP-PIU. 232 Middle St, Georgetown, Guyana. Tel: 592-225-7923. Fax: 592 225 5638. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For online inspection of Bidding Documents. Web site: www.gplinc.com HAITI UN PEACEKEEPING ROLE EVOLVING. Three years after arriving in Haiti in the wake of a revolt that ousted the country's president, U.N. peacekeepers have decimated violent gangs, calmed teeming slums and provided breathing room for a fledgling elected government, reports AP (Aug. 1, 2007): UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says it‘s too soon for the UN to consider withdrawing its 8,800-strong, Brazil-led peacekeeping force. The peacekeepers arrived in 2004 after a revolt toppled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, touching off a turf war against well-armed, slum-based gangs blamed for a wave of killings and kidnappings; Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 19 Blue-helmeted soldiers no longer get shot at or need to conduct raids into slums in search of alleged gunmen. Neighbors simply call and tell soldiers where gang members are. The UN mission hopes to use more civilian police than soldiers but is hampered by a shortage of trained, French-speaking officers. The peacekeepers provide more than 80% of Haiti's security needs. Government hopes to eventually take over that responsibility. The national police academy is pumping out hundreds of recruits, trying to bolster the nation's small police force of 6,000. *** TELECOM MARKET REPORT. The U.S. Dept. of Commerce has issued an 11-page market report on Haiti's growing Telecommunications Sector. Paid subscribers to Caribbean Update newsletter may receive the report free of charge upon request via Email (unpaid readers may inquire as to cost). Contact: email@example.com. *** PARTIAL LIFT OF MANGO BAN. The United States has partially lifted a ban on mango imports from Haiti that was imposed after fruit fly larvae was found in three shipments sent to Florida, reports AP (July 15, 2007): US agriculture investigators here inspected and certified 3 of 9 treatment plants designed to rid Haitian mangos of pests, said Ambassador Raymond Joseph. Three other treatment facilities will be inspected and certified soon, while the remaining three, the origin of the affected shipments, will be dealt with later, Joseph said. "We wanted to be able to resume shipments as soon as possible because the mango is an important income earner for the Haitian economy,'' Joseph said, adding that the first crates of the fruit would leave within a week; US Animal Plant Health Inspection Service spokeswoman Melissa O'Dell said the US halted Haitian mango imports after inspectors in Florida found fruit fly larvae in three shipments on June 25 and July 2. Haiti earns between US$20 million (euro14.5 million) and US$40 million (euro29 million) per year for mango exports and the US is its main customer. *** DIGICEL-CAM PARTNERSHIP. Digicel Group, the regional telecom provider, on July 16 announced a partnership with Caribbean Air Mail, Inc. (CAM), a leader in the money transfer market to Haiti. This alliance allows Haitian Diaspora communities in USA and Canada (2 million people) to buy handsets and pre-paid minutes for friends, family and associates in Haiti, said Ben Atherton, Digicel Group Marketing Director. A recent InterAmerican Development Bank report said global remittances to Haiti topped US$1.65 billion in 2006. Digicel Haiti says it recorded 1.4 million customers in 12 months and to date has invested US$260 million -- the largest investment ever made in the country by an international company. Digicel Haiti employs 551 Haitian residents, has a staff of more than 700. Details: Zach Siegel. 212-798-9859. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.digicelgroup.com DRAINAGE PROJECT. An Inter-American Development Bank loan is for an Economic Infrastructure Program (No. BID 1493/SF-HA). Part of the funds will pay for a Drainage Project at Port-de-Paix (Projet de Drainage Des Eaux Pluviales de Port-de-Paix). Deadline: Sept. 10, 2007. Refer to: No. AOI-CT-TPTC-29. Details: Ministère des travaux publics, transports et communications. Direction des transports. Palais des ministères. Rue des Ministères. Port-au-Prince, Haïti, W.I Note: the lack of detailed contact information casts doubt on the transparency of the process. HONDURAS ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. A loan from the Inter-American Development Bank is for Environmental Management of the La Bahia Islands (No. 1113/SF-HO). Funds are for equipment (tractor, trucks, excavator, etc) for the landfill at Santo Guardiola Municipality. Deadline: Sept. 3, 2007. Refer to: LPI-PMAIB-001-2007. Details: Coordinación General. Programa Manejo Ambiental de las Islas de la Bahía (PMAIB). Inst Hondureño de Turismo (IHT). Col. San Carlos, Edif. Europa, 4to piso, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Tel: (504) 238-1475, 222-1282. Fax: (504) 2368701, 236-9611. E-mail: Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 20 email@example.com. Web: www.honducomras. gob. hn. and Instituto Hondureño de Turismo. Col. San Carlos, Edificio, Europa, 5to piso, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Tel: (504) 238-1475, 222-1282. Fax: (504) 236-8701, 236-9611 NUTRITION, SOCIAL PROTECTION PROJECT. A loan from the World Bank's Intl Dev. Assn is for a Nutrition & Social Protection Project (No. 4097-HO; Proyecto No. P082242). Part of the funds are for consultants to conduct a Survey of Evualuation of the Impact of AIN-C Health Sector. Deadline to prequalify: Sept. 14, 2007. Details: Unidad de Extensión de Cobertura y Financiamiento (UECF). Oficina de Adquisiciones. Edif 414 Emma Andino, 2do nivel, Colonia Palmira, Ave,. República de Panamá, Paseo Republica de Argentina. Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Telefax: (504) 239-1014/1018/1016. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org COMPUTER EQUIPMENT. A loan from the World Bank's Intl Dev. Assn (IDA) is for a Land Admin. Program (No. 3858–HO; Project Id: P055991). Part of the funds are for procurement of computer equipment to renovate the technological platform. Deadline: Sept. 17, 2007. Refer to: Licitación Pública Internacional (LPI/ICB) No. 0012007. Details: Ing. Roberto Milla Villeda, Coordinador Nacional. Programa Administración de Tierras de Honduras (PATH),. Col. Florencia Norte, Edificio Educrédito, Segundo Nivel.. Tegucigalpa, Honduras, C.A. Tel: (504) 239-6259, 231-0426. Fax: (504) -239-7817. E-mail: gcarranza@ path.ucp.hn / email@example.com;. Web: www. honducompras. gob.hn RURAL DEVELOPMENT. Honduras is seeking US$30 million from the World Bank's Intl Dev. Assn for a project to improve the competitiveness of the rural economy and to raise rural per capita incomes. Project preparation is underway. Consulting services to be determined. Details: Secretaria de Agricultura y Ganaderia3er Piso Subida a Col. Loma, Linda Norte, Av. la FAO, Honduras. Contact: Hector Tablas, Coordinator. Tel: (504) 232-5007. Fax: (504) 232-6225. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org GRUPO ELEKTRA BANKING OPERATIONS. Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V. a banking and financial services company, announced on July 23 the start of operations of its third banking subsidiary outside Mexico, in addition to Panama and Guatemala. Banco Azteca Honduras, a subsidiary of Grupo Elektra, saw with the simultaneous opening of 46 points of sale in the main cities of Honduras, and headquarters in Tegucigalpa. Elektra operates more than 1,600 points of sale in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Panama, El Salvador and Argentina and is a member company of Grupo Salinas . Details: Dinorah Macias Bruno Rangel. Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V. Grupo Salinas. Tel. +52 (55) 1720-7819 Tel. +52 (55) 1720 9167. Fax. +52 (55) 1720-7822 Fax +52 (55) 1720 0831. Email: dmacias @elektra.com.mx and jrangelk@ tvazteca. com.mx. Press: Tristan Canales Daniel Mc.Cosh. Grupo Salinas. Tel. +52 (55) 1720-1441 Tel. +52 (55) 1720-0059. Email: email@example.com and dmccosh@ tvazteca, com mx. Web: www. gruposalinas.com. SPIRIT FLIES TO HONDURAS. Spirit Airlines on July 20 launched non-stop service between its Ft Lauderdale, Fla. hub three times weekly (Tues, Fri, Sun). Flights from La Mesa International Airport in Honduras will be offered on Mon, Wed, and Sat. Honduras is the third Central American country served by Spirit Airlines, joining Guatemala and Costa Rica. It is the fifth country in Latin America and the 35th destination overall, said Chief Marketing Officer Barry Biffle..Details: Spirit Airlines, Alison Russell, 954-628-4827. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Juan Arbelaez, 954-447-7856. Email: email@example.com JAMAICA US$20 MILLION ETHANOL PLANT. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva spoke at the opening of a US$20 million ethanol plant built with support from Brazil by Jamaica Broilers Ltd at Port Esquivel, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 11, 2007): She said Jamaica was far too dependent on imported oil with the country's oil bill for 2006 Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 21 amounting to over US$1.7 billion. The plant (capacity 60 million gallons per year) is the second energy sector investment undertaken by the Jamaica Broilers Group, the first being the acquisition of a Co-Generation facility at its Spring Village processing plant; This marks the second ethanol project recently launched by Brazilian and Jamaican investors. In 2004, Grupo Coimex and Petrojam began operating an ethanol dehydration plant. Silva‘s visit was part of a five-nation tour to develop energy and biofuel agreements in Latin America and the Caribbean. *** SMALL BUSINESS INCUBATOR. A window of opportunity for business development and entrepreneurship has been opened with the launch of the Incubator and Entrepreneurial Production Centres project, reports JIS (Aug. 8, 2007). Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce Phillip Paulwell said ―An incubator is a supportive environment for entrepreneurship with a small management team that provides physical workspace, shared office facilities, counselling, information, training and access to finance and professional services in one affordable package." Major beneficiaries will include unemployed females who are heads of households who may not be accustomed to working; youth with low level education, skill and work ethics; street youth; persons with some level of physical disability; and persons in households that are beneficiaries of food stamp as well as sane street people. J$120 million will be allocated to pilot the project over a two-year period and will provide support for building refurbishment, machinery and equipment, technical assistance and training. CUBAN MEDICS COMING. An agreement was signed for Cuban nurses and doctors to come to the island to stem shortfalls in the health sector, reports Caribbean Net News (July 27, 2007). Health Minister Horace Dalley said these will include pharmacists, medical technicians, radiologists, nurses, biomedical engineers, physiotherapists and others. Cuba will pay their salaries. Jamaica began accepting Cuban medics in the late 70s. Last year, Dalley said, 70 Jamaicans went to Cuba to study medicine, with more expected to go this year. JOBS IN CANADA. More than 1,000 Jamaicans are to be recruited for jobs in Canada by the end of 2008, under the Overseas Employment Program, reports JIS (July 14, 2007): Minister of Labor & Social Security, Derrick Kellier said that in June discussions with the Canadian Federal Minister of Labor, business leaders and other officials the need was indicated for skilled workers from Jamaica to work in various industries in the province of British Columbia; "We are expecting that over the period of a year, we should have upward of 1,000 persons going to British Columbia, to work in the hospitality, construction and agriculture industries," he said, adding that the agreement will seek to address labor shortages in British Columbia. ―The workforce is about to retire (about a million people) and they are only capable of filling that gap with about 690,000 persons, so there is a huge gap in terms of filling their needs right across the sectors," he said. He said 150 skilled construction workers have already been recruited and are expected to leave for British Columbia in the next couple of months; Jamaicans have, over the years, been recruited to work in Ontario, Montreal, Quebec and New Brunswick on the agricultural program, but this is the first time workers are being requested for the hospitality and construction sectors. "There was also an agreement for a student exchange program; Jamaican students would go to the Okanogan College and students from the college would come to Jamaica for training," he said. *** Hazardous Waste Disposal. An urgent need has been identified for the disposal of up to 40 tons per year of hazardous material. Waste comes from a consortium of different Jamaican manufacturing companies. Local company is willing to undertake shipping costs to the US and pay for proper disposal. Types of waste could include toxic solids, oily absorbents, sludge. High temperature incinerator disposable recommended. Incinerator temperatures 1600 oC. Preference will be given to a company in the south (eg. Florida). Details: Peter Kolbusch, Consultant. Phone: (876) 925-0952. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 22 NETHERLANDS ANTILLES ARUBA-BONAIRE FLIGHTS. Tourism Corp. Bonaire on July 24 said that Tiara Air, a privately owned Aruban Airline, commenced non-stop service between Aruba and Bonaire. Tiara operates 6 weekly non-stop roundtrip flights between the two Islands, using a Shorts 360 airplane with 33 seats and 215 cubic feet of cargo space. Details: Tel: 1800-BONAIRE. Web: www.tiara-air.com. NEW BEST WESTERN ON CURACAO. Best Western Intl on Aug. 1 announced the opening of the Blue Bay Village in Blauw Baai, Curacao. The new hotel offers 45 three bedroom villas, an 18-hole golf course and tennis courts, said Mark Williams, VP, North American Development. Details: R.S. van der Meer, Gen Mgr. 005999 8888800. Email: email@example.com .Web: www.bestwestern.com. DIVING SERVICES ACCORD. Sovereign Exploration Associates Intl. on July 31 said that its subsidiary, Lavelle Holdings, has assisted in procurement and signing of a Diving Services Agreement for its subsidiary, REDS Caribbean with Statia Terminals N.V., said John Garnsey, President of Lavelle Holdings. Statia, a subsidiary of NuStar Energy, has contracted with REDS to provide divers and diving supervisors for the inspection, maintenance and repairs of Statia's offshore terminal assets in the Caribbean including Statia's jetty, single-point mooring systems, underwater pipelines, buoys, tugs and barges. Details: Robert D. Baca, President/CEO. Tel: 215-968-0200. Web: www.sea-int.com. NICARAGUA VENEZUELA BUILDS REFINERY. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inaugurated a 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery being built in Nicaragua as part of the leftist leader's oil-funded battle against US influence in the region, reports AP (July 22, 2007): Chavez said the US$2.5 billion refinery will allow Nicaragua - the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere - to earn US$700 million annually. Chavez a day earlier celebrated the 28th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution with his ally, President Daniel Ortega. He called himself and Ortega the region's ``anti-imperialist vaccine.'' Ortega vowed in his campaign to have changed from his revolutionary days and said he would work with the US, but since taking office he has called President Bush a "world tyrant"' who came to power ``through fraud''; Venezuela is building new refineries in politically aligned countries such as Nicaragua, Cuba and Brazil to ease the country's reliance on the US - its main market. Chavez promised Nicaragua millions of dollars in financial aid and investment after Ortega's inauguration. Ortega said Venezuela has sent generators to curb Nicaragua's rolling blackouts and offered the country US$400 million in aid. ``I haven't seen the US send one single energy plant during this emergency''; US ambassador Paul Triveli said Ortega's comments surprised him. He said the US has launched a 5-year aid program that has so far given Nicaragua US$10 million and there are plans to give an additional US$16 million. *** HIGHWAY REHAB. An Inter-American Development Bank loan is for Highway Rehabilitation (No. 1599/SF-NI). 88.8 kms. Contractors are invited to bid by Sept. 24, 2007. Refer to: LPI-003-2007 2da Convoc. Details: División de Adquisiciones. Costado Norte del Estadio Nacional “Dennis Martínez”. Atn: Lic. Norelly Vargas El’Azar, Directora. Managua, Nicaragua. Tel: (505) 222-2591. Fax: (505) 2281382. E-mail: adquisiciones @ mti.gob.ni ENERGY EFFICIENCY. A non-reimbursable technical cooperation of up to US$726,350 from the Inter-American Development Bank is for Development of Energy Efficiency. No. ATN/JF9884-NI. Funds are for general procurement of equipment, and studies, printing and training workshops. No deadline specified thus far. Details: Ministerio de Energía y Minas. Dirección General de Electricidad y Recursos Renovables. Lic. Iván Cortes Sánchez . Managua Nicaragua, del portón del Hospital Bautista 1 cuadra abajo 1 1/2 al lago. Tel: (505) 222-5576. Fáx: (505) 222-4629. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 23 PANAMA WATER, SEWAGE PROJECT FOR POOR AREAS. A US$32 million World Bank loan for a Water & Sewage Project for Poor Areas (No. P082419). There will be general procurement of construction, goods, equipment and services (including consultants). No deadline specified. Details: Nicolas Alvarado Quintana, Director General. Unidad Coordinadora de Proyectos. Ministerio De Salud. Ancon, Edif. 2-61, 3er Piso. Antiguo Hospital Gorgas. Ciudad de Panama, Panama. Tel/Fax: (507) 236-9849. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com BASIC EDUCATION. A US$5.4 million World Bank loan is for additional financing to continue original project objectives: (i) improving the quality and efficiency of basic education; (ii) improving equity of access to preschool and basic education; (iii) expanding coverage of preschool and early childhood education; (iv) strengthening the planning, supervision and policy-making capacity of MEDUCA. No consultants required. Details: Project Coordination Unit. Albrook Edif 869, Panama. Dora Berrocal, Project Coordinator. Tel: (50-7) 315-1995, 315-1996, 315-1997. Fax: (50-7) 315-1217. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org SCIENCE MICRO-LABS. A loan from the Inter-American Development Bank is for an Educational Development Project (PRODE) (No. 1013/OC-PN ). Part of the funds are to acquire Natural Science Micro-Laboratories. Deadline: Sept. 20, 2007. Refer to: LPI No. PRODE/REF/LPI 01-07. Details: Unidad Gestión Administrativa y Financiera (UGAF) del PRODE. Dra. Maritza Villalaz, Directora Ejecutiva de UGAF. Calle Maritza Alabarca . Edificio 1003, Planta Baja, Clayton. Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá Notice IDB590-708/07. No phone or Email provided. HOTEL & RESTAURANT EQUIPMENT. The U.S. Commerce Dept. has prepared a study: “Market Research on Panama's Hotel & Restaurant Equipment Market - 2007.” Details: Jeane Zuniga. Unit 0945. APO AA. Panama, Panama 34002, Panama. (507) 207-7392. Email: jeane.zuniga @ mail.doc.gov. Web: www.buyusa.gov/panama COPA EXPANDS FLEET. Copa Airlines said July 27 it took delivery of its eighth EMBRAER190, bringing its fleet total to 32. Copa is scheduled to receive five more aircraft later in 2007 -- three EMBRAER-190's and two Boeing 737-800's, said CEO Pedro Heilbron. Copa services 39 destinations in 21 countries through its Hub of the Americas in Panama City. From the US, service includes nonstop flights to Panama City and connections from five cities: three times daily from Miami, daily from New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and 10 times a week from Orlando. Details: www.copaair.com . PUERTO RICO PORTAL DEL FUTURO. Antonio J. Colorado, Exec. Dir. of the Portal del Futuro Authority, a division of the Dept of Economic Development & Commerce (DEDC), is amid talks with the US Dept of the Navy to secure additional land from the Roosevelt Roads sector to develop the proposed Portal del Futuro, reports Caribbean Business (July 26, 2007): The move was accelerated by the Navy‘s recent Wall Street Journal ad where it put on the block the 2,900 acres of land it plans to sell. Even if the local government fails to secure more land, plans for Portal del Futuro will continue to move forward, as there is enough land within the sector to develop the project. Sources say there‘s a great degree of optimism regarding Colorado‘s negotiations given his good relations with and support from Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the Ways & Means Committee which, among other things, oversees funding for the Navy; Although the amount of land for sale by the Navy is considerable, Puerto Rico will still retain 67% of the area‘s estimated 8,000 acres for a myriad of developments. Among those portions transferred by the federal government to the local government are the hospital, the airport, the bowling alley, beachfront and areas of natural resources conservation. The Portal del Futuro and future Science Park are estimated to need 50 cuerdas to develop the science-theme project. *** Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 24 US$610 MILLION BANK BUYOUT. Doral Financial Corp., the bank-holding company facing bankruptcy, said shareholders approved a US$610 million buyout offer from a group led by Bear Stearns Cos. reports Bloomberg (July 19, 2007). 95% of shareholders approved the plan involving investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Doral said. The deal was completed in time for Doral to make a US$625 million bond payment by July 20. Doral said in April that it may need to pursue bankruptcy protection if talks with a privateequity firm didn't result in a cash infusion of at least US$700 million. Regulators including the US Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and agencies in Puerto Rico have approved Bear Stearns's proposed buyout, Doral said. *** BONANZA FOR SHOE MANUFACTURERS. Three shoe manufacturers were awarded one-year contracts from the US Dept of Defense (DOD) worth over US$42 million, and one may have landed a 5-year, US$100 million contract, reports Caribbean Business (July 18, 2007): Altama Footwear, which owns Altama Delta in Salinas, was awarded over US$20.4 million, Wellco Enterprises, which operates Moka Shoe Co. in Aguadilla, was awarded US$15.1 million, and Rocky Shoes &Boots, which owns Lifestyles Inc., in Moca, was awarded US$6.4 million for the manufacture of combat boots. The Phoenix Group, which owns Altama Footwear, also said it won a DOD contract for over US$100, which could mean the US$20 million contract awarded to Altama Footwear could be a five-year contract; The contracts were awarded to the US-based parent companies, but will impact operations here, since both Wellco and Altama Footwear have no cutting and fitting plants in the US, and Rocky Shoes & Boots has no plant stateside. The awards come at a critical time for these companies, particularly Altama Footwear, which had to lay off employees at its Salinas factory. The DOD contracts are for combat boots destined for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The once-vibrant local footwear-manufacturing segment has declined in recent years due to competition from lower-wage jurisdictions in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Asia. *** GROWTH INDUSTRY: LONG-TERM CARE. Nearly 70,000 citizens 65 years or older need long-term care in Puerto Rico. By the year 2020, the island‘s senior population will reach 650,000 (16.7% of the total population), according to the US Census, reports Caribbean Business (July 12, 2007). The senior population is taxing an already overburdened hospital system. There are 69 hospitals here (54 are private and 15 are government institutions). A hospital‘s average patient mix on the island is 30% Medicare, 30% Health Reform program and 40% other. These numbers are expected to more than double by the year 2020. At the projected rate of growth of the island‘s elderly population, the hospital ndustry won‘t have enough beds to provide the recurring long-term services some of these patients will need. The insurance industry is also feeling the pinch. Industry experts affirm Puerto Ricans are not prepared to face the high cost of long-term care. A person‘s chances of using long-term care insurance is a whopping 50%. Yet, long-term care insurance products are among the least purchased insurance products here. In light of this, the Family Dept commissioned a US$60,000 study to recommend a new public long-term care policy; The study calls for collaboration of the private and nonprofit sectors, the Legislature and key government agencies, and offers a road map for creation of a new industry which could, in turn, provide as many as 10,000 new jobs. *** QUANTUM METRO CENTER. Engineer Robert Arthur, president of Quantum Metrocenter Corp., has received the go ahead from regulatory agencies to develop a mixed-used US$300 millionplus complex in the Hato Rey business district, reports Caribbean Business (July 26, 2007): Arthur said Quantum Metro Center will be within walking distance of the Hato Rey Urban Train station, and part of Ciudad Red‘s US$1 billion joint development program, which consists of private-sector projects around existing Urban Train stations. The project will include a 100-room hotel to complement the area‘s real-estate Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 25 development. A commercial phase will consist of Q Tower, sporting 300,000 sq ft of office and commercial retail space, which just received the green light from the Federal Aviation Administration to become the tallest tower in Hato Rey; The residential component, under construction, will consist of two 26-story towers. Apartments averaging 2,000 sq ft starting at US$600,000 will be ready for occupancy in late 2009. Sierra Cardona Ferrer Architects is in charge of the towers design, and other area projects, including the Banco Popular remodeling and the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. *** MAYAGUEZ PORT DEAL. Holland Group Investment took the reins of the Mayagüez Port after finalizing the transition with the Port Commission, an almost public entity that administered the facility, reports AP (Aug. 12, 2007). The plan includes promoting cruise ship tourism, commercial exchanges that can extend as far as Holland, as well as the development of other projects, said José González Freyre, main officer of the group. On May 11, Holland and Mayagüez Mayor José Guillermo Rodríguez, signed a contract for the operation and development of the port for a 30-year term with the Port Commission, an entity that will retain the title of the property. However, Port Commission President Dennis Bechara warned that for the port to be viable requires the 118 acres of nearby land that belong to the pier that was given to the Ports Authority years ago and is now in the hands of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. Steps are being taken to return that land to the port, Bechara said. CITIGROUP SELLS BRANCHES. Citigroup Inc. is selling its Puerto Rico branches to Popular Inc. for US$120 million, reports Bloomberg (Aug. 11, 2007). Popular has 196 branches here, the most among the island's 11 banks, according Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. Citigroup, with 17 branches, had the smallest network. The deal includes US$1.1 billion in deposits and US$230 million in loans, according to Popular. Citigroup has another US$3 billion in deposits here, according to FDIC data. Citigroup will continue to serve local customers through its loan offices, credit cards, commercial leasing, investment and corporate banking units, said spokesman Robert Julavits. Details: Teruca Rullan. Senior VP, Corporate Communications. Popular, Inc. Email: email@example.com. Tel: 1-917-679-3596 PRASA CUTS OFF WATER TO 10,000 WEEKLY. Every week, the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) cuts off service for clean water to 10,000 customers, says to PRASA Exec. Dir. José Ortiz, reports AP (July 30, 2007). Ortiz said the suspension of service helps to avoid rate increases for those clients who do pay on time. Half of the clients who have seen their service suspended have had it reconnected, but others presumably ―look for a way to get water somewhere else,‖ he said. Most suspensions have occurred with residential clients of all social classes, although they have also occurred in business and industry, he added. FRAUD PROBE TARGETS DOCTORS. US federal agents arrested dozens of doctors accused of obtaining medical licenses through fraud or bribery, reports AP (Aug. 3, 2007). A federal grand jury indicted 88 doctors following an investigation into members of the medical licensing board, who allegedly altered low-scoring tests to certify unqualified candidates. The doctors, mostly Puerto Ricans who studied medicine in the Dominican Republic, Mexico or Cuba, paid board members bribes of as much as US$10,000, according to the indictment. At least 75 were practicing medicine in Puerto Rico, including some at hospitals or emergency rooms, authorities said. Most of the suspects failed the licensing exam multiple times. One man who earned a medical degree in Spain failed the exam 16 times between 1974 and 2001 before he was granted a medical license in 2002, according to the indictment. Health Dept. Secretary Rosa Perez Perdomo said the fraudulent doctors' patients would have no shortage of alternatives among legitimate health care providers here, where about 10,000 doctors serve a population of 4 million. P.R. SUPPLIES ACQUISITION. Puerto Rico Supplies Co. (PRSC), a tobacco and consumer products distributor, has acquired F. Pont Flores and Caribbean Snacks, reports Caribbean Business (Aug. 8, 2007). PRSC, which is growing through Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 26 the acquisition of new lines, is preparing to inaugurate its new 200,000-sq ft distribution center in Bayamón (investment US$20 million), said company President Edwin Pérez. Established in 1946, F. Pont Flores was an industry pioneer in the distribution of perfumes, health and beauty aids and toiletries. Through the Caribbean Snacks acquisition, PRSC retains the distribution of Filler, Wise, Lance (cookies) and Hostess (pastries) to name a few. DOUBLETREE HOTELS EXPANDS. Doubletree Hotels on July 31 said it entered into a franchise agreement to introduce its first Caribbean hotel. This summer, the 8-story, 184-room Hotel Pierre at Gallery Plaza will begin a year-long hotel renovation and by mid-2008 will be known as the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel San Juan. Owned by Swiss Chalet, Inc., it will continue to be managed by San Juan-based International Hospitality Enterprises, said Dave Horton, senior VP - brand management for Doubletree. Details: Hilton Hotels Corp., Thomas Wingham, +1-310-205-3381. Email: thomas_wingham @hilton.com. Karla Visconti, +1786-866-7240. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.hiltonworldwide.com CHOICE HOTELS TO MANAGE 254 ROOMS. Choice Hotels Intl said it recently executed agreements in Puerto Rico with a series of former independent inns and hotels that will now become a Choice Hotels brand, reports Caribbean Business (Aug. 2, 2007). Included in the deal are the 60-room Comfort Inn Suites, Campomar (formerly Hotel Campomar) in Toa Baja; the 97room Quality Inn, El Tuque (formerly Hotel El Tuque) in Ponce; the 47-room Quality Inn, El Portal (formerly Hotel El Portal) in Condado and the yetto-be-built 50-room Quality Inn &Suites in San Germán, said Raúl Fuentes, emerging markets director for Choice Hotels. HEALTHCARE CO. SEEKS BANKRUPTCY. Fundacion Dr. Manuel De La Pila Iglesias Inc., which operates a 170-bed hospital here, has filed for bankruptcy, reports Bloomberg (Aug. 10, 2007). It listed assets of US$55.9 million and debt of US$53.5 million in Chapter 11 documents. Its 20 largest unsecured creditors are owed US$11.7 million. Revenue for 2006 was about US$40.3 million. The foundation, founded in 1927 by Dr. Manuel de la Pila, operates Hospital Dr. Pila and Villa Ponce Housing, an apartment complex for the elderly. TAX INCENTIVES FOR FILM COMPANIES. New York-based Holedigger Studios, an independent film company, is eyeing the Puerto Rico market to establish local operations, reports Caribbean Business (July 12, 2007). Holedigger, which benefited from a local TIFF (tax incentive fund) to produce its 2003 film “The Dying Gull,” featuring actor Campbell Scott, has become a key player within an industry niche producing quality affordable films featuring Hollywood talent. George VanBuskirk, Holedigger Studios cofounder, said company reps would be visiting Puerto Rico later in the month. FT. LAUDERDALE-PONCE FLIGHTS. JetBlue on July 24 said it will launch daily, yearround nonstop service between Ft Lauderdale, Fla. and Ponce, on the south coast, beginning Nov. 5. Introductory fares start as low as US$59 each way, with regular fares ranging from US$99 -- US$299 each way. Ponce will be JetBlue's 12th destination served nonstop from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, said Marty St. George, JetBlue's VP of Network Planning. Details: Corporate Communications. (718) 709-3089. Email: CorporateCommunications@jetblue.com. JetBlue Reservations. (800) JET-BLUE (538-2583). Web: www.jetblue.com NEW/OLD SPANISH RESTAURANT. One of Madrid's most-renowned culinary traditions and most-visited tourist attractions, Restaurant Botin— the oldest in the world according to the ―Guinness Book of Records‖—was scheduled to open its doors in Old San Juan Aug. 22, reports Caribbean Business (July 18, 2007). A replica of the Spanish restaurant—established in 1725 on Cuchilleros St alongside Madrid‘s majestic Plaza Mayor—it will occupy the colonial-style landmark building on Recinto Sur St (corner of San Justo Street) where a Banco Santander branch used to operate. The 7,000square-foot, three-story restaurant will feature Botin‘s regular menu, particularly the house specialties of suckling pig (cochinillo) and old Castilian-style lamb roasted in a wood-fired oven. Most ingredients will be imported from Spain. The two-year restoration and construction project, Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 27 estimated at more than $2 million, is a private venture of Dr. Sanchez Quiles, his wife actor Von Marie Méndez, and their son Chef Luis Freyre. PUERTO RICO 7 ADDS 2 STORES. Prime Time Group on July 30 announced that Puerto Rico 7, Inc. has opened two new stores, Pinero II and Borinquen Towers. PR-7 operates 16 7-Eleven convenience stores in San Juan. Details: Johnny Ray Arnold. 561-674-5866. Email: ir@ primetimestores.com . Web: www.primetimestores.com ST. KITTS & NEVIS NEW 150-SEAT CALL CENTER. Cabinet approved a new 150-seat call center ―to be operated by International Market Access Ltd which also operates in Barbados and Antigua. More than 100 young persons will receive special training to handle customer service,‖ said Minister of State for Information & Technology, Nigel Carty, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 1, 2007). It will be located in the Stanford Bldg near the Robert L. Bradshaw Intl Airport in St Kitts. TAIWAN FINANCES NEW SPORTS FACILITY. Taiwan's resident ambassador John Liu presented Prime Minister & Minister of Sport Dr Denzil Douglas with a US$1.4 million check for ongoing construction of the sports facility at Bird Rock, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 14, 2007). This follows an initial contribution of US$500,000 in mid-June. The Bird Rock stadium construction is scheduled to be ready to host the 2008 CARIFTA Games in March. LAND SALES OFFICE TO DISPOSE OF 5,000 LOTS. Government announced setting up of a lands sale office to dispose of 5,000 lots in 24 locations on St Kitts, reports CUOPM (July 20, 2007). Sen. Nigel Carty, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Sustainable Development, Information & Technology, said more staff is being mobilized so that the land distribution initiative could commence by Aug. 6, 2007. In June, Cabinet decided to empower young persons and persons without their own land through the process of land ownership. It approved the allocation of 603 acres around the island. The lots will have a minimum size of 4,000 sq ft in residential projects that will have roads, electricity, infrastructure installed. water and other ST. LUCIA ST. LUCIA, HESS EXTEND ACCORD. St. Lucia and Hess Corp. extended an agreement allowing Hess to operate a fuel transshipment terminal here, reports AP (July 25, 2007): The new accord, which extends an option to build an oil refinery, was announced by Acting Prime Minister Stephenson King. New York-based Hess will pay the government 5 cents for every barrel of crude oil stored at the terminal and 10 cents per barrel of refined product. The previous accord, which was to expire in 2013, paid St. Lucia 2 cents per barrel of crude and 4 cents for refined products. The new accord expires in 2057. King said Hess agreed to establish a vocational training program here so islanders can qualify for jobs at the refinery if Hess decides to pursue the project. The company says it has no immediate plans to build a refinery here; A subsidiary of Hess operates the Hovensa oil refinery with a subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the Venezuelan oil company, in the nearby US Virgin Islands. Note: Caribbean Net News (July 27, 2007) reported that an agreement between Hess and the government was signed for a US$5 billion oil refinery, but no other sources verifies this. *** SOLAR-POWERED FERRY. A solar-powered ferry was introduced by a resort here that hopes to inspire others across the Caribbean, reports AP (July 30, 2007). The 12-foot Sunshine Express, with photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof, carries up to 15 guests of the Discovery at Marigot Bay resort to waterfront bars and restaurants, said owner Judith Verity said. The vessel, touted as the first of its kind in the Caribbean, was designed by the harbor master and built by local craftsmen she said. SURINAME GAS & OIL DEPOSITS REPORT. Research & Markets (based in Dublin, Ireland) on July 16 announced the addition of "Suriname Upstream Oil and Gas Fiscal Regime Profile" to its offering. The Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 28 report covers the petroleum fiscal environment, license terms and key fiscal terms for assets. It describes various elements of the geography's fiscal regime and gives an understanding of its petroleum regulations and the framework of opportunities available to the players in the industry. Details: Laura Wood. Senior Manager. Email: email@example.com. Fax: +353 1 4100 980. Web: www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c62836. UPGRADING AIR NAVIGATION SYSTEM. Funds from the Islamic Development Bank and the Govt of Suriname are for Upgrading the Air Navigation System.(UANS SUR - 0010). Part of the funds are to procure aeronautical communications, surveillance and ancillary equipment. Deadline: Oct. 5, 2007. A mandatory information meeting and site visits will be held Sept. 4, 2007. Details: Dept of Civil Aviation. Coesewijne Straat No. 02. Zorg en Hoop. Paramaribo Zuid, Suriname. Web: www.uans-sur.com. Mr. J.H. Veira, Director. Tel: (597) 498-898, 497-914. Fax: (597) 498-901. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. L. Gonsalves, Project Coordinator. Tel: (597) 531-288. Fax: (597) 531290. E-mail: email@example.com . Notice GN101708/07 EU AID FOR TOURISM, TRANSPORT. The European Union (EU) signed several contracts with government to improve the tourism and transport sectors, reports Caribbean Net News (July 31, 2007). Suriname will receive 1.5 million euros to execute a "sustainable tourism capacity building program" and 3.2 million euros to strengthen the transport sector. Brussels earlier financed two tourism improvement projects and ―the third project will build further on these excellent results,‖ said EU rep Richard van der Horst. The tourism sector grew by 8% per year between 2000 and 2004. A consultant for the Suriname Road Authority and the Ministries of Transport and Public Works will carry out a three-year study. Government is studying options to improve roads, airports and port facilities, and enhance the east-west and north-south road links in the country. Financing is already secured; works start as early as 2008. In June China pledged to asphalt the Afobakka Road connecting Paramaribo with the southern district of Brokopondo, said VP Ram Sardjoe, after concluding an official visit to China in June. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO IMF: ECONOMY MUST DIVERSIFY. Trinidad & Tobago must diversify its petroleumbased economy to prepare for the eventual depletion of its fossil fuel supply and survive swings in global energy prices, the International Monetary Fund said. IMF economist Max Alier said the twin-island nation, where the energy sector accounts for 40% of GDP, should focus on improving competitiveness of non-energy sectors. The country, the secondlargest energy producer on the Caribbean Sea after neighboring Venezuela, pumps out 150,000 barrels of oil a day and is the leading supplier of liquid natural gas to the US. But Trinidad's non-energy deficit has widened recently to nearly 16% of the GDP due to tax cuts, growing subsidies and rising capital spending. GOVT. LANDS BIG BOAT DEAL. Government will save TT$400 million over 10 years, because it purchased, rather than leased, two fast ferry vessels now serving the inter-island route, said Transport Minister Colm Imbert, who spoke at a ceremony at the Port Authority in Port of Spain to commission the T&T Spirit which made its inaugural sailing to Scarborough, reports The Trinidad Guardian (July 22, 2007). Imbert said Government decided to buy the vessel after it compared the cost over a 10-year period. The Spirit, purchased for US$46.5 million in June, has a passenger capacity of 900 and a vehicle capacity of 180 cars, Imbert said. 7 NEW TV STATIONS COMING. Seven new local TV stations should be coming on stream soon, said the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago, reports The Trinidad Express (July 19, 2007). TATT acting exec. dir. Cris Seecheran said that the board of the Authority agreed to open the free-to-air television market to allow for three more national providers, two more territorial providers (Trinidad only) and two more territorial providers (Tobago only). Seecheran said that in April TATT received 12 responses to an Expressions of Interest notice for establishment of new TV stations and that TATT will issue a Request for Proposals by late August, 2007. TATT will also open up the market with regard to broadband wireless services. Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 29 TT$3 BILLION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN TOBAGO. Prime Minister Patrick Manning has promised TT$3 billion for going development of Tobago, reports Caribbean Net News (Aug. 6, 2007). Funds will go to complete the Crowne Point Airport, the new Tobago Hospital, extension of the Claude Noel Hwy, an administrative complex at Boxborough and completion work at the Sure Park Cultural Facilities CONSTRUCTION OF BUILDING. A World Bank grant is for the Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Project (Grant No. HO77-0-6R; Project: P080721. Part of the funds are for Construction of a Proposed Building for the Health Economics Unit (HEU) of the Univ. of the West Indies. St. Augustine Campus. Deadline: Sept.14, 2007. Refer to: Bid No. C-0207/PANCAP/WB . Details: The Secretary,. Campus Procurement Committee. Univ. of the West Indies. c/o Campus Projects Office. #25A Warner St. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Tel: (1-868) 645-7276, 663-2208. Fax: (1-868) 645-7258. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.caricom.org WATER SUPPLY IMPROVEMENTS. The Water & Sewerage Authority (WASA) has embarked on several projects aimed at improving the water supply in South and Central Trinidad, following receipt of TT$136.2 million, reports The Trinidad Express (July 19, 2007). TT$70 million will be spent to cover the cost of new pipes to replace the current 35 km Navet Trunk Main; the remainder will facilitate: an upgrade of transmissions and distribution networks including 100 km of pipelines to enhance service; construction of 5 service reservoirs to enhance reliability; installation of 193 km of pipe to serve communities lacking mains; and installation of bulk meters. SELL-OFF. Angostura and CL Financial will dispose of their 68% stake in the French spirits company Belvedere for 345 million euro (more than TT$3 billion), reports The Trinidad Guardian (Aug. 1, 2007). Angostura said the Laventille-based rum and bitters producer decided to exit Belvedere due to a board struggle. Sale proceeds will be used to reduce Angostura‘s debt, for new acquisitions and for brand development, officials said. In June, CL Financial acquired a whiskey distillery in the US from Pernod Ricard. COMPUTER REFURBISHMENT. Trinidad & Tobago will benefit from a $100,000 Commonwealth Connects program to fund a computer refurbishment project that will benefit needy schools and communities, reports Caribbean Net News (July 26, 2007). The project, managed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Information, involves collection of used computers donated by Caribbean governments and the private sector for re-use here through upgrading and repair. PANAMA-PORT-OF-SPAIN FLIGHTS. Copa Airlines Aug. 1 said it will offer new service from Panama and connecting cities in Latin America to Port-of-Spain, beginning Dec. 15, 2007. Details: Web: www.copaair.com TURKS & CAICOS I. NEW CASINO LAW. Lawmakers approved a measure to would allow wealthy islanders to gamble in local casinos, which in the past have catered only to foreigners, reports AP (July 25, 2007): The House of Assembly voted 13-3 in favor of a bill permitting anyone with annual earnings of more than US$75,000 to gamble in the two casinos here. Michael Misick has previously said he would sign the bill into law. The bill's sponsor, Deputy Premier Floyd Hall, had initially proposed a threshold of US$50,000, but raised it because of opposition from church groups concerned about the expansion of gambling. The average annual income is roughly US$10,000 in the British territory, a popular tourist destination that has a population of about 22,000; Hall said he backed the bill at the request of residents who want to gamble and casino operators who have struggled because of the restriction. Opposition leader Floyd Seymour said the legislation would lead to increased gambling losses and hurt the island chain. Casinos that cater only to foreigners are found across the Caribbean, where some sectors of socially conservative island societies regard them as immoral. *** Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 30 U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS 397-ACRE WEST END DEVELOPMENT. The first stage of building preparation at Botany Bay has been completed, laying the groundwork for development to begin shortly on St. Thomas' West End, reports the US Virgin Islands Daily News (July 18, 2007). A stone wall, wrought-iron fence, gatehouse with around-the-clock security and signage now tell visitors they have arrived at the 397-acre property being called The Preserve at Botany Bay. The project, to cost more than US$200 million, will include vacation homes, timeshares or fractional real estate, a boutique hotel and a restaurant and spa, said David Burden, CEO of Colorado-based develop Timbers Resorts. Details: Lynn Freehill. Tel: 774-8772 ext. 311. Email email@example.com. RAPID FITNESS DEAL. Rapid Fitness, Inc. said Aug. 10 it signed s purchase agreement with Caribbean Fitness, Inc., d/b/a America's Paradise Gym, a firm with 2 fitness centers in St. Thomas and 1 in St. Croix). Combined assets are reportedly US$2.5 million with more than 5000 members, generating US$1.5 million a year, said CEO Anthony Mellone. Details: Rapid Fitness, Inc., Ft Lauderdale. Tom Nelson, 480-326-8577 Web: www.americasparadisegym.com and www.rapidfitness.com REFINERY REPAIRS. Repairs at the Hovensa oil refinery in St. Croix affected the bottom line of parent company, Hess Corp, reports Caribbean Net News (July 28, 2007). Hess said its second quarter net income fell 1.6% partly due to the cost of a shutdown of part of its refinery, according to Market Watch. Hovensa said in May the refinery would shut down for 35 days for cleaning, inspection and repairs. Hovensa President/CEO Larry Kupfer said in 2006 the refinery generated US$161 million in USVI government tax revenues (including US$14 million in real property taxes and US$102 million in corporate income taxes by refinery owners and contractors). Ongoing improvements include a new laboratory (US$12 million), a low-sulfur gasoline unit (US$195 million), a gas-turbine power generator (US$83 million) and Phase II of a wastewater treating unit (US$93 million), Kupher said. Hovensa (capacity 500,000 barrels per day) is the 11th-largest refinery in the world, the fourth largest in the western hemisphere and the third largest in the US. *** CONCH BAN EXTENDED. Regulators here said they will close the territory's waters to conch fishing for the rest of the year due to concerns about overfishing, reports AP (July 27, 2007). The shellfish is normally off-limits to commercial fishing from July through September, but the Department of Natural Resources extended the ban to help stocks replenish: Significant poaching could further delay the start of the season. ``If the closed season is not observed, we're not going to reopen the season in January,'' said David Olsen, the department's fish and wildlife director. Fishermen who dive for conch off St. Croix, one of three islands that make up this US territory, have produced harvests exceeding sustainable levels since 2000, saidaccording to department spokesman Jamal Neilsen; Much of the meat is sold in Puerto Rico, where it fetches up to US$14 per pound. Divers have ventured into increasingly deep waters to collect queen conch, a variety prized for its meat and lustrous shells. ``We're starting to see divers off St. Croix get serious decompression sickness,'' Olsen said. ``So extending the closed season is also a public health issue.'' *** IMPORT TAX SUSPENDED. A tax levied on cars, furniture and other personal items shipped here from the mainland was ruled unconstitutional, reports AP (Aug. 1, 2007). US District Judge Harvey Bartle III ruled that a 4% tax the US territory imposed on imported items worth more than US$1,000 violated the US Constitution's commerce clause. The case stems from an April complaint filed by a St. Croix resident who protested a US$2,365 ``personal use'' tax the government levied on two cars and floor tiles he shipped in from Virginia. The government is appealing. After Bartle's ruling, a lawsuit was filed by several thousand inhabitants who paid the tax for items they imported. If the lawsuit is successful, residents could be refunded and possibly collect up to 12% interest, attorney Jeffrey Moorhead said. The USVI has collected more than US$3 million from the tax since it was introduced four years ago, Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 31 said Gizette Thomas, director designee for the islands' Bureau of Internal Revenue. PUEBLO STORES PURCHASE. Chicagobased World Fresh Market, owned by Yousef Yassin, acquired the four Pueblo supermarket stores here (two each on St. Thomas and St. Croix) for an undisclosed amount, reports Caribbean Business (Aug. 8, 2007). Pueblo‘s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy comes on the heels of the USVI sale in an effort to seek court protection on more than US$11 million owed to local suppliers. 57 ACRES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING. The V.I. Housing Finance Authority has purchased 57 acres of undeveloped land in Estate Donoe from Lockhart Realty for US$2.1 million, reports The Virgin Islands Daily News (July 21, 2007). It plans to build affordable housing units on 25 acres and will hold the remaining acreage for future use, said Exec. Dir. Clifford Graham. It plans to put out a request for proposals for developing the first phase in August or September, he said. Ethienne Bertrand, president of Lockhart Realty, said "There is a tremendous need for housing for essential workers such as firefighters, teachers and nurses." Bertrand said the planned housing fits in with other developments planned for that area of St. Thomas. In Estate Donoe, development company Urbanika plans to build 173 three-bedroom and four-bedroom homes throughout the hillside behind Market Square East Plaza and Home Depot. The project is called Raphune Vistas and the homes will be targeted at moderate-income residents. BROADBAND CONTRACT. Global Crossing, an IP solutions provider, on July 19 said the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park (RTPark) has signed a 15-year contract for high capacity broadband connectivity and colocation space at its fiber switching facilities in St. Croix. Under the agreement, RTPark has direct access to the Global Crossing's global IP network, which delivers services in more than 600 cities in 60 countries, said David M. Zumwalt, Exec.Dir. of RTPark. Details: Becky Yeamans. 973-937-0155. Email: PR@ globalcrossing.com. Kendra Langlie. Latin America. 305-808- 5912. Web: www.globalcrossing.com DATA BASE U.S. Trade with the Caribbean Basin May 2006, 2007 (millions of US$) U.S. exports U.S. imports (F.A.S.) (c.i.f.) 2006 2007 2006 2007 Anguilla 14.3 31.3 2.8 2.7 Antigua & Barbuda 86.6 87.4 2.7 5.0 Aruba 235.0 223.9 1377.9 1335.6 Bahamas 884.9 881.0 211.0 210.4 Barbados 170.4 181.5 15.3 15.7 Belize 109.1 98.7 51.6 42.6 Bermuda 311.9 244.3 4.7 7.2 British Virgin I 94.9 69.3 11.7 24.8 Cayman Islands 266.6 267.0 6.8 10.8 Costa Rica 1695.4 1782.5 1718.5 1794.2 Cuba 153.4 144.7 0.1 0.2 Dominica 23.1 36.8 2.1 1.0 Dominican Rep. 2046.0 2315.4 1832.0 1774.4 El Salvador 880.4 915.9 659.9 809.6 French Guiana 9.5 10.8 0.2 0.1 Grenada 28.1 35.5 2.0 5.1 Guadeloupe 18.8 69.0 0.9 2.2 Guatemala 1400.5 1610.2 1387.2 1442.0 Guyana . 73.6 81.7 67.9 56.7 Haiti 349.5 316.0 197.4 205.5 Honduras 1502.8 1751.7 1507.5 1649.5 Jamaica 730.5 860.0 236.8 343.2 Martinique 10.4 80.1 0.5 0.9 Montserrat 10.7 2.5 0.3 0.4 Netherlands Ant. 639.3 650.5 513.8 338.0 Nicaragua 316.1 328.8 636.2 633.3 Panama 1014.7 1335.7 153.8 151.2 St. Kitts & Nevis 73.6 43.3 21.7 24.3 St. Lucia 51.1 64.1 22.8 7.8 St. Vincent & Gren 18.5 6.2 0.5 0.9 Suriname 104.8 96.8 56.4 57.3 Trinidad & Tobago 612.5 687.4 4002.1 3916.9 Turks & Caicos I 134.6 153.2 4.5 5.3 Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 32 Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Details: Nick Orsini (301-763-6959) or Vanessa Ware (301-7632311), Foreign Trade Division. Tourism Stop-Over Arrivals, 2007 %change Destination Period Arrivals vs. 2006 Anguilla Jan-Mar 24,974 +22.2 Antigua Jan-Apr 98,173 -1.5 Aruba Jan-Mar 187,027 +9.8 Bahamas Jan-May 660,096 -6.8 Barbados Jan-Jun 295,916 +2.8 Belize Jan-Mar 77,756 +2.4 Bermuda Jan-May 107,083 +5.6 British Virgin Islands Jan-Mar 108,527 +0.9 Cancun (Mexico) Jan-May 923,643 +48.1 Cayman Islands Jan-May 137,249 +8.7 Cozumel (Mexico) Jan-Feb 57,075 +35.1 Cuba Jan-Apr 895,307 8.3 Curacao Jan-Apr 90,471 +9.5 Dominica Jan-Apr 26,000 3.6 Dominican Republic* Jan-May 1,778,103 +0.5 Grenada Jan-May 56,437 +8.6 Guyana Jan 8,933 +9.5 Jamaica Jan-Mar 427,252 2.1 Martinique Jan-Apr 201,244 +5.1 Montserrat Jan-May 3,059 7.1 Puerto Rico Jan-Feb 258,392 9.7 Saba 1.4 St. Lucia 9.2 St. Vincent & Gren. 2.8 U.S. Virgin Islands 2.1 Jan-May Jan-May Jan-May Jan-May 5,290 125,998 40,463 331,028 - Tourism Cruise Ship Arrivals, 2007 %change Destination Period Arrivals vs. 2006 Aruba Jan-May 266,464 10.7 Bahamas Jan-May 1,341,729 4.5 Barbados Jan-May 306,951 +15.6 Belize Jan-Apr 340,904 +8.7 Bermuda Jan-May 75,584 +8.9 British Virgin Islands Jan-May 311,368 +17.6 Cayman Islands Jan-May 983,824 +4.6 Cozumel (Mexico) Jan-Mar 875,074 +30.7 Curacao Jan-Apr 176,392 +14.6 Dominica Jan-Mar 141,243 6.2 Dominican Republic Jan-Mar 161,971 +2.4 Grenada Jan-May 162,710 +16.1 Jamaica Jan-Mar 411,622 +1.3 Martinique Jan-Apr 46,781 16.3 Montserrat Jan-Mar 102 Puerto Rico no data provided St. Lucia Jan-May 320,387 +52.3 St. Vincent & Gren. Jan-May 96,085 +52.2 U.S. Virgin Islands Jan-Jun 1,023,111 +0.3 *Non-Resident air arrivals Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 33 **Non-resident Hotel registrations only Source: The Caribbean Tourism Organization,latest data supplied by member countries, available as of July 18, 2007 CALENDAR Details and contact information for most events listed here may be obtained on the website www.calendar.caribseek.com. Readers are invited to submit information on relevant activities, at least 45 days prior to date of your activity. Mail to: Caribbean UPDATE, 116 Myrtle Ave., Millburn NJ 07041. U.S.A. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Some dates are tentative, all are subject to change; readers are urged to reconfirm prior to making travel plans. Aug. 30-Sept. 1: Texaco One Cool Summer International Drag Races. Aruba. Aug. 31-Sept. 1: Re-Discover the Caribbean Trade Show. Barbados. Contact: Adrian Loveridge. Email: Reemail@example.com. Sept. 1-30: Havana Theatre Festival. Cuba. Organized by Consejo Nacional de las Arts Escenicas (CNAE). Sept. 3-9: 44th Montego Bay International Marlin Tournament. Jamaica Tourist Board. Sept. 9: Elections in Guatemala. Sept. 15-16: Belize Expo. Belize Tourism Industry Ass‘n & BETEX Committee. Sept. 15-23: Culture Week, Curacao. Organized by Curacao Tourist Board. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sept. 24-30: National Tourism Awareness Week. Jamaica Tourist Board. Sept. 25-Oct. 2: Ultimabet.com Aruba Poker and Blackjack Tournament. Contact: Melissa Gaddis. Email: mgaddis@ spirtech.com. Sept. 27-28: 2nd Annual Vermont Forum on Cuba, Burlingon, TV. Guest speaker Larry Luxner, editor and publisher of CubaNews, to speak on ―Cuba Today: Business, Politics & Trade.‖ Details: Marisha Kazeniac, Exec. Dir., Vermont Institute on the Caribbean. Tel: 802-864-4334. Email: email@example.com. Sept. 27-30: Caribbean Gift and Craft Show, 2007,World Trade Centre, Curacao. Details: Caribbean Export Development Agency. Tel: (246) 436-0578. Fax: (246) 436-9999. Website: www.carib-export.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and cchristie@ carib-export. com Sept. 30-Oct. 7: 44th Port Antonio Int‘l MarlinTournament. Jamaica. Organized by The Sir Henry Morgan Angling Ass‘n. Email: email@example.com Oct. 1-5: 16th annual Caribbean Water & Wastewater Association Conference & Exhibition, St. Kitts. Details: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.cwwa.net. Oct. 3: Aruba KLM Open Tournament. Organized by Tierra del Sol. Oct. 5-6: 5th Aruba Music Festival. Aruba Tourism Authority. Email: email@example.com Oct. 5-7: Puerto Rico Art & Wine Fair. Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Oct. 5-7: Renowned seafood chef Eric Ripert headlines a weekend celebration of gastronomic pleasures at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, including cooking class, gala dinner and a fishing trip. Part of the proceeds will provide a young Caymanian chef with the opportunity to embark on his own culinary journey. Weekend packages for the event are available from US$1,429. Details: call 800-241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com. Oct. 7-14: 40th Annual Intl Sailing Regatta, Bonaire. Welcomes boats in 25 categories to participate in this island tradition that attracts sailors many countries. About 180 boats from catamarans and yachts to sunfish, windsurfs and fishing boats are expected to participate. Other festivities will include a bicycle tour, walking and running races, softball tournament, swimming and kayaking to Klein Bonaire, the All Nations Parade, participants BBQ party, evening festivals with music, local food and dancing, a concert by George McCrae who‘s number one hit ―Rock Your Baby‖ sold over 52 million copies worldwide, and the closing awards ceremony. Details: Sarah Biggerstaff/Candice Kimmel. Adams Unlimited. (212) 956-5900. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.bonaireregatta.org. Oct. 10: Annual Oktoberfest. Turks & Caicos Island Tourist Board. Oct. 19-24: The 30th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The theme is: The Next Generation; Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future. Details: CTO New York office. Tel: 212-635-9530. Email: email@example.com Oct. 13-16: National Platano (Plantain) Festival. Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 34 Oct. 18-21: Air Jamaica World Championship of Dominoes. Jamaica Tourist Board. Oct. 21-23: Prince George‘s County 2007 International Economic Summit: Latin America & the Caribbean Basin, Washington. Details: Lavinia Baxter. Email: LABaxter@co.pg.md.us. Oct. 26-29: International reggae artists Beenie Man and Beres Hammond headline Dominica‘s 11th instalment of the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF). Oct. 31: "Jubilation" World Gospel Festival, Antigua & Barbuda. Ministry of Culture. Oct. 31-Nov. 2: Expo Caguas 2007, Coliseo Hector Sola Bezares, Caguas, Puerto Rico. A networking event for business people from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean islands. Nov. 2-4: Caribbean International Literary Festival. Antigua. Organized by Avonelle H. Pole. Nov. 3-4: WIOC Calcutta Tournament. Antigua. Organized by Cedar Valley Golf Course. Nov. 3-4: 16th Edition Fishing Tournament, Martinique Biffsh Assoc. Email: email@example.com. Nov. 5-9: An August conference and trade show, aimed at expanding Puerto Rico's role in the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (D.R.-Cafta), has been rescheduled for November, at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan. Details: www.caftagroup.com. Nov. 8-11: Tranquility Jazz Festival. Anguilla Tourist Board. And: 9th Annual Carriacou Sailing Series. Organized by Grenada Yacht Club. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov. 10: 7th Annual Bonaire EcoSwim. Features eight swimming races with and without fins for participants to show off their stroke and kicks. www.aquamoonadventures.com. Caradonna Dive Adventures at 1-800-328-2288. Nov. 14: ―US-Cuba Policy: Stumbling Towards the Post-Castro Era,‖ London. Speaker: Phil Peters, chief Cuba policy analyst, Lexington Institute. No charge. Details: Claire Farfan, Intl Inst. For Study of Cuba, London Metro Univ. Tel: 44-20-71332405. Email: email@example.com. Nov. 14-16: Point-a-Pitre Jazz Festival. Guadeloupe Tourism Office. Nov. 16-22: San Juan Cinemafest. Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Nov. 29-Dec 1: Reggae Marathon. Jamaica Tourist Board. Dec. 1: ―Jubilation‖, 4th Annual World Gospel Festival. Antigua & Barbuda Dept. of Tourism. Dec. 1-2: Authentically Bahamian Christmas Trade Show. Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dec. 1-8: Caribbean Jazz Cruise. From solo piano performances to trios, quartets and full seven-piece bands, the many sounds of jazz will take center stage aboard the Crystal Symphony's cruise. As the ship embarks from Miami on this seven-day voyage through the Caribbean, the lineup features noted jazz performers and five times its usual complement of musicians. Crystal Symphony will call upon Key West, Fla; Puerto Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize. Details: Mimi Weisband 310-203-4305. Email: publicrelations@ crystalcruises.com Dec. 3-5: 31st Miami Conference on the Caribbean Basin, Inter-Continental Hotel, Miami. Workshops on agribusiness, apparel, energy, financial services, technology, telecom, transportation,tourism. Features heads of state as keynote speakers. Details: Caribbean-Central American Action, 1818 N St. NW, Suite #310, Washington DC 20036. Tel: 202-466-7464, Ext. 28. Fax: 202-822-0075. Website: www. C-caa.org. Dec. 3-10: Bacardi Artisan Fair. Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Dec. 5-10: Antigua Charter Yacht Show. Organized by Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting. Email: email@example.com Dec. 6-13: Bahamas International Film Festival. Dec. 8: Caribbean Comedy Festival. Antigua & Barbuda. Details: Gordon ―Banks‖ Derrick. Tel: 268-560-5149. Dec. 12: ―Scientific Research in Cuba: Highlights & Future Prospect,‖ London. Speaker, Luis Alberto Montero-Cabrera, Havana Univ. Scientific Council. Details: Claire Farfan, Intl. Inst. Study of Cuba, London Metro. Univ. Tel: 44-20-7133-2405. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dec. 15-Jan. 2: National Carnival, St. Kitts. Details: Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Environment. 2008 March 28-30: 35th International Rolex Regatta. St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands. An annual favorite on the Caribbean racing calendar, catering not only to handicap yachts but also to one-design sailboats of at least 24 feet and beach cats. Details: Bill Caribbean UPDATE September 2007 35 Canfield. Email: email@example.com or 340-7756320. The regatta web page is www.rolexcupregatta.com. And: Barby MacGowan. Media Pro Int'l for Rolex. Email: barby@ mediapronewport.com. Ph +1 401-225-0249. Or: Wally Bostwick. St. Thomas Yacht Club. mobile +1 340-690-2898. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And: Key Partners (KPMS). Phone: +41 32-7242829. Email: email@example.com. Web: www.regattanews.com April: The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) has been selected is the honoree at the 11th International Book Fair of the Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo. For two weeks, it assembles hundreds of exhibitors, artists and visitors from different parts of the world, Aug. 1-31: Belize Tourism Expo, Belize City. Organized by Suzette Gibson, BETEX Manager (Belize Tourism Industry Assoc.) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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