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Legislation to Regulate Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Being Explored in The Bahamas

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Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest says the legislation will help The Bahamas grow its reputation as an innovative and responsive financial centre.

NASSAU, The Bahamas,
Thursday April 4, 2019 –
Draft legislation
has been put forward to give The Bahamas a clear competitive advantage with
respect to digital asset solutions as financial technologies continue to drive
growth in the financial services sector.

The Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill, 2019
(DARE), which was developed by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (SCB),
provides solutions for digital asset applications and creates a proper
regulatory framework for The Bahamas’ crypto market.

“Disruptions caused by the digitization of the economy are
leading to a new wave of regulatory reform. As countries around the world
innovate new ways to safeguard against the erosion of their tax base, these
developments will undoubtedly affect us here in The Bahamas. With the DARE
legislation, we are looking to the future, anticipating and preparing for the
changes on the horizon, forming coalitions to influence the nature of change,”
said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

“The whole issue of crypto currencies and assets is very
dynamic. We have been deliberate in creating a regulatory environment that
safeguards the country’s economic interests and shores up our global
competitiveness. These efforts will help to grow our reputation as an
innovative and responsive financial centre,” he added.

The Bahamas has a budding crypto ecosystem, including: crypto
start-ups, exchanges, and traditional financial institutions servicing crypto
companies. Requests continue to come to the Government from related businesses
like crypto custodians, and companies conducting initial token offerings (ITOs)
and security token offerings (STOs) that want to base their business in The
Bahamas.

“New legislative initiatives will facilitate these growth
opportunities and drive innovation and diversification in the industry. I look
forward to presenting the Bill to Cabinet when the public consultation phase is
complete,” said the Finance Minister.

The DARE Bill provides for the regulation of the issuance and
sale of digital tokens, and for the regulation of the conduct of those issuing
digital tokens and those providing intermediary services related to the
issuance of digital tokens. It also provides clarity with respect to stable
coins.

Specifically, the Bill creates a legislative structure by
which persons who wish to participate in the digital token space are guided on
the requirements for entry into and participation in the industry. These
requirements stipulate who may participate, the level of capital required, the
rules for reporting and seeking the Commission’s approval, and the penalties
for failure to comply.

Additionally, the rules stipulate that participants must
adhere to established anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-financing of
terrorism (CFT) laws, must take data protection measures related to the
personal information of clients, and must implement measures to prevent data
breaches which would jeopardize the crypto assets of clients.

Turnquest said the comprehensive Bill will provide participants in the digital token space with clear rules of entry and operation in The Bahamas’ crypto market.

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Construction of 603-Room Ramada in St Kitts on Schedule for September Opening

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Thursday July 18, 2019 – Hotel development company Caribbean
Galaxy Real Estate Corporation says construction of the second phase of the Ramada
Hotel in White Gate is proceeding rapidly and the facility is on track for its
September grand opening.

Phase II of
the project is increasing the size of the hotel from 273 to 603 rooms. The
completed facility will comprise 19 structures housing a luxury clubhouse,
garden villas, spa villas, condos, a swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and
a spa. In addition, there will be a restaurant, pavilions and a water park.

Prime Minister
Dr Timothy Harris said the number of people employed in the twin-island
federation will significantly increase as the hotel is staffed for its opening.

He said the spin-off activities generated by the new Ramada Hotel are expected to open up opportunities for tour guides, taxi operators, dining establishments, craft vendors and shops.

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris (left) with Galaxy’s Vice President of Overseas Development Tang Jiang

At the recent Caribbean Investment Summit, the Prime Minister said investment agents from countries around the world were “amazed at the high-quality infrastructure on St. Kitts and Nevis and the progress being made on major projects in the Federation.”

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CARICOM Commission On the Economy Re-Established

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Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud will return as Chairman of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday July 18, 2019 – CARICOM has re-established a
CARICOM Commission on the Economy, with Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of
Barbados on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud,
returning as its chairman.

Barbados’
Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong said that Professor Persaud presented
an interim report at the recent 40th Regular Conference of CARICOM Heads of
Government in St Lucia, that gave broad outlines on how the commission
identified the problems facing the region, and what solutions they believed
were appropriate for economic development.

“Professor
Persaud was very clear that we now have to pursue a people-centred
developmental model, where the emphasis will have to be on education, skills
and innovation. He was very clear that we have to take concrete measures to
solve the problems of intra-regional transport, [and] freight, as well as
people. And the fundamental thinking of the commission is that we have to
create greater access,” he said.

“The buzzword
he used, or the central word was…’access for our people’. Our people must have
enhanced access to financial resources; enhanced access to the banking system,
to education, to training, to health services; [and] access to every
citizen.  We must now, in going forward,
pursue a people-centric developmental model 
based around the idea that we must enhance access of the individual
citizen to education, to entrepreneurial [and] financing opportunities; access
in ownership of wealth, [and] access in every dimension.”

The commission
is expected to report in six months, with a fully fleshed out action plan based
on those broad principles.

Last year, CARICOM Heads of Government reconstituted a high-level commission on the economy led by Professor Persaud of Barbados, comprising experts with regional and international reputations to help CARICOM craft a new economic developmental strategy, and to break the syndrome of low growth and economic stagnation that many member states have been experiencing since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008.

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Unemployment Down in Jamaica | Caribbean360

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 18, 2019 – The Statistical Institute of
Jamaica (STATIN) is reporting further reduction in the unemployment rate to a
new record low of 7.8 per cent.

STATIN’s April
2019 Labour Force Survey said the figure is two percentage points lower than
the 9.8 per cent recorded for the corresponding period last year, and 0.2 per
cent lower than the out-turn for January.

Director
General, Carol Coy, said the number of unemployed persons as at April fell by
25,900 or 19.7 per cent to 105,900, relative to 2018.

She was speaking at STATIN’s quarterly briefing yesterday.

Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Carol Coy at yesterday’s briefing. (Credit: JIS)

Coy said the
male unemployment rate declined by 1.8 percentage points to 5.5 per cent, while
the corresponding figure for females fell by 2.1 percentage points to 10.6 per
cent.

“The number of
unemployed males decreased by 13,000 to 39,900 in April 2019. Over the same
period, the number of unemployed females was 65,600; this was a decline of
12,900,” the Director General outlined.

Additionally,
she said the unemployment rate for youth, aged 14 to 24, fell by 6.4 percentage
points from 25.9 per cent in April 2018, to 19.5 per cent this year

“The
unemployment rate for male youth declined by 6.4 percentage points to 14.5 per
cent, while the rate for female youth declined by 6.6 percentage points to 25.8
per cent,” Coy said.

She pointed
out that the overall employed labour force increased by 29,900 persons or 2.5
per cent to 1,244,500, over the 1,214,600 for April 2018.

Coy further
indicated that the number of employed males rose by 18,200 persons to 691,500,
while the number of females in jobs increased by 11,700 to 553,000.

The total
labour force increased to 1,349,900 persons, which is 4,000 more than 2018.

In addition,
the number of males qualifying for jobs rose by 5,200 persons to 731,400, while
the corresponding figure for females decreased by 1,200 to 618,500 in April
2019.

Meanwhile, Coy
advised that 736,900 persons were classified as being outside the labour force
in April 2019.

The number was 4,800 or 0.7 per cent fewer than the outturn in April 2018, and was predominantly males.

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