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Deal Signed to Give Barbados’ Sole Airport Major Renovation

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The Grantley Adams International Airport is in line for major refurbishment.

BRIDGETOWN,
Barbados, Thursday May 23, 2019
– The Government has signed a deal with
the investment and advisory arm of the World Bank Group that will see the
country’s only airport being completely renovated and refurbished.

The Financial Advisory Services Agreement was yesterday inked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to roll out the private/public partnership (PPP) agreement that will lead to a 27 000 square-metre improvement to the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), and the establishment of numerous amenities.

Minister of Tourism and International
Transport Kerrie Symmonds said that under the PPP, the concession would be 25
to 30 years, and it should include the expansion of the terminal building, the
addition of five jet bridges and the modernization of the airport systems and
infrastructure.

He explained that the new concessionaire
would have an opportunity to look at the master plan of the airport and make an
input into what is treated as priority.   

“The airport has been in a state of
disrepair for such a long period of time that everything seems to be a priority
at this point….The airport has a tremendous amount of potential to generate
non-aeronautical revenue, those things that have nothing to do with the landing
of the aircraft,” Symmonds said.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley said after much discussion
with the IFC, it was agreed that the Government would retain ownership of the
airport.

“We will eventually do a divestment partially of some limited shares to the National Insurance Scheme and the workers of the airport. But without prejudice to that…we would work to do a long-term concession on the airport because it is urgently in need of major capital refurbishment,” she said.

Regional Vice President of IFC for Latin America & Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, Georgina Baker, and Chairman of GAIA, Vic Fernandes, shake hands following the signing of the Financial Advisory Service Agreement. (Photo Credit: C.Pitt/BGIS)

Regional Vice President of IFC for Latin
America & Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, Georgina Baker, who signed
the deal with Chairman of GAIA, Vic Fernandes, said that through the PPP, the
private sector would be responsible for undertaking the required capital works,
financing, operations and maintenance of the airport.

“The signing of the Financial Advisory
Service Agreement will allow IFC and the Grantley Adams International Airport
Incorporated to begin work, beginning with diagnostic work and transaction
structure design for GAIA, and will include technical, legal, financial and
environmental and social due diligence,” she said.

“Once that phase is completed, the teams
will focus on the development and finalization of bidding documents, the
competitive bidding process and the contract awarded to the winning bidder.”

Baker added that the Prime Minister had
asked for the work to be concluded within the year, and said that even though
it was an aggressive timeline, it was one they were committed to achieving.

Meantime, Prime Minister Mottley indicated
that her Government is working towards creating a Civil Aviation Authority.

She said legislation to make that a reality was being drafted, and expressed hope that the Bill would be taken to Parliament by September or October.

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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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