Caribbean Briefs for May 12, 2011


Castries, St Lucia: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping bankers develop their operations and provide financial services to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in the Caribbean.

IFC, in collaboration with the governments of Japan and the Netherlands and the Canadian International Development Agency, is training bankers on building sustainable small and medium banking operations until May 13. The training program, which began Tuesday, covers strategy and market segmentation, product design, credit-risk management, and information-management systems.

More than 28 bankers and trainers from 18 institutions in nine countries are participating in the event, which is part of a training program developed by IFC’s Global SME Banking Program to help banks in emerging markets assess the potential benefits of targeting the small business sector and to build or expand this line of business.

Small and medium enterprises are a major driver of economic growth and job creation, yet in the Caribbean smaller enterprises struggle to finance the growth of their businesses.


Kingston, Jamaica: The Opposition is calling on the Bruce Golding administration to revisit its public sector rationalization plan.

Public service spokesperson, Natalie Neita Headley, said the displaced workers will face extreme challenges finding new jobs given the depressed state of the Jamaican economy.

Headley is also accusing Prime Minister Golding of backtracking on an assurance he had given that job cuts were not being considered by the government at this time.

“When you cut one person from the public sector, you’re affecting many other members of that family. They are breadwinners, who probably on each of these occasions will be 10,000 times maybe three other persons, who are going to be affected, children going to school etc.

“We understand that we are in a difficult time, we’re on crisis time, we understand, the International Monetary Fund conditions are there and we do understand but we must set our own realities.

“We’re a sovereign nation and donor agencies should not dictate where we go and how we deal with our people,” said Headley.


Kingston, Jamaica: Pan Caribbean Financial Services said it recorded its best three months on record between January and March of this year.

The company said profits during the period rose to a record half a billion dollars ($500 million).

According to Donovan Perkins, President and CEO of Pan Caribbean, all segments of the business contributed to the good showing.

“Part of the good result that you’ve seen is as a result of us continuing to build our business particularly in a segment of the market that we think we can do a pretty good job in, which is to find companies (with) maybe $100 to $500 million in revenues, which are not start ups,” said Perkins. “They’ve demonstrated an ability to build their business. We think that we can partner with these companies and take them to the next level.”

Some of the companies which Pan Caribbean partnered with in the last year include Jamrock Films, Dolphin Cove and Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records.


Secaucus, USA: Bahamian ocean conservationist, diving instructor and cave explorer Cristina Zenato has been inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF).

The Grand Bahama resident was one of the 10 new inductees into the prestigious group of female divers, accredited for their pioneering and unique skills in the scuba diving community and global oceanic conservation efforts.

“It was a great honour to be nominated and inducted, especially because I enter an elite circle of women who have been my inspiration for years,” said Zenato at the 35th WDHOF induction ceremony. “This honour is now helping me assist in fundraising efforts to heighten ocean conservation efforts.”

Zenato is one of only a handful of shark-feeders in the world as well as a cave diving instructor who leads specially trained divers into little-known realms that are not only underwater but under terra firma as well.

In addition, she is listed in the International Legends of Diving and is an SSI (Scuba Schools International) Platinum Pro.

Zenato began diving with the Underwater Explorer’s Society (UNEXSO) in 1995 and is currently UNEXSO’s Dive Team Manager.

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