BRADS GAMING GROUP LTD. AWARDED LOTTERY GAMING CONTRACT FOR 10 MORE YEARS

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting )

The multi-million dollar business of various lottery games has been extremely beneficial to both the Government of Belize and Brads Gaming Group Limited.

In 2009 the company won the original contract to administer several different lottery games, that contracts was for 10 years.

In September of 2019 the tender was offered by the government to all interested and qualified organizations to submit offers to GOB, the government stated last year that it was not going to aromatically award the contract to BRADS Gaming Group.

Today (July 3rd.) GOB announced that BRADS Gaming Group Ltd. owned by Kim Jen Chee will continue to administer all lottery games in Belize for 10 more years.

A Great Revenue Stream ( Some for Education )
It is estimated that at least $10.7-million (on Average) is spent each week on all lottery games in Belize. All lottery winnings above $750 is taxed 15% which goes to the Government of Belize, in addition to the taxes and fees paid by other companies such as SCRATCH-OFF and other games of chance and gambling.

A large portion of all gaming and gambling taxes collected by the government are earmarked for education, that is according to part III of the Gaming Control Act of Belize.

The government’s press release said –
The Government of Belize, via the Lotteries Tender Panel, has completed negotiations with Brads Gaming Group Limited for a license to administer the Belize Government Lottery for the period of April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2030.

In September 2019, the Government of Belize announced the open tender for the license to administer the Government Lotteries for the period April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2030. Consequently, a Lotteries Tender Panel was established comprising representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Lotteries Committee, and the Gaming Control Board to assess proposals for the administration of the Government Lotteries. The evaluation was conducted in accordance with procurement policies as advised by the Ministry of Finance using a quality and cost-based approach.

Bids were received from three interested parties. The Lotteries Tender Panel evaluated and ranked all three bids based on the pre-determined criteria established for the procurement process. At the end of the evaluation process, the Lotteries Tender Panel recommended to the Government of Belize that the license to administer the Belize Government Lottery be awarded to the proposal with the highest score.

Subsequent to the Government of Belize’s acceptance of the recommendation, and as required by the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act, the negotiated license and contract, along with the tender report and related documents, were submitted to the Office of the Contractor General for review and no-objection prior to execution. Having received the no-objection from the Office of the Contractor General, the license and contract to administer the Belize Government Lottery was signed on June 26th.

The executed license and contract will be laid before the House of Representatives at its next sitting as required by the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act.

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

Belize International Services Limited Wins Favorable Judgment At CCJ – Against G.O.B

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting ) – Updated – Wednesday July 1st. 5.41am

The long awaited final judicial ruling of a case that has been heard by the Belize Supreme Court, then The Belize Court of Appeals, and now a final ruling at the highest court, the Caribbean Court of Justice has gone in favor of Belize International Services Limited (B.I.S.L) and against the Government of Belize.

The CCJ’s decision was explained in a short statement that concluded that the takeover of BISL by the Government of Belize was a breach of the agreement.

The following is the short version of the CCJ ruling, today, Tuesday, June 30th. 2020

Although arriving at their decision for varying reasons, the CCJ judges all found that the government had breached its agreement with BISL and could not rely on the illegality defence to prevent BISL’s claim for damages. Strictly speaking, the payment structure of the agreement did not meet the constitutional and legislative requirements for payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, but this was not sufficient to prevent BISL from the recovery of damages. The CCJ ordered that the matter be remitted to the Supreme Court for assessment of damages. Costs were awarded in favour of BISL, to be taxed if not agreed by the parties. – end quote –

A complete reading of the entire 144 page judgement indicate that the 5 judges of the Caribbean Court Of Justice were unanimously dismayed by the actions of GOB and the manner in which the Government of Belize took over B.I.S.L were highly unusual and unlawful. The written ruling of the judgment contained a very harsh disciplinary tone, and a rebuke of the leader of the Government of Belize, Prime Minister Dean O Barrow, who was the prime minister in June 2013 when B.I.S.L was forcibly taken from its owners.

On Friday June 26th. the House of Representatives held a meeting to discuss several financial motions, shortly after the house meeting Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media that the government won’t pay; can’t pay; end of story.

The case was argued at several sessions in 2019 before the Caribbean Court of Justice by senior council Mr. Eamon Courtenay and Ms. Priscilla Banner for the plaintiff (B.I.S.L) and Mr. Justin Simon, QC and Mrs. Samantha Matute-Tucker for the defendant (GOB).

Today’s decision by the judges was communicated VIA video conference from the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad. The attorneys representing both parties were at their local offices and communicated with the court via live secured video conference.

At the conclusion of the reading of the judges decision, attorney Eamon Courtenay indicated to the court that there have been several other court rulings that has been ignored by the defendant G.O.B.

He asked the court to take additional steps to enforce the judgment.

Attorney Eamon Courtenay indicated that the previous court rulings that have been ignored were, the Universal Health Services (UHS) case in which the government lost and was ordered to pay damages, and the Cruise Solutions case in which the government also lost and was ordered to pay damages.

Very Serious Implications
In an interview on local TV, Channel 5, Attorney Eamon Courtenay implored the people of Belize to read the court’s decision, and to also realize that several hundred million dollars have been spent by the government without any accountability, and that the country is facing a list of huge financial burdens that may have been due to “malfeasance

URL Reference: Summary Judgement of Caribbean Court of Justice decision

Referenced Questions: Why does the court document list “THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF BELIZE – RESPONDENT (defendant) – – –
Because under our system of government “THE ATTORNEY GENERAL” (currently Mr. Michael Peyrifette) will be the only entity that must enforce the court’s orders.

To be continued . . . .

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

THE MAIN AIRPORT – THE P.G.I.A OPENS Aug. 15th. – THE LAND BORDERS WILL REMAIN CLOSED INDEFINITELY

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting )

Flanked by five members of a team that is attempting to craft the best case scenario for the re-opening of the international airport and by effect an attempt to restart the tourism industry, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke to the nation in a virtual press conference that fielded questions from several media representatives.

The press conference was 3 1/2 hours long and covered many subjects. – digitalBelize.LIVE has created a list below with the key segments for your speedy review.

Prime Minister’s Opening Remarks

Tourism Reopening Plan / Karen Bevans / Dir – Belize Tourism Board

Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

Scotiabank Belize Ltd. Acquired By Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited

Belize City, Monday, June 22nd. 2020 – updated 3.05pm

One of Belize’s long known banks ‘Scotiabank’ was acquired today by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited which is headquartered in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The acquisition of all Scotiabank operations in Belize was purchased for $30.5 million U.S, ($61 MILLION Belize dollars).

According to Reuters
“According to Reuters News Agency (Financial). Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited, formerly BCB Holdings Limited, is a holding company. The Company’s segments include financial services and corporate. The Company’s financial services segment consists of all banking activities and related corporate services for its customers. The financial services segment offers products, including lending, traditional savings accounts, term deposits, non-interest bearing and interest bearing checking accounts, as well as credit and debit cards and offering of payment processing services to merchants. The Company’s businesses are conducted through its principle operating subsidiaries, The Belize Bank Limited (BBL) and Belize Corporate Services Limited (BSCL), which together comprise the financial services segment. BBL directly owns Belize Bank International Limited (BBIL). BBL focuses on the provision of financial services and lending to domestic clients. BBIL focuses on the provision of financial services and lending to international clients. – end quote –

Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited – Ownership data – May 2020 – source CIHL

Significant Shareholders Amount Percentage Holdings
Lord Michael Ashcroft KCMG PC77,522,84878.33%
Link Market Trustees18,241,78818.43%

CIHI Trades on the London and Bermuda stock exchanges, The company’s official statement said, “Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited ordinary shares are currently traded on the Alternative Investment Market (‘AIM’) of the London Stock Exchange in the United Kingdom under the symbol ‘CIHL’ and on the Bermuda Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘CIHL’

The stock price of C.I.H.L traded at £41.5 (British Pounds) At 7.50pm GMT (June 22nd.) on the London Stock Exchange. CIHL
Back in January of 2020 the stock price was just under £17.00 per share.

At this time, it is unknown if Scotiabank will retain the same name. The latest information from Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited said that they intend to significantly expand their operations in Belize.

Scotiabank currently operates 9 branches and 21 ATM locations in all districts in Belize.

The news came just a few months after the closing of several Scotiabank operations in the Caribbean in August of 2019. At that time there was widespread speculation that Scotiabank Belize Limited was sold, and Belize’s Central Bank was obliged to issue a statement indicating that any sale of any bank in Belize would require regulatory approval. since at that time there were no such request for the approval of the sale or transfer of ownership of the bank.

The acquisition of Scotiabank by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited will more that likely pass the necessary regulatory approval from the Belize Central Bank.

At 10am this morning Scotiabank Belize Ltd. informed its customers of the change of ownership via a Facebook post.

Dear Valued Customer,
We would like to inform you that Scotiabank has reached an agreement under which Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited (“CIHL”) – the holding company that owns and operates The Belize Bank Limited (“Belize Bank”) will acquire Scotiabank’s operations in Belize through the purchase of 100% of the shares of Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd.

A few years ago there were several British and or Canadian owned banking institutions in Belize. Many may remember Barclays Bank (which became First Caribbean Bank Ltd, then became Heritage Bank) and you may also remember Bank of Nova Scotia which became Scotiabank and now owned by Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited .

There are now no European or Canadian owned /managed banks in Belize.

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

Government Of Belize Announces A Request To ‘Interest Capitalization’ of Bonds Due In 2034

Updated Thursday, June 18th. 7..21am

Today, ( Wednesday, June 17th. 2020) the Government of Belize issued a press release with a ‘Heading’ that said “Belize Announce Request For Interest Capitalization’ To the holders of Belize’s US Dollar Bonds.

We were not aware of exactly what the term means, and we have a feeling that ‘you’ our readers are also unsure of what that term means, so we did some research in the financial world and this is what it means.

What Is Capitalized Interest?
Capitalization is the addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of your loan. The principal balance of a loan increases when payments are postponed during periods of deferment or forbearance and unpaid interest is capitalized. As a result, more interest may accrue over the life of the loan, the monthly payment amount may be higher, or more payments may be required.

What we can tell you is that basically the letter is asking the holders of Belize’s Bonds to wait a few months for the next payment, due to the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As is stated above in the government’s press release, Belize is due to make a payment on August 20th. That payment would normally be $25 million Belize dollars.

What Does The Request For Interest Capitalization Mean
The request to the bond-holders ( ie: investors that purchased Belize’s Bonds) is for the payment of $12.5 million U.S dollars that is due on August 20 should be deferred ; then added to the entire principal balance due, and a payment will be made at a later date, (February 2021), when the country is expected to be in a better financial position.

Additionally, In a separate financial juggling act, on Thursday June 4th. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the Belize Central Bank presented a 30 million U.S Dollar denominated 5 year Treasury Note to buyers, each Treasury Note has a value of $50 thousand U. S dollars.

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

LPG PRICE GOES UP – THE BIG 3 SAYS – ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ AFTER NEW SINGLE SUPPLIER TAKEOVER

Read The full story in this
Friday’s REPORTER NEWSPAPER

The three former importers of LPG (butane), Gas Tomza, Z Gas and BWEL have criticized the National Gas Company Ltd and the Government for the adjustment in the prices of butane in Belize.

In a press release, the group wrote, “The Government of Belize, in response to the increased prices of the monopoly importer of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), has dealt a blow to the Belize consumers,” referring to the adjustment as a 38-cent increase per gallon, which represents a 17% increase, in a matter of just 28 days since the last increase. The group called the adjustment “exploitation of the Belizean consumers by the monopoly importer, NGCL, with connivance and concurrence of the Government of Belize.”

The three companies also reminded that they had warned that the creation of the monopoly would eliminate competition in the industry and would lead to this. Their attorney, Audrey Matura pointed out today that since the national company took over, butane consumers are now paying 69 cents more per gallon.

“This is from a Government that passed a legislation, where the Prime Minister, on the 16th of August, 2019 said, ‘You talk about it being a monopoly. It will have the monopoly in terms of the importation, but that is better than the current situation.’ Let me tell you, at the end of the day, the ‘current situation’ is not worse. Now we have a real monopoly. All competition has been removed. The competition was that there were six companies that were importing. Yes my clients are three of the companies that were large importers combined, but they were separate entities. The Prime Minister knows company law and he knows they are separate. When you look at National Gas Company, it is not a separate entity; it is one entity. What is dangerous is that the Belizean people have missed is that he said it is colour-blind because it has people of the PUP and the UDP. That is dangerous…because they are looking at consolidating the political powers,” Matura said.

The three companies also turned to Belize’s current unemployment rate due to Covid-19 measures and reasoned that people cannot afford to pay more. They also question the quality of the butane being sold.

The former importers call the price adjustments as “unjustified,” pointing out that the National Gas Company has not had a new shipment, and is now applying the new prices to the old shipment imported under the old price regime. They also point to regional neighboring markets which have kept their prices stable since March. This is a point that the Opposition PUP has also raised in also objecting to the adjustment in prices.

“Whenever the price of fuel and associated products go down in the region and around the world, somehow, it never happens in Belize. When questions are asked, Mr. Barrow’s Ministry of Finance concocts wordy, obscure explanations about global factors and acquisition costs, usually with a promise that prices will go down soon,” the PUP stated in a press release of its own.

The PUP went on to also criticize the Government for raising the prices of not only butane, but also of fuel, which incidentally, also had another adjustment this week. The price of Regular went up by 76 cents per gallon. “When prices go down around the world, the price of fuel in Belize, ironically, goes UP. When prices around the world go up by just a few cents, the price of fuel in Belize goes WAY UP,” the PUP release noted.

This Friday’s printed edition of the Reporter will have the full story, with comments from all the parties involved in this matter.

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Written by REPORTER NEWSPAPER
Read the detail article and interviews in this Friday’s REPORTER NEWSPAPER – FB Page

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CCJ RULING IN CRITICAL CASE – IN FAVOR OF ‘CARICOM’S COTED

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting ) – Updated June 14th. 2020 –

Doing big business in the Caribbean has attracted many international companies that provide large quantities of minerals, building materials and fuels., etc.

Today, June 10th. 2020, a key moment in the history of the Caribbean Union (CARICOM) and an arm of that regional organization’s policy and authority was handed down today by the Caribbean Court of Justice.

In a ruling that bolsters the goals of a CARICOM Union committee known as COTED
( Council for Trade and Economic Development ) the court ruled that COTED is justified in creating tariffs that are levied on (in this case, imported cement that came from a country that is not in the CARICOM Union ).

The following is the entire news article from CARICOM.ORG.

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(Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) – In a judgment released Wednesday, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) upheld the decision of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) to raise the tariff on “other hydraulic cement” imported into Barbados.

The CCJ declared, however, that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Barbados failed in their respective duties to conduct prior consultation with the importers, Rock Hard Cement Limited (“Rock Hard”). The Court’s decision was given in the original jurisdiction matter of Rock Hard Cement Limited v The State of Barbados and The Caribbean Community and Arawak Cement Company Limited, Intervening [2020] CCJ 2 (OJ).

On June 17, 2019, COTED, the organ of CARICOM responsible for altering or suspending the Common External Tariff (CET), approved the application of Barbados to suspend the CET of 5% on other hydraulic cement in order to replace it with a tariff of 35%. The suspension was authorised for a period of two years and not the five years requested.

Rock Hard imports other hydraulic cement manufactured in Turkey into Barbados. Rock Hard was not consulted or notified before the application to raise the tariff was made or granted although both Barbados and COTED were aware of the impact the COTED decision would likely have had on that company. Rock Hard claimed that the decision to raise the tariff should be annulled because it had a legitimate expectation that Barbados would keep the tariff steady at the CET rate of 5%. The basis of this legitimate expectation was alleged representations made to Rock Hard by Barbadian officials in 2015 when Barbados reduced the tariff from 60%, where it stood in 2015, to the CET rate of 5%.

The Court held that, in order for Rock Hard to succeed in the Court’s Original Jurisdiction, the alleged representations that gave rise to its expectation must have come from CARICOM, but there was no claim or evidence that it was COTED that made the alleged representations to Rock Hard. The Court held that subsequent knowledge by COTED of the alleged representations could not make COTED a party to them as those representations had not been made on COTED’s behalf.

The Court also dismissed Rock Hard’s claims that the COTED decision was arbitrary or irrational. The Court stated that the rationale and justification presented to COTED by Barbados were supported by the factual circumstances and that in any event the grounds on which the request was approved clearly fell within a category which allows COTED a broad discretion and where the scope for the Court’s intervention is narrow.

On the other hand, the Court decided to declare that Barbados and CARICOM had failed to ensure that Rock Hard was consulted before the application for the suspension was approved. Because the consultation required for an application of this type was limited to obtaining information as to the impact of the proposed tariff increase, the Court decided that the effect of the failure to consult did not call for annulment of the decision. The Court expressed dismay that CARICOM had failed to maintain an effective system of consultations at the national and regional level as required by Article 26 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC). The Court noted that the agreed procedures for the processing of requests to COTED, such as this one made by Barbados, had not yet been formally brought into force. The Court found that this was a weakness in the system.

The Court concluded by stating that it is a matter of Barbadian domestic policy whether that State wished to adopt measures to facilitate the importation of cement produced extra-regionally or encourage locally produced cement manufactured by Arawak Cement Company Limited. The Court emphasised, however, that any such measures and the processes accompanying them must comply with the rule of law.

The judgment was delivered by the full Bench of the CCJ comprising the President, the Honourable Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders and the Honourables Justice Jacob Wit, Justice Winston Anderson, Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Justice Denys Barrow, Justice Andrew Burgess and Justice Peter Jamadar. Mr. Allan Wood, QC and Ms Symone Mayhew, QC appeared for Rock Hard Cement Limited. Ms Gayle Scott and Mr Jared Richards appeared for the State of Barbados. Dr Corlita Babb-Schaefer and Mr O’Neil Francis appeared for the Caribbean Community and Mr Eamon Courtenay, SC and Mr Raphael Ajodha appeared for Arawak Cement Company Limited.

The full judgment of the Court and a judgment summary are available on the Court’s website at www.ccj.org.

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Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE: from caricom.org news

 digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE ISSUES FIRST TIME, U.S DOLLAR DENOMINATED TREASURY NOTES

On Thursday (June 4th) the prime minister of Belize, Dean Barrow informed the nation that the Central Bank of Belize will present an offering of treasury notes totaling 30 million U.S dollars that will have a maturity of 5 years, and will pay 6.5 percent interest. (The offering has been done In 50 thousand U.S dollar denominations or multiples of)

The most remarkable part of the announcement was that this will be the first time that the Central Bank will do the offering in U.S Dollar denomination. Meaning that those who will purchase the Treasury Notes’ will purchase them in U.S Dollar.

The prime minister said “This will augment the Central Bank’s Official Reserve Position’ which has more than the traditional 3 months of import cover,. ( ie: the supply of foreign reserves to purchase imported goods).

The offering was sudden and with very short notice, but not unusual in the midst of the Corona-virus COVID-19 crisis, where-in, just about all countries are carefully managing their money-flows, and their foreign reserves and seeking to borrow money to offset the spike in unemployment due to the crisis. The Treasury Note offering is another method to borrow money.

How Safe Are Treasury Notes
Buying ‘Treasury Notes’ from a country is considered very safe, in some cases even safer than putting your money in a commercial bank, and in very rear cases the interest paid is even better than commercial banks. Because a country’s promise to repay is usually considered safer than most locally owned banks.

The quality or safety grade of a ‘Treasury Note’ is dependent on the stability of the government and the long-term prospects of that country’s economic output.

What Is A Central Bank, and What Does A Central Bank Do
A central bank (or reserve bank) manages a state’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. A Central Bank also offers ‘For Sale’ Treasury Notes that are i-o-u’s that pay an interest rate and have a set date for repayment, (referred to as the date that the Treasury Note will Mature)

A Central banks usually oversee the commercial banks of their country. It issues the national currency, the nation’s money. It controls the overall supply of money. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank can increase or decrease the amount of money in the nation.

Central banks usually also have supervisory powers. These powers are meant to prevent bank runs, and to stop commercial banks and other financial institutions doing reckless or fraudulent things. The relation between central banks and governments varies from country to country.

The chief executive of a central bank is normally known as the Governor, President or Chairman.

An Attractive Offering
The fairly small offering by the Central Bank of Belize is a very cautious and measured amount with a fairly high yield of 6.5%. The amount of $30million US, may be snapped up by a single buyer, and the government may have already arranged or have been suggested-to make the offer by those who can easily buy most of the treasury notes, hence doing it in US denominated currency.

Regional Comparison
The largest borrower of money in the world is the United States, which borrows money in very large trances by offering ‘U.S Treasury Notes and U.S Treasury Bonds’, in tens of billions of dollars.

The Financial Technicians
The primary financial grading institutions for countries are Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, which are based in the United States. They also grade the quality and publish reports about the Treasury Notes and Bonds offered by countries.
For example Guatemala’s Moody’s rating on June 3rd, is ‘BA1’. – Costa Rica’s is currently rated at ‘B2’, Jamaica’s Fitch rating is ‘B+’ and Belize’s Moody’s rating is ‘Caa1’ and similarly Barbados Moody’s rating is at ‘Caa1’. (all June 3 2020 data)

At all Central Banks the daily planning and projection debates are similar to how your family manages its finances, but on a much larger scale, the only difference is that a Central Bank’s actions affects an entire countries economic activity.

Why Such A Small Offering
The 30 million US dollar Treasury Note offering is fairly small, but is considered by observers to be a cautious and safe limit, that can be securely guaranteed by the Government of Belize. The author of this article believes that if the government of Belize were to make a much larger offering that would be earmarked for a massive government backed expansion in the agricultural sector, then foreign wealth management firms would be attracted to such an offering because the country still have a lot of land for agricultural development.

Goals of Financial Stability During The COVID-19 Crisis
The prime minister also mentioned the “ceaseless creative campaign to tap all available external financial sources“; for inflows of money from the IDB (Inter American Development Bank, The World Bank, Taiwan, and OFID, which is OPEC’s Fund for International Development. All totalling 100 million US dollars” – end quote –

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC ENGINE IS REVVING UP – ARE YOU READY BELIZE ?

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting )

Updated June 8th. – Photos & Videos Below

Many people may think that it will take many years for the global economic engine to get back to where it was prior to the COVID19 Pandemic, which, bey-the-way is still going on in many countries in the region.

In the Caribbean and Central America the dependence on tourism has become the Achilles-heel of their economic hardship and high unemployment.

But everyday the stock markets in most countries are open and all of the major industrialized countries in the world are cranking up their economic engine, BECAUSE!, no matter how bad the Corona-virus COVID-19 crisis gets, people have to get back to normal everyday life, there is no other option, and that means going to work and earning a living.

Sink or Swim – The Reality Of Tourism In The Caribbean
The tourism and hospitality Industry was a major part of all Caribbean country’s economy, and the governments of those countries have realized that they better do something fast, because there is no ‘sure-thing’ safety net. As independent nations they must navigate the challenges of the pandemic, just like every other country, or watch their economy’s die, and watch their people suffer.

Opening up airports and borders are just the first step in a strategy to restart your tourism industry, and that does not mean that the visitors will come, because there are no visitors banging at the doors of departure airports to travel to tropical destinations in the Caribbean. But there are strategists and resort owners and hoteliers and AD-agencies and government health departments that are doing all sorts of efforts to make their tourism industry swim through the crisis.

They are using sophisticated and low-tech methods to focus on the vacationer that made money and are making money during the pandemic, and are surely in need of a vacation.

They have created teams and situation rooms that are strategically facing the challenge like they are going to war. They are developing new policies to make the people who will visit feel very safe. and, They are developing new policies to keep their local population and workers safe.

Some strategist are tracking when each of the destinations in the Caribbean will open to foreign visitors . Here is a list of when various Caribbean island-nation will open their borders (airports & seaports).

Reopen date source: Official local government data collected June 3rd, 2020
COVID-19 data source: World Health Org. data.collected June 3rd, 2020

CountryAirports
Re-Opening
COVID-19 DNotes
Antigua and BarbudaJune 4th.26 3 None
ArubaJune 15 to July 1stNone
Bahamas Unknown10211None
BarbadosUnknown927
BelizePlanned July 1st. 182 Uncertain
British Virgin Islands (UK)Unknown …………………………………………Phased reopening to residence
and other selected people with vested interest in the country
Cayman Islands (UK) Sept. 1st.1521 Uncertain
CubaJuly 1st.2,10783
DominicaUnknownPlan to open its borders to regional travelers on July 1st. or Mid July
Dominican RepublicJuly 1st.18,040516 Phased re-opening
The Dominican Republic has been hit the hardest by COVID 19 of all Caribbean country ‘s
Grenada
JamaicaJune 15th.590 cases9
Montserrat (UK)Unknown111
Puerto RicoUnknown4,023140
Sint Maarten77 15
St. Kitts and NevisUnknown
St. LuciaJune 4th.180
Saint Vincent & Grenadines260
Trinidad & TobagoLate June1178Phased re-opening & conditional on COVID-19 decline
Turks and Caicos (UK)July 22nd.121

One of the leading websites that aggregate tourism data and tourism news in the region is TravelPulse.com, which has seen a huge up-tick in online ADs that focus on mitigating the fear of COVID-19, those AD-Agencies work for big-name resorts and small countries that are trying to attract visitors to those destinations.

The Maruba Resort in Belize

In Belize
Belize, St. Lucia and St. Vincent is a part of a handful of countries in the Caribbean that have not had any reported new cases of COVID-19 for more than 35 days now. This is supposed to position the country as having a huge advantage to market itself to foreign vacationers who have worked hard during the pandemic, and are now wanting to vacation somewhere safe from COVID-19.

Marketing & Communication Efforts
A resort in Cancun (Le Blanc Resorts) has developed a comprehensive housekeeping cleaning routine and made a 5 minute video to ‘specifically‘ mitigate the fears of COVID-19

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness pitched his country as ‘soon opening’ on CNN’s Business Editor at Large, Richard Quest.

Watching The Rest Of The World
The BBC’s Travel Show looks at the challenges in the near future. – Coronavirus: Flying in the age of Covid-19? – BBC Travel Show

Additional URL watch list
Which businesses are benefiting from COVID-19 pandemic? ( Al Jazeera Business )

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

What the hec! is all this noise about Tik TOK

It’s 9 pm., in the Caribbean, Do you know where your children are, They are probably on TikTok !

Here is the latest news about a 100 Billion Dollar company that you have never heard of, but your kids probably know the platform very well.

TikTok’s rating drops after Internet war erupts between influencers of short video platform and YouTube.” That was the main story in the Economic Times, on May 22nd. 2020, yes! You read that right, The Economic Times.

Most of us “over-thirty-something” would be baffled by how these new internet-based companies that have literally no products, but are worth so much.

How Much Is TikTok Worth
A recent article in Business Insider says that the parent company of TikTok made $12 Billion in 2018

Hey! Welcome to the 21st century, those are the dynamics of the new era.

So – What’s All The Rave About TikTok
Here is what wikipedia says about TicTok
“TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos.  ByteDance first launched Douyin for the China market in September 2016.

The following videos are excerpts from recently reviewed TikTok content

Later, TikTok was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in markets outside of China. It became available in the United States after merging with musical.ly on 2 August 2018. TikTok and Douyin are similar to each other, however they run on separate servers to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions.

The application allows users to create short music and lip-sync videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. The app is popular in Asia, the United States, and other parts of the world. TikTok and Douyin’s servers are each based in the markets where the apps are available.” -end quote-

TiKTok Usage In The Region & The Caribbean
Why do the kids love TikTok so much, you may ask. – well, approximately 3.4 million people in the Caribbean and Central America have the TikTok App installed on their phones.

A recent article in AdAge says that the usage of TikTok is far greater than expected. “U.S. CONSUMERS SPEND MORE TIME IN TIKTOK THAN AMAZON PRIME VIDEO:

Another statistics and usage tracking company ‘APP ANNIE’ says that more people use TikTok than you may think.

Interpretation: On the graph shown above, the global usage of TikTok has grown to 1.5 Billion hours as of December 2019 from 80 million hours in December of 2017.

New C.E.O From Disney
As the streaming-wars heat up with social-media-streaming-companies, TikTok announced that they will have a new boss at the helm, and on May 20th he joined the company. He is Kevin A. Mayer, the former head of Disneys streaming division, and is now CEO at TikTok.

These new type of companies have just come to the internet in the past 10 years, and many people will ask or say, – “I see no value in the content“. That may be true, but the thing about it is that many people love it and hundreds of millions of people flock to these type of Apps and platforms (Even from the Caribbean).

The strategists at these companies will capitalize on the AD revenue that will come in from so many people watching funny-and-meaningless content on their platform.

Written by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com