St. Lucia prepares for bumper cruise arrivals in March

The St. Lucia Tourism Ministry says it anticipates an almost 15 per cent increase in visitor arrivals for the month of March this year and is preparing for it.

A statement from Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) said the country has, in three days, received 19,052 cruise travelers to the destination and anticipates an additional 125,434 cruise passengers before the month ends, bringing the estimated total to 144,486.

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Caribbean banking sector to benefit from IMF intervention in correspondent banking issues

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has made headway in assisting the Caribbean region in dealing with problems faced due to the loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) also known as de-risking.

Photo by: Kenton Chance

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director addressing delegates at the 2017 Highlevel Caribbean Forum, Kingston, Jamaica

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told delegates at the 2017 High Level Forum in Jamaica on Thursday that following a recent closed door meeting in Barbados, organized by the Fund, that respondent banks in the region will now get technical support from correspondent banks to help them improve the information gaps and regulatory expectations.

“…several correspondent banks are providing technical support to respondent banks in the region—so that they can better address information gaps and regulatory expectations.

“This includes upgrading of systems and processes to better, and more cost-effectively, meet the requirements of home regulators,” Lagarde said.

She said that because of the intervention of the IMF, a global bank, that left the region, the name and location she said she will not disclose, has re-engaged with some respondent banks.

“A major money center bank, again I will not mention the name or the origin, that had left the region has now re-engaged with some banks,” the IMF boss said.

Sean Hagan, Legal Counsel for the IMF said that the major bank has been acting as an intermediary for the past 10 months.

Lagarde also disclosed that every bank in Belize, which lost two-thirds of their correspondent banking relationships, now has at least two correspondent banking relationships, and can process transactions in a timely manner.

The IMF boss says the Fund facilitated the international dialogue on the issue primarily to foster “a shared understanding of the problem, and to help develop policy responses that are tailored to specific challenges faced by Caribbean economies.”

However, she added that “notwithstanding [the] important progress, the issue continues to be a challenge.”

But she says the IMF will not give up in its attempts to work with the regional to find a solution, “not only on the loss of CBR but also on the high costs of international payments.”

The next social contract

– Kemal Derviş
Kemal Derviş, former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey and former Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is Vice President of the Brookings Institution.

PARIS – Around the world nowadays, persistent unemployment, skill mismatches, and retirement frameworks have become central to fiscal policy – and to the often-fierce political debates that surround it. The advanced countries are facing an immediate “aging” problem, but most of the emerging economies are also in the midst of a demographic transition that will result in an age structure similar to that of the advanced economies – that is, an inverted pyramid – in just two or three decades. Indeed, China will get there much sooner. Continue reading

State of economy to determine outcome of US Presidential elections

By: Nicole Best – WASHINGTON DC – 26TH OCTOBER, 2012

At least two US political think tanks agree that the state of the US economy is the number one issue in the 2012 Presidential elections and not foreign policy, as is being touted.

William Galston of the Brooking Institute and Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation told a group of international journalist currently in Washington DC to cover the elections, that despite heated discussions on foreign policy and social issues, during the recently held presidential debates, studies are showing that the state of the economy is the overriding concern of US citizens.

Galston said a recent survey done by the Brooking  Institute of which he is a Senior Fellow showed that there has been a drastic shift in issues that are foremost on the minds of the electorate this year than was in previous elections.

He said most of the voter population – 60% – was more concerned about “issues such as economic growth, job generation, household income and also the question of fiscal policy” than social and cultural issues which had been very significant in previous elections.

“There is a lot of vociferous arguments right now about issues such as abortion in the United states, same-sex marriage but only one to two percent of the electorate will say when asked that those are the issues they consider most important to determine their votes.”

In that same survey, the issue of foreign policy took third place to concerns about health care.

“I would argue that on election day…that the person who scores higher in the economic dimension, is overwhelmingly likely to receive the majority of popular votes and become the next president of the United States,” Galston said.

“In the United States, the concerns of the people, define the central issue of the campaign and from the standpoint of the American people, right now, the future of the American economy over the next four years is overwhelmingly the dominant issue.”

“Candidates could talk about a lot of other issues but the people wouldn’t be interested,” Galston told journalists.

Lee Edwards, a Distinguished Fellow of the Heritage Foundation, has developed a model he calls MOCIM, to help determine the outcome of US Presidential Elections.

MOCIM – Money, Organisation, Candidates as campaigners, Issues and Media,  he says are the most fundamental elements of any US Presidential Elections.

Edwards said going on this principle, he has been able to accurately predict the outcome of US Presidential Elections for the last thirty years, but so far he has said that 2012 elections is “still too close to call”.

“I’m almost ready to call but not quite, because it is so close,” he told CMC later in an interview.

Measuring the two candidates President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney on his MOCIM scale, Edwards said both are fairly equal in points on Money and Organisation. He said President Obama has the edge over Romney on the Candidate as a Campaigner while Romney has the edge on Issues. Regarding Media, Obama is in front but he believes Romney is gaining ground.

However, despite the intellectual calculations, Edwards maintains that the state of the US Economy is the fundamental issue for this elections.

“Clearly the question of the economy, how are things going economically; what about unemployment,” Edwards said in response to a question about what would put the next president in office.

Meanwhile, in what has been described as an unprecedented move in US Presidential elections President Barack Obama went to the polls on Thursday in his hometown Chicago, to cast his vote – taking advantage of the early voter process there.

This is the first time a sitting president has done that and Obama has encouraged others who fear that other commitments may hinder them from going to the polls on November 6th to vote early.©

Calling the Big Banks’ Bluff

By: Frank Schäffler and Norbert F. Tofall

BERLIN – The G-20’s decision in November 2008 not to let any systemically relevant bank perish may have seemed wise at the time, given the threat of a global financial meltdown. But that decision, and bad policies by central banks and governments since then, has given over-indebted major banks the power to blackmail their rescuers – a power that they have used to create a financial system in which they are effectively exempt from liability. Continue reading

The OECD’s Positive Peer Pressure

By Martin S. Edwards

SOUTH ORANGE, NEW JERSEY – If an international organization made recommendations for improving a country’s economy, and the country adopted fewer than half of them, the organization might seem like a failure. But an international organization should be judged according to the quality of the information and advice that it provides, not by whether governments listen. Continue reading