Cash-strap regional airline, LIAT is projected to record a loss of EC$9.2 million (US$3.4 million) at the end of the year.
This is according to chairman of LIAT, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
While the airline’s budgeted total revenue for 2016 was EC$318.8 million (US$118 million), the company is expected to rake in just under EC$30 million (US$111 million).
Dr. Gonsalves said for the current financial year, the carrier made a net profit of EC$5 million (US$1.8 million), up to August this year.
As a result, shareholder governments Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have agreed to invest EC$3.7 million (US$1.37 million) into the struggling company.
Dr. Gonsalves said the other shareholder government, Dominica, was still recovering from the destruction of Tropical Storm Erika over a year ago and therefore was not in a position to provide any financial assistance.
He disclosed that three other regional governments have been asked to become “partners” in the airline- St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.
Last year the airline lost EC$57 million, half of which were attributed to the sale of Dash 8s and severance payments.
Finance Minister Chris Sinckler has dismissed concerns that Barbados would be forced to devalue its currency and seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to address the country’s fiscal challenges.
He was responding to Eddie Abed, president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the impact on the economy by the recent downgrades.
Sinckler believes the rating agency wants to push the country towards the IMF.
The finance minister told the association’s business luncheon that while the country was at crossroads, it would not fall into the hands of the IMF or would it devalue the dollar.
He has put the business community on notice that the Central Bank’s third quarter review would be presented in about two weeks’ time.
The minister made it clear he was not burying his head in the sand, acknowledging that the island was going through “a very rough period” and the economy was struggling due to an unmanageable deficit, “unprecedentedly” high debt levels, infrastructure that was under “significant stress,” unemployment, especially among young people and a “severely challenged” social development services platform.
The new owner of the financially-troubled multi-billion dollar Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas is now owned by Perfect Luck Holdings Limited.
The Office of Prime Minister Perry Christie said in a statement the assets of Baha Mar Resort have been acquired by Perfect Luck Holdings Limited.
However, the identities of the owners of the company remain shrouded in secrecy.
The statement said the project is back on track and remobilization has commenced, and through high level negotiations, a substantial fund has been established by the China Export-Import (CEXIM) Bank for the payment of creditors’ claims and that former Baha Mar Bahamian employees were already being paid.
The statement affirmed that the government will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Baha Mar is sold to a world class hotel and casino operator.
Plans by the Opposition for a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit were defeated after Opposition Leader Lennox Linton was debarred from the debate for refusing to apologize to the Speaker Alix Boyd Knights.
According to the opposition motion, the prime minister is allegedly mismanaging the economy, as evidenced by rising unemployment, sharp declines in performance of agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, construction, a massive national debt and an increase in the trade deficit.
The motion was defeated by the government side after the opposition MPs refused to speak or vote in solidarity with Linton.
The opposition leader was accused of using unparliamentary language and being rude to the speaker and was asked to apologize if he wants to stay in the Parliament.
Guyana and the United States have signed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that will allow the sharing of banking information of United States citizens in an effort to combat and deter offshore tax evasion.
According to the Ministry of Finance, United States Ambassador Perry Holloway said the agreement, which has been in the making for the past two years will mutually benefit both countries, as they collaboratively work to deterring tax evasion.
The FATCA agreement will allow financial institutions, through the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), to share banking information of United States citizens.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan said transparency and accountability among financial institutions would be increased through the automatic exchange of bank account information.
He said this will also encourage taxpayers to voluntarily disclose all relevant information to tax authorities.
Haitian police have launched a manhunt for about 150 inmates who are on the run after a major prison breakout from Arcahaie jail about 30 miles north of the capital Port-au-Prince recently.
Two guards and three inmates died during the jailbreak.
Security forces say they have recaptured l0 of the inmates so far and are investigating whether prison guards were involved.
Justice Minister Camille Edward Junior told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste that the alleged mastermind of the prison break, convicted kidnapper Yvener Carelus, was one of the men captured.
He said the escape was planned from inside the prison with a few accomplices.
The prisoners attacked guards, stole firearms and shot at prison officials as they escaped.
Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles called the breakout out a “mutiny”.
Haitian prisons are overcrowded and inmates spend years in pre-trial detention.
St. Lucia’s former consul general in Canada Stephen Julien was sworn in as the island’s attorney general in St. Lucia last week replacing Kim St. Rose who left office on Oct. 4, 2016.
The ceremony for Julien who was a former magistrate was held at Government House.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said he was very excited about the amount of support that the government will be giving to Julien and disclosed that one of the most successful attorney generals in the United Kingdom has agreed to mentor the new attorney general.
The former attorney general, Kim St. Rose, who was appointed by the former St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) administration, was directly involved as attorney general in two court cases that involved Chastanet before he became prime minister.
She became a part of Chastanet’s cabinet by default after his then opposition United Workers Party (UWP) won the June 6 general elections by a margin of 11 seats to six, St. Rose was on contract until 2018.
Chastanet said St. Rose has agreed to become a special advisor to the prime minister dealing with constitutional matters.
Trinidadians will go to the polls on Nov. 28 to elect mayors and councilors of the 14 corporations.
In making the announcement, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said he had advised President Anthony Carmona to issue the writ for the Local Government election.
He said there were several things to be considered in deciding the election date, including the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election due next year.
And it was the best option to get it over with so the state can go on to confront its other challenges.
He said the decision to go ahead with the election is despite the fact that government could have delayed it for another 90 days into January 2017.
In the 2013 local election, the PNM won 84 out of the 136 seats and eight out of 14 corporations.
— compiled by Azad Ali