West Indies Are Champions Again

News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Dec. 22, 2023: In just 48 hours, the narrative of the cricket series underwent a dramatic transformation. From Tuesday’s electrifying, record-shattering display, the stage shifted to a tense, low-scoring thriller on the same ground, culminating in a nail-biting victory for West Indies on Thursday night.

Jason Holder (C) and Shai Hope (R) of the West Indies celebrate winning the 5th T20I between the West Indies and England at Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on December 21, 2023. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Shai Hope emerged as the hero, striking a decisive six in an unexpected yet spectacular fashion, with four balls to spare. His masterful shot, clearing the ropes at point off the second delivery of the final over, clinched a four-wicket win for West Indies against England in a gripping finish.

This series, marked by explosive batting displays and soaring run rates, saw a surprising twist in England’s fortunes midway through. Ultimately, it concluded with a 3-2 series victory for West Indies, reinforcing their dominance over England in their home conditions across various formats for the past half-decade, crowning them as champions once again.

Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell and Akeal Hosein of West Indies pose for a photo with the champion’s trophy after the 5th T20 International between the West Indies and England at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 21, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

The atmosphere at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy was electric, with Shai Hope’s batting brilliance pivotal in securing the five-match T20 International Series for West Indies.

Choosing to field first, West Indies successfully contained England to a modest 132. The pursuit of 133 was a rollercoaster, as the home side went from a solid 95-3 in the 15th over to a precarious 123-6 with just two overs left, bringing the series decider to an edge-of-the-seat climax.

West Indies players pose for a photo with the winner’s trophy during the 5th T20 International between the West Indies and England at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 21, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

In the pressure-cooker of the final over, delivered by Sam Curran, West Indies required nine runs for victory. They kicked off with three runs off the first ball, courtesy of Jason Holder’s edge to deep square. Hope then skillfully relieved the pressure, slicing the next delivery – a wide, full-length ball – for an impressive six, completing his innings with a crucial unbeaten 43 from 43 balls, and propelling West Indies to a 3-2 series triumph.

Rovman Powell, the West Indies captain, lauded Hope’s crucial role, acknowledging his importance on the challenging pitch. He noted that Hope’s ability to patiently accumulate runs was a key strategy for the team’s batting approach.

Contributing significantly to the win were Sherfane Rutherford, with a vital 30 off 24 balls, and opener Johnson Charles, who made a quickfire 27 from 22 balls in his first game of the series.

The victory was also a testament to some exceptional bowling. Gudakesh Motie, playing in only his fifth match, earned the Man-of-the-Match award with a career-best performance. His remarkable spell of 4 overs, 34 runs, and 3 wickets was integral in dismantling England’s lineup, including the dismissals of Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone, and Harry Brook. Akeal Hosein, another left-arm spinner, thrived in his home conditions, finishing with 4 overs, 20 runs, and 2 wickets, claiming Will Jacks and Moeen Ali.

Reflecting on the contrasting nature of the series, England’s Reece Topley acknowledged the phenomenal cricket displayed by both teams. He expressed enthusiasm for playing in what was effectively a final, underlining the aspiration to secure series victories for England.

West Indies notched their third T20I Series win of the year, following victories over South Africa in Johannesburg and India in Fort Lauderdale.

Caribbean Travel Updates And Deals

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Dec. 21, 2023: Here are the top Caribbean travel news and deals this week in 60 seconds.

Canada is warning nationals to avoid all travel to Haiti due to the threat posed by kidnappings, gang violence and the potential for civil unrest throughout the country.

The Canadian government is also warning nationals to Exercise a high degree of caution If travelling to or in the Bahamas due to high rates of crime, especially in Freeport​and Nassau.

A cruise ship passenger who got lost while hiking in Grenada’s rainforest on Monday 18th December 2023 have been found alive but with bruises caused by her ordeal of spending two nights in the Grand Etang Forest reserve area as she struggled to find her way out. 51 year old Heyse Celine was a passenger of the Costa Fortuna who went to Grand Etang and got lost in the forest reserve while searching for a waterfall.

Alaska Airlines is now flying nonstop from both Los Angeles and Seattle to Nassau, The Bahamas. The Los Angeles-Nassau flights are operating four times each week for the peak season. The Seattle-Nassau flights are operating three times per week for the same period.

The Rolling Stones now have their own Caribbean rum. “Crossfire Hurricane” is inspired by the opening lyrics from their hit 1968 song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” It is a premium blend of rums from Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic, aged for five years in charred oak barrels.

Beaches Resort is now offering deals from USD 269 per night for its Ocho Rios property. Check it out now

Meanwhile, Ring In The New year In The Dominican Republic from January 30th​to Feb 2 with a hotel and Flight Deal from Fort Lauderdale, FL. Book now

D-Day For West Indies, England

News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Weds. Dec. 20, 2023: It’s D-Day tomorrow for the West Indies and England as the two sides clash at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad.

Reece Topley of England shakes hands with Gudakesh Motie of West Indies after the 4th T20 International match between West Indies and England at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 19, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

England on Tuesday night leveled the series after the Windies men had held a 2-0 lead. Once again, England’s opening batsman, Phil Salt, delivered a remarkable performance in the fourth T20 International at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Tuesday night, contributing significantly to the visitors’ victory. Pursuing a challenging target of 268, Salt, displaying his right-handed prowess, produced an astonishing innings of 119 runs off just 57 balls.

Phil Salt of England plays an attacking shot into the on-side as Nicholas Pooran of West Indies looks on during the 4th T20 International match between West Indies and England at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 19, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

The West Indies, in response, fell short and were dismissed for a total of 192 in the 16th over.

England secured a convincing 75-run win, leveling the series at 2-2. As a result, the fifth and final match on Thursday, to be held at the same venue, will serve as the series decider, with the victor claiming the trophy. The first ball is scheduled for 4 p.m. (3 pm Jamaica Time).

Nicholas Pooran of the West Indies walks off the field dismissed by Sam Curran of England during the 4th T20I between the West Indies and England at Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on December 19, 2023. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

England’s innings got off to a flying start Tuesday as Salt hammered seven fours and ten sixes, laying the foundation for their record-breaking total of 267-3. He formed a formidable opening partnership of 117 runs with captain Jos Buttler, who contributed 55 runs off 29 balls, including six fours and three sixes. This partnership marked their second consecutive century stand.

Salt continued to shine, adding 56 runs for the second wicket with Will Jacks (24) and then 73 runs for the third wicket with Liam Livingstone. Livingstone remained unbeaten on 54 runs, which came off just 21 balls and featured four fours and four sixes.

When it was West Indies’ turn to bat, Nicholas Pooran scored 39 runs, and Sherfane Rutherford contributed 36, displaying explosive hitting but failing to carry on. In the latter stages of the innings, the experienced all-rounder, Andre Russell, made a quickfire 51 runs off 25 balls, including five towering sixes.

West Indies captain Rovman Powell acknowledged the exceptional performance of Salt and Buttler, stating, “Credit has to be given where credit is due. I think Phil Salt and Jos (Buttler) batted really well upfront. Having said that, we didn’t hit our plans but those things do happen. Thursday gives us an opportunity to come and do better. The boys like a final, it seems. We’ll come Thursday with brand-new ideas, brand-new plans, and see how best we can entertain our fans at home.”

Nicholas Pooran of West Indies batting during the 4th T20 International match between West Indies and England at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 19, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)


Meanwhile, the ongoing T20 International Series between West Indies and England has evolved into a spectacular showcase of six-hitting prowess, captivating cricket enthusiasts worldwide. In the four completed matches thus far, both teams have unleashed a barrage of sixes, tallying an astounding 108 sixes in total. This remarkable feat sets a new record for the highest number of sixes in any bilateral series between two full-member nations, surpassing the previous record of 96.

Within this series, West Indies have thundered their way to 57 sixes, while England has launched an impressive 51 sixes—mind you, with one match still to be played! It promises to be a breathtaking spectacle as we eagerly anticipate how many more sixes will soar into the stands at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, and perhaps even breach the confines of the stadium during the grand finale on Thursday evening.

The explosive six-hitting extravaganza commenced with West Indies hitting 14 sixes in their opening victory at Kensington Oval in Barbados while chasing down a target of 171, securing a thrilling four-wicket win. This display of power hitting continued in the second match at Grenada National Stadium, where they recorded another 13 sixes on their way to a 10-run victory.

The third match, also in Grenada, witnessed the home team unleashing a staggering 16 maximums, despite narrowly losing in a cliffhanger. Then, in the fourth match at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Tuesday, West Indies hammered another 14 sixes, even though they ended up on the losing side.

But there’s more to the story of six-hitting prowess. This year alone, West Indies have launched an impressive 150 sixes in 12 completed matches. Their most prolific performance came when they scored a remarkable 258-5 against South Africa at Centurion in March, amassing a colossal 22 sixes. During that epic showdown, Johnson Charles stole the spotlight with 11 sixes while top-scoring with 118 runs off just 46 balls.

With an average of 12.5 sixes per match, West Indies leads the charge, boasting the highest average of any full-member nation in any year. To put it into perspective, the next highest average is Australia, with 9.4 sixes per match. The West Indies’ remarkable six-hitting prowess is setting new standards and thrilling fans with each boundary-clearing strike.

Caribbean Immigrant Appointed Commissioner of NYC Department of Corrections

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: A Caribbean immigrant has made history by becoming the first Caribbean national and the second Black woman to assume the role of Commissioner at the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC), in its 128-year history.

Lynelle Maginley-Liddie was named to the post by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Born in Antigua & Barbuda and raised in a Christian household, Maginley-Liddie attributes her remarkable career to her faith and the unwavering support of her family. Her diverse background, shaped by her Caribbean upbringing and experiences in the cultural mosaic of New York City, has instilled in her a strong moral compass, emphasizing impartiality, justice, and compassion in both life and work.

In accepting her appointment, Maginley-Liddie pledged to prioritize staff support and create safe, humane conditions for detainees. She expressed her dedication to setting high standards for correctional best practices, ensuring that both staff and detainees receive the best possible care.

Maginley-Liddie’s historic appointment aligns with the NYCDOC’s tradition of promoting women, particularly women of color, to leadership positions. As she assumes this role, she hopes to inspire others to envision themselves in leadership roles and effect real change within the agency.

Maginley-Liddie’s career with the City of New York began in 2015, and she has since held various roles within the NYCDOC, culminating in her appointment as Commissioner. Prior to her tenure at NYCDOC, she worked as an associate at a prominent New York law firm.

Her commitment to public service, her journey as an immigrant, and her dedication to justice and equality make Lynelle Maginley-Liddie a trailblazing figure in her field.

Mayor Adams expressed his confidence in Maginley-Liddie’s ability to lead the department, acknowledging her significant contributions to the NYCDOC over the past decade. He praised her role in the administration’s efforts to reform the Rikers Island Correctional Facility, reversing years of mismanagement and neglect.

“Lynelle Maginley-Liddie has spent the better part of a decade at the Department of Correction, and I confident that she is the right person to lead the department going forward,” said Mayor Adams. “​​Lynelle has played a significant role in the progress we have made over the last 23 months at DOC, supporting this administration’s efforts to reverse decades of mismanagement and neglect on Rikers Island, and she is prepared to take the reins of this department at such a pivotal moment. Public safety and justice are the prerequisites to prosperity, and under the leadership of Commissioner Maginley-Liddie, our administration will continue to ensure dignity, safety, and care for the hard-working staff in our correction facilities and all detainees in our care. She is a steady hand, who will continue the good work of now-Assistant Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Louis Molina. I thank Lou for everything he did at the Department of Correction and look forward to working with him in this new role.”

Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, New York City Corporation Counsel and fellow Caribbean-born official, commended Maginley-Liddie’s dedication to public service and her qualifications to drive the necessary changes at Rikers. She emphasized the Law Department’s commitment to collaborating with the new Commissioner.

Playa Hotels & Resorts Completes $82 Million Sale of Jewel Punta Cana

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: Playa Hotels & Resorts N.V. (NASDAQ: PLYA) has successfully concluded the sale of the Jewel Punta Cana, securing a total gross consideration of $82.0 million in a transaction completed on December 15, 2023.

The company anticipates total net proceeds of approximately $70.0 million from the sale. As part of the deal, Playa Hotels & Resorts has also entered into a long-term hotel management agreement with the new owner to continue managing the resort. The funds generated from this transaction will be allocated for general corporate purposes.

Situated just 20 minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport on the picturesque Uvero Alto Beach, the 620-room, all-ages resort remains an attractive destination for travelers.

Moody’s Raises Ratings On Suriname Following Debt Restructuring

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: Suriname, a member of the Caribbean Community, (CARICOM), has received upgraded ratings from Moody’s after successfully restructuring its debt.

Holders of Suriname’s two Eurobonds, which had been in default since the end of 2020, were offered new debt instruments worth US$660 million and an oil-linked security in exchange for their defaulted debt. This exchange applied to holders of Suriname’s notes due in 2023 and 2026. Suriname has also reached restructuring agreements with several official creditors, although agreements with some other commercial domestic and foreign creditors for smaller debt amounts are still being finalized.

As a result of these developments, S&P Global Ratings raised its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Suriname from ‘SD’ (selective default) to ‘CCC+/C’ on December 6, 2023. The outlook for the long-term ratings is stable.

The stable outlook reflects the government’s commitment to fiscal reform and macroeconomic stabilization, along with the completion of the debt restructuring. However, it also considers the risks associated with developing institutions and governance weaknesses, including debt management.

S&P Global Ratings has outlined possible scenarios for Suriname’s ratings. In a downside scenario, the ratings could be lowered if expected financing from multilateral lending institutions fails to materialize or if other policy or administrative developments increase the likelihood of another default. In an upside scenario, the ratings could be raised if the government continues to make progress in concluding restructuring agreements with creditors, meets the conditions of multilateral lending institutions, strengthens debt management, and implements proactive economic policies that reduce the likelihood of another commercial debt payment default.

The ‘CCC+’ long-term sovereign ratings for Suriname indicate its dependence on favorable economic conditions to meet its financial commitments. The ratings also take into account factors such as high inflation, a challenging socio-political environment, and vulnerabilities in the financial sector.

Suriname’s recent debt restructuring follows missed payments on commercial debt and subsequent restructuring announcements in 2020 and 2021. S&P Global Ratings upgraded Suriname’s long-term rating to ‘CCC+’ following the successful debt exchange, which addressed the government’s outstanding U.S. dollar bond debt. The restructuring extended the maturities of the bonds to 2033 and included an accrued interest rate of 7.95%, with a payable rate of 4.95% before 2026. Principal payments on the bonds are not due until January 2027. Additionally, an oil-linked security with a notional amount of US$314.7 million was introduced, payable only if Suriname receives oil royalties from offshore Block 58. Bondholders will receive a share of the yearly oil royalties from Block 58 after the government receives US$100 million in royalties.

This debt exchange is expected to be the final resolution for the 2023 and 2026 bonds, and it reduces the near-term litigation risk related to future debt service.

Jamaica Offers Nearly 300MW Of Renewable Energy Projects for Development

News Americas, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: Jamaica’s power utility, Jamaica Public Service (JPS), has opened the call for expressions of interest (EOIs) for the engineering, procurement, and construction of renewable energy projects totaling almost 300MW. These projects include a 115MW utility-scale solar plant, 172MW of battery storage across multiple sites, and a 12MW onshore wind farm. JPS aims for these projects to commence commercial operations between 2026 and 2027.

Interested parties have until December 22 to submit their EOIs, with more information available on the official website. Following the submission deadline, a group of shortlisted firms will be invited to submit formal offers, and the awarding of contracts is scheduled for the last quarter of the following year.

This initiative aligns with the government’s goal to procure 100MW of renewable energy, contributing to Jamaica’s target of achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030. Currently, the country’s installed capacity stands at 1,041MW, with approximately 83% derived from thermal sources, mainly natural gas, while the remaining capacity comes from renewable sources such as wind, hydro, and solar energy.

Green Energy Fund Launches In Bermuda

News Americas, HAMILTON, Bermuda, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: In a move to bolster the growth of Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance sectors, the Irbisio Green Energy Fund has been established with a focus on investing in clean technology infrastructure.

With a primary objective of deploying $100 million of investments within the next two years, the fund aims to finance sustainable projects that contribute to achieving carbon neutrality while offering stable returns to its investors.

Located at Innovation House on Reid Street in Hamilton Bermuda, the fund is currently staffed by one person but plans to expand its team by hiring a lawyer and a financial analyst in the coming year. Operating discreetly over the past year, Irbisio intends to make investments across Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

Furthermore, the fund is open to investing in local Bermudian projects, with a particular emphasis on harnessing Bermuda’s renewable energy potential, which could lead to reduced consumer prices. The fund spokesperson also highlighted the possibility of Bermudian companies becoming national leaders and expanding to other island nations.

Irbisio’s investment criteria are based on three core factors: impact (such as CO2 reduction), reliability (ensured revenues through long-term contracts), and rapid construction time. Potential investment areas include renewable energy communities, recycling initiatives, and solar and energy storage solutions for residential and commercial sectors.

The Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) played a pivotal role in the creation of Irbisio, facilitating interactions with government regulators, legal counsel, and banks. David Hart, CEO of the BDA, emphasized that Irbisio’s establishment aligns with Bermuda’s ambition to become a global leader in the climate risk solutions sector.

Sergey Buchin, founder and CEO of Irbisio, stressed the significance of financial precision and deep technological understanding in the clean tech sector. The fund seeks to promote sustainable development by aligning with major technological trends and offering de-risked investment opportunities. Insights from the COP28 climate conference have influenced the fund’s financial model to enhance impact and returns.

Bermuda’s focus on sustainability, driven by its vulnerability to rising temperatures and the presence of many reinsurance companies, makes it an ideal location for Irbisio. The fund promises significant CO2 reduction and other environmental benefits while ensuring financial returns and adhering to rapid completion timelines.

Irbisio plans to invest in high-return projects with defined exit strategies, ensuring quick capital turnaround. The fund is supported by a substantial project pipeline, encompassing energy conservation, sustainable energy generation, and usage optimization. Irbisio also commits to following industry best practices and maintaining robust and accountable investment operations.

In a related development at COP28, Howden Group founder and CEO David Howden addressed the pressing issue of climate risk management and protection for vulnerable countries during his keynote address for the major event.

Fitch Ratings Revise Outlook Of This Caribbean Nation

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Dominican Republic’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘BB-‘ and revised the Outlook to Positive from Stable. The Positive Outlook reflects improved governance, robust growth prospects, and a trend towards higher per capita income. Dominican Republic’s governance indicators have shown improvement, and there are expectations of legislative changes to enhance the macro institutional framework. Growth, while decelerating in 2023, is expected to recover in 2024-2025. External liquidity metrics have improved, and foreign currency debt is decreasing.

The ratings are supported by strong economic growth, diversified exports, high per-capita GDP, and favorable governance scores. However, fiscal challenges, external liquidity buffers, and reliance on external bond market financing are constraints. The upcoming presidential and legislative elections in May 2024 are expected to maintain political stability. Stimulus measures have been enacted in response to slowing growth in 2023.

Inflation has fallen, enabling the central bank to cut the policy rate. The current account deficit is forecasted to decline, largely funded by robust FDI inflows. Tax advances have been used to fund higher capex. The government has increased local market borrowing. Fiscal reforms are under discussion, including a tax reform. The electricity sector remains a fiscal vulnerability.

ESG considerations include political stability, rule of law, institutional quality, control of corruption, human rights, and creditor rights. These factors have varying degrees of relevance to the rating and are assessed accordingly.

Rating Sensitivities:
Negative factors that could lead to a downgrade include a sharp deterioration in public finances, external vulnerability, or failure to achieve strong growth. Positive rating action could result from improved fiscal flexibility, higher growth, or further governance improvements.

Country Ceiling:
The Country Ceiling for the Dominican Republic is in line with the Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR, indicating no material constraints on capital or exchange controls.

ESG Considerations:
Dominican Republic’s ESG Relevance Scores are ‘5[+]’ for Political Stability and Rights, ‘5’ for Rule of Law, Institutional & Regulatory Quality, and Control of Corruption, ‘4[+]’ for Human Rights and Political Freedoms, and ‘4’ for Creditor Rights. These factors are considered relevant to the rating and are key rating drivers with varying impact on the credit profile.

Guyana’s Oil Revenues Projected To Reach $11 Billion By 2028

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Dec. 19, 2023: On the heels of threats by Venezuela, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its latest report on Guyana’s economic outlook, forecasting a substantial surge in oil revenues for the country.

According to the report, Guyana’s oil revenues are expected to reach a staggering US$11 billion (GY$2.3 trillion) by 2028, driven by royalties and profit oil generated from six floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels operating in the prolific Stabroek Block.

This estimated amount represents a significant 36.5% of Guyana’s gross domestic product (GDP) and showcases the nation’s growing economic potential in the oil sector. The projections for oil revenues are meticulously calculated based on expected earnings from oil exports, aligning with the guidelines outlined in the 2021 Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act.

Despite the rapid expansion of the oil industry, the IMF’s report highlights that Guyana’s economy has not shown signs of inflationary pressures or overheating. This steady growth trajectory is attributed to Guyana’s commitment to fiscal prudence and disciplined fiscal management.

The report anticipates a moderation in fiscal impulses and outlines a path toward achieving a zero overall fiscal balance by the year 2028, emphasizing the nation’s dedication to responsible economic policies.

Guyana has set ambitious goals for its oil production, aiming to exceed one million barrels per day from six FPSOs by 2027. Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo expressed confidence that the substantial oil revenues will enable the country to address its debts effectively.

The recent commencement of operations for Prosperity, the third FPSO, alongside the existing Liza Destiny and Unity vessels, marks a significant milestone in Guyana’s oil production journey. Furthermore, the upcoming launches of the ONE GUYANA, Errea Wittu, and Jaguar FPSOs are expected to further boost the country’s oil production capabilities.