Here’s What You Need to Know About the Latest US Investments in the Caribbean

By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, New York, NY, Fri. July 19, 2024: Ever wondered about the total U.S. Direct Investment made in the Caribbean recently? News Americas analyzed the latest figures available from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2022 on the heels of the recent Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Ministerial in D.C., and here’s where it stands according to a News Americas analysis. Countries not listed either received no inward US investments or had no data available for 2022 or 2021. They included Guyana, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua & Barbuda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended an emergency meeting on Haiti at the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Kingston, Jamaica, on March 11, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The total investment for 2022 in some 16 countries was approximately US $296.1 billion. The investments per country from highest to lowest were as follows, based on the latest available data – 2022.

US Investments in the Caribbean (2022)

CountryInvestment Amount (USD)Change from 2021Bermuda$206.4 billion-12.7%The Bahamas$42.6 billion+1.4%Curacao$9.2 billion+18.1%Trinidad and Tobago$6 billion+49.6%The Dominican Republic$2.5 billion+3.7%St. Kitts and Nevis$468 million+1.5%Jamaica$239 million+5.8%Anguilla$137 million-14.4%Caribbean Netherlands$123 million+2.5%Belize$122 million-1.6%Sint Maarten$93 million-7.0%Barbados$28.3 million-12.9%Aruba$20 million+900.0%Haiti$17 million-22.7%St. Lucia$12 million-340.0% Grenada US $7 million 0 %

These investments reflect the economic engagement of the United States with the Caribbean region, indicating both growth and decline in various countries.

Caribbean Distilled Vodka Made From Breadfruit Raises Over $800K

News Americas, New York, NY, July 18, 2024: A Caribbean distilled and the world’s first award-winning Island Vodka handcrafted from breadfruit, has so far raised over USD800,000 in a crowdfunding equity raise on the platform Start Engine.

This Caribbean Based Vodka Made From Breadfruit has raised Over 800K To Date. (mutinyislandvodka.com image)

Mutiny Island Vodka, the world’s first award-winning vodka handcrafted from breadfruit, has successfully has secured $855,507.81 from 499 investors, with a minimum investment of $495.60 or $4.72 per share raised as of July 17, 2024.

Founded in 2017 by American-born Chef Todd Manley, Mutiny Island Vodka operates out of the 20,000 sq. ft. solar-powered Sion Farm distillery on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company is committed to zero waste production and also offers ginger and turmeric-infused vodka, hot pepper-infused vodka, and Puerto Rican coffee-infused vodka. To date, the company has reported $5 million in sales.

Mutiny Island Vodka takes its name from the historic Mutiny on the Bounty. According to the company, they combined breadfruit with purified Caribbean rainwater to create the unique vodka. Manley, a graduate and former graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University, previously ran multiple restaurants with average revenues of $1.4M per year each. After relocating to the U.S. Virgin Islands, he opened several successful businesses and was honored by the local Chamber of Commerce as “Business Man of the Year” in 2015. He also received the U.S. Congressional Award for his contributions to the community of St. Croix.

In recognition of his work with breadfruit, Manley was honored at the Global Breadfruit Summit in Hawaii in 2018 and 2022. Mutiny Island Vodka has also received endorsement from the Trees That Feed Foundation for using breadfruit as a substrate, encouraging the planting of breadfruit trees. The vodka has also been featured in Forbes, further cementing its reputation.

The history of breadfruit in the Caribbean dates back to the late 18th century, when it was introduced by the British as a cheap food source for slaves. Today, breadfruit is valued for its versatility, nutritional benefits, and climate resilience. A new study published in the journal Current Biology highlights the crop’s potential to improve food security and sovereignty in tropical regions.

Breadfruit trees are low-maintenance and can produce fruit for decades, sequestering carbon and requiring fewer resources than annual staple crops. “It should fare better than some major crops under climate change scenarios and can be utilized in a variety of ways,” said Nyree Zerega of Northwestern University.

Mutiny Island Vodka’s success in raising capital underscores the growing interest in sustainable and innovative food and beverage products. The vodka can be purchased at mutinyislandvodka.com.

This Caribbean Island Is Getting More Airlift

News Americas, New York, NY, July 17, 2024: Grand Bahama Island is preparing for a significant boost in airlift this fall, continuing the upward trend in tourism that has marked 2024 as a year of growth. This expansion follows a record-breaking 2023, where the island saw a 33% increase in foreign air arrivals, the highest growth among all Bahamian islands.

New airlift is coming to Grand Bahama island.

Starting in late August, Westernair will launch new service between Fort Lauderdale and Freeport, addressing the increasing travel demand from South Florida. Bahamasair will also enhance its Fort Lauderdale to Freeport route from September 6 to October 3, 2024, ensuring continued airlift during American Airlines’ temporary suspension of its Miami-Freeport service due to peak hurricane season.

American Airlines will resume daily flights to Freeport on October 3, ramping up to twice-daily service from Miami in November, alongside a new Saturday service from Charlotte.

Further bolstering airlift, Bahamasair will inaugurate a new route between West Palm Beach and Freeport on November 17, 2024, just in time for Thanksgiving. This service complements the existing twice-weekly nonstop flights between Orlando and Freeport, launched on June 17 and continuing through September 3, 2024.

For the first five months of 2024, foreign air arrivals to Grand Bahama outpaced the same period in 2023 by 8%, setting the stage for a strong year surpassing pre-Hurricane Dorian figures.

“Our focus on increasing airlift into Grand Bahama underscores our commitment to the community and our partners,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, I. Chester Cooper. “We are positioning the island to benefit from significant investments and growing tourism demand. We are continuously exploring new markets and restoring services from both local and international airlines.”

This June saw the return of Sunwing Airlines’ nonstop service from Montreal, Neos/Alpitour Airlines from Milan, and Bahamasair’s Freeport-Orlando service. Additionally, interline agreements were signed between Bahamasair and Virgin Atlantic, as well as Alaska Airlines, facilitating seamless travel for visitors from the UK and the West Coast via Nassau. An upcoming agreement with Turkish Airlines in September will further expand travel options to Grand Bahama.

“As foreign airlift arrivals and seat capacity continue to grow, we are committed to attracting visitors from new markets and enhancing existing routes,” Deputy Prime Minister Cooper added. “This includes key connections from Charlotte, Durham, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Milan, Montreal, and Toronto.”

Grand Bahama’s expanding airlift signifies a robust recovery and growth trajectory for the island’s tourism sector, promising increased connectivity and economic benefits for the local community.

Caribbean Heritage, Ozy Media Co-Founder Faces Up To 37 Years in Jail

News Americas, New York, NY, July 17, 2024: Carlos Watson, the Caribbean heritage co-founder of Ozy Media, now faces up to 37 years in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of defrauding investors and lenders. The jury reached their verdict after three days of deliberation, following an eight-week trial that uncovered numerous deceptive practices within the company.

Carlos Watson, the Jamaican American co-founder and chief executive officer of Ozy Media Inc., center, arriveing at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, US, on Friday, June 7, 2024. Watson was found guilty on charges that he conspired to defraud investors in Ozy Media, the digital media start-up he co-founded on July 16, 2024. Photographer: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Prosecutors accused Watson of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, presenting detailed evidence of deceptive actions, including impersonated phone calls, fabricated contracts, and inflated claims about Ozy’s financial health. “Watson knew the company was failing, but he was determined to turn Ozy and himself into the next big thing, and he wasn’t going to let the truth stand in his way,” stated Gillian Kassner, the prosecutor, during closing arguments in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York.

Watson’s defense team argued that any fraudulent activities were the responsibility of other Ozy employees. Watson himself testified that his representations to investors were based on genuine assessments of Ozy’s finances and that any discrepancies were typical of a young start-up’s growing pains. Despite these defenses, the jury was not persuaded.

Watson, born and raised in Miami, Florida, is one of four siblings born to Jamaican parents. His early life saw him navigate numerous challenges, including an early expulsion from kindergarten. Watson graduated from Harvard University and went on to play significant roles in political campaigns, including managing Bill Clinton’s 1992 Election Day effort in Miami-Dade County, Florida. He later attended Stanford Law School, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review and president of the Stanford Law School Student Government.

After a stint at McKinsey & Company, Watson co-founded Achieva College Prep Service, which he sold to Kaplan, Inc. in 2002. He later became the Global Head of Education Investment Banking for Goldman Sachs and co-founded College Track with Laurene Powell Jobs in 1997.

Watson’s media career began in earnest in 2002 with guest appearances on Fox News and Court TV. He joined CNBC in early 2003 and moved to CNN later that year, where he became a well-known political commentator. His work on CNN, particularly during the 2004 presidential election, and his hosting of “Meet the Faith” on BET, established him as a prominent media figure.

In 2013, Watson co-founded Ozy Media with Samir Rao, raising over $70 million from notable investors. Ozy expanded into TV shows and podcasts, forming partnerships with major media entities like A&E Networks, iHeart Media, and Live Nation. However, the company faced scrutiny in 2021 when a New York Times article exposed potentially fraudulent practices. Watson dismissed the article as a “ridiculous hitjob,” but the damage to Ozy’s reputation was significant.

Sharon Osbourne, wife of rock star Ozzy Osbourne, accused Watson of falsely claiming the couple had invested in Ozy. Watson clarified that the Osbournes received shares as part of a legal settlement, though Osbourne denied ever accepting such offers.

In February 2023, Watson was arrested on fraud charges, shortly after Samir Rao pleaded guilty. Prosecutors alleged that Watson misled investors about Ozy’s financial performance and audience metrics. Despite Watson’s not guilty plea and vigorous defense on Twitter, the evidence presented at trial led to his conviction.

Watson’s trial, presided over by Judge Eric R. Komitee, featured testimonies from high-profile figures, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who refuted claims of a $600 million acquisition offer for Ozy. Jury deliberations began on July 12, culminating in the guilty verdict that now sees Watson facing a potential 37-year prison sentence.

This Caribbean Nation Has Recorded Over 320 Murders This Year

News Americas, New York, NY, Tues. July 16, 2024: In just 198 days into 2024, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has already recorded over 320 murders. The oil-rich nation surpassed this grim milestone following a violent weekend that left at least 18 people dead. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley expressed serious concerns about the escalating violent crime and the use of illegal high-powered assault weapons in the CARICOM nation.

T&T sees rise in crime.

Following a meeting of the National Security Council on Monday, July 15th, chaired by Dr. Rowley, there was agreement among the security services to deploy sustained joint operations in areas with high concentrations of criminal activity. The Prime Minister emphasized the government’s support for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) in carrying out its duties within legal parameters.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and the United National Congress (UNC) have called for the resignation of National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds. Persad Bissessar urged citizens to remain strong and promised that a new UNC government would provide legal firearms and legislation to combat criminals effectively.

Private sector groups have expressed dissatisfaction with the measures taken by the Ministry of National Security (MNS) and the Police Commissioner to curb crime. Baldath Maharaj, President of the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC), stated that businesses had lost faith in the current measures, seeing them as public relations maneuvers rather than actionable solutions.

The United States has issued a Level Three travel advisory for Trinidad and Tobago, urging nationals to reconsider travel due to escalating crime rates. The advisory highlights the risks of terrorism and kidnapping in areas like Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queens’ Park Savannah in Port of Spain. Similarly, Canada has advised its nationals to exercise a high degree of caution due to violent crime, particularly in Port of Spain, where tourists have been targeted.

Jamaica

Jamaica reported 24 murders over the seven-day period ending July 13th, four more than the previous week. This brings the total number of murders this year to 626, an increase of 20 compared to July 6th. However, overall crime has declined by 14 percent year-on-year, with 103 fewer murders committed compared to the same period in 2023.

Barbados

Barbados has also seen an increase in murders, with authorities reporting approximately 30 killings so far this year, more than double the total for last year.

As the Caribbean grapples with rising crime rates, urgent measures and international advisories highlight the pressing need for effective security solutions.

Two Caribbean Destinations Named Among Top 10 Family Beach Vacation Ideas

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. July 16, 2024: San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Turks & Caicos have secured spots in the latest TripAdvisor Top 10 beach vacation ideas for families. San Juan claimed the number 2 position, while Turks & Caicos landed in 7th place. Leading the list is Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA. Crete, Greece, ranked third, with O’ahu, Hawaii, in fourth place. Zanzibar, Tanzania, took fifth, and San Diego, CA, came in sixth. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, secured 8th place, Cancun, Mexico, 9th, and Pensacola, Florida, rounded out the list in 10th place.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing either Puerto Rico or Turks & Caicos for your next family vacation:

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beautiful beach views of Puerto Rico’s pristine turquoise waters.

Who should go: Families seeking a tropical vacation with a rich cultural experience.

The beach scene: Condado and Isla Verde beaches offer calm, clear waters and bustling stretches of sand, each with a unique vibe. Condado, located in the city center, is surrounded by high-rise hotels and trendy restaurants, with colorful loungers and umbrellas for rent. Isla Verde Beach, near the airport, offers a more relaxed atmosphere with large palm trees providing ample shade.

Don’t miss: Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro, where kids under 15 enter free. This ancient fortress is steeped in history, best explored with a ranger-led tour.

Restaurant report: Enjoy street food at the kiosks at Piñones, a scenic boardwalk and bike trail near Playa Torrecillas. Try the alcapurrias at Kiosko El Boricua, and savor mofongo at Pannes. For seafood lovers, El Nuevo Acuario is a must-visit.

Where to stay: Stay at the 352 Guest House Hotel Boutique in Old San Juan for a mix of beach time and city sights. For a blend of pool and beach time, La Concha Renaissance Resort offers three pools and access to Condado Beach.

Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands

Who should go: Those seeking relaxed tropical beaches and abundant snorkeling opportunities.

The beach scene: Grace Bay Beach, with its 12 miles of calm waves and sugar-white sand, frequently tops “best beaches” lists. Families also enjoy other island beaches like Little Water Cay (Iguana Island), Pine Cay, Parrot Cay, and West Caicos, known for their low tides.

Don’t miss: Strong swimmers should snorkel through Bight Reef to see turtles, rays, and coral. Alternatively, take a catamaran tour to explore more remote reefs.

Restaurant report: Enjoy fried conch at Da Conch Shack, where you can pick your own conch from the nearby sandbar. For a Caribbean-Italian dining experience, visit Vita Restaurant, perched atop jagged rocks with ocean views.

Where to stay: Windsong on The Reef offers complimentary water activities like paddleboarding and kayaking. Alternatively, the all-inclusive Beaches Turks and Caicos features an on-site waterpark and bunk rooms for kids, plus 19 restaurants for parents to enjoy without added costs.

Plan your next family vacation to these Caribbean paradises for an unforgettable beach experience.

Buju Banton Celebrates 51st Birthday with US Tour Announcement

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. July 15, 2024: Grammy-winning Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton is celebrating his 51st Earth Day today, fresh off an incredible weekend of back-to-back concert performances in New York.

Buju Banton performs onstage during Buju Banton’s Long Walk To Freedom New York on July 14, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Fat Joe, Buju Banton and Remy Ma perform onstage during Buju Banton Long Walk To Freedom New York on July 14, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Buju Banton performs onstage during Buju Banton’s Long Walk To Freedom New York on July 14, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Buju Banton performing at the UBS arena on July 13, 2024. (Youtube screen grab)

Banton thrilled fans with stellar performances on July 13th and 14th with his “Long Walk To Freedom” show in NYC – his first performances in the city in 15 years.

Buju Banton handed out roses to the audience on July 14th at the UBS arena. (Instagram image)

The first show, on Saturday, July 13, at the UBS Arena in Nassau, saw Banton open with the iconic song “Buried Alive” as he rose up onto the stage from below. Dressed in a bright orange outfit, he struck a Black Power pose with his left hand holding the microphone aloft as some 19,000 fans, who began entering the venue early in the afternoon, screamed in approval.

He then segued into “Over Hills and Valley” and continued with more hits like “Untold Stories,” “Wanna Be Loved,” “Love Sponge,” and “Destiny.”

Banton then declared: “They said to me, you will never come back to the United States of America,” referencing his deportation following jail time in the US. “And I said to them, let’s see what God will do,” he added.

He moved into dancehall favorites like “Waistline,” “Bongo Cart,” “Champion,” and “Over Mi.”

Singer Nadine Sutherland then joined the stage to perform “What Am I Gonna Do,” her duet with Banton, followed by their duet on “Wicked Dickie.”

Banton was also joined by singer Gramps Morgan, who paid tribute to his deceased brother Peetah Morgan before they performed a duet of “Psalm 23.”

On his birthday today, Banton announced “THE OVERCOMER TOUR 2024,” with special guest Fridayy. Tickets go on sale this Friday, July 19, 2024, at BUJUBANTON.com.

TOUR DATES:

AUGUST 23, 2024: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Amerant Bank Arena

AUGUST 25, 2024: Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena

AUGUST 27, 2024: Washington, DC @ Capital One Arena

AUGUST 30, 2024: Boston, MA @ TD Garden

SEPTEMBER 1, 2024: Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center

SEPTEMBER 6, 2024: Hartford, CT @ XL Center

SEPTEMBER 8, 2024: Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena

SEPTEMBER 12, 2024: Houston, TX @ Toyota Center

SEPTEMBER 13, 2024: Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

SEPTEMBER 15, 2024: Phoenix, AZ @ Footprint Center

SEPTEMBER 18, 2024: Inglewood, CA @ Intuit Dome

SEPTEMBER 23, 2024: San Jose, CA @ SAP Center

SEPTEMBER 29, 2024: Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena

NOVEMBER 17, 2024: Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center

See some of Banton’s NYC performance HERE

Jamaican-Born Engineer Honored For Leadership and Philanthropy

News Americas, New York, NY, Mon. July 15, 2024: Jamaican-born engineer and community leader Lesleyann Samuel is celebrating a lifetime of volunteer service with her latest accolade – the Kingston College Old Boys Association USA, (KCOBA), Community Award for Leadership and Philanthropy.

Lesleyann Samuel, l., accepts her award from Rainford “Perry” Bloomfield, Immediate Past President of the KC Old Boys Association New York Chapter. (Photo courtesy of  Leonard McKenzie)

The award is one of several handed out annually by the New York Chapter of the Kingston College alumni organization to individuals who have significantly contributed to their communities in the USA. Samuel, an alumna of the Immaculate Conception High School (ICHS) in Jamaica and a former president of the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc. (UJAA), was recognized for her contribution to the ICHS Alumnae Association and her achievements as UJAA President during her eight-year tenure from 2014 to 2022.

Presented at the KCOBA USA Annual Reunion and Awards Gala at Antun’s in Queens Village, New York in May, the award is the latest in a long line of tributes bestowed on Samuel for her voluntary and philanthropic community efforts, which span nearly four decades.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica to R. Karl and Olga Samuel, Lesleyann’s passion for community service was ignited at an early age by her aunt, the late Dothlyn Joyce (“Dotty”) Campbell, former head of dance at Jamaica’s Festival Commission (now the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission – JCDC).

“In addition to her job, my aunt volunteered in a number of organizations and was always helping others. I learned then that life is more than just our day-to-day jobs. Life is about stepping up to our calling. For me, that means doing what I believe I am supposed to do in the service of others who may need whatever help I may be able to offer,” Samuel shared.

Samuel immigrated to the USA at the age of 13 and attended Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn (now Meyer Levin Junior High School). She earned a scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an engineering school in upstate New York, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering. This achievement led her to become one of a small but growing number of Black female engineers hired at major communication and tech companies in the early 1980s. She landed a position with New Jersey Bell, which later became Bell Atlantic and ultimately Verizon. After over a decade with Verizon in Maryland, she returned to the Tri-State area with a strong desire to “give forward.”

“It started with my getting involved with my alma mater, Immaculate, because I was part of the fifth generation in my family to attend the school. My mom was always involved in the alumnae association, in Jamaica and then in New York, so my sisters and I followed suit. By 2012, I was working extensively with UJAA on the board and really enjoying traveling to Jamaica and making my contribution. So, in 2014, I decided to take the next major step and run for UJAA president, following in the footsteps of my sister Karlene who was president before me.”

Karlene encouraged Lesleyann to “step up” and supported her throughout the journey.

“Most of us are active in our alumni associations because we attended phenomenal schools with phenomenal teachers. By giving forward (I deliberately do not ever use the word giving ‘back,’ because that is not our direction), we demonstrate our patriotism – our love for Jamaica – by helping to ensure that those who come after us have as good or better experiences than ours,” Samuel explained.

Her term as UJAA president was extended due to the COVID pandemic, and by the time it concluded in 2022, the UJAA membership had grown from 32 to over 60 alumni organizations during her presidency – an achievement of which she is especially proud.

With her engineering background, Samuel has been a major force behind UJAA’s support of robotics in Jamaican schools, and has chaperoned several Jamaican student delegations to international robotics competitions in recent years. Her latest project with her own Immaculate Alumnae Association includes extending the robotics program to Immaculate’s Preparatory school, where they participated in the FIRST® LEGO League Jamaica program in late June.

Samuel finds that one of the great ironies in her life of service has been the way her community volunteer activities have influenced her professionally, rather than the other way around.

“Curiously, my leadership and communication skills were developed through my community efforts and helped me in my engineering career, not the other way round. To both, I bring my commitment to a high standard of performance. I also understand that working with volunteers is very different than working with persons who are being paid to do a job. And I also stay positive and proceed as if success is inevitable.”

In addition to her latest award from KCOBA, Samuel has been the recipient of numerous others including The Bob Marley One Love Leadership Award from The Stop The Violence Alliance, The Caribbean Life Impact Award, The Founders Award from the ICHS Alumnae Association, and the United States House of Representatives Proclamation from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

As for the future, Samuel is not yet ready to slow down.

“I would like to obtain my doctorate in Organizational Leadership,” she says, “So I’m currently looking for the right programs for me. I would also like to do more work in Jamaica and am always looking at how to contribute in new ways. But generally, I’m staying open to the possibilities – ready as I’ve always been to step through the doors as they open.”

Jamaica Reviewing Partnership Act

Reported By Eliahna McFarlane

Edited By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. July 12, 2024: A review of The Partnership (General) Act, 2017 and the Partnership (Limited) Act 2017 of Jamaica is being conducted to ensure that the provisions of the Acts sufficiently incorporate recent  Financial Action Task Force, (FATF), Recommendations.

That’s the word from Janeika Allen, Crown Counsel (Actg), in the Jamaica Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. Allen said Jamaica is obligated to meet the recommendations set out by the FATF, the  “independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

But she did not give a deadline as to when the review will be completed. Her response to News Americas came just days after Jamaica was taken off the FATF ‘grey list.’

On June 28, 2024, the FATF,  at its Plenary held in Singapore, removed Jamaica from the ‘grey list,’ or the list of countries identified as having strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) frameworks.

The FATF Recommendations are the basis on which all countries should meet the shared objective of tackling money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation. They are recognized as the global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) standard and the FATF calls upon all countries to effectively implement these measures in their national systems.

In a 2015 evaluation, Jamaica was compliant or largely compliant with only 17 of the 40 FATF Recommendations. The resulting action plan required it to include all financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) in its AML regime, with adequate risk-based supervision in all sectors. It was also told to take appropriate measures to prevent legal persons and arrangements from being misused for criminal purposes, by making accurate and up-to-date basic and beneficial ownership information available when needed. Other required actions included taking proper measures to increase AML investigations and prosecutions; implementing targeted financial sanctions for terrorist financing without delay; and preventing the misuse of its non-profit sector for terrorist financing purposes. It narrowly missed the June 2023 deadline for fulfilling all these points, but by January 2024 was assessed as having made further significant progress, especially on DNFBPs and beneficial ownership. At that stage, Jamaica was re-rated compliant or largely compliant on 37 of the 40 FATF recommendations.

Following the June 28th decision, The Bank of Jamaica, said in a statement: “The development will enhance confidence among investors and trading partners thereby improving Jamaica’s economic potential.”

This also means that financial transactions between persons in Jamaica and those overseas, inclusive of remittance transfers, could now become more seamless over time,” the Bank added.

The Partnership (General) Act of 2017 allowed for the formation of three different types of partnerships: General Partnership without separate legal personality, General Partnership with separate legal personality, and Limited Liability Partnership.

Prior to the General Act, the Companies Act of 2004 placed a requirement that investors with more than 20 partners operating in Jamaica would need to form a company. Thirteen years later, the requirement was finally repealed under Section 112 of The Partnership (General) Act.

It is left to be seen whether the laws will be further amended by the Jamaica parliament this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Eliahna McFarlane is a Garvey-Nkurmah 2024 Fellow and summer extern at ICN/Invest Caribbean as well as a second-year law student at Howard University.

Countdown On To Buju Banton’s First US Performance

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. July 11th, 2024: The excitement is palpable as the countdown begins to the first US performance of Grammy winning Jamaican-born, reggae singer Buju Banton in the USA this weekend.

‘The Gargamel’ Buju Banton is set to perform in the U.S. for the first time in over a decade this July 13th and 14th at the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. (X/Gargamel Music image)

The last time Banton performed in the US was January 2011 in Miami. The singer, who was released from a US prison in 2018, will thrill fans with his first “Long Walk To Freedom” US concert on Saturday, July 13th and 14th at the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.

‘The Gargamel’ is set to take the stage with his Shiloh Band, just two days before his 51st birthday on July 15th.

“I give thanks for life each day, but on this weekend, there is a special thanksgiving and I look forward to celebrating with all of my family, friends, and everyone who has prayed and supported me over the years,” said the Grammy Award winner in a statement.

Due to “popular demand,” a second date was added to the “Long Walk To Freedom New York” concert at the UBS Arena in Queens, New York.

“With the first show selling out in record time, the addition of the second show ensures that more fans and music lovers will have the opportunity to witness the legendary artist’s comeback,” a release to DancehallMag stated. “Long Walk To Freedom – N.Y. exemplifies Banton’s resilience and serves as a beacon of hope for fans around the world.”

Joseph Budafuco, Buju Banton’s manager, reflected on the journey since his last U.S. show in Miami in January 2011. “It’s a true honour to witness the return of a legend, as history unfolds before our eyes once again,” Budafuco expressed.

He added, “We look forward to presenting an exceptional concert in partnership with AG Consulting and Dahved Levy, whose experience in the market is profound.”