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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.

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.

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.

Grenada Keeps Old Citizenship by Investment Fee For Now Following Hurricane Beryl

By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, New York, NY, July 8, 2024: On the heels of Hurricane Beryl, officials in Grenada have extended the fee increase deadline for applicants to its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program.

A family stands outside their home destroyed by Hurricane Beryl in Grenada. ( UNICEF/Sam Ogilvie image)

A statement issued by the Investment Migration Agency (IMA), which manages the program, noted that a revised pricing structure was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2024. However, Grenada, along with other countries in the Windward Islands, was impacted by the category 4 storm, which caused widespread damage and disruption on the same day the new pricing structure was due to be implemented.

“Acknowledging the unforeseen challenges faced by our valued partners during this period, the Agency has decided to extend the application submission deadline to July 12, 2024,” the IMA said. “This extension aims to provide agents and the bank adequate time to effectively manage their responsibilities considering recent events, thereby ensuring the smooth processing of applications under the updated pricing framework.”

The IMA emphasized that the hurricane impacted the ability of agents and the Grenada Co-operative Bank to meet the original application submission deadline, as it required time for preparation, recovery, and subsequent operational adjustments.

Grenada, alongside Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts-Nevis, and St. Lucia, is part of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States that signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a minimum investment threshold of US$200,000, effective July 1, 2024.

Grenada’s revised pricing structure, published in an extraordinary government gazette on June 26, sets the threshold for a single applicant under the National Transformation Fund at US$235,000. For those investing in an approved project, the cost is US$270,000 for a single applicant or a family of up to four.

The IMA clarified that only fully completed applications submitted to Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited by June 30, 2024, with all required documents, will be accepted under the old price structure. Applications submitted by this date but incomplete will be processed under the new price structure once all required documents are provided.

Furthermore, any applications accepted under the old price structure but pending bank clearance must resolve all matters to the bank’s satisfaction and have funds received and cleared for submission to the IMA by July 31, 2024.

This extension is intended to ensure that all stakeholders can manage their responsibilities effectively in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, thus supporting the continued success of Grenada’s CBI program.

Guyana Earns $1.4 Billion in 50/50 Profit Share While Oil Companies Report $7.8 Billion in Profits

Commentary By Darshanand Khusial

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. July 1, 2024: If you and a partner invest in a boat and decide to split profits equally, you will feel cheated if her share is much greater than 50%.

For instance, if from the day’s catch of 200 pounds of fish, you both decide that 100 pounds of fish should cover the expenses such as bait and fuel, then there will be a profit of 100 pounds of fish to share. Your profit take will be 50 pounds and hers will also be 50 pounds.

Exxon and its partners in the Stabroek Block have a 50/50 profit-sharing agreement with Guyana for extracting our oil. However, when looking at the 2023 accounting profit numbers for the oil companies compared to what was deposited in the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) for Guyana, one would question how this can be a 50/50 profit-sharing agreement?

In a Stabroek Article on Feb 10th, 2023 titled, Renegotiating PSA would be ‘very destructive’ to investor confidence – Routledge, the President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge in response to this question, “There is a wide public view that Exxon and its partners are benefiting from the 11 billion barrels of oil more than Guyanese.” is said to have made this point, ” he [Routledge] was quick to point out that the view is unrealistic as the Guyanese people are benefiting more from the deal than the investors. He said it is very clear that under the Stabroek Block PSA, 50% of the profit goes to the country and 50% goes to investors. He noted that an additional 2% from the investors’ share goes towards the payment of royalty which results in Guyanese receiving a total of 52% of profit oil.

The industrious Chris Ram has published a trio of articles on the 2023 financials of the oil companies, adding to his masterpiece of 132 columns on Oil & Gas, see HERE. If one extracts the 2023 pre-tax profit for the oil companies from his articles, they add up to US$7.8 billion. Now, one would expect in a 50/50 profit share, Guyana in 2023 would receive US$3.9 billion (US$7.8 billion divided by 2) in profits. However, according to the 2023 Natural Resource Fund, Guyana’s 2023 share of profits was only US$1.4 billion. To put it another way, Guyana collected 17.9% of the total reported profits of US$7.8 billion reported in the 2023 oil companies’ financials (see chart below).

Exxon has a billboard claiming Guyana receives 52% of all profits from the Stabroek Block. The 17.9% of profits Guyana received in 2023 appears to invalidate this claim. The perception among Guyanese that Exxon and its partners benefit much more from our oil seems to be accurate based on the 2023 financials of the oil companies.

We can’t pay our teachers a living wage, and 40% or more of our population can’t afford enough protein to eat. The government should explain, how in a 50/50 profit share agreement, Guyana only received US$1.4 billion while the oil companies reported total profits of US$7.8 billion. The government has refused to renegotiate the lopsided Stabroek Block contract. Is it more worried about Exxon’s investor confidence than the plight of Guyanese?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Darshanand Khusial is a director of the non-profit Oil and Gas Governance Network, OGGN

Remittance To The Caribbean Declined In 2023

By NAN Business News Editor

News Americas, New York, NY, Fri. June 28, 2024: Remittance to the Caribbean region declined in 2023, according to the latest data analyzed by News Americas from the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.

Windel Pierre, 41, a Haitian cab driver, sends money back to Haiti from Miami, FL. (Photo by Peter Whoriskey /The Washington Post via Getty Images)

After a period of strong growth during 2021-2022, officially recorded remittance flows to the Caribbean in 2023 totaled USD 19.499 billion, according to the NewsAmericasNow.com analysis. This is a decrease from the USD 20.144 billion recorded in 2022.

The only countries to report an increase in remittance inflows over 2022 were the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and St. Lucia. Countries that saw no change were Guyana, Barbados, St. Maarten, Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda, and the Cayman Islands. Countries recording a decline included Jamaica, Curacao, The Bahamas, Suriname, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Dominica.

The 2023 remittance flow from the most to the least per country, based on the World Bank data, is as follows:

Here is the tabulated data for the totals of 2022 and 2023:

Country2022 – USD Billions/Millions2023- USD Billions/MillionsDominican Republic10,61910,278Haiti4,2473,798Jamaica3,5673,688Guyana525525Trinidad & Tobago204200Curacao116159Belize152142Suriname147148St. Vincent/Grenadines9289Barbados8585Grenada8270St. Lucia6462Sint Maarten4848The Bahamas4258Aruba3838St. Kitts & Nevis3638Antigua and Barbuda3535Dominica3438Cayman Islands10–

GLOBALLY

Globally, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) moderated in 2023, reaching an estimated $656 billion, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief released today.

The modest 0.7% growth rate reflects large variances in regional growth. Nevertheless, remittances remained a crucial source of external finance for developing countries in 2023, bolstering the current accounts of several nations grappling with food insecurity and debt issues. In 2023, remittances surpassed foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance (ODA). Remittance flows increased most to Latin America and the Caribbean (7.7%), followed by South Asia (5.2%), and East Asia and Pacific (4.8%, excluding China). Sub-Saharan Africa saw a slight decline of 0.3%, while the Middle East and North Africa experienced a nearly 15% drop, and Europe and Central Asia saw a 10.3% fall.

Looking ahead, remittances to LMICs are expected to grow at a faster rate of 2.3% in 2024, although this growth will be uneven across regions. Potential downside risks to these projections include weaker-than-expected economic growth in high-income migrant-hosting countries and volatility in oil prices and currency exchange rates.

“Migration and resulting remittances are essential drivers of economic and human development,” said Iffath Sharif, Global Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. “Many countries are interested in managed migration in the face of global demographic imbalances and labor deficits on the one hand, and high levels of unemployment and skill gaps on the other. We are working on partnerships between countries sending and receiving migrants to facilitate training, especially for youth, to get the skills needed for better jobs and income at home and in destination countries.”

“The resilience of remittances underscores their importance for millions of people,” said Dilip Ratha, lead economist and lead author of the report. “Leveraging remittances for financial inclusion and capital market access can enhance the development prospects of recipient countries. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance costs and facilitate formal flows by mitigating political and commercial risks to promote private investment in this sector.”

Sending remittances remains costly. In the fourth quarter of 2023, the global average cost of sending $200 was 6.4% of the amount being sent, slightly up from 6.2% a year earlier and well above the SDG target of 3%. Digital remittances had a lower cost of 5%, compared with 7% for non-digital methods, highlighting the benefits of technological advancements in reducing the financial burden on migrants.

With remittances growing in importance, accurate data collection is essential to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals on reducing costs and increasing volume. However, statistical data remain inconsistent and incomplete. The global gap between inward and outward remittance flows has widened, with informal channels being a major factor, such as migrants carrying cash by hand when they return home. The International Working Group to Improve Data on Remittance Flows (RemitStat) will release a report later this year with recommendations for improving data.

The Caribbean Saw An Increase In Foreign Direct Investment in 2023

By NAN Business Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 28, 2024: Foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Caribbean saw an increase in 2023 compared to 2022, a NewsAmericasNow.com analysis of the 2024 World Investment Report data showed. Excluding offshore financial centers, overall FDI in the Caribbean was up by 6 percent, with most countries experiencing growth. The Dominican Republic saw a 7 percent increase in inflows year-on-year.

Over the past five years, foreign investments have expanded across the region’s main economic groupings, with flows to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) tripling compared to 2018.

In 2022, the CARICOM region recorded USD 1,768,365 in foreign direct investment, while in 2023 the total was USD 1,813,150.

Here is the tabulated data for foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2023 and 2022:

Country2023 (USD)2022 (USD)British Virgin Islands1,068,2461,028,356Cayman Islands601,061572,927Dominican Republic56,37251,982Bahamas29,90428,502Jamaica18,76318,332Guyana10,27917,074Trinidad and Tobago9,9229,918Grenada2,1531,990Aruba4,5084,686Belize2,8122,679Saint Lucia2,0041,865Suriname1,8531,936Saint Kitts and Nevis1,7091,676Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1,6831,601Anguilla1,3821,528Curaçao1,2361,081Sint Maarten224190Montserrat4942

Jamaican Launches Vodka Made From Yam

News Americas, New York, NY, June 20, 2024: A Jamaican national has come up with a unique vodka, set to take the market by storm later this month.

Wait a Bit Vodka, a premium small-batch vodka crafted in Jamaica, has entered the market with a unique twist according to the Jamaica Observer. Made from select yellow yams grown by small farmers in the mountainside town of Wait a Bit, Trelawny, this vodka boasts a blend of local spring water from the Cockpit Country. Gluten-free and exceptionally fresh, Wait a Bit Vodka promises a high-quality spirit while supporting local farming initiatives.

Principal Lincoln Nicholson of Wait a Bit vodka.

Wait a Bit Distillers was founded by principal Lincoln Nicholson with a vision to produce premium quality spirits infused with authentic Jamaican flavors. The goal is to showcase these unique flavors to the world, starting with their flagship product, Wait a Bit Vodka. The ingredients for Wait a Bit Vodka are locally sourced, primarily within a 10-mile radius of the distillery in Trelawny. This proximity ensures freshness and supports the local farming community.

Wait a Bit Vodka is set to hit the market in late June 2024. It will be available at select retailers, offering consumers a taste of Jamaica’s finest small-batch vodka. True to its artisanal nature, Wait a Bit Vodka is crafted in small batches, with every aspect, including the packaging, done by hand. This attention to detail highlights the brand’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

The distillery’s first major breakthrough came after a tasting session with a well-known spirits company, which praised the high quality of the vodka. This endorsement has been a significant boost for the brand. The response to Wait a Bit Vodka has been overwhelmingly positive. Consumers appreciate the fresh taste and the use of locally sourced ingredients, which support small farmers in Jamaica.

Wait a Bit Distillers aims to grow its brand internationally, making Wait a Bit Vodka known for its exceptional quality and unique Jamaican yellow yam base. The journey has not been without challenges, especially with engineering works and operating in rural Jamaica. However, the company has embraced these hurdles, embodying the spirit of patience reflected in its name, Wait a Bit.

Jamaicans are encouraged to support Wait a Bit Vodka, a product made from locally grown yellow yams by hardworking farmers. The brand’s focus on quality and its roots in the local community make it a premium choice in the market.