The STAR Busi­ness­week

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - VENEZUELA - BY CHRIS­TIAN WAYNE – ED­I­TOR AT LARGE

Last week­end I com­mented on the readi­ness of Saint Lu­cia’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor for the im­pend­ing Septem­ber dead­line of the Com­mon Re­port­ing Stan­dard (CRS) and the coun­try’s com­mit­ment to make its first CRS-com­pli­ant fil­ing dur­ing that month. Con­trary to the con­ster­na­tion ex­pressed by Cal­ixte Leon, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Saint Lu­cia’s Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity, in our in­ter­view last year, 1st Na­tional Bank of Saint Lu­cia’s new Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Johnathan Johannes is singing a dif­fer­ent tune. In our lead story “Saint Lu­cia’s Bankers Brace for Change”, Johannes’ per­spec­tives and at­ti­tude pro­vide a glim­mer of hope for those who have lost faith in our in­dige­nous banking sys­tem and our abil­ity to keep pace with the world around us. His in­ter­view is not one to miss. We’ve all heard of SpaceX and maybe, if you’re a lit­tle savvier, you might’ve heard of Blue Ori­gin, both premier space ex­plo­ration com­pa­nies, but I’m will­ing to bet that the ma­jor­ity of our read­ers (my­self in­cluded) have never heard of Project HARP (not to be con­fused with HAARP, the on­go­ing US naval iono­spheric re­search pro­gramme that’s be­come a del­i­cacy among con­spir­acy the­o­rists) and the Caribbean’s con­tri­bu­tion to one of Amer­ica’s proud­est mo­ments of tech­ni­cal prow­ess— its na­tional space pro­gramme. For more on this quirky, yet fas­ci­nat­ing, topic, be sure to read “Tak­ing Flight: The Caribbean and Space Ex­plo­ration” start­ing here on page 2. I also wanted to make spe­cial men­tion of the Tourism En­hance­ment Fund and the group’s com­mend­able work in the ar­eas of gen­eral phi­lan­thropy and hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment in Saint Lu­cia. The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ef­forts, un­der the lead­er­ship of CEO Noorani Azeez, were high­lighted at a re­cent func­tion I at­tended. The TEF may be a hum­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion but its work is ex­tremely im­pact­ful and, quite frankly, demon­strates how ef­fec­tive the pri­vate sec­tor can be—when in­cen­tivised ad­e­quately—to man­i­fest change in the ab­sence of a fo­cused cen­tral gov­ern­ment. Bravo to them!

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