The STAR Businessweek
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!