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Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Bahamas National Trade Policy Instituted

With the launch of the National Trade Policy, The Bahamas now has a comprehensive framework for trade that the government intends to use to lower the trade deficit by empowering more local businesses to tap into export markets.

Launch of The Bahamas National Trade Policy
Speaking at a press conference held on Thursday, 25 May, 2023 to announce the launch of the nation’s first-ever National Trade Policy, Bahamas Trade Commission Chairman, Philip Galanis, said that trade is expected to play a big role in the Bahamian economy as the nation continues its post-pandemic recovery.

“Prior to the pandemic, the export of services, particularly tourism related services, served as a counterbalance to our food and goods trade deficit.  However, moving forward we are seeking to expand existing areas of strength and diversify into new areas to create new trade opportunities for local businesses and more resilient national economy.”

With the launch of the National Trade Policy, Chairman Galanis indicated that country finally has a coherent approach to the development of trade in alignment with wider national development plans.  He stated that the policy is “comprehensive and with broad impacts on the Bahamian economy.”

“This Policy speaks to more effective management of imports through reviewing our tariff structure, the need for competition laws, domestic preferences, and improved incentive schemes.  It addresses how we will expand existing exports through our trade promotion efforts and development programmes, a full review of the existing tax regime, the embracing of digital technology, and the development of free trade zones.”

“Through this Policy, The Bahamas will diversify its exports in target areas within the blue, green, and orange economies, while strengthening our domestic competitiveness through the creation of more service-oriented, faster processes combined with greater education and support for local businesses.”

Chairman Galanis credited the extensive consultation process done over the past two years with local businesses, trade experts, and other stakeholders for the comprehensiveness of the Policy.

“We have held numerous formal and informal sessions with local businesses of all sizes and in all relevant industries, securing vital stakeholder input that played a big role in the crafting of the policy.  The document we have today reflects that input, as well as the inclusion of input from top local and international experts.  As a result, we have developed a trade framework that addresses local needs and is responsive to global demand.”

Moving forward, Mr. Galanis encouraged all local businesses who are interested in participating in international trade or expanding the extent of their trade activity to reach out to the Trade Commission to learn more about the Policy and upcoming opportunities for enrichment.

He also welcomed all industry stakeholders to continue to work collaboratively with the government as the policy is rolled out, so that all initiatives continue to reflect the needs and input of Bahamian businesses.

“Most trade is conducted by businesses, not the Government, and affects the lives of the Bahamian people, so it will take the joint efforts of both the Government, as well as the private sector, to truly encourage economic diversification in the country.  I encourage you all to take an interest in trade and to learn more about the importance of trade to helping us building a stronger economy.”

Those who wish to learn more about the National Trade Policy can download a copy of the policy at


Friday, May 19, 2023

There are estimates that 5G technology will have a global impact of US$13.2 trillion by 2035

Digital Connectivity: Oil for the 21st Century

High-capacity data connections may be the oil of the 21st century: a potential source of great wealth for countries that best exploit this resource.  A great example of this potential is Paraguay, a landlocked country equidistant from the large economies of South America

By Edgar Cabañas and Benigno López

The oil of the 21st century
Digital connectivity is something that seems obvious and invisible, but it is not.  High-capacity data-carrying connections are going to be, if they aren't already, the oil of the 21st century: a potential source of great wealth for the countries that best exploit this resource.

A great example of this potential is Paraguay.  With its strategic location equidistant from the large economies of South America, it’s already home to the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway that connects Brazil with Uruguay as an oceanic exit route and also road routes under the construction – the Bioceanic Corridor, which will connect the ports of Brazil with those of Chile, passing through the Paraguayan Chaco, thanks to public-private alliances.

Paraguay, in terms of digitization and connectivity, is still far from developed countries, as evidenced by its position 58 out of 65 countries in the IDB Broadband Development Index 2018; it doesn’t rank high in the sub-indices either and, if we consider only Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, Paraguay's position is 19 out of 26.

Among the country's main constraints regarding the cost of connectivity, international output is a bottleneck.  This is due to the few escape points available (Brazil and Argentina), which makes IP transit prices in Paraguay are much higher than the average, with a value between US$10-20/Mbps, compared to the average price paid in Brazil of US$3-6/Mbps or Europe, where transit costs no more than US$1/Mbps.  This extra cost is transferred to the retail price and also limits the ability of small operators to compete or the entry of new competitors and investors into the market.

In 2018 a project known as “Banda Ancha Paraguay” was launched, initially promoted by the IDB with financing from Itaipú Binacional.  The project has looked for alternatives that allow to obtain a Paraguayan fiber optic connection with access to the ocean, which would allow national companies to acquire access at a more competitive cost.

After a feasibility study carried out by Deloitte Spain, it was concluded that the best alternative was the use of the electricity transmission lines shared by Paraguay and Brazil through Itaipu to Sao Paulo.

This connectivity proposal is still limited since the information transfer capacity that this connection would be only 200 Gbps, compared to the capacity that an independent fiber optic network could have, according to the original project, being able to reach at least at 16 Tbps – assuming 40 channels (lambdas) of 100 Gbps each in a pair of optical fibers and four pairs in a 12-fiber cable – which would be 80 times faster.

Now, the question is whether Paraguay needs a fiber optic network.  To answer the question, we must visualize the global changes that are taking place rapidly in terms of digitization: there are estimates that 5G technology will have a global impact of US$13.2 trillion by 2035, affecting productivity in all industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, services, governments and others.  Taking advantage of these new advances would only be possible if the country has the appropriate digital infrastructure.

A Paraguayan fiber optic network would represent a strategic opportunity to achieve the installation of a large regional data center in the country, serving as a connection route for exits to the Atlantic from Uruguay, by its own route, and to the Pacific, passing through Argentina and Chile.  This outlet to both oceans would be the only one in South America and would be of strategic interest not only for the region, but even for Europe and Asia as an alternative connection, since currently its main connections are through conflict zones in the Middle East.

Paraguay has a bi-oceanic outlet, as do Bolivia or Peru, which could be other major stakeholders; however, Paraguay has other factors that differentiate it, especially abundant and cheap electricity, and a location with low risk of natural disasters.

The main challenge for the public sector is the decrease in the cost of international connectivity through its own fiber optic network.  An investment of this type could only be made by the government or through a public-private partnership, since it also has a high social component due to the potential benefit for the population.

A data center in the country would generate great interest for the sector or private, being especially attractive for companies that offer "cloud" services (data storage on the Internet) both public (Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Alibaba and Tencent, for example) and private (industry, financial sector, services in general) and even telecommunications and government.  This digital infrastructure and its continental reach could even justify investment in new submarine cables for alternative outlets to Asia and Europe.

The range of investments that a data center can attract is almost incalculable, in addition to the advantages in terms of improving the coverage and prices of connectivity in the country and the region, so it will have a transversal effect on the entire economy and the society in general.  In LAC, on average, a 10% higher broadband penetration is associated with a 3.19% higher GDP, 2.61% higher productivity, and 67,000 new jobs.

We must resume conversations around the original idea of ​​the "Broadband Paraguay" project, since the proposal to use the Itaipu transmission network will only allow to cover in the short term the demand for connectivity in the country, in addition to limiting any investment that requires a high flow of information.  The opportunity cost of not acting now can be incalculable.


Friday, March 17, 2023

Remittances to Cuba from the United States resumed

Beneficiaries of remittances in Cuba have the possibility of receiving them directly in their bank accounts in foreign currency, from Metropolitano, BPA and Bandec banks

By Redaction International -

Remittances to Cuba from the United States via Western Union
U.S. company Western Union reestablished the sending of remittances to Cuba from all over the United States this March 3, 2023

The member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said on Twitter regarding the news that "the U.S. unilaterally suspended the sending of remittances from the U.S. to Cuba in 2020 to create economic pressure on the Cuban population."

"It was one of the measures to reinforce the blockade adopted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic," the diplomat added.

As made known by the company Orbit S.A., which managed remittances to the Island from Europe and Canada in 2022, this expansion of remittance operations from the U.S. is a legitimate activity that since 1995 operated in Cuban territory, in accordance with international standards and that since 2020 had been stopped for the U.S. market by unilateral decision of the U.S. Government.

Orbit S.A. also informed that the test phase of the service to Cuba that Western Union had started on January 4 of this year, in some offices in Florida, was already completed, so it proceeded to extend the service to all locations of its network on U.S. territory.

The beneficiaries of remittances in Cuba have the possibility of receiving them directly in their bank accounts in foreign currency, from the Metropolitano, BPA and Bandec banks, a service made possible thanks to commercial links subscribed with international financial companies, and which favors both the remittance recipients and senders, as they have access to fast, safe and less costly banking channels for their processing.

The population will be updated on the official channels that Orbit S.A. will incorporate to its management, the company indicated.


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The power of ChatGPT in revolutionizing the way we produce and manage knowledge, especially in public policy - from initial ideas to final briefs and project implementation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are at the forefront in our world of advancing technology

Leveraging the power of ChatGPT to produce innovative public policy


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are the buzz words in our advancing technology world
The world of technology is advancing rapidly, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are at the forefront.  The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) strongly believes in the advantages of using cutting-edge technologies such as AI, machine learning, deep learning, and transformers to enhance efficiency and productivity, increase inclusivity, and reduce emissions in infrastructure.  In Latin America and the Caribbean, these technologies enable countries to analyze data more effectively and automate manual processes, resulting in better decision-making and services.

The infrastructure sector already applies technologies that reduce water and electricity losses, automate pavement and signage analysis, diagnose road safety features, and automate satellite imagery inspection to estimate solar power generation, detect water and sanitation assets, and create inventories of unpaved roads.

AI can revolutionize the water sector by providing innovative solutions to complex challenges.  It can be used to analyze data from multiple sources (sensors, satellites, and social media) to identify water quality issues and predict trends.  Thus, water managers can respond to contamination events quickly and accurately.  AI can optimize water resource management by predicting demand, identifying leakages, and optimizing treatment processes.  It can predict flood and drought events based on weather, soil moisture, and water level data analysis and help managers take preventive measures.  Finally, it can even identify wastage in homes and businesses and suggest ways for consumers to conserve water and reduce their bills.

One of the most exciting developments in this field is the rise of OpenAI’s language model: ChatGPT, a cutting-edge technology that can revolutionize the way we produce and manage knowledge, especially in public policy, from initial ideas to final briefs and project implementation.  This language model relies on a massive dataset of millions of web pages to generate text that is almost indistinguishable from that written by a human.

With ChatGPT, knowledge producers and organizations looking to create high-quality content can produce policy briefs, reports, and other written materials in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually.  For example, in the case of renewable energy, ChatGPT can quickly generate a list of potential initiatives, as well as outline the pros and cons of each one.  Knowledge organizations can quickly and efficiently explore complex issues, provide in-depth analysis, and evaluate different scenarios and ideas from other fields to provide valuable insights and guide decision-makers in the development of more effective policies. 

Policy experts could also use ChatGPT to: 

  • Generate summaries of large amounts of data, making it easier to digest and understand the information. 
  • Create data visualizations and interactive reports, adding language descriptions and explanations of the data, trends, and patterns, making it easier for stakeholders to understand the information presented. 
  • Simulate scenarios and assess the impact of different policy options, leading to the creation of better-informed and more effective public policies. 
  • Produce insightful reports with in-depth analysis of the impact of policy initiatives on the defined field. 
  • Quickly analyze large datasets and produce concise and actionable insights that can guide decision-makers. 
  • Understand the needs and perspectives of stakeholders, and provide recommendations and insights based on this information. 
  • Streamline the policy development process.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Usain Bolt Chose Jamaica - His Home, and Lost!


Bolt who could live anywhere in earth, and hold his finances anywhere, chose to stick to home and to live and work in retirement from Jamaica; generating a “Jamaica cool” brand based on his global image!

By Gilbert Morris

Usain Bolt Lost Million$ In Jamaica
Usain Bolt won 8 gold medals in 3 Olympics, earning $119 million dollars.  For this he gave in training 20 years.

Usain Bolt and his lady Jamaica teammates kept eyes of the world on them and off the biblical violence in Jamaica for at least 7 yrs!

They promoted Jamaica and carried the flag!

This allowed Jamaican brand to be reborn globally.  Bolt who could live anywhere in earth, and hold his finances anywhere, chose to stick to home and to live and work in retirement from Jamaica; generating a “Jamaica cool” brand based on his global image!

Now he has lost $12 million of his income to theft!

But this is not the first sign of trouble: Jamaica is a stratified society in which - like Barbados - some light-skinned (plantation-dwelling) Jamaicans held themselves as superior to Bolt and when he bought his home in a posh neighbourhood, they tried to run him out.  (Ca Newry have our light skinned people in check in The Bahamas).

If the Jamaican authorities fail to fix this situation - they should have confiscated/sequestered all company assets by now - Bolt will earn more millions, but during this year’s global track and field season, all the commentary will be about how Jamaica is so corrupt and crooked…they destroy their greatest global icon since Bob Marley and Butch Stewart!


Saturday, December 10, 2022

It Is Time To End The Cuban Embargo And Restore Commerce and Trade!


By: Dr. Kevin Turnquest-Alcena

The Bahamas Dr. Kevin Turnquest-Alcena
After 50 years as an organization, the Caricom has been ineffective at having the Cuban embargo lifted. It’s a travesty that America is still trying to weaponize Cuba in this modern day and time.

To my inquiring readers, what is an embargo one may ask? Well, according to Wikipedia it is, “the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country or state or group of countries.” Four countries the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) have implemented U.S. sanctions against are: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The continuous and age old assault on Cuba is tantamount to immoral conduct. They are willing to work with countries such as: Vietnam, whom they were at war with and China because of some benefit to them, then why not Cuba?

We have to collectively find a way for America to understand that Cuba needs to be a part of and coexist with the global community. It is time America realizes Cuba’s political system, as well as the structure of how Cuba achieves its revolution is not going to disappear.

Robert Zubrin stated that, “The U.S. trade embargo on Cuba is almost completely ineffective, as many other countries, including the European Union, do not honor it.” The Biden Administration must consider the realities of the Cuban people. Yes, the there are some deep geo-politics in regards to individuals who do not like what is going on in Cuba, but it does not negate the fact that this issue needs to be readdressed.

Former President Barak Obama understood the need for open dialogue about the embargo as was stated in his address to the Cuban people during his visit to Havana. He said that, “...on December 17th 2014, President Castro and I announced that the United States and Cuba would begin a process to normalize relations between our countries. Since then, we have established diplomatic relations and opened embassies. We've begun initiatives to cooperate on health and agriculture, education and law enforcement. We've reached agreements to restore direct flights and mail service. We've expanded commercial ties, and increased the capacity of Americans to travel and do business in Cuba.”

In February 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed an embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba, in response to certain actions taken by the Cuban Government, and directed the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury to implement the embargo. The Cuban embargo solely exists because they stand in solidarity, choosing to operate their political system the way they want.

This continued condemnation by America is unjust and inhumane, especially for a country that promotes freedom of speech. This embargo has majorly impacted the Cuban economy and has resulted in a $144 billion loss in the trading economy.

While the ultimate goal of the embargo was to cripple the economy and force President Fidel Castro’s hand in changing his style of governing, all efforts have failed in this respect.

The embargo limits the people of Cuba from accessing the internet to support their small businesses, take online U.S. courses, and use financial services like PayPal, yet Cuba has continued to exist and survive without the support of the American government.

America claims that the embargo is for the betterment of the Cuban people, yet it does more harm to the people than good. Its licensing requirements prevent food, medicine, medical equipment and humanitarian aid assistance from reaching Cubans.

Nonetheless, these restrictions have only encouraged the Cuban people to be innovative in their approach to taking care of the citizens of their country. Cuba managed to develop its own COVID-19 vaccine. Their development included the research, production, and rollout of the vaccine, which resulted in a 90% vaccination rate.

Cuba has educated Africa and The Caribbean in medicine and engineering, just to name a few. They now have over 2,000 institutes as result of the 1959 revolution.

Cuba has developed one of the best healthcare systems in the world. This was achieved by instituting 23 medical schools and educating those students for free. This has resulted in one of the highest doctor to patient ratios in the world, 8 for every 1,000 citizen.

Gender equality is also held in high regard with women having just has much opportunities for education as men. Cuba ranks second in the world in terms of most female representation in the country’s main governing body with a Congress that is 53 percent female. Education is the under lying cause of such achievements with Cuba having a 96% literacy rate.

So, the real question is, has the embargo really attained its goal of suppressing the Cuban country? Has it really achieved its aim of stopping trade with other countries?

The resounding answer is No! Daniel 2:21 says, “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”

Hence, this then begs the question as to what is America’s present goal for reinforcing the embargo? What purpose does it really serve for continuing their separation from Cuba? Would it not be more beneficial and useful if they worked with Cuba, rather than against them?

The reality is after 60 years of oppressing Cuba through the embargo, it has still not altered their political systems and way of life. As Allison Pujol writer for The Michigan Daily said, “Cuba’s heads of states recognized fairly quickly that the United States was not essential to the island’s economic future. And thus, like the embargo, Cuba’s one-party system has remained intact with little to no visible change.” I end with the words of the man at the center of it all: “Capitalism has no moral and ethical values: everything is for sale... it is impossible to educate people in such an environment: people become selfish, and sometimes turn into bandits” (Fidel Castro).

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Every International Financial Centre (IFC) Should Repeal Every Forced Legalisation Motivated By Any EU/OECD Imitative

Every EU/OECD/FATF Initiative is Illegal

International Financial Centres (IFCs) should form an (OPEC style) organisation and propose a set of universal rules for financial centres


By Professor Gilbert Morris

Professor Morris on Illegal EU,OECD and FATF Initiatives
I won’t say: “I told you so!”
But since it’s promulgation - here and elsewhere - I have rejected the EU’s beneficial ownership initiative as illegal, bogus, unconstitutional wherever adopted and counter to the rules on international agreements in the Vienna Convention on Treaties 1969.
That imitative, like 99% of the EU/OECD/FATF initiatives are:
1. One-sided fiats
2. Secured by threats and one-sided goalpost moving blackmail through Blacklists
3. Unconstitutional
4. Anathema to the multilateral system
5. Undermines basic common law privacy
6. Usurpative and biased
7. Lacked mutuality
International Financial Centres (IFC) - particularly in the Caribbean - will rejoice at this ruling like mistreated children scavenging for crumbs!
But in fact, they had NOTHING to do with it. In every jurisdiction over the decades, I’ve argued that their Attoney’s General should file cases. But, they were all prepared to capitulate as usual; none of them sufficiently schooled in their own constitutions as it relates to the geopolitics of financial centres, and none seemed committed to their sovereign capacity. Instead, all seemed ready with cowardly excuses as to why capitulating was better than standing on constitutional authority and trade rules, upon which - I’ve argued tirelessly - financial centres should be based.
I argued further for 23 years: every EU/OECD/FATF initiative is illegal.
That’s not because I wished to defend lazy capitulating IFCs. Rather, it’s because as citizens of our countries and the world, we must exercise care for the global financial system and its multilateral network by demanding adherence to defensible rules applied to all alike.
As I said a few months ago in an article for IFC Review Journal “every IFC should repeal every forced legalisation motivated by any EU/OECD imitative.”
Additionally and I repeat: IFCs should form an (OPEC style) organisation and propose a set of universal rules for financial centres.
This case is proof that the rule of law approach was right and has been right all along. A lawless sense of superiority on the one hand and cowardice on the other hand permitted it to run so long!