Business Express

Friday, October 31, 2014

Top Story

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Becoming rich is easy. Just ask multimillionaires. All one needs to do is observe, enquire and experiment. And maybe have some cash. Two weeks ago, the region’s top business minds came together for a three day event - the VIII Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Port of Spain. For the first time, it was held in the English-Speaking Caribbean. The theme was “The Human Imagination at Work, Driving Competitiveness, Powering Innovation”. Read more »

  • Regularise status of illegal immigrants

    If the number of illegal immigrants in the country is over 110,000, as National Security Minister Gary Griffith claims, then we have a huge problem that we need to address urgently. That figure represents almost ten per cent of the estimated population of 1.3 million. It is way out of proportion to what obtains in other countries that are popular destinations for aliens seeking better lives. Read More »

  • Caribbean challenge

    Although the Caribbean is a very creative region and individual countries are advancing in technology and innovation, there is still much under-utilised potential. This is according to Christine Norton, director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) office in Kingston, Jamaica. Read More »

  • More than US$1B from Central Bank so far

    The US$200 million injected by the Central Bank into the local financial system this month has not relieved the stress of businessmen or individual customers trying to get foreign currency. Some are saying they still have to play the waiting game to get foreign exchange and when it becomes available, they are unable to get the full amount requested. Read More »

  • Natural gas versus renewable energy

    Will gas be able to compete against renewable energy (RE) in the medium-to-long term as the latter catches on in the Caricom region as a replacement for oil in electricity generation? One man who says “no” should certainly know what he is talking about – Dr Devon Gardner, the new programme manager for Caricom’s Energy Unit in Georgetown, Guyana, who has just taken over from Joseph Williams, now with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Barbados. Read More »

  • The Price is right?

    While officiating at a same-sex wedding, the late comedian, Joan Rivers, was asked by a photographer if she believed the United States would ever see the first gay or female president. Her response was typical Rivers. “We already have it with Obama, so let’s just calm down,” she said. “You know Michelle (Obama) is a trans.” When asked to further explain Rivers said, “A transgender. We all know it.” Read More »

  • Low oil prices hurting US shale operations

    Slumping oil prices are putting pressure on United States drillers. The number of active rigs drilling for oil and gas fell by their most in two months, according to the latest data from oil services firm Baker Hughes. There were 19 oil rigs that were removed from operation as of October 17, compared to the prior week. There are now 1,590 active oil rigs, the lowest level in six weeks. Read More »

  • Emerging Entrepreneur 2014: Dean Ackin, Ultimate Group

    This week, the Chamber is pleased to feature the profile of the Champions of Business’ Emerging Entrepreneur” winner. The award was presented at a ceremony held on October 17 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. Read More »

  • Unilever launches unigame challenge

    For the second year, Unilever, through the Unilever Future Leaders Programme 2014 League, has launched the Unigame Challenge, an initiative in which university students from across the country will use their ingenuity and creativity to develop a business proposal for one or more Axe products. Read More »

  • Re-Route reboot

    The continued dispute over the Debe-Mon Desir link of the Point Fortin highway extension and the growing public debate over this issue require further attention to certain critical aspects. The Armstrong Report was published in March 2013 after a process agreed between parties to the dispute over this highway link. Read More »

  • 5 problems McDonald’s is facing

    Times are getting leaner for McDonald’s. McDonald’s has said a key sales figure declined 3.3 per cent in the US, marking the fourth straight quarter of declines for the world’s biggest hamburger chain. By contrast, Chipotle reported a 19.8 per cent increase in sales at established locations a day earlier. McDonald’s (14,000 US locations) is far bigger than Chipotle (1,700 locations), making it more difficult for the chain to boost sales. But McDonald’s nevertheless acknowledges it needs to work on fixing some problems. Read More »

  • Innovation key to Caribbean growth

    Technology innovations propel the world’s most successful economies. But the reverse is true for all-too-many nations, as a lack of Digital Age technology breakthroughs has severely hindered economic growth and negatively impacted quality of life. And, unfortunately, the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region is home to several of the world’s technology innovation laggards. Read More »

  • Beyond profit in business

    Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie believes that making big profits might attract attention but it does not mean sustainability. As he delivered remarks at the opening of the Americas Competitiveness Forum 2014 in Port of Spain on October 8, Tewarie said it was important to remember Bear Steams, Lehman Brothers and AIG. Read More »

  • Venezuelans brace for slump in oil prices

    The falling oil prices that are providing relief to drivers around the world threaten to bring more misery to the life of Milagro Alvarez and millions of other Venezuelans, whose country depends almost exclusively on oil revenue. Read More »

  • Welcome to Amcham

    The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham T&T) last week held a welcome reception for new members who joined the business group this year. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) in Port of Spain. The reception was hosted to also provide networking opportunities for new members to interact with AmCham’s seven committees as well as meet the organisation’s board of directors. Read More »

  • Willie’s Rise and Fall

    Any hope for the resurrection of Willie’s Homemade Ice Cream may have died along with its founder Wilbur “Willie” Balgobin last July, as the company’s assets are being sold off in an auction. A newspaper advertisement last week listed Willie’s Ice Cream Ltd’s assets for sale by the mortgagee - the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB). Read More »

  • Slump in oil prices cause for concern

    A steep drop in crude oil prices that saw West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI—the benchmark for Trinidad and Tobago’s mix) plunge perilously close to US$80 a barrel last week, is cause for concern. Since July 2013, WTI prices averaged approximately US$100, peaking last June at US$105.79. Three months later, both Brent and WTI prices have dropped by more than 20 per cent—and the outlook for 2015 is ominous. Read More »

  • Divali Dollars

    The National Council of Indian Culture’s (NCIC) nine-night Divali Nagar wraps up tonight with a fireworks display and traffic on the Uriah Butler Highway. And with the end of another successful production, comes the annual concern that the celebration is becoming more about commerce than culture. Read More »

  • No police eh see

    I was in a line at the Digicel outlet in MovieTowne and there was a policeman behind me waiting impatiently, squirming and very uncomfortable. I figured he was wishing for a siren that he could blast, push me out of the way and accost the cashier demanding service. Read More »

  • InvesTT wins UNCTAD award

    On October 13 at the World Investment Forum 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, InvesTT Trinidad and Tobago (InvesTT) was announced as one of four winners of the UNCTAD Investment Promotion Award for Excellence in Promoting FDI for Sustainable Development. InvesTT’s submission was based on Gravita India Ltd a publicly held entity and investor from Jaipur, India which specialises in the recycling and trade of lead internationally. Read More »

  • Getting CNG on the road again

    The State-owned National Gas Co (NGC), already burdened, along with its wholly-held subsidiary, National Energy, with a wide range of responsibilities, is cheerfully taking on another one – transportation fuels retailing. Yes, you read correctly: NGC will be running five mobile compressed natural gas (CNG) outlets as a major part of its programme of enticing Trinidad and Tobago’s motorists to convert from gasolene and diesel to the cleaner-burning and less expensive CNG. Read More »

  • The ten biggest energy company bankruptcies

    Running a multi-billion dollar energy company isn’t easy. Just ask the executives in the corner suites of some of the energy companies that have gone bust over the years. Some, like Enron, were brought down because of insider malfeasance. A few, like ATP, blamed damaging government policies, while others went off the rails due to market forces that left the company and its shareholders flat-footed, deep in debt, and eventually broke. Read More »

  • The power of social media

    Service industries have long understood the value of customer feedback as an effective tool to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. Businesses were able to use this vital tool to boost performance and service recovery and improve competitiveness to inevitably increase profits. Read More »

  • Internationally known and T&T-owned

    Sacha Cosmetics Ltd is the brainchild of one man ’s magnificent obsession with serving an ancient and universal human longing- to look beautiful. Founded by Satyakama “Kama” Maharaj some 35 years ago, the locally-owned, locally-manufactured range of premium cosmetics has been a beauty boon to women of all skin tones. With its selection of highly-pigmented products, Sacha serves a growing niche of what its tagline terms “women with exotic skin” – a demographic notoriously overlooked by large cosmetics manufacturers. Read More »

  • Good debt and wealth creation

    In the recent article “Be Uncomfortable With Debt”, (check out caridollarsandsense.com if you missed it) we promoted the idea that you should approach borrowing carefully, not casually. Treat debt with respect and agonise over having to borrow. When making an informed decision if new debt is right for you, a major consideration would be the impact of new debt on your net worth: does it add or erode? Read More »

  • ... a thousand words

    A picture paints a thousand words, it is said. In the case of Naalri’s Photoplanet, the company says its images tell an entire story, no words necessary. Naalri’s founder Arvin Isaac has created a market niche that has allowed the company to grow from a typical photography business to a sought after brand. Read More »

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