SKNCIC – Academic Excellence Recognition Awards

 

Dr. Cherese Godwin articulated with perfection a message that spoke to the heart of the theme: Deepening the Conversation…the Sky is the Limit at the 31st Academic Excellence Recognition Awards Ceremony, jointly sponsored by FLOW and the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

Read her stellar speech below

Good night esteemed guest.

I thank you for the opportunity to speak before such amazing and outstanding academic achievers and those who assisted them in their development. I want you all to look to those on your left and right and tell one another job well done.

It is not easy, as you know, to stand out academically. One never truly knows how much hard work goes into challenging yourself and working hard. For some it may come easy, yet sustaining the growth of knowledge over time and being able to show the practice of all the theory you have learned is what exemplifies greatness …. And with that stated,

I challenge you to not only continue to work hard, but to work smart as knowledge means nothing if you do not use it wisely and you do not use it to gain. It is one thing to hold knowledge and be able to display your level of content by test scores, yet it is another to take that knowledge and become innovators and change agents in your societies; to not settle for the status quo, but to go out and make a difference. Make a difference by smashing glass ceilings and breaking limits, to hold high positions at a youthful age, to change policies and mindsets, and to build the infrastructure of people, organisations, and countries and if it does not exist, I challenge you to create it.

The world is yours for the taking, and you have proven that by sitting in this room today. (Give yourself a round of applause).

The time is now, the time is now to start strategically planning how you will conquer the world provided to you, to start doing, to start beginning with the end in mind, to start learning and unlearning, to start figuring out life as you know it, but to also know you will never figure it out all at once, as life is a journey and destinations are stopping marks along the way. See, I believe each of you can attest to that because today marks a destination of celebrating your achievements, yet discipline, homework, studying, was all about the journey that got you to your destination- that is what people rarely see. As humans, we strive and challenge ourselves, yet once we reach a goal, we often seldom stay there and rest for long, as new goals emerge and we therefore grow and develop.

Today, you celebrate Academic Excellence. Today is a day that marks what you have done thus far, the long hours of studying, the sleepless nights, the sacrifices, yet moving forward I am sure you may be asking yourself what’s next, or now that I have achieved this award, where do I go from here, what challenge do I conquer, because you are a victor, you all are winners, but a winner knows that the achievement marks a milestone, but to sustain it, you must continue to push yourself to levels of higher heights.

There’s a word called epistemology or the phrase the epistemological perspective. This means to truly know and to understand who is the knower and how did knower get to know, simply it is the study of knowledge. This derives from a full break down of the content of words and theory. Investigating history and the true facts. How we came to believe what we know is true and if there are gaps and inconsistencies, we research and find ways to provide new knowledge. That is where you come in, where you deepen the conversation. Where you provide depth to what is before you or you create it. This is no task for just a philosopher, but for a future banker, politician, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, teacher, the list goes on.

The world is constantly changing and we are faced with new challenges daily, yet we also have opportunities to fix these challenges and to also create the things we wished existed, or build on what we already know. I want you to think of your contribution to the world, not just the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. I want you to think globally and act locally, to travel in person and or on the internet and explore what is out there for the taking, to explore new concepts, theories, developments, the ease of doing business, and what persons are doing your age to make the world a better place and also themselves. As you think of your contribution, know that I am providing you a big task, not to scare you, or make you think can someone like me do what is being ask of me. I am asking you to do this task because I know that everyone in this room are the individuals to achieve whatever they put their minds to and even greater if done collectively as you can attest by the number of people here. You are LIMITLESS! Please repeat after me, I AM LIMITLESS! WHATEVER I PUT MY MIND TO, I CAN ACHIEVE AND THEREFORE, I AM EXCELLENCE!

Do not just say these words, but believe them, act on them! See, I know that a dream becomes reality when you put some action behind it and when you actually believe that it is already done, and that all you have to do is go through the motions and go through the process. Belief is what drives innovation and what drives creativity, what drives a person to actually do what they set out to.

When I was in the process of completing my PhD, so many people told me they couldn’t do what I am doing, or GOSH, how much longer do you have, how long has it been? There were few positive conversations in regard to my actual process. I never looked at how long it would take me, nor did I look at the process as anything negative. I knew that I had a job to do and I wasn’t going to allow anyone to stop me. I knew that if I believed in myself enough and if I believed in the process enough, I wouldn’t allow myself to not be determined. I would say, my PhD is already completed, I just have to finish the classes. What I spoke to myself, I believed. See how you speak to yourself is everything. If you tell yourself you can do it, you can, but if you tell yourself you can’t do it, then you won’t. There will always be naysayers, people who want to knock you for doing well or make you feel guilty for their position in life if its less than yours, but you have to be strong enough to endure and stay on the journey through the process of greatness.

So I challenge you to stay focused, to tune out the noise of others, think about how you will conquer the world, and begin with the end in mind, begin with knowing what your end goal is, and do not become discouraged if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s all a part of the journey, but I challenge you to start, to know that you are limitless, and to make this world a better place, not just by deepening the conversation, but also by creating solutions that derive from the conversation. I therefore challenge you to find your contribution and start now.

I am proud of you, I am so happy for you, and congratulations! This is just the beginning!

Thank you.

Disaster – changes how we do business in St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber declares it will not be business as usual in St. Kitts & Nevis.

The passage of two category five hurricanes, let alone two in the same season is unprecedented. Each storm ravaged several islands in one sweep.  The reality that both storms passed several miles away from us, did not change the fact that the twin-islands sustained infrastructural damage.  The impact on homes, public buildings, businesses, farms and roads was significant.

Yet it is the direct impact of the storm on other nations that concerns us.

How St. Kitts & Nevis provides for its people

St. Kitts and Nevis receives a substantial amount of supplies through the Port of Miami.  This includes all of our imported food. Retail providers adequately stocked up pre-storm.  Hurricane Irma disrupted the supply chain by hitting the Port of Miami.  Dominica supplies fruits and vegetables; these will be absent from the stands along the Bay Road for months to come.

Building material experienced a hard run as part of hurricane preparedness activities.  Repairs were quickly addressed after Hurricane Irma.  This action further depleted stocks.  Providers were unable to replenish their stocks, before Hurricane Maria plummeted more islands.  Material that was delayed after the first storm, was now further delayed.

These hurricanes were personal to citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis did not sustain a direct hit, but the impact on particular islands made this personal.  Kittitians and Nevisians have close family ties in Anguilla, St. Maarten, the USVI, the BVI and Puerto Rico. The compelling urge to help others in need gripped the Federation placing pressure on existing stock.  Increased demand for water and dry goods brought into question the country’s ability to feed itself.

The main industry of St. Kitts & Nevis was also hit.  Cruise ships began cancelling their calls. Rough seas were the initial cause. The subsequent cancellations were purely a business decision.  With St. Maarten, Tortola and Puerto Rico out of the loop there were insufficient stops on an itinerary. The cruise industry has inserted St. Kitts & Nevis on other itineraries, but the number of inbound voyages, or the lack thereof, has begun to take its toll.

Several islands in the Caribbean serve as hubs to other islands.  Puerto Rico is the regional hub for express mail. St. Maarten served as a hub for cargo shipments. The mail-order business has grown exponentially in St. Kitts & Nevis. The devastation of islands serving as hubs, brought to a temporary halt access to private imports and the importation of temporary shelter supplies.

The list goes on and on…read other views here.

How do we build resilience?

The impact of regional devastation on insurance premiums cannot be overlooked.  Sir Ronald Saunders shared his views on how the Caribbean needs to insure itself against disasters.  Read

As St. Kitts & Nevis grapples with its own situation, lessons from the experience of others can be learnt.  Dominica’s challenges with communication should drive us to build a more robust technology structure.  Barbuda’s total annihilation, should prompt us to look at our building codes and our inventory of shelters.  We must take a deeper look at our own vulnerabilities and put the necessary steps in place at personal, business and national levels.

Inherent in any plan for improvement, is the need to establish a designated fund, enabling us to help ourselves.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its in June 2017 report recommends the creation of a Growth and Resilience Fund. The intent is that such a fund will aid in the event of a catastrophic event.  The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, (ECCB), giving consideration to the same subject, covered the matter in a white paper on the matter entitled Sovereign Wealth Funds.

You can contribute to the discussion on disaster mitigation and recovery by submitting your views below.

 

 

Public Procurement

Click on the links below to learn more about this opportunity and to register.

(FOR LAC) CARICOM Public Procurement Protocol 12.05.17

FOR LAC 17 05 17 Model Public Procurement Bill

Presentation on the Community Public Procurement Regime

SKNCIC Celebrates its members…Caribelle Batik

SKNCIC celeMaurice Widdowsonbrates its members…Caribelle Batik’s owner

Maurice Widdowson

SKNCIC embraces the induction of Maurice Widdowson of Caribelle Batik, ushering him into the family of honorary recipients of the country’s highest award – a Medal of Honour.

Easily one of the Chamber’s esteemed historians, Maurice has a rich background of life here in Sugar City where he has had a hand in the transformation of life through engagement with key developmental initiatives such as the Beautiful Basseterre Committee, the St. Christopher Heritage Society (National Trust) among others.

The transformation at Romney Manor speaks for itself.  Since his arrival in St. Kitts back in the early 70s, Maurice has embraced Kittitian life – its culture, its people and its heritage, carving out a business that showcased the positive attributes of life here in St. Kitts.

The St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce salutes Mr. Maurice Widdowson, recipient of a 2017 Medal of Honour.

SKN Chamber Celebrates its Members…Dreamy Weddings

Natalie John

Natalie John, CEO Dream Weddings & Tours

featured speaker for The Wedding Planner Conference, to be held in Roseau, Dominica – June 7-9, 2017

Identified by Times Caribbean, the Wedding and Honeymoon industry is an important niche market for Dominica. Consequently, over the past years, Discover Dominica (DD) has undertaken activities to develop Dominica’s Wedding and Honey Moon product offerings. The seminar will focus mainly on strengthening the development of the Wedding and Honeymoon niche tourism product and building the capacity of relevant public and private sector persons and organizations involved or wishing to become involved in this market, featuring as guest speaker our very own Natalie John.  Read more

 

 

SKNCIC Celebrates its Members…Scotiabank

Scotiabank

Scotiabank has been named Bank of the Year 2016 in St. Kitts and Nevis

by The Banker Magazine.

 

Scotiabank St. Kitts and Nevis was named Bank of the Year by The Banker Magazine. “We are proud of this award because it is a reflection of the hard work of our employees and their forucs on helping our customers become better off”, said Dave Ramsumair, local Country Head.  “We are proud to be known for our customer service and for delivering superior results for our shareholders.”

The Bank was recognized across the region with a significant number of Scotiabank operations being awarded.

The Banker selects winners based on their ability to deliver shareholder returns and gain strategic advantage.  The magazine is the worlds longest running international banking magazine, recognized as a leading source of information on finance and investment around the globe.  The Banker selects one winning bank for each of the 120 countries judged. Over 1,000 applications are collected and the judges select winning banks based on which ones they believe have made the most progress over the past 12 months.

The Banker Magazine Issue: 3496 – 68th Year

SKN Chamber Celebrates its Members….OTI

Ocean Terrace InnSt. Kitts-Nevis Chamber Member snags a prizeBasseterre, St. Kitts – (June 6, 2017) – Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) continues to stand out in the Caribbean as a leader in sustainable tourism with the property receiving runner up for Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Environmental Sustainability Award. Chris Ghita, General Manager of OTI accepted the award on behalf of the property at CHTA’s CHIEF (Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum) Opening Ceremony on June 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, FL.

Ocean Terrace Inn is extremely proud to receive this top honor, as it reconfirms our positioning to not only be one of the most environmentally sustainable hotels in St. Kitts, but throughout the entire Caribbean,” commented Chris Ghita, General Manager of Ocean Terrace Inn. “OTI is relentless in the pursuit of initiating and promoting eco-friendly and sustainability awareness amongst our guests, the staff and the community. Through a multi-faceted campaign that conserves energy and natural resources; reduces waste to minimize pollution and teaches eco-friendly policies in a local school, OTI uses environmental best practices to positively contribute to tourism’s sustainability and operate the resort in a fiscally responsible and economic manner.”

In addition to being a 2017 CHIEF award finalist, Mr. Ghita served as one of the panellists for the Sales & Marketing Session: Identity Therapy: Analyzing you Business’s Branding Strategy. The session discussed how to develop, cultivate and communicate a unique brand, regardless of the size of the business. Mr. Ghita shared with the audience the evolution of OTI’s branding strategy since the completion of the renovations in 2015 and how he involves everyone on the staff in the ongoing challenge of delivering a product of excellence that is consistent with OTI’s brand message.

Chris Ghita, General Manager of Ocean Terrace Inn discusses how to develop, cultivate and communicate your brand

OTI St. Kitts

Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) is the premier educational forum for Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals. CHIEF is where the hospitality industry assembles to connect, learn best practices, share ideas, brainstorm creative solutions to current challenges and build relationships. With three educational tracks covering a multitude of relevant topics, from the sharing economy to sustainability, and interactive roundtable and speed networking sessions, this event addresses issues affecting all businesses. The forum attracts hoteliers, vendors, government officials and industry experts focused on a stronger, profitable and more sustainable industry.

OTI, the intimate 4-star boutique hotel, where the ‘little things’ make all of the difference, was totally renovated in 2015. Ocean Terrace Inn offers state-of-the-art amenities, chic public areas, 34 perfectly appointed air conditioned guestrooms and suites with complimentary Wi-Fi, mouth-watering cuisine curated by International Chefs, and a level of personalized service that sets a new standard to the island.

For more information on Ocean Terrace Inn visit www.oceanterraceinn.com, email frontdesk@oceanterraceinn.com, call 1-800-524-0512 and follow Ocean Terrace Inn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Evolving Financial Landscape of St. Kitts & Nevis

Saving, spending and investing money has become more challenging as the rules of engagement continue to change.  De-risking continues. FATCA (our financial relationship with the USA), the Banking Act (orchestrated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank) and now the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) all play a role in the new era of financial management.

Speaking at the Chamber’s Luncheon in St. Kitts on May 10th, 2017, Mrs. Sylvia Gumbs, Deputy Financial Secretary with responsibility for financial policy, outlined the CRS and its implications for business and personal financial management.  You may read more about this act here.

Trade Impact – St. Kitts & Nevis Perspective

Trade Impact!

Whether we are talking about Brexit, Trump’s strategies to “Make America Great Again”, or bilateral arrangements with another Caribbean or international country, the impact of trade agreements on the smaller islands of the Caribbean is significant and require special attention if we are to achieve any benefits.

When you take into consideration the fact that many of our indigenous products are manufactured on very small scales, making regional trade somewhat redundant, and the fact that trade liberalization came into full force on February 22nd, 2017 – all this while we are still trying to figure out how to benefit from the Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement, and completing the Brazil Partial Scope Agreement, trade seems arduous at best.

Taking our eyes off the ball can be costly!  Recently a petition for the US Border Wall was filed which, had it been successful would have increased operating costs for the manufacturing sector which provides 10 per cent of the jobs across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.  What does the US Border Wall have to do with us?  That is a question we are still asking.  Somehow, a US Senator thought it would make sense to have Caribbean islands contribute to the cost of the wall by paying a 2 per cent fee on remittances from the United States.  Every time a relative, corporate headquarters or customers transfers money from the United States to St. Kitts and Nevis, they would incur a 2 per cent fee.  Less than 1 per cent of the estimated 43.7 million persons making up the population of the Caribbean would ever travel to Mexico and less than that would ever see this wall if it is built.  Of all the Caribbean persons living in the United States, however they got there, it is very unlikely that they crossed the border from Mexico to the US.

This was only one of several attempts to disrupt trade relations involving the Caribbean, a situation which clearly indicates that trade experts in the region need to pay attention to what is happening with all countries with whom we enjoy trade relations.

St. Kitts and Nevis has benefited from the Caribbean Basin Initiative upon which it established the enclave sector. In 2000, this bill was expanded into the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Agreement (CBPTA) which expanded trade opportunities for the Caribbean. Since many of the manufacturing entities across both islands are micro enterprises and without the support of an export agency that can provide advice on how to utilize these agreements the benefits of the CBPTA has yet to be utilized by St. Kitts and Nevis.  It is set to expire in 2020.

The CBPTA is not the only agreement to which we need to pay attention, as the requirements of the “rules of origin” for all trade agreements provide options that enable us to qualify for the benefits and also challenges restricting us from achieving qualifying targets.

Other trade arrangements such as the Common External Tariff (CET) that provides protection for trade across the region, is another agreement to which we have signed on, and application of the rules has proven to be challenging as we grapple with the need to improve national livelihoods as our first priority before any allegiance paid to regional trade regimes.

Trade Agreements, therefore, are not just for manufacturing entities.  They impact many other sectors both directly (such as shipping agents and banks) and indirectly (such as retail stores).  Understanding how to maximize these agreements is important to all of

 

Crime Is Personal in small islands

When business owners of small, medium or large enterprises on small islands are attacked, the crime is personal!  Everyone knows either the perpetrators or the victims!  This knowledge is actually a problem in more ways than one.  It unfortunately means that the law enforcement agents also know and are known by the criminals, making everyone more vulnerable in the prosecutorial cycle.

It is difficult in a close knit society to arrest one’s 2nd cousin, (or even neighbour), whose 34 year old mother, enjoys the proceeds of criminal activity provided by a child that is polite and attentive and where the ill-gotten gains appear to be of benefit to younger siblings. The right to provide for and protect one’s family confronts the nation with fire power that outguns local law enforcement and seeks retribution wherever it can be found to exact pain and retain control.

Where we got off the track as a society has become the subject of much debate, concluding that intervention at the community level is the solution to this problem of epic proportions. Whatever the solution, one things is clear – it requires effort from all of us.  The private sector needs sustainable development, providing meaningful job opportunities; the church needs to preach its message of hope that results in improved lifestyles and an enactment of loving one’s neighbour as one’s self; the government needs to rise to a level of good governance that is demonstrated through principled public behaviour and service organizations need to create and fully engage in programs that build societies and create positive role models.

These are the entities we seek to bring together to discuss joint action on crime. Together we can make the difference that individually we would struggle to achieve.  Crime is a societal issue affecting us all!

Join us for the discussion.