GDPR – Are you ready?


Are you ready?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect May 25, 2018.  It aims to create more consistent protection of consumer and personal data across the 28 member states of the European Union. It also standardizes the treatment of data and the penalties for non-compliance when processing personally identifiable information (PII). It will forever change the way data is collected and managed.

Who is impacted?

All entities (companies, government agencies, non-profits, associations and organizations) that hold and process personal data for residents of the European Union. Geographic location is not an exclusive factor. As long as you offer goods or services within the EU; and if you monitor the behavior of EU residents in any way, you are required to comply with the GDPR.

The maximum fine for non-compliance is 20 million euros. Fines can be imposed for: not having records in order; failure to notify the authority about a breach; or for failing to conduct an impact assessment.

Becoming Compliant

The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a guide to the GDPR. The Guide covers a number of related subject areas but also contains tips on Steps to Take Now and a Data Protection Self Assessment Toolkit.

It is important to note that the matter of compliance is not restricted to the work done by the company’s IT team. The legislation impacts Marketing and Accounting as well. It requires a top-down organizational change; a full commitment for effectiveness. As such, many institutions have created useful guides from Readiness Checklists and help to understand the changing roles for Board Directors. Service providers such as Microsoft have also stepped up to the line and provided resources to help.


In 2008, the European Union (EU) signed an economic partnership agreement with the countries of the CARIFORUM. The Agreement, known to the Caribbean as the CARIFORUM-EU-EPA is a reciprocal arrangement that allows CARIFORUM States to benefit from trading in the European Union. To date, the main exports from the Caribbean to the European Union are fuel, mining products, petroleum, bananas, rum and minerals. The main exports from the EU into the Caribbean are marine vessels, vehicles, engine parts, telephone equipment and dairy products.

The Agreement however, embraces both goods and services. In fact, there are no restrictions on legally tradable products or services. Different to its predecessor (the Cotonou Agreement), and other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), this Agreement provides development aid that will facilitate the establishment of trade relations.

This means that companies that did not formerly do business with the EU, can consider new market opportunities through the Agreement. Better still, the Direct Grant Assistance Scheme offered through Caribbean Export, provides financial support for qualifying applicants.  Learn more.

Brexit vs Caribbean

Is Brexit a threat for the Caribbean?

brexit vs caribbean

Britain has spoken! Availing themselves of their democratic right to be in full control of their own destiny, Brexit caused shock waves, felt around the world. Amongst those concerned, are the small islands territories making up the Caribbean.

There has been enough buzz for months about the potential impact of such an action. While many may have hoped for a different outcome as a means of security for themselves, today the reality is what it is and plans have to be made accordingly.

In the weeks ahead, while Britain defines its future in trade, immigration, tourism and other key areas, the Caribbean needs to pay close attention. Donor funding, while critical, is not the only area that needs to be reviewed. From CARIFORUM-EPA’s to foreign policy and tourism, there is much to be considered.

The Caribbean has enjoyed and anticipates continued strong ties to what, for most of the islands, was the proverbial “motherland”. The UK is home to many of our nationals proving that the ties that bind us are more than commercial ones.

Caribbean’s Correspondent Banking

Correspondent banking

Caribbean countries continue to pay very close attention to the challenges faced within the banking sector.

Alicia Nicholls in an article published on Caribbean Trade Law and Development clearly articulates the relationship between Caribbean banks and the international world.

“Correspondent banking relationships are Caribbean countries’ umbilical cord to the international financial system. They allow for the conduct of international trade and investment by facilitating crossborder payments, as well as the receipt and sending of remittances through international wire transfers. At the microlevel these relationships help local exporters to receive payments for their goods and services, local businesses to pay for imports, and poor families to receive remittances for their day to day survival. As I mentioned in an earlier article, the loss of correspondent banking relationships could spell disaster for the small, open economies of the region which are highly dependent on trade and investment flows, with implications for poverty reduction and eradication.”

Read more here