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.