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Gov’t Building Capacity Of Small And Medium-Sized Tourism Operators To Increase Earnings



Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Government is working to build the capacity of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) to increase earnings from the sector.

He noted that while 80 percent of tourism worldwide is driven by SMTEs, “only 20 percent of the returns from tourism go to this particular sector”.

“We want to build the capacity of all local people here to manage their own supply arrangement, to market it themselves, to market through Jamaican networks so that more and more of the resources that will come from the sale of their products will remain in their pocket and in the economy of Jamaica,” Mr. Bartlett said.

He was speaking at the opening of the virtual staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ trade show at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (July 23).

Mr. Bartlett said the establishment of the Tourism Linkages Network is one of the means through which the Government has been investing in the capacity building of small and medium-sized enterprises, to bring about the required “re-balance” in the distribution of wealth.

“We are enabling our small providers to be more efficient in their production, to be able to produce more and to be able to produce at a higher quality so that they get a better response and [enhance] their capability to manage, better, their own process,” he said.

The linkages hub was created in 2013 to strengthen the relationship between tourism and other sectors of the economy and position the industry to generate higher growth rates in visitor arrivals and earnings.

The objective is to widen the net of people benefiting from tourism and create a sector that is more inclusive and offers increased opportunities for economic growth and development.

In the meantime, Mr. Bartlett informed that the Government is also improving local producers’ access to international markets, noting that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has established a “very powerful marketing and digital platform to create space for content of all types”.

“[This is a] infrastructure that we are creating to provide opportunities for our local producers, small or large, to be able to have access to the markets of the world. We are excited about that, because that is how we are going to build the value chain, that’s how we are going to enable more and more of our people to be true beneficiaries of tourism,” he said.

Businessuite Markets

What Does Seprod’s Acquisition of Trinidad Based A.S. Bryden Have to Do with CEO Richard Pandohie’s Single Domestic Market Strategy?



Seprod Limited (“Seprod”) recent announcement that it has reached an agreement to acquire A.S. Bryden & Sons Holdings (“A.S. Bryden”), is a combination that will according to Richard Pandohie Chief Executive Officer of Seprod, create the leading integrated manufacturing and distribution group in the Caribbean.

The combination will also position Seprod for regional supremacy.

To get a much clearer insight into:
1. What may have been the strategic driving force behind the acquisition, and
2. Understand what it has to do with Richard Pandohie’s single domestic market strategy
we have to look more closely at what A.S. Bryden & Sons Holdings Limited (“A.S. Bryden”) offers to Seprod that it does not already have.

But first let’s take a brief look at Seprod.

Seprod Limited (“Seprod”) is a preeminent regional food manufacturing, distribution and agribusiness group, founded in 1940 and is a blue-chip company listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE: SEP). Seprod represents leading global and regional principals and also has a significant manufacturing base spanning oils and margarine, wheat and corn milling, integrated dairy and biscuits and snacks.

Importantly Seprod is a member of the powerful Musson Group of Companies (“Musson”). Musson is a diversified holding company that owns controlling stakes in a number of public and private companies in the Caribbean and Central America across distribution, manufacturing, insurance, information technology, logistics and real estate.

Musson’s subsidiaries and joint ventures include Seprod, Productive Business Solutions Limited, General Accident Insurance Company (Jamaica) Limited, T. Geddes Grant Distributors Limited, Interlinc Group Limited, Canopy Insurance Company Jamaica Limited and Felton Limited.

So, What Does A.S. Bryden Offer To Seprod?

A Single Domestic Market

Richard Pandohie Chief Executive Officer of Seprod has always considered that Caricom should operate as a single domestic market, and with this acquisition it will allow A.S. Bryden and Seprod to take a quantum leap in creating a regional company, utilizing the best of their Caribbean people to create value-added synergies.

Provides A Gateway To Guyana And Barbados Markets

It’s important and strategic to note that Seprod’s acquisition of the Trinidad based A.S. Bryden, provides gateways to both the Guyana and Barbados markets. One of the A.S. Bryden subsidiaries, Bryden pi through its wholly-owned subsidiary Genethics, operates in Guyana through its subsidiary BPI Guyana and in Barbados through its joint venture Armstrong Healthcare Inc. Limited.

Deep History And Roots In The Region

A.S. Bryden, which has deep history and roots in the region, having been founded in 1923 and operating in Trinidad for almost a century. is a leading consumer products distributor and is one of the largest privately-owned businesses in Trinidad.

How Does A.S. Bryden Make Money?

A.S. Bryden is a privately held company, so financial information on the company will not be readily available until we can view the financial reports from Seprod following the acquisition. What we do know is that A.S. Bryden distributes food, pharmaceuticals, hardware, houseware and industrial equipment, and operates through three principal operating subsidiaries:
1. A.S. Bryden & Sons (Trinidad) Limited (“ASBT”),
2. Bryden pi Limited (“Bryden pi”) and
3. F.T. Farfan Limited (“FT Farfan”).

ASBT distributes food, hardware and housewares and premium beverages for international brands including Mondelez, Whirlpool, Rubbermaid, Truper, Reynolds, Colcafe, Bon ice cream, Cadbury, Johnnie Walker, Hennessy, Moet Chandon, Red Bull, Black & Decker, LG, KitchenAid, Oster and Speed Queen.

Bryden pi distributes healthcare, personal care and food and grocery products for international brands including Kimberly Clark, Mead Johnson, Baxter, Roche, Glaxo Smith Kline, L’Oreal, Novartis, Sanofi and Sandoz.

Bryden pi also manufactures a line of over the counter products through its wholly-owned subsidiary Genethics and operates in Guyana through its subsidiary BPI Guyana and in Barbados through its joint venture Armstrong Healthcare Inc. Limited.

It’s not yet clear how FT Farfan, which is an industrial supply and service company that serves leading international brands including Stihl, JCB, Castrol, Shell Marine, Cummins and Lincoln Electric, fits into the current Seprod business structure. It’s possible that this company could be sold for its parts. However, with the rapid economic developments taking place in Guyana, driven by large investments taking place in the petroleum sectors FT Farfan, which operates in Trinidad and in Guyana through its subsidiary Ibis Construction Equipment Sales & Rentals Inc. (ICON) Guyana could be a strategic player.

The EVE Brand

Both Seprod and ASBT own the Eve brand and range of products in their respective markets, which positions this brand for a major regional push, and could become the combined entity’s primary Caribbean brand.

EVE, positioned by Seprod as “First Family of Fine Foods”, and one of the most complete food brands worldwide, has become synonymous with fine quality products at economical prices. The EVE brand holds 6 categories: Pasta, Oil, Seasonings, Canned Vegetables, Canned Meats, Canned Juices, Vinegar, Jams/Jellies, Condiments, Sauces, Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk. Eve is arguably the most complete food brand on the Jamaican market and can be found on tables not only in Jamaica but throughout the islands the company notes on its website.

Businessuite Top 100 Caribbean Player

Together Seprod and A.S. Bryden, with combined annual revenues projected to be in excess of US$500 million could position Seprod into the Top 10 of the Businessuite 2022 Top 100 Caribbean Companies by US$ Revenue.

With revenues of US$264M, Seprod was positioned at #16 for 2021, behind such giants as Massy Holdings Limited at #1 with $1,775M, GraceKennedy Limited at #3 with $809M, and Jamaica Broilers Group Limited at #11 with $390M. To move into the top 10 for 2022 A.S. Bryden will have to contribute at least US$250M, which gives some indication of the kind of revenues the privately held company generates.

Single Operating Caribbean Brand

With Richard Pandohie serving as interim Group Chief Executive Officer of A.S. Bryden he will be well positioned with all the pieces in front of him to shape this new regional entity, operating in his vision of a Single Domestic Market.

Operating under one regional Seprod brand has to be a major part of the game plan going forward.
Given the long history and operation of A.S. Bryden, this will not be an easy or over night move. This will have to be done with careful consideration to local sentiments.

In this regard Richard Pandohie, will want to look and maybe learn from how the rebranding of the Neal and Massy Group of Companies to Massy Group was recently executed.

According to Massy Group CEO Gervase Warner this was not easy but the conglomerate’s vision for the future required that the brand be overhauled. He said the decision was difficult because over the past nine decades Neal and Massy became a household name, not only in T&T, but the Caribbean and parts of Central America.

“We wanted to make sure that whatever we came up with represented growth–businesses that worked and grow together. We also wanted prosperity, good economic, as well as community prosperity to be incorporated in this process and of course, we wanted it to be representative of the Caribbean basin. We wanted it to be a brand that people would look at and say this thing looks friendly, warm and everything Caribbean. So, we did that. We started to search for different names that would embody the manifesto that we put out before. After all the brainstorming, we just kept coming back to Massy. Massy was a strong name. People already abbreviate Neal and Massy to Massy. They are going Massy. They (are) taking their car Massy. Massy is a strong name, a name that translates well on the Latin American market that we would go into. Mass is more, si is yes. You want more? Yes! So, we went with Massy.” he said.

Management Shakeup

According to the release A.S. Bryden will continue to operate as an independent, standalone company and its subsidiaries: A.S. Bryden & Sons (Trinidad) Limited, Bryden pi Limited, and F.T. Farfan Limited, will continue to be managed by their existing executive teams.

However, many expect that over time Pandohie will start to move into place management who can help him realise his vison. Seprod has a track-record of supporting and motivating high-performing management teams and has demonstrated a keen understanding of local markets.

Speaking on the landmark regional transaction, outgoing A.S. Bryden Chairman, Ian Fitzwilliam stated that Seprod shares many of A.S. Bryden’s core values, and that he was confident that Seprod will maintain A.S. Bryden’s culture and identity and build on their proud history by investing in their people and businesses.

For his part Seprod Chairman, P.B. Scott, commented that “A.S. Bryden is an exceptional business run by outstanding people. We are privileged to be the stewards of A.S. Bryden’s heritage and to have the opportunity to work with its talented leadership team. I am excited about our ability to join forces and better serve our employees, customers and distribution partners at Seprod and A.S. Bryden.”

If Richard Pandohie is to create and realise his vision of a Single Domestic Market he may have to cherry pick from this, discarding with dispassion what does not fit.

Subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed by May 31, 2022.

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Corporate Movements

Corporate Movements – May 2022



GHL is pleased to announce some very significant changes to our organization structure that has recently been approved by the Group Board. These changes relate to the creation of the new position of Group Head of Life, Health and Pensions (“LHP”). The mandate of this new role is to ensure the promulgation of best practices across Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited and Guardian Life Limited as well as to oversee the consolidation of the back offices of these LHP subsidiaries.

It is with great pleasure that GHL informs you that Mr. Eric Hosin, who presently holds the position of President, Guardian Life Limited will be appointed to the position of Group Head of Life, Health and Pensions and Ms. Meghon Miller-Brown will be appointed to the position of President, Guardian Life Limited. Both of these appointments will be effective June 1st, 2022.

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Businessuite News24

Dawgen introduces breakthrough cybersecurity services for Caribbean businesses, powered by Ostra



Dawgen Global, through its member firm Dawgen USA, Inc., has launched a breakthrough cybersecurity service offering for businesses operating in the Caribbean.  Dawgen Global cybersecurity practice is now powered by Ostra Cybersecurity. Ostra’s proprietary, multifaceted, plug-and-play infrastructure provides a sphere of protection unmatched by any individual product in the marketplace. Ostra provides businesses peace of mind by eliminating cyber risk with one comprehensive solution so they can focus on what is most important… growing their business.

Dawgen Global is an integrated, multidisciplinary professional services firm in the Caribbean Region that provides several professional services, including: Audit, Accounting, Tax, IT, Risk, HR, Performance, M&A, Corporate Recovery and other advisory services.

According to the executive chairman of Dawgen Global, Dr. Dawkins Brown, the firm’s entry into cybersecurity services is an expansion of its Risk Advisory practice. “We are a business solutions firm that focuses on clients’ needs,” states Dr. Brown. “Dawgen is focused on adding value to our clients— and we see it as part of our duty to integrate relevant products and services that help them deal with the realities of the current threat landscape, which includes significant cybersecurity risks to organizations of every size.”

Dawgen’s cybersecurity services will focus on the entire spectrum of increasing and emerging risks— including disruption due to innovation, cyber threats, geopolitical instability, and other trends—and helping clients create more value for their organizations through intelligent risk-management strategies.  .

“Ostra is excited to work with Dawgen Global as a trusted partner,” said Mike Barlow, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Ostra. “They are uniquely poised to introduce this Fortune 100-caliber, comprehensive cybersecurity solution to help protect businesses in the Caribbean.”

Responding to growing cybersecurity risks

Cybersecurity is essential for the community of small businesses and medium-sized companies to address. According to Small Business Trends and the Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (2020 DBIR), nearly one-third of data breaches in 2020 involved small businesses.

Dawgen Global’s cybersecurity practice, powered by Ostra, will provide affordable data security solutions to businesses who are experiencing massive change in their virtual workforces, expanding their IT infrastructure, and navigating an ever-increasing number of data security regulations.

The need to maintain appropriate levels of cybersecurity and data privacy is critical to society at large, and its importance is growing daily. Rapid advancements in technology have resulted in a large-scale integration of computing, communication, and information technologies into virtually every aspect of our society. These technologies are at the heart of emerging advancements in transportation, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, utilities, recreation, financial, social media, and many other domains. The incorporation of cyber technologies into a wide array of industries is tearing down barriers as information is gathered and shared in order to facilitate previously unimaginable improvements in capabilities, efficiency, and cost.

This is why, when a ransomware attack or data breach occurs,  the damage is rarely confined to one company, region, or industry. An attack designed to impact one network may inadvertently or deliberately infect, impair or disable any other systems that are associated with it. Small companies are often targeted because hackers want access to their clients’ customer lists, proprietary technology, credit card records, or employees’ personal information—all of which can open up additional avenues for financial exploitation. Cyberattacks also blur the lines between state-versus-state “warfare” activities, state-sponsored intelligence activities, and criminal activities.

About Dawgen Global

Dawgen Global is an integrated, multidisciplinary professional service firm providing a wide range of services including: Audit , Advisory, Tax, Legal and Compliance ,Technology, and Risk. The firm is organized in Business Units to better serve clients. These includes: Dawgen Auditors, Dawgen Advisors, Dawgen Finance, Dawgen Media, Dawgen Tech, Dawgen HR Solutions, and Dawgen Legal and Compliance.

About Ostra Cybersecurity

As a next-generation MSSP, Ostra Cybersecurity combines best-in-class tools, proprietary technology and exceptional talent to deliver Fortune 100-level protection for businesses of all sizes. The result is a multi-layered, 360° solution that allows you to set it and forget it. For more information, visit

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Corporate Movements

Corporate Movements at Barita Investments



The Board of Barita Investments Limited (“Barita” or the “Company”) has advised of senior management changes in keeping with the Company’s succession planning programme. The changes are meant to further strengthen Barita’s organizational structure, risk management and governance, significantly bolster executive leadership of the core business, and deepen sales and service capabilities. The Company has been deliberate with its talent acquisition strategy over the last three (3) years with a focus on talent who are able to take on various roles within the Barita group. These changes augur well in advancing the initiatives aimed at continuing to challenge the status quo in the capital markets to ultimately create and sustain stakeholder value.

Accordingly, Mr. Dane Brodber will be appointed as Interim Chief Executive Officer with effect from May 7, 2022. Dane was appointed Chief Risk Officer of the Cornerstone Group effective November 1, 2019, and has had oversight responsibility for the risk function of Cornerstone and its subsidiaries inclusive of the Barita group.

Dane has over 18 years of experience in the financial services industry, with expertise in risk management, strategy, business intelligence, and financial analysis. Dane previously served as Regional Director, Market Risk Management with Scotia Bank where he worked for over 12 years. Dane earned undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Economics & Business from Lafayette College and an MBA from the University of New Orleans. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), and the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designations. Dane is the current President and founding Vice President of CFA Society Jamaica.

Effective May 7, 2022, Mr. Stephen Phillibert, Chief Financial Officer of the Cornerstone Group, will assume responsibility for Barita’s Operations function in addition to his existing oversight of the Finance function of the Cornerstone Group. Mr. Phillibert has over 25 years combined experience in the areas of finance, strategy, general management, and mergers and acquisitions. He holds an MBA from the University of Toronto, an undergraduate degree in Accounting from the University of the West Indies as well as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Mr. Ramon Small-Ferguson, who was recently promoted to Executive Vice President consistent with the Company’s succession planning programme, will take on an expanded role in support of the incoming Interim CEO. Effective May 7, 2022, Ramon will have oversight of the revenue generating arm of the business; to include asset management and research, investment banking, treasury management, and alternative investments.

Ramon has extensive experience in investment management and prior to joining Barita, he held the position of Chief Investment Strategist and Head of Research at the Jamaica National Group. Ramon holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designations. He also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Finance & Marketing (Hons) from the University of Technology, Jamaica and is currently a Graduate Student at NYU Stern Business School where he is pursuing a Master of Science in Quantitative Management.

Mrs. Paula Barclay, General Manager of Barita, has tendered her resignation effective May 6, 2022, after a 3-year tenure with the organization. On joining Barita, Paula initially had responsibility for driving the Company’s business development and customer experience strategies and initiatives. In December of 2019, she assumed responsibility as head of business and in her expanded role she oversaw a period of significant development of the Company. Under her leadership, Barita registered transformational growth in its market share across several business lines including investment banking, asset management, stockbrokerage services, and cambio trading.

The foregoing key achievements were enabled by the significant strengthening of the depth of human capital across the organization, the establishment of best-in-class policies and an enterprise risk management framework, streamlining of key processes and structures across the business, and the re-imagining of the marketing and business development thrust of the Company that has revolutionized the presence, appeal, and connection of the market with Brand Barita. The Chairman, Board, management and staff of the Company would like to extend their thanks and appreciation to Mrs. Barclay for her stellar stewardship, and wish her all the very best as she embarks on the next phase of her journey.

Mr. Junior Graham, Vice President Information Technology, has tendered his resignation effective April 30, 2022. Mr. Dave Dixon joined Barita on February 28, 2022 from Scotia Bank as Senior Vice President, Sales and Services, and has taken on the mantle from Mrs. Barclay with regards to executive responsibility for retail sales, including the Company’s branch network together with overall customer experience oversight. Mr. Dixon is a Retail and Investment Banking professional with over twenty (20) years of experience in the financial services sector.

Ms. Sancia Thompson, formerly of the NCB Financial Group, joined Barita on February 28, 2022 as Vice President, Premium Wealth and Corporate Solutions. These roles previously reported in to Mrs. Barclay. Ms. Thompson has over 20 years of experience as a finance professional with a solid history of success in delivering results through consultative sales processes and financial advice.

Mr. Nigel Sinclair, formerly of the GraceKennedy Group, joined Barita on January 17, 2022 as Head of Asset Management. In that capacity, Nigel has taken over executive leadership of the fiduciary management aspects of the business, to include the investment management oversight of the suite of unit trust and pension products offered by the Company.

The Chairman and Board welcome the new appointees and look forward to the management and staff continuing to create sustainable value for all our key stakeholders.

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Entertainment and Events

Tourism Speed Networking Event Attracts Over 100 Businesses and Buyers



Tourism stakeholders converged at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on Thursday (March 31), for the industry’s seventh annual speed networking event.

The engagement was hosted by the Tourism Linkages Network (TLN), in collaboration with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

It attracted approximately 50 tourism entities and over 90 buyers, seeking to take advantage of networking opportunities.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in his address during the opening ceremony, said the participating buyers and sellers were important, as they form a critical component of the industry’s consumption patterns.

Mr. Bartlett, who noted that the consumption pattern was boundless, said it requires corresponding production outflows.

“The production side must be as strong and effective to meet the demand side,” he stated.

Mr. Bartlett further underscored the need for a “new and exciting” industry production process.

“I think we have to look at how to create something of a supply logistics centre that is not only going to drive production, but also provide [the] ability for us to respond to the demand which is in the rest of the Caribbean,” he said.

This, the Minister added, “because they are all suffering from the same shortages that we are [experiencing].”

“They are [experiencing] the same effect of the disruption in the supply chain; but Jamaica has become that centre for response to them,” Mr. Bartlett stated.

The speed networking event featured a series of 15-minute pre-scheduled meetings between managing directors, general managers, and chief executive officers of local supplier companies of products and services, and owners and managers of properties, restaurants, attractions, and other tourism entities.
Source JIS

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