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Leadership Voices

What We Are Going Through Now Is A Category Five Hurricane

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“I could liken what we are going through now as a category five hurricane, that’s what it is. If we had not taken the steps that we have, what do you think inflation would be in Jamaica? If we had not raised interest rates, not tightened liquidity, not closed down the banks net open positions (NOPs), where do you think inflation would be today? You could start at an exchange rate at, call a number, $170, $175. Do you know what impact that has on inflation? If everybody could get Jamaican dollars cheap because rates are low and then buy US dollars with it and then migrate their investments with it, where do you think inflation in Jamaica would be? So whilst, the results are not what we want them to be, in that we have 10.9 per cent [inflation rate], it’s better than the 15 per cent, 17 per cent or 20 per cent that we might have had, had we not taken the steps that we have. Until someone can convince me that had we done nothing, had we left interest rates low, that we would be better off, then, until then I believe we are in a better place than we may have been had we not pursued the policies that we had. Believe you me, in the MPC we agonise about it and as we have left the 0.5 [per cent] behind and gone to 5 [per cent] and 5.5 [per cent], it becomes even more agonising as to whether we go any further or not.”

“It’s not a decision we take lightly. It’s not a textbook issue. A lot of real life experiences and feedback come into whether we move rates or we don’t,”

Richard Byles, governor of the Bank of Jamaica speaking at Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee referring to the inflationary environment that has gripped the world as commodity prices skyrocket, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

Leadership Voices

Keith Duncan and Christopher Williams have two different views on opportunities in the Caribbean. Which one is correct or are they both correct?

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“The Dominican Republic is firing, and now Trinidad is firing up. The Trinidad economy has been recovering very nicely and JMMB Bank T&T continues to grow at a faster rate than market. We are really confident that we have a good team in place to drive that growth. We continue to look at opportunities in Central America and the Caribbean; that’s a pipeline that we continue to actively work, and we are hoping for good things,”
JMMB Group CEO Keith Duncan

 

 

 

Proven Group Limited plans to avoid acquisitions this year due to global uncertainty, but will continue to develop real estate projects. It’s the second time since the onset of the pandemic that the firm has adopted a passive approach.

“We want to preserve capital. We operate throughout the Caribbean and there are varying levels of downturn. None has been significant as a percentage, nothing greater than three or four per cent, but there is definitely a slowdown right across the Caribbean, interest rate hikes, inflation and supply chain challenges. So we are not looking for any acquisitions as a result; we are just sitting tight and making the best of our existing portfolio.”
Proven CEO Christopher Williams

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Leadership Voices

We Are Embracing A New Way Of Issuing Licences, Moving Towards A Market-Driven Situation

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“We are embracing a new way of issuing licences, which is currently done on an open-and-closed basis. We will be moving towards a market-driven situation. Under the new arrangement, it will not matter how many persons apply. If there are too many operators on one route, the market will fix that. If someone applies for a route, they will have 30 days to determine if it is working. If not, they can make the change. You have route taxi associations through which our licensees make their applications. We want to strengthen the ability of those route taxi associations to prepare the drivers and operators for Vision 2030. The Authority is looking at how we can start building out something that represents world-class standards, so these changes are necessary. The improvements being made to the transport sector entails more than just having nice-looking buses but also ensuring proper organisation of all modes of public transportation. Whatever we are doing, it should be comparable to what happens in developed countries, so that’s what we are focusing on right now”

Managing Director of the Transport Authority, Willard Hylton

 

Part 1: Fish or Fowl – When It Comes To Fare Fixing, Are We In The Public Or Private Sector? – To Achieve Vision 2030 For The Public Transportation Sector A New Business Model Is Needed Now…NTAG

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Leadership Voices

We Will Not Be Like Blockbuster And Kodak.

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“While some people have a problem for every solution, we know there’s a solution for every problem and we also know that there’s the seed of greater opportunity within every challenge. We have experienced business growth in recessions, we have withstood many crises, including the 2008 global financial crisis. Following the 2010 Jamaica Debt Exchange, our bank became the leading financial institution in Jamaica based on profitability, notwithstanding significant loss in income as a result of the restructuring of Government of Jamaica debt. We continue to innovate and transform. We will not be like Blockbuster and Kodak. We are committed to embracing external trends to disrupting ourselves rather than being disrupted.”
NCBFG President and CEO Patrick Hylton

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Leadership Voices

NCBFG Will Be Focusing Heavy On Executing Its Digital Roadmap

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“Accelerating our digital capabilities enables growth which allows us to confront a market environment which is less than stable, decrease costs and allow us to progress as a data-and-insights-driven organisation. Technology allows us to do more with less, and it is felt that investment in technology is actually a deflationary course in an inflationary economy and environment. On the value of technology to reduce costs NCBFG will be focusing heavy on executing its digital roadmap for the remainder of the financial year.”
NCBJ CEO Septimus Blake

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Leadership Voices

We Have A Fair Amount Of Resilience To Any Economic Downturn

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“On the asset side, because the life, health and pension (LHP) business holds a tremendous amount of assets as reserves against liabilities, there is exposure to a drop-in asset values due to an economic downturn. However, it must be noted that an insurance company operates both on the asset side of its balance sheet and the liabilities side. Through our actuaries, we have developed a lot of technology to match those and our liabilities so that downward shifts in asset values to a significant degree are dampened by a commensurate downward shift in liability values. So, all in all, we have a fair amount of resilience to any economic downturn.”
Guardian Holdings Limited CEO Ravi Tewari

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