The Ministry of Commerce, Planning & Infrastructure alongside the Cayman Islands Centre for Business Development (CICBD) have announced that the MSME Grant Programme - Phase II is now in full effec...

The Prime Minister of Barbados has called on governmentsin the Americas region to ensure citizens employed in the tourism sector have priority access to thecoronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. Prime minister Mia Mottley, who co-chairs the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Americas Cruise Task Force, made the call as she addressed the 58 Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today. “I have listened to colleagues across the region who are desperately calling for a safe restart to cruise tourism. As one of the most tourism- and travel- dependent regions of the world, and, therefore, the region whose economies have come to a screeching halt, we have to find a way to jump start them,” she said. “But it must be done in such a way as to ensure the safety of our workers.It is for this reason that I have been advocating that workers in this sector be given priority access to vaccinations. This would allow thousands to get back to work safely and get our almost dormant economies awake again.” Mottley added that she is thankful that PAHO is assisting small countries like Barbados to have equal access to a COVID-19 vaccine when it is developed.

As countries imposelockdowns and closeborders and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues no sail orders, the cruise industry is facing a historically tough challenge. Carnival Corp., which hasnine different cruise brands, has announcedthat it expects to see a whopping loss of around $3 billion in the third quarter of 2020. But a few searches on its website reveal that it is still doing whatever it can to stay afloat, including selling cruises to at least one closed port-- The Cayman Islands. Cayman's Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell has said that amidst health concerns, the cruise industry will not reopen until at least 2021 and according to Condé Nast,The Cayman Islands"has become the lone Caribbean nation to voluntarily turn away cruise ships." A September article from the upmarket travel magazine states that, "No doubt the country risks taking a hit from the decision: As one of the most popular Caribbean cruise destinations (the third largest, based on annual passengers), the cruise industry spent $224 million in direct expenditures in the Cayman Islands in 2018 and employed 4,622 people in the destination that year, according to the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Economic Impact on Cruise Tourism 2019 report." Loop Cayman conducted a search on the Carnival website to find cruises being sold for as early as November 8 for a Miami-Ocho Rios-Grand Cayman-Cozumel cruise aboard the Carnival Sunrise and a November 16 cruise aboard the Carnival Horizon, beginning inMiami and making stops in Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. According to the Carnival website, there are at least 8 cruises planned for December 2020, with Grand Cayman stops. While there is no way to tell whether coronavirus first came to The Cayman Islands via the cruise industry, the first recorded case of the virus and its only death arrived by way of a cruise passenger. Further, as one of the first ports to exercise extreme caution with respect to the virus, when the Ministry of Health stopped allowing cruises to make stops in the Cayman Islands, it was publicly slammed by the cruise industry. On July 16,The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the extension of a No Sail Order for cruise ships through September 30, 2020. On September 21, a petition signed by more than 50,000 peoplewas submittedby environmental advocacy organizations, includingCayman's "Protect our Future", to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to extend its no-sail order for cruise ships, due to the risk that resumed operations would pose to public health and the environment. Carnival Corp.announced in a third-quarter earnings filing that it plans to sell 18 cruise ships in 2020, which amounts to 17 percent of the company’s ships. For the second quarter of 2020, Carnival's passenger ticket revenue plunged by 86.3% year over year to just $446 million, while total revenue declined by 84.7% year over year to $740 million. Carnival Corp. lines account for 45 percent of the world’s cruise industry. (Points Guy)

In this Thursday April 16, 2020 file photo, The Amazon logo is seen in Douai, northern France. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)

Amazon is aiming to kick-start the holiday shopping season early this year. The company is holding its annual Prime Day over two days in October this year, after the pandemic forced it to postpone the sales event from July. It's the first time Prime Day is being held in the fall, and Amazon is positioning it as a way to get people to start their holiday shopping. Even before Amazon's announcement Monday, major retailers have said they plan to push shoppers to start their holiday shopping in October and offer deals earlier, hoping to avoid crowds in their stores in November and December. Prime Day, which will run from October 13 to October 14 this year, is sure to put pressure on rivals to offer deals around the same time. In past years, Walmart, Best Buy and Target have offered their own online discounts during Prime Day. Amazon started the sales event in 2015 as its answer to Singles' Day, a shopping holiday in China popularized by Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba. Prime Day has become one of Amazon's biggest shopping days, since it offers some of its deepest discounts of the year. Amazon also sees it as a way to get more people to sign up for its Prime membership, since only those paying $12.99 a month or $119 a year can access the deals. The company said Amazon Prime members in 19 countries will get access to deals this year, including two new ones: Brazil and Turkey. It already held Prime Day in India this summer.

Lending extended by banks operating in Taiwan to Cayman as of the end of June came to US$18.93 billion the central bank said Friday. This was the 7th highest international exposure of Taiwanese banks. The United States was the largest debtor to banks in Taiwan for the 20th consecutive quarter, the central bank said, with outstanding international claims by Taiwanese banks on the U.S. as of the end of June totallingUS$91.90 billion, up about US$7.55 billion from a quarter earlier on a direct risk basis. China was in second place, with the exposure of Taiwanese banks hitting US$47.77 billion, ahead of exposure to Luxembourg which reached US$37.51 billion for banks in Taiwan. Hong Kong fell one spot to fourth place with exposure for Taiwanese banks down to US$33.67 billion while Japan took the fifth spot with exposure for Taiwanese banks at US$29.31 billion. Australia followed in sixth place at US$24.98 billion. Falling behind Cayman was the United Kingdom at US$18.21 billion, Singapore at US$15.52 billion, and the British West Indies in 10th place at US$12.39 billion. Bank exposure to Taiwan's top 10 debtors at the end of June stood at US$330.2 billion, accounting for 72.45 percent of the country's total international claims on a direct risk basis, the central bank said. The non-banking private sector worldwide accounted for 58.71 percent of Taiwan's total international claims on a direct risk basis, with the banking industry making up 31.65 percent and the public sector representing 9.64 percent, the central bank said.

Image source: CBC

Customs & Border Control (CBC) Cayman Brac are monitoring a small Cuban vessel with two migrants on-board. It is possible that the persons on-board may need to come ashore. Cayman Brac Public Health officials are standing by to assist and ensure that all established COVID-19 isolation protocols will be followed.

The Ministry of Commerce, Planning & Infrastructure alongside the Cayman Islands Centre for Business Development (CICBD) have announced that the MSME Grant Programme - Phase II is now in full effect. The programme is intended to stimulate economic activity among small businesses and therefore it aims to identify and support three hundred (300) micro and small businesses that have a viable market but need help retooling, pivoting or innovating to meet the needs of the new business environment. Overall Eligibility Criteria is as follows: i. Applicants must have an up-to-date Trade and Business Licence and other relevant licence/permit ii. Must meet definition of small or micro business as per the Trade and Business Licensing Law iii. Must be compliant with all relevant industry regulations iv. As at 29 February 2020, business must have been operational for at least 12 months v. Must be at least 60% Caymanian owned vi. Business must be a going concern For more detailed information please clickhere