June 10, 2016
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WITH Christmas just a day away, this weekly column allows me the pleasure of writing about the joys of such a wonderful time of the year. But it is also a moment to think about the lonely and less fortunate for whom the celebrations can be a time of woe and pain as they suffer the sadness of loss and deprivation while we are all urged to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ in the traditional way.
The phrase “pouring oil on troubled waters” arose when seafarers saw the beneficial effect of pouring a barrel of oil on storm-tossed seas and found the waves were flattened and subdued.
BUSINESS BITES: It’s time to call a halt to this colonial throwback and take control of Grand Bahama
The destruction, flooding and profound commercial dislocation wreaked by Hurricane Dorian on Grand Bahama has awakened the long-simmering debate about how the island is governed.
THE physical rebuilding of Abaco and Grand Bahama has already started and will continue. The rubble will be cleared away, businesses reopened, and new houses built. It won’t be easy or quick, but the energy of the Bahamian people, with generous help and expertise from abroad, will prevail.
In the Tornado Alley states of the USA, tornadoes, large and small, are too frequent to be named. Only the worst are identified for the official records — like Joplin in 2011.
Investors should take a close look at Doctors Hospital Health System (DHS), our only non-Government full-service medical centre. DHS has never attracted much attention because of its small market capitalisation - ten million shares outstanding, trading at about $2.20 per share. But its recent Annual Report for the fiscal year to January 31, 2019 (released in June) should be required reading for it is positive news.
I have been reading about a new Sand Dollar - not the physical sea urchin, but an immaterial financial concept based on digital technology. We will never see a Sand Dollar to hold in our hand, just a numeral in an account statement.
Efficient reception of international air travellers is clearly key to our tourism and is well performed by our Lynden Pindling International Airport, a government-owned public utility not committed to the profits of an investor-owned enterprise.
When I visited the East Bay Street head office of Investar Securities at 10am on Monday June 3, a dozen citizens were already there waiting to subscribe to either of the two Titan Mutual Funds being launched.
Nassau has just recorded 13 killings in 21 days, including two double homicides. The much vaunted decline in criminal violence seems to have hit a road-block. In the eyes of the Lord, every human life is equally sacred and every murder is an equal tragedy. But in the harsh world of law enforcement, things don’t look quite the same.
I guess I bought my first light-bulb over 30 years ago in the friendly store facing Shirley Street’s busy traffic flow. Convenient, with easy parking and never crowded, it continued to meet my occasional electrical needs, a local retail icon I never thought about— and which never changed.
Whenever I look at a map of the Caribbean I am astonished at the size of our country: an archipelago 760 miles long, matching the arc stretching from the Virgin Islands down to Trinidad, giving us sovereignty over the 150,000 square miles of earth and water known as the Lucayan Sea.
Last October the Ministry of Tourism, noting that 3.5 million passengers annually were visiting Nassau via several cruise lines, issued a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) for “an upgrade and revitalisation of the downtown Nassau tourism product”. Although we are statistically the largest Caribbean destination, it was common knowledge that we ranked low in guest satisfaction and tourist spending.
Cable Bahamas is a strong company, with positive growth prospects, one of our best-known and most actively traded equities. Yet the share price quoted on BISX gives the impression of a severe loser, with a decline of about nearly 40 percent in the last year, from $3.68 to $2.29. Why?
The present shutdown of a large part of US Government operations is no minor blip in how the country is run.
Our New Cruise Port: Run by Whom? Since government published over a month ago its massive Request for Proposals (RFP) to radically improve our Nassau Cruise Port, we’re wondering who’s in the running to win the job.
In writing its 2018 Annual Report, the board of directors of Cable Bahamas faced a challenging task: how to explain to shareholders that larger losses in net income and earnings per share should not obscure the strong prospects for long-term growth.
BUSINESS BITES: Trump may have won a battle with Kavanaugh appointment but could end up losing the war
At long last, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has moved up the final notch in the US judicial hierarchy to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, from obscurity through tears, rage and notoriety to uneasy success. In the rancorous confirmation debate, all but two senators voted along strict party lines.
Suddenly, Bahamians are becoming more aware of the vast universe of investments percolating in securities markets beyond our shores.
Four young Bahamian entrepreneurs may have read Samuel Coleridge’s 1816 poem when they began building the 100,000 square-foot structure looming hundreds of feet over Lake Cunningham. A stately pleasure dome it is indeed, as revealed at last week’s press preview.
The disputed future of the Grand Lucaya Hotel complex is more than a business debate. It could well mark the opening political shot for control of the FNM. Incumbent Prime Minster Hubert Minnis and predecessor Hubert Ingraham have each visibly tied his flag to a radically different solution for the hotel’s continued viability - and the future of Grand Bahama.
John Issa, the astute Jamaican hotelier of the Breezes chain, has written his umpteenth column of acute criticism about down town’s dilapidation. While fully accepting the Chinese renovation of the western segment with the completed parking structure
NO one can tell how many investors hold, directly or indirectly, an equity position in this BISX-listed company, but they all must have a headache after a quick glance at its recently published financial statements for the year 2017.
Woe unto us! A little over a year ago we elected a new Government that would lead us into a land flowing with biblical milk and honey. Instead, we are left, like Job, to repent in dust and ashes. In its most basic function, creating the budget that controls our economy, Dr Minnis’ FNM party, with nearly 90 percent of House seats, has managed to lose the faith of its citizens.
I see the new VAT-free Bread Basket will now include mustard. Why not ketchup? How did the Government’s expert nutritionist decide which flavouring is essential in the diet for the cash-strapped family?
No sooner had Simon Potter, CEO of Nassau-based Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), announced an international oil company had signed a 90-day renewable option to become a farm-out partner with BPC, than our environmental activists predictably denounced the deal — indeed, the very concept of drilling for oil in Bahamian waters.
In the first year of his FNM administration, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has been slow off the ground in announcing new business ventures. Of course, it’s not the function of Government to create commercial entities, but rather to set a business-
I have just read press reports that another bill has been tabled in the House to avoid blacklisting, by satisfying - better read “appeasing” - the European Union (EU) in its campaign to extract full compliance on tax matters.
Light is beginning to appear dimly at the end of the tunnel – the dark and murky place we entered a little over a month ago. On February 19, Prime Minister Minnis used the full panoply of his office to celebrate the “ceremonial” signing of a heads of agreement (or something) calling for a $5.5bn refinery project on Grand Bahama to be created by an unknown Florida company incorporated less than two years ago as Oban Energies LLC.
So now we have the 41-page Heads of Agreement that presumably any citizen may read, as I have done. It is signed for Oban Energies LLC not by Peter Krieger, the corpulent gentleman who featured in press photos with Prime Minister Minnis both putting pens on something — what? But Mr Krieger we were told is only the non-executive chairman, or “ambassador” for Oban. The actual document bears the signature of Oban’s unseen President, Satpal Dhunna.
February now truly starts the business year, after January’s blip when most of our citizens twiddled their thumbs to celebrate that historic holiday (Age: two years), Majority Rule Day.
The comprehensive Annual Report of Cable Bahamas, the country’s largest non-bank company, should be read not only by its shareholders but by anyone interested in how a multi-division enterprise can thrive in our restrictive economic environment. With its current fiscal year extended by six months to June 30, 2017, the report tells a story stretching over 18 months, the most crucial period since Cable’s founding over 20 years ago.
I went over to a new Island Luck gaming site the other night and opened an account in the windowless single-purpose room, lit mainly by dozens of computer screens. I was not there to become a steady player, but to discover whether the premises were infested with shady characters likely to “pose a risk to the country’s financial sector”, as Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar has warned us with alarmist press headlines.
Up the hill and right back down again—that’s the story of Bahamian electric power during the five wasted, and expensive, years of PLP Government. Dr. Minnis’ new administration is now back at square one, with a clean slate for creating a brand-new energy policy, a crucial task he must soon address if he is to retain credibility.
The Cable Bahamas (CAB) share price quoted on BISX has suffered a stunning fall of almost 40% in the last 18 months, from $6.50 to $4.00. EPS (earnings per share) dropped from $0.28 in 2014 to a loss of ($0.38) in 2017, and last year quarterly dividends on the ordinary shares were indefinitely suspended.
Richard Coulson looks at the tasks facing the new Prime Minister as he takes office . . .
TYPICAL Bahamians, like citizens everywhere, take little interest in the numbers underlying their country’s successes - or failures.
Richard Coulson looks at what the inauguration of President Trump might mean for the US and the Bahamas . . .
‘Revolution’ is a word that scares Bahamians. Progress, development, new look, fresh start - all are words we are happy to use, while the stronger term frightens us with images of Haitian anarchy or the bloody 19th century Jamaican slave revolt.
Our Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) recently launched its “new and improved, user friendly, website”. Just type www.bisxbahamas.com on your computer, and there it is ... unfortunately, a damp squib.
In debating the pending Baha Mar payouts, let’s recognise one good thing amidst the surrounding sea of errors and deception: former Baha Mar employees (about 2,000 of them) will soon be paid what is owed to them.
Richard Coulson explains why the $100m ‘gift’ to Bahamian creditors is doing nothing to advance Baha Mar’s revival . . .
After all the legal manoeuvres, rhetoric and agreements, Richard Coulson doubts any progress has been made on the stalled mega resort . . .
This week’s Free National Movement summit will thankfully be open, unlike Trump’s annointment in Ohio, Richard Coulson says . . .
Do these quotes reflect the current state of eastern Bay Street? Yes, but it so happens that they are more than 10 years old, taken from the Bahamas Business edition dated January 9, 2006. There is no better example of the huge volume of hot air, and little practical effort, that has been spent on redeveloping the decaying, moribund Bay Street blocks stretching east from East Street.