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post #22 of Old 08-22-2007
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I work on a daily basis with alot of folks from the Caribbean: Diplomats, academics, engineers, media, bureacrats, business folks, development people, other professionals. In the larger islands (+ Guyana), the business sector is surprisingly diversified: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago. Extensive banking and insurance, manufacturing of all sorts, agricultural production and processing, call centres.... Canadians are not the most agressive of foreign investors but I was surprised to learn that the Caribbean has over $550 Billion in FDI from Canada alone... My guess is that most of it is not in tourism as that is not really an investment focus of Canadian businesses...

What tourists tend to see are the goods and services related to their immediate interest, i.e. "the tourist thing".

Rev, you are right about the areas within the "tourist centres". I saw that in Jamaica near Ocho Rios. The locals are totally fixated on tourists and responding (and living off of) tourist needs. But on the drive from Montego Bay you drive by a bauxite mine. That needs miners, engineers, mechanics, accountants, pay clerks, dock hands, etc.. I'm sure they could not care less about which cruise ship has docked...

There is a whole "Island life" that goes on that is not centered around the beach or other tourist "magnets". I have many Jamaican friends working here in Guyana. They are professionals and often go back home for holidays, etc. In most cases they have kept their houses there as well. (I,ve no clue if they've tried investing back home though)

There are the usual focal points: certain Parishes in Jamaica are totally controlled by gangs. You can't even go in....The recurrent kidnappings of business people in Trinidad is apparently masterminded by members within the police force. Both countries have regular shoutouts between rival gangs etc...

Is there a security issue? Yeah there is. Is there organised crime that tries to extort money in certain industries? Absolutely. True for other countries as well.... Try opening a bar in Montreal and tell me who comes around to "visit" the first few weeks .....

Now based in Barbados.... and wait for it.....the boat is too!

Waymar - Jeanneau, Attalia
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