Sandals Resorts International has made an upfront purchase of more than J$3 million worth of Irish potato seeds, which have been handed over to local Jamaican farmers.Chairman of the Tourism Linkage Council, Adam Stewart, who is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sandals, in recognizing the link between tourism and agriculture, noted that this equates to 1,300 bags, capable of planting 40 to 50 acres and expected to yield 700,000 lbs of potatoes.“These can be stored for up to one year. Five farmers will benefit in this initial phase, but this figure will grow as the program evolves to include other items of produce,” he said, while addressing a recent press conference.“The initial outlay of funds is a win-win investment with payback of the initial sum from the farmers to Sandals set to commence in instalments after the first reaping, estimated to be 10 to15 weeks from planting,” he said.PM calls for tourism, agricultural partnershipThe Sandals initiative comes against the backdrop of a call by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on March 7 at the official opening ceremony of the 35th Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in the western parish of St. James, regarding the strengthening of the partnership between tourism and agriculture.“This Government recognizes the importance of leveraging partnerships to achieve growth and development. There are important investment roles for both the public and private sectors to help transform our agricultural sector to one that is competitive, to alleviate food security risks, and for overall increased contribution to economic development,” Holness said.“As we seek to modernize our food-production processes to address hunger and malnutrition, to promote rural development, and to be climate resilient for greater and lasting impact, the power of partnerships is a necessity,” the Prime Minister added.Sandals to use only locally produced potatosMeanwhile, Stewart said the farmers will be the sole providers of Irish potatoes to the entire Sandals group, which comprise 11 resorts in Jamaica.This, he added, will further reduce the resort company’s import bill and create direct added revenue and market for “our local farming community and, ultimately, a boost to the local economy”.“The main aim is for Sandals to be 100 per cent supplied with Jamaica-grown Irish potato, with no further reason to import. This is a long-term sustainable program,” he said.
CFPB US Chamber of Commerce 2017-09-29 Joey Pizzolato The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule is coming under fire yet again.A group of lobbying groups, including American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, and Financial Services Roundtable and numerous others, filed a complaint with a Dallas Federal Court against the CFPB Friday on the hotly-debated arbitration clause that was recently passed. The suit has been spearheaded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.The CFPB, when finalizing the rule, argued that it gave consumers more options when it comes to challenging Big Business, but opponents of the rule say it could have unintended consequences, such as higher interest rates for consumers and an increase in revenue for trial lawyers.In making its arbitration rule, the CFPB conducted a study defending its actions, which were contested by members of both the House and Senate, arguing that the data was skewed, and wasn’t indicative of the real ramifications of eliminating the standard arbitration clause effects.The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also released findings based on the data which contradicted the CFPB’s findings. According to the Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika, “In the published final rule, the CFPB states that analysts were unable to identify any evidence from the data to indicate companies that removed their arbitration agreements raised their prices. The OCC review of the same data, however, shows that there is an 88-percent chance of the total cost of credit increasing as a result of the final rule prohibiting mandatory arbitration to allow consumers to pursue class-action lawsuits and a 56-percent chance that costs will increase by 3 percentage points or more.”The complaint challenges the legality and the constitutionality of the arbitration rule based on four reasons, which according to the complaint are “independently sufficient to require invalidation of the [arbitration] Rule.”Complainants argue that the rule is a product of, “and fatally infected by” the unconstitutional structure of the CFPB, which was provided by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act. The complaint also argues that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, due to the fact that the CFPB failed to observe legal requirements when making its conclusion based on a study that was “deeply flawed” insofar as it misappropriated data and ignored important considerations when gathering said data.Third, the rule also ignores previous records reported by the Bureau, and such points to the fact that the finding is “the very model of arbitrary and capricious agency action.” Finally, the rule is counterintuitive, in failing to support public interest or consumer health by denying arbitration, an option that is commonly believed to benefit overall consumers in favor of the less beneficial option of class-action lawsuits.Interested parties can read the full, 52 page report, here.