Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 18th 2014 Contents A15
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SAN JOSE, California---It used to be
that "hacking" was just a type of crime, a
computer break-in. But today, the term is
also part of a growing---and perfectly
legal---mainstay of the tech sector.
Computer programming competitions
known as "hackathons" have spread like
viruses in recent years as ways for geeks,
nerds and designers to get together to eat
pizza, lose sleep and create something
The formal, marathon group
brainstorming sessions are focused on
everything from developing lucrative apps
to using computer code to solve the
world's problems. This year a record 1,500
hackathons are planned around the globe,
up from just a handful in 2010.
"A hackathon is the fastest way to
actually do something about an idea," said
Nima Adelkhani, organizer of the
weekend-long Hack for Peace in the
Middle East competition in San Francisco
Law enforcement hasn't abandoned the
term. Dozens of federally convicted
"hackers" are serving prison sentences for
computer fraud and other cybercrimes.
And the Justice Department's cybercrime
budget this year is $9 million to target
offenses that include "hacking." (AP)
Computer whizzes brainstorm for cash at hackathons
T&T is one of three countries that
figure in the International Monetary
Fund s (IMF) Barbados:
Risk Assessment Matrix as potential dis-
ruptors of that country s economy should
they plunge into financial crisis. In its 82-
page country report on Barbados, the IMF
said "a fiscal shock in the US or a shock in
the UK or T&T---Barbados three biggest trade
partners," would "aggravate vulnerabilities
and could trigger a disorderly adjustment
One of the largest banks in Barbados is
based in T&T, the IMF added.
"All banks in Barbados are foreign-owned:
three are from Canada, two from T&T, and
one from the US. The assets of Canadian
banks account for 75 per cent of the total.
The overall capital adequacy ratio (CAR) is
high at 21.5 per cent. The non-performing
loan (NPL) ratio has risen steadily to 13.9 per
cent in June 2013 while provisions declined
to 36 per cent of NPLs from 60 per cent in
2008," the IMF said.
Profitability has fallen as the share of loans
in assets and the interest rate spread have
both shrunk. Claims on the government have
risen to 20 per cent of total domestic assets.
"Barbados also has an important non-bank
sector," the IMF said. "Credit unions NPLs
have increased from 5.25 per cent of total
loans in 2008 to over 8 per cent in June 2013.
Two Barbados-based financial conglom-
erates have substantial external linkages,
mainly through their operations in commercial
banking, insurance, and asset management
in and outside of the Caribbean region."
The IMF said iamong the "main threats"
to Barbados economy is a "shock caused by
adverse development in the UK, or T&T."
However, the agency added that the "like-
lihood of realisation of the threat (is) low."
The IMF said the "growth outlook for the
UK and T&T has improved in recent months.
Aside from the US, these are the biggest
sources of tourism flows and biggest goods
The IMF reiterated that "one of the biggest
banks in Barbados is Trinidad-based," and
added that "there are other financial sector
ties (in the T&T) insurance" sector as well.
The multilateral agency ranked the "expect-
ed impact if threat is realised" at "medium,"
saying a crisis in T&T "could have adverse
effects on Barbados through both trade and
capital flows, financial instability.
This would put pressure on the balance
of payments. Fiscal deficits would remain
elevated as the revenue base narrows."
Outside of the three countries, other risks
to Barbados that the IMF said "would aggra-
vate vulnerabilities and could trigger a dis-
orderly adjustment process" were "delays or
failure to implement planned fiscal measures.
These risks are not negligible," for example,
the IMF said, "There is ongoing pressure
from labor unions to unwind layoff decisions."
The government of Barbados announced
earlier this year it will be laying off 3000
public sector workers.
"A continuation of policy trends could lead
to further monetisation of the deficit, drop
in investor confidence, further reserves losses,
and pressure on the currency peg," the IMF
said. The IMF warned that "heightened global
financial market volatility, which could lead
to increases in particular to non-investment
grade sovereign risk premia.
This could impinge on Barbados access
to market financing, both domestically and
externally, engender reserve losses, and again
put pressure on the currency peg." The Bar-
bados dollar trades at a fixed rate of Bds$2
to US$1. The IMF s last risk listed in this sec-
tion of the report was "a further decline in
tourism receipts related to slower growth in
the main advanced country source markets.
This would hurt growth, revenues and the
balance of payments."
UTT and TSTT,
Minister Fazal Karim
Khan Academy in
California in the
United States during
conference at TSTT
for the digital signing
of a memorandum of
(MOU). The historic
and tertiary level
students access to
lessons from the
IMF: Fiscal shock in
T&T will hurt Barbados
Just months after its acquisition of 100 per
cent of T&T s Intercommercial Bank Limited
and Intercommercial Trust and Merchant Bank
Limited (IBL), the JMMB Group says it has
contributed to its net profit of J$2.35 billion
and earnings per share of J$1.32 for the nine
month period ended 31 December 2013.
Recently released financial statements show
that JMMB s net profits for the period reflected
a positive increase of J$779.6 million or 49.5
JMMB fully acquired IBL last October, a move
that got Kingston, Jamaica-based firm closer to
becoming a fully integrated regional financial
services company. JMMB finalised acquisition
of the bank for US$8.75 million (J$914.1 million),
making it s subsidiary of the JMMB Group.
According to the statement, JMMB s net inter-
est income (NII) showed positive growth year-
over-year moving from J$3.48 billion to J$3.83
billion, an increase of J$354.3 million or 10.2
The group said this increase was driven mainly
by expanded business lines through acquisitions
of IBL and Capital & Credit Financial Group
Limited (CCFG), coupled with effectively man-
aging the its investment portfolio and cost of
IBL, though impacted by a one off provisioning
on its loan portfolio in the first quarter, con-
tributed revenues of J$341.5 million and incurred
operational expenses of J$322.8 million since
becoming a wholly owned subsidiary and is on
a path of steady growth.
Operating expenses increased to J$3.99 billion
compared to J$3.03 billion for the prior year.
This increase was mainly attributable to oper-
ating costs for CCFG which comprise J$351.0
million or 36.4 per cent, acquisition of IBL con-
tributing J$344.1 million or 35.7 per cent and
the remaining J$269.5 million or 27.9 per cent
due mainly to integration costs, growth in sub-
sidiaries in the regional markets, and normal
Consequently, despite this increase in expens-
es, management continues to effectively manage
its operations as the group s efficiency ratio
(administrative costs as a percentage of operating
revenue) stood at 60.4 per cent at the end of
The total asset base of the JMMB Group
increased by J$24.7 billion or 14.8 per cent for
the period, moving from J$166.86 billion as at
31 March, 2013, to J$191.60 billion. This increase
in assets was due mainly to acquisition of the
IBL which contributed J$25.4 billion.
The JMMB Group said in a press release that
it will continue to consolidate its recent acqui-
sitions and roll-out its integrated financial service
business model to its markets in Jamaica,
Dominican Republic and T&T. It will also con-
tinue to focus on long term sustainable growth
and further enhancing of shareholder value.
T&T's IBL adds to
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